November 2008

Nice to know where I stand

Mark Oppenheimer in Slate gives odds about what the next minority group will be to win the White House. Looks like even without those Burning Man photos floating around the Net my chances are slim:

The atheists: When the lion lies down with the lamb, when the president is a Republican Muslim and the Democratic speaker of the House is a vegan Mormon lesbian, when the secretary of defense is a Jain pacifist from the Green Party, they will all agree on one thing: atheists need not apply. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president. (By contrast, only 43 percent wouldn’t vote for a homosexual, and only 24 percent wouldn’t vote for a Mormon.) As Ronald Lindsay, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, told me in an e-mail: “Atheism spells political death in this country.”

Indeed. Only one current congressman has confessed to being an atheist: Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from the lefty East Bay region of Northern California. If he ever ran for president, he would need God’s help just as surely as he wouldn’t ask for it.

I suppose I can take solace that Stark happens to be my congressman. So at least I’m represented. 🙂

(Via Political Animal)

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New media criticism blog: is a new media criticism blog started by Geoffrey Alan Rhodes (my brother), Blinxia Yu and Christopher Ernst:

:|: is a new net criticism initiative publishing micro-essay insights into current trends in media and visual culture. It is an open forum for new critical voices; we are continuously seeking articles and comments with fresh perspectives on emerging media phenomena. was begun with the desire to distribute, expand, and textually manifest a rolling conversation between young media researchers and artists globally networked through the university and gallery system. We seek to match a cynical perspective with critical intelligence, and a constant willingness to pull down old paradigms and icons of media philosophy and cultural criticism.

It’s especially interesting to see discussion about the same media trends and subjects I tend to link to (OK, when I’m posting at all), but from the perspective of people who come first from the media side (in this case film) and second from the technology side rather than the other way around.

New media criticism blog: Read More »



My lab has just released a beta of iCandy, an application for Mac and PC that lets you associate an image and a two-dimensional QR bar code with any iTunes song, YouTube video or Flickr photo, and to print them out as postcards, business cards, posters or photo albums. Then you can just hold the barcode up to a webcam to automatically bring up the photo or play the song or movie.

The app itself is pretty cute (we’ve been using it internally for a few months now) and they’ve recently set up a community network site for sharing your playlists and media pics with others too. The online Flash-based version seems to be broken at the moment, but check out the app.

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Wolverine costume with retractable claws


This year’s theme for Halloween was super heroes, so around the beginning of October I set out to design a Wolverine costume. The outfit is based on the X-Men movies, because it’s a lot easier to look cool in black leather than yellow spandex. The claws I based on the comic books, with thin claw-like blades coming out of studs on the backs of my hands rather than knives coming out from between my knuckles as they did in the movies. That was both because I like the more animal look of the original and because it made it a lot easier to make the claws retractable.

For more pictures, video and step-by-step instructions on how to design your own, check out my Instructable at

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