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GoTime!

March 7, 2011

Alright,

It has been a long but amazing weekend at the lab.  It started Friday putting the finishing touches on our part in the happy post project installation at SOWA.  Then doing the installation with Marian Diogurdi and John Borchard, two super talented artists at SOWA. Everybody who came out really dug the project, the response was great.

Then back to the lab to continue the preparation for All-Bright Boards at SXSW.  We spent a lot of time burning new boards and experimenting with different methods of getting the best results.  Thankfully we didn’t totally destroy any boards in the process. I guess that means we’re learning. Some of the processes we tried out were fairly tedious but all of them were well worth the results.

Huge ups goes to the local artists Tim Moores, TofuSquirrel, Shanna Maclasco (aka WhiteNoise) who submitted the designs that we have been cutting. It is really inspiring to live in a community with so many talented people across so many different mediums and to see them come together on a project is fully amazing.  Can’t wait to embark on the next step later this week!

-Steve

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3,000 Bostonians telling us what makes them Happy

March 3, 2011

Is happiness contagious? we think it is, and our mission is to spread it.  As some of you might know, a few months ago we started a project with some friends called the Happy Post Project. This initiative consists of asking people to write or draw anything that makes them happy on a post-it. We have challenged ourselves to collect 25,000 Happy Posts from around the world, and to use them to create art installations with the purpose of spreading happiness.

This Friday we will be using 3.000 post its we have already collected in Boston to create our first installation at SOWA; and we would like to invite you to be part of it! So please come and participate in The Happy Post Project by contributing a Post-It with words or a drawing of something that makes you happy. Post-it notes, markers, and a time that will make you smile are waiting for you.

Thanks in advance and I hope to see you there!

-Mario

When: Friday, March 4th, 2011
Where: SOWA art studios; 450 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02118
Where Exactly: Marian Dioguardi’s Studio (#223-B)
Time: from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $0 – no cost, just come to have fun!

 

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SXSW :: AllBright :: Serious Business :: ROAD TRIP

March 2, 2011

So we’re hitting the road. Nadeem, Steve and I are heading on an epic adventure down to the massive state of Texas for this year’s SouthbySouthwest music festival. For those not akin to the festival, it’s a week long event held in Austin, TX in middle of March, conveniently placed during most colleges spring break vacations. The festival holds around 9 billion shows during the course of the week with bands as underground as “Mammoth Grinder” all the way up to Yoko Ono, and Erykah Badu. Every indy band from Boston to Los Angeles is gonna be trying to go to this festival this year. The line ups are massive, the showcases are going to be bombastic, and with the ever changing climate in the music industry, who KNOWS what’s going to happen.

Anyways, this year, AllBright Skateboards and Serious Business are teaming up with G-House Management to put up a massive skateboard display at the Austin Museum of Art on March 17th-19th. The event will feature 25 of our brand new NEVER before sold skateboard designs. The event will be live streamed in collaboration with Serious Business, through Facebook’s streaming service. The event, titled The Boston Family Dinner, will feature many of our good friends playing in Grass is Green, Art Decade, Super Volcano, as well as our very own Jenny Tuite in the Dirty Dishes. If you’re going to make it out to Texas this year, you HAVE to check out the event. Find out more here!

Now, I leave you with a quick link to something I discovered over the weekend.
I made it to level 18, score of 1664, with 94% accuracy. boom son.

 
-Ricky

 

 

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Skii: the Present

February 17, 2011

When we visit a new place, we experience a heightened awareness of our present. We gaze at the beautiful view in the foreign country, listen to a language other than our own and perhaps try to say a few new words. We smell the exotic food, and maybe sit down at a restaurant to taste something extraordinarily different and new. As tourists, we live in the moment. We forget about the past and the present and live intensely in the now.

In a way, being a tourist is not that different from being a first time skier zooming down a slope, totally  aware of every moment. You need to be fully engaged with all five senses while skiing if you want to enjoy it. It also helps you avoid running into trees or slipping in the snow, like I did many times while learning. This January, I had the opportunity to join an MIT ski trip to Sunday River, Maine. With the help of friends, I used my tourist attitude.

I had a great time the first two days skiing, but by the morning of the third day I was beat up. I wanted to avoid skiing. I was sick of falling in the snow every 10 minutes. The temperature was minus 25 degrees (I learned that at a certain point the negative point of Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same), and my laziness levels were off the charts. Fortunately, the friends who invited me persuaded me to go skiing with them instead of staying in my room and arguing with myself. They helped me live in the moment.

That day, Carolina and Arturo encouraged me to take a class to improve my skills. At first, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, I felt that I had learned enough by falling so much, but in the end I accepted the challenge. It was a great decision. I met a fabulous instructor who cheered me up and made me think about the importance of being grateful. I was having fun skiing again and it was because this instructor showed me a few ways to be a better skier and encouraged me. Her name is Michelle, and she’s very passionate about her job. Her energy that day was extremely contagious. She’s been teaching at Sunday River for ten years and she still sees every day on the mountain as a new adventure, every day a tourist moment. Like she says, “If you love what you do, every moment is different.”

-Mario

TIP: Appreciate and enjoy every season of the year. Don’t allow the cold winter to bring you down, and if you have the opportunity to ski, do it!

You can also visit www.toursitattitude.com to find more information about this topic.

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Happy Post Kickstarter Shooting

February 1, 2011

Alright!  After seeming endless pre-production we finally started shooting the happy-post kickstarter tonight.  It was a really positive experience and should lead to really great results.  I think that  Serious business’ first kickstarter is going to be a resounding success-mostly thanks to the passion that Mario Chamorro has for the project, he really keeps us going and the morale high through repetitive takes.

