Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Rogue One: The Best Star Wars Yet?

Someone once asked me why I like Star Wars more than Star Trek. I was a bit taken aback, and he assumed that since I use it so much, I obviously prefer it. The real reason I use Star Wars is not that it’s better, but that there’s a small canon, and I don’t have […]


Gavle Goat Goes Later This Year

The Gavle Goat has burned again, according to The Local.Se, and of course, it’s Twitter account (yet one more way in which real name policies inhibit natural behavior). Two quick comments. First, the goat survived longer this year than usual. Second, I think it illustrates something. I’m not sure what. But my yule would be […]


Replacing Flickr?

So Flickr has launched a new redesign, and it’s crowded, jumbled and slow. Now on Flickr with its overlays, its fade-ins and loads, it’s unmoving side and top bars, Flickr’s design takes center stage, elbowing aside the photos that I’m there to see. So I’m looking for a new community site where the photo I […]


Weekend Photography

An amazing shot by Philipp Schmidli of a cyclist in front of the moon. PetaPixel explains the work involved in getting that shot in “Silhouettes in a Giant Moonrise, Captured Using a 1200mm Lens.” (Thanks to Bob Blakely). Also in the realm of impressive tool use is this: Orangutan from Borneo photographed using a spear […]


Giant Rubber Ducks

There’s a giant rubber duck in Sydney Harbor right now: It’s apparently by Florentijn Hofman, who does this sort of thing. My only other comment? Seattle, you’re doing it wrong. Where’s our rubber duckie? Via “Sydney Festival Launches Giant Rubber Duck in the Harbor“, Pedestrian TV. (I believe there’s a typo, and the duck is […]


The Gavle Goat is Getting Ready to Burn!

The Telegraph reports that the Gavle Goat for 2012 is up, and surrounded by guards, cameras, flame retardants, and arsonists. Emergent Chaos has reporters on the ground internet, ready to report on this holiday story of a town, a goat, and an international conspiracy of drunken arsonists. Stay tuned! This years goat is shown in […]


Have You Seen The Little Piggies?

Apparently, the project manager who found a vendor for the Vermont State Police car decals failed to consider a few things. Such as the risk that prisoners might want to have a little fun at the expense of the police. You can see the fun if you study the image carefully here, or in a […]


Cello Wars

For your holiday amusement: Thanks, Jeff!


Map of Where Tourists Take Pictures

Eric Fischer is doing work on comparing locals and tourists and where they photograph based on big Flickr data. It’s fascinating to try to identify cities from the thumbnails in his “Locals and Tourists” set. (I admit, I got very few right, either from “one at a time” or by looking for cities I know.) […]


So cute!

There’s just something about skinny girls in pouffy skirts…and stormtrooper helmets. More at


Bureaucracy in inaction

Back in September, a group of Czech artists called EPOS 257 camouflaged themselves as city-workers, went to the Palackeho square in Prague and installed a fence. The fence was left on the square with no apparent intent or explanation. At first, the city council didn’t know about it, and when there were told, they didn’t […]


Ambrose Bierce Punks Richard Feynman

Via Boing Boing, where Maggie Koerth-Baker gave a delightful pointer to this film of Feynman explaining for seven-and-a-half minutes why he can’t really explain why magnets repel each other. Or attract, either. And trumping him in time and space, Bierce gave us this in 1906: MAGNET, n. Something acted upon by magnetism. MAGNETISM, n. Something […]


"My little piece of privacy"

Very entertaining video: I love it because curtains are privacy people will pay for, but even more, because, ironically for a privacy-enhancing technology, it generates more attention than not using it.


Because Money Is Liberty Coined

I really love these redesigns of the US Dollar: There’s a contest, and I like these designs by Michael Tyznik the most. On a graphical level, they look like money. He’s integrated micro-printing, aligned printing (that $5 in the upper left corner, it’s really hard to print so it works when you look at light) […]


Earth, from the surface of Mars

This is the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon. It was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. (March 8, 2004) Credit: NASA Goadard’s flickr stream.


Parkour Generations Video

I could pretend to tie this to information security, talking about risk and information sharing, but really, it’s just beautiful to watch these folks learn to play:


Makeup Patterns to hide from face detection

Adam Harvey is investigating responses to the growing ubiquity of surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities. He writes: My thesis at ITP, is to research and develop privacy enhancing counter technology. The aim of my thesis is not to aid criminals, but since artists sometimes look like criminals and vice versa, it is important to […]



Courtesy of the BBC.


