Links of the week: climate change, but can we make it a bit prettier?


A period of time has flown by since my last Links of the Week post, and that period of time could be called 7 days – but I think most people call it ‘a week’.

So, here’s some more stuff I’m going to throw your way.


Coastal residents fear ‘hideous’ seawalls will block waterfront views

Join me as we take a trip to Miami (USA) where local residents are complaining that plans to combat climate change are… ugly.

Recent proposals involved building a massive concrete seawall in the marine ecosystem of Biscayne Bay, looking to protect the city from future storm surges that could flatten homes and kill thousands of people – a danger growing more dire each day due to climate change. But residents don’t like it.

3D render of a concrete wall that has been placed in the water, meaning any view from the street to the water is blocked. There's also graffiti on the wall and some trash in the moat of water that is visible.
The Downtown Development Authority of Miami hired an architecture firm to visualise some dystopian-looking concrete seawalls in response to the proposal.

Coastlines around the world will face the same problem: tall concrete walls could technically protect homes and property from seas rising because of climate change, but the prospect of being faced by a concrete wall in place of a nice sea view cause locals to reject plans.

Forget your fancy scientific simulations of extreme weather conditions. Nobody cares. Show the people what will climate change really looks like? Because it seems a massive concrete wall gets people talking.

theguardian.com


Every Noise At Once

Some smart person has taken all the genres from Spotify and dumped them on one webpage. You can click one of those genres and instantly hear a sample of what that music sounds like, or click the little arrows to see the individual artists.

A scatter graph of musical genre text labels.

I’m not sure the website works well on mobile, but next time you’re at your computer, give it a shot and who knows – you might just discover your new love for Finnish Electro, Vapor Pop, Swamp Rock, or Pornogrind.

Edit: The site does work on mobile. You just need to press the genre twice; once to select it and a second time to start the music playing.

everynoise.com


Microsoft’s new AI can simulate anyone’s voice with just 3 seconds of audio

Some research boffins at Microsoft have created something they call VALL-E. It’s, in their words, a “neural codec language model” that they have trained to simulate the tones and inflections in people’s voices.

A visual to show text and acoustic prompts being fed into a neural codec language computer system, and the output is labelled as personalised speech.
You put the audio sample in with the text you want reading, and get a some AI-simulated speech back.

It builds off of a technology called EnCodec, which Meta (Facebook) announced in October 2022, and can take just 3 seconds of audio and use it to generate authentic sounding clips of any typed text in a simulated voice.

Example 01 — 3 second source
Example 01 — VALL·E output
Example 02 — 3 second source
Example 02 — VALL·E output

The demo website has 30+ audio files of the inputted audio sample and the outputted audio for you to listen to and judge yourself.

valle-demo.github.io


LogoArchive

Back in the day, when I did a lot more print and branding design work, I would cherish my copy of the book Los Logos by Gestalten (ISBN: 9783931126926). It was a great reference for inspiration, but also to see if that little sketch of a logo you just drew on a napkin existed somewhere already.

But, that was 2002 – over 20 years ago. Who needs books anymore?? (/sarcasm)

BP&O founder Richard Baird has teamed up with designer and developer Christian Laufenböck to make a digital equivalent. They aim to be an ever-growing historical reference and currently have over 3000 modernist logos archived – with the full story behind 100 of those.

A screenshot of the Logo Archive website. It's literally just a grid of logos, white on dark grey on black.

It looks great, but costs $10 per month to access – a small cost for what seems like an excellent resource, if you’re creating logos and branding on the regular for cash. But me? I rarely get to sniff in that direction anymore.

logo-archive.org


Okay, that’s the lot for this week. If you’ve got anything fun to show me, leave it in the comments or send me a message however you like to send me messages.

Note: The image you see at the top of this blog post was generated by Midjourney AI. Sorry about that.

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