Sunday, December 21, 2014


Inspired by a technical vignette in Neal Stephenson's Reamde, I built a little tool that will display the color distribution of an uploaded image in 3 space*, projecting the red, green, and blue values of each pixel along the x, y, and z axes respectively.

I call it Coloroordinates.

*caveat emptor: displaying things in 3d in the browser is extremely difficult and relies on technology that didn't exist until a few years ago, as such I recommend using an up-to-date version of Chrome or Firefox on an OS newer than windows XP to view the application.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mandala Time

I was so inspired by Jürg Lehni and Otto, his beautiful robot at the Long Now Foundation, that as soon as I left our first introduction, I raced home and dove into Paper.js - his vector based library for illustration and animation with the HTML5 canvas element.

Paper JS feeds vector art to Otto the robot, so I used it (the library - not the robot) to build an application I call Mandala Time.

Each Mandala Clock is unique to a single day. Each shape in the clock represents a single minute in the day. There are 60 minute-shapes in each ring and 24 rings in each Mandala Clock, representing all the hours of a single day. No clock will repeat for billions of years.

I imagine Otto drawing one shape per minute throughout the day. A never-repeating art-piece in the spirit of the Long Now Foundation.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Fermi Paradox and Cosmic Brain Drain

If you will allow for the possibility of the following 3 things:
  1. that the most interesting people to have a conversation with in 100 years will probably host most of their cognition on digital platforms
  2. that quantum computers are making the first steps into observing and altering things in universes other than our own
  3. that the fundamental properties of some of those universes are more conducive to computation (and, as a consequence, more attractive to those interesting people) than our own
then it could be that the real answer to the Fermi Paradox is a sort of cosmic brain drain, where the most intelligent minds migrate away from our clumsy universe where computation can only happen by arranging molecules in a certain configuration and applying electrical charge in a specific way, to places where - who knows - the substrate of the universe itself could directly perform the computation you're trying to execute.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

San Francisco: Day 1

Yesterday I finally completed the long pilgrimage from Georgia to the Long Now Foundation. I had a latte in the Interval, got to chat with the brilliant Jürg Lehni (creator of paper.js and the inventor of Victor, the Long Now's chalkboard robot), saw Alexander Rose and got to speak with Laura Welcher.

I spent a long time sitting at the bar talking to new friends about how many of the Seminars About Long Term Thinking have changed the way I look at the world and inspired me to create the kinds of things I do.

Behind the bar among the spirits is a piece by Brian Eno, an electronic painting that will never show the same face in 10,000 years. It was his talk with Will Wright in 02006 that inspired me to create Galapagos (evolving jewelry) and Iconic (procedurally generated icons) and made me begin to suspect that our universe at it's most granular level is a kind of cellular automata.

A long journey has finally ended.