Intro 2

The Latest…

Cybernetic Systems in the Designer’s Palette (12/16/2017) - There’s a great article on Ars Technica about the design of the first stealth fighter. An airplane that’s invisible to radar has all sorts of interesting constraints. The shape of its surfaces isn’t dictated by what is most aerodynamic, but what will deflect radar. This results in an odd-looking airplane that is less stable than […]
TAOI: Twitter Threads (12/15/2017) - The architecture of information: I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. On the one hand, it’s served me as a virtual water cooler, allowing me to stay in touch with friends and colleagues. (Especially important when I lived in a part of the world that lacked an active design community.) But Twitter has also become […]
Book Notes: “Finite and Infinite Games” (12/14/2017) - Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility By James P. Carse Free Press, 1986 Some of the best books are hard to categorize. You could say Finite Games and Infinite Games is a philosophy book, but it’s unlike any other philosophy book I’ve read. Parts of it sound like a […]
Vaguely Right (12/13/2017) - “I would rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong.” — John Maynard Keynes
The Power of Constraints (12/13/2017) - I learned one of the most important lessons in my career during my first semester in architecture school: there is great power in exploring the constraints of a design project. Jeff, the instructor who was leading my very first design studio class, asked us to create a three-dimensional composition using a limited number of elements: […]
Making Time for Noodling (12/12/2017) - Every morning before I go to work, I take my dog Bumpkin on a long walk. My iPhone doesn’t come with us; it’s just Bumpkin and me. Because I will spend most of the rest of the day working with computers, I see this as an opportunity to reclaim my ability to be present in […]
Self-image Ideals (12/11/2017) - Ideals of self-image have varied over time. In pre-industrial times, when many people needed to work the land for a living, having a tan was a sign of labor, and pasty-white skin was considered a sign of privilege. These semiotics of melanin flipped after the Industrial Age: labor went indoors, so a tanned skin became […]
Third Places (12/10/2017) - I’m typing these words in a Starbucks store. It’s Sunday, and I’ve come here to work on my book. For the price of a cup of coffee, I have access to an environment that allows me to focus for a few hours. There are other people here; some are working on computers as I am, […]
Through the Looking-Glass (12/9/2017) - Every weekday morning I commute to work on BART. When I look around at my fellow passengers, I’m always struck by how few of them seem to be fully present. Some seem incapacitated due to chemical intoxication, but many of them — often, most of them — are staring into little glass rectangles in their […]
Mind the Knees (12/8/2017) - Whenever I’m crafting a linear argument — writing a blog post, a presentation, a book — I must remind myself to work on the project’s knees. By this I mean the joints that connect the main ideas so you can follow along. I learned about knees from Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s opera Einstein on […]