That emoji. I do not think it means what you think it means.

When my database threw an unexpected error, I looked up the cryptic code in the message, and fell down a bizarre click-hole about a surprisingly controversial cultural symbol: the "woman with bunny ears" emoji. That's the official title at least, but it has variously been interpreted as "ballerinas" or "Playboy bunnies" or "Kemonomimi" (a human character with animal features, common in Japanese media). Different visual representations have leaned towards evoking different interpretations.

Life on the Cliff's Edge: On depression and anxiety

Today is the last day of May, which is also mental health awareness month, and this year I've decided I'm ready to share my story. Most people who know me know that I suffer from depression and anxiety, but until now, I haven't widely shared the details or the extent of my experiences. To most, I probably seem high-functioning, if a little eccentric. The stories we tell about mental illness usually revolve around characters who are either in the middle of a crisis or who have "gotten better" through treatment.

Liveblog: Creating Radical, Accessible Spaces

These notes were taken live at the University of Michigan School of Information on October 23, 2015.

ResourceListener: many endpoints, many requests

While building the new MediaMeter Dashboard tool, the team at the MIT Center for Civic Media faced an interesting design challenge: keeping track of multiple requests to each of multiple API endpoints and rendering views when the right data is ready. For more context, we designed the Dashboard as a front end for the Media Cloud API from Harvard's Berkman Center.

ViewManager: Persistent Views in Single-Page Web Apps

JavaScript frameworks like backbone.js make it easy to create web app content based on the path using Router and View objects. But what if you want some views, and their state, to persist across certain routes? That can be tricky, so I created a simple ViewManager class to take care of the hard parts.

New Hackerspace Design Patterns

The wave of hackerspaces in the US over the last decade was triggered, in part, by the collection of the hackerspace design patterns, best practices that had been developed in European hackerspaces. This year at Chaos Communications Camp, Mitch Altman will be presenting an updated list of hackerspace design patterns and has asked the community for input. Here are my contributions based on several years of hackerspace administration.

A graceful end to Seltzer development

The Kickstarter I’ve been running for Seltzer (a tool for managing cooperatives) finished last night, at just shy of 1/3 of the funding goal. While the project wasn’t successfully funded, the crowdfunding campaign was far from a failure.

Art, Code, and Asking

As a programmer, I know that code can be beautiful. As an artist, I know that code is not art. I don’t mean to say that code is in any way less, just different. And the difference is important, particularly when it comes to asking for support.

Data Sculpture: Media Perspective

For those of us who work with data, we get used to visualizing in our mind and develop an intuition for it. For everyone else, data visualization usually takes the form of a diagram on a small, two-dimensional screen. Standard data plots can take an exciting idea and turn it into something boring, or even worse, drudge up memories of panicked high school math exams. This experimental data sculpture attempts to draw the viewer into the visualization and connect them with the data on an intuitive, physical level. The sculpture shows the amount of coverage the U.S.

Advice for First Generation College Students

Some students entering college this fall have prepared their entire lives. But first-generation students, the first in their family to attend college, will leave their known world behind, with little idea of what to expect.

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