September 7

Places In Space
Places In Space is an episodic ultra lo-fi, and occasionally experimental, science fiction serial, detailing a voyage of discovery through the solar system and beyond, with new episodes appearing every Monday. Volume One ran for 30 episodes between May and November 2019, and Volume Two started this week, with the 32nd episode, I Remember Andromeda, a short rumination on the slow decay of facts over time. [more inside]


September 5

What caused institutions to take Y2K seriously?
When you know there's a big upcoming threat, how do you get big institutions to commit and follow through? And in particular, how useful is it to frighten whole populaces? Someone in a MetaTalk discussion of doom-saying and climate change made a claim that led me to ask: how did institutions get convinced to take the Year 2000 problem seriously and mitigate it? Was widespread consumer panic a necessary precondition? Would similar preconditions need to hold in order for institutions to take climate change seriously? I investigated the research literature and wrote up my findings in a blog post.


August 29

txt.substack
txt. [more inside]


August 27

25 examples of Hackney & Islington’s BLM street art
Ever since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd on May 25, I’ve been photographing examples of Black Lives Matter street art in my corner of northeast London. The 25 examples I’ve collaged together here – window signs, posters, graffiti – were found within a hour’s walk of my home, mostly in either Hackney or Islington. A lot of the work included has already been scrubbed away, so I’m glad I documented it while I had the chance. [more inside]


August 26

CircuitPython Day 9/9/2020
CircuitPython is a version of Python for tiny computers called microcontrollers. We're celebrating CircuitPython Day on 9/9, the snakiest day of the year (or at least, that's what it says here), with livestreams and more. [more inside]


August 14

mccf1: R package for the MCC-F1 curve
Many fields use the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and the precision-recall (PR) curve as standard evaluations of binary classification methods. Analysis of ROC and PR, however, often gives misleading and inflated performance evaluations, especially with an imbalanced ground truth. In our preprint, "The MCC-F1 curve: a performance evaluation technique for binary classification", we propose the MCC-F1 curve to address these drawbacks. The MCC-F1 curve combines two informative single-threshold metrics, Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) and the F1 score. The MCC-F1 curve more clearly differentiates good and bad classifiers, even with imbalanced ground truths. We also introduce the MCC-F1 metric, which provides a single value that integrates many aspects of classifier performance across the whole range of classification thresholds. This project is an R package that plots MCC-F1 curves and calculates related metrics.


August 13

Random Animal Crossing Island Dream Codes
The latest release of Animal Crossing New Horizons let’s users upload their islands so others can visit at anytime, you just need their dream address. I made a tool that aggregates Dream addresses from public social media posts so users can easily get a random dream island to visit.


August 11

"Cruiser" is a strong word for what it is now. But just you wait ...
Following up on this AskMe, I now have a 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in hand and have started work on it. You can follow along in the IH8MUD forum.


August 10

linocut print: A Powerful Culture
I took snapshots and wrote up some process notes and overall motivations for one of my most recent linocut blockprint works, "A Powerful Culture", which is based around the 1993 Sandia Labs report on long-term nuclear storage messaging (warning, beefy PDF). [more inside]


Mixolumia
Mixolumia is an entrancing, musical block-clearing puzzler released on itch just the other day. I wound up documenting the 18-month development process in a big twitter thread (also in twitter moment format) that folks have found interesting. Besides bringing a fresh twist to the puzzler genre, Mixolumia also has a dynamic soundtrack (by Josie Brechner and myself) that responds and evolves as you play. The cool thing is that the music system is open to players to create and share their own songs/sound packs. There's documentation on how to do that if you're interested in reading how it works. The game comes with a wide range of color palettes and players can customize and create their own as well. [more inside]


Argo
I wrote some code to get comprehensive place listings from Google Maps, and then I also wrote this article about it, and how Robert Ballard's search for the Titanic helped me find restaurants in Chattanooga.


August 8

A Book Of Beasts
A Book Of Beasts contains illustrations of 62 strange beasts, creatures, and other things of interest, with descriptive passages to tell you everything they are.


August 2

What ARGs can teach us about QAnon
QAnon isn't an alternate reality game (ARG), but ARGs can teach us why QAnon is so popular – and how to restore the lack of trust that led to QAnon's rise. This 5700 word post draws on my 19 years of playing, documenting, designing, and running ARGs.


