Yearly Archives: 2014


Found in Translation

100 Illustrations of words that aren’t found in the English Language.

Sunlight Through Trees

Drinking a Beer Outside

Mark left on a table by a moist glass

Tiptoeing across warm sand
Found in Translation — 100 Days Project by Anjana Iyer


Eye In Tuna Care

Eye in Tuna Care is a work of shameless plagiarism; filmmaker John Walter Lustig stole the idea from a character in a dream.

Art Politics Technology

NYC CitiBike Usage Time Lapse

I love the swarms around 8am and 5pm, though it’s fascinating that people prefer to take the bikes home from work, rather than to work. A fascinating intersection of urban life, technology and art.

Art Science

Slow Life: Macro Underwater Time Lapse


Politics Rants Science

Perspective is Everything

One of the great mistakes, I think, of economics is it fails to understand that what something is, whether it’s retirement, unemployment, cost, is a function, not only of its amount, but also its meaning.

So where economists make the fundamental mistake is they think that money is money. Actually my pain experienced in paying five pounds is not just proportionate to the amount, but where I think that money is going. And I think understanding that could revolutionize tax policy. It could revolutionize the public services. It could really change things quite significantly.

Rory Sutherland, via TED

Art Random Rants Science Technology

Sierpinski Triangle

If you are going to read one essay about the Sierpinski Triangle, it really ought to be this one.

From what I can tell, one of the settings used to deal with division by 0 is the so-called Riemann sphere, which is where we take a space shuttle and use it to fly over and drop a cow on top of a biodome, and then have the cow indiscriminately fire laser beams at the grass inside and around the biodome. That’s my intuitive understanding of it anyway.

Yeah, you know you wanna get all up in this gasket.

Via:Hacker News

Art Technology

SyncroKinetic – Joe Pentland

Permanent installation in the atrium of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory, Rock Hill CT.

SyncroKinetic by Joe Pentland

Random Rants

The Measure Of Man

A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points
Alan Kay

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the idea of an intelligence quotient, but I think Alan is really on to something here.

Humans are relativity machines: we experience and interpret our world through the lens of our previous experience. As an idea, in and of itself, this is unsurprising, for how else could we feel and see and know but through what we have already experienced? But bear with me for a second, and think about the experience of stepping onto a farm. The distinct, deep and abiding smell of hay, manure, fields and mud. It is powerful and unmistakable, until you’ve been on the farm for an hour. Then the smell starts to fade into the background when finally, you don’t notice it at all.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
David Foster Wallace


This phenomenon of normalization, the process of consistent stimulus becoming less and less is noticeable each time it is presented is called “Habituation“. We become habituated to our everyday experience, much like we become habituated to the smell of a farm: the rich details and experiences of our everyday lives can become invisible to us, lost in the quotidian.

Cultures around the world, I think, have recognized this to various degrees, in the tradition of the rest day of the week, holidays both sacred and profane. That said, the weekend rhythm soon becomes part of our habituated existence. We adapt and normalize so that those two days a week no longer provide enough perspective. We literally can’t get far enough away, and in turn, the cognitive tools we have to bring to bear on the world and the scope of sensation we have to process at best stagnates and at worst diminish.


Getting the hell out of dodge, going someplace fundamentally other, literally lets us become explorers of our own lives, see with new eyes just what, exactly, normal is.


You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
-Astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Overview Effect.


The thing that I find most compelling about this quote is that the physicality of actually orbiting the earth fundamentally alters the window of possible thoughts. Mitchell certainly wasn’t surprised by what he saw, the astronomy, physics etc. were bread and butter to him, a PHD in astronautics from MIT. Still, the physical experience profoundly changed him, far beyond what he had expected.
I would give my right arm to go to the moon, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards, and while I have been very lucky and able to travel, I think it’s not just going places that does the trick: it’s the delta, the difference in experience that counts. While the moon is about the biggest change in perspective possible, I think in our everyday life the opportunity to try something new, to change your perspective, to see the world differently presents itself. The tough part is choosing. And it’s tough for a reason! The more common a stimulus is, the easier it is to process it (the mere exposure effect). Our brains literally recoil from novelty because it literally hurts. So we have to push ourselves to become neophiles instead of neophobes because otherwise we can literally loose sight of the lives we live in the haze of the “normal”.