The Spectacle of Street View

Street with a View is an art project in Google Street View, with a variety of scenes enacted for the camera, either to be discovered in Street View, or discovered via the project web site. via David Fraser.


Visual Notetaking

I’m a big fan of the book “Back of the Napkin” which is all about using pictures to help with problem solving. Yesterday, I was introduced to a related concept “visual notetaking” where you use images to support other notes you are taking during a meeting. I’m at a two day workshop and we have […]


The Presentation of Self and Everyday Photographs

With the kind help of our awesome readership, Amazon and Glazer’s, I’ve acquired a camera, some books, a tripod, a prime 50mm, a flash diffuser, a polarizing filter, a graduated neutral filter, and some other random photography toys tools. You might question this, but I can quit anytime. Really! I even offered to loan my […]


We Live in Public

It’s opening in New York this weekend, and the New York Times has a review.


We Live In Public, The Movie

One of the best ways to upset someone who cares about privacy is to trot out the “nothing to hide, nothing to worry about” line. It upsets me on two levels. First because it’s so very wrong, and second, because it’s hard to refute in a short quip. I think what I like most about […]


Spinal Tap, Copyright

There’s a cute little story in the NYTimes, “Lego Rejects a Bit Part in a Spinal Tap DVD.” I read it as I was listening to a podcast on Shepard Fairey vs The Associated Press that Dan Solove pointed out. In that podcast, Dale Cendali (the attorney representing the AP) asserts that licensing is easy, […]


Kindle Brouhaha Isn't About DRM

In case you haven’t heard about it, there is a brouhaha about Amazon un-selling copies of two Orwell books, 1984 and Animal Farm. There has been much hand-wringing, particularly since it’s deliciously amusing that that it’s Orwell. The root cause of the issue is that the version of the Orwell novels available on the Kindle […]


Unthinkable Foolishness from TSA

“Flying from Los Angeles to New York for a signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe Wednesday (May 13th), I was flagged at the gate for ‘extra screening’. I was subjected to not one, but two invasive searches of my person and belongings. TSA agents then ‘discovered’ the script for Unthinkable #3. They sat and read the […]


Suffering for Art

Joseph Carnevale, 21, was nabbed Wednesday after a Raleigh Police Department investigation determined that he was responsible for the work (seen below) constructed May 31 on a roadway adjacent to North Carolina State University. Carnevale, pictured in the mug shot at right, was charged with misdemeanor larceny for allegedly building his orange monster from materials […]


The Art of Mathematics

Paul Nylander has some amazingly beautiful mathematical constructs which he’s ray-tracing. Via Aleks Jakulin.


Bialystock Triumphs in Berlin

The crowd for the premiere seemed pleased. It wasn’t your typical Broadway musical audience, to judge from the number of smart-looking young people with interesting haircuts. A “lively counterpoint to Hollywood productions like ‘Valkyrie’ and ‘Defiance,’ with their impeccable Resistance heroes and clichés,” decided the reviewer for Spiegel Online. “The New York triumph was repeated […]


Amusements with Alpha

I just saw a link to someone who had broken Wolfram Alpha. Their breaking question was, “when is 5 trillion days from now?” The broken result is: {DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},Hour12Short],:,DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},Minute],:,DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},Second], ,DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},AMPMLowerCase]} | {DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},DayName],, ,DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},MonthName], ,DateString[{13689537044,5,13,16,57,18.5796},DayShort],, ,13689537044} Which is certainly amusing. A quick check shows that even one trillion days gives a similar error. A bit of the […]


Suspect and Unusual Photographs

This picture was taken by 4 high school kids with no budget: The Telegraph has the story at Teens capture images of space with £56 camera and balloon. You can click the photo for their amazing Flickr page. It’s a good thing they were in Spain. In the UK, they’d probably have been arrested for […]


The Emergent Chaos of Kutiman

So when someone sent me a link to “The Mother of all Funk Chords,” they didn’t explain it, and I didn’t quite get what I was watching. What I was watching: …is a mash up of videos found on YouTube, turned into an entire album by an Israeli artist, Kutiman.


