18 December 2008

10 December 2008

Still AFK for the Holidays

For those who missed the previous message, an image to relax by as I am too busy to post for a bit.

Relax and take in the view.

Especially worth enjoying because it is gone, as we have been forced to rethink our region due to virtual people being too poor to pay their not-quite-so-virtual rent (which if it continues, will include us).

Payson Louise Adams

Payse,

This post is really going out to someone important, so if you are not they feel free to ignore it. Or pass it on to her. So far as I know, there's only one Payson Louise Adams out there. Could be wrong though.

Should ever get the odd inspiration to Google yourself, as so many of us do in idle moments of electronic boredom, hopefully this message will get to you. There can't be too many Web pages with the full name of one Payson Adams set within the title. If it does, then drop me a line. Yeah, I'm that whining, annoying, ever so slightly insane person that haunts your dreams at times, and I've been told that I am disturbingly easy to Google. Besides, my phone number is still the same it was a decade ago.

But why this posting?

Well, I am used to running into you in the dream time. It has become sort of second nature. Giving you a shoulder to cry on when a boyfriend dumped you, are trying to intercept you as you skittishly ran away from something or another in your life, watching you sort through your life, and, most often, getting sidelined because it was your dream and you were too busy doing other things to deal with me. As of late the events have been tame, usually upbeat, chattering about life and catching up on the world. Such a common occurrence that it is really almost background noise these days.

But last night I was off at some event (it appeared to be a major academic conference in a small, comfortable cafe) and it turned out you lived nearby, so I was visiting to visit and to negotiate a place to crash or the night. But while we were talking, you collapsed on the floor. Then you just lay there, weakly continuing to chat, trying to act as if nothing was wrong even though it looked like it took all your energy just to roll on to your back, even with my help. So I sat there on the floor next to you, worried, hoping, watching, and talking, afraid to leave because, dreams being what they are, who knows if I could find help, or find my way back to where you lay. Sitting there all the while very uncomfortable with how weak and frail you looked. I wanted to run out and find you a doctor and a chocolate milk shake.

I have seen you in the dream time happy, sad, angry, complacent, devastated, oblivious, and scared, but never weak. It hurt me and worried me. Feeling helpless around a friend in need is a terrible feeling.

So I just wanted to make sure all was well.

If so drop me a line so this old fuss-bucket stops worrying. And, if not, you still know where you can find a friend.

Okay, waaaay to many levels of reality in this posting, isn't there? A virtual character talking about their real-life counterpart talking about their dreamtime counterpart.

Brain hurt. Now let's see if I can avoid being a coward and not delete this again out of morbid fear of embarrassment.

As an update, a week later, dream visits back to normal chatting, hanging out, normalcy. Last night you were returning some LPs that had been hiding in your mom's house since college.

But yeesh! Say hi anyway. Silly person.

02 December 2008

Chapectomy

The chapectomy from Photoshop Disasters.

This one is worth it for the social analysis.

Not still sick. I hope. The dirty secret is I put these all up at the same time a few days ago when brain was all mushy ... o.O

01 December 2008

Still Flu-ey

Some news of the world that leave me happy that I am hidden away under some nice warm covers simpering about how it hurts to laugh and to cough.

I mean, just in case the last election was giving you the deluded notion that the world had suddenly become sane or something.

Getting caught up on lots of backlogged bloggy news.

30 November 2008

Oh Flu-ey

Okay, supposed to be very busy for the holidays but Friday either earned me some food poisoning from leftovers or a realy nasty flu, so brain totally out of gear. Still hurts to laugh, but this bit of pain was so worth it.

Nerf factory riot in China [via boingboing]

Okay, the article isn't funny, just the headline, so you don't actually have to click on it or anything.

In good news, my post-Thanksgiving diet is doing amazingly well. Gonna go have another cracker and whimper a bit more.

22 November 2008

AFK for the Holidays

AFK for a bit as my world gets insanely crazy for the next few weeks. Got the holidays, two major project deadlines, and some seasonal consulting work all hitting at once.

While I'm away, enjoy the view ...

Builds: Sky Fortress 3

Some interior view of my current build.

The balconies tiered around the edge are to allow the building to be used as a commercial center, with flat sales cards along the walls and three-dimensional objects on the tower coves and up on the third balcony.

The balconies are tiered so that they progressively overhang the main floor, as can be seen by the steps. This helps to make what is a pretty large space feel kind of cozy and intimate. The darker wood tones help too.

20 November 2008

Builds: Sky Fortress 2

Some peeks at the interior of my commercial skybox. Still in progress, as you can tell by the small gaps and spots of bare wood.

Hey! This my my 30th build post. Just thought I'd share that, since I decided to stop numbering them.

18 November 2008

Builds: Sky Fortress 1

I think I've already mentioned that one of my big peeves is Second Life is skyboxes that don't look like they have any right to be floating in the air (or in space).

So here is another one of my solutions to that: a large retail skybox patterned loosely on old Chinese fortresses. The real fortresses wouldn't have the towers and would have small windows scattered about on the face, but I work within the limits of Second Life and the intended uses of the build.

