August 2

Avoidance Procedures
Avoidance Procedures is a short comic about persevering in the face of the immensity and eternity of everything. It's also the 60th (and last) episode in the lo-fi sci-fi comic series Places In Space, an episodic journey across the universe and back again spread out across two different 30 episode series (previously on projects). [more inside]


magic science: meditation
magic science is an animated radio show. I am your host, Garlic the elephant. In this episode, we're chatting about meditation. [more inside]


August 1

Pattern Explorer
A little math/bit operation pattern explorer, inspired by a thread on the Blue about Bit-field patterns. [more inside]


July 30

Hot Dad Summer
My high school band is now my middle-aged band, and we’ve just written the jam of the summer (to be modest). Now streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and anywhere you stream music!


July 23

The Sound of the Far Future
This is an ambient concept album that tells you about events that will happen in the far future. You can listen to the recording, or you can have your browser play it "live" with accompanying visualization. [more inside]


July 14

Quarantine Happy Hour concert archive
Between April of 2000 and July of 2021, the Quarantine Happy Hour Facebook group hosted a livestreamed concert of mostly roots/acoustic/americana/bluegrass/folk music nearly every single night. Hundreds of artists gave concerts, and around 20,000 people joined the group. Facebook's interface for finding and watching the concerts after they were over is terrible, so I built a searchable and (hopefully) easier to use page linking to all of them. [more inside]


July 2

Recollections Of A Summer
Recollections Of A Summer is a short story about siblings during some long ago summer, told through a series of six short (nostalgic, poignant, bittersweet) vignettes. [more inside]


June 29

NPR's Joy Generator
After a couple of months of work, we've finally launched this! It's a collection of short stories about the things that bring us joy, and the science behind them. Pairs well with headphones.


object: murder is a hand-drawn comic about objects with murderous intent
object: murder is a light-hearted view of the dark secrets hidden in the hearts of the objects around us. Hand-drawn in five minutes or less; no take-backs. I've been doodling for as long as I can remember, alongside more serious pursuits — and sillier ones. I'm committed to maintaining some sort of hand craft in the digital age, and so object: murder is my attempt to keep my doodling muscles limber while bringing a little bit of lightness to other people's days. [more inside]


June 19

Harry Pace & Black Swan Records - new book
Exactly 100 years ago, Harry Pace founded America's first Black-owned record label. Black Swan Blues, my 2014 book telling his extraordinary story, inspired Jad Abumrad & Shima Oliaee’s new Radiolab series The Vanishing of Harry Pace. Over the past 12 months, we've been able to gather a lot of fresh information about Pace and Black Swan, so I've produced a expanded edition of my book which you can buy here. As a little bonus for PlanetSlade readers, I've also posted a new website essay called A Georgia Lynching, which tells the full story behind an incident Black Swan's Ethel Waters mentions in her autobiography.


June 16

Season 2 of The Reluctant Phoenix podcast
I'm a standup and storyteller in NYC - I interview someone who's had to rebuild their life whether or not they wanted to in the first place. In Season 2, I've interviewed Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead, Nigerian-American comic Nonye Brown-West about why it's damaging to say "we're not taking straight white guys anymore," and the Buddhist chaplain who performed last rites over the mass graves on Hart Island for NYC's unknown COVID victims. [more inside]


June 15

A couple of utilities for PICO-8
I picked up a copy of PICO-8 a few months ago on a whim and have been playing around with it, following a tutorial here and there, etc. Really enjoying it and I love seeing the creativity of people in the community. [more inside]


June 3

My attempt at the Trans Am Bike Race
I am competing in the Trans Am Bike Race and will be posting updates from the road to my blog. [more inside]


June 2

Penrose tiling quilt  
My 2021 pandemic project was learning to quilt, and I started out with a fussy geometrical monstrosity. Penrose tilings are aperiodic tilings (i.e. they can cover the plane infinitely without repeating) that exhibit fivefold symmetry (so no right angles anywhere). My brother nerd-sniped me by wondering what it would be like to quilt one, which launched me on a four-month long journey that I documented on twitter. Here's the first tweet in the series describing the project, and a thread comparing to previous Penrose quilts by other folks.


