The Longest Now


Genius And The Soil / Inspired By Aaron: Thoughts From me, mako, jwyg
Thursday March 28th 2013, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Aasw,chain-gang,indescribable,international

From the latest issue of the UK magazine red pepper. With photos by Sage Ross from a memorable Boston Wikipedia meetup in 2009. Click on the pages for higher resolution:





Annotation Hacks: Hypothesis XXX begins to converge
Thursday March 28th 2013, 1:12 pm
Filed under: international,knowledge,popular demand,Uncategorized,wikipedia

The various threads around Hypothes.is, the Open Annotation spec, and the campus-wide annotation projects at MIT, Yale, and Harvard are starting to converge. It’s nice to see a future pillar of the global web take shape – with no less friction but a more diverse audience than gathered to create the early Internet specs.

I’m at the Convergence Workshop at Harvard on the topic today, and will be at the iAnnotate workshop in San Francisco in 3 weeks. Consolidating notes on a “Hypothesis XXX” hackpad. [Btw: We dearly need a fully open hackpad equivalent with more reliable uptime than piratepad et al.! I default to HP when I have a doc that needs to sustain heavy editing and be guaranteed available during a narrow window of time at a conference… but I would much rather use a Wikimedia or similarly hosted service, with a more explicit guarantee of ongoing availability, at no cost ever.]



Half-Baked Idea (fit for the half-bakery): a Coffee Presser
Wednesday February 20th 2013, 6:51 pm
Filed under: ideonomy,international,knowledge

Java-Logs exist. They’re just like firestarters but they smell nice and are made of coffee grounds; wrapped in paper just like regular firestarters. Coffee machines produce lots and lots of grounds that get thrown out (ideally into compost but usually not. often they just sit around, uncompacted, and grow mold.)

So: someone should design a “Coffee Presser” add-on to traditional popular coffeemakers – and standalone for dumping the dregs from your French Press – that produces mini Java Logs and wraps them so you can hold then when spit out. Perfect for those climes suitable for both lots of hot coffee and nightly fires.



Zoe Lofgren Drafts “Aaron’s Law” to fix the bad laws he ran afoul of
Wednesday January 16th 2013, 4:55 pm
Filed under: Aasw,international,Seraphic

Announced on reddit. Updates to come, including in a public lecture by Larry Lessig on February 19.



Public Domain Day Canadian Style: Faulkner, Hesse, Cummings, Bohr
Sunday January 06th 2013, 9:50 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,international,knowledge

And at least seventeen more. (In Canada, works enter PD 50 years after the author’s final circumvention of their mortal coil.)

via “the commons is not always a tragedy



Public Domain Day! Happy 2013 from 13 creators
Tuesday January 01st 2013, 12:36 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,international,knowledge,wikipedia

Happy Public Domain Day! Today millions of works – everything made by people that died in 1942* and not previously public – enter the public domain in most of the world.**

See the Public Domain Review, which compiled this “class of 13” collection of some of the best known authors and artists, and the related celebrations by hyperallergic, crackajack.

For a more US-centric view, with a heavy dose of “what were we thinking when we set up current copyright law?” activism, see the Public Domain Day summary by Duke’s insightful Center for the Public Domain. They also track the Alternate Universe Public Domain list for the simple alternate universe in which copyright laws remained as they were in 1976. This is a harder thing to visualize each year, since in this alternate universe so many other things (anything published between 1923 and 1955) would already also be free.

* in most countries

** but not in the US. The ‘Sonny Bono’ CTE Act created a backlog that will all enter the public domain in 2019.



Better knowledge graphs fit for Star Trek computers coming to Google
Monday December 31st 2012, 8:32 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,international,knowledge,meta,metrics,wikipedia

Last year Google acquired Metaweb, providing a reliable future to their many projects, including Refine and Freebase.

From earlier this year, here’s a quote from Amit Singhal, Google’s SVP responsible for their Knowledge Graph:

We hope this added intelligence will give you a more complete picture of your interest, provide smarter search results, and pique your curiosity on new topics. We’re proud of our first baby step—the Knowledge Graph—which will enable us to make search more intelligent, moving us closer to the “Star Trek computer” that I’ve always dreamt of building. Enjoy your lifelong journey of discovery, made easier by Google Search, so you can spend less time searching and more time doing what you love.

In the near future, I expect both Google’s knowledge graph, and the increasing awareness of the usefulness of such graphs, to change the structure and scope of industrial-scale knowledge processing. Thanks to all those working on these tools and solutions; see you in 2013!