Twitter + Cats = Awesome

My smart friend James Thomson of TLA Systems has created a new benchmark in iPhone applications, Twitkitteh. Not only is it the first Twitter client for cats, but it might also be the first iPhone app for cats, as well. I’ve always accused my cats of playing the stereo when I’m not there, and it […]


Would Anne Fadiman buy a Kindle?

If you like books, if you like to read, you need a copy of Anne Fadiman’s “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.” You especially need to read it if you care an iota about identity management, because the major themes in her essays are not only about books, but about identity. (In case you’re […]


Leia With a Pearl Earring

This and other less subtle Star Wars/classical art mashups are at Star Wars as Classic Art. (Originally.) Thanks, Stepto!


AOL Search Documentary

Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug have taken the AOL search data which AOL released “anonymously,” and made a movie with the searchs of user #711391. I Love Alaska, via Guerrilla Innovation. Worth checking out, but be warned, it’s a little on the languid side, using pacing and the voice to build the story. Also, note […]


But is it art?

Jackson [Update: Click the picture. It’s only funny if you click the picture with Flash enabled. The site requires Flash.]


Photosynth and the inauguration

So what do you do with the million photos everyone took of the inauguration? Here at Emergent Chaos, we believe that we should throw them all in a massive blender, and see what emerges. A massive blender isn’t a very technical description of Photosynth, but it’s not a bad analogy. The project cleverly figures out […]


Emergent Forest

Moving Forest is a park on wheels. The park is made of trees in shopping carts that allow the public to rearrange their own little park. The forest is created by Dutch architect firm NL architects in response to the lack of green nature in contemporary urban environments – which in the case of the […]


Evidence of Time Travel Found in China

According to Ananova, a Swiss watch-ring has been found covered in dirt in a four-hundred year old Ming dynasty tomb. The watch was found, covered in dirt. It was stopped at the time 10:06 and has the word, “Swiss” engraved on the back. The archaeologists on the dig have requested archaeologists from Beijing to help […]


Tidying up Art

In “Tidying up Art” Ursus Wehrli tells the TED audience about not only how to tidy up art, but has a great example of how apparently simple instructions can very quickly lead chaos to emerge. And it’s pretty darn funny after the audience doesn’t know how to respond to his first couple of jokes.


Actually, Randall, We Tried That

And the reason it doesn’t work is that just because you’re allowed to own something doesn’t mean you’re allowed to export it. The use, ownership, production, etc. of crypto was never restricted, only its export. In an Intenet-enabled world, export control brings lots of hair with it, which is why it was important to fight […]


Discipline and Art

Stephan Bugaj has a fascinating article up, “Steve Kurtz: Tactical Art.” I wanted to tie this to my post “The Discipline of ‘think like an attacker’” Kurtz only briefly mentioned his four year ordeal with the Department of Justice (this is also a good article about it), and only as a single exemplar of his […]


Monsieur Vuitton, I’m ready for my closeup!

This is the window of a Louis Vuitton store. I found it tremendously striking, and so took some pictures. Setting aside the direct message of “everyone will look at this bag,” I thought what’s interesting is the technological replacement of self with avatar. As if the designer is saying “we no longer want to be […]


King Log or King Brutalist

A Christian Science church near the White House filed suit against the city on Thursday, accusing it of trammeling religious freedom by declaring the church a historic landmark and refusing to allow church leaders to tear it down. The building, a stark structure with walls that soar toward the sky, is an eyesore or a […]


This Is Not Writing; You Are Not Reading

The Paper of Record has a hilarious article, “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” which asks important questions about what Those Darn Kids are doing — spending their time using a mixture of hot media and cold media delivered to them over the internets. I’ll get right to the point before I start ridiculing […]


I said "No, No, No"

After having seen some footage of Amy Winehouse’s performance at Glastonbury, I think she needs to immediately marry Shane Macgowan, preferably as part of a reality TV show.


You Have Confused Me for the Last Time!

I love these boots, via “BoingBoing gadgets.” They’re transgressive on so many levels. Star Wars geek versus fashion. Military versus sexy. I’m glad George Lucas isn’t an obsessive control freak who hunts down anyone who adopts the visual language that he created.