The other thing lacking, which would be found in the originals, as as will be found lacking in later pictures, is that the interior should be a honeycomb of apartments running around the edge and ringing either a central courtyard or covered commons space. That would have increased the size considerably. This already has a 50m square footprint (2500sq.m.). To make it fully featured in Second Life would have at least doubled that and made it a full quarter sim build.

By the way, my other pet peeve is people who build entirely flat sims that aren't supposed to look like Kansas farmland. Flat just means I'm too lazy to deal with imperfections and the landscape and work them into my design, so I'm just going to flatten everything and give it the personality of a mall parking lot (though I must confess, none of the real life malls around me have parking lots that flat either ... even Phoenix isn't that flat).

17 November 2008

Builds: Engine, part 2

I'd need such a big engine to hold up a massive skybox, of course.

This is my latest build, and still a work in progress, so there are missing pieces, but I wanted to show it off anyway, since it is getting close to done.

16 November 2008

15 November 2008

Builds: A view from on high

A view of where I live from 250m up.

Pictures of where we are standing in a bit. It is my most recent project.

Why cats make poor workers

A funny video advertising the Toyota Corolla shows why cats make poor workers. Not to mention how to defeat a bunch of them without getting your paws dirty.

[via boingboing]

14 November 2008

Wayfinding

A sign with no meaning outside of Second Life, but obvious to anyone in-game.

Found on the border between Fukuoka sim and Hakata sim.

Scooter

Hybrid scooter that gets 140 mpg and won't fall over when I forget to put my foot down as I stop?

I so want one.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any info on the Piaggio USA site yet. Though did find they can easily do highway speeds. That's good to know.

[via treehugger]

12 November 2008

Abandonment

Some amazing photos of abandoned theme parks from Web Urbanist.

There is something about an amusement park in ruins which is strangely primal in a way that so many other things aren't. Perhaps because more than anything it is the collapse of a fantasy.

11 November 2008

If you go out in the woods today ...

Tanuki take a day off, from Pink Tentacle

Word of the Day: Moderated

Apparently a use of the word "moderated" I have never heard before.

"If a level is found to be in violation of the EULA it will be moderated," said the game's senior community development manager in a forum response. "We're moving towards a system where additional information is given, however for the time being if you don't want your level moderating avoid anything unsuitable for users of all ages and copyright content."

Perhaps Sony needs a dictionary. I mean, I would hope they moderate all levels of LittleBigPlanet, and not just the questionable ones. Otherwise how will they be able to assess which ones to ban?

On the other hand, they probably mean the same thing when they tell people they will take their complaints under "consideration." Oh wait, someone claiming to be from Sony is at the door and wants me to step out back so they can "explain" something to me ... brb.

[via Wired]

10 November 2008

Cities without ideas

Cities without ideas, an article from IndianExpress, via Five Foot Way.

Architecture as purely surface treatment. In fact, urban planning as purely surface treatment. Wouldn't it be easier to just get a really, really big bucket of white paint ...

09 November 2008

Self Control

This is interesting, funny, and disturbing all at the same time.

http://www.selfcontrolfreak.com/

07 November 2008

Word(s) of the Day(s Gone By)

Some commentary on words in architecture, and elsewhere, that have been beaten to death by overuse and obliviousness from and by Lebbeus Woods.

future

Once upon a time, the future was where wondrous and terrible things were going to happen, where the present would be transformed, for better or worse, and in a sense reach fruition. The idea of the future has all but vanished from architectural conversation and discussion. Perhaps because the present is one of self-satisfaction—there is nothing to ripen and mature—and no great chances being taken that can succeed, or fail. Perhaps the future has become just another place we already know, or hope we know.

06 November 2008

LOLCats Art Show

No rly!

From boingboing.

The end of Western civilization as we know it.

05 November 2008

Electronic Paper

Consider the effects of the new trends in electronic paper on the art world, at least in terms of art exhibits.

Perhaps some day a museum exhibit could look sort of like this video from Eclectech.

The Constitution

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

An interesting point which I brought up two days ago. So here is the complete sentence.

In modern grammatical usage, "at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution" applies to both "a Citizen of the United States" and "a natural born Citizen". So technically, in order to be President someone had to be alive and a U.S. citizen at the time the Constitution was adopted.

Even ignoring the amount of political bickering because the founding fathers did not define "natural born citizen," but merely allowed it to be assumed as something everyone understood, this reading poses an interesting problem. If we delete the part of the statement that is self-negating because it is an impossible requirement, we get:

No person shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

I am pretty sure the meant to say:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

But the comma means that is not what the did say.

Very interesting.

The Unfinished Swan

Okay, the Unfinished Swan looks like it could be a really cool, and addictive, game, especially if it can randomly generate maps (or allow active user creation of them).

The basic premise is that you are in an all-white, or all-black world, with no tools but a paint ball gun of the opposite color to use as a tool to find your way around. Try to get too much information and you start to lose information again.

The game is a creation of Ian Dallas, who is, apparently, a reasonable man. Another game he helped create looks equally amusing.

04 November 2008

Back to the Start

A music video from Mr. Doghorse and Miss Eclectech that sort of goes back to the things I said at the beginning of this blog way back when.

Tonight

Today I shall buy a large bottle of champagne.

