Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics: Lobbying Spending

On November 27, Rebecca Ballhaus’ article Companies Retool Lobbying as Donald Trump’s Administration Nears in the Wall Street Journal makes a inaccurate claim about growth in lobbying spending in the early days of the Obama White House, and uses a crappy graph to back up the bogus claim. The claim in question is that spending on lobbying rose after Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, with the supporting graph clipped from the WSJ here to the right.

Leaving Root Division

I’ve had a great time, but it’s been a year. I’ve printed a few things, taught a few classes, volunteered a lot, and met some wonderful people. But now it’s time to say goodbye to my residency at Root Division. My art career isn’t over, but it’s safe to say that the shape it will take in the future won’t be within a traditional studio space. Moving out of my art studio is exactly the kind of disruption of comfortable habits that Bruce Sterling describes in his Last Viridian Note, so I’m taking the time to re-read his note and go through my studio stuff with a fine tooth comb.

PM 2.5

After reading Does Poor Air Quality Hurt Stock-Market Returns? in the Wall Street Journal last week, I had a few thoughts. Design Fiction One speculative result of this is the weaponization of fear via climate meddling. Russian intelligence develops a method of PM2.5 dispersal. The Kremlin deploys particulate dusters along its western border, turning them on when the winds blow to Ukraine and on into Europe. Citizens of Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan wear masks outside due to fear of PM2.

iPad Pro Initial Reaction

I’ve had my iPad Pro for only about a week. I’ve wanted something like an iPad Pro for years. Ten years ago, I lusted after the Modbook, a clunky attempt to hack a MacBook by replacing the keyboard and hinge with a stylus sensitive display. The lure of a computer that you could code and draw on was nearly irresistible. However, the reviews were middling and the process was expensive and irreversible.

Chart Remake

Since May I’ve been reading and following along with Joel Grus’ Data Science From Scratch. One of the first things we learn in this book is how to make charts in Python with matplotlib. I’ve also been reading the Wall Street Journal daily and The Economist weekly. As you may know, both of these publications are chock full of charts and graphs. Wouldn’t it be fun to re-make some of the graphs from these publications from scratch?


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Get your art career organized! MFArtist will help you organize your artworks, your contacts, and your exhibitions. All of the info you add to MFArtist is automatically synced between all of your iOS devices, and is also backed up on our servers. You can login to to privately browse and edit your data on the web. Download MFArtist on the iOS App Store today!

Joined Root Division

I moved into Root Division this week! I’m doing a yearlong residence in their studio program. Time to get printing.


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Spimr is a web app that’s designed to help the dumb stuff of the world get a little closer to its full potential. The goal is to transform everyday objects into spimes. Spimr is currently a work in progress. If you don’t know what a spime is, you can read about them in the book Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling, the man who invented the word spime. Spimr is also an experiment in contemporary web technologies.

MyWork for Pivotal Tracker

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Now available from Meatfreezer Apps, MyWork is an iOS app that provides a kanban-style interface to Pivotal Tracker. What is kanban you ask? Kanban is very simple way to manage a bunch of tasks. Everything goes into three categories: unstarted, in-progress, and done. Traditionally in kanban, we want to be actively doing as few things at the same time as possible. The idea is to complete a large, complicated project by focusing your attention on bite-sized chunks of it, one chunk at a time.

Environmentally Sustainable Technology Manufacturing

One of the things that’s so frustrating about mobile phones is the way they’re manufactured. What’s wrong? They are manufactured to be disposable, They contain undocumented hazardous materials, They contain undocumented conflict minerals, The manufacturing processes themselves are hazardous, The manufacturing employees work in inhumane working conditions, etc. I’m taking a class on Organic Solar Cells on Coursera, and just finished a compelling section on Life-Cycle Analysis taught by Nieves Espinosa Martinez.