abraham lincoln abraham maslow academic papers africa aging aid alexander the great amazon america android os apple architecture aristotle art art institute chicago astronomy astrophysics aubrey de grey beck beer berlin bernacke bicycle BIG bill murray biophilia birds blogs bob dylan books bourdain brewing brian wansink buckminster fuller bukowski cameras cancer carl jung carl sagan cemetary change charter city chicago china christmas church civil war climate change cologne construction coop himmelblau copenhagen cornell west cps craigslist crime crown hall cyanotype cyrus dalai lama darkroom data dbHMS death design build dessau detail Diet dogs dome dongtan douglas macarthur drake equaation dresden dubai ebay eco economics economy education einstein emerson emily dickinson energy experiments facebook farming finance finland florida food france frank lloyd wright frei otto freud frum funny furniture games gay rights gdp george w bush george washington germany ghandi glenn murcutt goals good google government graphic design guns h.g. wells h.l. mencken hagakure halloween health health care henri cartier bresson herzog and demeuron honey housing human trafficking humanitarian efforts hydroponics ideas iit indexed india industrial design industrial work internet investments japan jaqueline kennedy jim cramer john maynard keynes john ronan john stewart journalism kickstarter kings of leon kittens krugman kurt vonnegut kurzweil lao tzu law le corbusier ledoux leon battista alberti links LSH madoff malcolm gladwell marijuana marriage masdar city math mead medicine microsoft mies van der rohe military milton friedman mlk money movies munich murphy/jahn music nasa nervi neutra new york nickel nietzsche nobel prize norman foster nsa obama occupy open source paintball palladium print paris parking party passive house paul mccartney persia philip roth philosophy photography picturequote pirate bay pirating plants poetry poker politics portfolio potsdam predictions prejudice presidents process photos prostitution psychology public housing q and a quotes rammed earth randy pausch reading reddit regan religion rendering renewables renzo piano restaurants revolution richard meier richard rogers robert frank rome rubik's cube rule of 72 rumi san francisco sartre sauerbruch hutton saule sidrys schinkel school science screen printing seattle sesame street seth roberts sketch social media soviet sparta spider spinoza sports stanley kubrick stanley milgram statistics steinbeck sudhir venkatesh suicide sustainable design switzerland taxes technology ted teddy roosevelt tension terracotta tesla thanatopsis the onion thomas jefferson thoreau time lapse tommy douglas transportation travel truman tumblr unemployment urban design van gogh venezuela vicuna video video games wall street war werner sobek wood woodshop woodworking ww1 ww2

19 November 2008


"Time is the only critic without ambition." - John Steinbeck

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He turned 58.

18 November 2008

Stuff Worth Reading

There's a new volcano. Gotta love those things.

This isn't actually that cool. It's a phone with a 5 megapixel CCD and a Carl Zeiss lens (one of the top lens manufacturers in the world). What's funny is that I have predicted for a while now that this would happen. Rather, this is the first big step. Five megapixels is not far from the resolution of 35mm film (kinda). A Zeiss lens means the image sensor will actually be used to its potential. Eventually, because of the way cameras work, they will become incredibly small and have huge resolutions. In 10 or 20 years or whatever cameras will exist in phones that are of better quality and have more capabilities than top of the line DSLR's today.

Here's the latest on neutron stars. Astrophysics is way cool and I'm aware that I'm a dork.

This is a two part piece about riots by one of my favorite academics, Sudhir Venkatesh. Here's the first and second part.


17 November 2008

Major Events in My Life Today

I'm going to Seattle at the beginning of December to visit a friend. I've never been to the northwest but everyone says I'd love it. We'll see how much these people know me.

I got the rest of my darkroom equipment today, so I get to play a lot more now. Very excited. My film was not destroyed in the hard drive assassination carried out earlier today... lost about a year and a half worth of photos.

And I got some new books. I bought Lonely Planet's guide to Seattle and my mom gave me Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. In it she tucked a note to this page...

... now was that coincidence or did she mean to do that?

15 November 2008


"I've got a peculiar weakness for criminals and artists--neither takes life as it is. Any tragic story has to be in conflict with things as they are." -Stanley Kubrick

Well I'm glad it isn't possible for my life to be a tragedy.

