November 2008 Archives

A Manifesto Stub

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Everyone needs access to information, not just those of us with good vision, full mobility, high level language skills and shiny new computers.


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Observe phase one of a super exciting project I'm working on: A nice pair of binoculars. They're proof positive that I can actually do things that look clean.

Email? No.

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Because I've been profoundly lazy about blogging lately, here's a nice, easy, pretty one. It's another darn illustration.


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I'm currently working on turning old video games into 3D environments. Eventually, once I figure out the game engine in Blender, the environments are going to be populated in a rather interesting way. Details on that later. For now, I present to you Tetrisland: Dark, forbidding, the cheery blocks denying the seedy underside of this impersonal, cookie cutter, sky scraper town. Ominous enough?

Brain Training

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People are just so darn interested in training their brains these days. We come up with all sorts of clever, synthetic ways to keep our brains in shape. We play brain training video games and live in houses that are meant to break the occupant out of normal behaviour. I think we do all that because we've stopped opening ourselves to the organic challenges that we should be encountering. Our lives are so boring and predictable that we feel the need to find ourselves fake challenges.

Being profound isn't easy

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When very few people knew how to read or write, it must have been much easier to write profound things. Today, with the huge mass of voices, all demanding to be heard and all distributed worldwide via the internet, it's far harder to write things that people will actually pay attention to and remember. We have such a huge volume of information, now. It makes it nearly impossible to actually process and give consideration to everything. And if I blog that sentiment? It's just another bunch of words in our huge wash of constant data.

Notebook skirt

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I dreamed this idea a couple nights ago: a skirt made almost entirely of those colourful, spiral bound notebooks. I say almost because it would need some sort of structure to hold the books together, as well as a waistband. It would, of course, be horrendously uncomfortable, but I'm really picturing it as more of an art piece than an actual garment.

Being watched by potatoes

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Below: An illustration I've just finished for a review of a book about potatoes. Really.


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I've been thinking a lot about artificial intelligence lately. It's super fun to play with helper bots on various websites (Anna at IKEA, for example). It occurred to me that a surefire way to get an AI to pass the Turing test, at least if it's talking to people used to the internet, is to create a Flamebot. Essentially, an AI that acts like a troll. It might not be identified as intelligent, but that wouldn't stop it from being mistaken for a lot of humans who hide behind their computers and make inane or rude comments. It doesn't even need to be coherent to be thoroughly entertaining.

Subway Ceilings

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I avoid looking people in the eye on the subway. In turn, they avoid looking me in the eye. When the subway is packed, there's nowhere to look but at the floor or ceiling. The problem is that I can only stare at the ceiling for so long before I get bored. I never think to bring a book and don't really like the tabloid newspapers they hand out at rush hour.

Solution: Commission art for subway car ceilings. Give commuters something interesting to stare at. Print a magic eye or Where's Waldo sort of graphic up there. Art, puzzles, poetry, whatever. Just no ads. I don't think that subway riders should be abused that way.

A radical consultancy

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The term "ginger group" was recently brought to my attention. Having done my little bit of research about it, I'm now a little bit in love with the idea of a group of people who exist to get everyone else thinking more radically. According to my beloved Wikipedia, ginger groups have traditionally been informal and organic and always within larger organizations.

Here's my clever idea: Create a ginger group for hire. It would essentially be a freelance ginger group, a consultancy that specializes in being radical. Looking for crazy ideas? Looking to get inspired? Hire the ginger group. I really must start such a consultancy one day because, of course, there's no one better for the job.

Grocery Cart People

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It would take far too long to explain what sort of article this was drawn to go with. Instead, I'll just show you the illustration, sans explanation.

Burning book

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Below: An illustration I did for an article about Vladimir Nabokov's last, unfinished book.

Scribble Chair

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Below is a chair that's been in progress for two years. It's my ever so exciting scribble chair. It gets drawn on whenever I'm feeling bored. I'm hoping that one day, there won't be any white visible and the whole thing will be a mass of sketches and scribbles.

Correlation is not causality in Doctor Who

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A thought for anyone who enjoys Doctor Who and false logic:

The mother of every companion in new season Doctor Who thinks that the presence of the Doctor means trouble. They believe that the Doctor brings trouble with him. In fact, as the audience and companions know, the Doctor constantly saves others from the trouble that is already planned. While trouble and the Doctor are positively correlated, the concerned mothers are wrong in believing that there is causality.