If Obama wins I shall drink it all and regret it tomorrow. Though the giggle fits will be well worth the headache.

If McCain wins I shall bash myself upside the head with it until I reach a mental state appropriate to surviving the next four years, assuming I can maintain consciousness that long.

Either way it is going to be a very interesting next four years. Here's hoping for an administration that causes the editorial cartoonists to all die of boredom.

Beautiful Decay

Not to be too consumerist, but I want this for my china set.

Via BLDGBlog.

03 November 2008

Cities Without Names

A post by Lebbeus Woods on the mysterious, the anonymous, the illusory ideal.

Perhaps it is commentary, perhaps fiction, perhaps poetry. Certainly it is art.

Politics

As this ever so critical election day arrives in the United States, I am possessed of family members sending me mailings toeing some right wing party line that Obama can't even be President because he isn't a citizen. So I thought I would share some of my responses.

I apologize for not including what I am replying to here, but suffice to say it was mostly brief as defensive as they slowly realized they had stepped on a land mine and attempted to step away from someone who doesn't back down all that easily. Yeah, I get worked up. Though I am always willing to debate the points with someone who proves that have thought about them before opening their mouth. Especially if our disagreements mean we have alot to talk about.


Amazing what a little research will get you in the face of a desperate effort by republican pundits (of the bad, extremist, if not fundamentalist kind, as opposed to the more sensible and merely fiscally and socially conservative kind) to delegitimize and smear the democratic contender. Finding Obama's place of birth took me 5 seconds.

And amazing that you are working on the assumption that the attempt at defamation by a politically motivated party must carry more weight than and thus cast in to doubt a simple biographical note from a reliable and vetted online source. Here it is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_obama

The nice thing about Wikipedia at a time like this is that all pages that could be used for political purposes are in lock down and require so many layers of approval for posting as valid and correct that it isn't even funny. It is a response to a few elections ago where opposing sides would deface each others Wikipedia pages in order to spread straight out lies and slanders.

Or are you perhaps looking for a reason to be against Obama? Your last response certainly seems to indicate that you don't want to accept his legitimacy and would rather question the record than the accuser. There are many more perfectly valid reasons based on actively disagreeing with his platform, as opposed to trying to discredit him by subterfuge.

But to answer your question ... simple expedience. To prevent every single quack who stands against them, politicians and political teams do not go providing their personal records upon the request of everyone who asks for them. Otherwise they would face people mounting campaigns to drown them in paperwork requests. Having working in state offices, I have seen this tactic used to harass agencies and politicians. (The best part is when you finally cave, they crow triumph, and then find the supposed closet full of skeletons to be quite clean and in order, just like you told them it was all along.) And note that the request is not for a birth certificate, but a very large collection of records. The point of the demand is not to force him to produce these records, but to make people doubt whether he can even legitimately run for office, thus causing those who doubt to be less likely to vote for him.

Come to think of it, I don't go providing that information to everyone who requests it either. And I have less at stake. And don't forget George W's stance on the topic of sharing information with the public.

Though in good news it is not a storm. Well, it is, but it is taking place in a tea pot, which means the rest of the world is simply ignoring it. Though we are looking kind of funny at the people actively rocking their own boat back and forth while they scream about high high the waves are.

Too many people would rather accept the misinformation being fed them than find the information themselves, would rather blindly accept rather than question and learn, would rather accept messages based on fear and divisiveness rather than those based on a unity that would force them to stand as equals with those they don't want to acknowledge as such. This is why you have people at rallies for McCain and Palin actively calling for the lynching of Barack Obama for being a everything from a communist to a muslim to (though they will never admit to this ... black). Hmmm, actually, I shouldn't say never. Certainly, the two teenagers who were arrested while planning on going on a killing spree murdering black school children while wearing pristine white tuxedos (to better show off the blood one supposes) to fight back against Obama running for office were pretty clear on why they were against him.

It is infuriating and makes me embarrassed to be an American. On the other hand, it is a country where I can freely say they are idiots, so no complaints there. Every place has its trade offs.

The point is that almost the entire campaign against Obama has been based on trying to malign and discredit him, as well as actively deceive and misinform voters. We have had people informed by official looking mailings that the day for democrats to vote has been moved to Wednesday, that college students attempting to register to vote in the towns they are attending school in will be arrested and charged with voter fraud, and a whole slew of other exciting goings on by people who think the end always justifies the means as long as their candidate win.

It is in no way, shape, or form a pretty election. And to their credit, both Obama and Biden are doing an amazing job of just shrugging it off. We currently have a campaign that is about what the democrats are going to do (on one side) and why the democrats are evil boogiemen that shouldn't be voted for (on the other). Admittedly, we have had this for a while, the difference this time is that the Rovian tactics are imploding on themselves and accomplishing nothing. They worked well for the past few presidential elections, but they have pushed too far and youth especially are not buying their message of hating those who are different.

The most positive thing I have seen on the republican side recently is Palin pointing out that campaign clothes are stage props not personal property. Tearing down the facade and pointing out that it is pageantry, not reality. Closest thing to calling it like it is I have heard all election. From either side.

