What Does That Line Mean?

Architectural drawings contain graphical information explained in more detail in the specifications. For example, waterproofing is just a line on the drawings designated “WP” but up to 50 pages in the specifications.  Specifications became necessary when buildings got more complex, the entirety of the intended work results could not be captured in drawings without the drawings becoming too cluttered. As a result  architects sometimes ask “What does that line mean?”.


from 2D Visualization of Electrical Fields of Point Charges around a Dielectric Interface at Vizlab

If lines of inquiry could be traced through semantic space for example in ShiftSpace, these lines would get very complicated. See BLDGBLOG too. Tracing lines of inquiry would be a whole new form of drawing and wondering what simple lines mean, more details and the work results would have to be explained in specifications separate from the drawings.

Below are a set of citations for images and papers collected around 2001, wondering about these shapes. Each example below has varying levels of documentation. This is an experiment to see what is still available. Most are not. Some are in new places than they were originally found but its still the same images and information.  Open source images have found many more uses. The remainder is a survey of scientific and artistic approaches to showing dynamics and tracing histories.


The Coffee Mill , by Juan Gris, 1916, Original: oil and collage on paper, 10 9/16” x 8 7/8”, Provenance: Henriette Reverdy, Paris; Pierre Chareau, Paris; E.V. Thaw & Co., New York; Herbert and Nannette Rothschild, Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York, from the book Encounters with Modern Art: The Reminiscences of Nannette F. Rothschild, George H. Marcus Editor and Anne D’Harnoncourt, Philadelphia Museum of Art; ISBN: 0876331088; 1997. Image is now available at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

 collage of forms

DMacP Collage of Forms some below


Cross section of nautilus shell from the Patterns of Nature Disk Image KS1724 Comstock, Royalty Free


Hurricane: N-009-0110 Corbis Royalty Free at Matton Images


Galaxy: SC-086-0109 by Myron J. Dorf Bridges. Now available at ???????

What Lies Between Order and Chaos? by James P. Crutchfield, The Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, New York (1994), Santa Fe Institute.

“The events happen far too quickly (over 10^-23 to, at the most lackadaisical, 10^-10, seconds) and in too small a region (on the order of 10^-18 meters) for human perception.”

“We’re maximally uncertain about the weather: we keep looking out the window for an update and are constantly surprised; the entropy rate is high.”


Theoretical Morphology: State of the Art, by Gunther J. Eble, Santa Fe Institute Working Papers

Sturgeon’s Law states that “ninety percent of everything is crap.” from One Thing or Another: Some Examples of Selection in Minds and Computers, A.K.A. “William James at CERN”, by Cosma Shalizi



Nude on a Red Background (Seated Woman), by Fernand Leger, 1927, Original: oil on canvas, 51 1/4” x 32”, Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1972, 72.173, from the book Hirshhorn: Museum and Sculpture Garden, Jane McAllister Editor, Harry N. Abrams; ISBN: 0810934363; 1996.


Vitruvius, by Leonardo da Vinci, available everywhere, this copy from the British Library learning about bodies.


Asymmetrical rocks, Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, G81-161783 Cannot be found. Image above from jmg galleries.

“…semantic leaps in jokes, arguments, counterfactuals, and analogies”
Turning the Cat on its Head, by Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds, from the web site of Seana Coulson, University of California, San Diego, Department of Cognitive Science“…until at last we reach our perceptions, grouped together by another process of selection into things. Some of these we attend to; the rest we ignore.”

“…studies indicate that there is a certain level of visual and acoustic complexity that tends to be most pleasing to the human senses.” Holding a New Mirror to Nature, The Economist, 6 November1993



The Periodic Table of Poetry, now at MAKE

“…literature, pictures and sound and movies can all be turned into strings of bits. Once we have a measure of fitness, there is no a priori reason we could not turn standard techniques loose on an initial population of pictures, or sonatas, or sonnets. There are even techniques, outlined at least by Holland, which will allow our system to modify the means it uses to evaluate fitness. In particular, rather than mutating and recombining essentially random lengths of bits, they system could come to recognize that certain blocks of bits are meaningfully connected. It also does not seem impossible, or even terribly difficult, to modify the standard techniques of genetic programming so as to work directly on two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects.” Genetic Algorithms for Art by Cosma Shalizi


Mathematical Equations on Chalkboard, by Steve Cole AA011042  at Getty Images now at Diomedia


“Fun” by Condensed Matter Research with Neutrons and Muons (NuM) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)

But architects also ask, what is this space represented by lines and specifications really made of?


The Light Inside, by James Turrell, 1999, Original: electric lights, wires, metal and paint, Museum of Fine Arts Houston Texas, from Modern Painters Magazine, Winter 2001

Seminar Hall in the Museum for African Art , by Maya Lin, New York City, 1992-93, Associated Architect, David Hotson, from Boundaries, Simon and Schuster; ISBN: 0684834170; 2000.

Stainless Steel Mesh, Design 9, Lumsden Custom Mesh, 1-800-367-3664
Classic Travertine, Vein Cut, Unfilled and Honed, Stone Source, 202-265-5900
Clear Satin on Cherry, 20A, David Edwards Furniture Company, 410-242-2222
Wrought Iron, Benjamin Moore, 2124-10
Clear Natural Riverstone, Artistic Tile, NY 212-727-9331
Glass, AR 105, by Skyline Design, 773-278-4660
Gel, BTG 150 Starke 9mmm kein Farbmuster Peer Almute, Smooth, 800-433-7337
Platinum, by Ben Park


See the actual buildings of
The National Gallery of Modern Art, India
National Museum of Modern Art, Japan, 3rd floor Special Corner
National Gallery of Australia


This is a Test

this is test

[237] This

[57] is

[357] a test.

Above are 3 definitions and 3 purple number locations for words in the phrase “This is a test.” Today, there is a wide selection of dictionaries to define what words mean, most public sources are correct enough to serve most users goals. However, as soon as the work only applies to a specific knowledge domain or line of inquiry, the meaning of words must be more precise. In these cases, precise locations within dictionaries and semantic structures are more beneficial than definitions ~ which meaning of the words “this” “is” and “test”? Some knowledge domains, like biotechnology, are way ahead of everyone else developing their own controlled vocabularies, thesaurus, taxonomies and similar. How could these scientific pursuits and careful documentation efforts be extended and applied to artists? storytellers? musicians?

If an interlinked data structure was made for every word that had ever been uttered, common words for common uses would not need to be redefined again at each source. Over time, words that originate in certain areas of expertise might eventually branch out into other areas and have many slight variations in meaning in another area. A simple word could get very complex very quickly.

There are too many badly drawn, clunky looking charts and diagrams about semantic structure designs, it is impossible to choose which ones are the worst.

If the task at hand is to examine or work with the semantic structures themselves, more time and effort should be spent working with forms that are more fluid and beautiful, like language and word meaning.



Exponential by Eric Heller


ShiftSpace Trail

Trail Proposal: This is a Test

Top Layer (orange, two parallel lines like regular trails above)
[237] This
[57] is
[357] a test.

Next Layer (cyan, single arcs)


Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo


Merge Layer (thin white circles and ellipses trapping elements from various layers together)
Seeking film clip from the Deer Hunter where Robert De Niro is saying “This is This, it is not something else”




Trace Continuous Threads

dance pattern IssacPastoral

Yang’ge Dance Patterns and The Pastoral Dance Pattern by Mr. Isaac

The diagrams above show dance patterns. Its easy to imagine how these shapes and places to put your feet could be drawn on a floor for dancers to follow. Experienced dancers could probably just look at the diagram and recreate the movements.

By contrast, its more difficult to imagine how dynamic movement of information could be diagrammed to be followed and recreated by others. Below are examples of a cellular automata pattern about Emerging Complexity by Stephen Wolfram, LLC.

This image confuses Photoshop because pixels and colors are more continuous than they seem. There are actually very few boundaries or stopping points. The flow is constrained to limited dimensions with all elements are moving in the same direction.


If working with this pattern was like preparing a set of building specifications – the first step is starting with everything possible. There are patterns which are unseen here before dimensions are constrained. First, a process of elimination to look at only parts. Then working with each part. Some parts may be the exact same on several levels. They can be picked up, inserted, repeated and slightly modified to fit within the set of working information. Tracing paths through working sets and patterns could be a really fun mathematics and art problem.

Finding Continuous Threads

1 – Light Blue – finding the fastest way through.

2 – Orange – trying to cut across horizontally by inferring a line. Started looking for configurations with a sharp tip and two vertical lines going straight down on both sides.


3 – Purple – noticed some of the orange shapes had a strong spine of exactly repeating shapes in chains of varying lengths.

4 – Blue – noticed some chains were independent from the ones colored orange in the red pencil shapes.

5 – Light Green – easier to see by itself with trails above filled in.

Depending on what you are looking for, there are lots of ways to find and isolate repeated elements and trace continuous threads in seemingly disconnected, parallel tracks. If the patterns themselves could be worked on to push the information around in the first place…

computer placement

Sketch to figure it out, automatic placement by the computer of 2 unlike scales, some angles still align.


Based On


Image collage presented to Jim Crutchfield at Santa Fe Institute and the Art and Science Laboratory in 2004. The black and white backgrounds are evolving cellular automata patterns, the blue lines were added to trace continuous threads.


People Can’t Find Things

Offices, organizations, and knowledge domains produce so much useful information. People who are learning about an office, organization, or area of knowledge need best practice notes, standard details, and lessons-learned to be super easy to look through.

When people do not know what things are called to input a specific term, it is difficult for machines to help sort through all the good ideas and information generated before. Perhaps a better geometry is needed to link together and organize records in such a way that people are led, by machines, to only information that is relevant to their skill level, language, and task at hand, rather than endless lists of everything under the sun.

conformal mapping


Conformal Mapping 1/(z*z) by fdecomite



Octagonal Star Pattern, a work in progress v.1 by EricGjerde



Even More Strange Things I Found by vegelony



Math Sculpture Closeup by sfopanda



Torley Finds the Strangest Things by Dedric.Mauriac


Juxtaposing Dynamic Forms

Below are images from Dale Chihuly’s Gardens and Glass installed at botanical gardens all over the world. Perfect juxtapositions of beautifully crafted objects, once fluid and rapidly changing, now fixed in time. Purposefully and collaboratively placed in similar backgrounds. The living objects continue to slowly change and grow in ways that are impossible to observe in a single visit. The now-fixed and eternally-changing are simply together, enhancing each other’s beauty, creating a place.

What can designers of modern, fluid, information patterns learn from this stunning collaboration between botany and art? How can cleaning your data and preparing records for deep, widely distributed archiving feel more like working in your garden? If dynamic growing data collections could be shown, and tended to, in forms that were able to be made more beautiful over time…what do newly fixed data structures look and act like in context of slowly changing knowledge domains forming beautifully tended backgrounds?

To really see, be surrounded by, experience and wonder for yourself, please go to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh PA before November 11, 2007 – where juxtaposing dynamic forms is made real.


chilhuly20 chilhuly19

chilhuly17 chilhuly16


chilhuly13 chilhuly12

chilhuly11 chilhuly10











One-of-a-Kind Shapes, Unique Topologies

The New York Times had an article about conceptual artist Allan McCollum “One-of-a-Kind Shapes” where “…a software system that allows him to hand-design 31 billion two-dimensional shapes, no two alike — far more than enough so that every person projected to be on the planet by the middle of this century could have one of his or her own, as a print, for example, or a sculptural object. “I also sometimes imagine a unique shape coming up every time someone goes to Google, or selling them on Amazon for 95 cents each”.

A sample of Allen McCollum’s 2D shapes

So A) I want one and B) why can’t similar techniques be use to map context, the ways information belongs together, across an internal network, within a database, or at various URIs on the internet? Customized shapes, billions of them, no two alike, but in 3D, 30D, 100D. More than one software system would be needed to model those kinds of shapes.


Online Education and Digital Storytelling

Mercedes Bell, a researcher for onlineuniversities.com, shared an article The Art of Digital Storytelling.

The article makes several good points and provides numerous examples graphed below. When digital storytelling is used for education, a new challenge today is keeping the reader engaged, without clicking away, wandering through so many loosely related topics, its easy to get lost, and forget where a digital pathway started, or where it is heading.

The objective of digital storytelling, online education, large scale digitization and information projects needs to be spending more time with better information.


Physics of Data Flow

Welcome new subscribers!

Last week the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Northern Virginia Chapter (CSI NOVA) welcomed scientists from the NIST Fire Research Lab to give a talk about fire simulations and the new test facility.

NIST’s Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS)

A couple simulations were of just the fires themselves rather than walls, furniture, elevator shafts and other elements that might influence where a fire would move next in a building. The NIST Fire Research lab studies both the effects and relationships of different building materials with fire, and the physics of fire by itself. The physics of fire by itself has some known properties, such as maximum temperatures, and the short SHORT flashover point. The space around a fire is not always needed for better understanding of what a fire is likely to do next.

National Fire Protection Association (2001) from NFPA 1710

Today we have a lot of data moving around the Internet. Behaviors and patterns in the physics of data flow may have properties like maximum temperatures or flashover points in fires.

Ebb and Flow of Box Office Receipts Over the Past 20 Years – at Flowing Data

However it seems like most of these studies only look at the data, rarely the space around. As if the way different areas of the Internet were built, or the composition of various user communities, could influence where data are likely to go next and whether they are likely to spread quickly or slowly smolder. Below is an image about the flow of physics data from CERN, but who is studying the physics of data flow? Or more importantly, structural details about spaces around data, or how more precise configurations might help push relevant information into specific areas that are most conducive to those particular ideas catching on, spreading, and growing… Until at some point, inevitably, even the most gigantic ideas, like fires, will eventually die out. We are still learning about the physics of fire today, the physics of data flow and a better understanding of the life cycle of ideas and information may take many MANY generations of study until the statistics and calculations are relatively accurate, or at least aligned with the unpredictable real world.


Places & Spaces Mapping Science Workshop

Katy Borner organized a workshop for the Places & Spaces Mapping Science Advisory Board. We met for two days at the School of Library and Information Sciences to figure out the remaining iterations of the 10 year exhibit. See the Schedule and try to visit an exhibit in person, or order the Atlas of Science to read at your leisure. Pictures from the brainstorming session belowBonnie DeVarco, Michael Stamper, and Vincent Lariviere

Kevin Boyack, Deb MacPherson, Andre Skupin, Peter Hook

Bonnie DeVarco, Stephen Uzzo, Michael Stamper


Katy Borner, Kevin Boyack, Debbie MacPherson, Andre Skupin

Kevin Boyack, Bonnie DeVarco, Debbie MacPherson


Taking Apart and Putting Back Together in a Repeatable Process

The greatest thing about relational databases is they store everything loose in some kind of homogeneous level playing field. It is only be establishing relationships between data that anyone is able to see anything in context. Without context, they are just data. In context they are messages, thoughts, ideas, studies, results, and work products.

If an idea is very complex sometimes it helps to break it down into component parts. Systematically taking it apart to understand what makes this idea tick.

DesignIT Studios

Starship ModelerWikicommons Watch Movement

Taking an idea apart can be very informative. Especially when various parts need to be updated and optimized, continually changing like software releases. If the watch above was wordpress, the Swift theme, and the internet each gear changes sooner or later but the whole watch still needs to work together if it is to continue functioning.  Putting things back together offers it’s own set of challenges.  There is an opportunity to purge elements that are no longer useful during this process. Like a hoarder moving everything out of their house onto the curb then back into the house, maybe some of those items are not worth saving after all. Or fixing a car engine, or someones medical condition, when it is unclear exactly what the problem is but simply by taking it apart and putting it back together, whatever was not working gets repaired.

IDSA Materials and Processes Section

Instructions are needed, parts need to be labeled. A sequence of reassembly is needed to ensure the reassembled whole still is the same. It can be difficult to see how the parts fit together when viewed too close.

Carol Padburg

Because everyone’s perception and experience is different, the exact same elements, in almost exactly the same combination may be understood a different way from different points of view. The receiving end may be “reading something into” what the sender intended. It may not be possible for two different people to consistently see the same things the same ways.

Put Back Together Pictures

However, this is not true for machines like computers or networks like the internet because machines have no prejudices, emotions, or previous experiences.  They simply process the information, break up whole ideas into packets, send them somewhere, another machine puts them back together. For this to be reliable everything on both ends needs to be a repeatable process. It would be so helpful to have a mold with the end result packed in with every packet to ensure consistency. MIT has just started a project to map controversies that may be useful to understand multiple interpretations of the same information.

MIT Mapping Controversies Project

This project is important today because we are surrounded by so many controversies, and so much data, it’s difficult to sort out which parts are actually valid, worth processing, keeping in the information houses where we store things. For example the Washington Post had an article today about the disconnect between science and the general public entitled “Not Blinded by Science, but Ideology” where global warming is a perfect example.

To avoid using information the wrong way, or putting together messages, thoughts, and ideas that may be different than original authors intended, especially while processing the data in emotionless machines – repeatable processes are needed.

BZen Consulting

Info-Sight Partners Actionability Index

Global Wonderware

Today the primary representation of how pieces of information are to be put back together need to work with SQL. Looking at the relationships is usually just miles and miles of code. However, there is a company at http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca who makes Schemaball, a Schema Viewer for SQL Databases where the relationships themselves can be put under a microscope and examined across the whole database in one glance.

It’s curious why geometry proper is not used more often to direct the arc, layouts and relationships. Something like a mold could be useful to ensure the reassembly is 100 percent correct on the receiving end, to match exactly, what the sender intended.


But how would you store and encode that geometry?


Emergent versus Imposed Boundaries

When organizing large quantities of resources and information in the digital world… putting things into groups, determining what goes where and assigning boundaries, it can be helpful to look at the real world for lessons learned.  Imposing boundaries in unnatural locations is bound to fail sooner or later, the results can be disastrous taking generations to overcome.

Take for example Southern Africa. Oceans, mountains, deserts, vegetation and other natural features determined where people lived and worked.


Physical Geography and Natural Vegetation
from Exploring Africa at Michigan State University 

Over time, people settled in various areas surrounded by their culture. Learning the best ways to be productive based on the conditions in their area – whether it was a jungle with vast resources or a desert with very few. 

From Africa Expat

Ancient people such as the Shona in modern day Zimbabwe congregated and stuck together in different areas.  Many of these languages and traditions continue today. But these curving, natural, and emergent boundaries don’t match boundaries imposed from outside cultures.

From Wikimedia Commons

Occasionally, an imposed boundary may coincide with a natural boundary such as a river.  More often though, imposed boundaries are designed to work within larger more global schemes, without paying enough attention to the local impact.

From Wikimedia Commons

Anyone can see where arbitrarily drawing lines has gotten us today.  What can be learned from history to avoid similar situations in the fresh, clean, brand new digital world where ideas and information are still patterning out and have no where in particular to belong except where they are emerging as “next to something else” or arranged for convenient, all encompassing, upper level views

Linked Open Data, Colored, as of March 2009

What about situations where digital terrain and intellectual data boundaries are being purposefully laid out. For example Master Web of Science, mapofscience.com and Places & Spaces where navigating the data is like exploring uncharted territory, and Katy Borner and collaborators seek to enable the discovery of new worlds while also marking territories inhabited by unknown monsters.

The difference in the semantic world versus the physical world should be that the digital world has no constraints like rivers or mountains. Eventually all of the layout can be determined.  Attention does need to be paid to where cultures are emerging, and how this can benefit everyone both globally and locally.

 Not only watch how the semantic web is emerging, but to direct it’s flow in productive ways, geared for people in different areas that may vary widely in their density and resources, rather than as one empire. Because that only causes trouble in the long run.

Layout Algorithm, NYU

Data Mining at Information and Visualization

Random Layout Algorithm at Cell System Markup Language (CSML) an XML format for modeling, visualizing and simulating biopathways.

The advantage of paying attention to this is, reaching an appropriate balance between random emergence and directed flow will ultimately serve end users and programmers better than any other option, and the solutions will last for a long time.

Communities of Practice at NASA


Time Based Analysis of US Healthcare Reforms

Below is a time based analysis of the US Healthcare Reforms created by Frank Snyder, a physicist who worked in thinking machines and computer vision and now spends his time traveling the world and thinking about anthropology and religion. Image below see the link for the Google Doc.

