A while back, when I was at a ceramics supply store, I picked up an art show opening card that caught my eye. The artist was Hasley Chait, and the card accompanied me as a beautiful bookmark all through Gaiman's American Gods, which is a work of art in itself.

Chait's work got my attention mostly because it looked a lot like my own doodling--very detailed with precise lines. And there are similar subjects: a silhouetted bird, a mesh of irregular boxes, organic forms that spore and evolve into other things on the page. But I also feel like I can take a lot out of the pieces, as long as I take care to keep my work mine.


close the windows and open the doors

I'd been thinking about Ubuntu's destiny long before PC Authority's Top 10 disappointing technologies or the positive statements on Ubuntu's strong sense of self. But both articles relate to my thoughts on the destiny of Ubuntu, or Linux generally.

The public wants an OS that is familiar and easy-to-use. But right now only geeks use Ubuntu. How do we fix that? It needs to be accessible no matter where they go. What do I mean by that? That they can sit down to it in a FedEx-Kinko's, a public library, or a hotel computer room. That their friends have it. That their grandmas use it. It has to happen gradually of course, but it needs a little PR to get it started. I don't really like the idea of billboards and TV ads, but maybe that'd do the trick.

My vote is to donate a whole bunch of computers to public libraries, set up free classes, and hand out CDs. And make really nice, pretty posters for said classes. Have sessions to help people install Ubuntu on their own computers. Although the install easy enough that generally competent people shouldn't need hand-holding, sometimes they just need a date and time in order to actually sit down and do it.

This idea came about while teaching a senior citizens general computer use class. I wanted so badly to teach them how to use Ubuntu--they could totally do it. But when they'd go elsewhere and see nothing like it, it was like teaching them to fish for Salmon. In a river. In the fall. ...because Salmon wouldn't be there for a while because they only go upstream for spring/summer. They'd only have guppies in the river. Maybe some frogs. And they couldn't learn to fish for multiples species of fish because they're old. So they'd starve.

Anyway, Ubuntu needs more love. It also needs better applications for some things, but people are working on that. Like Yorba, for instance. And other places too. With time, with time.

They have online communities for people who care about this stuff. Maybe I should break down and join one. Get Involved!


alternative housing

Rent is crazy expensive. Remind me why I pay a third of my income for a place I spend most of my time sleeping? What happened to the days where you could just live on the land? What if I wanted to pull a modern day Walden, would I have to get my structure approved by the appropriate authorities? Bah.

Seeing as my lease is up in a little bit, I decided to look into alternative housing options. A lot of them aren't practical for permanent living, but they were fun to consider.

cobhouses, yurts, tipis, earthships, tiny homes (some on trailers), schoolbuses, treehouses, steel houses, hobbit holes, more underground, houseboats, professional housesitting, couchsurfing

Another cool thing I found was the Findhorn Ecovillage, which is more of a place to implement these ideas than anything else.


potential energy

I've been thinking a lot about sustainable energy recently, since it is such a hot topic and I like to give in to trends...or maybe it's just that I think a lot of the ideas being implemented aren't good enough, if they're even good at all.

I saw a H2 bus in Berkeley the other day, and it got me thinking about the overall energy efficiency of such systems. Sure, the systems prevent local pollution where the H2 bus is run, but globally, a lot of energy is wasted in manufacturing and transporting the energy. One study shows that the overall energy efficiency of a diesel bus is at least two times higher than that of the hydrogen bus, at least as implemented in California.

But, there are some really good ideas. My personal favorite is the solar powered Stirling engine. We can use the heat of the sun, concentrated using mirrors, and the cool of the earth to easily generate power. Here is an example. Deserts, where there is minimal property value, would finally find their niche in our economy.

Another popular idea is using algae to produce fuels. Down side is we'd still be using fuel (aka burning stuff). Up side is that algae consumes the CO2, so it's a net neutral.

Finally, something that's flown onto my radar recently: Polywell, or IEC (Bussard) Fusion. It's all very physics-based, but might lead somewhere interesting.



They're driving piles into the ground at work, which leads to some creative media: piledriving remix and a time lapse video. It also lead to a discussion about noise-canceling headphones, since the noise is mildly headache inducing.

My problem with noise canceling headphones, since I apparently need to have an opinion about everything, is that they drain power. Nice for planes and noisy travel, but that's where you need you battery life the most. Can't win 'em all, I guess.


mac vs. pc

And we all know Ubuntu's easy. Heh heh.
...must not make firewall jokes....


sad day

--- ping statistics ---
20 packets transmitted, 11 received, 45% packet loss, time 20026ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 952.446/1035.505/1155.728/54.837 ms, pipe 2

this fine specimen of hypermagical ultraomnipotence

At some point in college, when I was flying in and out of Philly frequently, I spotted an exhibit at the airport by Lindsay Feuer. Usually I walk by airport exhibits with glance or two, or if I have time, meander around them. Feuer's work stopped me in my tracks and got my nose against the glass for about twenty minutes.

Her work is incredibly detailed and precise. She describes herself as creating hybrids of biological ambiguity, sculptures that look born rather than made. To see a display of her art is like looking on an alien terrain.
I think she uses some casts to achieve some of the detail, but there is an amazing art to putting the pieces together in keeping with the detail of the casts and in a way that makes the sculpture look alive.

Feuer works in porcelain (my favorite), so she can achieve amazing precision with
skin-like translucency. The surfaces are unglazed and can be smooth or finely textured.


May Day!!

Merry May! I woke up at the beautiful 4:55am this morning to go see the Berkeley Morris dancers perform at Inspiration Peak in Tilden. It just isn't May Day without Morris dancing.

They danced the sun up, and then we sang a few songs and everyone did a circle dance. There was a bear, the fool, antlers, May crumbs, and lots of bells and ribbons, of course.

My favorite comment was made by a woman saying that you have to be careful about the Morris dancers: "They did a fertility dance at my wedding and.....well, I have lots of children."