How I Got Weird

I came out from watching The Room and it was snowing. For Austin, that's not normal. People walked in wonder, underdressed, phones out, remarking about its Christmas-miracle-y-ness. Of course, all I can think, is: climate change. But really, climate change is old news. What's for lunch? I'm afraid of dying. Well, I used to be. Some of my friends took a very modern quantum consciousness approach to it: well, when you die, you'll just become one with the universal consciousness. Eh, fuck that. My fear is disappearing. Becoming nothing. Vanishing…

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Changing Your Identity by Moving Your Center

The Lost Identity Land, Marcin Reznik Summary: by visualizing identity as a location (your "center") on a map and using the place you want to be in (an "identity goal"), it becomes much easier to accomplish goals and build habits. The Center I believe that we all have a psychological center - an emotional default from which we live our lives. It is the version of our selves that we settle on most often, and who we generally conceptualize ourselves as. The opposite of being in your center is acting…

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Understanding People Through Surface Area

source: reinier de jong One of my favorite ways to think about people is in terms of surface area. I find that it clicks in a satisfying, intuitive way for understanding people. This is a little abstract, so let's dive into some examples. Reputation and Mindshare as Surface Area One thing that has a fairly literal relationship to the idea of surface area is your reputation. Your reputation exists in the physical spaces that you inhabit, and the minds of the people that know you. Wherever people who are aware…

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Overthinking the Big "Why"

source unknown Why am I here? I've been trying to answer this question for a long time. It's the BIG "why". Why was I born? What am I supposed to do? I know the answer is hidden in the walls of reality. A buried body you can't smell. It could just be that there isn't an answer, that we're here for no reason, but it's impossible for me to know if that's true. Time has shown me that no one is more right than anyone else - only occasionally more…

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Facebook and the Defragmentation of Social Identity

source: flickr I used to breakdance very poorly in college. There was (and hopefully still is) a community of poppers, lockers, and breakdancers that would meet every Tuesday night at a local pizza joint called Joe Squared to dance and show off their moves. Only a few of my friends did this. The rest of them were interested in other things: dungeons and dragons, games, indie music, art, and whatever else. The communities that formed around these interests typically didn't intersect. That's something most people can relate to: if you…

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2015 In Review: The Year of Productivity

Table of Contents The Good 50 Books Glitchet, and Glitch Art Art Toys, Exhibitions, and a Viral Spotify Playlist Software Engineering / RetailMeNot Miscellaneous Good Things Dancing! Not So Great / Plain Bad Physical Health I let myself go. I drank too much. Failed to develop key habits effectively Failed to maintain a budget Abandoned side-projects pixelsort.me: a middling social success, major technical failure Self Pressure and Purpose Risk Aversion The Things I Learned Relax, dude Seriously assess your personal situation before undertaking projects How to find good non-fiction books Getting…

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Book Report - Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

This is my first book report I'm publishing on this blog - a mostly unedited push of the personal notes that I take on books whose content I find particularly fascinating and want to retain. Let me know what you think. Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling is an excellent book on what the things we own and how they're arranged say about us as people. Majorly relying on the Five Factor Model of personality, Snoop gives fascinating, data-driven analyses of the assumptions that we make…

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Who owns the copyright on images generated by a Twitter image bot?

This post is a lift from an answer I left on an interesting Quora question, minorly edited and placed here. I'm not a creative or copyright lawyer in the slightest, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt, but I'll offer my perspective. When it comes to entirely generative works like NaNoGenMo, it's indisputably the author/creator's work, or, if a body of text that doesn't belong to the author is used, is usually modified enough to be considered fair use, sampling, or something similar. Generative art bots like…

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The Eternal Robot Love Story of @badpng and @pixelsorter

@pixelsorter About two weeks ago I made a bot called @pixelsorter. It sorts the pixels of images tweeted at it, can take multiple parameters (read how to use it here), and was featured on Vice's Creators Project (!). Here are some images from a larger Imgur album: @badpng Now, Twitter bot magicians @thricedotted and @mcclure111 collaborated to create another bot. This bot was called @badpng. It distorts images by running them through a faulty PNG compression algorithm, which look like this: @Lokno pic.twitter.com/N7lxrLllL7 — badpng bot (@badpng) September 4,…

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Dvorak and Psychological Learning States

I'm teaching myself the Dvorak keyboard layout. If you don't know, Dvorak is an optimized layout for typing that puts the most commonly used keys in the home row with the least used keys near the weaker fingers, and separates vowels from consonants so that typing alternates between hands instead of having one hand do more work than the other. This is Antonin Dvorak. Not the guy I'm talking about. The task of learning a whole new set of meanings on a familiar interface is challenging. At this early stage,…

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A Story Lost In Noise

Open Bellows, source: Orin Zebest on Flickr The human life relies on stories. From our personal relationships ("we met on a rainy night in Chicago and almost died of pneumonia") to the things we own ("I found this awesome lamp in a dingy thrift store on the east side") to how we perceive ourselves ("I am a people person", "I am not a people person"), our perception of the world depends on stories. Despite the fact that stories are just a series of events in linear order, we can't help…

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Change Your Life in 90 Days

When I first interviewed for the job at MakerSquare, I had a fairly good idea of what to expect. I had been a mentor for the previous three months and worked with a variety of students, and even hired two of them for the company I was working for. I was exposed to the MakerSquare education, mentality, and spirit, and I was very excited. I show up, lecture, explain programming concepts, give assignments, and write curriculum, right? Sure, that's part of the job. Programming boot camps are not a foreign…

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Side project: Automata

Yesterday I started working on a small Life-like cellular automaton project which I'm calling "Automata" for the time being. I've always been really interested in Conway's Game of Life (HTML5/Canvas version here), as well as games like Pandemic, and getting to work with cell-like entities is an easy place to enter do some basic algorithm building. The idea behind this project is that it will eventually become a multiplayer, websockets-powered game where players have to conquer the largest amount of cells to win. They will be able to indirectly…

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