Whole Building Design Guide, Clinical Relationships.

A few visualizations on Manyeyes are not showing up there at this moment, the visualizations are


Spending More Time with Better Information

In the book You Are Not a Gadget Jaron Lanier talks about the unrecognized value of ideas generated by individuals, and the unintended effects the internet is having on musicians, visual artists, writers and other professional creative people. One way he describes it is the the “digital flattening of expression into a global mush“. Another is the “adoration of fragments“.

From Jaron Lanier at the RSA uploaded to Flickr by PSD.

One of the best examples he uses is what MIDI did to music “squeezing all of musical expression through a limiting model of the actions of keys on a musical keyboard“. All of the nuances, individual interpretations and stellar performances are gone. Every performance is the same.

People are not spending enough time with better information because some parts of the internet design do not allow for multiple iterations without ditching the previous versions, or any way to see how an idea or the information surrounding it has evolved.  There is no variation of the same, there are only exact copies and links.  A new digital architecture is needed with provisions for continuity, and coming back to an idea again with a fresh perspective, to promote the slow building and appreciation of work that takes longer than a few minutes or hours to create or interpret. There is hope though, with organizations like the Long Now Foundation working on projects to foster long term thinking and responsibility. It is a monumentally large challenge to consider more efficient ways to process infinite data fields intersecting – in such a way that better data might rise up out of the fray.

From The Effects of Digital Crosstalk in Data Converters
by Maxim where Innovation is Delivered

For better data to be created in the first place, professional creative people need to be paid reasonable rates to be ABLE to spend more time making work that in turn lasts longer out in the world. Consider for example these beer taps, an actual designer was paid a reasonable rate to figure out a shape, they were free to use any typeface, the only design requirement was a universal hookup. That is all internet standards should be, universal screw threads that allow designs to be professionally created, manufactured, and distributed.

Dr. Dremo Donut Beer Tap from the Quest for the Holy Grain

It truly is a conceptual and mathematical problem to devise a system of standard access points that allow data to slowly evolve, and get better, in ways that enough people can become truly engaged in what hand crafters have made.

Some designs will last longer than others but there is no inherent functionality in the design of the internet currently to let digital cross talk start eliminating what should sticks around longer or pop up in searches faster because it is actually better or supported by people who have actually looked at some thing from all sides. The idea of what fits is underused because there is no geometry around data forcing some information to stick around certain areas or flow through and keep on going.

Processes need to be developed to start dealing with the pace ideas and information fly around.  Data flow needs to be treated more like music. Like many people have observed – the symbolic encoding can be very simple and the same everywhere – but more time and attention is needed for actually the shapes and architecture of what supports a digital idea or lets it exchange faster, slower, closer, further away.

Yale Research, Breakthroughs in the Water, the Science of Swimming

What would such an ideal exchange architecture look like? Where would the universal screw threads be and how can the visitor experience be directed through this information space like a museum design? Where are the long axial views? The hints of what might be around the corner? Where do you pause and consider individual works? There is a flatness to digital information, everything is in your face on the same plane. There needs to be a better way to get a longer perspective on what surrounds ideas and information. Where they came from, how they have evolved, and which parts need to stay connected so they can hold together and stand the test of time.

DNA from Emergent Culture


Trace Back In Time – to tie together

How Stomach Bacteria Can Trace Prehistoric Events, by Med Gadget Internet Journal of Emerging Medical Technologies.

What would it be like to trace the history of standards and technology adoption through time?

Would it be obvious most building codes are in response to a disaster or emergency?

Could you see that most people interested in open source prefer Macs?

Brainwave Sofa is exactly what you were thinking also at MedGadget where “Ever wondered what a piece of furniture formed from raw data extracted from your brain would look like? But of course you have, and so did Lucas Maassen and Dries Verbruggen, the designers of the Brainwave Sofa. Mr. Verbruggen had his brain activity measured while he closed his eyes for 3 seconds. The extracted EEG data was used to create a 3D landscape with the x-axis representing the frequency of brainwave activity in hertz, the y-axis is the percentage of activity, and the z- axis is time. The sofa was then created in its physical form by a five axis computer numerical controlled machine, which creates a three dimensional object out of foam.”


I Love Typography

On 10 July 2009 Steve Kehlet said: For a while I’ve been reading I Love Typography, which describes itself as a means of bringing the subject of Typography to the masses. I am definitely part of the masses, I know I don’t have the critical eye and patience needed for good page design, as made evident by my site with its uninspired look, horrible colors, blocky layout, and general failure to render properly in any browser but Safari. But as I Love Typography says, it is truly inspiring at times to see these beautiful fonts and what people have done with them. Each article showcases numerous typefaces and sometimes works of art created with them. It’s a fascinating read on a beautiful topic I now realize I know so little about.” So he starts to look at it:

For the full story, see 1 <3 Typography and the I Love Typography site.


Appeal us

Sent from Myriam Solar, multidisiplinary artist in Spain

APPEAL US is a pool of inspiration consisting of references to works of any kind that one personally appreciates. It was generated through an invitation based process, for the Annex Amperdans / Antwerp 2009. People were kindly asked to share 2 works that inspire them at the moment or that have served as inspiration to them for a while.

An up-to-date print-out of the APPEAL US list was distributed each evening in the foyer of Monty / Antwerp. A computer was at the visitors’ disposal until october 24 for online registration.  Since than APPEAL US is considered a ‘complete’ reading-list and remains accessible online. Please see http://www.open-frames.net/appeal_us/ for this inspiring project.


IT Graffiti in Public Buildings

The interface between Information Technology and the real world is not always seamless. Below are images provided by Frank and Jane Snyder on their trip across the United States visiting state capitols and presidential libraries. Where unfortunately, architectural beauty can be blunted by shocking displays of IT graffiti in the form of out-of-place computer/video/audio equipment and wiring. Most buildings have controlled this but the exceptions are glaring. Their conclusion is each building (public and private) should have a qualified person responsible to maintain the architectural beauty of the building by reviewing changes that violate the buildings visual appeal. That is, keep the IT graffiti out of public view.




Form Constant at Wikipedia

Quantities, Units, Dimensions and Types Ontologies Constants at oeGOV

POSTED BY: Hodgson, Ralph (ARC-REE)[PEROT SYSTEMS] to uom-ontology-s

Based on the QUDT Ontologies,  we have just released an Ontology of the NIST constants at http://www.oegov.us/blog/?page_id=109#nistConstants.

A sample in N3 format is given below:
# Saved by TopBraid on Thu Aug 27 14:57:34 PDT 2009
# baseURI: http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/nist-constants
# imports: http://www.oegov.org/models/common/cc
# imports: http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/
# imports: http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1unit
# imports: http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1qud
# imports: http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1quantity
# imports: http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1dimension

@prefix cc:      <http://creativecommons.org/ns#> .
@prefix dc:      <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/> .
@prefix dim:     <http://data.nasa.gov/qudt/owl/dimension#> .
@prefix nist:    <http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/> .
@prefix nist-constants:  <http://data.nasa.gov/qudt/owl/nist-constants#> .
@prefix oecc:    <http://www.oegov.org/models/common/cc#> .
@prefix owl:     <http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#> .
@prefix quantity:  <http://data.nasa.gov/qudt/owl/quantity#> .
@prefix qud:     <http://data.nasa.gov/qudt/owl/qud#> .
@prefix rdf:     <http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#> .
@prefix rdfs:    <http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#> .
@prefix unit:    <http://data.nasa.gov/qudt/owl/unit#> .
@prefix xsd:     <http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#> .

     rdf:type nist:PhysicalConstant ;
     rdfs:label “alpha particle-electron mass ratio” ;
     qud:quantityKind quantity:DimensionlessRatio ;
     qud:quantityValue nist:CODATA-Value_AlphaParticleElectronMassRatio .

     rdf:type nist:PhysicalConstant ;
     rdfs:label “alpha particle mass” ;
     qud:quantityKind quantity:Mass ;
     qud:quantityValue nist:CODATA-Value_AlphaParticleMass .

     rdf:type nist:PhysicalConstant ;
     rdfs:label “alpha particle mass energy equivalent” ;
     qud:quantityKind quantity:EnergyAndWork ;
     qud:quantityValue nist:CODATA-Value_AlphaParticleMassEnergyEquivalent .

     rdf:type nist:PhysicalConstant ;
     rdfs:label “Wien wavelength displacement law constant” ;
     qud:quantityKind quantity:LengthTemperature ;
     qud:quantityValue nist:CODATA-Value_WienWavelengthDisplacementLawConstant .

     rdf:type oecc:AttributedSource ;
     cc:attributionName “NIST”^^xsd:string ;
     cc:attributionURL “http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/index.html”^^xsd:anyURI .

     rdf:type owl:Ontology ;
     cc:license <http://www.oegov.org/models/common/cc#CreativeCommonsAttributionShareAlike3.0_UnitedStatesLicense> ;
     dc:contributor “Ralph Hodgson”^^xsd:string , “Irene Polikoff”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:creator “James E. Masters”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:date “$Date: 2009-08-27 22:08:01 -0700 (Thu, 27 Aug 2009) $”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:description “This graph defines terms for and contains the values and standard uncertainties of 324 physical constants taken from the NIST website:  The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty, at http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/index.html”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:rights “The QUDT Ontologies are issued under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution should be made to NASA AMES Research Center and TopQuadrant, Inc.”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:subject “Quantities, Units, and Dimensions”^^xsd:string ;
     dc:title “NIST Constants Ontology”^^xsd:string ;
             oecc:NASA-ARC-Attribution , oecc:TopQuadrantAttribution , oecc:NIST-Attribution ;
     oecc:revision “$Revision: 1386 $”^^xsd:string ;
     owl:imports dc: , <http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1quantity> , <http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1qud> , <http://www.oegov.org/models/common/cc> , <http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1unit> , <http://www.qudt.org/owl/2009/08/n1dimension> ;
     owl:versionInfo “$Id: nist-constants.n3 1386 2009-08-28 05:08:01Z RalphHodgson $”^^xsd:string .



Ralph Hodgson
NASA Constellation Program Ontologies Lead
               650 336-3035


Recycled Glamour and Artomatic

Images from Artomatic 2009. Our entry, Recycled Glamour, was created in collaboration with Sophie, Elena, Edie, Sarah, Rebecca, Becky, Cathy, Deb, Richard, Mark, Bruce, Phil.  Images at the bottom of this post. Visitors can exchange sunglasses, purses, dress up clothes, and sign the wall.

Over 1500 artists exhibited work, the energy is amazing. Some highlights below, tried to capture artists names where possible. Located near the new baseball stadium in DC, runs through the end of June.


Change and Grow at Different Rates 2

In “A Request for Technology In Support of an AECOO Testbed”, (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator) the buildingSMART alliance and Open Geospatial Consortium OGC envision:

“… an idea around BIM as not simply a collection of files, or objects, but rather a collection of evolving business components and building systems, which grow and change at different rates according to project phase and building requirements. Based on our work we would like your thoughts about BIM instances and how they might be employed interoperably over the timelines for design, construction and operation.”


[270] The Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand sorts civilization into six layers that change at different rates over time. See The New Vernacular at LinuxJournal.


[187] Different layers of the rock are weathered at different rates, by MrSciGuy Phil Medina.


[630] As memes propagate over the Internet, they seep into different domains at different rates, at RealMeme.com

Network interoperability is a new problem, tracking project phases and building requirements is an old problem. According to Brian Bowen at Georgia Tech aand the Construction History Society “…changes in construction take place ever so slowly and not necessarily at the same pace everywhere. So precise timelines are impossible to plot.”

Plotting timelines for design, construction and operation, starting from when building processes began, would include the following:

Contracts: There have been construction contracts from the earliest of times. The Greeks inscribed them in stone. Up until the second half of the 19th century, contracts were of great simplicity, naming the parties, outlining the scope of work, basis of payment, time for completion, commitment to the work (i.e. show up) and some form of guarantee or assurance (surety) that the work will be completed.

Basis of Payment: There were three choices – time & material, fixed lump-sum, or unit prices. The latter, usually known as measure & value, became the favored method in England from medieval times, carried over to colonial America up to the time that general contracting became the norm.

Trade Contracting: Masons tended to predominate in Europe, carpenters in America.

General Contracting: There is plenty of evidence of masons or carpenters taking fixed price contracts as early as the 17th century for small and simple buildings like housing. The application of General Contracting to more substantial work began in the periods noted above and it took a generation or two for the system to fully take hold. This was driven by facilities becoming more complex and elaborate. And the labor unions needed taming.


The Taming of Bucephalus, by Andre Castaigne at WikiCommons.

Construction of the semantic world does not yet have general contractors or labor unions to tame or benefit from.

Today, the timeline and quantity of BIM instances is rapidly changing and growing. Design and financial information need to be captured and distributed, so does location in several regards. Building footprint sit within the property line, even when the footprint is right up against a property line and theoretically the same line;


Hong Kong Central, locally known as ??


History of Open Geometry Exchange

 Investigation into the history of open geometry exchange for a better understanding of the origins of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and its relationship to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), relational database specifications, and ontologies. 

Organizational Structure by Mike Bergman


Slides to advocate the Open Floor Plan Display Project and the development of a Floorplan Markup Language, in collaboration with the Building Service Performance Project ,  were presented at Ontolog Summit 2009 Symposium, Towards Ontology-based Standards, held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Summit organized by Steve Ray and Peter Yim.

1984 The development of the Standard Exchange of Product Data (STEP) begins as a successor of IGES, SET and VDA-FS

 1991 GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library (GMP)
1991 US Government transferred responsibility for non-military component of ARPANET to the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF lifted restrictions on commercial use of the network.


1992 Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)

1993 European Process Industries STEP Technical Liaison Executive (EPISTLE) founded
1993 Organization for Structured Information Standards (OASIS) founded
1993 Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) founded

1994/95 ISO published the initial release of STEP as international standards including the following parts on which the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) depend:
Written in EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11)
Exchange structure in Part 21 physical file (ISO 10303-21)
Shape representation adopted from ISO 10303-42 and ISO 10303-43.
3D design is controlled by the AP203 Configuration


1995 International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) founded
1995 JavaScript spawned
1995 X/Open introduces the UNIX 95 single specification

1997 Object Management Group (OMG) releases Universal Modeling Language (UML)
1997 XML is compiled by a working group of 11 members supported by 150-member Interest Group

Layout showing major ISP in 1998 by Bill Cheswick

1998 XML 1.0 becomes a W3C Recommendation
1998 Google arrives
1998 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are commercially exploited, database access uses the STEP Standard Data Access Interface SDAI (ISO 10303-22:1998)
1998 eSPECS development begins
1998 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN)


1999 OASIS aecXML for Architecture, Engineering and Construction working group formed
1999 ISO 11179 Information Technology, Metadata Registries (MDR) first published

2000 OASIS XML Conformance TC Closes
2000 W3 Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

2001 Creative Commons Founded
2001 VerticalNet was the first eCommerce company to use ontologies to map between disparate databases to achieve a interoperability in B2B.

2002 Ontolog Forum mailing list created (May), then organization chartered (September)
2002 gbXML.org site is created to host and further stimulate the development of green building schema

2003 EPISTLE took over the work of ISO 10303-221. For modelling-technical reasons OSC/Caesar in Norway proposed ISO 15926, thereby writing the integration model in 15926, Part 2.
2003 OASIS Open Building Information Exchange (oBIX) begins
2003 W3C publishes Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
2003 Single UNIX Specification standardized as ISO 9945. Solaris 9.0 E ships. Linux 2.6 kernel released

2004 OASIS Common Alerting Protocol v1.0
2004 W3 RDF/XML Syntax Specification
2004 W3 OWL Web Ontology Language
2004 ISO 1117 Information Technology Metadata Registries v2

In 2004, when it came to translating data from one model to another, all the data could not be translated due to lack of place-holders for that data


2005 AJAX asynchronous loading of JavaScript and XML content
2005 Google Maps goes live, Google Earth unveiled
2005 IFC2x Platform Specification, ISO/PAS 16739

2006 OASIS UnitsML begins
2006 OGC Geography Markup Language (GML)
2006 OGC cityGML
2006 OASIS ebXML Business Process Specification Schema
2006 OASIS Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) Distribution Element v1.0

2007 ISO 10303-28: STEP-XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) to represent EXPRESS schema
2007 POSC/Caesar and ANSI Reference Data Libraries merge, ISO 15926-4 is signed
2007 OASIS Web Services Context (WS-Context) v1.0
2007 IFC references back to ISO 10303-41 and ISO 10303-42
2007 National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) released
2007 International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) standardized as ISO 12006 IFD in a Nutshell


Google acquires Sketchup and launches 3D Warehouse
2007 319 GNU packages hosted on the official GNU development site

OmniClass formed from ISO TC59/SC13/WG2 to look at classification a different way

 2007 US National Building Information Modeling Standard (NBIMS) v1 published by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI), now building SMART alliance (bSa).

Common Operating Picture, Golden Gate Safety Network

2008 SVG Tiny published as a W3C Recommendation for small portable devices
2008 W3 Geolocation API Public Working Draft
2008 W3 SPARQL Query Language for RDF and XML
2008 OGC Observations and Measurements
2008 COBIE Construction Operations Building Information Exchange
2008 CERN Geometry Description Markup Language (GDML)

2009 Ontolog Summit, Toward Ontology-based Standards at NIST

from The Eurozone – A Structural Assessment




Call for Mathematics and Design Papers

June 07 – 11, 2010
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dra. Vera W. de Spinadel

Claudi Alsina
Drumi Bainov
Javier Barrallo Calonge
Ubiratan d´Ambrosio
Roberto Doberti
Rosa S. Enrich
Carlos Federico
Dirk Huylebrouck
Slavik Jablan
Amadeo Monreal
Janusz Rebielak
Adela Salvador Alcaide
Gunter Weiss

Centre  MAyDI  and Laboratory of Mathematics & Design, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning, University of Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
International Mathematics & Design Association

Susana Toscano
Marcela Franco
Néstor Díaz
Graciela Colagreco

Languages: Spanish and English.

Objective:  The objective of this conference is to convoke designers and scientists from different fields of knowledge, interested in the active interaction between Mathematics and Design. There exists an enormous wealth of experiences not only  in Architecture and Engineering but also in Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Textil Design, Light and Sound Design, Art Design, etc. It is important that the experts in some of these fields meet together to interchange their results and projects.

* Computer Design
* Mathematical modelling
* Visualization
* Multi-media
* Project Design
* Art and mathematics

Plenary Conferences:  These conferences will be delivered by well known invited researchers. They will dispose of one hour.

Scientific communications:  The scientific communications have to be the presentation of a finished investigation or in the state of conclusion. They can be presented orally or by means of a poster. For the presentation, the author will dispose of twenty minutes followed by ten minutes to answer questions from the audience.

The acceptance of the scientific communications will be a responsability of the Scientific International Committee and the Proceedings of the conference M&D-2010 will be published as a special issue of the Journal of Mathematics & Design.


Papers are invited on the topics outlined and other topics which fall within the general scope of the Conference. The deadline for the reception of the abstracts of the communications is July 31, 2009 .

Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words, contain a list of keywords and clearly state the methodology, purpose, results and conclusions of the final paper.

The answer about the acceptance will be sent  by  December 1, 2009.

info@maydi.org.ar  (Centre of Mathematics & Design)
ai_myd@yahoo.com.ar (International Mathematics & Design Association
myd_lab@yahoo.com.ar (Laboratory of Mathematics & Design)


Smart Grid / Dumb Grid

Smart Grid versus Dumb Grid.

From TerraWatts.comNew Power for the Planet

Smart Grids Could Power a 21st Century Economy at GovTech.com

Looking at planning documents like those above it seems possible that a Smart Grid could be achieved. However, the reality is some places barely can move power around still.  Whats the best way for these places to be able to leap frog forward, skipping entire generations of innovation, to get directly to a Smart Grid, Smart City, Smart Buildings, Smart Building-to-Grid Interfaces?

Indias Electrical Mess at This Is Just Stupid

Safe Electricity for Slum Residences – A Pilot Project in Paraisopolis, Sao Paolo Brazil, at Leonardo-Energy.org

from DG Draft 9 Graphics Set at Nick’s Public Gallery




Matrix Loops Black and White, Available at the BigRugStore

On the scale of everything that people have ever done and will ever do, multiple view points are always there.

