Monthly Archives: September 2002

marijuana campaigners experience lack of freedom of press

We’re Jeff and Tracy
We’re Your Good Neighbors
We Smoke Pot

Not very different than the NORML campaign, these two took to the media to express that lots of average folks smoke dope without impeding on anyone else’s lives. Too bad that they couldn’t get their message out because all of the typical advertising venues refused on the grounds of their message. Freedom of press? I think not…

not in our name

If you happen to be in New York City on October 3, check out “Not in our Name” – a discussion with folks who are consciously against war and repression. They also are doing a lot of really good public conscious raising, including a New York Times ad explaining their position, whereby Bush does not speak for all Americans (signed by lots of famous folks).

death of software pioneer

A former student of my old advisor passed away last week and a friend sent me the obituary so that i could send him my condolences, as i did not know. This man seems to have done a lot of good things, most notably inventing “shareware.” Death is always a somber thing, but i couldn’t help at laughing at two different parts to the obit because they just made me think so much about my relationship to Brown and to my old advisor.

First, was my advisor’s description of him: We would have these long arguments about what was good for the user. He had this very gentle flower child demeanor and philosophy. This probably seems like a perfectly reasonable statement to be read in the NYTimes. Yet, when i read it, i can picture him saying it in his funny “i love you but i’m going to mock you” way that makes me immediately hug the man. It is exactly this ability that makes me adore him so very much, and i do wonder what he will say about me in my obituary, as i know it will be teasing no matter what.

The second part of the obit that made me giggle was: Mr. Wallace had a long interest in psychedelic drugs, which he thought were misunderstood in the United States. In 1996, he started Mind Books, a source for books about psychedelics. In 1998, he founded the Promind Foundation to support scientific research and public education about psychedelics.

Ok.. Brown computer graphics somehow automatically equals interest in psychedelics for so many of the people that i know. Plus, as this guy definitely had a political direction to his technology (shareware), this just rang so many bells. I think i would’ve liked the crazy technophiles who were at Brown in the “golden years.” Can you just imagine? A whole group of folks trying to invent ways to make the computer do amazing graphical techniques while believing in the power of technology and the mind expansion qualities of psychedelics? In my head, technologists equal the stereotypes that are embodied in this notion. Yet, as i’ve learned, this is *not* the reality of technologists today….


As a former student of Andy‘s, i was indoctrinated into believing the power of educational software, but frankly, most tools used to teach tend to bore me to tears and most uses of Flash/Java to explain concepts have about the same education weight as a CS15 skit. That’s not to say that they’re bad, just that they’re not that informative.

For that reason, i am pleasantly amazed by how impressive these perception illusion Flash demos are. As an undergraduate, i did a lot of studying about perception and color and whatnot, so i’ve always been particularly psyched by Adelson‘s research on perception and lightness. But these examples make the concepts clear and powerful, far more than the terrible text-book equivalents. Yay for really good educational uses of Flash!

red panties for reproductive choice

I’ve picked up all of these email aliases for V-Day and so i get some pretty fascinating emails (as well as loads of spam). Today, i received a note for a neat little action idea: everyone wear red panties on October 7 to signify support for reproductive choice. I’m always fascinated by action items that are about community but without community recognition. In other words, no one knows you are part of the community supporting reproductive rights, but you do…

pet love

I love pets, and find that i absolutely need to have them around me for any level of sanity. The place where i’ve been staying has this great big boy cat, but he only likes to be outside, so i have to risk the cold when i want to play. I end up playing with every puppy i pass on the street, and all of the stray cats too. And i know that getting a pet is one of my top priorities for when i move (along with getting a gym and a doctor that i can see more than once). Luckily, i can justify my need to have a pet through recent stress-release research. Now, if i could only convince a landlord of that…


Wow – i really do not see enough art these days. Part of it comes from the fact that i don’t associate Boston with punk art, but last night i was reminded that it really does exist and it is quite fun. Down at the Cyclorama there was an exhibit called Bring The Noise which featured the Obey Giant work as well as the Secret Asian Man comics and a bunch of other rad graffitti art, paintings and photography. To top it off, the opening came with the normal round of beer, but also an added DJ feature… mmmm… very yummy. I’ve always loved the Obey Giant work for its political slant and its very punk attitude, so to see it amongst a lot of other rad local challenging work was just great! Too bad the exhibit was just one night…