Architecturale: Chile’s stunning exhibit (Venice Biennale)
Monday December 17th 2012, 12:10 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,international,Seraphic,Uncategorized

The Chilean national architectural exhibit, showcasing the country’s work at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Designed by my brother:



Boston to Amherst: 523 hours, across the ocean
Sunday December 16th 2012, 7:53 am
Filed under: indescribable,international,null

I asked Google Maps how long it would take to get from Boston to Amherst, MA (actual distance: ~90 miles almost due West, under 2 hours by car.) The answer:

Suggested route:
I-90 E                               19,456 mi, 523 hours

Driving directions to Amherst, MA, USA
This route has tolls.
This route includes a car transport.
This route includes a ferry.
This route may have road closures.

The “E” in “I-90 E” was the first indication that something was wrong. Then I digested the distance and time… and scrolled down a few pages. Now any route planning that takes you literally more than halfway \ around the world had better take in some amazing sights along the way. Luckily, this was the case.

The map knew where I was heading, but decided I started in Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK. And then decided I would want to travel the long way round: West. Of course that lets me take in Hong Kong, Hawai’i, and California… maybe worth the 3 weeks of transit.  Let’s take a look:

The route straight across southern Russia looks interesting.  Also the curving route through China to Hong Kong.

329. Jet ski across the Pacific Ocean
330. Continue straight
331. Slight left onto 県道350号線

Now we’re talking!  Apparently you can jet ski straight from HK to Japan…  maybe your car can use the teleporter.  Don’t miss the slight left just past the big landmass.

389. Sail across the Pacific Ocean
390. Turn right onto Kalakaua Ave

Note it took 60 directions just to cut across Japan before getting back into the ocean… welcome to Hawai’i!  From here the rest was pretty straightforward: Sail across the Pacific once more, then drive across the US, picking up I-90 (remember that?) soon after making the mainland.  All in all, an enlightening trip and look into the heart of the route-finder.  Which clearly has good taste in beaches.



Chinese Internet discovered to be full of memes: Top 10 Edition
Sunday December 09th 2012, 3:57 am
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,international,meta,zyzzlvaria

via Global Voices, the Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012.



Drone operator: 5,000 Feet Is The Best (Documentary)
Saturday December 08th 2012, 3:58 pm
Filed under: indescribable,international,null,Too weird for fiction

Omer Fast (video).

GrindingAles Kot & discussion of the recent NYPD drone controversies.



The White House supports Open Source, sharing Drupal modules it designed
Wednesday December 05th 2012, 1:17 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,international,popular demand

On the power and community of open source, from the WH Blog.

This isn’t written to publish their Drupal code, which they’ve been doing for some time and will continue to do (though they do announce creation of their own space within the Drupal community), it’s primarily about how and when open source is awesome and why it is the way to go for many practices. A great message to send; a small step towards more open tools for society.



For Blue: W00 in Space
Friday November 30th 2012, 9:59 am
Filed under: fly-by-wire,Glory, glory, glory,international,Uncategorized

Spaaaaaaa-aaaaace



The Million Problems project: the world’s best problems in each discipline
Thursday November 22nd 2012, 6:17 pm
Filed under: international,metrics

This is a project I’ve had in mind for some time. From where do you draw your favorite problems? For a bit of inspiration, here is an excellent and insightful essay on why math education is so much stronger in Russia (for instance) than in the US and Brazil (for instance), focusing on the appreciation for and use of word problems.

Word Problems in Russia and America by Andrei Toom (↬ Jacob Rus)



Three Copyright Myths and Where to Start to Fix it – a policy brief

A lovely short policy brief on designing a better copyright regime was published on Friday – before being quickly taken offline again.  I’ve reposted it here with light cleanup of its section headings.

If you care at all about copyright and its quirks, this is short and worth reading in full.



The benefit of passion, focus, poise & wit. For Sebastian.
Tuesday November 20th 2012, 12:53 pm
Filed under: international,meta,poetic justice,SJ

:A pinch of poise, a twist of wit,
:    Suffice to foil the darkest fit of  pique –
:      or set the mind  at  ease when seeking
:              ancient   remedies   for  tweaking  the   e t e r n a l    drive
:                                              to make, sing, see, feel, learn, & thrive.



OLPC in Ethiopia: Testing Child Literacy
Thursday November 15th 2012, 9:14 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,gustatory,international

An excellent piece on OLPC’s tablet-based literacy experiments in Ethiopia, via the BBC World Service.




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