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The past 20 posts to MeFi Projects


The Revolution, Brought to You by Nike

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 22:38:47 GMT

This is a (longish) short story about brand strategy and revolution, published by Fireside. Deeply informed by being nose-deep in the never-ending election/political threads since, what, July? ...Content warning for contemporary politics.


Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:42:20 GMT

This is the first volume in a projected three volume set. All letters are taken from the back catalog of and are published by Run Amok Books. Previously. And previously.

I've also brought the site out of hiatus, and if all goes well with the back catalog, there may be original books of additional all new material. I don't plan to get rich writing these, but I've long struggled with minimizing the financial loss of running the site. Hopefully the books will help offset my expenses.


The Neverending Conflict

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:49:05 GMT

A dark fantasy YA serial fiction and game design website. I'm writing a story about teenagers who fight monsters on an alternate Earth where the existence of magic and monsters is an everyday fact of life. The most basic elevator pitch is "What if, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, everyone knew Buffy was the Slayer? And also there were many Slayers, and everyone knew about all of them?" There's a lot more to it than that, of course, but that's the basic idea. I'm also working on a game based on the 5th Edition Open Gaming License of Dungeons and Dragons set in the same world. I hope it proves to be a fun distraction from what ails you.

The game's not very far along yet, but the story is, so I will be posting a chunk of the story every week on Sunday for the foreseeable future.

I could probably use longer to work on all this before taking it public, but given our fun new post-Obama reality, I'm a bit concerned that in if I sit on it too long, maybe no one will ever get a chance to read it. And today is the birthday of one of the characters, so it's a better day than most to launch.


Mapping the flow of asylum seekers to the industrialized world

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:51:47 GMT

This map shows the flow of asylum seekers into industrialized countries between 2013 and 2016. The vertical bars represent a cumulative count of the total asylum applications. Germany leads with way with 1.4 million, followed by the U.S. with 460k.

There is so much talk lately about the refugee crisis regarding immigration policy, but it occurred to me that I actually know very little about what the situation really is. So I created this map. It shows the flow of the world's asylum seekers. The map does not cover the full refugee crisis (actually, the majority of the worlds refugees are in developing countries), but it does give some context for understanding it: where they're coming from, how our peers in the industrialized world are responding, how the scale of the crisis has evolved over time.

So there is no misinterpretation, this map shows only asylum seekers -- displaced people who have formally submitted an application for asylum (at which point they would become a refugee). Most developing countries do not have such a formalized process for granting asylum. Refugees in these countries (the majority) never qualified as "asylum seekers," but went straight to being considered refugees.

All questions, debate, critiques are welcome.


X Ambassadors, "Unsteady"

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:47:45 GMT

I covered "Unsteady" for a contest the band X Ambassadors are running. If I win, the band could feature my cover on their social media. Please vote for my video. Thanks!


Auto-generating library catalog tags

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:29:38 GMT

I don't have much of a background in programming, but I do have a bit of one in libraries. This was my final paper for a graduate course from last semester. I'm curious to hear from other people in the library and programming fields about the viability of the idea. Is it useful, feasible, doable? The basic idea is to automatically attach search terms to library items that end up being used because of those search terms. I'd love to hear what you think!


Mobile-Friendly Compendium for Eclipse Phase

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:59:49 GMT

Eclipse Phase is a cool (if crunchy) tabletop RPG that mashes up post-singularity science fiction, survival horror, and enthusiastic transhumanism. The folks at Posthuman Studios have released it under a generous Creative Commons license that allows the community to expand, remix, and experiment with even the "canon" materials in the books. To that end, I've built a giant online compendium of every skill, power, character trait, creature, piece of gear, weapon, location, faction, NPC, and pregen character in all of Eclipse Phase's published books. Nerrrrrrrrrrrd.


Crowd-sourcing image classifications for the physics of the Caribbean steelpan

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:59:34 GMT

I have used a TV holography system equipped with a high-speed camera to capture the motion of waves on a Caribbean steelpan (also called a steel drum) at over 10,000 frames per second. The movies that come out of the measurements are really interesting to watch, because they show the build up of energy in the different notes of the steelpan. What we need is help in classifying the images, because this is something that cannot easily be done algorithmically right now. We would love to have people who are interested in science, music, or especially the science of music come help us out!


What Can I Do? A Guide to Doing, Not Despairing

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 04:01:57 GMT

A short, illustrated guide to things you can do to make the world better and take care of yourself now that Everything Is Terrible. I created it as a way to get myself out of a deep politics-related funk earlier this month.


Uruk: XQuery access to MarkLogic databases in Clojure

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 15:33:21 GMT

Uruk is an open-source Clojure wrapper for MarkLogic's XCC (XML Content Connector) API for Java.

You can use Uruk to stream, insert, or query documents in your MarkLogic database using XQuery from anywhere that Clojure (or therefore the JVM) can reach.

Uruk lets you code in idiomatic Clojure, putting the power of elegant, concise lisp at your fingertips. It provides automatic (but fully customizable) conversion to and from native Clojure types to XCC types, direct insertion of Clojure-native XML, and all the flexibility provided by XCC.

Uruk is used in production programmatically as well as for manual lookups of business data at development time using the emacs libraries powering xquery-mode.


