We interrupt the ongoing tedium for some shameless self-promotion

26 11 2008

metal-heads article

[click the pic to embiggen]

Short bio piece about me in the Dec 2008 issue of Mens Health Living SA

Many thanks to Geraldine Fenn, Graham Wood, Adriaan Oosthuizen and Marc Shoul

Some good reasons why you should quit smoking right now.

22 09 2008

(If you don’t smoke, please ignore this post and look at the cute whales further down)

They make you stink, yes there’s no way around it I’m sorry but you smell awful.

Your clothes start smelling of it and incidentally mine too, if you sit close enough to me in a bar, I really don’t appreciate that.

They make your breath stink too, who wants to make out with an ashtray?

They turn your teeth yellow, eew!

They turn your fingers yellow, if you smoke enough of them a day.

You lose your sense of smell and taste.

They’re getting more and more expensive just like everything else, don’t you think its a great idea to just stop and save some cash? think of all the other stuff you could buy!

Its harder and harder to find places to smoke anyway, with most countries having implemented some form of smoking legislation.

I don’t care if they help you define your identity or make you look like a rebel, you’re a jackass

It will kill you.

Its dirty.

Some new aquatic mammals

6 09 2008

New prototypes, they’re up in order of first to last generation.

update: seems like picasa managed to misplace the images sometime during the last few hours. Hopefully fixed now

moar update: looks like google is screwing with me again, uploaded to flickr, images should stay put now hopefully :P


5 09 2008

Tinsel!! -those gorgeous ladies and patronesses that deign to sell my work in their marvelous shops- is being featured in the launch issue of Dossier magazine. A new local fashion glossy. Check out the ad! Yes those are my bunnies! and that’s my white whale!

News on the thesis front

22 08 2008

I don’t believe that many people have any interest in my personal life. A fact borne out by my page stats…
Nevertheless I feel compelled for some reason to make some sort of update on the el grande thesis that I am laboring upon. The long and the short of it is that I will probably be spending a little more time on it than I had originally anticipated. I came to realise this a few weeks ago when I was reading yet more design theory and listing some of the sources mentioned in the text that I wanted to check out. As I looked at my growing list of sources it struck me how much research I still needed to do. The sixty some sources I already have, barely scratch the surface! This is compounded by the fact that my thesis supervisor doesn’t really have an understanding of the theory that I’m working with, her background is in social studies.

At first I didn’t really feel this was much of a problem but as I’ve come to deal more and more with difficult theoretical concepts of design I’m really wishing I’d spent more time looking for a knowledgeable theoretician to give me some direction. For the time I have left to complete a working draft this simply isn’t going to work. With this in mind I’ve decided to rather concentrate on completing my practical body of work by the end of the year and moving back home in November to concentrate full time on completing my thesis. In the meantime I’m making it a serious priority to spend more time getting hold of more sources and finding an advisor with a working knowledge of design theory. Optimally I’d like to be in a position to hand in a draft by February or March next year and perhaps have my final exhibition by June.

So that is the new plan, I’m posting it here mainly to sort of make it public so that I can feel committed to it and that I can stick to it. I’m not ashamed of this decision, I know what it seems like to some people that know me. I believe I have a greater chance of success by taking more time with this even though it means being enrolled at the university for another year. To be honest I think that up until about six months ago I was basically a part time Master’s student. It was a really stupid and reprehensible attitude to have towards something which is probably going to define my future for a long time. I make no excuses, I made some seriously bad choices, not least of which include enrolling as an MA student to begin with. There’s nothing I can do about it now besides taking some responsibility and finishing what I started.

The scientician

1 08 2008

I have recently had some cause to reflect on scientists and why I think they are for the most part complete and utter dicks. There’s a short piece up on io9 (my favourite resource for all things science fiction related) about the water ice on mars situation. The piece itself is not really directly relevant but it got me thinking, in a very indirect way, about the nature of being right or more exactly, being accurate.

Personally I have long held an almost evangelical position towards science as a means towards framing my world-view. A view which is only now becoming less evangelical, due in part to meeting some actual scientists. Of course there’s much that I don’t understand in the body of knowledge and if you ask me I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly why for instance, apples come in so many different varieties and colours, but I do have a rough and ready understanding of basic biology and genetics so I could make a few educated guesses. And that would be enough for me, I don’t really need to understand the finer nuances of plant biology. I don’t have the training or the time and I would be the first to admit that my understanding of the subject matter is in no way complete.

What is so absolutely infuriating however is when you actually meet some of these scientists.  You express the slightest interest in what it is that they do, or attempt in some way to make conversation about their field of study by relating a story or article you may have read, which is in some way relevant. They will then swiftly and often with grating condescension inform you how pathetically inaccurate and horribly wrong you actually are.

Let me put this in some perspective here. I happen to know quite a few people who are engineers of some kind or another. I have not once had an encounter with any of them where I felt talked down to or patronised when talking about their field of study. I don’t really know why there’s such a difference in the two perspectives. They share the same body of knowledge yet the outlook seems to be so different.

One can perhaps say that science as a body of knowledge perhaps attracts people that like to think they are clever. Whereas the same could be said for engineering, there is a practical component to it which is not quite so prevalent in the sciences. If your bridge falls down because the principles you based it on were unsound you’re not going to be a very good engineer. So accuracy is important for engineers too, but if they want to be good engineers they have to be willing to accept that they could be wrong. Which scientists are a lot less willing to do.

I’ve probably offended one or two people with this, which was kind of my point. I’d like, just for once, to have a conversation with a humble scientist or at least one who doesn’t make me feel dumb. I’m sure there are some out there. One of the hardest things about being human is the ability to admit that we could be wrong. Its also the one quality we could probably do with a lot more of.

Weekend link-dump

19 07 2008

Two things, Citizen Engineer is an online video series about open source hardware, electronics, art and hacking by Limor (Ladyada) Fried of Adafruit Industries & Phillip (pt) Torrone of MAKE magazine.

image via pingmag

image via pingmag

Pingmag is featuring a nifty little post about clever Japanese packaging solutions.

Bonus: Pingmag has a make section where they post interviews with various artisans and craftspeople from across Japan like this one with shipbuilder Kazushi Takahashi who also happens to dabble a bit in architecture or this one with Hideto Hyodo who designs with acrylic plastics

image via pingmag

image via pingmag

image via pingmag

image via pingmag


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