Reports & Projects
As We May Sketch
Computers are absolutely incredible achievements of human ingenuity. Computers are regions of the universe that are under a much tighter level of human control than any other physical arrangement of matter into a technology yet conceived. Inside of microchips, electricity is serving a purpose directly prescribed by a human at a keyboard.
If I know something of this, then why is it that I do not really know how to program?
I have been trying. And I’ve been finding joy and frustration. Coming from a graphic design background I am in a foreign place when trying to understand and manipulate programs. I was always fascinated by computers and assembled PCs and hacked around, but I never learned programming. I was math phobic and thus I was programming phobic. That was the narrative I internalized. Only now am I realizing that I can learn math and programming. I can cobble things together, but I do not understand the concepts, I do not feel comfortable, I am always using duct tape, never a nice hand tool. I am on a quest to learn myself and make it easier for everyone else to learn.
I believe that everyone deserves to know how to think systematically and execute their intention in the form of computer programs. The ability to implement formal logic is part of the new literacy.
Your Online Participation As Commodity
There exists a rhetoric of participatory culture that fosters the concept that, through globally networked computers, cultural production is now in the hands of more individuals than ever before. That we will be free to participate in producing software and culture–the two becoming increasingly intertwined–in non-market collaborative modes constructing a new ownership model structured around distribution rather than exclusion. Law Professor Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks offers a sophisticated analysis exemplifying this cultural shift. Benkler contends that we currently are “in the midst of a technological, economic, and organizational transformation that allows us to renegotiate the terms of freedom, justice, and productivity in the information society.”
Yet we see this idea ever more challenged in practice. Commercial incentives have seen the emergence of massive corporations out of the supposedly egalitarian Internet. With very real monopolies like Google now looming large we must ask hard questions about the nature of our digitally mediated economy and society. Are the most recent digital monopolies flukes, or are monopolies still an overall feature of the networked world? Despite early proclamations that the Internet could resist monopoly, is there some broader systemic reason why monopoly has re-emerged at this juncture of the Internet?
In this paper, I explore Yochai Benkler's discussion of new non-commercial forms of cultural production by juxtaposing these conceptions with excerpts from Tobias Schäfer's Bastard Culture. This analysis is framed through the lens of David Singh Grewal’s Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization and guided by the long perspective provided by Fernand Braudel's seminal analysis of the emergence of Capitalism in Capitalism and Material Life, 1400-1800...
Capturing, Tracing, and Visualizing the Spread of Technology-Enhanced Instructional Strategies
Disarming the Patent Wars
Intellectual property law in the US has noble intentions, "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Patent in particular was designed to protect and incentivize the inventor to innovate. However, through decades of evidence, particularly as observed in software and digital technology, it is becoming clear that patent protection serves more to protect entrenched monopolies than incentivize innovation. Patent is not a particularly powerful incentive to innovate; in fact over time it increasingly functions inversely to this goal. More deeply, patent is intrinsically incompatible with the nature of technology. The modular nature of technology sees patent gridlock becoming an inevitable fixture of any sufficiently advanced technological landscape...
Synthetic Biology & Newness
On May 20, 2010, the J. Craig Venter Institute announced it had created the world’s first self-replicating synthetic (human–made from chemical parts) genome in a bacterial cell of a different species. In response, President Obama tasked the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to explore and review the developing field of synthetic biology, with an eye toward ethical boundaries and risk mitigation. They published “New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies” in December of 2010. Aside from ethical and efficacy explorations the report takes time to explicitly discuss the newness of synthetic biology, and the Commission takes a decidedly pragmatic stance on said newness...
Hidden Metric Spaces Underlie Network Topology - Surveying New Theories
Some years ago I began to wonder: how does information propagate inside of networks? Does it have general dynamics that hold true across all networks? I wanted to know beyond the symptom level, I wanted to know what flowing “looks like” at the level of node-to-node communication. How does a given node “see" the inside of a network?
Making Ideas Tangible: 3D Printing At Georgetown
For Georgetown Prospect Magazine, Issue 5
Layer by layer an idea is made real. Additive manufacturing technology, better known as 3D printing, has transformed the Gelardin New Media Center into a micro-factory, with two busy MakerBots working to turn computer renderings into tangible objects. This time they are rendering innovative snack bar ideas to help No Kid Hungry prototype and bring to market a new product with the Toms Shoes business model: buy a snack bar and feed a kid for lunch...
University of California San Diego
Political Science/International Relations B.a.
2008 - 2012
Can Modern Drone War Be Just?
In its current usage as a targeted killing platform, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) or ‘drone’ represents a fundamental challenge to the idea of proportionality as discussed in just war theory. In combining surveillance and strike into a singular package devoid of risk to its operators, RPA have become a destabilizing force to the ideas of justice in war–jus in bello–and justice of war–jus ad bellum–due to the shift in risk calculation that their unique capabilities allow. The concept of proportionality is understood as managing the use of force such that it does not become a greater evil than the one it is fighting. In removing any threat to operators’ lives, the drone critically unbalances the notion of proportionality and risks making the choice to deploy lethal force seductively easy...