Game Theory and Poe

Julie Rehmeyer of Science News writes in, “The Tell-Tale Anecdote: An Edgar Allan Poe story reveals a flaw in game theory” about a paper Kfir Elias and Ariel Rubenstein called, “Edgar Allan Poe’s Riddle: Do Guessers Outperform Misleaders in a Repeated Matching Pennies Game? The paper discusses a game that Poe describes in The Purloined […]


Security Cameras Functional

Use of CCTV images for court evidence has so far been very poor, according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, the officer in charge of the Metropolitan police unit. “CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure,” Neville told the Security Document World Conference in London. “Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but […]


Point Break, Live

The starring role of Johnny Utah is selected from the audience each night, and reads their entire script off of cue-cards. This method manages to capture the rawness of a Keanu Reeves performance even from those who generally think themselves incapable of acting. The fun starts immediately with the “screen test” wherein the volunteer Keanus […]


One Nation Under CCTV

Banksy has done a wonderful service. The well-known artist has given us delightful commentary on surveillance. Better than that, he did it in a site above a Post Office yard in London (Newman Street, near Oxford Circus), behind a security fence and under surveillance by CCTV. His team erected three stories of scaffolding on Saturday, […]


Wendy Richmond’s Surreptitious Cellphone

At the International Association of Privacy Professionals meeting last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Richmond. Richmond is intrigued with the ways in which we share our public space. Some of us create invisible buffer zones for quiet reverie; others enhance or negate reverie through portable technology like iPods, cell phones and laptops. […]


There’s Going to Be a Paper-Scorching Ka-Booom!

The New York Times has a great story about Cai Gou-Qiang, an artist who works in gunpowder. “The Pyrotechnic Imagination.” It’s pretty cool stuff for a lazy weekend afternoon read. [I forgot to mention, he has a show at the Guggenheim, and their press release states, “For publicity images go to User ID = […]


People Not Being Terrorized

Recently, a group of passengers on the London Underground performed the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in front of an unsuspecting audience. Shockingly, no one panicked. You can see one passenger move out of the way, but people otherwise just sat there and watched. When the performance was done, the fellow-passengers applauded. Security was not […]


Password Fatigue

The Macquarie Dictionary of Australia has an annual contest for Word of the Year. The People’s Choice Award goes to the term that is the title of this post: password fatigue noun a level of frustration reached by having too many different passwords to remember, resulting in an inability to remember even those most commonly […]


Hurricane Ivan From the Space Station

Every now and then, an “Astronomy Picture of the Day” is just breathtaking. Today’s is Hurricane Ivan from the Space Station. Click for the larger view.


Flower Chaser

My eyes feel better now. Calla Lily macro 3, by Edwin Bartlett.


Banksy Would Be Proud

In a feat that would make Banksy proud, members of Untergunther, who the Guardian calls “cultural guerrillas“, restored the antique clock at the Panthéon. They spent about a year, beginning in September of 2005, in a hidden workshop, dismantling and rebuilding the entire clockwork which had been abandoned in the 1960s. They were never discovered […]


Controlling Water

In Controlling Water, Dana writes: …Alex Stupak, […] dropped this bombshell in my ear with the casual effect of a little bird chirping their daily song. With no prompt, he said simply, “You know, it’s really just about controlling water,” and walked away. This simple phrase had the power of a plot changing hollywood one […]


The Magic Phone

The “gPhone” was announced today. I put gPhone in quotes, because there was no actual phone announcement. What was announced was the “Open Handset Alliance” and their toolkit, Android. They are “…committed to commercially deploy handsets and services using the Android Platform in the second half of 2008.” and “An early look at the Android […]


The Pogues Show

What an amazing show. Shane MacGowan slurred a lot, but I just couldn’t care when he sang ‘Brown Eyes’ or ‘The Greenland’ or ‘The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn.’ They’re touring the western states. Photo: “The Pogues in Seattle on October 17, 2007 – first show of US tour” by Dan10Things.


"I'm in Love with a Girl"

Another in the occasional EC weekend series highlighting awesome covers. I’d like this video even if it was silent. That stage is perfect for a Big Star tune, and the sound is right on. [If only they also performed “Thirteen“…Chilton and friends are too old (or indifferent) to play it properly now].


