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.