This is my friend Elise's tattoo that she designed herself.

13 November 2008

Who Knew?

That Obama was human, and kind of a cool one at that. A newspaper in the UK complied a list of 50 things you might not know about Barack Obama.

Notables among the list:

His favorite music includes Bob Dylan, Bach, and Miles Davis.

He speaks Spanish.

He's read all the Harry Potter books.

His dad was an economist.

He's a lefty.

He's really good at basketball.

And he plays scrabble.

12 November 2008


"Thanks - A refined soul is oppressed by knowing anyone is under obligation to it; a course soul, by knowing itself under obligation to anyone." - Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human

This is my dad's warehouse in Chicago Heights. It's currently condemned. I've spent long hours there many weekends since I can remember. This is one of my first printings. I'm still awaiting the arrival of lots of darkroom equipment such as a proper safelight, but in the mean time I'm finding that printing is possibly more involved than making negatives. It is a lot of fun though.

What is the Most Addictive Thing on Earth?

My answer was money.

For some reason I found the answer (below) intriguing. It just hadn't crossed my mind. Whether that's actually more addictive than heroin I'm not sure... it's hard to judge deaths from Becker's answer. Although they certainly exist and likely in great numbers. Note: I consider death to be a primary factor in determining the addictiveness of something.

Here's the answer.

10 November 2008

What No One Seems to Understand About Energy

Al Gore has announced that it should be a government mandate to stop using nonrenewable energy sources to make electricity within the next 10 years. A noble goal to say the least, but is it feasible or even right to do so?

First off, I agree that we need to curtail our use of hydrocarbons as soon as possible. Preferably by standardizing blueprints for nuclear power plants and building a ton of them... That being said, no one seems to understand an economic concept that I have never been able to articulate properly. I wonder why... There are a lot of people living on the very edge or poverty that have no savings and live from paycheck to paycheck. I'll get back to that.

The reason that hydrocarbons are used to generate electricity is that it is cheap, so to switch to renewable sources implies a higher cost for electricity. For most of us this shouldn't be a huge deal. Especially as the price of these technologies comes down, but what about those poor people I just mentioned?

Please excuse this analogy but it's the best one I've got. Imagine the human population as a mold growing on a food source. The food source in this case is money and the mold is the world's human population. If money represents our ability to produce the goods we need to survive then as this resource is reappropriated to other uses, such as higher energy prices, there's less money for things like homes and food. This will literally mean that some people will not have the means to survive. Or at least not at their current standards of living. In a colony of bacteria when the food source diminishes the bacteria communicate with one another and collectively "agree" to spread out, eat less, and multiply more slowly. It's actually a really interesting phenomenon that has nothing to do with this... the bacteria will even gang up and attack and single bacteria that doesn't go along with the group. Anyways, that's why places like China won't stop burning coal. To raise the price of energy would mean that it would be out of reach for hundreds of millions of people. They would be collectively agreeing to live below their current standard of living. Unless of course they decided that polluting less increased their standard of living... but that's another story.

The problem is like that of a SUV that you just bought. Gas was $2.00 when you bought the car, but now just a year later say gas is $3.50. The car is just a year old and should be kept for at least another few years (9 really), but the cost of gas has made your purchase much more expensive than you meant it to be. If the life of a car is just a few years it's not a huge deal. They will eventually be replaced by small cars. In the case of humans however, we live on average about 70 something years. What if the real price of living (as opposed to nominal) doubles in someone's lifetime? This is a serious problem.

Technologies can only be adopted as their cost becomes competitive. The only people who can afford electric cars and electricity produced by wind, or really any green technology that ends up costing more than it's hydrocarbon powered equivalent, are the affluent. This isn't something you can just mandate, even if we all agree it's the right course of action. Being green must cost less than the alternative. In my mind the line between "being green" and saving money are one in the same.

EDIT: I re-did my bacteria analogy as it previously made little sense.

Obama's Workforce

Obama's workforce of volunteers and his supporter list are fast becoming coveted commodities.

One of my friends, who worked in Obama's new media department, is now part of a group that gets to decide what to do with all that information. More specifically, this group is trying to figure out what to do with this highly trained group of volunteers and the biggest donor list in history.