July 30

How will you redistribute your wealth?  
I worked with a group of friends on Fund Justice, a tool for browsing organizations, fundraisers, Black-owned businesses, and bail funds around the US. There are decent amount of organizations listed, but we've also included a way to submit a new fund via Google Form. We hope that by presenting a simplified browsing experience, you will save time and commit to other forms of activism and allyship.


July 29

Vermont FarmCam
In 2006, in a MetaFilter thread about a person in Norway making a time-lapse of the woods behind their house, I said:
"One of these days I will do something similar where I live."
Two months after that comment we bought our little house in the hills of Vermont, and I started playing with my own scenic webcam. [more inside]


July 24

The Debt Narrative is Dead Wrong
The moral tale of household debt is repeated over and over. The crisis of 2008 was caused by too much household debt, and because lending was to the wrong people — namely poor families with low revenue and less responsibility. Banks needed to be bailed out with public money because of these excesses. The problem with this narrative is that it's wrong.


July 20

Iowa City 5-0
I get up in the morning and draw a one-panel comic based on an entry into the twitter version of the Iowa City Police Log. [more inside]


July 19

ReLarn: A classic Roguelike, updated
ReLarn is a fork ("variant") of the classic 80s Roguelike game Larn (by way of Ularn, another fork) that aims to preserve the spirit of the original game while being much better suited to modern computers. It also has a more maintainable code base. As such, most of the noticeable changes are bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements, albeit with a few extra touches here and there. This project has been out for a couple of years now but this is the first release that provides pre-built binaries, supports Microsoft Windows out of the box and will (optionally) run in its own window instead of a text console. The project website has a selection of screenshots, a list of notable changes from the original game and a full list of changes from Ularn 1.5-ish.


July 14

autoconf 2.69b
GNU Autoconf is "a tool for producing configure scripts for building, installing and packaging software on computer systems". It's been around since 1991 and it's been neglected -- eight years since the last release. I've helped Zack Weinberg make a new beta release, 2.69b, on the way to a proper release of 2.70 in a few months. If you care about things like Makefiles, check this out and test it.


July 9

No Scary Parts: a browser extension that skips scary scenes on Disney+
No Scary Parts is a chrome extension that skips creepy scenes in classic Disney movies on Disney+. Since the beginning, every Disney film, without fail, has included a weird scene or two that traumatizes generations of kids, from Dumbo's pink elephants to Fantasia's Night on Bald Mountain. Currently I have 5 movies supported. If you have a sensitive toddler or don't want flashbacks to your own childhood, try out this extension.


July 7

Tennis for when there's no tennis.
I've spent 30+ years fiddling with sports simulation games and using them to learn how to code. I think the only thing that made me finally finish this app was the fact that professional tennis has not been played in four months, but maybe also because I wanted to hone my Flutter skills. So here's my lifetime side-project -- a tennis simulation app that's neither a pong derivative nor a sports management game. It's not even really a game at all. But you can add yourself to the player list, and tap away to see how you do. Available for testing on Android, coming later for iOS.


July 6

Why You Should Be Happy: standup/storytelling album
I'm a standup comedian and storyteller based in NYC. I just came out with my second album of stories and standup - called "Why You Should Be Happy." Video of the title track here. You may have heard my work on This American Life, The Moth podcast or Risk. The record is about how I found that the world around me hadn’t been working and had to rebuild myself after trauma from out of the skies. Then there are just a lot of jokes about racism, blackface, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Southern food and broccoli salad.


Maps of the Lost
A (fictional, maybe) guidebook to the lost knowledge, the thin places and the secret histories of the UK. Be cautious, though. If you follow them, you may become lost yourself. Available on the web, on Facebook, via a bitesize podcast, or a monthly email newsletter. [more inside]


July 3

Weekly COVID-19 Infections
I have assembled tables of COVID-19 virus data using the daily reports from each state of the United States. From this database of approximately 20,000 entries, I have assembled weekly statistics and rankings for each state. [more inside]


Full Spectrum Resistance
Last year, Seven Stories Press released my book Full Spectrum Resistance, a two-volume exploration of how to build more effective movements. Right now you can get a free eBook version of both volumes (until July 5). (I’m posting bonus content on Facebook.) If you like free books about resistance, you can also download a copy of Direct Action Works: A legal handbook for civil disobedience and non-violent direct action in Canada, first released during February 2020's massive Indigenous solidarity actions.


