critical reading for the rude

hexayurt instantiation

I built a wee one with paper and invisble tape. It stands right under 3 inches at the peak of the roof. Vinay’s instructions were very clear, very easy to follow.

This works. More soon.


March 28, 2007 Posted by | making | Leave a comment

links for late march

MIT engineers create plan for interplanetary supply chain management.

By 2020, NASA plans to establish a long-term human presence on the moon, potentially centered on an outpost to be built at the rim of the Shackleton crater near the lunar South Pole.

To make such a scenario possible, a reliable stream of consumables such as fuel, food and oxygen, spare parts and exploration equipment would have to make its way from the Earth to the moon as predictably as any Earth-based delivery system. Or more predictably: One missed shipment could have devastating consequences when you can’t easily replenish essential supplies.

Histories of Wales, DA 700

Becoming wikipedian.

Everyware / ambient sensors / intelligent architecture: bluetooth at the Tower Bridge.

Kurt’s Eight Rules for writing fiction

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Ultraculture Journal No. 1. at; main site here.

Dharma talks: Blanche Hartman, et al. Old talks by Alan Watts.

New hexayurt work by Vinay: folding buildings.

March 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

searching searches

I’ve been searching for a search engine that can drill down into catalogues, into other search pages.  Haven’t found exactly what I’m after yet.  Making some preliminary moves to build such a thing.  Very. preliminary. Because. I don’t. Write much code at all, besides a touch of xml, html.  I’m looking at Java.  But most of the Java open-source search engines I’ve found are puttering, muttering, mumbling things that do little more than tell you where a term exists in a given file.  I need something that would let you tell the ‘engine’ which pages to drill down into, and then drill down and search for results from the search engines of those pages.  I don’t have the time, skill, or resources to do anything approaching the creation of some local index of the web.  I need something live — a gadget that fits over existing search engines.  A hearing aid.  Infrared goggles for google.  More as it develops.

March 28, 2007 Posted by | search | Leave a comment

bubbl dot us

Decent little brainstorming pad:


March 27, 2007 Posted by | info sci | Leave a comment

baidu new

Hello to

March 27, 2007 Posted by | search | Leave a comment

TIDE, tagging, and authority control

Seems that the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) is growing big, big, big. Its managers worry that the amount of info in it will be way too much for humans to handle — maybe even too much for humans handling machines to handle.

When you want to be extra extra thorough, your tendency is to include more rather than less, and figure on using better practices in the future to weed out what you don’t need. You figure it’s better to have too much (and possibly incorrect records) than not enough information.

But this leads to problems quickly, and more quickly than ever before. I’m concerned about civil liberties, yes, but I also think we’re in some ways beyond that debate. I grew up in a household where it was just sort of assumed that your phones were tapped, that black helicopters were watching you, that the state was not accountable, that Big Brother was real (but he looked like Bob Barker, and hey, maybe he was Bob Barker), and that one fine winter morning we’d wake to a red dawn. I make no presumptions that the state won’t do exactly what the hell it wants to do, no matter what the law says.

The issue is this. If TIDE works better, not only do we catch more “terrorists”, but we also spare many citizens from getting wrongly tagged as terrorist. If librarians are interested in civil liberties, the freedom to access information, equal access, and all the rest, maybe we ought to offer up some of our best cataloguers to do pro-bono work on these spooky databases. (An idle suggestion, by the way… But could some very large, reasonably respectable library-related organization/s make forays into that world for the benefit of us all?) Make them leaner, meaner, and make them work better for the spooks who manage them now, and for the citizens who won’t then get wrongly tagged as enemies of the state.


This is just one instantiation of a problem in its infancy. The semantic web vs. good old hierarchical taxonomies. Folksonomy versus authority control.

Now on a massive scale there’s no way we can or should expect everyday internet users to plug in standard metadata elements to Flickr, MySpace, or You Tube on a voluntary basis. No way that’s gonna happen. But if some automated vocabulary control isn’t hatched fast, we’re going to (still) have an internet without an index — we’ll be (exponentially increasingly) dependent on the 2.0 masses to use “good sense” when posting files and images in such a way that others can easily find what they post. “I’m Feeling Lucky” every time I cast out a search query.

