August 8

Bean Salad
Choose your own adventure, bean salad edition. [more inside]

August 5

Early Collaborative Games of Fantasy and Imagination
A few months ago, I posted a rough translation of the rules to a collaborative fairy tale storytelling game more than 200 years old. I've now put that onto a Neocities site with many additional translations: a total of 5 variants of the same game re-published many times between 1801 and 1867, several variants of a game the same age that involves role-playing, and several variants of even older poetry and nonsense games related to the Surrealist game "Exquisite Corpse." There are also pages and translations explaining the history of the games' penalty phase, offering advice on running demos of the storytelling game especially using motifs from the earliest "secondary world" fantasy novel, and possible round-robin storytelling from the 1600s-1700s, as well as links to many additional sources for parlor games from 1551 to 1899.

All the cartoon art I've commissioned for PlanetSlade on a single page
Contributors include Rick Geary, Roger Langridge, Hans Rickheit, Karl Stevens and Gerhard, all producing bespoke PlanetSlade work you won't have seen anywhere else. PLUS: convention sketches & such from Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Dave Sim, Ralph Steadman, Reinhard Kleist, the Hernandez Brothers, Hunt Emerson and Peter Brookes.

August 1

Illustrated Meditation for Comfort After a Traumatic Loss
The sample chapter linked here is from Visualizations for Heartbreak, which I self-published in 2020 (in print and electronic versions). The narrative of the book focuses on the traumatic ending of a romantic relationship, but the anguish, rage, shame, and catharsis depicted in its pages are also relevant to other experiences with difficult good-byes. The text is accompanied by photographs and collages (also by the author), and I've recently had recordings made of me reading the text. I believe there is a need for this book, but so far I haven't had much success marketing it. Any suggestions are welcome!

A witch and her demon girlfriend punch Mitch McConnell.
A couple months ago, I pulled out this old story proposal from 2016 and decided to work on it. In that time it expanded to about twice its original size, with a cliffhanger in the middle, and seemed to fit perfectly as a submission to Webtoons' "Call to Action" contest, so I ended up reworking it to make sense on a tiny phone screen, too. [more inside]

July 29

The Kubrick Times
When making 2001: A Space Odyssey the production team wrote fictional news headlines to appear on the iPad-like devices. I've used HAL 9000 (OK, GPT-3 and DALL·E 2) to turn them into full articles. [more inside]

July 28

Latent Space Netsuke
I know it's starting to get a little cliché with the AI generated image projects, but I'm pretty pleased with this one: A series of photo-realistic works of imagined "netsuke" sculptures, using DALL-E. I've created over a hundred, which I'm posting online (in addition to the Instagram account, there's a twitter account for those who prefer it), and collected 80 into a print book for people who are into that sort of thing. [more inside]

July 25

MetaFilter Steering Committee Self-Nominations Open
********Hello there!******** The Metafilter Transition Team (TT) is pleased to announce that self nominations are open for the inaugural Steering Committee! The purpose of the MetaFilter Steering Committee (SC) will be to develop and implement site policy, code updates, and ensure the financial health of the site. The SC works with the site staff and site owner to ensure that there is not a single failure point for site decisions or actions, and that there are an adequate number of people available to respond to community needs. Long story short this will be a committee of Metafilter members who help guide the site and act as the voice of the members at large. Interested? Come on over to MetaTalk and read all the details!

July 24

"La Chasse"
Part performance, part tech demo. Link goes to ~3 min. youtube video of me playing a keyboard piece, my arrangement of "La Chasse" from Bob James's album Rameau. I'm playing live with custom software helping me to approximate (I hope!) the amazing electronic orchestration of the original recording. [more inside]

July 20

Nelson's Linkblog
A collection of links I find interesting. I write it for an audience, a few links a day of general interest. [more inside]

July 18
This is a fish shell script for taking notes that serves all of my needs and makes me inordinately happy. It supports searching for notes with fzf, archiving notes to a directory, and inserts date headers the first time a note is edited on a given day.
My lil’ script is heavily inspired by my older, good-but-not-great notes script and by browsing the features of fancier note taking tools like jrnl, rhysd’s notes, terminal velocity, and pimterry’s notes.

July 15

IUDs for All
Contraception, and control and understanding of your own body are pressing topics. IUDs are remarkably effective, but not as available or as popular as they could be – and insertion is more painful than it should be. We’re investigating innovations to empower women to design and insert their own IUDs. [more inside]

July 13

Information Warfare Is Without Limits and So Are Its Consequences
If we fail to see the last eight years as anything less than eight years of continuous war, we fail to understand the politics of cyberspace.

July 12

Bad Moon Rising: The Strange Untold Story of the Cult Leader, his Newspaper and the Right
With the Moonies (previously on Metafilter) back in the news after the assassination of Shinzo Abe, I've re-released a free edition of my 2008 nonfiction book on this group and its connections to right-wing politics in the U.S. and Japan. In a new preface, I discuss why I made the PDF freely available with hopes of helping young people trapped inside this group.