June 30

singingbush.online
Do you love The Singing Bush from the 1986 comedy ¡Three Amigos!? [more inside]


The Unfathomable Stupidity of Rich White Men
Hi, everyone. I've written a number of pieces for DailyKos that I've been proud of and that have been well-received, but this is the first time I've posted one to Projects. It really seems to have struck a nerve with readers, and I'm both curious about whether MeFites agree with the premise -- that we are witnessing a long-overdue mass revolt against a corrupt and racist plutocracy -- and eager to see it continue to find an audience, as I genuinely feel it is generating positive energy and enthusiasm for change. Thanks!


June 29

Messages From Sagittarius A*
An eclectic radio show where I essentially play three hours of whatever I've been listening to that week and have a drink. All feedback is enjoyed.


June 27

Break Into Us
I made a web-based puzzle game. Players must solve clues to reduce the possible permutations for a series of combination locks and get them open. There are a couple of deliberately-easy tutorial levels at the start, but once you've solved the first one you can jump to any lock you please. [more inside]


June 15

Kaggle Birdcall Identification Competition
We just launched a machine learning competition for bird identification in soundscapes! This is a surprisingly difficult problem, which can ultimately help with ecosystem health monitoring (for example, if birds X, Y, Z are present, you can make inferences about their food and predators). I've been building models in this space for a couple of years, working with both the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Cal Academy of Sciences in my spare time. I'm excited to see what sort of ideas we get from the larger community!


June 13

Typewriter Stories with Doctor Sparks
Every day (M-F) I host a livestream where kids video chat in, and together we write a story on my mechanical typewriter. The stories are illustrated in real time by Cecilia Olivera-Hillway. The show is a celebration of the creativity and storytelling of children. Tune in at 4pm Eastern! [more inside]


June 12

Match Game '73: All the blanks!
For absolutely no reason, I have transcribed all the questions, answers and blanks of all 119 episodes of "Match Game '73." (Except for the 3 that are missing.) Just the questions and answers, and nothing more. The early episodes are interesting of course, because the show hadn't yet found its footing. Brett Somers didn't make an appearance until episode 11, and she was on the bottom tier! As someone who really likes the 4th-grade-level wordplay of the show, this gives me a big laugh. If there's more interest here or elsewhere, I'll start soon on '74.


June 9

CNBSeen
CNBSeen seeks to reduce the number of profiling of vehicles with burnt out lights by replacing burnt out lights on vehicles for free. This helps 1) Reduce the number of stops which have resulted in confrontations between police and innocent people of color (esp), 2) Reduce the amount of financial hardship on drivers who may find themselves having to pay concurrent fines, and 3) Promote public safety on the road by repairing broken lights. [more inside]


The Mad Magazine Fold-In Effect in CSS  
At age 99, comic artist Al Jaffee just announced his retirement. Jaffee was best known for his Mad Magazine fold-ins, where folding the page reveals a hidden message in the artwork. Plenty of examples can be found on the web. Unfortunately, they all show the before and after statically, diminishing the magic. There’s a whole generation who may have only seen the fold-ins in this format. So of course I had to create the paper folding effect for the web.


June 4

A Timelapse of Tides
This is a very simple 9 hour time lapse of the tides on the River Thames. [more inside]


This MP Does Not Exist
I trained a StyleGAN neural network using official photos of UK Members of Parliament, then generated a whole new load of them along with names and constituencies (using segments from real MP names and structures of actual constituency names). The results are often blandly white, male & middle-aged, and occasionally very weird.


