A small percentage of a big number

February 12th, 2013


I recently got an email from LinkedIn saying that I am in the top 5%  of most viewed profiles… out of 200 million profiles. Therefore, I am in the good company of 10 million other profiles. The real lesson isn’t that a small percentage of a big number is, of course, still a big number. It is that math helps keep everything in perspective, including your ego.

Software Artifacts and the Insert Disc exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image NYC

October 22nd, 2012


I found out about Insert Disc, a gem of an art show / project, at the Museum of the Moving Image, via Rhizome. You take a blank DVD-R (which I had to buy specifically for this venture out to Queens where MMI is located) and insert it into a slot carved in the exterior of the building, around the corner from the museum entrance.

After seven minutes or so, a DVD is spit out with a virtual machine running Mac OS 7.6. Also included are art CD-ROMs, Netscape Gold, IE 3.0, and other software artifacts from the 1990s.

These artificial barriers for distributing information recall a time when software was hard work to find, install, and use.   The archaic software  was brittle then, and even more so now. If you push the OS too hard, you end up with a system failure and have to reinstall the virtual machine.

Archiving software-based art work and other artifacts is an increasing difficult challenge, and a good reminder of the what the actual life span of digital media is. (Storing the data is the easy part. Having something to read and run it in 10, 20, or 50 years is the hard part.)

A sliver of Kusama

August 16th, 2012

A sliver of Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama exterior take over of Louie Vuitton midtown New York flashship store.

Haring and Android

April 18th, 2012


Pre-dating the Android mascot by 20+ years is this Keith Haring work, currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum.

Borges wrote on graph paper

June 4th, 2011

I had the fortune in participating in the Find the Future event, which was part of the on-going Celebrating 100 Years exhibition and series of events marking the century-old Main Branch of the New York Public Library. I spent 12 hours locked up in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building with Robert. We were playing a game which involved finding objects labelled with QR code, more on that later.

The best discovery of the night was located in the exhibit of artifacts from the library’s research collection. This crappy photo, taken without flash on a iPod touch, is a manuscript by Jorge Luis Borges, which was written on graph paper. Without overly romanticizing his process,  graph paper is supremely fitting for an author who wrote literary works about the finite library (The Garden of Forking Paths, 1941), interactive fiction (The Library of Babel, 1941), and the limits of science and data collection,  (On Exactitude in Science, 1946).

Support the NYPL.

What I did today…

May 14th, 2011


Today was the second of three sessions of Introduction to Synthetic Biology, given at Genspace. Going great to so far, considering that I haven’t taken a biology class since high school. We’ve been learning how to create bacteria that smells like bananas. Seriously. There might be interesting applications for grassroots mapping…

Manzine No. 4

April 3rd, 2011

It’s been out for a few months, but if you can find Issue 4 of Manzine, I got an article about being a rugby fan in the United States. For those, not in the know, Manzine is “a publication about the male phenomenon.” Produced out of the UK, the magazine is an ingenuous take on men’s magazines.


Totally out of order, but the January Gowanus Grassroot Mapping pictures

April 2nd, 2011

On a freezing 11 degree day, (January 22, 2011 to be precise) the Gowanus Grassroot Mapping crew hiked out to Gowanus Canal to document the Superfund site. These balloons were made out of Mylar emergency blankets, and filled with helium that a local welder graciously donated to us. More photos can be found on my flickr photo set.



More grassroots mapping on the Gowanus…

April 2nd, 2011

I’m admittedly way behind on my grassroots mapping updates… but here some more photos from our grassroots mapping excursions.

In our March 27th excursion, we also got immensely helpful assistance from Charles Stewart, who is a kite enthusiast / expert / entrepreneur.  I was pretty psyched with my first experience with kite photography, rather than balloons.


Mathew Lippincott also gave a super interesting demonstration of his solar balloon technique, using thin plastic which is heat sealed, and dyed with pigment. It uses the sun to heat, and the sunny but still cold weather was great for getting the temperature differential to get lift. It is also super cheap to make, and eliminates the biggest expense of our Mylar balloon design, which is helium. It was great to finally meet him and some other of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science,  PLOTS, founding members.


We got good photos that I haven’t seen yet, but when they get stitched together, I’ll update with a link.

What I did today: Grassroots Mapping

October 9th, 2010



Today, I worked with Jeff Warren, long time friend Liz Barry, and students from Parsons and the New School on Grassroots Mapping.
With what amounts to DIY Satellite Imaging, a camera was attached to Mylar balloons, which was tied to fishing line and floated up above Union Square.
On one of the last sunny warm Saturdays of the year, students avoided Farmer Market shoppers and evangelical Christians, while trying out the system that Jeff created.

Flickr set