Which all in all is a pity. I want to know who it was that forced McCain to toe the party line instead of just letting go and being himself. McCain was an excellent candidate and politician, at least early on, but what his campaign team has turned him into is not the person we were introduced at the beginning of the debacle. And if he can be that easily manipulated by his handlers do we really want him running the country anyway?

So if you want to buy into the half truths designed to sow discord, be my guest, but if you share them with me I will, simply put, throw them in your face. I don't do misdirection and misinformation (except jokes, then I'm all over it). However, if you want to discuss actual politics instead of cc'ing me on the the chicaneries people attempting to slander the opposition candidates, then there would be something to talk about.


Well, from a purely legal standpoint, if it were true, both candidates are statutory citizens, not natural born ones, and thus, if you want to pick nits over words, neither is eligible, which means third most popular candidate, Ralph Nader, gets the office, at least according to the government's own readings of its laws on the topic of citizenship and overseas birth. But a statutory citizen is one who is treated as a natural born citizen even though they technically are not. Thus the word play is obfuscation and not at all useful.

Interestingly the invalidation of the plaintiff's legal claim to those records, or to contest the right for Obama to run, as put forward by his legal staff, is apparently derived from a similar case against McCain, Hollander v. McCain, 2008WL2853250 (D.N.H. 2008), which stated that private citizens do not have standing to challenge the eligibility of candidates to appear on a presidential election ballot. Which, is, of course, it's own can of worms since it implies that the major parties can simply declare their candidate to be a citizen, certainly a boost for Arnie.

But here is the word from factcheck.org, including images of all the documents that are claimed to not exist except when they are being declared to be fakes and forgeries: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

Of course, the best part is that if you read the Constitution literally, only people who were natural-born citizens "at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution" can hold the office, which means everyone eligible to be President is long dead and we have a problem. The issue in the reading has to do with the placement of the commas, a reading which has perhaps changed over time, but definitely implies something very interesting about that ruling.

However, the people trying to push the issue are muckraking in an attempt to discredit a candidate, not finesse a legal point, and passing their word on without critical commentary discussing the nature of the citation is an excellent way to expand the cloud of doubt, indecision, and uncertainty they are trying to sow. Of course, there are people who have tried to do the same to McCain, but they were also refused. The difference here is that the people behind the purported important question are pushing it in an active attempt to discredit the democratic candidate. Perhaps as a covert way of attacking his genetic heritage of a nice healthy tan? Who can say. They are, however, decidedly not doing it in an idle exercise in legal debate. Claiming that there was no political motivation in your passing it on rings hollow, since it seems you would be aware of the attendant baggage that comes with it. Perhaps not. But then why would you think it a storm? Storms require passion, not something to be found in picking over finer legal points in polite debate.

While exploring this point, I found an interesting bit from a blog that essentially said, if he never took a naturalization oath that he cannot be a citizen, ever (the "ever" bit was important) and every politician who ever supported him, worked with him, or even failed to point this out, should be impeached for treason. From that perspective, and this is the perspective of those trying to make a storm out of this issue, the legal interestingness of the question takes a very deep back seat to the political motivations of those asking the question.


Funny how my mom is the only one who can ever seem to remember to discuss politics gently with me because I have opinions and I am not afraid to express them.

Important Updates in Veterinary Medicine

Important updates in veterinary medicine.

That is, assuming you can find a vet who deals with large animals.

via Pink Tentacle.

02 November 2008

Clear as Day

Blame it all on daylight savings time.

The Audacity to Build

BLDGBlog recently ran an article entitled Offshoring Audacity about a conference panel coming up next week of the same name.

Here is the theme:

The specific goal, then, is to discuss the idea that the West has begun "offshoring audacity" – urban and architectural audacity – to places like Dubai, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and South Korea.

With some key questions:

The question becomes: How can we discuss all of this without resorting either to chest-puffing nationalism (it's not true, the West is the best) or to a kind of knee-jerk Spenglerian resignation (it's true, the West is over)?

Put another way: Is there really any purpose in celebrating the newest mile-high tower or solar-powered private golf community, as every architecture blog in the world seems to think we need to do right now – or, conversely, is cynicism in the face of mile-high towers really the most interesting or appropriate response?

Note the nature of the discourse, which in spite of the questions still assumes that Western civilization is a dominant force around which the rest of the world still revolves in their attempt to worship and emulate us.

Perhaps the reason there is an increase in audacious architecture around the world is that many people are simply realizing that there is a rest of the world.

One of my pet peeves is history of architecture books that run on for hundreds of pages and umpteen chapters, and have one chapter at the end devoted to absolutely everything non-Western, all lumped together in a mush, including many things that have been subsumed into the Western tradition through extensive contact and interaction. The wording of the essay indicates that not much has changed.

The other countries are apparently just passive receptors to our audacity and brilliance.

One could almost believe that everyone lived in holes in the ground until the Greeks showed up and thought of the idea of the building.

Old hubris leads to more hubris ...

Though here is a nice response from Architecture and Morality. It takes a little wind out of the sails and takes a much more pragmatic stance toward the entire thing. I don't always agree with what they say there either, but I always respect it.

Final Wooden House

An awesome, wooden, not quite house from ArchDaily and Architecture Lab.

01 November 2008

Recycling the Jet Set

Some exciting ideas for what to do with retired jetliners. And the way things are going, there may be plenty of them to go around.

