Dan Paluska

Quartet at AEC, Install
November 23, 2008, 10:33 am
Filed under: art, europe, plebiandesign

Jeff and I are in Linz this week setting up (absolut) Quartet at the ARS Electronica Center.

The plane flight from Frankfurt to Linz was stunning.

Talk @ NYU, 8pm, Nov 19, 2008
November 17, 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: talk

I’ll be giving a short talk about Quartet for Hans-Christoph Steiner’s class on music and interactive performances. Hans develops a bunch of great open source software including Pd (a freeware language for music and audio processing) and firmata (a serial language that makes it easy for processing to talk to an arduino).

Talk @ Parsons, Thursday Nov 20, 2008
November 17, 2008, 8:43 pm
Filed under: talk

I’m going to be giving a talk to Zach Lieberman‘s class at Parsons. Check out the blog for the class, Making things move. Zach is co-developer of openFrameworks (OF). OF is a great opensource c++ library for creative coding and art applications of all kinds. It gives you a lot of power quickly and minimizes the pain of writing c++. But not totally… ;)

The Climate Crisis and Self Awareness
November 16, 2008, 10:57 pm
Filed under: talk | Tags: , , , , , ,

Speaking of TOTC, let’s talk about the environment.

A couple weeks ago my friend Saul Griffith was in Boston for some meetings and to give a couple lectures. He showed up at my place with a folding bicycle and a suitcase bicycle trailer. He had brought them on the plan with him from San Francisco. Saul works on environmental issues so it’s important for him to walk the walk if he is going to talk the talk. He doesn’t even like to fly but he realizes he has to sometimes. Given that, he minimizes the impact by making sure he doesn’t need to rent a car when he arrives. He bikes everywhere. He documents all his energy consumption in extreme detail. He is working on self-awareness.

You can watch Saul’s talk here. You can also check Wattzon. Wattzon is a personal carbon contribution calculator. It is more detailed that carbonfootprint.com and others I have seen. What Saul has done in his talk and what he is trying to do with Wattzon is provide a literacy and a self-awareness. How do you judge the impact of your car versus your cup of coffee? Everyone talks about compact flourescent lightbulbs but are they really that much better? What if I sold my car instead, how much better would that be? Wattzon gives you a nice pie chart to show you how the different behavoirs of your life add up to your carbon contribution. It also attempts to place more direct costs on small items like a shirt or cup of coffee. The idea is to raise awareness and give people the tools they need to make decisions everyday. I can’t say it’s fixed all my problems yet but it makes me glad that I sold my car. Next step is that I need to buy a bike trailer so I can get to music gigs without a car. Anyone have a recommendation?

The Tragedy of the Commons
November 16, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Tragedy of the Commons (TOTC) is the idea that a shared community resource will get abused even though it is in the best interest of all to keep it in good shape. If you have ever had housemates or tried to use a public restroom, you know TOTC is real.  The general concept also applies to financial markets, public parks, the environment, government, and everything else about humans living with each other.

If you know that TOTC exists, is there a way to set up structures such that it is difficult for TOTC to manifest itself? This is one argument people use for privatization but in general, this doesn’t seem to help. We’ve only seen privatization lead to worse abuses of common resources(ie ENRON).

There are a couple notable examples of TOTC free structures and I think Wikipedia is the best. Wikipedia, because it is digital rather than physical, can immediately correct vandalism. An inherent property of a wiki is that it saves all previous versions of itself and can immediately switch back to a previous version. This means that if someone deletes the entry for The Tragedy of the Commons and replaces it with mumbo jumbo, the next visitor can see that it changed and immediately change it back to it’s previous state with the click of a button. The work require to restore the commons is less than the work required to deface it. What other public systems could we design to have such properties? Figuring out how to do this well is the job of government and it is incredibly difficult. We should be spending more of our research budget on this instead of on space, military or hi tech. But it’s important to note that the internet now makes a lot of evenness possible and that was not known at the time of development. The shotgun is an effective tool when you can’t see your target.

I recommend Clay Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody” for a more indepth discussion of Wikipedia, other online communities, and more about the tragedy of the commons.  On the blog for his book he also has his great talk about cognitive surplus and the gin that is the sitcom.

Hello world.
November 11, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

This process of blogging. Semi-public airing of information and thoughts in my head with the assumption that releasing things into the world at regular intervals is the only way to keep aware of oneself. Fundamentally, it’s the release of information to others that allows you to understand it as you see it more from their point of view.  I am hoping to learn something from this. Even if that is only the fact that i’ll grow tired of it after a few months…

In terms of order of posts, I will be creating a bunch of backposts that document some historical events and projects i’ve been meaning to get around to. This means new posts will occasionally show up in the archives first.


ASU AME Visit, Nov 5-8, 2008
November 8, 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: talk

Special thanks to Aisling Kelliher who invited me to come speak at ASU in the AME department. I got to talk some about recent collaborations of mine including Absolut Quartet (w/ Jeff Lieberman), Totemobile ( w/ Chico MacMurtrie/ARW) and some other bits of my art and personal story. I got to see some great work there especially in the rehab and education areas. They’re tackling the social and human aspects that make these problems difficult to solve.