Dan Paluska

if you hold still for 30 seconds, you can capture the moment.

(UPDATE – six month compilation 1, six month compilation 2)

from the five borough tour

the staten island ferry

i carry a timelapse camera with me everyday. when it is turned on, you just need to hold still for 30 seconds and the moment will be captured. i find this to be a powerful concept. one photo every 30 seconds gives you about a 2 minute video at the end of the day. (default playback rate on movies is closer to 5-10fps rather than 30fps.)

the above shot was a posed/planned. i placed it on the ground and we just milled around in that spot for 30 seconds and then moved on. you might not notice it in the context of the movie playing at full speed but it’s a nice frame. it’s from the following movie:

first let me try to summarize a few thoughts i have.
– document more with less opinion.
– more automatic and less filtered by my opinion of what is “worthwhile”
– sped up linear visual representation of how long things take is more useful than writing “5 hours” in a spreadsheet?
– one button simplicity
– in public it is a short conversation starter, sort of like having a pet.
– reflection on process and sharing
– less worry about documentation because it’s always happening anyways.
– don’t want to spend too much time on it but a minute or three each day seems worthwhile.

a little bit more about why timelapse in general:

Continue reading


Give Life. Work in the Public Domain.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.

We have copyright. We have patents. We have trademarks.

We have GPL, Creative Commons, and many others that keep lawyers in business.

We have Public Domain.

Why not choose Public Domain?

We believe in evolution. Evolution is replication and mutation. Public Domain maximizes potential for replication and mutation. Is this the best way for us to move forward? If you love something can you set it free?

More concrete measures from me on this within the next couple months. Make fun of me if I don’t.

The World Question Center and Intellectual Property
January 7, 2009, 1:18 pm
Filed under: art, information, opensource | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The world question center is an annual event where edge.org asks most of its authors and affiliate scientists and artists to answer a “big” question. This year’s question is “What will change everything?” and specifically, “What scientific discovery will change everything?”

All the answers are short (1000 word cap) and free of hyperlinks. I decided to take the question and the format to heart. Here is my personal take on the matter. (Thanks to eva, jeff and eric for feedback.)

Is Intellectual Property a Market Inefficiency?

Someday we’ll prove it. Intellectual property is a market inefficiency and it slows us down. We continue to treat information like a physical resource that has limits. It’s not. So can we get over information ownership? No patents. No copyrights. No non-compete contracts. No licensing. No infringement. No legal wrangling over information of any sort. The cost for anyone to replicate and distribute information is essentially zero. No value is lost. It’s not land. It’s not gold. You can’t eat it. Squatting over information is rude. Squatting protected by our governments is even worse. Wikipedia, Linux and plenty of other online projects are flourishing without hoarding of information. Can the rest of businesses in the service, media, and physical product world follow suit? Absolutely.

What would happen if the music and software industries took all their IP protection energy, money, and creativity and used it to better serve customers? Could they give away all their intellectual property and stay profitable?

Many are well on their way already. Small businesses, hackers, artists, makers, scientists, and innovative teachers have been sharing for a long time. When all follow, the benefits to education, the economy, the environment, food, and healthcare will all be significant. Elimination of IP creates a long term and local mindset. Ideas will cease to be king and we’ll openly admit what we already know, “the current best thing is going to be replaced by something better.”

No intellectual property means a better database of our successes and failures, a better feedback loop for learning. Every customer adds input, every company makes refinements. All the information is public. The current focus on ideas, patents, copyrights and “final” products distorts the true goals of problem solving. Companies spend their time “selling” objects and ideas to customers rather than collaborating with them. We will reward companies on their ability to process information rather than their ability to horde it.

In theory, a flatter world is better and we appreciate the steps the web has taken us in that direction. But so many of our long cherished views about ownership run counter to this goal. Old models are flawed. Currently customers and businesses worship the product but we want both to take part in the process of improvement.

Let’s think about what might happen if we get there. Physical resources will always cost money and making great products will always take time. Those who deliver value through goods and services will still be compensated. We already do so in long standing industries where patents and copyrights aren’t as important: guitars, bikes, cars, and restaurants for example. In these and other fields, good products bubble to the top without IP protection. For the more IP heavy research or culture based industries, we would likely see a division between research and production. Large research efforts would be taken on by a collaboration between local independent and academic labs, like the current science and arts establishment. Local and international fabrication companies will use this research and the demands of their markets to create products. The process of improvement will become as important as the products. The focus of the economy will shift from product to process.

With no IP, there will be less reason to have a big company to hold all the secrets. Local production and service companies are likely to become more important than the global multinationals. Small businesses will tap into the wealth of knowledge from others around the globe engaged in similar activities. A loose network will replace the massive monoliths that so frequently fail us in spectacular fashion (after their many years of dominance.)

Is this crazy? If you can’t control your branding and you can’t prevent copies, will the truly good products bubble to the top? Will no-name ripoffs take the place of our cherished brands? If there is no chance of a patent, copyright, or a get rich quick market hit, will the innovators continue to innovate? Where will the research money for drug discovery come from? Can the removal of intellectual property lead to a sane market that is less prone to abusive behavior or will it make it worse?

Let’s step back for a moment. In parallel to the development of the free information distribution miracle that is the web, we’ve also come to better understand the inherent randomness and preferential attachment that is a fundamental part of our highly complex and networked society. We know that success in both scientific discoveries and cultural phenomena is largely random. Once you achieve a certain level of proficiency, being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. Those who rise to the top are certainly talented and hard working but they also have luck. And once they get to the top, the system usually allows them to stay there for no cost until the crash comes and wipes them away. So everyone is working like crazy to get the hit, and then they can have the good life. We glorify the ones who make it and forget about the many many more who don’t. But when it is as random as we now know, couldn’t there be a better way to structure the rewards? Could we think more about the general process of improvement rather than products? Could alternate incentives lead to less consolidation of wealth and more overall innovation and human satisfaction? Talented and hard working individuals will still rise above, but not as far and it won’t be so capricious. Great products will still reach the market but they will be more flexible and sustainable.

Information is now free and it’s not going back. The sooner we quantify the advantages, the better off we will be. With no intellectual property we can stop focusing on the output (the product) and start directing our attention to the feedback loop (the process). We can remake the economy into a flexible, evolving, collaborative entity.