June 2

Arigato: A minimal, unopinionated toolkit for scripting with AudioUnits
I have written a lightweight system for making it convenient to play AudioUnit software instruments in code on macOS. Arigato consists of a tool, ARigEditor, for creating networks of pre-prepared AudioUnits (which I call ARigs, hence the name), tagged with names, and a library for loading these and doing things with them in Swift, typically in Xcode Playgrounds. Oh, and ARigEditor will also generate Playgrounds containing your AudioUnits and the necessary support code. [more inside]


May 28

Motto
a playful ghost story brought to life by the one-of-a-kind way you see the world. Working with friends and Canada's National Film Board, we spent the past three years trying to develop a new vocabulary for a kind of interactive novella and portable treasure hunt. It's a curious adventure about a ghost named September and you can explore all six chapters free on your phone.


London's coronavirus street art.
As London's coronavirus lockdown started to ease, I took an early-morning walk each day round my local north London neighbourhoods of Hoxton, Shoreditch and Islington, photographing all the best examples of coronavirus street art I could find. I've complied my better photographs into a poster collage, which you can enlarge to study the art's detail if you wish. I'm still adding to the collection too. [more inside]


May 21

Reverse engineering Apple Photos to extract photo metadata and do fun things with it  
I've been building tools to liberate my photo metadata from Apple Photos. In addition to machine learning labels (it automatically tags my photos with categories as detailed as lemur, pelican and seal) I also found an intriguing collection of quality scores, with names like ZPLEASANTCAMERATILTSCORE and ZSHARPLYFOCUSEDSUBJECTSCORE. I've used them to identify my most aesthetically pleasing photographs of pelicans according to Apple's fancy machine learning algorithms!


A Chrome extension for managing your tabs
Quickly find, open, save, and share all your important web pages. [more inside]


May 19

Trouble finding TP? Try Shelf Bear!
So we've been working on this for ourselves - but I saw comments in the Door Dash thread saying that "I wish there was an app to help find things," so even though we're a day or two out from live launch (plus approval from app stores) I thought I'd go ahead and post this here. I take responsibility for the terrible puns, and Mr. Gyre handles the server bits. I just wanted to be able to wipe my bum and find meats that don't cost an arm and a leg without running all over town or activating the literal phone tree. Maybe some other folks might find it useful, too. [more inside]


May 6

In Sickness: a podcast about caregiving
Two millennial caregivers for their chronically ill spouses, speak honestly about what life is like when there are more days spent in sickness than in health. [more inside]


Lucid
Four and a half years ago, I thought I was a cis man. Then I wrote a book. [more inside]


May 4

TrudgeCast podcast
I set out to make the most mundane, dreary podcast possible... but then Stuff Happened that made it topical and perhaps slightly poignant. Each episode features the audio of a different person's journey to work, sometimes with just the background noises, sometimes with commentary. [more inside]


May 1

Pictures and Stories
An editor friend of mine and I have been trying to keep occupied during the lockdown by collaborating on short (sometimes very short) fiction based around reader-submitted photos. These are the tales we have so far.


MCLUHAN VIDEOS
Salutations Everyone! We all have read the quotes about McLuhan, now hear and occasionally see him speak, it's quite different than just reading, as if the person, or medium, if you will, alters the content of what's expressed, or message, ya might say. Seriously though, I'm serializing a project entitled: "Western Cynical: McLuhan Unclaimed", it's available on YouTube, episode 13 is premiering very soon. [more inside]


Boast & Drive: A Squash Card Game
If you're bouncing off the walls, we have your antidote. Boast & Drive is a strategic card game for 2 to 6 players bringing to your living room the suspense and excitement of a squash match. Designed in Cleveland; made in the USA! Be the first to own the world’s best (and only) squash card game. Every purchase includes a donation to a member program of Squash & Education Alliance.


April 30

Fifteen Monsters All In A Row  
Fifteen Monsters All In A Row is a short text adventure/twine game (which should work in any browser), where you have to confront fifteen monsters (in a row), which I made for/with my five year old niece and two year old nephew, who designed the monsters, and wrote some of the stories. The game contains 15 monsters (all in a row), several secret monsters (occasionally in a row), multiple solutions to every problem (almost), some exciting stories (occasionally), at least two jokes, and even a super secret special ending. [more inside]


I have eaten the plums
Inspired by this post my favorite pastime recently, when I'm feeling down or bored, has been getting GPT-2 to complete William Carlos Williams poems. I've made a tumblr where I have been posting some of my favorite completions of his classic, "This Is Just To Say."


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