July 9

In Which Dr. Strange Swears Like A Normal Person
Dumb fun where a re-read of Marvel Mastersworks' Doctor Strange compendiums leads to me swapping out his various oaths for the single most versatile word in the English language. Work in progress. Since I do have a professional life where I'm expected to maintain a level of decorum, there's a password. [more inside]

July 8

Making a watermelon chair from green wood  
I started making colourful stools for kids a couple of years ago in my spare time. Recently I was part of a project to film the process, and this is the result :). The link above goes to a short little teaser and some still photos, or you can go here for the whole video. [more inside]

June 23

Solfetta: a free web-based ear training app
I created Solfetta because I wanted a convenient way to practice playing by ear on my phone that could help build associations between the music being played and Solfa symbols (you can also display intervals, or note names in any key). You can play what you want or use a library of well-known melodies to get started. The tuning can be changed to match any recording. Code (VanillaJS) is on GitHub.

June 17

The many faces of Boris Johnson
I’ve just compiled 36 of my photographs showing London street art images of Boris Johnson into a single Twitter thread. The roles Johnson’s shown in here include comedian, demon, Beatle, blackface minstrel, clown, monster, glove-puppet, shoeshine, dominatrix, junkie and sexy manga boy. Threadreader.

June 16

Every Diner in Whatcom County, WA
I'm a recent transplant to Bellingham, Washington. In addition to rain and deer, we have lots of diners. I have decided to eat at and review each one based on the following criteria: Vibe, Song Heard, Coffee, Did the yolk pop?, Can I sit and read a while?, and Price. I'm up to 14 so far, about eight more to go! [more inside]

June 11

Woefully Neglected
Sorry for the lack of updates! Yesterday was 10 years to the day since the last update to this site. [more inside]

June 10

AI-generated art and comics about cats, from the future! I've been generating these using a tool called Midjourney, which has proved especially good at mimicking the pen-and-ink art style of New Yorker cartoons. I'm having a ton of fun making these (“new yorker cartoon about a cat being chased by a swarm of bees” is my favorite so far), so I set up a dedicated Instagram. New cat comics/art/weirdness a couple of times a day!

Penga, a penguin physics game
I recently integrated Planck.js into a client's product and wanted to reuse that knowledge to make a fun game, so I picked an idea and tweeted along as I refined & built it. [more inside]

June 7

Short story: "Theory of Knowledge"
A story about revenge, written in the form of an epistemology exam. [more inside]

June 6

"Still Me," my latest music video
I wrote the music using some Apple loops and original stuff too. I used GarageBand for iOS. And iMovie for iOS. My partner did a lot of the video-ing. I love the old French doll and the bluejay finger puppets.

June 1

This digital history project reveals a comprehensive history of housing discrimination and segregation across the US' North and West. Complicating the notion that most racist policies existed only in the Jim Crow south, Unvarnished includes a national narrative on how racist policies and practices created a segregated nation, along with six "local spotlight" stories for Appleton, WI; West Hartford, CT; Brea, CA; Naperville, IL; Oak Park, IL; and Columbus, OH. [more inside]

May 31

INSIDE: The Photobook
Last June, my brother texted me a rave review urging me to watch Bo Burnham's Netflix special INSIDE, which had been languishing on my to-watch list along with a hundred other things. I ended up loving it so much that I made this exhaustive megapost about it. As thanks (and for his 30th birthday present), I embarked on a project to turn the entire special into a coffee table-style photobook. It took a biiit longer than I thought (about six months longer!), but the project is now complete. Process, photos, and full PDF available... Inside. [more inside]

May 27

May 24

... a look back at your Amazon shopping history
Amazon allows you to export your shopping history as a CSV. Nozama helps you parse your purchases. Slice and dice past your spending by year, category and item. [more inside]

May 23

Our new verification system, which tests for correct behavior in bioinformatics software packages. We crafted tests to unify correct behavior when tools encounter various edge cases—potentially unexpected inputs that exemplify the limits of the format. Inspired by the web standards Acid tests.

May 21

Mel's Loop - A Comprenesive Companion to the Story of Mel
TL;DR: On this date 39 years ago The Story of Mel was published on Usenet by its author. Today, we launch Mel’s Loop project (, with some fascinating details about the epic hacker folklore tale, its characters' biographies and origins! [more inside]

May 19

Hyper: A Bookmarklet to Optimize Reading Speed
This bookmarklet enables one to optimize reading speed by bolding the first few letters of each word in text. It operates on any HTML and can also be accessed within the webpage. [more inside]

May 17

Corkery’s Farewell (1875): a Peaky Blinders ballad.
The term “Peaky Blinders” was still a decade away from being coined when Jeremiah Corkery and his thuggish mates murdered a Birmingham policeman called William Lines in March 1875. But it's only the name they lacked. Corkery's execution four months after the killing produced at least two songs about him and a great deal of press coverage lamenting the lawless state of the Victorian city's streets. PlanetSlade’s latest gallows ballads essay has the full story, plus a look at how the real Peakies differed sharply from their TV counterparts. [more inside]