From Web Urbanist.

The Psychotic Metropolis

Madness for the masses!

Perhaps a little collective psychosis is needed for a vibrant urban fabric.

From Movement of Existence, which is a plain good read most of the time, including now.

Mr. Wilson

A cool towel holder from Loony Design.

31 October 2008

Graven Images

Err ... Ummm ...

Didn't we already do this bit? Something about Robert Moses being upset with Hank Aaron or something? Probably for wanting to hang out on his pristine Long Island beaches. I forget.

Jesus people pray that false idol will save Gods economy via boingboing.

This one's for Moo ...

Music by The Mothers.

Some Humor to End the Month

From eclectech.

Also:

30 October 2008

The Reassurance We Need

More realistic airplane safety directions.

Though you only get this version in first class.

Indigenous Design

# Josh Horowitz 5.9.08 / 9pm
Hi Leb, Diego,
Architecture is dead. A return to indigenous design is needed.

# amp 5.10.08 / 4pm
Josh - interesting proclamation. The only indigenous craft of the American people at this point in history is a tricked out myspace page. Can’t live in it - but it is work of the people, from the people and for the people.

An old quote just found in the comments section in Lebbeus Woods' blog back in May of 2008.

28 October 2008

Banyan Cafe

Something about Japanese cafes ... though I think the award winner is still "Red and Berry". If you don't get it, just the the words kick around in your head for a bit.

From Inhabitat.

Builds 25: Platform House

Some more of the platform house, now in its finished form:

It looks larger than it is in these pictures, or maybe, better put, as large as it really is. Due to the camera constraints of operating in a virtual world, buildings need to be about 50% larger than they would be in real life in order to look like they are to scale. So doors are no shorter than 3 meters and ceilings no less than 4 meters, otherwise the space feels cramped indeed.

27 October 2008

Talk to your machines

Now you can communicate with you kitchen appliances by sound, establishing a new and intimate communal relationship with them as you share in the noises they make.

Or maybe it's just art.

Kelly Dobson's Blendie.

Quote of the Day

Why does academic writing about architecture always have to sound as if it's been translated by a computer from the original Martian?
-- Robert Campbell

From the Boston Globe at boston.com.

26 October 2008

Everything Old

from xkcd

Builds 24: Skybox

Two more shots of my recent skybox, including the sales board for it.

By the way, since Second Life wants its uploads to be powers of 2, I have started formatting the images I load here to that size. Just in case I want to put them in SL too.

25 October 2008

Panopticon without Walls

The CCTV camera seems now to have absorbed and fulfilled the latest incarnation of this same tool of power in relation to architecture. The essence of which, however, rests on a similar collateral assumption: that people are perhaps more prone to being governed by the limits of power they fail to test than by those they successfully do, and are mostly made powerless by the disservice of their own imaginations, or lack thereof; a failure of autonomy.

An awesome article by Bryan Finoki on Subtopia. It asks many questions before morphing seamlessly into fiction, most darkly asking us in the end, do we need to be watched if we've been convinced to watch ourselves?

Inexpensive Celebrations

Full-moon viewing.

A time honored Chinese and Japanese tradition. The article sort of conflates the two cultures in the way it is written. But the recipes are easy and yummy.

Word of the Day

The word of the day is: horological.

24 October 2008

Animals Intermission

This video by minilogue has been making the blog rounds lately.

But it is well worth watching their other videos as well as looking at their site.

Quote of the Day

Those bent on "manufacturing consent" must first de-contextualize reality so the targets of the propaganda are shaken free from any mooring to reality. Then the propaganda invokes fight-or-flight emotions (fear) or triggers the defense of some base values.
-- Zeus Yiamouyiannis

From Of Two Minds by Charles Hugh Smith.

Most of the rest of the article is pretty awesome too. And yet it is just the introduction ...

Builds 23: Skybox

One of my pet peeves in Second Life is the skybox.

Not that I have anything against people who want to live up in the air, apparently harboring some illusion of privacy there. Rather the problem is that most skyboxes are just that, boxes. Usually just a normal ground dwelling house lifted up into the air, caught in a perpetual state of not falling.

So my most recent build, and probably what I will be working on for a bit, is skyboxes that look like they have every reason to be floating in the air.

This is my first one. It also makes a good place to dock my airship, which admittedly is bigger than it is.

23 October 2008

Tourists

Apparently, Dubai is very concerned about tourists acting like, well ... tourists.

From BBC World.

And a follow-up article.

Although I am all for respecting cultural traditions, problems arise when the host culture wants to both maintain their own culture and embrace a foreign culture in an attempt to redefine themselves. History has proven time and again, you don't get to pick and choose which elements you adopt, no matter how hard you try.

Of course, it probably doesn't help that the people trying to make money off Dubai are more interested in the money than in Dubai.

Museum of Tobacco Ads

A museum of tobacco advertisements from Stanford School of Medicine.

A slightly more somber one

Since I'm on a roll of animations here, a slightly darker one ...

22 October 2008

To Sue God

Someone has tried to sue god, apparently just to prove you can.

The court threw out the case until the plaintiff could produce a valid address for the defendant at which to serve them papers.