I think the biggest issue is attrition. A lot of people just aren't going to care now that their man got elected. You have to think a lot of peoples' motives for being involved in this election was that they hated the Bush administration. It would be interesting to know how many people stay engaged in the coming months and years. I thought some sort of forum/blog community type website would be appropriate. Then ask experts to weigh in on given issues and write opposing arguments. Then readers could be given some sort of mechanism to vote and further discuss said issues. There's really more to say here than I care to type, but at the end of the day whatever this becomes it should create transparency and a sense of belonging to a community.

If you have any ideas of your own please post them up. If they're good enough I'll pass them on.


Bush's soon to be disclosed illegal wiretaps.

Paul Krugman, the latest Nobel Memorial Prize winner in economics, on what Obama needs to do. The Nobel Memorial Prize in economics isn't actually linked to the original Nobel Prize. Both are worth reading if you weren't already aware.

The best article I've seen yet on the Houdini Project. The last 3 or 4 paragraphs are the relevant ones.

Operating systems (finally) get smaller.

06 November 2008


"Remember: upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all." - Alexander the Great

Just because we elected the better candidate doesn't mean we get to rest on our laurels. Go out and make something happen.

04 November 2008

Houdini Project

This was sent to me via another Obama worker concerning our progress on the Houdini Project.

Basically so many people were using the phone system to call in their polling places numbers that it was dragging down the system and crashed/was killed. Heres my conversation with another Obama worker:

me: yea it's been confusing. here's the actual deal.
the phone system did in fact go down, it was dragging down the internal phone system so they killed it around 11am
Sent at 2:33 PM on Tuesday
me: colorado started calling us saying wtf? stop undermining our system... states have been implementing their own system of getting the data to the field workers. theres a websitewatch4barack.com or they can go to their field organizer/boiler room
so since then we've returned to our regular mission of just catching typos and wrong information input and calling the poll watchers and telling them to resubmit their data
Sent at 2:35 PM on Tuesday
me: some places are just more organized than others. there's definitely a lot of info falling through the cracks, but every number i call and get ahold of someone is another 50-300 voters knocked off the list to narrow the sights of the ground team... i'd say we're fairly effective.
christopher: that's more or less what i figured
mostly i just wanted to let you know that you were famous
me: haha

EDIT: The phones (IVR) are back up.

Obama HQ

I've been here since about 5 in the AM. Ick.

I'm working on a project that knocks voters off the ground team's list once they've voted. This campaign is pretty incredable. They've thought of just about everything and they are efficient, well staffed, well funded, and smart. The few hundred people in this office have done a lot to increase the efficiency of the overall campaign to levels that have never before been seen. They are squeezing ever little bit of efficiency out of everything they've got.

This place is really cool.

02 November 2008


"You cannot separate the good and the bad, and perhaps there is no need to do so." - Jaqueline Kennedy

I think it's actually impossible to do so. The one in the middle is my dad. Left and Right are my aunts Susan and Nancy respectively. A few weeks ago Nancy passed away. A lot of people don't seem to mind. I hadn't seen her since I was maybe 8 years old even though she didn't live very far at all. The older I get the more I realize that the only thing that really seems to matter is the quality of your friends and the time you spend with them. It sounds corny but whatever. It'd mean a lot to me if I thought I had good enough friends to throw me a party for me when I die. Who wants to go to a funeral and get buried in the ground? Burn me, put my ashes under a sapling, and drink till you can't stand.

Interesting Weekend

I have no idea what the focus of this blog is. I think it's morphing into some pseudo diary ranting Nietzsche quote posting forum inhabited by me and read by few. Moving on...

I finally got to see The Kings of Leon at the Aragon Ballroom on Halloween. It was awesome.

Been meaning to do this for a while. This was a poster in the library of South Park Elementary. I laughed so hard when I saw it I just couldn't not make this shirt.

My friend and former coach works for Obama, so I've gotten the chance to volunteer at the head quarters in Chicago on election day... uh yea, pretty psyched. Anyways, I went there for some sort of training and a tour. It's pretty awesome. It's more or less exactly what you'd expect it to look like. Barack stickers, pins, posters everywhere. It's basically a bunch of young, impressive, fun, workaholics doing some really clever stuff. I really really hope they don't steal my camera on Tuesday.