What a mess!

Anyone with a sense of order can’t help but notice that problems frequently occur at the seams, where things join, or don’t join, or don’t quite align as they should — where the joins don’t survive successive adaptations. Sociologist Richard Sennett illustrated the demoralized state of crafters in the former Soviet Union. Once when shown…More

On being unbalanced

Balance is one of the master metaphors of health, life and of nature (nicely sidestepped in Mark Zuckerberg’s recent plan to engineer a disease free future). The seminal book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, identifies balance as a ubiquitous concept easily traced back to the human body. After all, from an early age, the…More

After affects

How do surveillance cameras, and increased monitoring and security procedures affect you? Such causes have undoubted effects on material circumstances and well-being. Actions affect things, and thereby produce effects. The verb, to affect, results in a noun, an effect. But there’s also such a thing as an affect, as a noun. Last Friday I attended…More

Architecture and Music

Musicians are familiar with the discrepancies evident in musical scale systems. The cycle of fifths and the cycle of octaves work together to produce a harmonious and well-ordered system of relationships between notes — almost. The superimposition of the two systems that is so essential for free and inventive modulation across musical scales in fact…More