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will give a speech he wrote himself.  This is the opposite of the last president.

Maybe the ability to play opposites against each other ~ to see what is going on ~ will be possible now.

A grand scale of idea and information exchange may now be able to swing across full spectrums of public opinion.  What a perfect mathematics and art problem.  Solving this problem in meaningful ways would include:

* Incorporating diverse viewpoints, agendas, and business models;

* Opening and strengthening communication channels;


Opposites can look alike – maybe people had to dislike Sarah Palin before being able to laugh with Tina Fey.  Maybe there had to be an economic crisis and two wars to:

* Speed up the pace of innovation about strategic data capture and efficient re-use;

Obama’s brand new speech tomorrow will address the oldest problems where:

* Seeing, being able to work with and fine tune diverse viewpoints in pragmatic, opposite-side-of-the-coin-ways may be able to help really understand what transparent governance looks like and how it functions;

* Public safety is the opposite of paranoia;

* Openess and Reason are the opposite of opaqueness, IE opacity, without the ability to see, compare or study;

* Actually thinking and considering multiple viewpoints are the opposite of rash actions that cost a lot of money and do not actually deliver schools or other locally useful buildings to the people supposedly being helped;

When Barack Obama takes office, the future is a welcome opposite to the past.


Form, Function, Connection, Perspective, Responsibility, Reflection

Sent by John Giunta: When I was teaching at the Rock Creek International School, they used the International Baccalauriate program, there were rubrics in place that were useful in assessing our learning and teaching.  Here is a list that fascinated me, it is part of another little project of mine.

Responsibility: What is our responsibility with this knowledge?

Causality: Why is it this way?

Form: What are the qualities of this?

Connection: How does it relate to other things we know?

Change: Is it changing, and from what to what?

Function: Is this useful, and in what way?

How do we know any of this?


From Instructing Autism: Assessment


Digital Continuity



ABOVE: Nature-2 (rough).jpg @ 50% (Gray)
BELOW: Untitled-1 @ 33.3% (Layer 4, Gray)

Both by Bruce MacPherson, work-in-progress sketches for the MathFactory, for Gallagher & Associates Design Proposal



Below is the introduction from Time & Bits, Managing Digital Continuity edited by Margaret MacLean and Ben H. Davis, an eternity ago in 1998 for the Getty Research Institute.  The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and aesthetic appreciation through the advancement of long term digital preservation and information exchange techniques to protect our common cultural inheritance.  The book is about an early workshop pondering over new problems with obsolete media and machines impact on the cycle of: capturing, preserving, distributing, representing, and unlocking a real understanding of the meaning of stored data. See the Long Now Foundation Projects for follow on work such as the Rosetta Project.


Workshop Figure 1

This was a very unhappy interface. And small wonder. No doubt this entire virtual environment was being encrypted, decrypted, reencrypted, anonymously routed through satellites and cables, emulated on alien machinery through ill-fitting, out-of-date protocols, then displayed through long-dead graphic standards.  Dismembered, piped, compressed, packeted, unpacketed, decompressed, unpiped and re-membered.  Worse yet, the place was old.  Virtual buildings didn’t age like physical ones but they aged in subtle pathways of arcane decline, in much the way that their owner’s did.

Bruce Sterling, in Holy Fire. Science fiction writer and founder of the Dead Media Project.


Workshop Figure 2

Below from the article Storage Knowledge by Doug Carlston, page 28 Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity

– process information is everywhere and, with increasing frequency, it will not be possible to perceive the full expression of the content-creator’s intent if the ability to perceive the process information is lost.

Imagine, if you will, that we are talking about process content that represents the instructions for building a virtual space and populating it with still and animated images tied to sounds.  Even if one could disambiguate the various data forms and figure out what was image, what was sound, and what was descriptive code, the author’s expression is virtually impossible to deduce absent its interpretation via his original processing device.  If in the future it becomes common to create digital wire models of complex inventions and other devices in lieu of written words, we will have an entire body of obviously important process data held hostage to its original interpretation device.

Perhaps in these areas we just have to give it time.  We do seem to have some movement towards standards, numerical bits have been translated in a reasonably consistent way into numerals and letters of the Roman alphabet (and others), a necessary first step toward a process Rosetta Stone.  And there appears to be a compelling universal interest in standardizing the operating systems and chief applications of commonly available computers, although these standards themselves continue to evolve at a hazardous rate.  Perhaps this process will not continue indefinitely, in which case we are confronting merely an interim problem while the universal standards are finally worked out.


All of this was written before the explosion of the semantic web, online services, and the large scale development of open standards.  Nevertheless, many early concerns raised at the Time & Bits workshop are still valid.  The documentation of places and buildings together with the public information they generate has only just begun.  When will the process information be mature and standardized enough to tell the story of all these people and places over long periods of time?  There are many arguments on OntologForum regarding the utility, accuracy, and even the possibility of universal standards for such large scale processing. Like buildings in the real world, some digital architectures are better than others, some data deserve to be taken better care of and

“there is no constituency representing that body of information”

Margeret MacLean, Setting the Stage, page 33 in Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity.

3 images below are from the central garden at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. You can go anywhere, touch anything, get led in directions you want to go anyway, and have tremendous vistas open up around unexpected angles.  There are curves and corners. Only the best materials are used and they are taken care of.  The combination is gorgeous together.  This level of spatial design, execution, and maintenance is needed for an equivalent level of high quality, long term, takes-forever-to-build, semantic web spaces made expressly for the general public.


File: Getty Center Central Gardens Wiki Commons




Companion Post: Trace Continuous Threads



23 MVDs

The National Building Information Modeling Standard will be comprised of different parts.  Works in progress to standardize certain ways of looking at things in the AEC/FM Architecture Engineering Construction Facility Management Industry are Model View Definitions using IFC Industry Foundation Classes and IFC based solutions for data exchange. Currently there are 23 MVD‘s in progress. MVD’s with diagrams are below.


Some MVDs are at the design stage, some have diagrams shown below. Generic concepts are on the left side in blue, IFC 2×3 Binding Concepts are on the right side in yellow.

Architectural Design > Structural Design

The General Concepts include: Beam, Building, Building Storey, Column, Grid, Project, Ramp, Site, Slab, Stair, User Defined Object, and Wall. The IFC 2×3 Binding Concepts include: Beam, Building Element Proxy, Column, Project, Ramp, Site, Slab, Stair, and Wall. Apparently the Building Element Proxies encompass User Defined Objects and the Building Stories.



Architectural Design > Thermal Simulation

Will be useful for energy performance and sustainability studies. Here the main concept on both sides is “Space”



BPEA Building Performance Energy Analysis 

More detailed for sustainable studies, now project is moved above, spatial components are separated from other concepts, the building elements are more defined.  Spatial zones are indicated which can be related to sensor data and long term performance tracking.




Code Compliance Checking

Focuses on the building systems and elements. Codes vary by jurisdiction boundaries, can’t these geometric boundaries be used to help narrow down relevant codes?




Concept Design > Quantity Take Off

Costs. Organized by Project first, then Site, Building, Building Storey, and Space.



Indoor Climate Simulation > HVAC Design

Related to Code Compliance Checking.  Project is not separate here, the main generic categories are Building, Building Storey, Project is at this level, Site, Space, and Thermal Zone. Long term wide spread studies might combine this MVD with sustainable processes listed above.



Spatial Requirements and Target > Thermal Simulation

Focusing here on Project and Space Type




Structural Design > Structural Analysis

Looking at: Building, Building Storey, Project, Structural Analysis Curve Connection, Structural Analysis Curve Member, Structural Analysis Point Connection, Structural Analysis Surface Member, Structural Linear Action, and Structural Point Action. Reminds me of the art fundamentals program at Virginia Commonwealth University where students explore surfaces and spaces. Mathematicians analyze critical points and actions too, how can there be an internship program bringing together people in their 2os across each discipline?



Now look at this Domain Map of the Building Service Performance Project by Bob Smith, based on meeting notes here


What’s needed next is a map of open standards in NBIMS MVD formats.


Building Dictionaries

geospatial ontology

Geoconcepts Ontology, Skeleton Structure by avier Ruiz Aranguren at Trabajos Catastrales S.A. Two versions can be used: Geoconcepts Ontology v1.2, and v1.2 SWRL enhanced model.

People are building dictionaries and ontologies all over the place today. For example, researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s School of Computing are working on an original system for building multilingual dictionaries based on multiple term equivalences using what they are calling “universal words” – which will have huge impact to geospatial meaning. They claim system reliability and accuracy is 88%.

A HUGE effort impacting the entire design, architecture, contracting, construction, and facility management cycle is the Construction Specification Institute Project Construction Industry Terminology Initiative Task Team CITITT, refer to the article Words and What They Mean by chairman Gregg Borchelt PE FCSI.


In the Economist article Publish and Be Wrong, illustration by Adrian Johnson

What a call for participation. What huge kind of trumpet is needed for the participants to hear? What a showdown this could be between the subject matter experts to really explain building science. If so, what is the best way to handle scientific disputes or conflicts between publications?

Accuracy in scientific publications are tricky to begin with. For example, in the Economist article cited above, along with evidence in the maps of science, there are legitimate concerns about incorrect findings end up in print ~ then those findings hanging around as accepted fact for too long.

There needs to be better ways to compare concurrent and conflicting definitions in these dictionaries and ontologies. They suggest that, as the marginal cost of publishing a lot more material is minimal on the internet, all research that meets a certain quality threshold should be published online. Preference might even be given to studies that show negative results or those with the highest quality of study methods and interpretation, regardless of the results.

 How about a game or challenge? The construction industry terminology smack down.



Selections from Life on Mars

CI08 on del.icio.us del.icio.usCI08 on Facebook facebookCI08 on Flickr flickrCI08 on MySpace mySpaceCI08 on YouTube YouTube IWishYourWish I Wish Your Wish by Rivane Neuenschwander The wishes of various people are printed on textile ribbons, which relate to the church Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in São Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The ribbons are worn around the wrist where they are tied with three knots. A wish is made as each knot is tied. According to the tradition, the wishes come true when the ribbons tear apart and fall off the wrist. Visitors are welcome to take a ribbon and leave a wish behind. Wishes are collected and used to print new ribbons for the wall. JustABitMore Just a Bit More by Ranjani Shettar, interact with it hereUnknownForcesUnknown Forces by Apichatpong WeerasethakulGo see it in person, this is just a picture of a picture of a pictureTo really see it needs the big screens and big sounds.  


A Trail through SMARTcodes

Imagine taking a piece of door hardware all the way through the code review process: from an assembly of parts, to a hardware set, to a door, to an egress corridor, to a building, to the local building authority, the state, the country, and the world.


80 Series, Narrow Design, Sargent Co.


American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Builders Hardware Manufacturing Association (BHMA) ANSI/BHMA A156.3-2001 establishes requirements for exit devices and trim.

Hardware reinforcing in accordance to ANSI, SDI, NFPA standards requirements

Sargent’s Newest Innovations
“80 Series, Accept Nothing but the Facts!
Withstands Real-Life Abuse!
It’s the strongest, most durable exit device in the industry today! The SARGENT 80 Series continues to exceed ANSI/ BHMA Grade 1 standards.”


Laws or rules prescribed by an authority to regulate conduct.  State or local construction regulations incorporate codes and referenced standards.

“The International Building Code 2006 states that entrance doors in Occupancy…. Access control locking hardware must conform to the door’s fire rating…”

fire door

Contact PH Insulations about – Fire rated doors


Passes positive pressure test standards UL 10C, UBC 7-2, and UBC 7-4
Door tests performed in accordance with UL 10B, ASTM E2074, NFPA 80, and NFPA
Tested according to NFPA 252 and UL10(b) and labeled up to 3 hours


Arlington County Virginia
Accessibility: 2003 ICC/ANSI A117.1
Building: 2003 International Building Code
Electrical: 2002 National Electrical Code (NFPA 70)
Energy Conservation: 2003 International Residential Code
Fire Prevention: 2003 International Fire Code
Fuel Gas: 2003 International Fuel Gas Code
Mechanical: 2003 International Mechanical Code
Plumbing: 2003 International Plumbing Code
Residential: 2003 International Residential Code


Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development
Planning Research and Analysis
Planning Division Applications & Forms Library
Construction Inspections, Permits, Certificate of Occupancy, Code Enforcement


Virginia Community Association Network – Understanding Building Codes
VBCOA Virginia Building Code Officials Association  Battlefield Chapter Region V
International Building Code General: Carolyn Majowka represents Arlington County


Map of VBCOA Regions

ICC current version “The existing code language fails to address the issue of hardware that is required as part of the door assembly to satisfy egress and security requirements …”

FEMA 453 / May 2006 Risk Management Series Safe Rooms and Shelters “The occupancy loads in the building codes have historically been developed ….. Source: Arlington County After-Action Report Designated entry/exit access …”


Map3  Map4

Maps from the International Code Council

“The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct…”

smart3  ecodes


ICC Online | SMARTcodes



 SmartCodeStudio by TechnoRiver


QR Codes and Semacodes are similar in the sense that they’re squarish. ShotCodes, appropriately enough, mimic a bulls-eye. Unlike normal barcodes, these two-dimensional “matrix codes” can store much more data, aside from simple numbers. From Three Formats Promise to Turn Your Mobile into a Barcode Reader

smart 2

i-Nigma codes are smart codes that act as links to websites. What makes them so amazing is how they are used. Refer to mydigitallife for a step by step explanation.


Museum  FireStation  11520000transportationwe.jpg







Innovative Architecture

Today’s largest, most pressing architectural challenge is what to do with all the linked open data becoming available.There is a possibility people can accomplish great things by getting collectively smarter and more inquisitive. What have innovative architects done before in similar situations? What is the difference between the collective versus universal intelligence that may result from improved semantic architecture for the general public? A compare/contrast is offered below between Ayn Rand’s Howard Rourke in “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and Buckminster Fuller born in Milton, Massachusetts, July 12,1895, he and his wife Anne died within thirty-six hours of each other, one week before their sixty-sixth anniversary, Bucky on July 1st 1983, Anne on July 3rd 1983.The fictional Howard Rourke and real Buckminster Fuller are completely opposite from each other but have some things in common: they were both expelled from architecture school, they both created innovative designs for public building projects.Ayn Rand was a Russian immigrant thoroughly opposed to collectivism, who took America as her model of what a free nation should be. She created architect Howard Rourke as an ideal individual in “The Fountainhead” in 1943. His closing arguments in a court case are below, interspersed with images of todays most ambitious and unusual architecture, to advocate the power of creative individuals. By contrast, Buckminster Fuller’s ideas about a universal human follows. It is a long post. Both examples focus on new concepts of public housing. The issue today is innovative architecture in computers and networks for public ideas.__________________________Howard Rourke, pages 678 to 685, from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, Signet 1942.”Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them with a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted darkness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden territory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.


Copia by Antonio Gaudí

“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stand in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures – because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that one paid for his courage.


Casa Milà, 92 Paseo de Gracia, apartment block built between 1906 and 1910 in Barcelona for the Milà family by Antonio Gaudí“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received – hatred. The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid. But they won.”No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building – that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all other things and against all men.….in development more to type from Howard Rourke’s soliloquy about design, construction, and blowing up the buildings that failed to meet his design intent, will intersperse architectural images below and more…..work in progress aquaUSAAqua, to be completed in 2009 Chicago USA: This skyscraper will seem traditional from a distance, however up close, the ripple/jelly effect created by variously sized balconies becomes evident from top to bottom.chicagospireChicago Spire, to be completed in 2010 Chicago USA: Will be the world’s tallest residential building and the tallest building of any kind in the western world.CCTVCCTV Headquarters, to be completed in Beijing China for the 2008 Olympics: The shape, described as a ‘z criss-cross’ results in a very high, seemingly unsupported corner at the front.regattaRegatta Hotel Jakarta Indonesia: Complex of 10 towers referring to Indonesian ships with while the biggest construction represents a lighthouse.ResidenceIndiaResidence Antilia IndiaRussiaTowerRussia Tower, to be completed 2012, Moscow Russia: Topped with an Observation Deck, Russia Tower will become the tallest building in Europe, twice the height of the Eiffel tower.Penang1500Penang Global City Center, Malaysia: Following months of speculation and sturdy opposition, this project is in the final stages of approval and apparently construction will start soon. Due to the size it will take at least 15 years to completely transform the small island of Penang.GazpromRussiaGazprom Headquarters, St. Petersburg Russia: Will appear to change color up to 10 times per day depending on the position of the sun.BurjDubaiBurj Dubai, to be completed 2009: Will be the tallest man-made structure in the world and the tallest building by a long shot with a predicted height of 818m. C urrently the tallest building on earth, excluding an antenna, is Taipei 101 in Taiwan which stands at 509m.


Open Standards / Commercial Technology

Benefits of Using the BIMstorm Process and OPS Onuma Planning System to develop Open Standards  

Open standards for building and geospatial information are rapidly changing.  So much is being figured out at the same time its hard to know which of the many parallel tracks will eventually meet in the distance.  For example:

Performance Specifications:  Proprietary versus generic names of things are very tricky ~ the CSI Construction Specification Institute International Framework Dictionary is currently being developed;   

Data Exchange Policies:  Recording brand names, model numbers, and manufacturer’s warranties as performance specifications, designs and data change hands from Architect, to Contractor, to Owner ~ COBIE Construction Operations Building Exchange is currently being developed;  

Building Codes:  Construction type and use group are able to align with building data by facility type and location ~ ICC International Code Council SmartCODES are currently being developed;  

Space Definition Rules:   BOMA calcs and owner program requirements ~ OSCRE Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate are currently being developed;  

Geospatial Coordination: OGC Open Geospatial Consortium has already made a huge impact, open standards continue to be developed with an impressive focus on interoperability amongst the standards themselves;  

Sustainability: Owners, Architects, and Contractors understand how to go for LEEDS points now ~ USGBC US Green Building Council has already made a huge impact, standards and requirements continue to be developed;  

Tools for Public Inquiry:  How can environmental organizations assess their area using USGBC/LEED data, GIS Watershed, BOMA Calcs, SMARTCodes and all the above while OmniClass, MasterFormat, UniFormat and all the words we use are constantly evolving?

BIMstorm and OPS provide an opportunity for non-technical people to like and understand the potential of BIM and open standards in simple ways.  Room Criteria Sheets and Google Earth are OK, regular people can play out a variety of scenarios without liabilities, deadlines, or costs.  It can’t be only technical people who solve these problems.   The main benefit of using the BIMstorm process and OPS is being able to figure out how open standards SHOULD work together with commercial technology.  Open standards need to be vendor neutral, but it takes vendors to help develop these standards along the way.  There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead and true interoperability will never be “done”.  Until then, using the BIMstorm process and OPS provides a unique opportunity to work together towards the same shared end goals.  Can’t get there without using real products and technology.

Deborah L. MacPherson AIA, CSI CCS
Specifications and Research, WDG Architecture PLLC
Projects Director, Accuracy&Aesthetics
NBIMS National Building Information Modeling Standard, Consensus and Model Implementation Guide Task Teams
Member of the buildingSMART alliance



Collages about linking huge amounts of open data in hyperbolic space. Individual images and links are below.




Components starting with Michael K. Bergman on AI3 Adaptive Information, Adaptive Innovation, Adaptive Infrastructure. Not all components below are shown above.

Lack of Road Signs Causes Collisions and Missed Turns (459)



One Possible Road Map (515)


Full UMBEL Graph (496)


From Wikipedia: An umbel is an inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks (calledpedicels) which are equal in length and spread from a common point, somewhat like umbrella ribs. Umbels are a characteristic of plants such as carrot, parsley, dill, and fennel in the familyApiaceae, and ivy, aralia and fatsia in the family Araliaceae. A compressed cyme is called unbelliform if it resembles an umbel.