Pseudonyms in the News: Fake Steve Jobs Outed

Brad Stone of the New York Times is a killjoy. Geez. Part of the joy of reading The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is was thinking of him as Fake Steve Jobs, and nothing more. Sure, it’s all good that his employer was so delighted that FSJ is going to be hosted by them, now, […]


Camouflage as Security

This is a new twist on an old trick. SFGate reports in, “‘I didn’t eat and I didn’t sleep’ — Coin dealer flies dime worth $1.9 million to NYC’” that coin dealer John Feigenbaum transported a $1.9M rare coin (an 1894-S dime) from its previous owner, Daniel Rosenthal, who lives in the Bay Area to […]


Canon Says Over 50% of Cameras Repaired in First Three Years

In the Times Online article, “Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker,” we learn that the person who leaked photos of the last Harry Potter novel has yielded up the serial number of their camera, which was in the metadata of the pictures they took. From this, we lean that it was a Canon, likely […]


Wretched Word of the Week: Killer

The word “killer” gets used in two wretched ways. The first is Killer Application, and the second is product-killer. They’re each wretched in their own special way. It’s not only cliché to use each term, but in using it, you are nearly guaranteed to be wrong. The original killer application was Lotus 1, 2, 3. […]


Doctors want more study on overuse of books

(Adds psychiatrist interview, industry comment, paragraphs 4, 7-17) CHICAGO, June 27 (EmergentChaos)- The American Medical Association called for more research into the public health risks of books and reading on Wednesday but stopped short of declaring them addictive. The AMA, which recommended a review of the current publishing system, also said it would leave it […]


Security Tradeoffs

This is from Non Sequitur by Wiley. Since I’ve shrunk it to fit, the guard says to the other: Accept the security breach, or clean a litter box. Take your pick. Click the picture for the full-size one.


All That You Buy, Beg, Borrow or Steal

Let’s face it. There hasn’t been a better pressing of Dark Side (with the possible exception of the original vinyl, which I haven’t heard) than the Mobile Fidelity gold disk. Which doesn’t prevent EMI from releasing it over and over again. That makes perfect sense, it keeps selling like mad. As bbum points out in […]


Flower Power Sucks

Having the unfortunate luck to be in National Public Radio’s target demographic, I occasionally wind up hearing stories that clearly are pandering to what I will with all due sarcasm refer to as “my generation”. Actually, I’m in the one after that, but I recognize the pandering. Lately, not just on NPR but on my […]


Joe Strummer interview, book

There was a great interview on the local NPR station yesterday with Chris Salewicz, who has a new biography out. It’s “Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer.” The interview was really well done–the music was well and cleverly integrated into the conversation. If you’re taking it easy, why not listen to the KUOW Weekday […]


I don't know much about art…

…but encasing a skull in millions of bucks worth of diamonds and thinking you’ve made some kind of statement strikes me as uninspired in the extreme. Of course, this matters not, because this is “the work with the highest intrinsic value in modern and contemporary art” according to a guy who works for an insurance […]


Lrn 2 uZ ‘sed’, n00bz

The iTunes Plus music store opened up today, which sells non-DRM, 256kbit AAC recordings. In case you have missed the financial details, the new tracks are $1.29 per, but albums are still $9.99. You can upgrade your old tracks to high-quality, non-DRM, but you have to do it en masse and it’s only for the […]


Pure Evil Entertainment

My friend Jeff Herrold has a new production company, Pure Evil Entertainment. Jeff is one of the best storytellers I know, and he’s put a short he made a few years back up on YouTube. It’s DEADLINE, and it’s a pretty entertaining bit of twistedness.


Marco Pierre White on Intellectual Property

This via Salon’s “The man who made Gordon Ramsay cry” — and let’s face it, making Gordon Ramsay cry is a great place to start. Alex Koppelman asks: …. Do you think a chef’s recipes should be protected as intellectual property? White replies: You can’t reinvent the wheel. Everyone takes from everybody. How many people […]


Animations of US Flight Patterns

Aaron Koblin of UCLA has an amazing website of animations he’s done using FAA flight data. It’s well worth a look.