A Cast Of Characters (for a story not yet written)
A Cast Of Characters (for a story not yet written) is a collection of 60 short illustrated descriptions of strange people, pets, places, and portents. A sort of sequel to last year's A Book Of Beasts (previously on projects; metafilter), this was initially intended as a stand alone thing (hence the subtitle), but since then I've been writing Tales From The Town, which is a series of (very) short stories using the above cast of characters, set in a Moomins meets Twin Peaks sort of world, and with new episodes being published weekly (it's up to tale #7 at the moment). [more inside]


May 29

The Marvelous Money Machine! A Fable of Finance
The Marvelous Money Machine could make the whole town rich! But…how does it work? A pay-what-you-want picture book for children and immature adults.


May 23

Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else
My new book, Shape, comes out this coming Tuesday, May 25! This book is about geometry: in it you'll find gerrymandering, pandemics, the foundations of AI, poetry, math/theology beefs of late-czarist Russia, championship-level checkers, the Talmud, why you are your own negative-1st cousin, wrinkles in time, and a lot more. It's not just about triangles (though there are some triangles in it.) The New York Times calls it "unreasonably entertaining," and there's an excerpt in this weekend's Wall Street Journal (paywalled.) Shape is available for preorder now at Bookshop and Amazon, and of course it will be at your local bookstore on Tuesday!


May 21

Good Moon: Still Delightful
A little indie pop/folk/rock album release! My friend Molly & I have founded a little quarantine band called Good Moon, and just released our pandemic project - an EP album of original songs, called Still Delightful. A little bit Lake Street Dive meets a little bit Sara Bareilles, maybe? Would love for you to check it out!


May 20

Student Digitalus - Critical Optimism Weblog
I research and read a great deal of texts on a consistent basis - here I share a collection of resources with thought provoking and or significant issues and news on a wide array of vital topics. Within the site are subsite-megaposts on a variety of topics. Largely posts without comment. Comments variously interspersed.


May 14

Preserving Worlds
Preserving Worlds is a documentary travelogue through aging but beloved virtual worlds. Join us as we explore dated chat environments, appreciate player-created art, and meet people working against obsolescence to keep the communities they care about alive and accessible. [more inside]


May 10

Art by Josh Millard
I've been making a lot of art over the last four years—oil painting, watercolor, stained glass, linocut blockprints, recently plotter drawings as well—and I've updated and revamped my art site to collect and organize the bulk of that existing work to be a central depot for ongoing work. [more inside]


May 7

An electro cover of Laurie Anderson's "From The Air"
During the horror show that was 2020, I sometimes felt like a passenger on a plane flown by a madman. Then it hit me... I'd heard that story before. I ended up doing a cover of a classic, prescient song by my ultimate art hero Laurie Anderson. It's the first song I've recorded under my Maxx Klaxon moniker in some years. (Longtime MeFites might remember my contribution to the MeFiComp back in 2006... but I can't find a link to it.) Check it out on Bandcamp... and remember, it's Bandcamp Friday today (May 7), so for all purchases before midnight, 100% of the money goes directly to the artists.


May 5

peaKO
We have created a new method to find transcription factor motifs in ChIP-seq data using knockout controls. Available on PyPI and GitHub.


May 3

Violent Penguin (Series One)
Violent Penguin was a shortlived educational European children's cartoon from the recent past (although the country of origin and original date of broadcast are unknown). Long thought lost, the complete first series has recently re-surfaced on youtube. Created by the popular children's author (and multi-instrumentalist) Toby Vok (best known for the children's classic Spiders Are Wonderful), Violent Penguin ran for seven very similar episodes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), in which the papercraft penguin interacted with plasticine people and taught them all various lessons in less than 30 seconds an episode. Alongside the seven episodes, there are two helpful compilation videos: The Complete Violent Penguin (all seven episodes all in a row), and The Concurrent Violent Penguin (all seven episodes all at once). [more inside]


April 29

Blaseball is a Horror Game
A short free zine inspired by the cultural event of blaseball. A group of friends and I have been chatting about the splort and decided to explore more of blaseball's horrific aspects, which sometimes get elided by fanworks in favor of pure weird or optimistic reads.