OpenCyc Selected Vocabulary and Upper Ontology


Linked Open Data


Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles at Daily Dose of Imagery


Crochet Model of Hyperbolic Plane by Daina Taimina, presented by the Institute for Figuring


Ontoforms by Accuracy&Aesthetics Director Ken Fields



Standard Upper Ontology Working Group (SUO WG)







Wishful Thinking

When members of the general public are faced with complex decisions, for example a medical situation for an elderly parent, all of the sudden there is a need to learn what a whole lot of new words mean and a compulsion to get up to speed with current research. The relevant words may be entirely new concepts and its hard to know where to start. The spectrum of sources for medical information range from Google to MedLine and on and on depending the users comfort level with exploring advanced research. Members of the general public, and even experts, can face difficulty staying on track to solve only the current problem without wandering down unrelated paths that, while interesting, actually have nothing to do with making an informed decision about the situation at hand.


terrain2 by Matthias M. Giwer at the Internet RayTracing Competition May-June 1999

There are too many facts and opinions to choose from and currently no way to stack conflicting and current points of view against each other in a simple format limited to a specific, narrow context, rather than the context of everything. In a medical situation, understanding all the options for medical reasons is unfortunately only part of the picture, there is also a need to become an instant expert in the swirl of confusion that is the insurance industry, not to mention the information pharmaceutical companies publish for public access. All three industries collide on a regular basis. Simple decisions may be influenced by a large number of conflicting viewpoints that may not care as much about the outcome as much as untrained users trying to learn new terminology to understand the pros and cons. Maybe FLIPP explainers could be used to understand the options, for example, IF hospice care is initiated THEN Medicare benefits will change.


FLIPPexplainer by David Cox

Having access to endless research, benefits, and reports does not make the decision easier or fix things in the real world. Diagrams can help see in overviews to consider what doctors are telling you, compared to what the industry position is, compared to what you can observe yourself to decide what is realistic, what to expect, how you can help. What is needed is something like a holding bin or personal visual dashboard to collect, analyze, and keep only the pieces that matter in your puzzle. For example, Figure 5 from Context Driven Topology drawings shows:


Instead of a curator, scientist, and detective – what if the points of view were brother, brother, and sister? From left to right, one approach is to integrate bits and pieces information into a solid position, another may choose to undertake a comprehensive survey, another may simply be trying to separate fact from fiction. A consensus across all three points of views and ways of making decisions may only intersect at one point. Too bad that point can’t be guided by all the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical information.


How would such a point be derived? Maybe through Linked Open Data


Linked Data at DBpedia.org



Name, Rank, Facility Number

Download PDF Where Does All This Information Belong [ DMacPJBIM08 ] to appear in the Fall 08 online version of the Journal of Building Information Modeling



“I see this as a topic map question with a good query mechanism that would allow you to match patterns and bubble to the top the requisite variety of solutions to the query.

There is something you see and talk about that I rarely do, the ability to fold, twist, and reveal. I have no clue how one goes about that except along the lines I suggested in an earlier post about manifolds, intersecting them, and playing them using something like a GBG (will ask: one of these or Glass Bead Network?) as an interface.

An old (late) friend Iben Browning used to talk about using evolutionary program and “spring” metaphors to let things like this self organize. The idea is that you arrange nodes in relationship to each other and add springs between them. You can watch this happen with touchgraph – the nodes jiggle around until the dust settles. You can tweak spring coefficients until something “makes sense” – – that’s what evolutionary programming does for you.”


See the big picture of clusters and interrelations within your data, and zoom in on whatever catches your interest, by TouchGraph.



RE: “Set of data structures, or code templates, to extend semantic relationships that already exist in CSI and OCCS classifications to capture and describe building information by construction type, use group, code requirements and so on.”

I see (in the pdf below) that you are linking core concepts (Uniformat and MF2004 names) to various the classification systems and specification clauses (step 1 ,2) and related these to their usefulness for some building types (step 3-5 Looking at ICC allows  you to relate some requirements to ‘core concepts’ and/or ‘building types’. COBIE exposes the  classification of spaces, systems and registered types. Lastly your spreadsheet mentions standards that are relevant. Overall you have a tree of references and relationships.


Developing a set of code and classification templates to track and standardize building information modeling exchanges. See pdf for explanation.


and the following links

bimSMART lab


BuildingSMART Alliance


Building Code templates are a way of understanding the design of buildings and also what happens inside there. Some of this information is private, some is related to overall energy awareness and efficiency concerns, some are public services that could be shown on Google maps, some are simply where a person lives with preferred and ranked restaurants around them. Whatever the concerns, how do you get from all the possible information and building control system readings to the necessary and sufficient information needed for the general public to live their daily lives and participate in the governance of their local, regional, national and global community? Code templates are a stab at it. It is assumed every building type can use the same Division 01, General Conditions in their contract documents while being built. Its still unclear what happens after that in terms of the building lifecycle. Where building codes fit is still being figured out but probably in another band above Division01.


Choosing Colors



Looking at colors for the code/classification templates for the Building Service Performance Project at Ontolog. Sample building models provided courtesy of Kimon Onuma at Onuma Planning System which is used for BIMstorm.

The basis of the color design is adapted from this brochure at the Sasquatch Music Festival. Comments welcome on the colors above, other examples of color selection techniques are below.



Fire Station Coverage by Finith Jernigan at Design Atlantic


Color Brewer, Selecting Good Color Schemes for Maps by Cindy Brewer at Penn State University


Color Select Demo at the CodeProject


Satin Solids at My Faux Paws Apparel and Accessories


Alternate Color Selection at GeneCluster2 Reference Guide at the Broad Institute, MIT


Twisted Brush Pro Studio at Pixarra

color selection


See Code Templates for More





Making Diagrams

Today, there are so many ways to process ideas and information in computers and networks. However, most web exchanges are still based on words in the English language. However, when the information has to do with changing events, relationships, and critical paths ~ drawings and diagrams are able to convey what has already been done and what needs to be done next more clearly.  



Figure 3: Critical Path Identification in Step 2, by Agostino G. Bruzzone, Roberto Mosca, Roberto Revetria ?DIP – Dipartimento di Ingegneria della Produzione  

Work groups at NBIMS, the Building Service Performance Projectat OntologAccuracy&Aesthetics and many, many related interdisciplinary efforts need diagrams to map out what they are working on and express their project goals.  An excellent guide to mapping software is available at mind-mapping.org.  Lots of people are making tools and there are a LOT of shared goals.  For example, the Compendium Institute, the Linking Open Data Project and related efforts at W3, the Open Knowledge Foundation is working on some interesting visualizations, initiatives to map science led by Katy Borner, view-theinfo at Google Groups, and networks like Twine are all doing amazing stuff.  Now how can we all work on, share, and gradually build the same diagrams and maps?

Some examples diagrams from simple to complex purposes are below.   One person, or a group of people, imagination is where it all starts, depending on how much information there is may need to dives down deep into uncharted complexity, then needs to come back up to communicate with everyone involved in such ambitious projects:


Real Change by Natalie Shell who … drew this up to amuse herself the other day while musing on real change at the same time as writing about organisational change processes for a clients and watching/dealing with the changes thrust upon people close to me


Yes there will be a test by Jessica Hagy …author writes her life and musings through venn diagrams on index cards

1RotorDesign (236)

Constructed topological skeleton by Max-Planck-Institut Informatik


Continuing with Tetrahedrization of critical points and connectors.


Finalizing with complete tetrahedrization


From the Progressive Licensing Framework for Discussion at Health Canada











Talking About Spirals

Context Driven Topologies are mathematical groups of ideas and information transmitted over computers and networks.  Their form and process are expressed using drawings and specifications.  Their purpose is to organize and drive network topologies to answer questions and derive meaning from data collections of any size, particularly in open source environments.  The purpose of answering questions and deriving meaning is to foster Collective Intelligence. Refer to Wikipedia Unassessed Systems for related work.

CItypes (131)

The default form envisioned for storage mode is a spiral.  Groups of ideas and information can be rearranged infinite ways while working with or distributing to and from precise locations. Locations can be physical, conceptual, or a combination of both.  Assuming constructing exchanges and working this way is possible, what shapes and topologies would be most effective?  What are their properties? What do they have in common? What would a computer and network language about these pathways, densities, colors, transparencies, forms, linkages and exchanges look like?


Its too complicated to wonder about ALL possible forms, the question can be simplified by just concentrating on spirals for an example. Therefore, a previous post Spiral Model is expanded to incorporate slides prepared by A&A Director Vera W. de Spinadel for a Postgraduate class on Form and Mathematics which focuses on logic and technique. Dr. de Spindel remarks “Of course this has a lot to do with the subject of Context Driven Topologies“. Lets see what this means to computers and networks, starting with :

spiral model

Spiral Model, Boehm, 1988, Original Creator: Conrad Nutschan

According to Wikipedia on November 22, 2006: The spiral model is a software development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. What a perfect shape spirals are to portray complex evolving relationships. Just imagine the possibilities using spirals as a base structure.


A Equiangular Spiral and its Secants from the Visual Dictionary of Special Plane Curves

Now for Vera’s slides:











English captions to be completed at a later date – this slide says “Carrying out some modifications in the process of construction of this spiral, we are going to build other linked with the Numbers of the FNMPP. In the following figure details of the construction are shown.”



Of course spirals are seen in nature and architecture. Rough translation “Finally, in the country of the Architectural Design, fits to mention the interesting antecedent of the Spiral building, built by the Arq. Fumihiko Maki in Tokyo, Japan in 1985. Maki gue prizewinner with the Prize Pritzker in 1993 and in its Spiral building has utilized the geometry of the curve, that conjugates marvelously the concepts of fragment and unattainable center. The geometric figure is an evocation of the ones that are found in Kyoto, in the famous Temple of Ginkakuji (Silver Building) 1338-1573 and in the Temple of Kinkakuji (Building of Gold) 1398, reconstructed in 1955. Though these denominations of Gold and Silver have religious and historic meaning, they would be able to serve of example to design making use of so much, metallic spirals flat curves like helicoides metallic.”


The question Vera is looking for is geometrical interpretations of the members of the family of metallic means – which she discovered in 1997. She found a relationship of the golden mean with the pentagon and another of the silver mean with the octagon. And that was all, there were no more relationships with polygons. So, she began trying to construct metallic spirals, generalizing the well known golden spiral – and was successful! She introduced a family of metallic spirals and continues intensively working with the silver spiral. There will be more to see when she presents at the International Conference on Geometry and Graphics ICGG-2008 in Dresden Germany.


Other computer and network systems that may be interesting to study in terms of forms, dynamic properties, geometry and graphics to streamline information that have been highlighted in recent discussions include:

Artificial Neural Networks

Pattern Recognition

Single Instance Storage

But what is even more interesting is


Collective Intelligence


the Information Economy Meta Language IEML see the paper “Collective Intelligence Protocol Semantic Metadata Exchange Standard (CIP-SMES)” by Michel Bietzunski and Steven Newcomb 18 July 2007. A commentary on this paper and Chapter 3 of Topic Maps by the same authors, edited by Jack Park is here IEMLcomments









Matematica y Diseno


3rd International Mathematics & Design Workshop


The 3rd International Mathematics & Design Workshop will be held at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Studies, La Plata University on 6th and 7th June, 2008. Every interested person is invited to send an abstract before the 5th May, for evaluation through the Scientific Committee.


Las matematicas el diseno de aviones

For each communication there will be 20 minutes and it is a necessary requisite that their content has not been previously presented or published elsewhere. There will be a distinction between:
1) new results obtained on the subject of the results presented at M&D-2007 in Blumenau, Brazil;
2) completely new subjects.
There will be also Plenary Lectures of 30 minutes, delivered by personal invitation and these lectures could be in Spanish or English. The Proceedings will be published as a special issue of the Journal of M&D.

nexus m&d

Please see the Nexus Journal and La Asociation Internacional de Matematica y Diseno


Residential vs Commercial

Conversation between Jim Disbrow and Deborah MacPherson regarding the component and community of interest we’re trying to build.  Metaphors comparing semantic architecture vs building architecture are presented on 2 levels: Residential vs Commercial.





Details of the trademarked EuraCraft System at gutterspecialist.com

JD: …for artists to understand and help depict relationships in semantic space….Building outbuildings and barns might be easier to understand than contracting and programming commercial office space. I can pick up a book at the hardware store on the first two, but not on the latter. Can we make allusions to weightbearing and nonweightbearing walls, and the space in between having multiple functions? How about snow loads and fresh air exchange; mighten they have some semantic equivalent? Cantilevered buildings, porches, and awnings are pretty common too. How about glass houses with lots of transparencies and light?


DM: Right – what is holding it together? What can you see through? How do the various parts perform? What is the equal to door hardware and hallway layouts to control accessand direct the flow of visitors to this space…?




kmeans Kmeans

Basic k-means clusters that can be used as a reference for comparison vs Overlapping k-means clusters illustrate SOM distortion of semantic space both by Stacy Rebich, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Both images show variations of the same solution in semantic space. The same semantic relationships may underly what is being shown in both images, but simpler versions are all the general public needs 99 percent of the time. Like the residential manufacturers drawing above, all that is needed is one picture showing how the parts fit together, and the names of the parts in case there is a question about one of them. A failure of the resident to assemble the parts the right way would not be a disaster beyond their own property. Commercial projects however, require standards, tests and inspections. There are rules to comply with and more detailed relationships need to be documented.

….in progress….





From Commercial Construction Loans

SHORT stands for Semantic Heuristic Ontological Relator Terms.

Comparison of semantic architecture vs building architecture.

Semantic = Each piece of information has a context where it belongs. For example, in an architectural package, the 100 series is always plan drawings. Symbolic notations refer one drawing to another, recognized by both their number series and symbolic notation as a plan, elevation, section, detail, coordination drawing, and so on. The relationships between all drawings in the set are captured by a project name and number. All projects of the office are in a linear sequence with no relationships between projects except before and after. All the lines and words for a project are in an evolving context together as a set of design and construction documents, specifications and work result requirements. There may be common details or requirements between projects of similar types (residential, office, mixed use) or location (Arlington County, Florida, Dubai), but once the contract is executed, the documents are frozen in time unless formally changed by amendment. The established semantic structure of a set of construction documents allows the Architect to issue updated separate parts in ways recipients can quickly know where the interpretations and clarifications belong.

Heuristic = You can make things with this system of terms and relationships. Drawings and specifications already have established locations and standing references between them. For documentation efforts, SHORT will create a better work environment than starting with a blank slate. Nearly anything that can be designed and built can be made to fit into a heuristic structure. Shared heuristic structures need to follow the equal of drawing conventions, and be described by a controlled vocabulary to be understood by others without ambiguity.

Ontological = Large scale, underlying, overarching principles of design and specification – but not yet construction or project definition. A potential ontological aspect of the work patterns and products of Architects could be the National Building Information Modeling Standard NBIMS. A consensus based, technology neutral, industry wide solution where software needs to be certified for compliance, you are on your own for hardware. NBIMS is a huge technological challenge to capture and maintain records of physical space, locations, and valid measurements including time. SHORT terms are like proprietary language being presented in NBIMS language to meet exchange requirements. The relator terms are an ontological mapper to meet exchange requirements defined in a SHORT checklist where some terms are included, others are specifically excluded to define the scope of work.


X Y z


There is underlying background information but a contract to do ontological work using SHORT includes only the contract items listed in the checklist, subsequently shown and specified in the final contract documents.

Bidders evaluate the checklist and design documents to negotiate or win a contract.


The checklist is used by Contractors to presort projects to decide what they are interested overall and for Owners to prequalify Contractors experienced with certain types of construction.



~ not shown yet~ Once the work is underway, the Contractor submits and continuously updates the schedule of values independently from the design by the Architect because the values are always changing based on the market but the design documents were frozen in time when the contract was executed. SHORT ontological terms keep the different disciplines in check. ~ aligning “bar codes” above is only for simplicity, the semantic relationships could rearrange and be any shape because of standing references between the relators. The more projects that repeat the same relationships, the stronger the references between the relators will become~


Waves_H by Kumiko Kushiyama SIGGRAPH 2003

Relator = When the design is broken into constructable parts to be communicated in checklists, models, drawings, and specifications the relator terms are like keynotes. They are a code, a short consistent designator.

Term = Expanded relators.

So – if building architecture is in physical space, SHORT is for semantic space. Accuracy&Aesthetics interest in the comparison is to require, through regulations and exchange requirements, that public space be purposefully set aside, designed, and updated with current information in the semantic world.

These designs do not have to be done over and over again. Patterns of understanding and communications can be reapplied and reused by repeating their semantic structure – which will help them to match up on higher more abstract levels in the future.

Today, it would give public information organizations the chance to select their best examples of the thrill of discovery, explain the services they provide, provide official answers to re-occuring questions, and set up predefined directions through the information they provide. By designing the semantic architecture specifically for public space as a small interoperable part of most projects.


BIM tracking

Technology advances rapidly in nearly every industry. Yet, many tools and resources do not provide easy access or interpreted meaningful benefit to the general public. Some have said Accuracy&Aesthetics is developing a “building code” for semantic space based on building in the real world.

For example, Building Information Modeling could have innumerable uses for museums and their audiences. Museum buildings are constructed and live in a place. Objects are interpreted and displayed in physical space with geospatial locations. If BIM software could truly interoperate with GIS and collection management software – it would be possible to document not only object dimensions, properties, and images – but exhibit spaces as well. Programmed instructional walkthroughs could be created in a relative size and appropriate pace for clear understanding of the objects and stories they tell. A variety of human perspectives could be generated and compared over time. By tracking enough curators interpretations and viewer preferences over time, could it also be possible to capture the reasons objects move from museum to museum, exhibit to exhibit, audience to audience?


How can large scale online museum collections, BIM, information and data visualization, social networks, open source service architectures, and countless other emergent and developing technologies be merged into one simple system designed to serve the general public?

What interface would be most compelling and true to the subject matters?

How can the thrill of discovery and most essential examples from entire areas of expertise be conveyed to audiences that cannot share the same physical space or time period with the digital materials they are experiencing?

What are the performance requirements for the construction, operation and maintenance of shared semantic space?


Top 9 Unique Structures

aquaUSAAqua, to be completed in 2009 Chicago USA: This skyscraper will seem traditional from a distance, however up close, the ripple/jelly effect created by variously sized balconies becomes evident from top to bottom.chicagospireChicago Spire, to be completed in 2010 Chicago USA: Will be the world’s tallest residential building and the tallest building of any kind in the western world.CCTVCCTV Headquarters, to be completed in Beijing China for the 2008 Olympics: The shape, described as a ‘z criss-cross’ results in a very high, seemingly unsupported corner at the front.regattaRegatta Hotel Jakarta Indonesia: Complex of 10 towers referring to Indonesian ships with while the biggest construction represents a lighthouse.ResidenceIndiaResidence Antilia IndiaRussiaTowerRussia Tower, to be completed 2012, Moscow Russia:Topped with an Observation Deck, Russia Tower will become the tallest building in Europe, twice the height of the Eiffel tower.Penang1500Penang Global City Center, Malaysia: Following months of speculation and sturdy opposition, this project is in the final stages of approval and apparently construction will start soon. Due to the size it will take at least 15 years to completely transform the small island of Penang.GazpromRussiaGazprom Headquarters, St. Petersburg Russia: Will apparently change color up to 10 times per day depending on the position of the sun.BurjDubaiBurj Dubai, to be completed 2009: Will be the tallest man-made structure in the world and the tallest building by a long shot with a predicted height of 818m. C urrently the tallest building on earth, excluding an antenna, is Taipei 101 in Taiwan which stands at 509m.



There is a gathering storm to document space in the physical world that will eventually impact, or help to form and track, the development of the semantic world. Go see BIMstorm ~ here are some reports.

BIMstorm is a series of spontaneous 24 hour long collaborations organized by the Onuma Planning System. The participants don’t even meet each other for a kickoff meeting. Players all just start designing and utilizing different types of expertise… and design architect can go back to work on their design again and someone else has added onto its information – for example a structural engineer or interior designer could refine what was only put up as BIM blobs. Its hard to understand semantic space. There are multiple locations of the same things. There is Google Earth for a bigger picture anyone can use. There are the programs, purposes. and information exchange priorities in these spaces. But there are no building codes about use groups yet. There have not been any catastrophes, like fire driving the development of US codes. And now BIMstorm is a call to link up all the building and geographic information in semantic space too. An statement on the challenges of Open Standards vs Commercial Technology is here and here.

The requirements of accurately documenting physical space include the Building Owners and Managers Association Calculations (BOMAcalcs), National Building Information Modeling Standard, w3 rules, ontology, language, model definition rules and more, and more. Architects and specification writers can get in trouble for “making things up” because there are reasons the rules are in place. Building and geographic data meet exchange requirements by being standardized, accepted measurements – which is figured out in detail for the physical world, but how is semantic space designed, built and measured?



