Wind-up toys and other diversions.



A miniature milk crate filled with Spotify albums.



A QR code music player.



An Internet-connected door unlocker for a community space.



A toy BitTorrent client.


Gifs, synced to music. [UNMAINTAINED]

Time Fountain


Strobe UV LEDs to freeze time.

Homemade Electrobalance


Proof spirits using a panel meter as an electrobalance.


Buy a stack of books from a single seller to optimize shipping costs. [DEFUNCT]

Vim on a Typewriter


Detect keypresses from a mechanical typewriter using a SoftPot position sensor.

Bluetooth Alarm Clock


Bell-ringer alarm clock controlled by an Android phone.



Get three more quotes
I want to see the president, when it comes time to sign a bill, even if the bill may be necessary, to recognize—instead of being proud of every piece of legislation that’s passed—to recognize that it represents a failure of our collective social nature. And, instead of giving away all these pens with fanfare, he should light a stick of incense and say, “My fellow Americans, it is with deep regret that I must announce to you that, because we could not solve this problem on our own, we have had to enact another piece of legislation. Let us pray we can recover our senses and repeal it as soon as possible.”
Dale Pendell
Only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.
Milton Friedman
I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, Natural History, Naval Architecture, Navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.
John Adams
With a big enough wave, nothing is sacrosanct, which is simply to say that everything is more or less fluid — the hotter the temperature (the more significant the disruption wave) the more “solid” stuff will be liquefied. We can and should certainly talk about the more and less solid aspects of our culture. Fashion is notoriously fluid. Mathematics has proven quite solid. But it’s all just a matter of temperature.
Jordan Hall
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Lewis Carroll
In Joyce’s formulation, history is a nightmare from which we are trying to awake. For Pynchon, history is a nightmare within which we must become lucid dreamers.
A review of  Bleeding Edge
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this.

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions.
Ira Glass
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 Heinlein
I wanted to create a book that, had I found it when I was younger, browsing around a used bookstore or at a friend’s house, would have blown my mind. I wanted to leave messages for myself to find.
Dale Pendell
Je ne cherche pas, je trouve.
Pablo Picasso
Natural philosophy is written in this grand book—I mean the Universe—which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one is wandering around in a dark labyrinth.
Galileo Galilei
Each problem space has a particularly felicitous point of view. Point of view is worth 80 IQ points.
Alan Kay
So when they say we’re a cult, we reply that it’s a self-service cult. You wash your own brain.
Larry Harvey
I used to think that every eventful thing that happened in my life would feel as good as moving to New York City did, that my life would be like moving to New York, over and over and over again. I know now that as with falling in love, you're lucky if it happens to you even once.
Chloe Caldwell
She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.
Toni Morrison
Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see.
Leslie Jamison
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, “Why, why, why?”
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.
Kurt Vonnegut
Meditation is like tuning your instrument before taking it out on the road.
Jon Kabat-Zinn
When you drink your tea, just drink your tea. Enjoy drinking your tea. Please don’t drink your suffering, your despair, your projects.
Thich Nhat Hanh
According to the Buddha, life is available only in the here and now, the present moment. He said, “The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment.” If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. It’s so clear. Mindfulness is the energy and practice that helps you go back to the here and now so that you encounter life.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Achaan Chaa looked down and smiled faintly. He picked up the glass of drinking water to his left. Holding it up to us, he spoke in the chirpy Lao dialect that was his native tongue: “You see this goblet? For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.
Mark Epstein
Why not? I mean, maybe it turns out that there are no such things as ordinary people. Maybe all people are extraordinary.
Jerry Garcia
Never get so attached to a poem you forget truth that lacks lyricism. Never draw so close to the heat that you forget that you must eat.
Joanna Newsom
Because we’ve simply cheated ourselves, the whole way down the line.

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end. And the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along.

It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
Alan Watts
The general rule seems to be that the level of consciousness of an organization cannot exceed the level of consciousness of its leader.
Frédéric Laloux
In Silicon Valley, all of us wanted to work for Dave Packard, but all of us wanted to be Bob Noyce.
Michael S. Malone
The question of whether Machines Can Think... is about as relevant as the question of whether Submarines Can Swim.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.
John von Neumann
No one trusts a model except the man who wrote it; everyone trusts an observation, except the man who made it.
Harlow Shapley
Nouns are an excuse to stop thinking. Ask, “What are the verbs that apply to this object? How is it nuanced?”
Tom Chi
What are the psychological antecedents to global prosperity?
Tom Chi
Metabolizability is more important than truth.
Tom Chi
The acceleration of capitalism necessitates an increase in the rate at which individuals assume and shed identities.
Jonah Peretti
It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.
Edwin Way Teale
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost
Widely reprinted quote—but possibly misattributed? Closest I can come is this book of quotations, which cites Reader's Digest, April 1960. But I don't see it there...
Without models, it's hard to work; without a context, difficult to evaluate; without peers, nearly impossible to speak.
Joanna Russ
Often, in our doubt that we have a real story to tell, we hold something back, fearing that we don’t have anything else. [...] If you know where a story is going, don’t hoard it. Make the story go there, now.
George Saunders
Mr. President, sir—I never quarrel, sir. But sometimes I fight, sir; and whenever I fight, sir, a funeral follows, sir.
Sen. Thomas Hart Benton

Favorite Things

  • 100 Million Books
  • Library Genesis
    I buy all the books I read—I'd feel guilty if I didn't. But if anything fulfills the original promise of the Internet, it's downloading a full-text preview of a book 10 seconds after you learned it exists.
  • Sci-Hub
    I don't know how to fix academic publishing but something is wrong when Wiley is asking me to pay $42 to read my own M.S. thesis research...
  • Talks at Google
  • Power Thesaurus
  • RhymeZone

^ Background image shows 180nm SRAM cells. Scanning electron microscope photo by