Could an “attention economy” market model use its invisible keyboard to push us toward good practice? In other words, if my pics get blogged quicker and more widely than your pics because I’ve used good filename practices (so they’re easier to find), will using better filenames be an evolutionary advantage on the web? etc.

ah so. she hopes so. i can see it in the one eye she has left.  in her right eye.

March 25, 2007 Posted by | info sci | Leave a comment


Cross stitch is too often and too easily kitsch. What else can be done with it? You can imitate other art works. You can homage. You get a little traction from putting the bullish, violent, crass, and crude to cross stitch; but this is a relatively short-lived joke. What endures? Cross stitch renditions of Thomas Kincade (Painter of Light, you know) gingerbread cottages fit sweetly, sugar and spice. Cross stitch covers of Hellboy or Warren Zevon lyrics are incongrous in a delicious (if not sustaining) way. Kandinsky in aida cloth? Redundant! Steranko’s flexing heroes? Lin’s “Wave Field“? David Byrne’s PowerPoint experiments?

You can always work up original designs, but usually the drawings themselves are more powerful than any stitched versions. (Original design is where it’s at, really. The rest of this is almost moot.)

So what’s it good for? I was browsing through pics at NASA, and came across this one of glaciers in Bhutan:

I thought to myself, now there’s some meat for cross stitch. It’s nearly abstract, but it’s really specific too. It’s stark and fun to look at as a photo. It’s charged up. It’s a hot spot.

So now I’m not talking art so much as magic. Needlepoint as working. Fine, mindful attention, stitch by stitch in the eternal now. You work the glaciers of Bhutan, and you work them with a number of increase. There’s your kitchen witchery. A tiny act of tikkun olam.

I can’t shake the feeling that cross stitch is loaded with some kind of energy that shakes out in waves like that. You work an image, you render it, you might bleed a little bit making it, and you usually give it away.

Why do teddy bears? Why not do teddy bears? Either way, what’s your image, what’s your color count, and what’s your intent?

March 23, 2007 Posted by | making, occult | Leave a comment

media footprint

Tim’s done spread this “media consumption footprint” meme.

I’ll join in.


I half live on it. I’m on myspace and friendster and blogger and such. I get my news and my newspaper articles and my magazine articles online. I listen to music and watch some video online. I’m in the thick, mates.


I prefer e-mail, but I will still take phone calls. I’ve got the cheapest land-line you can get, no long-distance, and one pay-as-you-go, no-contract, emergency-use-only cell phone. (It ain’t ketai.)


I watch shows on DVD, a year late. Deadwood, Rome, Curb Yr Enthusiasm. Give me Doctor Who. I watch some bits and pieces from TV on YouTube.


Reading Moorcock’s Corum stories, Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge by Jeanneney, and hoping to get started soon with a copy of Whitehead’s An Introduction to Mathematics (just browsing, picked it up in the library) soonly. This I don’t do online. This I do with physical paper in my physical hand.


I gots bloglines, I read MSNBC, I check in at C-SPAN. Google News I’m always clicking. Lately been interested in news on qat. I dunno really why that is.


Schultze Gets the Blues. DVD. Every (every) now and then we’ll go to the movie-house, but I hate the crowds. I get itchy and mean.


Listening to Billy Bragg a good bit on Pandora. Listened to Jamiroquai yesterday morning on the good old fashioned CD player. My wife tips me off to good tunes through myspace, too.


WIRED. I really don’t do much periodical paper, though.

March 21, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


You may be coming from ISHUSH. You may be coming from This has a different use and purpose than either of those.

This isn’t just for librarians. It’s not just info-viz or info-science. It’s not strictly, like, meta-informational.

Sometimes you may get a joke.

Mainly, this is the “open notebook of an excitable librarian” who’s taking other hats off the hook. Though public, this blog won’t make it a goal to stay real accesible or relevant.  So good luck reading it.

And that’s about the upper-limit of explanation you can expect to see.

Rough kernacular subject tree of interests here explored:

libraries, occult, fiction, history, politics, technology, design, crafting, information science

March 20, 2007 Posted by | admin | 4 Comments