April 28

xkcd's "Map Projections", animated  
For reasons I don't fully understand, I set xkcd's "Map Projections" comic to ragtime music.


April 21

Workshop 88 Maker Meetings - Remote Makerspace in a pandemic
When the pandemic closed our makerspace to public events, most of our members were also not comfortable meeting in person with each other. It took a while to hit our groove, but we've recorded many great conversations related to 3D printing, electronics, home automation, and all sorts of DIY crafts, tools, and projects. We're always looking for more people to join our community, but just having the YouTube channel has helped us stay creative and together as a community.


Music Video and Vinyl!
I'm excited to share my first music video and vinyl release, featuring incredible puppets and miniatures by my talented friend Jon David Russell (who also recorded and produced the album). The vinyl can be pre-ordered at seththomas.bandcamp.com. [more inside]


April 9

Hawking Hawking: A new biography of Stephen Hawking
In Hawking Hawking, I explore how Stephen Hawking came to be thought of as humanity’s greatest genius. Hawking spent his career grappling with deep questions in physics, but his renown didn’t rest on his science. He was a master of self-promotion, hosting parties for time travelers, declaring victory over problems he had not solved, and wooing billionaires. In a wheelchair and physically dependent on a cadre of devotees, Hawking still managed to captivate the people around him—and use them for his own purposes. [more inside]


April 6

Imaginary Friends Reunited
I asked people about their childhood imaginary friends, then brought them back in their own social network that’s full of funny, poignant and creepy stories (you can add your own via the link at the bottom of the page). [more inside]


April 3

The Chaoyang Trap - A Newsletter about Everyday Life on the Chinese Internet  
A group-chat-as-newsletter about online culture in China. CT is a regular (usually fortnightly) exploration of contemporary China, one important niche at a time. We’re interested in marginal subcultures, tiny obsessions, and unexpected connections. [more inside]


April 2

Essex, England, May 2003
"On May 3rd, 2003, I got a digital camera as a present from my parents. I was 24, living at home, and in the middle of doing my degree. We had two cats, and were soon to get a third. Like everyone else with their first digital camera, I immediately spent the next month taking pictures of all the incredibly mundane things you were never really allowed to take pictures of before. Bookshelves and bathrooms and carpets and curtains. Desktops, cupboards, TV screens. Cats. So many cats. Then I forgot all about ever taking them, and never looked at any of them again until now. So here are nearly a thousand pictures of Essex, England, in May 2003. Almost all of them are extremely boring. A significant proportion of them are either of myself or my cats. 99% of them are in 640*480 format. 23% of them are extremely blurry."


Covid Project: Grocery Bags
Before covid I wanted bags I could take into the grocery and then strap to my bike's rear rack to travel the five long blocks home. Covid made that need more pressing, and now as it winds down I've finally got the solution. It's been enormously satisfying to make something so entirely for myself and a great excuse to practice sewing, a new skill for me. [more inside]


Doing Standup Comedy in Pre-COVID New York City Taught Me How To Live
I wrote this first-person story about what it was like to do my last weekend of shows in New York City before my album recording just prior to the COVID shutdown. I'm trying to do for unrepped bar show standup what Anthony Bourdain did for line cooks while chronicling the last days of a fertile scene that may never return.


March 26

A make-believe band
For about a year I've sent a fake band around the world on a fake tour with fake songs. Each performance gets a score, which leads to some songs being more popular than others. Now I'm looking for help from people who love Taylor Swift, The Grateful Dead, or King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard so I can map my fake songs to their real ones. People like you, maybe! [more inside]


March 22

Painted pine linen press
A personal furniture project that kept my sanity during the COVID lockdowns. I'm in an apartment, with several sheets of thick rubber and isolation pads under my work bench. I only use hand tools, I avoid any sort of mallet work and limit my work hours to the noisier parts of my neighbourhood's day. I received no complaints but it made for slow progress - picture a man quietly tunnelling his way out of prison. [more inside]


March 18

Full featured, extensible enumerations for javascript.
It seems like my pandemic super-power is starting a project, getting side-tracked by some aspect of that project, turning that into its own project and then forgetting about the thing I was originally working on. In that spirit, I give you enumerated types (not just constants!) for javascript. [more inside]


