The Creosote Code

I asked a colleague if she was going to buy a new wafer-thin iPad. “Yes they are waafre-thin,” she echoed in pseudo French. “I never took you for a fan of Monty Python,” I said. “I’m not. Oh, is that where it comes from?” came the response, “We often say something is ‘waafre-thin’ in our…More

Derrida for Architects

Much smart computing these days depends on the idea of the index, the ability of a computer process to look up data from a table. What seems to the user of an Internet search engine like an instantaneous search through millions of web pages is in fact very fast lookup on a series of indices…More

Hygienic reality

Many people take it for granted that we occupy two worlds: the physical and the virtual. In 1997 MIT digital researchers Ishii and Ullmer  stated that people potentially “live between two realms: our physical environment and cyberspace” (Ishii and Ullmer, 1997). They took on the challenge of  developing digital devices that connect the two spaces together.More

Wicked problems revisited

The recent book by Evgeny Morozov seeks to deflate the enthusiasm of those who claim that Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools are responsible for social and political transformations of the kind we see in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, and to some extent in Libya. Morozov’s book is entitled The Net Delusion: How Not…More

The sublime indifference of waves

Who could fail to be moved by aerial images yesterday of the slew of  mud, flaming buildings, vehicles, boats, and water, sliding inexorably across the landscape of the Fukushima, Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. The human tragedy was in full view as the white specs fleeing along country roads were eventually consumed by the debris’ indifferent course.More

We are all multiples

Digital photographs do not just come in ones, twos and as exquisite selections, but in vast numbers, arrayed in file stores, as outputs on web search engines, as well as social media and photo sharing sites. They appear as thumbnails arrayed on grids like postage stamps on the pages of an album. Stamps make little…More

Architecture as the last fortress

In an essay about architecture, the philosopher Jacques Derrida focuses on the importance accorded by architects to concepts of home, dwelling and hearth, the nostalgia within modern architecture for a centre, an origin, a set of primary principles, an ordering, including belief in the sacred origins of architecture. He also notes how architecture aims for…More

The king’s speech impediment

Tom Hooper’s film The King’s Speech demonstrates the vital importance of the human voice in establishing and maintaining power. If you can’t get the words out then you will never assert authority.More

Profile yourself (Narcissus on line)

Concern in the press about cyberbullying, identity theft, and other online risks have all but eclipsed the interesting influences the Internet has on professional life. Social media are turning professionals into celebrity wannabes.More

Otaku architecture

Otaku is a Japanese word for a category of individual, typically a youth, who is obsessed with anime (Japanese animations), manga (comics), and other pop culture forms. He or she prefers to be alone, may be lonely, lacks social skills and stays at home. The otaku keeps unsociable hours: staying up for 40 hours then…More