Emerging at the Intersection of Art and Commerce

I never really thought much of Hamilton, either. I’m glad this wasn’t done on one of the New Ten Dollar bills. If it was, the Constellation EURion might have prevented me from scanning it for your amusement. (Today, that “feature” is mostly in copiers, but expect it to spread.) In other looking at money news, […]


Iggy Pop on Chaos

[Iggy] wouldn’t tell me who he was talking about specifically, he said, but he believes that the rock business is too big, run by people who know nothing about it. Wasn’t that always the case? “No,” he said, decisively. “The people I met at the top in 1972 tended to be crackpots from the fringes […]


Award-winning scrotum

The New York Times writes about “The Higher Power of Lucky“, a children’s book which recently won the Newbery Medal. As someone who has purchased his share of kids’ books, I assure you that the Newbery — and its companion the Caldecott Medal — signal quality to buyers. In this case, though, some parents and […]


Must-Read Article: The Ecstasy of Influence

This is in Harpers, “The Ecstasy of Influence.” It is an interesting meditation on the nature of art itself and how art is composed of other art. However, not only must you read this, you must read it all the way through to understand it and why it is important.


Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts

Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts and leaves his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11. All Hail Eris! On behalf of his children and those who cared for him, deepest love and gratitude for the tremendous support and lovingness bestowed upon us. (that’s it from Bob’s bedside at his fnord by the sea) RAW […]


50 Greatest Cartoons

If you’re coming here on a holiday weekend, you might be bored. So why not take advantage of this list of online video of 46 of “The 50 Greatest Cartoons?”   PS: I can’t believe they put Gertie the Dinosaur above the Rabbit of Seville. Critics.


Read any good books lately?

Do share your opinions and suggestions. Personally, I don’t read enough, and I stay within a too-narrow comfort zone of UNIX geek material. Help me, and other EC readers similarly situated. It’d be nice if the techie side of infosec was not the subject (Rich Bejtlich has that covered anyway) I wrote up a review […]


Gifts for the Cryptological Mind

Cryptological in this case meaning those who like thinking about the hidden. Authorized Da Vinci Code Cryptex from The Noble Collection. It’s very nice, made of good, solid brass. It avoids many combination lock issues. I tried some obvious ways you can cheat a letter from such a device and it was well-made enough that […]


A Moment of Silence

Ahmet Ertegun has passed away. Ertegun founded Atlantic Records because he loved music, and at 83, the BBC reports: He suffered a head injury when he fell at a Rolling Stones concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre in October, and died after slipping into a coma. (Emphasis added.) His book “What I’d Say: The Atlantic […]


New Cookery: Emergent Chaos in the Kitchen

Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee have issued a statement on the New Cookery: In the past, cooks and their dishes were constrained by many factors: the limited availability of ingredients and ways of transforming them, limited understanding of cooking processes, and the necessarily narrow definitions and expectations embodied in local tradition. […]



Ben Laurie has some knots from Second Life. Pretty.


Banksy Videos: Security Is Everyone’s Responsibility

Following on Arthur’s post about Banksy, and for your weekend amusement, videos of Banksy installing his artwork are at his site. I had to hand-enter URLS to get the videos to display, they’re of the form, with the others being 1, 3, and 4. Via Alec Muffet.


The Kristian Von Hornsleth of the Blogosphere?

Apparently, artist Kristian Von Hornsleth has been paying Ugandans to rename themselves Hornsleth, as a way of drawing attention to aid failures. His exhibit is sub-titled “We want to help you, but we want to own you.” I think it’s brilliant. Regular readers know that we talk a lot about identity, id cards, and economics. […]


Giant Elephants in London, Redux

I found this beautiful set of photos of the Sultan’s Elephant show in London. (Mentioned previously.) Photos by Simon Crubellier. Found while searching for a photo to go with “If you’d seen the things I’ve seen with these eyes of yours…” Since we’re being slightly political, can you imagine this show being put on anywhere […]


Tearing Steve Wynn a New One

Wynn stepped away from the painting, and there, smack in the middle of Marie-Therese Walter’s plump and allegedly-erotic forearm, was a black hole the size of a silver dollar – or, to be more exactly, the size of the tip of Steve Wynn’s elbow — with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either […]


Periodic Spiral

The periodic table is under-appreciated as a design masterpiece, and as an iconic representation of science. The table works as a taxonomy, showing someone who knows how to read it a great deal of information about the elements based on their arrangement in space. So it’s pretty audacious to come out with a re-design: The […]


