September 17

I published my escapist cozy fantasy book
I've just published Ray and the Cat Thing, the book I wrote during the hard lockdown when I desperately yearned for a light, escapist, happy story. [more inside]


September 14

Datasette Desktop (macOS application)
This is the new Mac desktop version of my Datasette application, which helps people explore SQLite databases and CSV files and install plugins to visualize them, clean them up and more. [more inside]


September 13

Metafilter Usage Graphs 2018-2021
I figured it was time to update these.


September 12

Scarlatti on the Gadgetina
Link goes to 3 min. YouTube video of me playing Scarlatti (K159) on the gadgetina, a homebrew MIDI keyboard. The gadgetina is actually an old project, but the video is new. [more inside]


September 7

A fictional band + real music
I've been writing about a fictional band for nearly two years. I've written up fake song names, put the band on a made-up tour around the world, and I've written stories about their time on the road. But I don't have any music to go along with the stories, and I'd like to change that. [more inside]


September 6

A channel vocoder walkthrough
It's an interactive explanation of a channel vocoder. (Homer Dudley's original vocoder from the 1930s was channel vocoder.) It let you perform all of the steps that the vocoder goes through to analyze a music signal and a voice signal and synthesize them together.


September 4

Armoured Commander II
I just released my game, Armoured Commander II, out of Steam Early Access. It's a sequel to a project I posted here nearly six years ago now. The game is a turn-based roguelike where you command a tank and its crew in world war II. Combat is brutal and unforgiving, and survival is the goal. [more inside]


Female Kill Machine
Female Kill Machine is a lightning-paced absurdist quantum explosion of ever-escalating cyberpunk insanity, set in a near-future world of almost total corporate control, where the world's richest men amuse themselves by attempting to build the most deadly female killing machine possible. But what if you have no interest in fulfilling the purpose for which you've been built? What if instead of fighting all you want to do is think? Warning: this book contains despicable villians, occasional bouts of hyperviolence, and also a penguin. Female Kill Machine is available as an ebook on ko-fi (free/pay what you want); amazon (£3/$4, or free on kindle unlimited); itunes (£3/$4) and patreon (free for subscribers). [more inside]


August 31

thoughts.page  
thoughts.page is a website for people to post their thoughts. It's basically like twitter, but no one can @ you or follow you — it's trying to contribute to making a quieter, more cozy internet. [more inside]


August 30

The Kraken Busters  
The Kraken Busters is a 1000% true history podcast telling the somehow-mostly-forgotten story of the United States' existential conflict with sea monsters immediately after World War 2. The first three episodes are up, with plenty more to come. Can be streamed directly from the site, or found at the usual podcast outlets.


August 27

Africans in France in the late 19th century
In the past few months, I've been providing answers for the r/askhistorians subreddit, mostly (but not only) to questions about French history. A question about the presence of Africans in France in the late 19th century prompted me to investigate this topic, which has been little studied by academia: there are works on Africans before and after the 19th century, and, for that century, works on Afro-Caribbean people, but not so much on Africa-born residents. So I did a little bit of research and wrote this 8000-word essay which includes a few stories (found in newspapers) about some African people who lived in France in last quarter of the century, decades before African immigration began. [more inside]


August 24

GO/NO-GO
I’ve made a simple page that brings together third-party tools I find useful when launching web projects. Enter a URL once then check its metadata, links, headers, etc.


New England Carnegies
A website that honors the libraries that Andrew Carnegie helped to fund. [more inside]


The Camera Offset Project: Hide your face. Save the world.
Did you know that going camera-off reduces the environmental impact of a video call by 96%? Did you know that, if you use one of the Camera Offset Project graphics as your profile picture in video calls, nobody will question why or ever expect you to turn video on again? You are welcome :)


August 13

Procedural bit-pattern art
Inspired by this post (and following through on this comment), I've written a Mastodon bot that creates procedural bitmap art. It works by first creating a simple function consisting of randomly chosen integer operations. This is applied to each pair of pixel coordinates and used to colour them. The bot then toots both the picture and the function. Source code for the renderer is here; the bot code will likely get released as well when I get around to it.


August 3

Antarctic survival manual: art for the pandemic and other disasters
During the pandemic I finally stuck most of my art into a website. I make my living as a scientist and medical specialist, so despite having some gallery representation and sales over the years I haven't had the time or energy to self-promote. But I would like to share the series called "Postcards from the Hedge" (stolen poems for survival and healing). There are times in many artists' lives in which they develop a temporarily strained relationship with their preferred medium, which in my case is paint. This set of 50 small 4"x6" collage postcards are my response to a recent paint-problematic episode in my own life, which has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and a dramatic reduction in physical studio space. [more inside]


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.


« Older projects