Artifactica: Postmodern Jukebox

I’m a sucker for a good cover or remix or mashup. Especially if it’s novel and really good. Most especially if it’s jazz. So it’s no wonder I fell in love with Postmodern Jukebox from first listen. This stuff is fantastic. Give it a listen.


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Cobbled together from random parts: littleBits based temperature and humidity monitor

2015-03-23 15.18.06One of my active projects is a temperature and humidity monitor based on littleBits and a DHT22 sensor from Adafruit. Currently, the project actively monitors the temperature and humidity and displays it on two number displays. Eventually, the project will do those things, plus report those values to the cloud, turn an oscillating fan on or off, and report the fan power state to the cloud. I would also like to add data logging to a local web server as a capability somewhere down the road.

The current payload for the project is:

Future payload will include:

  • 3 littleBits cloudBit modules
  • 1 littleBits Wire module
  • either 1 Proto module used for interfacing
  • 1 Pololu 12 volt relay module (along with other supporting hardware)
  • or 1 littleBits IR transmitter module (from the Smart Home Kit)
  • and 1 littleBits Split wire module
  • and 1 littleBits AC switch (also from the Smart Home Kit)
  • (the IR setup may not be suitable for the environment the setup is intended to operate in)
  • 1 cheap plastic storage container for use as an enclosure

Additional payload may also include:

Once I get the code for the Arduino cleaned up, I will add it as an update in a future post.

You can find out more about all my projects via my Projects page. I will be adding a littleBits page and associated projects as time permits.


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An anniversary of sorts

It occurred to me this afternoon that I missed an anniversary of sorts: January 18th was the 10th anniversary of the Worldview Weblog. Now, granted, Worldview was not my first weblog (though those efforts have been, perhaps blessedly, lost to the vagueries of the internet), Worldview represents my longest running and most consistent effort of any of them.

I have discovered many things in that decade of writing, but I think the single biggest discovery is that, while opinions are fine, most people actually don’t care, and that the value of the weblog is in sharing interesting, unique things people are doing so that other people can benefit from them being done.

That’s an interesting observation to me because, believe it or not, that was one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. It turns out that’s also an idea I want to return to. I make no promises, but watch this space for the further pursuit of that goal.


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Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater: On animals and worldviews

I suspect that one of the driving forces of the greatest changes in society over the past 100 years versus the past several millenia has been specific movement of people away from caring for food animals.

One cannot help but learn about the brutal realities of the cycle of life to death to life when one cares for food animals. As a result, one cannot help but see the realities of the same cycle in every other part of life. Such realizations cannot help but make someone more pragmatic at the least, if not even a little fatalistic.

That kind of pragmatism then fueled all sorts of ways of thinking that dominated most of human history. And while, yes, that thinking justified all sorts of things we moderns consider savage and inhuman, it also gave birth to the world we have today and, to a great part, continues to sustain it long after most people have forgotten what it all might mean.

Now, being engaged in that kind of undertaking, I find my own thinking inevitably changed by the reality of what I do. In some ways I am softer. In some ways I am harder than I ever imagined I could ever be. My focus is different–dare I say, more focused–and the change in my view of the realities of life and death could not be more profound.

I understand the impracticality of a general return to agriculture, but I cannot help but wonder if we would not benefit from a return to some parts of the worldview it fostered. We need more pragmatism in a world sometimes blinded by the shining and ofttimes false optimism of modernity.  We could do worse than to revisit history, and I’m certain we can benefit from it.


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Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater: And so much more…

I’ve discovered over the past five years that people have huge preconceptions about what being a farmer means. I know, coming in, I had all sorts of them, and I know I am surrounded by fellow farmers who have deeply held ideas about their profession. One of my first posts on this site dealt with one of them, and dredged up the almost predictable responses (I’m not linking to it simply because I want to talk about something else).

One of the preconceptions I had coming in was the nature of what farm work meant in the first place. Many people, including my onetime self, have the idea that farming is as simple as growing and harvesting a crop or raising and selling an animal. I’m here to tell you firsthand that, whatever kind of farming one does, that could not be further from the truth.

Even at its most monoculture, farming is a polyculture because it cannot be anything else. Farming demands knowledge of everything from agriculture to zoology and demands the farmer be everything from an accountant to a zoo keeper.

It’s not an accident, then, that history notes the rise of farming intertwined with the rise of what we think of as civilization. Domesticating, planting, raising, harvesting, and slaughtering plants and animals for food in more effective and efficient ways is the necessary mother that gave rise to everything we take for granted today, either by inventing the things we have or by enabling the things we have to be invented.

And so, in the end, I can think of few other undertakings as intensive and broad as that of the farmer. Granted, the hurdles are tall and the valleys are deep, but if anyone wants to fully challenge himself in the pursuit of life, the vocation of farmer is a place to do it.


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