May 13

The Daily Brief -- News as Information
A reboot of a project we ran from 1995 to 2000, the Daily Brief is a news summary intended to provide our readers with unbiased, no-agenda, clear, and timely information that is needed to maintain essential awareness of important events and information from around the world. Maybe MeFi needs a News link up there in the header where the Daily Brief can be repurposed for intelligent ingestion and commentary? [more inside]

May 5

How the age-appropriate debate is altering curriculum in Tennessee and nationwide  
A story we've been working on at Chalkbeat for a little while, on the challenges faced by curriculum in Williamson Co., Tennessee. A lot of these kinds of moral panic stories concentrate on the things that individual actors say, but for this reporting my team dug into the report for all 31 texts that had been challenged, and tried to put them into context of exactly what the complaints were, and how they were addressed. [more inside]

Datasette Lite
I've been working on Datasette, a Python application for exploring databases for a few years now. Today I released a new tool built on top of it: Datasette Lite, which runs the existing server-side Python application entirely in your browser, using a WebAssembly version of Python. [more inside]

May 3

Every .horse domain  
A simple website which lists every .horse domain. All of them. In one place. It is not alphabetised because horses are not alphabetised.

April 30

8+ Years of Painting Slideshow
Since about 2014 I have been trying to learn to paint, specifically with acrylics. If you ever wondered what an 8+ year timeline of paintings might look like, the good and the bad and the very bad, the steps forward and the steps backward, then I have made one of those. [more inside]

Lexigram is a bespoke word delivery service. Receive a single unique handwritten word, personally chosen by our resident wordsmith and delivered to you anywhere in the world, for as little (or as much) as £3 a word. [more inside]

April 29

Every Bad Thing That Could Possibly Happen to You: Creepy Stories for Kids and Adults
A blog of short stories detailing every awful fate that might befall someone, written for both kids and adults. Some are creepy, some are sad, some are funny. All are strange, weird and bizarre. New stories every Wednesday evening. [more inside]

April 24

saneens, nubians, one lamancha: poems
Winner of the 2021 Quarterly West Chapbook Contest, saneens, nubians, one lamancha is a collection of poetry recounting my first six months as a novice farmhand on a small raw goat milk dairy in the southern United States. The poems seek to expand the frame of the pastoral by leveraging the specific experience of a black body learning to work, live, and exist in the agrarian. [more inside]

April 22

Ancient Animals
I have no experience with clay or sculpting, but I wanted to learn. I needed a project, so I started copying ancient animal sculptures that I found on the web. These were all made between November 2021 and April 2022. They're made with air dry clay, and painted with acrylic paints. I haven't tried kiln firing or glazing yet! [more inside]

April 21

BOKEH game
I wanted to make a simple webgame similar to those old Flash ones where you eat smaller fish & avoid bigger ones. A 'budget' of 1-1.5 days seemed sensible and I tweeted updates while building it.

April 18

Aura is my latest album. It's a jazz album featuring me on bass with three great musicians playing songs I wrote. I don't know what style I'd call it, but it's definitely influenced by various artists on the ECM label.

Quality-adjusted life days: quantifying wellness
I've found that the traditional 1-10 scale on which doctors ask me to rate my mood or physical pain doesn’t capture the full range of my experience. I've developed a framework that I find more meaningful, and want to share it.

April 17

London's Ukraine War street art
The first bit of London street art I saw addressing Putin's war against Ukraine appeared on Day Two of the war itself. More and more examples followed as I wandered round London over the next few weeks, including graffiti murals, home-made posters and protest stickers. I've stitched together 26 photographs of the best witty, angry and inventive pieces I've found so far into a couple of PlanetSlade collages here. [more inside]

April 16

For iOS devices, a "shortcut" to quickly create links/quotes from a web page for posting to an HTML-based forum (like MetaFilter.) [more inside]

April 15

Reunion Tour
I contributed three songs to a collaborative Blaseball album, Reunion Tour, the fourth in a series of "Away Games" albums that collect songs about teams other than the Garages. [more inside]

April 14

My latest painting
This is my latest painting

April 13

Milk Barn Farm
After a couple decades of making websites (and often talking about them here), I was burnt out, unable to sleep, and in constant physical pain. So I moved away from SF and started growing hemp for CBD, and it helped! Milk Barn Farm is my attempt to share that with the world. [more inside]

Polyidus: identifying viral integration sites from chimeric sequencing reads
The free Polyidus software identifies the exact genomic regions for integration of a known virus. We developed Polyidus to identify viral integration sites with chimeric sequencing reads from any paired-end sequencing data. First, Polyidus aligns reads to a viral genome. It allows for partial mapping using local alignment, and removes any sequencing fragment where neither read maps to the virus. Second, Polyidus aligns the selected reads to the host genome, permitting partial mapping. Third, Polyidus identifies chimeric reads: those reads mapped partially to the host genome and partially to the virus genome. Fourth, for each chimeric read, Polyidus reports the start and strand of integration in both the host and viral genomes. Polyidus also reports the number of chimeric reads supporting each integration site. [more inside]

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