November 19th, 2006

noun: an unsupported dogmatic assertion

a declaration that is made emphatically (as if no supporting evidence were necessary)

Ipsedixitisms are given as though absolutely no supporting argument is necessary. One motivation for not supporting declarations is the hope that it will make the declaration less visible, particularly in an obfuscated chain of mathematical or legal reasoning.

Good Olde Days

November 17th, 2006

The Hand Drafting days are no more. Get over it!

I deal with a rather large variety of engineers, architects, architecture professors and consultants. The one topics that comes up several times a week is the constant state of technological change in our profession and the inevitable glassy eye nostalgic claim of how wonderful it was in the “Good Olde Days”. Now there is something to be said for “getting one’s hands dirty”, it allowed more time to contemplate. On the other hand it was hard on the back, eyes and fingers to draw up a 100 sheet set of drawings on 36″x48″ vellum or mylar. Just the act of filling out the title block would consume 2 – 3 days work for one employee. It could also be tedious, redrawing the same details at various scales as an example. What I hated the most was lettering by hand. The worst was having to fill a 36×48 sheet with general notes and specifications. My hand usually cramped up after an hour.

Do I miss the “Good Olde Days”? Quite simply no. I can now do so much more with todays technology. Hand drawing now seems primitive. Now I hand drew for 10 years and have used a computer for about 12 years so I can relate to both.

The question that is being posed is this: Has the quality of architecture design been degraded by the technology? I think to a degree technology has contributed to a decline in quality of architectural projects for architects who fight the change. By not embracing the technology they expend a large amount of energy struggling and working around the technology, that always ends in frustration. The technology that should free the architect of the constraints of hand drawing instead enslaves and frustrates the design process. For those that have embraced the change all the promises made by the technology pundits have been realized and then some. Most of what was predicted has come to pass and some things that weren’t even considered are now common place, such as desktop realtime rendering, light studies and animation. In the last year even sketching and quick design software for preliminary vignettes has advanced to the point of making pencil and paper another choice and not a requirement. In my opinion we are experiencing a return to an architect that can now have control of almost all aspects of design and construction on the desktop, a return to the “master” architect in control of all aspects of the design process….. that is for those willing to continually learn and try new technology and embrace and welcome never ending change. Read the rest of this entry »

U Know

November 10th, 2006

I love quotes. In honor of this election and it’s aftermath here are some quotes by Donal Rumsfeld.

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

“There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.” -on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction

“I don’t know what the facts are but somebody’s certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know.”

“If I know the answer I’ll tell you the answer, and if I don’t, I’ll just respond, cleverly.”

“I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.”

“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”

“I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”

He really liked messing with the media and language. Too bad he couldn’t confuse the enemy as well, you know?

Elections and Technology

November 3rd, 2006

Diebold Memory Card

I watched a very scary documentary on Diebold voting machines and the election vote counting process. I had trouble going to sleep after seeing the laughable ease the software can be manipulated to rig an election. The documentary is on HBO and is called Hacking Democracy.


October 24th, 2006

Want to be more productive? I visit a Blog called Lifehacker regularly. It is full of helpful hints, tricks and software to accomplish just about anything, from interview tips to hacking into your ipod or getting better gas mileage. Whenever a friend asks “How do you know all this stuff” chances are I found it on Lifehacker. Check it out.


October 19th, 2006


Hatred or fear of change or innovation.

Numbers, counting and sensationalism in the Media

October 17th, 2006

The last few days I have read, watched or listened to a lot of news stories whos only apparent raison d’ĂȘtre are numbers or stats. This morning as I completed the “repeat” portion of lather, rinse and repeat in the shower, the reporter on the radio informed me in breathless tones that at that exact moment [7:46AM] the US population had crossed the 300 million person mark. I was told to remember what I was doing for posterity. How absurd! The truth is the “event” may have happened last week or will in actuality happen next month. I may have happened at [7:56AM] while I was looking for a pair of socks. The whole “event” did not merit such special coverage. Next came speculation as to whether the 300 million person was a birth or the current political whipping boy an immigrant. Amazing.

Another story involved counts, body counts to be exact.The news story concerned the number of US Military casualties for the month of September. The reporter claimed there were close to 60 casualties. I always find a reporter chortling about “temperatures tomorrow being near 100 degrees” or after a disaster estimates that “the Katrina death toll could reach 10,000″ very disturbing. Does the news agency not know what the casualty number was last month? Was it 54 or 58 or 50? All three are close to 60. Is it that difficult to just say last month there were 56 casualties without sensationalizing it? Is the temperature tomorrow really going to near 100? Will it be 99.8 and thus the merit in the use of near? Or will it be 97 or 98? Can a human tell the difference between 97 and 99 degrees anyhow? A 100 degree day I guess makes for bigger news than 98. How about disaster death tolls, can the death toll really reach 10,000? What was the final count? I remember reporter practically salivating as they used words like massive to describe the possible death toll. I guess that if we were to discover tomorrow that a rogue astroid was heading toward earth the media headline would probably read “Massive Astroid headed toward Earth: Death Toll could reach 6.7 Billion.” I wonder where they will put the camera?

Specialization is for Insects

October 12th, 2006

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein (Science Fiction Writer)

In The Mind Of The Architect

October 10th, 2006

Came across this website called In The Mind Of The Architect that explores how spaces get designed and built. Very interesting site.
From the website:

In The Mind Of The Architect is a three-part television documentary series and multimedia presentation about the thing we call architecture..but more particularly about us.

This is the story of how buildings and public spaces get to be made, told principally through an exposure of the public and private realms of a number of very different Australian architects.

This series is about politics, art, history, poetry, philosophy…about dreams and despair. The passions of complex individuals, their colleagues, detractors and admirers.

These documentaries aim to trace the spirit and politics of these artists in our predominantly secular Australian culture. They will enable us to tell a different story, to shed some of our simplistic notions of ourselves and our cultural worth.

Effect of forgetfulness

October 9th, 2006

Grey Squirrel

Gray squirrels bury their acorns all over the place (“scatter hoarding”), then forget where. Forgotten acorns become trees. This forgetfulness is the main way oak and other hardwood forests grow and spread, scientists say.

So squirrel forgetfulness causes forest…..Cool.