The article was not clear, but apparently the suit involves the fact that a compassionate, all-knowing, all-powerful being should be doing a better job of not inflicting pain and suffering on people.

Can you say addiction?

There's hardcore gaming and then there's people who need therapy ... or at least an intervention involving alcohol and a date.

What is real, or what really matters? The example image shows the World of Warcraft game setup bought and created by a player named “Bradster”. Living just a ‘Second Life’ was not enough, so he decided to live 36. His characters constitute a one-man army, giving him the challenge and power he obviously craves - paying $5,711 per year in subscription fees.

From NextNature.

A Bunny Animation

21 October 2008

Nicolae Chikadee

Now your birds can live like famous dictators.

From Creative Review via boingboing.

Word of the Day

Edupunk

Avoiding mainstream teaching tools like Powerpoint and Blackboard, edupunks bring the rebellious attitude and DIY ethos of '70s bands like the Clash to the classroom.
from Wired

For the teacher, every day is an exercise in punk.
Salon

A Gentlemen's Duel

20 October 2008

Then and Now

An article on the changing face of a slice of New York City from the New York Times.

However, it is not the article that is interesting. What is interesting is the cool and simple little tool for viewing the then and now pictures.

An iconography of what now?

Empty vessels: eye-con architecture from The Independent.

In its more grandiosely hubristic manifestations, iconic architecture seems indistinguishable from studio-lit tubes of because-you're-worth-it face cream: today's architectural icons are usually bizarre curios, or a manifestation of penile dementia.

Arts and Crafts

Some very nice architecture, as well as furniture, much of it for sale in Second Life. The furniture in the Stickley style. The architecture speaks for itself.

Color tweaked to show the detailing, versus the richness of the color. So excuse the slightly washed out look, all you Mac users.

I personally love the style in RL and the SL executions here are amazing good. The architecture is a little prim heavy, but the furniture usually does a good job while staying light on the prims.

I am also more of a fan of Roycroft than Stickley. I love the rough hewn slab wood nature of Roycroft work. Sort of thing both at home in a fancy hotel and a rustic cabin in the woods.

Zeugma Sim

19 October 2008

1870: Dateline Japan

Some interesting woodcuts from the 19th century news in Japan.

This particular set deals with ghosts and hauntings.

Via Pink Tentacle.

RiP: A Remix Manifesto

Woohoo, I say, woohoo!

In RiP: A remix manifesto, Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.

via boingboing

Quotable Quotes

Architecture must not be an object, but merely a device for the framing of life and the environment.

A Conversation with Kengo Kuma from FiveFootWay.

18 October 2008

Flock

Started playing with Flock recently.

In part because Opera, no matter how much I love it, has a tendency to bog and crash when using it for news feeds. Especially when you are following 100 different blogs and news sources.

Flock runs off the Mozilla engine and like SeaMonkey and Camino, seems to run much faster than Firefox, which all three are supposed to be built on top of. In fact, it seems both Firefox and Opera have become bloatware in their own right, hogging computer resources and grinding along far more slowly than anything else on my Mac.

So far, I am happy with Flock. It's integration is wonderful, though I still have to try posting to this blog for the built-in blogging tool that comes with it. Still, I have one click connectivity between my daily reading, this blog, my e-mail, and del.icio.us. If I want, I could expand that to include Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Pownce, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket, Picasa, Piczo, and all the major blog services. It even has as menu-driven set up systems for creating connections with things it doesn't already automatically connect to.

So, yes, as you might expect from all that, the purpose of flock is to more seamlessly integrate technologies for a social Web, sometimes called Web 2.0, as if it were some strange irruption divorced from all that came before.

The only complaint I have about flock so far deals with its newsreader, which is what I am using it for. The reason I was using the Opera news reader until I got sick of bogs and crashes is that it serves the news reader through the mail reader. This gives you three window panes: folders, titles, and content. As with many mail readers, it allows you to filter and hide read items so you only see the unread ones, making it easier to see just how many new items there really are (yes, there is a number in the menu too, but seeing the items is so much clearer). You can, as with any mail, assign labels to important things, and create folders to move things into for future reference. Of course, it doesn't create local copies, so if the threads disappear from their online source you are left with titles that no longer link to content. But still, a very nice, effective way to read the feeds.

Even in its most condensed format, Flock doesn't really let you see more than six news items from a feed at a time, making it very hard to find unread articles you may have missed in a large list.

So, three things that would greatly improve the feed reading experience on flock:

  • The ability to switch to three pane, e-mail style reading, or at least the ability to condense all the way down to one headline per line for fast skimming. Even with the controls on s a separate line, two really tight lines would work just fine.
  • The ability to create folders in the "Saved Articles" list just like you can in the main articles list so that you can organize important things. Perhaps the point of omitting this is to actively encourage you to use del-icio.us for storage of interesing information.
  • The ability to filter / hide previously read articles while looking at new ones.

The only other complaint is that it seems to ignore all posts over 100 from any feed. Bad if you want everything. Good if you have a bit of OCD when it comes to reading the feeds, since it means you can never have a situation where you are now faced with hundreds of new items from one source because you've been busy or away for a while.