We also got help from some new blood at serious business, that being Emily Badger who was kind enough to come in and be a part of the video.  The best thing about working at serious business is being constantly surrounded by such talented people like Emily and the regular crew.  The energy and drive in the room becomes tangible and really inspires people to be at their best.  I hope we can continue to collaborate with more gifted and lovely people in the future and am sure there are great things on the horizon for Serious Business.

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California!

January 16, 2011

Not clear why I’m the only person that’s posting (come on, guys!) but in the mean time, I have some interesting results which I will be sharing shortly and my thesis is rapidly approaching completion.  Boy it’s going to be tough to actually finish it on time.  More later.

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Serious Snow

January 12, 2011

When it snows outside, it’s time to get serious inside.  We’re definitely serious inside Boston today.

I’ll post some progress later today.  Happy birthday, mom!

Later that day… I’ve been knocking the bugs out of a little algorithm I wrote to do rapid subjective sorting using Amazon Mechanical Turk.  The code will be going up in due time and the algorithm will be described at length in my thesis.  In the meantime, it’s good to know that the form I’m using is closely related to the Rasch Model and I’m repeating Thurstone’s 1927 experiment where he obtained a subjective ranking of the offensiveness of crimes.  The rankings in the right-most column are ours after 400 data points. In our experiment, the first 370 data points were selected randomly; the remaining were chosen to optimally increase our knowledge in expectation. Our column hasn’t converged by a long shot, but we’re comparing against experiments that had 20K data points apiece, so we’re not at all disappointed!  The crimes are sorted from most to least offensive:

1926 1966 1976 2011
Rape Homicide Homicide Kidnapping
Homicide Rape Rape Rape
Abortion Kidnapping Kidnapping Homicide
Seduction Arson Assault Abortion
Arson Assault Arson Embezzlement
Kidnapping Abortion Burglary Arson
Adultery Burglary Larceny Assault
Perjury Embezzlement Embezzlement Burglary
Embezzlement Adultery Perjury Receiving
Counterfeiting Larceny Counterfeiting Adultery
Assault Perjury Libel Forgery
Forgery Counterfeiting Forgery Larceny
Burglary Seduction Smuggling Smuggling
Larceny Forgery Adultery Perjury
Smuggling Smuggling Receiving Bootlegging
Libel Libel Seduction Counterfeiting
Receiving Receiving Bootlegging Seduction
Bootlegging Bootlegging Abortion Libel
Vagrancy Vagrancy Vagrancy Vagrancy

The first three columns came from this paper; the first column came from Thurstone’s 1927 paper where he introduces the method. Now I get to apply it to my thesis!

Update (deeper into the night):
After collecting another 100 or so datapoints, I wound up with the following graph:

Some pretty neat results that we can be fairly confident about.  Repeating this experiment would take around a day and would cost $50; those variances look pretty decent, showing the advantage of selecting the questions to ask appropriately.

Here’s the gnuplot code I used to plot this:

gnuplot> set ytics ("Kidnapping" 19, "Rape" 18, "Homocide" 17, "Arson" 16, "Abortion" 15, "Embezzlement" 14, "Assault and Battery" 13, "Burglary" 12, "Receiving Stolen Goods" 11, "Adultery" 10, "Forgery" 9, "Larceny" 8, "Smuggling" 7, "Bootlegging" 6, "Perjury" 5, "Seduction" 4, "Counterfeiting" 3, "Libel" 2, "Vagrancy" 1)
gnuplot> unset key
gnuplot> set yrange [0:20]
gnuplot> set xlabel "Offensiveness of Crime"
gnuplot> set terminal png transparent truecolor size 1400,480 xffffff x000000 xff0000
Terminal type set to 'png'
Options are 'transparent truecolor nocrop font /usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-liberation/LiberationSans-Regular.ttf 12 size 1400,480 xffffff x000000 xff0000 '
gnuplot> set output "crimes.png"
gnuplot> plot 'stats' using 2:(20-$1):3 with xerrorbars

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Augh, did someone blog in here?

January 11, 2011

Was it you, Johnson?  Johnson you ought to know better than to render blog inside.  I’m so embarrassed on his behalf.

Ok, Johnson’s been forcibly removed from the premises.  It wasn’t easy, and unfortunately, he left his blog here and it looks like it’s one of these blogs that’s going to be hard to get rid of.  I wouldn’t even know if you should use hot water or cold water or seltzer and salt or some other thing.  It’s probably already too late; once it soaks into the shag, you just know you’re going to need some kind of miracle (like the power of orange oil) to remove it, and we used our entire supply to get rid of Johnson himself.  There’s no point in even trying to scrub this blog out; the more you try, the more it’ll spread.

But hey, the blog isn’t so bad when you get used to it.  In fact, in an odd way, it’s somewhat pleasant.  Maybe it’s just an acquired taste… like Johnson himself.

Speaking of Johnson, I kind of miss the little guy.  So what if he was largely invisible and vaguely racist?  He was our largely invisible vague racist.

And check this blog out!  Alas, it was his final contribution.  Maybe in his twisted, syphilitic mind, it was a gift to the company, a company which was his family, from the moment he hatched until the moment the corporate security tied his satanic punim to the railroad tracks a few seconds ago.

I propose that we don’t try to get rid of the blog with magnificent solvents, but that we instead use it to celebrate us, to commemorate this, our continued existence!  to rejoice in our persistent being, a durable propagator of Johnson’s memory, which Johnson gave his life for (let’s pretend that that’s true).  For though his corporeal existence was ephemeral (was not his miniature malnourished rat body a fragile thing?), his bloggy discharge will survive on the backups of commercial servers for as long as we pay the hosting fees.

In Memoriam

Johnson, 2011