i am (virtually) moving :

So I'm taking the plunge and moving to WordPress. I expect to have the personal blog continue, plus perhaps two other projects over there. It all depends on how ambitious I'm feeling. And whether I suddenly have a long lost rich uncle that has set up a trust in my name.


communists have the better designers :

The only conclusion to draw from "terrorist organization logos" is that communists make the better designers. [Link via Kottke]


dilettante, excuse number 2345 :

Maeda reminds us that being a dilettante is both rewarding and not easy.

When you're green you grow.

When you're ripe you rot.


(not) engaging trolls :

Today, thanks to the many-to-many communications that are possible in this Web 2.0 world of blogs and social networking, it's very easy for schlock marketing — and as such, the products it pushes — to gain an air of legitimacy. How? Easy: Just start a discussion. By engaging in the debate on a particular subject, both sides in the debate implicitly acknowledge that the subject is worthy of debate; and when one side of a controversy is the side that might ordinarily live on the fringes, the debate works to the advantage of that side regardless of the outcome. That's because all of a sudden, the fringe side of the debate — the voices and positions that had once rightly been relegated to the periphery — gain mainstream recognition. (This particular condition has been observed in the case of the whole "Intelligent Design vs. Evolution" matter, where evolutionary scientists are concerned that engaging in scientific debate with creationists dignifies the creationist position as something worthy of being argued about.)

Further, it's very easy for the purveyors of schlock-marketed products to change the character of the discussion for the worse. Instead of a reasoned back-and-forth which brings out the best of what our socially networked world offers, there frequently results a shouting match, in which he who yells the loudest wins, and in which anyone with a viewpoint at odds with that most loudly expressed is branded a hater, or is labeled as having an agenda, or both.

This quote is about software marketing. But it might as well be about the entire pulbic debate at this point. Particularly politics, but any civic debate, really.

I've noticed that the comments, especially the comments at newspapers and other widely read sites, tend to devolve into the worst wing-nuttery. And I think there is a feeling by some that we need to engage these nuts in a debate. Even if these folks aren't either thank tank operatives or are just kool-aid drinking dittoheads. It doesn't matter. The purpose isn't to reason, it's to stear the debate off course so that people forget what the original topic is and a new meme is introduced into the discourse in general.


comment spam, immigration equality edition :

To this post about ImEq’s Rachel Tiven on Bill O'Reilly, and the “killer answer” to the fraud question. I said:

The killer answer is that fraud is a problem with immigration, but that’s its much more likely to be a case with immigration between opposite sex couples — by the numbers (there’s more of them) and social stigma. But these types of killer arguments don’t work, because at the core, they don’t want arguments. They want to be right. How many times have you heard that gay people will ruin the institution of marriage? Despite the fact that straight couples have been doing a fine job of that on their own for centuries? Fraud is a red herring brought up people who do not see us as completely human but want to have an argument that sounds politically correct. If they could speak their minds, they would just tell us we don’t count. Is it time for the revolution yet? I’m ready.

And I meant it. The longer I’m in DC, the closer I come to overthrowing the government. Are you with me?


Awesome photostream of Aerial San Francisco :

I don’t know what or who Telstar Logistics is, but its photostreams at Flickr are amazing. The above is from Low Altitude San Francisco.

And for those Washingtonians, you’ll notice SF doesn’t have a lot of trees. Nikita Khruschev wondered the same thing.


Universities and stable LGBT families :

I often argue that Universities are the biggest losers in the same-sex civil marriage debate (aka gay marriage). If the creative and educated classes leave for other countries (over same-sex immigration) or other states (for benefits and marriage), the Universities which have a seemingly higher percentage of same-sex couples are particularly hurt in the already competitive marketplace for top-tier educators.

But do Universities also stand to loose from alumni?

Slate makes a case (however ever obliquely — I’m reading between the lines here) for stable, child-filled families:

Alumni with kids are 13 percentage points more likely than alumni without kids to give in any year. The tendency to give rises slowly—by three more percentage points total—through kids' early teens. At about age 14, as mom and dad see their kid's algebra and composition grades, they decide whether he or she will apply to the alma mater. If they decide against, then they need not give extra to grease his way in. But if the kid is legacy material, then the parents might feel a need to show some generosity to Anon U.

I didn’t say this was exact. But it’s a pretty, um, straight line from alumni with families (stability, kids!) are more generous donors. And yet too often, Universities (I’m looking at you dear old U.Va.), sit on the sidelines in this debate.


if raves happened in 1984 :

New/Nu Rave started in England last year and seems to be spreading. As a former, um, raver I can say this doesn’t look at all like it did in 1994. The neon colors and haircuts are straight up 1984. Which is a fantastic mash-up in my opinion. [Via PingMag.]


this is how a city supports graf :

DC (despite a long and storied history of important graf culture) has a group of gentrifiers that make their presence known at various local blogs about their hatred of graffiti. Not often do readers get so upset about a topic as much as this one.

SF (who also has a more relevant contemporary arts community, just FYI) often takes a different approach. Like the huge tag (not a mural, but a tag) by SF legend AMAZE that went up before the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. It was commissioned by the buildings owners and covers the old Gap location. Some more at SF MetBlogs.

(Fun fact: the Gap started in the Haight as a blue jeans and record store, they thought about calling it PAD -- Pants And Discs.)


