Friday, January 30, 2009

via BoingBoing: Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom

1 Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2 Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3 It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4 Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

5 Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6 Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7 Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8 Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

9 Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10 Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Bruce Sterling and "Bruno Argento" sound off on 2009 (Hint, they are the same guy)

from the SEED magazine

Bruce Sterling:

If science is discredited, why should mere politics have any intellectual rigor? Just cobble together a crazy-quilt mix-and-match ideology, like Venezuelan Bolivarism or Russia's peculiar mix of spies, oil, and Orthodoxy. Go from the gut — all tactics, no strategy — making up the state of the world as you go along! Stampede wildly from one panic crisis to the next. Believe whatever is whispered. Hide and conceal whatever you can. Spy on the phone calls, emails, and web browsing of those who might actually know something.

If that leads you to a miserable end-state, huddling with the children in a fall-out shelter clutching silver bullion, then you can congratulate yourself as the vanguard of civilization.

So 2009 will be a squalid year, a planetary hostage situation surpassing any mere financial crisis, where the invisible hand of the market, a good servant turned a homicidal master, periodically wanders through a miserable set of hand-tied, blindfolded, feebly struggling institutions, corporations, bureaucracies, professions, and academies, and briskly blows one's brains out for no sane reason.

We can do better than this:

Bruno Argento:

I am a futurist — Italian "Futurismo," 100 years old in 2009, is arguably the world's oldest futurism, after all — so I will venture to predict something that seems to me obvious: Eight years late, the 20th century has finally departed us this year. It will never return.

The "true" 20th century — the Communist century — began in 1914 and ended in 1989. We are now in the true 21st century.

After 1989 we enjoyed a strange interregnum where "history ended." Everyone ran up a credit-card bill at the global supermarket. The adventure ended badly, in crisis. Still, let us be of good heart. In cold fact, a financial crisis is one of the kindest and mildest sorts of crisis a civilization can have. Compared to typical Italian catastrophes like wars, epidemics, earthquakes, volcanoes, endemic political collapse — a financial crisis is a problem for schoolchildren.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Documentary on Architecture in China

China According to China

An interesting interview of 5 or 6 Chinese architects coming to terms with the realities of working in China today.
Section 2: "Speed" with Ma Qing Yun and Section 5: "Architecture" with Ai Wei Wei, are particularly interesting.

At the intersection of Typological and Topological Form

Design portfolio from the 16th Century

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mayan Glyphs

i've become fascinated in mayan glyphs.
just an amazing graphical system.
cracking the maya code

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seed Magazine

Some interesting presentations here

Henry Markram, Greg Lynn, Natalie Jeremijenko, etc.

Situated Advocacy

The book I worked on with Benjamin Bratton + Natalie Jeremijenko has been released and can be downloaded as a PDF here.