Zu in the swirl by sgatto



Swirling by exper

Curving, Swirling by shapeshift

A huge quantity of building and geographic records are currently being made to design, operate, and maintain public buildings and public spaces. What are we going to do with all this information?


Exponential Documentation vs Just Building


Compressive Transverse Section of a Typical Gothic Cathedral from Bearing Walls: Monolithic Masonry Construction, Columbia University

People tend to assume the way things are done now is the way they have been done forever which is not always true. For example, the thrilling video Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth Demo shows a sequence where Flickr images are assembled to form Notre Dame cathedral.

One geometry can be put together from different view points and angles because we know what Notre Dame cathedral looks like now.  In comparison, trying to decipher the geometry of knowledge being built over time, or precisely reconstruct the topology of similar idea and information exchanges, is very difficult because the geometry of the end result is not known yet.  There is not one existing structure to assemble the different points of views and angles to a single structure.

Surprisingly, according to Brian Bowen of Georgia Tech and the newly forming Construction History Society, it turns out many builders of the old cathedrals did not know what they were doing ahead of time either.   Scholarly research indicates there are only approximately 3000 drawings and 400 contracts from the medieval period.  Paper was not available and papyrus was simply to expensive.  More often than not, plaster was used as a temporary canvas to depict parts of the building until that stage was complete.  New plaster was applied on top to show the next phase of work.  Thomas Jefferson used similar techniques in the design and construction of the University of Virginia.  The masons controlled the execution, often changing their minds part way through the construction process.

Today, the contract documents for 1 building may be comprised of 3000 drawings with 400 contracts and subcontracts = the entire history and all of the documentation left of the medieval period.  3000 and 400 are the quantities that can be validated now, maybe scholars will discover more records in the future, especially if these records can be pieced together by subject matter or physical location.

The whole world of buildings and geography is being constructed and documented both backwards and forwards in time.  At some point instead of documentation rising exponentially, hopefully the tide will reverse to become smaller, shared records of places stepping back in time and detail as needed.

Now when you see a video like 1 Week of Artworks




It makes more sense that perhaps semantic space can be built in a controlled and creative fashion without knowing the optimal geometry of the end result.  This is actually history repeating itself from other monumental efforts in the past.


Single Point of Failure

Duane Nickull Senior Standards Strategist for Adobe Systems set forth a set of goals on Ontolog Forum
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Start thinking about the 2008 Ontology Summit

+ Free public API’s where organizations with folksonomies (tag clouds often represent these), can link terms in their folksonomies to disambiguate words like “Washington” which may have several meanings.

+ a system architecture with no single point of failure and a flexible service oriented approach to creating a platform for ontology work on the web.

+some artifacts to explain in simple lay terms, how to use the ontology and how to reference items in it from taxonomies and folksonomies with simple context and event declarations.

+ a strong thrust of work on context.

…which lit a fire of discussion over the term context.

Implementing Duane Nickull’s stated goals would benefit the general public in a number of ways. But there are unanswered questions for example: What is meant by a single point?


Single Point Perspective by Mark Reeves


What system features fail and how can the single points of such failures be diffused to enable functional workarounds on the fly?


The behavior of a perfectly diffuse, or Lambertian, surface is described with the help of this figure by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in their remote sensing tutorial.


Duane Nickull states the following in response “Single point of failure in (Service Oriented and System) Architecture is a concept whereby one component has the power to render a larger set of components useless if it fails. When architecting ebXML, the W3C Web Services Architecture and the United Nations architecture, we employed multiple failsafes such as a federation of registries instead of a single registry repository since the single one represented a potential point of failure. Even if we employed multiple registry-repositories and syndicated master records from one, the one represented a single point of failure. Instead, all these architectures use a system of high water marks and federation (much like DNS for the internet) to guarantee no single point of failure can bring the entire infrastructure down”

SCIP, meaning the Stanford Computer Industry Project, reports “major computer industry problems such as interoperability, systems errors and project failures are in large part software problems.”


Collapse the Light into Earth by ~EvidenceE~


The other SCIP, meaning Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice, has lively discussions about failures. Everything from a wood floor product failing in adhesion, to windows not passing performance tests, to buildings falling down and exit doors failing to operate during an emergency. What emergencies are caused by the single point of failure in a system architecture?


System Collapse by isbsh


In the real world, people get trapped in a nightclub fire and exit devices are not only invented, they are required by building codes and local laws. Where do ontology users get trapped?


Day 30: Trapped Inside a Migraine by Susan and her 5d’s

Who maintains the system of building codes and laws to avoid system wide failures caused by single points in semantic space? In the case of an exit door in physical space, the point of failure is the unfortunate fact there is only one way out, the opening might be too narrow, and untrained people do not know how to operate the locks or control the flow.

Locks in Hugh Moore Park 6 by Mareboy

Locks in Hugh Moore Park 6 by Mareboy

The Construction Specification Institute CSI has a discussion forum on Code Interpretation and Failures. Because building the physical world is already an established process, the roles of contractor, architect and engineer are defined. Are the only architects designing “system architecture with no single point of failure and a flexible service oriented approach to creating a platform for ontology work on the web” actually engineers? Who are the Contractors and Owners of these semantic spaces and designs?


Palais de congres de Montreal 2 by Cocolinda

The CSI discussion on code interpretation and failures include contractors points of view “with a lot less time to research the code requirements than the Architect and the Engineer that already have the contract to produce construction documents, would it not be the proper thing to just list the requirements , instead of putting the responsibility on all the bidders to research code requirements which only one bidder will be successful?”


Architects designing systems without single points of failure are researching which code requirements? Common Logic? Conceptual Graphs? ISO Standards? Yet, outside of failures to communicate which could be caused by crossed wires between originators and interpreters for a million reasons – what are the current worse case scenarios? What fails, falls down, breaks and blocks the path of progress? What checklists are used to contract the Architects, Engineers, and Contractors for large scale public projects? What construction documents are available to end users as if the plans, specifications, and warranties were in the hands of a condo board, comprised of lawyers, waiting for their windows to leak?


Its Time to Break Up by Nobel4



What are the warranties against failure? Failure of what? Adhesion? Not passing performance testing? Emergency response or instantaneous reconfiguration, opening up, structural disappearance or collapse to allow large scale escape during an emergency? Has the digital age faced these emergencies yet?



Discrete Continuity


Sticker Shock by SPEEDtv

See the sticker on the tire. It is a discrete rectangle. A fixed piece of information, it is not continuous.


Tire by Mayarishi

However, once the wheel goes in motion, the sticker can no longer be seen – the discrete shape appears to be a continuous blur.

Therefore, discrete elements put into dynamic motion only appear to be continuous. How can this be useful to take discrete instances of knowledge and make them continuous?
Continuity, even if only simulated, can benefit the digital age in many ways. For example, look at all the discrete papers published every day. Each one is a set of information like the sticker but what would happen if groups of paper were set in motion, to force continuity between them? What shape would serve this purpose best? A circle like the tire? Some shared, continuous knowledge would require far more complex geometry.


Notre Dame by Chi King

Please refer to this video Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth Demo wherein Flickr images are assembled to construct the Notre Dame Cathedral. The only way to do this is to know the geometry of the cathedral.

What is the geometry of knowledge? How can continuity be implied using shared geometry and many points of view more productively?


Perfect Geometry by Dancing Fishes

There is no way to address the topic without also thinking about slightly different versions of the same thing. Examples using music are below. The same notes and words are used but the songs and performances, even the performance requirements, are different. Each piece of music is discrete, the continuity is the fact they are the same song by different artists ~ in different times and places.


Going to California by Led Zeppelin and the String Quartet


Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix and Steve Ray Vaughn


I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and Cake



Words of Wisdom

To follow are excerpts from the forward to Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child 1963 version, Alfred A Knopf publishers in New York.



La Belle France





Recipe language is always a sort of short hand in which a lot of information is packed, and you will have to read carefully if you are not to miss small but important points. Then, to build up your over-all knowledge of cooking, compare the recipe mentally to others you are familiar with, and note where one recipe of technique fits into the larger picture of theme and variations.


Building AWOL of Understanding and Compassion
William T. Wiley
at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery


A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion.


Forced Confusion by JavaJive on Flickr

Cross references are always a problem. If there are not enough, you may miss an important point, and if there are too many you will become enraged. Yet if every technique is explained every time it comes up, a short recipe is long, and a long one forbidding.


Figure 6 Dual Modality [149] Peripheral Vascular Sonography Joseph F. Polak



Each of the several steps in the process, though simple to accomplish, plays a critical role, and if any is eliminated or combined with another, the texture and taste …of the navarin…suffer, One of the main reasons that psuedo-French cooking, with which we are all too familiar, falls far below good French cooking is just this matter of elimination of steps, combinations of processes, or skimping on ingredients such as butter, cream – and time. “Too much trouble,” “Too expensive,” or “Who will know the difference” are death knells for good food.


A complete treatise on French cooking following the detailed method we have adopted would be about the size of an unabridged dictionary; even printed on Bible paper, it would have to be placed on a stand.



Capturing and Communicating Flow

penderecki1 penderecki2 penderecki3

Krzysztof Penderecki communicates flow in his musical compositions through his own annotation system. Eventually his drawings are translated into traditional notes and lines so performers can play the work. But for his own purposes, and maybe to explain the details and overall patterns to performers and patrons – Penderecki’s own system captures his ideas best.

The scores above are from wood s lot, Sinepost, and the gallery of music at WFMU.
A set of images from Mattmo‘s Inspiration Set on Flickr are presented in contrast below. They also capture flow. At one point maybe only to the artist or mathematicians but at some point later, perhaps to others interpreting or performing the work…..maybe even machines performing work that has a flow.



Tag Experiment

A selection of illustrations by Rockwell Kent, in Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, published by Random House, in 1930 are used herein as an experiment about tags.
Written following the CSI format for architectural specifications by breaking into PARTS 1, 2, 3.



The National Gallery of Art presented a film “Retracing Rockwell Kent” by Frederick Lewis. Rockwell Kent (1882?1971) was a painter, illustrator, travel writer, social activist, and American celebrity. He was so famous in the 1930s the New Yorker was prompted to write “That day will mark a precedent which brings no news of Rockwell Kent.” The documentary asks, why, then, was he nearly forgotten only two decades later? A stunning example of Rockwell Kent’s work are huge number of illustrations in Moby Dick, a huge commission during the depression in the United States.

Below are a set of images scanned with the words on the page, meaningless to the computer, simply lines, black versus white, not letters forming words with meaning. After loading the images, a new evaluation will be made of computer suggested tags. Next, the pictures will be shown by themselves and the text manually entered to see what terminology coming together to form this compelling story are deemed worthy enough by the computer to serve as keywords and tags.

Currently, only by writing these few words, the computer suggests the following tags “art, aesthetics, accuracy, about, images, Accuracy&Aesthetics, set, connect, process, and sketch”.


Amazingly, Random House forgot to list the author on the cover.


after only 3 interior pictures, the following suggested tags appear “see, document, versus, gallery, mark, tags, semantic mashup, connection, people, shapes”

rk4rk5rk6rk7rk9rk-10.jpgrk19 rk11rk12rk13rk14rk15rk16rk17rk18rk19rk20rk21

inexplicably, the computer now suggests the tag “K-12”.




poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andres Jackson from the pebbles,; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!


after three more pictures and the text above, the following tags are suggested “tags, design, Map, master planning, outreach, beauty, preference, architecture, history, context”

Continuing on with the story:

omit them as altogether obsolete; and can hardly help suspecting them for mere sounds, full of Leviathanism, but signifying nothing.

Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would not be here, and at once, perfected. You cannot but plainly see that I have kept my word. But now I leave my Cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncomplicated tower. For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught – nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!


Come, Ahab’s compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!


Days, weeks passed, and under easy sail, the ivory Pequod had slowly swept across four several cruising-grounds; that off the Azores; off the Cape de Verdes; on the Plate (so called), being off the mouth of the Rio de la Plata; and the Carrol Ground an unstaked, water locality, southerly from St. Helena.

It was while gliding through these latter waters that one serene and moonlight night, when all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude: on such a silent night a silvery jet was seen far in advance of the white bubbles at the bow. Lit up by the moon, it looked celestial; seemed some plumed and glittering god uprising from the sea. Fedallah first descried this jet.


With reference to the whaling scene shortly to be described, as well as for the better understanding of all similar scenes elsewhere presented, I hae here to speak of the magical, sometimes horrible whale-line.

The line originally used in the fishery was of the best hemp, slightly vapored with tar, not impregnated with it, as in the case of ordinary ropes; for while tar, as ordinarily used, makes the hemp more pliable to the rope-maker, and also renders the rope itself more convenient to the sailor for common ship use; yet, not only would the ordinary quanitity too much stiffen the whale-line for the close coiling to which it must be subjected; but as most seamen are beginning to learn, tar in general by no means adds to the rope’s durability or strength, however much it may give it compactness and gloss.

Of late years the Manilla rope has in the American fishery almost entirely superseded hemp as a material for whale-lines;


A word concerning an incident in the last chapter.

According to the invariable usage of the fishery, the whale-boat pushes off from the ship, with the headsman or whale-killer as temporary steersman, and the harpooner or whale-fastener pulling the foremost oar, the one known as the harpooneer-oar. Now it needs a strong nervous arm to strike the first iron into the fish; for often, in what is called a long dart, the heavy implement has to be flung to the distance of twenty or thirty feet. But however prolonged and exhausting the chase, the harpooner is expected to pull his oar meanwhile to the uttermost; indeed, he is expected to set an example of superhuman activity to the rest, not only by incredible rowing, but by repeated lout and intrepid exclamation; and what it is to keep shouting at the top of one’s compass, while all the other muscles are strained and half started – what that is none know but those that have tired it. For one, I cannot bawl very heartily and work very recklessly at one and the same time. In this straining, bawling state, then, with his back to the fish, all at once the exhausted harpooneer hears the exciting cry – “Stand up, and give it to him!” He now has to drop and secure his oar, turn round on his centre half way, seize his harpoon from the crotch, and with


only new suggested tag at this point is “system”


When in the Southern Fishery, a captured Sperm Whale, after long and weary toil, is brought alongside late at night, it is not, as a general thing at least, customary to proceed at once to the business of cutting him in. For that business is an exceedingly laborious one; is not very soon completed; and requires all hands to set about it. Therefore, the common usage is to take in all sail; lash the helm a’lee; and then send everyone below to his hammock till daylight, with the reservation that, until that time, anchor-watches shall be kept; that is, two and two for an hour, each couple, the crew in rotation shall mount the deck to see that all goes well.


Crossing the deck, let us now have a good long look at the Right Whale’s head.

As in general shape, the noble Sperm Whale’s head may be compared to a Roman war-chariot (especially in front, where it is so broadly rounded); so, at a broad view, the Right Whale’s head bears a rather inelegant resemblance to a gigantic galliot-toed shoe. Two hundred years ago an old Dutch voyager kikned its shape to that of a shoemaker’s last. And in this same last or shoe, that old woman of the nursery tale, with the swarming brood, might very comfortably be lodged, she and all her progeny.



If the Sperm Whale be physiognomically a Sphinx, to the phrenologist his brain seems that geometrical circle which it is impossible to square.

In the full-grown creature, the skull will measure at least twenty feet in length. Unhinge the lower jaw, and the side view of this skull is as the side view of a moderately inclined plane resting throughout on a level base. But in life – as we have elsewhere seen – this inclined plane is angularly filled up, and almost squared by the enormous superincumbent mass. At the high end the skull forms a crater to bed that part of the mass; while under the long floor of this crater – in another cavity


Other poets have warbled the praises of the soft eye of the antelope, and the lovely plumage of the bird that never alights; less celestial, I celebrate a tail.

Reckoning the largest Sperm Whale’s tail to begin at that point of the trunk where it tapers to about the girth of a man, it comprises upon its upper surface alone, an area of at least fifty square feet. The compact round body of its root expands into two broad, firm, flat palms or flukes, gradually shaling away to less than an inch in thickness. At the junction, these flukes slightly overlap, then sideways recede from each other like wings, leaving a wide vacancy between. In no living thing are the lines of beauty more exquisitely defined than in the crescentic borders of these flukes. At it supmost expansion in the full grown whale, the tail will considerably exceed twenty feet across.


tail of this whale, how understand his head? much more, how comprehend his face, when face he has none? Thou shalt see my back parts, my tail, he seems to say, but my face shall not be seen. But I cannot completely make out his back parts; and hint what he will about his face, I say again he has no face.


Ere now it has been related how Ahab was wont to pace his quarter-deck, taking regular turns at either limit, the binnacle and mainmast; but in the multiplicity of other things requiring narration it has not been added how that sometimes in these walks, when most plunged in his mood, he was wont to pause in turn at each spot, and stand there strangely eyeing the particular object before him. When he halted before the binnacle, with his glance fastened on the pointed needle in the compass, that glance shot like a javelin with the pointed intensity of his purpose; and when resuming his walk he again paused before the mainmast, then, the same riveted glance fastened upon the riveted gold coin there, he still wore the same aspect of nailed firmness, only dashed with a certain wild longing, if not hopefulness.

But one morning, turning to pass the doubloon, he seemed to be newly attracted by the strange figures and inscriptions stamped on it, as though now for the first time beginning to interpret for himself in some monomaniac way whatever significance might lurk in them. An some certain significance lurks in all


one hand, and a pill-box held in the other, occasionally casting a critical glance at the ivory limbs of the two crippled captains. But, at his superior’s introduction of him to Ahab, he politely bowed, and straightway went on to do his captain’s bidding.

“It was a shocking bad wound,” began the whale-surgeon; “and, taking my advice, Captain Boomer here, stood our old Sammy – ”

“Samuel Enderby is the name of my ship,” interrupted the one-armed captian, addressing Ahab; “go on, boy.”

“Stood our old Sammy off to the northward, to get out of the blazing hot weather there on the Line. But it was no use – I did


Inasmuch, then, as this Leviathan comes floundering down upon us from the head-waters of the Eternities, it may be fitly inquired, whether, in the long course of his generations, he has not degenerated from the original bulk of his sires.

But upon investigation we fine, that not only are the whales of the present day superior in magnitude to those whose fossil remains are found in the Tertiary system (embracing a distinct geological period prior to man), but of the whales found in that Tertiary system, those belonging to it latter formations exceed in size those of its earlier ones.

Of all the pre-adamite whales yet exhumed, by far the largest is the Alabama one mentioned in the last chapter, and that was less than seventy feet in length in the skeleton. Whereas, we have already seen, that the tape-measure gives seventy-two feet for the skeleton of a large sized modern whale. And I have heard, on whaleman’s authority, the Sperm Whales have been captured near a hundred feet long at the time of capture.


Not seldom in this life, when, on the right side, fortune’s favorites sail close by us, we, though all adroop before, catch somewhat of the rushing breeze, and joyfully feel our bagging sails fill out. So seemed it with the Pequod. For next day after encountering the gay Bachelor, whales were seen and four were slain; and one of them by Ahab.

It was far down the afternoon; and when all the spearings of the crimson fight were done: and floating in the lovely sunset sea and sky, sun and whale both stilly died together; then, such a sweetness and such plaintiveness, such inwreathing orisons curled up in that rosy air, that it almost seemed as if far over from the deep


It was a clear steel-blue day. The firmaments of air and sea were hardly separable in that all-pervading azure; only, the pensive air was transparently pure and soft, with a woman’s look, and the robust and man-like sea heaved with long, strong, lingering swells, as Samson’s chest in his sleep.

Hither, and thither, on high, glided the snow-white wings of small, unspeckled birds; these were the gentle thoughts of the feminine air; but to and fro in the deeps, far down in the bottomless blue, rushed might Leviathans, sword-fish, and sharks; and these were the strong, troubled, murderous thinkings of the masculine sea.

But though this contrasting within, the contrast was only in shades and shadows without; those two seemed one; it was only the sex, as it were, that distinguished them.

Aloft, like a royal czar and king, the sun seemed giving this gentle air to this bold and rolling sea; even as bride to groom. And at the girdling line of the horizon, a soft and tremulous motion – most seen here at the Equator – denoted the fond, throbbing trust, the loving alarms, with which the poor bride gave her bosom away.


hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beach thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven with her, and helmeted herself with it.

Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.


“And I only am escaped alone to tell thee” Job

The drama’s done. Why then here does any one step forth? – Because one did survive the wreck.

It so chanced, that after the Paree’s disappearance, I was he whom the Fates ordained to take the place of Ahab’s bowsman, when that last bowsman assumed the vacant post; the same, who, when on the last day the three men were tossed from out the rocking boat, was dropped astern. So, floating on the margin of the ensuing scene, and in full sight of it, when the half-spent suction of the sunk ship reached me, I was then, but slowly, drawn towards the closing vortex. When I reached it, it had subsided to a creamy pool. Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve. Till, gaining that vital centre, the black bubble upward burst; and now, liberated by reason of its cunning spring, and, owning to its great buoyancy, rising with great force, the coffin life-buoy shot lengthwise from the sea, fell over, and floated by my side. Buoyed up by that coffin, for almost one whole day and night, I floated on a soft and dirge-like main. The unharming sharks, they glided by as if with padlocks on their mouths; the savage seahawks sailed with sheathed beaks. On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in here retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.




In conclusion, the computer suggests the following tags: “compare, place, local, understanding, contrast, fixed, OWL, change, logic, and Geo”

to that, as a human reader, must add:

“story, interpret, inscription, computer suggest, purpose, formations, time of capture”

and most importantly (even coldly based on occurrence or placement) “whale”


After saving, the computer now adds the following suggestions:

“figures, tags, global, visual, Maps to Make, standards, create, specifications, detail, and pattern”


Furthermore, the computer now goes on to suggest:

“Google, music, consensus, education, technology, colors, general public, ideas, visualization, Africa”


In one last save and inspection, the following terms are highlighted, seemingly at random:

“color, public, concept, support, spectrum, math, science, BIM, geospatial, mathematical”

………not convinced computers are able to suggest tags accurately or aesthetically at this point in time because this is a real story with great drawings and the computer did not get it. Better for a person to select their own keywords and tags until machines can learn to be more subtle, not simply spitting out what we want to hear, making it too easy to click on proposed terms that may or may not reflect the stories being told; and certainly not grasping the process of selecting parts from a whole or looking at drawings to enhance the letters, words, paragraphs, pages, books, libraries, digital collections forming the sea of records we swim in and attempt to navigate.


Mixing Performance and Design Specifications

RE: Green building laws and regulations.


Green Building, by TopLeftPixel, a daily dose of imagery

In the real world of building architecture, some jurisdictions have performance bonds, payable to the jurisdiction, when projects do not achieve sustainable requirements.

By contrast, sustainable information design does not have an equal to the LEED rating system, clear definition of sustainable information design requirements, or even design goals. Altogether there is a poor general understanding of what authorities having jurisdiction means for Web3.0 and beyond.

In the Construction Specifier David Blak and Leah Rochwarg are lawyers who discuss potential interpretation problems in the article Avoiding the Gray Area When Going Green ~ “In addition to green laws and regulations, there is a multitude of other legal issues concerning the field of sustainable construction. One such issue involves mixing performance and design specifications. Performance specifications demand the contractor achieve a specific result, whereas design specifications require the contractor follow the documentation like a roadmap.”


What “documentation can be followed like a roadmap” by semantic contractors? What is a modern roadmap?


Patricia Hilton’s map of the 14 August 2007 Expedition Workshop (3NDU)


Accuracy&Aesthetics portion, gone pixelated


What is meant by “Performance versus Design Specification” in semantic construction and contracting? How can the proper form of specification help an information Owner achieve their communication goals by helping people find what they are looking for?


Parasol, Texas A&M University, Algorithms & Applications Group Neuron PRM: A Framework for Constructing Cortical Networks


What network topologies and documentation standards will improve public understanding and access?


Figure 3(b): Hyperbolic view of BGP routing table data describing connectivity among autonomous systems. Internet measurement and data analysis: topology, workload, performance and routing statistics by Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA)

Is hyperbolic space the best depiction?


Figure 2 Sample Service Provider Fiber and SONET/SDH Layout
Beyond the Access?Understanding the Physical Topology by CISCO

How do you write a performance specification to improve physical topology when in the words of Arun Majumdar, “we are caught in a non-deterministic problem where sequential reasoning – i.e. look forward to what you want as your outcome and then reason backwards – will simply not work because we have no clear blueprint for what the end outcome “looks like” (or *must* look like).”


Making Sense of the Past, Streaming to the Future

Music collaboration and community storytelling are different today. Not only can participants be in different locations, they can also be from different eras, with dramatically different memories and interpretations of the same piece of music or story.

For example, look at Dust-to-Digital whose mission is to “produce high quality cultural artifacts, which combine rare, essential recordings with historic images and detailed texts describing the artists and their works.”










Victorola Favorites, Artifacts from Bygone Days

Melodii Tuvi: Throat Songs and Folk Tunes from Tuva 


and compare to YouTube where any one can broadcast themselves as opposed being brought forward from the past by an archivist.

Ayo – Life is Real

Compare these situations to Accuracy&Aesthetics Director Ken Fields tag798 project, a semantic community model being constructed through user-created tagging methodologies, also known as folksonomies.

Participants will be building a community ‘portal’ – but the portal IS the physical community; the map is embedded in the territory. All is based on the premise:
1. Humans are taggers.
2. Creative online practices will migrate into the real world.
3. Enabled by mobile devices.

All of the examples above are about music, but typical ontologies are not geared for processing music, most interpret words. In terms of story telling, which uses words, see the Center for Digital Storytelling based in Berkeley CA. Even the logo is perfect with a divide between the organic human side and machine processing.


Diverse stories are able to be recorded and distributed far and wide….past where the readers own memory or interpretations come into play and the machines preserving and distributing the words have no understanding of which stories are “better” or “truer” or “more meaningful”. Today, machines and networks can only understand higher or lower rankings, ease of processing may make minor works seem more popular and important than they are. The situation will only get worse as time goes on.

The Center for Digital Storytelling helps people to listen deeply through their mission that every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record…a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.

What depiction works for this semantic construction?

Digital Arts & Humanities Project, Nora Social Network Demo

Can the ultimate shared map include a break or reflection between the organic human side and machine processing like the Center for Storytelling logo?


Go back to Africa again and compare this work to the Centre for Popular Memory in Cape Town.


How many breaks and reflections are needed once the issue of translation and transcribing enters the scene?


Renate Meyer
Digitising African Oral Narratives In A Global Arena
Museums and the Web 2004


Hi Deborah,

Thank you for mentioning us. I think it looks and reads great.

Best regards,



Open Source Lifecycle

Deciding how to develop or acquire open source systems is different than standing in the store looking at software boxes. Open source will continue to develop against a constantly evolving and improving background. If there was a defined open source lifecycle for the construction of open source data and processing techniques, maybe the open source lifecycle could mimic the lifecycle of building construction, occupancy, and upkeep. The tasks and roles are set forth in numbered groups below.



Jerusalem Gold, A Modern Approach to Tradition
by Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik at NiceJewishArtist

1. The Owner – has a holistic goal, a site, and a program. Before engaging an Architect and Contractor, the Owner (which may be a person or organization) defines:

1A – Scope of Work

1B – Payment Procedures (Bid, Negotiated, Manager, No Payment)

1C – Legal Needs

1D – Acquires Property if necessary

1E – Initial Community of Practice Survey in context of their goal

1F – Infrastructure Evaluation and Plans

1G – Assessment of Relevant, Existing Standards

1H – Initial Review of Compliance Procedures

1I – Survey of related government organizations and jurisdictions

1J – Reporting requirements

1K – Presentation and Communication Methods for this project

1L – Logistics, Delivery, Schedule

1M – Goals for Long Term, Slow Change to CoP and their goal


The Persona Lifecycle, Keeping People in Mind During Product Design

2. The Architect/Engineer

2A – Analysis

2B – Design

2C – Ontology

2D – Defines Performance Requirements

2E – Produces a Design that complies with code

2F – Develops Measurable Features

2G – Sets Limits

2H – Defines Controls

2I – Sets Specification Values

2J – System Function – Item Evaluation and Acceptance – Elimination versus Collection

2K – Conflict Resolution Procedures

2L – Corrective Action

2M – Documentation of Error Correction

2N – Approval Process

2O- Permit Review, a milestone set deadline

2P – Integration

2Q – Scheduling and updating fixed, released documents versus live participatory models

2R – Testing and Inspection

2S – Certification Requirements

2T – Workflow

2U – Configuration Selection

2V – Thinking


Life Cycle of a Bug Bugzilla

3. Structural

3A – Change

3B – Parts of a System

3C – Ranking and Classification

3D – Data, Equipment, Structural Modification

3E – Disposition, Effect of Permanent Removal of Previous Support

3F – Impact

3G – Mathematical Work

3H – Prediction of Slow Change and Settling Over Time


Technology Lifecycle Management Phunghi, Inc.

4. Contractor/Manufacturing

4A – Acquires Raw Materials, not property
4B – Purchase, Furnish, and Install

4C – Supply Chain

4D – System of Parts

4E – Physical Process

4F – Geographic Process

4G – Production Process

4H – Transportation

4I – Delivery and Acceptance

4J – As Built Documentation

4K – Activation

4L – Assignment


PR Lifecycle Model, Inoue Public Relations

5. Security vs. Public Systems

5A – Warehouse/Distribution Center

5B – Customer Payment

5C – Selling and Marketing

5D – Open Licensing

5E – Distribution

5F – Release

5G – Lawyer

5H – Comply with Governance Requirements
5I – Press

5J – Documentation

5K – Network Standards

Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT)
Information Systems Audit and Control Association

6. Monitoring

6A – Installation

6B – Audit

6C – Monitor

6D – Feedback and Error Correction

6E – Measure Impact

6F – Operations

6G – Maintenance

6H – Service

6I – User Manuals

6J – System Updates


Stained glass window available from Tenyes Glass

7. Community of Practice (CoP)

7A – Reintegration

7B – Giving

7C – Receiving

7D – Mining

7E – Discovery

7F- Evolution

7G – Slow Change

7H – Communication

7I – Story Telling

7J – Record Keeping

7K – Public Records

7L – Instruct, Learn, Teach, Train

7M – Collect

7N – Generate


The interrelated cycle keeps going until a new owner sets a goal and decides to start a new project, the architect, structural, systems designers, reviewers, contractors, manufacturers, distributors, standards bodies, auditors, and CoP end users begin to implement their special areas of expertise again with more knowledge, better data, and more powerfully connected networks and machines.


Small Collection of Green Things

From ASCI Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule-11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years, 1992-1996; (420 x 270 x 28 meters), Yljrvi, Finland by Agnes Denes



Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule: Aerial View
digital print based on original design drawing
35″h x 96″w, 1983 ?Agnes Denes





Eleven thousand trees were planted in a complex mathematical pattern by eleven thousand people from around the world, to be maintained for 400 years.  One of the largest environmental reclamation sites in the world, Tree Mountain, created from refuse material from a gravel pit, was declared a national monument to serve future generations with a meaningful legacy. Dedicated in 1996 by the President of Finland, dignitaries, and participants from around the world.


Solar Decathalon, Primarily sponsored by the US Department of Energy on the National Mall


Three members of the University of Colorado team gave a lunchtime presentation and responded to questions at WDG Architecture


Certainly the solar houses, built around shipping containers supplying their own power, could have applications in emergency response.

University of Colorado at Boulder
Attn: Michael Brandemuehl
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Eng.
428 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0428
Phone: 303.492.8594

Biowall – Live Building

Please go to their site and see the image above in action.


Recycle the Whole House


New York Times Article by Kristina Shevory


How can parallels be made from the examples above for sustainable information design?

Like Tree Mountain – A Living Time Capsule – What ideas and information merit this degree of care and thoughtful planning to last 400 before they are “complete”? Who will care for them after the original planners are gone?

Like the Solar Decathalon – what projects can be sponsored to engage creative students to collaborate outside their programs? With or without being able to turn in the results for a reward such as a masters thesis since the work was done “independently” with others. How should competitors be rewarded for innovation?

Like the Biowall – what can we build into the infrastructure to clean what we consume?

Like Recycling the Whole House – what ostentatious information McMansions can be deconstructed, demolished, and reused in more productive ways?


Unfold, Expand, Connect

Images about unfolding, expanding, and connecting


Heaven’s Orb from Rob’s Puzzle Page


PETER MAX boxed jigsaw puzzle at GASOLINE ALLEY ANTIQUES Antique Toys & Collectible


The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections, by Stewart T. Coffin

This simple novelty (Fig. 126) is a practical example of a coordinate-motion puzzle in three dimensions. Each of the six identical puzzle pieces is made up of a right-triangular prism center block to which are attached a pair of rhomboid-prism end blocks. They assemble with no great mystery to form a hollow box, but if they are accurately made, some dexterity is required to get all six pieces aligned exactly right and mutually engaged. Once assembled, by holding on to opposite pieces, the puzzle can be made to expand almost to the point of collapse and then to shrink back together again. It is more of an amusement than a puzzle.


The Persistence of Geometry

From the Cleveland Museum of Art


Constructivist Portrait, Ellen Carey 1983


Male Antelope-Anteater Headdress (chi wara-sogoni kun)
Africa, Mali, Bamana, Diaura or Djiumu Area, 1920s


Untitled, Sonia Delaunay


Gray Scramble (Single), Frank Stella, 1936


Creative Therapy, Jacob Lawrence, 1949

The Persistence of Geometry exhibition was organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art in collaboration with MOCA Cleveland and was made possible through generous grants from the Kulas Foundation and the John P. Murphy Foundation. Additional support was provided by The Contessa Gallery. The Cleveland Museum of Art and MOCA Cleveland receive support from the Ohio Arts Council. Promotional support provided by 90.3 WCPN.


Eminent Domain / Public Domain

AIA REVISED Position Statement 46 for consideration – Eminent Domain
46. Eminent Domain
The American Institute of Architects believes that eminent domain can be a necessary and appropriate tool for government to secure land for the reasonable implementation of publicly owned projects. Only under very special and unique circumstances should that tool be used for projects that will ultimately revert to private ownership. In these circumstances, eminent domain should be considered a tool of last resort and only be applied if there is a clear and compelling public need and benefit demonstrated and supported through an open, broad-based, and transparent community planning process. In all cases, eminent domain should be applied in ways that fairly consider the value of existing land uses and communities, while respecting individual citizens’ rights, and community history.


Public Projects in Raleigh NC, from Livable Streets

COMMENT: Because of the rise of BIM and open geospatial information, an eminent domain statement from architects should also address access to public vs private building and property information. Which final project delivery documents are public records? What rights does the public/government have to high quality design records for large scale planning – for example sustainability and energy studies?




Welcome to Basic Records Management Training by Oregon State Archives

Who has domain over intellectual property for the public? What are the obligations of information creators? Communities are now requesting public records out of architects and others whose work used to only be made and distributed for the Owner, permit office, and Contractor.

Now there is a need for construction documents, an architects product, to serve as public records. Large scale, long term claims are being made on architects intellectual property which may or may not be organized to serve these additional purposes yet.

Local, state, federal governments require some level of building records as part of their jurisdiction records regardless of who created and “really” owns the actual files. Fair realistic consensus has to be a two way street, if architects need to provide information meant to serve many, extended purposes, so do local jurisdictions – architects need access to the results of large scale planning and vice versa. The general public, in order to have a voice in public information policies, needs to be able to participate in the discussion process rather than simply being imposed on from above – yes you can have this, no you cannot have this. Who’s property is it? Who makes the building plans and extended purposes readable to a lay person?

The best nugget in the AIA draft statement is:
Only under very special and unique circumstances should that tool be used for projects that will ultimately revert to private ownership.

Public information, public semantic space, public domain.


Social Justice and Peace

There is a place in Washington DC called Busboys and Poets that believes social justice and peace are achievable goals.

What does this mean today? What data structures need to be built to further this goal? What geometry works best to distribute and streamline the information flow?

Peace Education Image by D@dalos
Today, there were 1000 monks and nuns in Myanmar seeking social justice in a quiet, peaceful manner. The Washington Post Express reported concern for the monks and nuns safety. The author noted the monks and nuns are the conscience of their country. Every country could use a group of people thinking, and acting, together like this for peace and social justice. This is what the monks look like.


AP Online via the Washington Post

Archiv-Burma, source reference www.asiatours.net

Here is where Myanmar, that was once Burma, is located:

East Asia Blog Spot

What are the optimal, most efficient paths for quiet, peaceful, social justice people to get the word out?


Social Network Diagrams and instructions available at Group10


Record of a Project

A survey to track the needs of an historic renovation architectural project to see what public information is available about the property.
The place is Strider Farm, a stone house built 1790 outside Harpers Ferry WV.


National Registry of Historic Places Nomination Form
Prepared by historian Michael J. Pauley
Maintained and published at www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/jefferson/87002524.pdf

The next in addition to the number of historic registries quickly found by Google, the current task was to find the topography of the property to overlay the architectural drawings onto an accurate representation of the site.
national map

United Stated Geological Survey (USGS) National Map


United States National Grid (USNG) at Geospatial One-Stop?

Google Maps, Hybrid View


TopoZone at 1:50,000 and 1 meter = 1 pixel

Considering the task, TopoZone provided the clearest, easiest to use answers.


Open Letter on Public Space

Architect Rem Koolhaas‘ Harvard Graduate School of Design Studio Project on the City proposes Lagos Nigeria be seen as a developed, extreme, pragmatic case study of a city at the forefront of globablizing modernity. Nigerian architect Uche Isichei observes “He seems to be drawn to the idea that these systems grow by themselves – organizations and structures that emerge primarily as a result of economic and social forces, free of any regulatory control or planning. See “For and From Lagos, Nigeria“.



Lagos, and all places all around the world need public space and sensible ways to organize the distribution of public information. It is nearly impossible to understand what it is like in Lagos with no libraries and parks. How the local community can see a bigger picture or conduct democracy without public information and public space as part of their daily life?
Accuracy&Aesthetics would like to create a public space/public information center in Lagos.  The vision is for a circular pedestrian space in a busy area surrounded with 100 maps mounted in 10 sets of 10 themes. The working title is Where is Lagos.


From AfricaMedia

“Maps” includes the geography of the city, country, continent, and world AND information visualizations showing the current state of public health versus impending spread of disease, Nigeria’s place in the world of science versus locations of local training centers, and other compare/contrast techniques to show the citizens of Lagos where they came from, where they stand today, and where they are heading.


HIV prevalence in adults in sub-Saharan Africa, 2005 (UNAIDS, 2006, p.14).

The place is intended to be permanent. The maps would be constructed of high resolution digital prints mounted to a metal substrate coated in vandal resistant acrylic polyurethane such as Armourseal. The maps will need to be made in the US or UK. Text will be provided in English, Hausa, and possibly a third language to be determined. We will work with the US consulate and other organizations to complete the translations. The goal is to construct simple block walls and install a patterned plaza hardscape of local materials to imply a complete circle around the space. Ideally, a mosiac style map would anchor the exhibit in the middle, hopefully designed by a local person. All construction and installation would employ local people. Maintenance procedures will be negotiated with local and global community-based organizations. There would be an opening event with music.



Do you have any ideas about which part of Lagos is most likely to benefit from a public place like this? Do you know of any organizations, including your own, who would be interested in contributing expertise or financial support towards this effort?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please feel free to pass onto other who may be interested.


Deborah MacPherson


Breaking into Constructable Parts

Favorite quote from Edward J. Barkmeyer in the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division at National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

“….the problem is that Internet is still the big city of the Middle Ages. We know how to build all kinds of buildings and we have a lot of demand for them and a lot of construction of various kinds and qualities going on. But no one is responsible for much of it, we have no civil engineering discipline, we have no land use planning, we have random patchworks of streets, we are carrying the water on foot in buckets from the most convenient well, we have no police force and no fire brigade, we have sewage problems, crime problems and frequent plagues. Some communities thrive and some die out, and we don’t really understand why. And yet people keep coming here, because there is education, and jobs, and entertainment, and money to be made. Ultimately, technology enabled us to get control of it, and fires and plagues forced us to. But it took 7 centuries. I hope the Internet experience is shorter.”



