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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I’ve started working on a new Meatfreezer Labs project, a DIY mobile phone. I love the idea of carrying around a powerful computer in my pocket. My cell phone, however, fails to live up to that idea. Smartphones are closed gardens, and are largely passive consumption devices. To steal Bruce Sterling’s terms, phones are more “well behaved appliances” than “platforms for self expression.” I don’t want a TV in my pocket, I want a linux hotrod that I hot-wired up myself.
I’ve got a new job! This change has been in development for a while, and my first official day was last month, but due to prior vacation plans and such, I feel like I’m only really starting now. I’m working for iNaturalist, which is now a part of California Academy of Sciences. iNat is a social network for nature lovers, where you can record your observations of nature and learn about nature.
I’ll write a more detailed post about this later, but I’m really excited so I wanted to put a quick note up here tonight. I made my first indiegogo campaign tonight. Indiegogo, if you don’t know about it, is kind of like Kickstarter except focused on the arts. Both indiegogo and Kickstarter are crowd-funding platforms, places where people like you or me can ask the world for help funding our personal projects.