So summary: If you are a Web 2.0 person, Flock really seems to be the way to go. A little quirky, but not horribly so. And in the face of a few missing features you get many more in terms of drag and drop subscription tools and one-click connectivity between a whole array of online tools.

Muji now in NYC

I loved Muji when I was in Japan. A company of simplicity and elegance, and overpriced faux health food. Now they've crossed the pond: Muji USA.

Builds 22: Platform House

The interior of the platform house.

Cozy by SL standards, thanks to the wonders of default camera angles.

The fireplace in the middle needs to be replaced with a more traditional firepit. I was want to add some cabinets with sliding doors for traditional storage. I just have to figure out where to put them. Maybe I can will out one of the windows. This would also reduce disorientation inside, which is currently a little too symmetrical.

17 October 2008

Directions

Excuse me, but could you tell me the way to Tokyo? I have an appointment for stomping and destruction and I'm running a bit late.

Obama for Obama

Obama is going gaga over Obama.

Okay, this is sort of reminiscent of "Made in Usa". Which, by the way, is right next to Kanada. Well, almost right next to it.

The Secret Language of Surface

A short essay on the nature of surface from the good people at strange harvest.

16 October 2008

Branding

An interesting article on the idea of branding the boroughs of London for marketing, tourism, civic pride, and what have you.

The article is interesting because it compares the logos being proposed by the various boroughs of London with the cities and wards that form Tokyo.

The difference between the two is very striking.

The British logos are all very corporate, like the designers mistook the word "borough" for "hotel", or "bank" or "insurance firm". Certainly professional looking, but very much not warm and inviting. All in all, far too corporate for civic pride.

The Tokyo logos are much simpler, much more iconic. Each is primal shapes that may be abstract or may be historically significant done in bold, primary colors.

So, why this difference?

At first glance I think it is that Japan is simply more in touch with, and more comfortable with its feudal past. Combine this with a written language that is ideographic and the simple crests make sense. Certainly, on the battle fields of days gone by, when you saw a troop of soldiers rushing your position, you wanted to be able to tell at a glance whether they were friend or foe. So the Japanese infantry troops would have a sizable number of soldiers with banners identifying their allegiances.

The Tokyo city icons share the same easy to spot nature and, in fact, look very much like a Dover-edition book detailing of Japanese historical crests in my library. They are, admittedly, a bit more modernist, but the sentiment is there.

So why do we not see something similar with London? After all, Europe in general, during it's feudal period made heavy use of coats of arms. More complicated than the Japanese crests, but still distinctive. Is it perhaps the historical baggage that comes with coats of arms that prevents people from a.) wanting to co-opt them, and b.) wanting to re-invent them? I am not in a position to say. Though I can say that the Tokyo city logos work much better than the proposed London corporate city logos.

The use of crests in Japan extends way beyond the limits of Tokyo. In many regions, the iconic crests of towns and municipalities are posted on thruway exit signs, so you navigate by icon rather than reading the sign. Mind you, the drive between Kitakyushu and Fukuoka City has, if I remember, four different jolly fisherman and a multitude of herons to be dealt with.

When I was in Fukuoka City a few years ago, I found ward icons to be stamped on all the subway stations, including on the fare board. It made life very easy to know that I was traveling from the end of the line to the stop with the bird with its wings outstretched and sweeping forward to form a blue oval. It took far less time to recognize than to describe, and it meant I didn't have to try to resolve the kanji into a meaningful ward name.

Check out the map (English version):

The Japanese, simply put have the West beat on iconography. A good place to learn from them in making way-finding systems in the urban setting more friendly, as well as effective local branding.

Berlin in Second Life

Just to confuse the layers of virtual reference, Second Life New Berlin, a virtual reproduction of Berlin, has its own Web site.

I love it when the real and the virtual start to get intertwined in more and more interesting ways.

15 October 2008

Literally

Okay, I so don't have time to read boingboing, but it can be so worth it ...

The literal version of Take on Me from Current via boingboing.

Word of the Day

Psychogeography

See also:

And, of course, some psychogeographers:

Wait, that can't be right ...

14 October 2008

When Eating Becomes Art

If you aren't talking those cheap disposable things from Chinese restaurants, chopsticks, 箸 (hashi), can and should be really beautiful things. I know I buy them for beauty. I only regret that my set of jade ones broke last time I moved. Average age of my collection is ten or so years.

I remember my first week getting back from Japan and sitting down to a big bowl of veggie soup I had just made, with nice big chunks of veggies and some soba hidden underneath. I looked at the soup. I looked at the spoon in my hand. I looked at the soup. I wasn't sure of what to do next. I got up, went into the kitchen, and traded my spoon for some chopsticks.

By the way, the elegant, and expensive, ones often cheat a little for your benefit and mix some grit in with the enamel or lacquer, giving the tips a good solid grip on all but the slipperiest of pieces.

And you really just need to remember three rules when dealing with chopsticks:

  • Never stick them upright in anything, especially rice. It marks it as an offering to the dead.
  • Don't use them to point at people when talking. In this case, because it is just plain rude. It is rude with Western tableware too, but we seem to have forgotten that over time.
  • Don't give metal ones as gifts, except to friends who are Korean. (Okay, not sure about the Chinese on this one.) Giving a Japanese friend a gift of metal chopsticks is not too far off from complimenting a Korean friend on their kimchee. They'll understand you're an ignorant Westerner, but they'll still be slighted.