Records management in the 24th century

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 04:47:55 GMT

After fifteen years of postsecondary education and impostor syndrome, I'm finally starting to share things I write. I did not set out to write a piece of total clickbait for my records management class, but apparently did when I elected to write my midterm paper on the role of trustworthy records on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


Stairs, forever

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 03:05:48 GMT

Stairs that keep going down that you can follow forever (or perhaps more realistically, until your browser crashes), if you want.

We've been reading Subway (which Metroid Baby found via AskMe) to my son, and I found the last page, in which they walk up some simply-drawn stairs, rather striking. So, on a couple of very long bus rides, I wrote this to generate stairs infinitely.

(Secret tip: If you come across a set of stairs that you want to see again, look at the developer console. It prints out a URL like "" for every set it generates. You can use that URL to get the same set rendered again. Otherwise, it'll just generate a new random set every time you visit.)

(Secret secret tip: Try putting #glitchMode=true into the URL for extra weird fun.


Learning How To Scream Again: Promoting Leftism for Artists and Writers

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 18:18:03 GMT

The culmination of a lot of conversation I've had with fellow artists, designers, and writers. How do we effectively sell Leftist ideology ? How did we get here? What does a new left art look like? What should it's goals be? What's the best way to achieve them?


Town Hall Project Map

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 15:03:35 GMT

I found out about the Town Hall Project from this question on ask. The data in the spreadsheet are amazing, but it can be pretty hard to get the most relevant data out of a spreadsheet. I made a couple hacked together maps to help with that question, but then decided to actually make a real thing as a learning exercise and to hopefully help other people out.

Most of the work is in a poorly documented Python script in this repo. It pulls the data from the spreadsheet via the Google Sheets API, does some basic data cleaning, runs things through a couple geocoding tools (something I learned is how difficult it is to find geocoding data without onerous licensing restrictions!) and then kicks out a geojson object, which I put on the map. I

Open source, GPL licensed, comments and contributions welcome!

Things I am planning on doing:
  • Properly document the code
  • Automate data loading- right now I have to run the script by hand and commit to update it.
  • Add a grid of non-geo-referenced(phone, locations TBD, etc) town halls
  • A layer showing congressional districts
  • Filtering by date/days from now
  • Make it easier to add an event to a personal calendar
  • Enter a location and see the town halls for the members of congress for that location


Fight Fire With Phire

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 01:19:53 GMT

The current political cycle is terrible! But I am terrible at not being a news and politics junkie! Since I'm not going to get a break from it, I thought I'd put together this newsletter digest so you don't have to drown in it, too.


Super Whippy

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:30:47 GMT

The band I'm in - Cultural Amnesia - have just released an album of instrumentals called Super Whippy. Stylistically all over the place - from pseudo-movie-music to progtronica to electronica with all sorts of peculiar stop-offs on the way. There's also a video for one of the tracks: Prod Butt Prod.


Is the Future Already Set?

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:07:10 GMT

We think the past is immutable and the future is yet to be written. But is that an illusion? Einstein's special relativity suggests that it is, as I explain in this short animated video produced in collaboration with BBC Earth.
Also featuring: space invaders!
First in a new series.

If you're concerned about free will, please don't be: this isn't an ironclad argument for the future being predetermined. And even if it were, that wouldn't necessarily preclude the possibility of free will.


Panic attack bot

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:33:52 GMT

I made a little chatbot that tries to help people through a panic attack. I'm looking for feedback.

About 1.5 years ago, I started having really serious panic attacks, and I've been dealing with it ever since. I've learned a lot about how to deal with panic attacks since then, and wanted to see if there was any way that I can help other people who are going through this - especially at 2 a.m. when nobody else is around and you feel really scared and alone. I put this together over the weekend to see if maybe it was a good idea and now i'm running it by people - it's just a wee test i'd love if anyone had any input!

The reliable way to talk to the bot is in the UK - just say "hi" to 01234 480 205. You can also DM it on (Twitter sometimes gets angry and calls the messages spam).

Thank you!


Transona Five Deluxe Remaster

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 17:36:25 GMT

23 years ago I was in a band in North Texas named Transona Five.

18 months ago we were approached by a record label, Sonic Surgery Records.

"Make whatever release you want to make" they said to us. "This is your project, you make it, we will release it".

So the 5 surviving band mates brought our masters, our live recordings, our 4-track tapes and home recordings together. We spent a year remixing the tracks and working on the album design and coordinating with the label to define what our final product would be.

In the end we landed on releasing a double-LP featuring remastered material and never-before released recordings. As we began to put the album together, our first stroke of luck was getting help from Noah Landis (of Neurosis) to help us remix our tracks and prepare them for mastering, which led to a second stroke of amazing luck, getting it mastered by John Golden himself at Golden Mastering.

I've spent a year of my life working to help produce this retrospective release, and in the end I believe we've achieved what we set out to do, which is to give our little band, Transona Five, a capstone release, completing the project and giving fans of the band a worthy and notable final Transona Five project.


You are personally inconvenienced by a protest action you support. How should you react?

Sun, 05 Feb 2017 18:40:58 GMT

Just a short and sweet Medium post (my first). My family was briefly stuck in the Seatac airport terminal during last weekend's protests over Trump's Muslim ban. I put together some thoughts about crowd dynamics, and what you can do to support a protest action you didn't necessarily intend to be swept up in.