Collage made for CADD Microsystems June 2006


Complex Geometry

Breaking into Constructable Parts

Automated layer reduction for repeated assemblies

Checking the drawings and project requirements

Calculating estimates and pricing

Showing the extent of materials

Showing work by each contractor

Showing dependent work sequences

Standard layers, symbols, & drawing notations

Automated placement of call outs and details

Sloppy drawings, inconsistent terms & symbols

Danger of a facility wide error or omission

How do Contractors and Owners participate?

What is dynamic?

Can models document the construction and operation processes?

Can progress photos be overlaid and fit to the drawings as construction moves forward?

What do they do in this place?
What is the status of the inventory?
Where are the collection elements?
What are the specifications of those environments?

Humanizing the spaces and materials
Default scale and perspectives

Tracking better combinations for cost efficiency and aesthetics

Sharing one up to date approved model over time


GSA NSF Workshop

“It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet. These lines may have their roots in quite different parts of human culture, in different times or different cultural environments or different religious traditions: hence if they actually meet, that is, if they are at least so much related to each other that a real interaction can take place, then one may hope that new and interesting developments may follow.” Werner Heisenberg (3N7T)


Intersecting Backgrounds

“Creativity is a process that can be observed only at the intersection where individuals, domains, and fields intersect.” Csikszentmihalyi, 1999 (3N7U)

Model 1

Intro to the Expedition Workshop Mapping and Navigating the Waterways of Public Information: Connecting People to Science and Scholarly Knowledge.

Projects Director Deborah MacPherson to participate in panel on Virtual Organizing: Conducive Conditions for Creativity in Advancing Knowledge Collections. See the agenda here.


Rework Old Work

Per request by Susan Turnbull at GSA, the position paper below from the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting a few years ago is resurfacing to update and present at the workshop Mapping the Navigable Waters of Public Information: Connecting People to Science and Scholarly Knowledge. Images from AAG slides will be interspersed soon, both text and images will be updated.


Position Paper for Mapping Humanities Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain held at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Denver, CO, April 5-9, 2005. Organized by Katy Borner & Andre Skupin. By Deborah L. MacPherson, Projects Director
Accuracy&Aesthetics, PO Box 52, Vienna VA 22183 USA


Part 1 This session

1.1. Describe your main interest in this session.
I am interested in participating in this session because I am bothered by what a map of all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise would look like, how it would function, and how or why people would use it. On the one hand, it seems very straightforward to compare this type of map with “regular maps” that show geographical features, relationships, distances, and even how each of these aspects may change over time or be influenced by people, technology or events. On the other hand, most “regular maps” capture and simplify features, relationships and distances that can actually be measured. Information maps are different, we are not sure how much is there.


1.2. Which major technical challenges do you see for Mapping Humanity’s Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain, as laid out in the session description?
There are countless reasons why each knowledge domain needs to use their own numbering systems, methods of describing and citing pieces of work in relation to other work to form a whole. By trying to consolidate all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise into one shared system, there will need to be significant, possibly permanently damaging, mathematical and conceptual reductions down to a level where the details and relationships can no longer be seen.


1.3. Which major non-technical challenges do you foresee?
Changing the way people work and organize their ideas and information is worse than many technical problems because look at the progress that has already been made since 1990 when the total number of websites was 1. Tim Berners-Lee’s prototype. All of humanity’s knowledge and expertise is much older, interconnected and sometimes isolated behind impenetrable walls. Databases, patents, designs, maps, new frontiers and papers (good or bad) are peoples’ work and they are attached to it. Each person, research institute and field of study prefers their own words and don’t care if anyone else knows them, they may even have their own spatial visualizations, and definitely believe they know the best way to fit it all together to decide and show which information is most relevant, interesting or important. Many individuals and institutions entire life’s work is devoted to exactly these tasks – and they know what they are doing so creating a map like this must account for all of these different ways of knowing, techniques and expertise. When all the pieces from every domain are all thrown on the floor together, suddenly, we are asking everyone to cooperate and let other people who do not care or know about the details or relationships of their information to be in charge of what it should look like, act like, and how it should influence or relate to other information around it. If we can work this out, I believe many of the technical challenges will solve themselves.


1.4. Which major opportunities do you envision?

Educate and inspire the general public. Make people more curious. Let people look outside their knowledge domain and area of expertise. Get history to quit repeating itself. Learn and discover new things we could not do without a map such as this.



2.4. Supported User Tasks
The ability to look through other domains information, place your information where you think it belongs then have it reviewed to be argued against, rejected or raised higher according to the collective view of people who understand what you are working on. In the long term, being able to save only the ideas, information and techniques that actually work; and the ability to streamline all digital collections into one interconnected knowledge base accessible to all people from all cultural and intellectual backgrounds.


2.5. Data Sets Used
The first set will be created especially to be random and cross cutting against different intellectual/cultural backgrounds and institutional requirements. Subsequent data sets are intended to include digitized art collections, patent specifications and drawings, architectural work, mapping and exploration, large scale databases and new types of digital collections that are not possible yet.


2.6. Algorithms Used
Context Driven Topologies, a mathematical and perceptual system based on algebra, knot theory topology, cultural anthropology and art curation where each entity within a group knows where it belongs within the context of each particular group, or arrangement, of digital information. Over time, streamlining overlaps between entities, groups, arrangements, and layers of information will generate new views and associations. The purpose of the prototype is to see if these automatic views and associations actually correspond to the ways that people generate and create work to represent ideas in a variety of artistic and scientific fields.


2.7. Sample Maps – WILL UPDATE

2.8. Pros and Cons
Pro- looks like the right overlaps when you are remembering it. Con- The computer just put everything in places, it no longer corresponds to the placement I gave it and cannot be searched.


2.9. Planned Work
To develop a prototype of the Context Driven Topology system then present it via papers, conferences and exhibits. Gather feedback from individuals and institutions around the world to consider these views and work requirements in the development and implementation of this system.


2.10. Publications

Collecting Patterns that Work for Everything, the International Journal of Dynamical Systems Research, Chaos and Complexity Letters Vol. 1, #2, special issue: Chaos and Complexity in Arts and Architecture

Perceiving Design in Virtual Spaces the International Conference of Mathematics & Design June 7-10, 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Collective Consciousness, Qi and Complexity, Consciousness Reframed 2004 in Beijing, China November 2004. Organized by the Planetary Collegium

Digitizing the Non-Digital in Rethinking History, The Journal of Theory and Practice, published quarterly by Routledge/Taylor&Francis.

Sent September 30, 2004 to katy@indiana.edu and askupin@uno.edu


Context of Codes

According to sustainable design architect William McDonough, in the world of building codes, context is all.


1. Insist on the right of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.

2000 Carbon Atoms in a Diamond Lattice
James R. Morris, C. Z. Wang and K. M. Ho

2. Recognize interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognize even distant effects.


Core by W3C
3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement, including community, dwelling, industry and trade, in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.


High Sky 2 by Bridget Riley, lives at the Neues Museum, Nurnberg, Germany.
4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems and their right to co-exist.


Spatial Layout, Deborah MacPherson CAD drawing with SpinnerCropHoudek

5. Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance or vigilant administration of potential dangers due to the careless creation of products, processes or standards.


SeaShellCage by Dream Geometry at Midcoast.com, Research & Development Through Free Exchange of Ideas.
6. Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life cycle of products and processes to approach the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste.

7. Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative force from perpetual solar income. Incorporate this energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.

8. Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever, and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not as an inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.

9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long-term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility and to reestablish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

The Hannover Principles should be seen as a living document committed to transformation and growth in the understanding of our interdependence with nature so that they may be adapted as our knowledge of the world evolves.


Specifying Public Information

If the construction of semantic space was an organized process like the construction of physical space, more consensus documents are needed.

The real world, historical process of creating, promoting, and maintaining places for democracy to be conducted occurs in places and buildings around the world.

The project map below shows a sample set of public projects by the Architect of the Capitol


Democracy is also conducted at embassies around the world regardless of how many buildings you have.


Hot Spots Around the World

Private enterprise has a role in democracy. The magnificent, spacious, new Newseum building is a place to discuss free speech, free press, and free spirit in sweeping and fine detail. See a construction movie of the building coming to life here. The purposefully transparent building is ideally located between the Capitol and White House  to put the first amendment under a microscope.

Photo by Sam Kittner

The requirements for constructing and making democracy big and transparent in the digital world are harder to plan for and construct than the real world. In the real world property lines already exist and there is defined processes for building based upon where the building will stay. There is not a formalized system for public information to be built or stay in places yet.

To pretend public information were like public places made through contracts like buildings – the first document needed for any project would be a set of General Conditions defining the roles of typical project participants. It could be a diverse mix.


Tree of Life, Gustav Klimt at Krobs

AIA201 reduces the complexity of every project and the entire AEC industry to only 3 roles: Owner, Architect, and Contractor. The Architect’s drawings and specifications are directed exclusively to the attention of the Contractor. Yet, the Architect has no direct relationship with the Contractor except to certify the work is in compliance with the contract documents and design intent.

If you keep the basic structure of 3 roles but switch:

Owner = Public
Architect = Press
Contractor = Government


People in the University of Florida Department of Astronomy

Excerpts from A201:

Owner (public) and Contractor (democratic government), both the person or entity identified as such in the agreement and referred to throughout the Contract Documents as if singular in number.
But, what are the contract drawings and specifications?


The Contractor (democratic government) shall perform Work in accordance with the Contract Documents?
But, what are the performance requirements for public semantic spaces promoting democracy by enabling community voices?
What is the relationship between the public as Owner, the press as Architect, and democratic government as Contractor to define information exchange requirements

A201cont: The Contractor (democratic government) shall not be relieved of obligations to perform the Work in accordance with the Contract Documents either by activities or duties of the Architect (press) in the Architect?s administration of the Contract (Constitution), or by tests, inspections or approvals required or performed by persons other than the Contractor (democratic government).

What should this information structure feel like when you are in this place?


Gustav Klimt Beech Forest

What type of information structure would work best for a new democracy like Nigeria to thrive? What is comfortable? What gets things done? What worries and concerns are on their minds? What is the role of the local and world press in a city like Lagos? Can idealized information exchange structures be made to avoid reinventing the wheel and provide people in need with sustainable information designs?


Systems in Parts

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.


Example of GIS Technology and Development Applications at Earth Resources Technology


TiAuthor by Auto-trol


The contrast of Venus, Earth, and Mars. USSR Venera 13 Camera II, ESA/DLR/FU Berlin by G. Neukum at SpaceFlightNow.

Copurnican System

Copernican System




Don Relyea, Algorithmic Geometric Art. A modified Hilbert curve is the first subject of this group of work. The project page includes some source functions and background info on the Hilbert “space filling” curve.


Periodic System of the Arts by Bulat M. Galayev. This image reflects the author’s attempts to systematize the arts in their present forms, thereby accommodating the series of `technical arts’ that are being added to the system of traditional art forms. The author suggests an original method of classifying the arts that makes it possible to simultaneously graph both the expanding universe of the arts and the centripetal tendencies that characterize the integrity of the arts system. He discusses the types of interactions that occur between the different kinds of art forms, as well as the inevitability of strengthening synthetic trends in the artistic culture. The author’s analysis of contemporary technical means of audiovisual communication, together with his system of classifying the arts, is conducted in light of S.M. Eisenstein’s conclusions about the dialectical unity of the “progressive-regressive” trends that determine the synergy of thought and feeling in art.


Continuity versus Change

aspects of change

Change usually involves three aspects; people, processes and culture. From the JISC InfoKit on Change Management.

change model

Change Model, Joshua Freedman talking about Alan Deutschman on 6seconds. The Six Seconds’ EQ change model guides the process of effective change. The model shows how to engage the emotional drivers to sustain a continuous transformational process.

massive change

Bruce Mau Designing Positive Change, from Massive Change, the Future of Global Design at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art


Remote Sensing Tutorial From the Federation of American Scientists. A Black Hole’s incredible gravity pulls in particles from outside the event horizon until their velocities are accelerated to nearly the speed of light. Matter is literally torn apart upon entering the Black Hole. As these particles close in, monstrous energy releases produce continuous bursts of energy outside the horizon.


Thought Pattern 6 by Kathryn Van Dyke at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery.


Pattern Change from Another Beautiful Day, California’s Weather in Living Pictures.


Transformation from Online Mandalas by Lila-Hog


Mathematics of Movement

Movements such as democracy and trends in collective thinking must have some underlying mathematics that could be studied and perhaps improved to gently push information in more productive directions. But what would that look like?


Dynamic Painting by San Base, a Canadian artist born in Russia.


We Never Change Do We Melanie Weidner Listen for Joy


Abstract stripes lines of colour movement speed Dominic Harris from RefocusNow

Movement Path

Movement Phase from the MegaMek game


The Plates of a Movement by Peter Chong


Circles locate suspected underground water movement in the Ormond Beach area. Three different aerial photographs were used, along with an infrared one, to guesstimate these locations. Oxnard Coastal Wetlands


Movement 3 by Harp Spectrum



In many parts of the world, people have no voice or control over their future. Even in America, citizens have deep, serious questions about whether our voices actually have any impact on the national agenda, or any ability to change the direction we are heading. A classic protest refrain is “Show me what democracy looks like” “This is what democracy looks like!”


Mock elections in Bhutan or Druk Yul ? the Land of the Thunder Dragon – which has been ruled by an absolute monarchy for more than 100 years. From Land Where Democracy Would be King, Telegraph UK.


Musharraf Muzzles Media as Democracy Calls Grow, from the Sydney Morning Herald.


MasterDemocracy Copyright 2003-2006 by Alexeig Mathematician.

This is a reflection in Moskva river of the building which became famous due to confrontation between President Yeltsin and Parliament in October 1993. The confrontation ended with assault of the troops loyal to Yeltsin on this building where the Parliament was sitting. This resulted in casualties exact amount of which is still under debate.


Getty Images from The Greatest Innovation of All Time in Business Week.

9. Participative Democracy – Winston Churchill noted that democracy is the worst form of government?except for all the others. The morons running our country, state, or city may be thieves and scoundrels, but once this becomes clear we get to throw the bums out. So this Jeffersonian idea helps with riot control.


The Democracy Game by PopGamers. Download a free trial.


County-Level Cartogram by Sara Fabrikant

Due to popular demand, finally a cartogram on county level data. The counties are scaled by population (2000). The shading is the percentage of the popular vote for President Bush. The overall pattern (e.g., shape distortion of the U.S.) is similar as in the state-level cartogram. However, data at a finer spatial scale allows to see a more nuanced picture of the election results. Populous counties containing large cities (e.g., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.) are typically blue, even though they may lie deep in red state land (e.g.., St. Louis, Denver, Minneapolis, Miami, Palm Beach, etc.)


This Is What Democracy Looks Like a documentary film about the WTO protests in Seattle with narration by Susan Sarandon and Michael Franti. Music by Rage Against the Machine, Anne Feeney, Company of Prophets and others.

mass protest

Bloggers Nepal.com Freedom to Express


From Weazl’s Revenge, Not gonna stop ’til democracy returns.


From NotInHisName


CodePink Women for Peace. Encourages all actions from public education to free speech.


Rich Media Poor Democracy by Robert McChesney, Mindfully.org


Perception and Crisis

In the book A Million Little Pieces, James Frey calls himself an Alcoholic, a Drug Addict and a Criminal. His limited perception of himself and the world around him is compellingly described. Forget the accuracy of this story, the aesthetics are more important.MillionLittlePieces
The author capitalizes unusual words for the chunks of information he perceives: Office, Woods, Bar, People, Daughter. It is extremely rare for him to see a bigger picture. He simply is not able or willing to process this kind of information. One time where it clicks into focus for him is copied without authorization below (pg 230). Background information is at the bottom of this post wherein readers are permitted direct access into the authors head for a full spectrum of human emotion from violent rage to a moment of clarity. After that happens, he states:
I sit and I stare at the World. I see it and hear it and I touch it and I feel it. It is what it is, dirt and rock and water and Sun and air and waves of light and waves of sound made up of definable elements. It can be created or reproduced by man at will. Science has given us that power.


Figure 14: Shown in light blue is the saddle-node periodic orbit that makes the spiking phase of bursting infinite. Andrey Shilnikov Professor of Mathematics at Georgia State University.

Now, what useful scientific and humanitarian goals can be accomplished with “light and waves of sound made up of definable elements” that “can be created or reproduced by man at will”? How can we manage all the information available to be presented in useful, empowering formats?

You Are Not Here: A World Poverty Map by the Chronic Poverty Center.
What benefit can regular people and people in need get from creating and seeing a bigger picture? What kind of information is it made from? Where does it originate? Can it be made from light and waves of sound we can experience? What prevents people in need from processing this kind of information? Reality? Fear? Lack of Control? Are people in Darfur ever able to have the luxury of spending time thinking deeply or is it a constant state of rush and confusion?


Map of Confirmed Damaged and Destroyed Villages by the Humanitarian Information Unit at the US Department of State.
The violent rage of society needs to go for a walk in the woods.


Photos courtesy of Chris and Tim Gerhardson in Lagos, Nigeria.
What if the problem of being unable to perceive a bigger picture was scaled up from an individual in need to a rapidly changing mega-city in need. For example Lagos, Nigeria? Or the whole continent of Africa?


Nobody is really sure how many people live in Lagos, let alone all of Africa. A recent house to house census in Lagos set the population at 9 million. The UN Population Fund disagrees and says 16 million. The Lagos state government insists the figure is 17 million. The UN has predicted by 2015, Lagos will be the third most populous city in the world with an estimated 23 million people.

t foo (growing)

saakee, d saakee (change, there is change)


How can a bigger picture be made for huge numbers of people in a buzzing metropolis like Lagos? What types of information need to be understood to help them the most?

waayar – d (progress, make with)

ma’aadinii (resources)

Do people in Lagos have time to be able to see where they stand and where they are heading? Not only in terms of geography, buildings, and number of people but in terms of their history, future, ideas, information and limited resources.

A current Accuracy&Aesthetics project is to gather and make a series of maps to help the people of Lagos understand where they are so they can participate in shaping their future, pursue happiness, and think big.

The digital age can help people in need by giving them new ways to see where they are and express their hopes and dreams. Hopefully, people everywhere in all living conditions can eventually show us who they are, and let us know what’s on their minds so we can help achieve their goals in both the short and long term. Maybe we will all learn something.

nak’ltaa (learn)

j nk’ai (having understanding)

gwaal (open one’s eyes widely)

k’oof, mashigii (opening)

dmkrd’iyy (democracy)

mur.y, saut (voice)

na’m (expression of agreement, interest)

dbaar, ra’yii (idea)

d’uur.iy, lbaar, r.hoot, saadrwaa, sanrwaa (information)

walaw (personal freedom)



Community Center


Can the digital world be built like the physical world? Which construction document practices in the physical world have legitimate, helpful application to the construction of virtual worlds? What are the subject matters of these new construction documents? How are they approved and maintained over the life cycle of virtual constructions? What is the best way to record digital situations that may happen in cycles, constantly updating as opposed to buildings that are made once, by hand, then maintained?

Today, building designs are communicated in drawings, specifications, and contracts collectively known as the contract documents. Once buildings are in place, they transform into real estate. Instead of drawing, modeling and text software, buildings are registered on maps using different kinds of software and communication networks. What are the parallel transitions in the digital world from idea, to communicating design, to authorities having jurisdiction review, through construction, to public records? What can modern communities learn from old fashioned communities? Does there need to be a community center design template?
Community Center
Beresford Community Center Blueprints
Burning Man is a festival in Black Rock Nevada that happens every year, centered around a symbol that is burned in the end.

The geospatial community is getting involved because the festival looks so cool from above PlayaMaps


Burning Man Earth, Mapping the Cultural Genome
2006 Street Map by Rod Garrett

Construction specifiers put Division 01 in the center, not of our community, but the center of our consensus product, the construction documents.
Figure 5.6A Division 01 Relationship to Other Documents, Project Resource Manual, Construction Specification Institute.

Division 01 cannot be developed until several other activities have transpired, been decided and recorded, enabling several interrelated documents to be produced.
Figure 1.5-B, Typical Project Stages, Project Resource Manual, Construction Specification Institute.