Anyway, the article on the store is via treehugger.

Word of the Day

Locavorism

From the NYTimes Magazine.

Builds 21: Platform House

Working on the modernist theme of the UFO house, I thought I would see what would happen if it was made with a bit of an Asian spin.

This is the result.

Yes, it looks and awful lot like the pavilion in the garden. There's a reason for that. Halfway through, before I had the walls up, I thought ... put on a canvas roof and this would make a great pavilion. I also have a scaled down version where there used to be a small open air tea house on my property. Which means there are no longer any structures on my property that weren't built by one of us (except my piet de'terre in my sandbox, which is an Effulgent Brown creation).

I may try for a more detailed one after this is done.

12 October 2008

怖い!

From LP Cover Lover.

Builds 20: Garden Additions

As well as the pavilion, I have added a few more features to the garden, so that the open field can be used as a performance space.

All those are some pretty tortured sculpties, I loved the campfire with the logs and just had to get one for the garden, even if it doesn't really fit the theme. Inconsistencies add flavor.

11 October 2008

Arcologies

I confess to growing up thinking arcologies were really cool.

I know I certainly felt compelled to dot Sim City with them. Has anyone besides me noticed the number of Blake's & references that were in that game? Anyway ...

More floating cities for your enjoyment.

From Vincent Callebaut Architectures.

McCain a Maverick? That's Gobbledygook!

The Mavericks get annoyed at McCain stealing their name.

Which means the word of the day is "gobbledygook".

Or is it?

And here I was planning on avoiding politics, but I really can't resist.

Chemistry Made Simple

And just in case you thought this sort of thing was a recent invention, thanks to the wonders of the Internet ... DNA transcription as interpretive dance.

10 October 2008

How Not to Be Seen

Examples of people failing at not being seen ... from failblog.

Hiding Place Fail
Anonymity Fail

And some people who are succeeding at not being seen.

Don't Mess with the Lab Coat

The McCain campaign seems intent on alienating constituencies one by one.

At first it was just the gamers. After all even those 8-some-odd million people who play World of Warcraft all look down on gamers, right? I lost the reference, but read an interesting article today where someone pointed out that the number of World of Warcraft players in the United States outnumbers the number of U.S. farmers, who get much more attention come the political season. On the other hand, a WoW server-farm failure only feels like the end of the world. So clearly not a constituency to worry about.

Now it is the scientists. Hmmm, mebbe an MSNBC blog is too liberal to be a fair source of information, right out there with the Huffington Post. How about Discover Magazine, they're unbiased ... I think. No? How about boingboing? Oh wait, that's British. Doesn't count. Oh, thank the gods, at least the National Review tries to artfully dodge the issue.

Though I think The Perfect Silence wins the best quotable quote award:

I can just about hear all the hushed "oooohhhs" from the science education community, like Dustin Diamond had just slapped Jack Lambert with a white glove. Oh no, he didn't!

Gamers and scientists do share two things in common:

  • Information spreads like wild fire within their respective communities.
  • They are very opinionated and vocal when it comes to protecting their turf.

You don't win an election by declaring constituencies to be irrelevant. You certainly don't win an election by saying that funding for science and education is not money well spent.

Builds 19: Waterfront Pavilion

I have added a nice waterfront pavilion to the garden in Pulu See.

It has a bit of an Asian theme, like the garden.

It still needs some furnishings, but I am not really sure what I want to do with it yet.

09 October 2008

Making Money

Stephen Barnwell

A truly awesome artist. The fact that I know him, or knew him in days gone by, has nothing to do with it. Honest.

Just ran into someone else blogging about his work and had to add it in here.

Here's his regular portfolio too.

The German Perspective

One of the online news sources I tend to follow is the German magazine Spiegel. In part because their English language edition does a wonderful job of covering American news from a position of relative safety, where they can comfortably say things American news services would shy away from. It is sort of their equivalent of Time of Newsweek, but with the occasional page 3 girl.

Anyway, for those really interested in a big picture view of the current state of the American economic crisis, unclouded by election politics: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role and America: Where It Pays to Fail.

They are worth the read. Perhaps a little depressing and dark, and may insult some, but still worth the read.

Capital is as terrified of the absence of profit or a very small profit as nature is of a vacuum. With suitable profits, capital is awakened; with 10 percent, it can be used anywhere; with 20 percent, it becomes lively; with 50 percent, positively daring; with 100 percent, it will crush all human laws under its feet; and with 300 percent, there is no crime it is not willing to dare, even at the risk of the gallows.
- Karl Marx

Enel in Second Life

Enel, Italy's largest power company, has built a large information park in Second Life called Enelpark dealing with renewable energy. If you are in the second life habit, they are worth the look.

Besides the build, looking to be mostly by flopsie McArdle, is pretty awesome. I am so going to convert my sim over to solar and wind power. ;p

I just found this news item about them in treehugger.

For Those Not Up on Enel

Enel distributes and sells power and gas to more than 52 million customers in 22 countries in Europe, North America and Latin America. It has about 30,000 MW of renewable energy power generation capacity using hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass.