October 2009

Tumbling

I’ve had a tumblr blog for a long time but never really used it for anything other than aggregating RSS feeds and from elsewhere. That seemed like of like a waste actually so I stopped that a while ago and it’s been sitting vacant ever since. For a while Tara and I were running fistacular which made a lot of sense when we lived in different cities, but became kind of useless when we were sitting right next to each other so once she moved to LA that ended up being abandoned mostly as well. However that helped to to see the ease of tumblr for just collecting random things around the web. On top of that I’ve been loving Clayton’s constant siege because it’s kind of like a stream of consciousness and I know whatever he’s been thinking about that day by which photos and links he posts to it. I was thinking about that, and how I’m trying to write longer form thoughts and ideas here and how the short spur of the moment bits don’t seem to fit anymore. Of course there is twitter for some of that, but again what I wasn’t posting here still didn’t seem to fit there. So I’m giving a personal tumblr a shot again and calling it Don’t Go Outside. I’m not making any promises other than it will be a totally random collection of whatever I happened across that caught my attention. Some things will be things I looked for myself, others will be things I just stumbled upon. There will be no constant theme, quality level, or even regularity. I’m just posting bits and pieces as I come across them. If you are into that, check it out. If you aren’t, then sorry for wasting your time rambling about it.

Making Children More Violent

Let me admit right away that this is a totally half brained, ill conceived stab in the dark of an idea but I thought I’d jot it down just since it was on my mind. I’ve been thinking a lot about Derrion Albert and now Michael Brewer and listening to pundits asking why children are getting so much more violent. Endless speculation abounds so I’m throwing in my own as well. Contrary to the popular thought that there needs to be more restrictions and more oversight, I’m left wondering if that isn’t part of the problem. Take for instance this six year old sent to reform school for 45 days for having a weapon in school, thus violating the zero tolerance policy. Except that the “weapon” was a cub scout folding dining set which had a spoon, fork, and a knife. Doesn’t that seem a bit extreme? These “zero tolerance” policies basically make it clear that no matter what you do you are going to be treated as if you did the worst possible thing, so once a kid decides to take that step and break the rule, there is really no motivation to not go all out. I don’t know if I’m expressing that idea clearly or not, and I don’t think it’s a conscious decision, but when there are clear stages of punishments for varying degrees of rule breaking people tend to not push things as far as they can.

Crash Space, an LA hackerspace

I’ve been talking about setting up an LA hackerspace for years. Literally, after spending time at metalab in Vienna, C-Base in Berlin, C4 in Köln I returned to the US all excited about the idea. I talked with a lot of people and e-mails were exchanged, but not much else actually happened. Since then I’ve hung out at NYC Resistor in NYC, HacDC in DC and Noisebridge in SF and I’ve decided that in order for this to actually happen in LA I just need to start making it happen, so that’s what I’m doing. And I figured that in order to breathe life into this it needed a real name, so I’m calling it. Introducing Crash Space.

I picked the name Crash Space for a few reasons. Film fans will know there is a great movie about LA called Crash. Also, anyone who tries anything new expects to crash countless times before being successful in their attempts. Computer people are all too familiar with crashes. Sometimes I hope some of us will be so engrossed with what we are working on it will be too late to go home so we’ll just crash there. I wanted those feelings to be strong here, we expect things not to work and to break and to go wrong, hopefully a lot, and every once and a while something really cool will come from all the tinkering. I’m calling it a space because that is as open ended as it gets – anything can happen in a space.

If you’d like to help out, get involved, contribute resources of any kind please join the mailing list.

I also have some early notes about what I want this place to encompass on my wiki, and before too long I will be moving things over to a proper domain – crashspace.org

More soon. I promise. Stay tuned.

Space Music

My friend Jim Bumgardner has created one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, or rather listened to ever. I’ll let him explain:

I downloaded public data from Hipparcos, a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 1989 that accurately measured over a hundred thousand stars. The data I downloaded contains position, parallax, magnitude, and color information, among other things.

I used this information to plot the brightest stars, and cause them to revolve about Polaris (the North Star) very slowly, as the stars appear to do. Like the sky itself, this is a 24 hour clock. You’ll notice some familiar constellations, such as the Big Dipper in there. As the stars cross zero and 180 degrees, indicated by the center line, the clock plays an individual note, or chime for each star. The pitch of the chime is based on the star’s BV measurement (which roughly corresponds to color or temperature). The volume is based on the star’s magnitude, or apparent brightness, and the stereo panning is based on the position on the screen…

Here’s the link to the page, I highly recommend fullscreen and the use of headphones. Seriously listening to this is hypnotic, I was it to play constantly in the background of my life. Or at least every sci-fi movie ever made.