Contractors need to qualify for bid bonds, payment and performance bonds, at competitive rates, established by their history, to win jobs. Construction itself appears to be a small part at the end of the construction document process. What assurances would, for example a museum have, that their virtual community centers are well designed and properly built? How are information architects and contractors evaluated and selected? Do they have to qualify for performance and payment bonds? Who are their subcontractors? Where do drawing and specification reviews fit in the process? Are there any authorities having jurisdiction?
Does every community need a center? If there was a center for construction specifiers to meet in a place like Second Life, what would the focus be? Would the place meet our persnickity requirements? What are the design requirements of such a community center? Would the purpose be to serve as an answer center?
How should these places be constructed? Can virtual community centers be used to hold gigantic meetings and be replaced over and over again for each new meeting? What essential elements need to be repeated, in the same relative location, for each iteration?
Once an organization scheme is established, won’t drawings and maps communicate the lay of the land better than machine languages and processing techniques visitors will never understand?

The drawings are only one part of the construction documents in the physically built environment. A system of drawing and public inspection is completely missing from current digital construction processes.

Comment from TomGruber ______________

The idea of planning for development in the virtual world makes a lot of sense. At first reading I thought you were talking about planning of virtual real estate – like a design review for second life. Reading on, it looks like you are talking about using a virtual space to give a context and collaboration space for community design planning and review. That would be a great thing to do. Seems to me the key to success is to add some unique value with the virtual space that can’t be done effectively today, beyond removing the physical constrains of co location and synchronous communication. Perhaps the new technology from the gaming community and the reality-tested experience of second life could give the community a place to “live in” the proposed designs for a while before signing off.


Juxtaposition and Symmetry

Below are some images from Nikolas Schiller, a DC artist using geospatial imagery to look at old things in new ways.


New Map [88] also titled “A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe: according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art” is a new iteration of Herman Moll’s map, A New Map of the Whole World with the Trade Winds According To the Latest and Most Exact Observations, 1736, shown in the first iteration of the exhibit Places & Spaces.


In order to see both sides of a round object, it is laid flat but Nikolas Schiller takes it a step further by juxtaposing a geographic map with purposefully arranged digital imagery showing the viewer both sides of…… something new like Herman Moll was doing with the whole world, now we are trying to see two whole new worlds.


Antique Home [222] was made with discoveries in the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection juxtaposing a quilt of the area where he lives with an assembled detail of a beautiful engraving on the title page of Atlas Nouveau.

cathedral signed

Cathedral Quilt – Signed [88] shows his signature written in Arabic, over a quilt/assembled symmetrical image of the National Cathedral. It must be seen rather than the small pictures here, a print was donated to the Library of Congress Geography & Mapping Division and could be seen up close and in person there.

quilt cut

Its difficult to choose which of works are best, they are compelling at all scales from far away to up close.


More abstract versions are made, Baltimore is below.


Clickable maps are used for commentary and activism, for example, to demonstrate DC’s lack of statehood.


Nikolas Schiller is the epitome of the modern geographer. modern geographer


Carbon Dating / Digital Information


The Rooms from Daily Dose of Imagery

Semantic architecture is not like physical architecture because evidence of previous or alternate use is hard to find.  There is little reason to study older digital archiving or exchange requirements.  There is no carbon footprint equivalent to measure over time yet.


Theosophical Publishing House   Ideas and information are published, maintained and available, or the only results are a mysterious, unexplained broken link or 404 Error.  Less than 5 percent of previously published, no longer maintained information may continue to have value.  In addition to efforts such as the Wayback Machine to capture everything, there should also be efforts to capture only some things based on patterns and evidence of use so only the most important connections and examples can be preserved even if the individual or organization that instigated this information is no longer around or maintaining their website or database.  Its a major conceptual, mathematical, and artistic problem to work on.  If digital information is to leave footprints, maybe these could mimic carbon in their structure. Carbon1

Allotropes of Carbon   carbon2

Utah scientists find longest Carbon-Carbon Bond.

Even the band Modest Mouse is curious about the persistence and interchangeability of carbon. The song, Parting of the Sensory, is talking about more than the chemical structure.  Select phrases about a different kind of bonding and tracking are below.

Dehydrate back into minerals

A life long walk to the same exact spot


Carbon’s anniversary

The parting of the sensory

Old old mystery

The parting of the sensory


The weather changed it for the worse

And came down on us like it had been rehearsed

And like we hope, but change will surely come

And be awful for most but really good for some

I took a trip to the exact same spot

We pulled the trigger, but we forgot to cock

And every single shot


Some day you will die and

Somehow something’s going to steal your carbon


Some day you will die and

Somehow something’s going to steal your carbon


Well some day you will die somehow and

Something’s going to steal your carbon


Some day you will die and

Someone’s or something’s will steal your carbon


Some day something will die and

Somehow you’ll figure out how

Often you will die somehow and

Something going to steal your carbon


Well some day you will die somehow and

Something’s going to steal your carbon


Make Your View

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1980 above, 1983 middle, 1964 below.




Red and Blue America by Sara Fabrikant

Distored View

From Science News

HEADLINE NEWS. The geographical distribution of news stories isn’t uniform, Newman and Gastner show. Even allowing for population, a few cities?New York and Washington, in particular?get a surprisingly large fraction of the attention. The researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and changed a standard map (top) into a cartogram (bottom) in which the sizes of states are proportional to the frequency of their appearance in datelines. SOURCE: Newman and Gastner/PNAS


From Geography 222 and the power of maps by John Krygier Ohio Wesleyan University Department of Geology and Geography.



Remote Sensing and Geospatial Art

Daniel Denk is taking control over reality with remote sensing tools. Showing bigger pictures of our world and looking at the human condition from a distance. For example in [95] My Natural Color World he says “Ive been asked several times, since it became known that I had converted the entire NASA GeoCover 7,4,2 mosaic to natural-color what I plan to do with this dataset. Some of those inquiries have been interesting.”header1header2header3

Like most people who gain perspective and have concern for others, he is dissatisfied with typical media. The story selections do not meet his requirements. Typical media trivializes important matters, glorifies confusion, and generally presents small, shallow viewpoints. Yet, in Google Earth Darfur he notes hopefully “Theres nothing more profound to me, than the kind of awareness that can be gained or disseminated in a global perspective when such an initiative has taken place to educate or enlighten the masses through the use of a tool like Google Earth.”

A requirements document for this frame of mind needs to be developed so producers can act on it. What kinds of public programming are needed to push more intriguing stories into rooms centered around televisions? When will we have a movie theater like places to experience big full presentations on a Friday night date? How soon will tools be available to remotely sense what is going on in other peoples hearts and minds in far away times or places when we can’t even figure out what is happening here and now? He also points to the work of his friend Nikolas Schiller.


Please go there and see his geospatial art.


Purple Numbers


Above is an example of (an out of date) webpage with purple numbers envisioned by Doug Engelbart and Bootstrap.org An overlay is put on to a webpage generating random numbers to go right to the place where the text or image is located. The text below was written by Doug Engelbart, 23-Oct-2000.

Introduction 1

    Large-scale challenges are best served if there are appropriately scaled strategic principles to guide their pursuit. And special value results if the launch plan of a long-term and large-scale strategy produces significant payoff accrual early in the pursuit. 1AWe are addressing the large-scale, pervasive challenge of improving the collective development and application of knowledge. Many years of focussed experience and conceptual development underly the strategic framework guiding this proposal. 1B

Phase-1: OHS Launch Project: HyperScope enhancement of Legacy Systems: 2

    Special Note: Implementation of the HyperScope and all of the later stages of the OHS are committed to being done as Open-Source development. There are clear and compelling reasons for this, stemming from the scale and rate of evolution which needs be accommodated, and from the number of collaborative communities which need to be involved, PRO-ACTIVELY. 2AThe HyperScope will be a lightly modified web browser supported by an “Intermediary Processor” (IP) which operates between the browser and the files or data bases holding existing working knowledge of a collaborative community. The HyperScope is not an editor. 2B
    A Hyperscope user will be able to follow links into and between these “legacy” files in a manner similar to using a browser with web-based HTML files. And more, there will be numerous new capabilities and features which will give a HyperScope user considerable more flexibility and working power than users limited to standard browsers and “legacy” editors. 2B1

Brief Functional Description of Phase-1 HyperScope — new capabilities provided to HyperScope users operating within legacy environments: 2C

    1. In response to what may be an ordinary HTTP link, the targeted file will be (a) retrieved from its server and (b) dynamically “translated” into an Intermediary file (I-File) with special structure and format implemented with XML+. 2C1
    For any community seriously interested in applying HyperScope (and the follow-on, full OHS), it is assumed that appropriate “translator modules” will be developed for every file/db type of significance to their collaborative efforts. It is expected that an increasing list of customized translators will be developed as different application communities extend the range of legacy files to be brought into integrated HyperScope use. 2C1A

2. High-Resolution Addressability: Translation into the I-File’s special structure and format creates, among other things, new label tags attached to many objects (e.g. each paragraph), so that links serviced by the HyperScope can explicitly target many objects in the file which were not addressable in their “legacy” form. Ideally, every object in a file should be targetable by a link whose author wants to comment specifically about that object. 2C2

    E.g., here “http://xxx.xxx.xxx#aaa” targets a specific object, assumedly not labelled in the legacy file, but given the “aaa” label by the Translator any time that it translates that targeted file into the I-File format. 2C2A

3. View-Specifications: The HyperScope will offer a set of “transcoded viewing options” which a user can selectively employ to examine that file. Simple example: just show me the first line of each paragraph. 2C3

    From past experience it is expected that users will invent many variations of the ways they would like to view portions of their files, under different circumstances, often shifting rapidly between views just as one might rotate a physical object, or shift its distance, to get a better understanding of what is there. 2C3A It is planned to enable the option of incorporating a “view specification” (viewspec) to a link so that a subsequent user will not only have execution of that link take him to the desired specific file location, but will also show the contents there with the specified view. 2C3BConsiderable evolution is expected to take place here. In the “open-source” mode, many groups would be experimenting and tuning, contributing to the evolution. 2C3C

4. Expanded set of HyperScope accessable “Legacy File Types:” In principle, this manner of HyperScope access can be implemented for any standard type of file or data base. The Project will establish the basic implementation conventions, and proceed to develop the translation and special I-File properties appropriate for a selected sequence of file/db types — planning tentatively for those to be used by: 2C4

    4a. the OHS-dev community (including open-source participants); 2C4A
    4b. the Software Productivity Consortium’s member community: 2C4B
    4c. communities selected with NIH (and possibly cooperatively with DARPA) for strategic progression of co-evolving tool- and community-development processes. 2C4CNote: Here again, it is planned to facilitate Open-Source development so that many individuals and application communities can pursue specialty application needs and possibilities. (Facilitating this evolution is planned.) 2C4D

5. Copying-Pasting HyperScope Links: When viewing a legacy file via his HyperScope, a user will easily be able to install a HyperScope link (HS-Link) in any legacy file, targeting an explicit location in the file being viewed on his HyperScope. Clicking on the desired target object in a HyperScope “Copy mode,” he can subsequently turn to the “legacy editor” and “Paste” the appropriate link into the legacy file. Later execution of that link will take any subsequent HyperScope user to the desired, specific location and with the specified view. 2C5

6. Back-Link Management: Provision will be made to capture information about links pointing through the HyperScopes into a specified collection of files, to establish a “Back-Link Data Base” (BLDB). For each such link, information to be captured would be such as: 2C6

    6a. Explicit target object being cited; 2C6A
    6b. The “foreign” location of the link; 2C6B
    NOTE: both 6a and 6b being very much more usefully explicit if exercised via HyperScope use. 2C6B1

6c. The author of that other-file citation link. 2C6C

6d. The “Type” of link citation, as per the vocabulary of “link typing” adopted by the usage community, and provided for inclusion in “link syntax” by appropriate standardization processes. 2C6D

    NOTE: Link Typing has been advocated and discused for many years. With the above HyperScope-facilitated LDB, link-type utilization within appropriately developed community conventions and practices, would offer very important enhanced capability for collective knowledge development. 2C6D1AND, in a larger sense, it would enable a practical way to improve on the established academic convention of only publishing AFTER appropriate peer review (with attendant time delays in the cycle of knowedge evolution). 2C6D2 HERE, a promising alternative is offered: Publish now, let Peer Review and “evolving attribution” take place after. I.e., much more than just counting citations can here provide effectively attributed peer evaluation: explicit back-link assessment of trails can operate in many complex knowledge-evolution environments to isolate the key contributions (and also the key misleading entries). 2C6D3

7. Extended addressing conventions to improve linking power: 2C7

    7a. Relative Addressing: A conventional URL with a “#label” extension can position the HyperScope at a given object in the target file. Extended conventions will enable the link to point to subordinate objects — e.g., to a word in a paragraph, to an expression in an equation, … 2C7A7b. Indirect Linking: A very powerful extension to the relative addressing is a convention which directs the HyperScope to go to a specific location and then follow the link at that position — and perhaps at the link’s destination to do further relative positioning and “link following.” This indirect linking provides very powerful functionality when users learn to harness it. 2C7B7c. Implicit Linking: Example — every word is implicitly linked to its definition in a dictionary; every special term is implicitly linked to its definition in that discipline’s glossary; every instance of an object’s name in a source-code file is implicitly linked to its imlementation code; …; every pronoun is implicitly linked to its antecedent. Special “jump” commands can be provided which can operate as though the term in question is explicitly linked to the “implicitly linked” object. (Jump to Definition, …) 2C7C

8. Same file in multiple windows — no real limit there — simultaneously allowing different positioning and different viewing portrayals of a given file. 2C8

    Later, when editing of the Intermediary File will be offered, any legal edit operation executed in one window is reflected accurately and immediately in all other of that file’s portrayal windows. 2C8AThis flexibility in utilizing multiple windows has surprising value when users learn to make effective use of it. 2C8B

9. Non-Link Jumps; Options offered via simple selection means — E.g.: 2C9

    A click in a given paragraph, not on an embedded link, would hoist that paragraph to the top of the window. 2C9AClick-select a given paragraph, then Jump Next, Last, First, Origin, … 2C9B

10. Double-click Jumps offer surprisingly flexible options: 2C10

    First click indicates what jump is desired; second click can be in any other window, indicating where the jump-result view is to be portrayed. Whatever viewing spec already established in the target window will also prevail when the jumped-to file/location is portrayed there. 2C10A Also, in the interval between window clicks, icon or menu clicks, or character input, can indicate the new viewing spec if the user desires something different from what is currently set for the target window. 2C10B For instance: Window 1 could be relatively narrow, with view spec set for small font and only first line of each paragraph portrayed; Window 2 wider, with larger, more-readable font and full-paragraph portrayal. 2C10C

We assume that the above capabilities would be useful to almost any collaborative community, essentially as soon as adequate HyperScope-application support services could be provided. (NOTE that a qualified SRI group is explicitly set now to establish and operate such servics. Optional whether arrangements for this are pre-established at outset of the “OHS-dev Project”, or later when support of a particular community choose to become involved. In any event, suitable lead time needs be allowed.) 2C11

Phase-2: Maturing/Evolving the Hyperscope into full-feature OHS: 3

    Evolution of the Intermediary File format will be given careful attention since it is destined to become the format for the full Open Hyperdocument System (which will continue its evolution). 3A An OHS “User Interface System” (UIS) will be developed to provide a basic range of functions for moving, viewing and editing. 3BProvision for archiving, version control, etc. will be developed so that it becomes possible to develop and maintain an evolving knowledge base soley within an OHS environment — with integrated flexibility and power accumulated from the best that was accomplished via HyperScope usage among the legacy files. 3CNow the VERY important feature of this approach to OHS development comes into play: task by task, or person by person, in almost any order and rate, users can start to keep their files entirely within the OHS environment. All the working material is still interlinkable, whether in OHS or legacy files. 3DAnd the critical community-development processes will become VERY important here — to start the active “co-evolution” of the “Human System” and the OHS “Tool System” (as discussed at length in the “Bootstrap Publications”). 3EFor the scale of utilization that will be necessary, in number of inter-operating groups, in the diversity of inter-operable knowledge domains, and in the continuing changes in tools and skills, processes, etc. — it will be absolutely critical that 3F
    (a) the Tool System be as open to continuing evolution as can be managed, and 3F1
    (b) the application communities be specifically organized to participate pro-actively in the Human-Tool co-evolution. 3F2

It is sincerely hoped that organizations investing in the Stage-1 HyperScope development and use will do so with clear intent to be simultaneously readying their targeted application communities for becoming pro-active, “evolutionary participants.” 3G

Phase-3: Special Evolutionary Provision: Multi-class UIS Architecture and High-Performance Teams. 4

    The OHS Interface Architecture will be set up explicitly to provide for multiple UIS options, with a common, full-feature Application Program Interface (API). To support extensive capability evolution, it will be necessary to provide for a range of UIS options, varying in complexity, potential competency level, difficulty to learn, types of interface devices and modalities, etc. 4A
    Being able effectively to support web-connected mobile phones is one example. 4A1

But a VERY IMPORTANT purpose here is to enable individuals, or special-role support teams, to experiment with interface equipment, functionality, and control options, together with optional special attributes of the standard Intermediary File, to pursue especially high performance at important parts of their knowledge processes. 4B

Having this kind of exploration in any event will be necessary. Doing it with special extensions to the widely used OHS will be very important in enabling feasible migration of these tools and skills out into the rest of the communities. Moreover, doing this exploratory high-performance activity over the SAME WORKING domains amplifies that benefit immensely; motivated individuals can optionally acquire special interface equipment, take some special training, and move up to a “new class of user proficiency” (e.g. becoming a certified Class-4B Knowledge Integrator). 4C

There are support roles anticipated in developing and maintaining a community’s Dynamic Knowledge Repository (DKR) which could very well be taken on by specially trained High-Performance Support Teams. Such a team could for instance be fielded in a university (as a research project into High-Performance Collective Knowledge Work), and take on the “Knowledge Integrator” role for a professional society’s DKR. And competetive exercises could be conducted among teams from different universities — or companies, or agencies, or countries — as part of an explicit processes to facilitate improvement in “Collective IQ.” 4D


Form, Shape, Trace, Reckon, Calculate, Represent

The Institute for Figuring

To Figure: To form or shape, to trace, to reckon or calculate, to represent in a diagram or picture, to ornament or adorn with a design or pattern.

The Institute for Figuring does not yet have a physical space. Their location in the conceptual landscape is permanently located on the edge of this iconic fractal.mset_forweb.jpg

Institute for Figuring (IFF) Mandelbrot set location: (-0.7473198, i0.1084649) with detail (color inset.)


Crochet model of hyperbolic plane by Daina Taimina

In 1997 Cornell University mathematician Daina Taimina finally worked out how to make a physical model of hyperbolic space that allows us to feel, and to tactilely explore, the properties of this unique geometry. The method she used was crochet. See [105] Hyperbolic Space Crochet Models for more information.

[105] Hyperbolic Space

[111] It is one thing to know that something is possible, it is quite another to understand what it is. Like the blind man and the elephant, hyperbolic space appears in different guises depending on how we approach it. One way of visualizing this enigmatic space was discovered by the great French mathematician Henri Poincar?. In the Poincar? disc model the entire hyperbolic space is depicted inside a circle.

disc1 Poincare Disc Model of Hyperbolic Space

Image and text above from the website of the Institute For Figuring (www.theiff.org)


Brings to mind topological knots. Images below by Sofia Lambropoulou.


Escher mechanical trefoils


Ancient knots in Berlin museum


Mongolian knots on stamps


Unifying Communications and Information

Various depictions of communications and information put into shapes.


Information needs research in Russia and Lithuania, 1965-2003
Elena Maceviit


Terminology Services and Technology Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) State of the Art Review.


Figure: The segment Voronoi diagram for a set of weakly (left) and strongly (right) intersecting sites. Computational Geometry Algorithms Library part of the CGAL Open Source Project.


Quadrics, Lutz Kettner previously with Max Planck Institut informatik now with Mental Images

Remainder of images below from a Workshop on Current and Emerging Research Opportunities in Probability was held May 29-31, 2002, at the National Science Foundation, posted by Amstat.org.

Solution of traveling salesman problem for 15,000 cities in Germany. Being a simple closed curve it has an inside (blue) and an outside (white).


Focusing and defocusing of a signal passed through a random turbulent atmospheric medium.


New York state power grid