Lego Advertising

Real construction sites were transformed into LEGO-like universes, simply by adding a few colorful containers shaped as overdimensional LEGO bricks. Sometimes the marketing driven designers spew irks me. “transformed into Lego-like universes?” Please. It would be like security folks telling you we made your application/network/business secure. Via Guerrilla Innovation. I’d link more, but can’t find […]


Video Killed the Radio Star

Or, the times, they are a-changin’: To a certain extent I admire this. It’s a way of making the physical object worth more than the digital download. But it can also be seen as yet another example of DRM. In this case, the stronger DRM present on a DVD than the unprotected audio CD. The […]


Google whitewash

The Tom Sawyer kind, that is, known formally as Google Image Labeler: You’ll be randomly paired with a partner who’s online and using the feature. Over a 90-second period, you and your partner will be shown the same set of images and asked to provide as many labels as possible to describe each image you […]


The Jazz Cryptographer

How can we resist blogging about Rudresh Mahanthappa’s latest album, as covered in “From Crypto to Jazz” at Wired News: To the uninitiated, modern jazz can sound like a secret language, full of unpredictable melodies and unexpected rhythms. For alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, however, the idea of jazz as code is more than just a […]


Emergent Effects of Security Rules

In London, and apparently some other parts of Europe, you can no longer bring electronics on board, including laptops, which are this here Jazz Combo’s instruments of choice. It’s much worse for actual musicians, many of whom have antique and irreplacable instruments which they usually carry on board. The NY Times reports in “Tighter Security […]


Amazing Circles

Amazing Circles is a photoset on Flickr. This is #2 in the series, “Cornflower Circle.” If you’re curious, there’s instructions on “How to create amazing circles.”


Security, Privacy and A Digression into Copyrights

(Via Caspar and Nicko.) I hesitated before posting this. I’m pretty sure it’s a Dr. Fun cartoon, but the jerks in “my confined space” have obscured the signature. I try hard to attribute all the images I use here. I’ve given credit to Galerie which we use to produce the frames. (They even added a […]


Volcano From Space

Don’t miss this stunning picture of the Cleveland volcano, in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. You can click for the larger original at Astronomy Picture of the Day:


The Teddy Bears’ Parachutes

IMABARI, Ehime [Japan] — A paint firm here is hoping to add color to wedding receptions in Japan with a new device it has jointly developed — a gun-shaped party [favor] that shoots out a teddy bear. Sunamiya, a paint firm based in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, announced the development of the device, which blasts a […]


The Iron Fist in a Cute Glove

The BBC reports on Sweet Dreams Security in “Safe, Secure, and Kitsch:” A German artist is trying to change the way people think about security, by replacing barbed wire with heart-shaped metal, and pointed railings with animal shapes. Thanks to N. for the pointer.



I second Alec Muffett’s recommendation of ThePartyParty. In particular, the cover of Imagine is dumbfoundingly bittersweet. Happy Earth Day. [Image: NASA]


Giant Elephants in London

The Sultan’s Elephant Theatre Show will be in London May 4-7. Eric Pouhier has photos of another event, or you can click the photo for his full-size image. Thanks to S. for the link.


Emergent Geodata about San Francisco

This Cabspotting project reminds me a lot of the Open Geodata work that Steve Coast is working on. The map, in particular, reminds me of their map of London. (Cabspotting via Boingboing.)



By Banksy, via Saar Drimer.


You can't buy publicity like this!

UCSB has a project to digitize wax cylinder recordings. They have thousands cataloged, with the majority downloadable as mp3s. It’s awesome. Naturally, I wanted to see what software they used. Being archivists, they of course go into great detail, including this gem: We’d like to use this space as a soapbox to say that Cleaner […]


I find your faith disturbing

Adam, I learned of the flick via a blog unrelated to either Star Wars or computing, so no need for Google. Not to get all “vi vs. emacs” on you, but I never understood the fascination with Star Wars. :^) Photo cred: kemikore


Beautiful Evidence

Edward Tufte’s new book, Beautiful Evidence, is now at the printer and should be available in May 2006. The book is 214 pages, full color, hard cover, and at the usual elegant standards of Graphics Press. (Thanks, Mr. X!)