Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama's Tax Policy (what if we all made propaganda?)

I have always felt that political propaganda was an interesting and infuriating genre. Lisa of Gravel and Gold fame points out that if we all made a video today, it would be the equivalent of holding a sign up at a candidate's rally, because today we all know how to make a video (or we could learn)... Here is my attempt to make a video for Obama. I learned that making good propaganda is much harder than one would think; also I learned a lot about the tax policy. My favorite tax information is here.

Many thanks to the brilliant bluegrass players High Country, who kindly granted permission for me to use their song, which was written by Keith Little.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mabel Hubbard Bell

I'm having a little love affair with the Bells. If you peruse their notebooks on the Library of Congress you get to see all kinds of interesting notes about flight, children, ponies, sheep, potato bugs, and science. Mabel Hubbard Bell was deaf and that is at least part of why Alexander Graham Bell studied sound so thoroughly. The Bells were friends with Helen Keller as well, and letters from her appear in the family archive.

In one of Mabel's journals there are notes on child raising... She tells a story about how her daughter Daisy took three candies, two for herself and one for her sister and she ate up two and then ate part of the other. The notebook asks, "What should her punishment be?" and different handwriting chimes in to answer that you should let Daisy punish herself. "Be very sorry when the next time comes that she has already eaten up the candy you wanted her to have. Give Elsie hers but don't give Daisy any. Don't treat it as a punishment. You wanted her to have it and you are very sorry she ate it up too soon."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Creating Reality?

I love these historical installation photos from the American Museum of Natural History of their permanent and temporary exhibits. It's so rare to see the half-hung bones and skeletal armatures of what are really quite bizarre displays when you think about it. I've always been fascinated by the dioramas and displays at natural history museums, so these photos give a glimpse behind the scenes of installations that would be at home in a gallery of Surrealist or conceptual art. Plus they're just plain mystical.

By way of the Pruned blog, which I highly recommend in general for interesting news about landscape, the environment and natural history.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Olden Days Science Kissing

Lookie here, Alexander Graham Bell was creating some kind of free wheeling love-fest with his crazy tetrahedral kite designs...

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Long Now Foundation

I just found out about The Long Now foundation. Spectacular, earnest video, put together in logical order. Most of all I loved to learn about the Orrery. I first heard of an orrery in a fiction book (Little, Big) and I didn't know if it was make believe so I am glad to know that they really exist.

The Long Now people are installing a clock on a parcel of land near the Great Basin National Park. Here you can play many sounds of nature from the park. And you can find out about The Night Sky Team.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A reason to visit Mons, Belgium... The New York Times has an article about a man named Otlet, who wanted to establish a large analog search engine... Anyone in the world could submit a question by telegraph or by mail and get an answer from the world's largest card catalog.

“The problem is that no one knows the story of the Mundaneum,” said the lead archivist, Stéphanie Manfroid. “People are not necessarily excited to go see an archive. It’s like, would you rather go see the latest ‘Star Wars’ movie, or would you rather go see a giant card catalog?”

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kildeer watching

The first day I noticed the kildeer flying around me they distracted me with a broken wing trick. While filming them I finally noticed that they had a nest nearby. About four days later the younglings are now running around on their own. In the lower image you can see their four chicks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

sunrise over the valley

A collaboration—a snippet of Meara's music.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Strange Maps

Speaking of cartography, I love this blog of strange maps, covering everything from "Titan's Unnamed Methane Sea," to "Area Codes in which Ludacris Claims to Have Hoes" (which literally made me whoop out loud in the middle of my office), to a Surrealist Map of the world from 1929, to the above map of "Country Music's Favorite States." They're funny and beautiful, and each entry has an extended history of the map and its cultural background. An unutterable pleasure to look at and to read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I think we're thinking about

This image was taken from the wikipedia article about petroleum. I think we're all thinking a little bit about energy consumption these days. And trying to fly less.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Drawings I made while in Perú

I took excruciating care on these, as I had limitless time in which to contemplate everything.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cabbage Print

What to do with the heel of a cabbage, a piece of paper and an inkpad.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Work in progress, Mark Borthwick

Our friends Leila and Mark were here for a few days—I feel more creative since their visit.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cherry Blossom viewing

It's a magical week: all the cherry trees in our part of San Francisco are blooming. Yesterday Saul and Meara and I took a walk to Potrero Hill and saw the moon rise through the branches. There's another cherry tree between my house and Meara and Andrea's house, which I curse most of the year because it blocks my sunlight. But right now, it's magical.

Another winter post: snowflakes

I'll put up some spring photos in a moment, but I wanted to post this perfect snowflake I caught on Saul's scarf when we were in Lake Tahoe a few weekends ago. What an amazing way to learn about crystalline structure. I'd almost forgotten that snowflakes really exist, rather than just being an abstracted representation of snow, cut out of paper. Pretty rad!

In doing a little bit of research, I found out that, despite the old wives tale, two snowflakes can be alike, and in fact two identical snowflakes were found in 1988 (ok, so it's not very common).

Winter Still Life

Right now it feels like spring is in full force, but this photo is from the end of January, when the tulips Saul brought me were the only hint of spring. I love the way they look in this earthenware pot Pamela gave me in Australia. (I carried it home in my suitcase.) The Japanese teapot is from my mother, so it's a nice meeting of mothers on my table.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Building a House

I decided to build a house this year on some land that my parents have up in Northern California. At this point I'm thinking the house will be either a yurt or a geodesic dome, but perhaps by the time I get around to building it in the spring, I will come up with some sort of hybrid! People have also been putting in bids for strawbale houses etc, so time will tell. My goal is to learn how to ecologically and economically build a house that is off the grid. I want to know that it can be done by anyone (and I'm definitely the 'anyone' type when it comes to mathematical/premeditated architecture)! I'm taking this opportunity to make loads of models and revisit my very rusty geometry skills. For references, right now I'm mostly using this great book that I found from the seventies called Dome 2, by William Yarnall, as well as lots of Buckminster Fuller, of course.

I've posted pictures of my very first geodesic model, (don't mind the dents) and will continue posting my progress and various plans for how it will go...

Monday, January 28, 2008


It's nice to send handmade postcards. One of these is a place postcard, and another is a dream.

Friday, January 25, 2008