Sgt Pepper explained :

Friday marked the fortieth anniversary of the Beattle’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Timpane of the Philly Inquirer does a very thorough job of explaining the albums importance. It reads quite scholarly. Shockingly at a daily newspaper.

Link via Social Media List and Conversation Agent, who connects the album back to the changes happening in the web sphere.

recommended reading: conversations about the end of time :

This is one that I bought years ago in a bookstore in the Rockridge District of Oakland. It sat on my bookshelf for 6 years or so.

First published in 1998 in French (the English version is from 2000, I’m not so cool that I read the French edition), Conversations About the End of Time is four interviews done Q&A style with Stephen Jay Gould, Umberto Eco, Jean-Claude Carriere and Jean Delumeau. Carriere (a screenwriter) and Delumeau (a Catholic historian) were new to me and contibuted considerably to the book.

The book is fascinating, not only because each interviewee is such a big and original thinker, but because it is amazing how much the world has changed in less than 10 years. This is both an easy read (because of the conversational style) but is as completely full of ideas and information as a collection of philosophy texts. I was especially impressed with Carriere and Delumeau. Their names don’t sell books to English-speaking audiences, but each had amazing insight.



Minority Report style computing, one step closer :

MS released Surface (presented above as on what looks like 80s table-top-style video game). Apple has already previewed the iPhone with similar touch surface interaction. I recently presented a concept brief for an museum exhibition that made use of dialogue tables. (That I proposed would interact with RFID tags.)

People seemed to doubt this would work. But here it is all grown up with Surface.

I think we’ll see this a lot more in museum and exhibition presentation settings. More so than even hotels and restaurants as Core77 suggests.

irrelevancy watch :

As I continue to miss on the ever evolving new media world, I’ve only just found out about lolcats and all the variations. As an amateur anthropologist (hey, I did major in it!), I found Anil Dash’s round up the best (in part because it gets into the structure of the lolcat pidgin). A new form of internet grammar? You decide.


experience design program, cancelled :

Putting People First reports that a undergraduate program in experience design that was to start in the Netherlands has been cancelled. Apparently there was a lack of interest.

To which I would say, of course there is, no undergraduate has any idea what that major would even be. It’s such a new field (pulling together many existing fields) that it seems silly to start this as bachelors program. Build up a strong masters program and let that be the magnet that seeds the interest for an undergraduate program.

Let’s hope someone else sees this and creates the same program elsewhere or retools and relaunches at Utretcht.


a tale of two (East Tennessee) cities :

What Chattanooga got right 23 years ago, Knoxville has only just figured out: Redevelopment happens when there is community buy-in from the start. Every get rich quick, redevelopment scheme (A World’s Fair!? A domed downtown!?) failed in Knoxville because of top down decision making.

Knoxville has less far to pull itself up (it was not a dirty, dyeing steel town like Chattanooga), but they are still behind and have made some irreparable planning decisions in the meantime. MetroPulse does the round up.

(Also, Chattanooga’s success pre-dates Web 2.0 by two decades. For you kids that think collaboration and distributed decision-making is some new idea.)

visualization :

Kottke writes today about what he cynically (or snarkily?) calls “self-deception.” I think it’s more accurately called visualization. And how that leads to better living. I think there’s some rule self-help book out right now about something similar. I could Google it, but so could you. The science seems to support the theory though, according to Kottke.


Crime Fueled by, um, Ecstacy? :

A crime wave has hit the once bucolic Lakeshore Avenue District fueled by the (formerly) peace-love-unity-respect, rave drug Ecstacy? Apparently so.

Police have also identified a troubling new trend: Some of the young suspects are users of the drug ecstasy.

Perhaps it’s the thirty dollar a tab designer price.


SF’s daytime ‘idle’ :

I was always amazed by this to. I used to see all the fabulous people walking around in the middle of the day. When I first moved there and couldn't find work. I wanted to go up to them and ask “what do you do?”

Someone just did.

Best answer:

“If you ask 100 girls for $10, that&rduo;s $1,000, that's rent,” he explained logically.

Ahh, the California lifestyle.


canada’s missing gravity found! :

Which has led (as science discovery often does) to other kinds of new data.

From HowStuffWorks:

While the mystery surrounding Canada's gravitational anomalies has been put to rest, the study has wider implications. Scientists involved in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center study were amazed that they were able to see how the Earth looked 20,000 years ago. And by isolating the influence of the ice sheet's rebound effect, researchers better understand how convection affects gravity and how continents change over time. Finally, the GRACE satellites have provided scientists with data on many ice sheets and glaciers. By examining climate change that took place thousands of years ago, scientists may gain a better understanding of how global warming and rising sea levels are affecting our planet today and what impact they will have on our future.

Read the whole thing for additional fun-facts to know and tell.

future cool :

There is a simple, retro-future sensibility to Studio Kanna’s work. It mixes-up modernism with ornament and a and personalization. Cool. [Featured at PingMag]


Why I miss San Francisco :

No other city would consider a transgender woman as president of the police commission. Oh and she‘s the CEO of a $12M women-centric sex toy company. Sigh.

Not Dead Yet :

When I started this second blog I had visions of long-form essays, infused with humor and humility. Or something.

It’s clear that that is not working as I just avoid posting altogether if I can’t come up with at leas 150 words.

Beginning now, DC1974 is moving to a Kottke-style blog of links and short thoughts.

Please thank you for your patience during this adjustment.