March 16

Recent work at USGS Water
This is a link to a blog, which is itself a project that I have worked on, along with other teammates. It highlights work that I and my coworkers at U.S. Geological Survey Water Mission Area have been working on over the past few years. [more inside]


March 15

UnRoman Romans: texts on outgroups in ancient Rome
UnRoman Romans is a collection of texts with notes on various outgroups in ancient Rome (actors, athletes, dancers, sex workers, sexual non-conformists and others). [more inside]


Fogleworms: a series of modular linocut prints
I spent the last half of January fixated on a simple mathematical proposition about arranging short twisting lines on a square grid, which I nicknamed "Fogleworms"; the terminus (so far) of that particular obsession is this series of 96 modular linocut prints and their four derived "ghost" prints, each mathematically unique. [more inside]


March 10

Women and Other Monsters book
My essay collection about feminism and mythological monsters is out! It's a combination of personal writing and cultural analysis, looking at how myths about monstrous women still influence us and how we can reclaim those images. Of specific interest to Metafilter: it includes a chapter expanded from the essay linked in this FPP, and some discussion of the emotional labor thread including a few quotes from Mefites. (Also mentioned the emotional labor thread on this week's Longform Podcast.)


March 5

L10: Bootcamp
I wrote about becoming a coder after a decade of scraping by off the proceeds of writing, even after essays gone viral, publishing a book, landing a creative writing "Professor" gig, & well-compensated and prestigious grants. Ironically, this letter, the 10th in my memoir-y newsletter, has been unusually well-received. I got a lot of "this struck a chord" from other artists and writers who've been trying to make it work. Maybe it will resonate if you're an artist/writer, or for non-artists, it might be of interest to see how the sausage is made--I discuss exact $ amounts of what my books, grants, jobs, contracts paid me. [more inside]


March 4

The Kilobyte’s Gambit 1k chess game  
I adapted an impressive 1.25KB chess engine to remove display code and get it down to 1024 bytes, then created a separate interface using pixel art of The Queen’s Gambit. It won’t win any tournaments, but if you’re a chess novice brace yourself for a challenge. [more inside]


March 3

A video for our quarantine style song recording
Hi! This is a cover my over-60 amateur musician buddies and I (The Busted Bones) created using a small Zoom recorder... sent between us - quarantine style! [more inside]


Needledrop
Needledrop is a skeuomorphic vinyl turntable interface for listening to music on YouTube. Use it with your favorite albums and share with friends. Try it out for good vibes.


The Lifecycle Of A Singular Organism (and other short animations)  
I've recently been trying to make a short piece of animation a day. Most are under a minute, but a few are a little longer. The Lifecycle Of A Singular Organism (stopmotion, 3m3s); Who Of Ourselves Should Be Ashamed (stopmotion, 58 seconds); Risk Reward (stopmotion, 1m8s); A Circle And A Square (text animation, 30 seconds); The Collusion Of Artifice (stopmotion, 41 seconds); Manipulations of Perspective (stopmotion, 1m13s). There's also (many more) inside: [more inside]


February 26

The Juris Lab
The Juris Lab is a collaborative empirical legal research blog covering a wide range of subjects, including judicial behavior, regulatory activity, computational linguistics, and litigation analytics. New posts most weekdays.



February 21

PLEDGE: The Musical
A tiny public radio station is run by a conservative college in Eastern Arkansas. The show follows the station over a nine day period as it goes through the daily trials and tribulations of broadcasting the news, managing employees, navigating politics, wrestling with diversity, dealing with technical problems, and interacting with donors, all while trying to have a successful pledge drive it needs to meet its goal and stay on the air. All of this craziness is just out earshot of the audience and just below the surface of the staid and controlled exterior of public radio. The situations are based things that have individually or collectively happened, are happening or most assuredly will happen in the public radio. [more inside]


Quarantine Collage Series
These original collages, were made during winter 2020-2021 in response to feelings of hibernation, isolation, and loneliness of quarantine during the COVID19 pandemic. They are made of book pages stained with India ink.


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