Conductor: Turning the NYC Subway System Into a Melodic Stringed Instrument


Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA’s actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram.

This is beyond cool and oddly captivating. It’s easy to find yourself reluctant to stop watching just so you don’t miss what’s coming up next.

The site, which is located at mta.me, was created by Alexander Chen. On his blog he explains more about of the inspiration and technical aspects of the piece, like the fact that it’s written in HTML5 and Javascript, which means you can even watch it on your iPhone. Take that Flash.

According to Chen, “The piece follows some rules. Every minute, it checks for new trains launched from their end stations. The train then moves towards the end of the line, with its speed set by the schedule‚Äôs estimated trip duration. Some decisions were made for musical, aesthetic, and technical reasons, such as fading out routes over time, the gradual time acceleration, and limiting the number of concurrent trains. Also, I used the weekday schedule. Some of these limitations result in subtle variations, as different trains are chosen during each 24-hour loop.”

The mta.me site is also interactive, you can pull and pluck and strum the strings yourself to add your own musical flair to the orchestra.

Note: While I was able to load and view the mta.me page on my iPhone I wasn’t able to hear any sounds. There was a message at the bottom of the page that said “Loading sound (0%)” so I’m not sure if that’s a permanent or temporary issue.

Katie Couric, Bryant Gumble and Some Other Chick Wax Poetic About the Internets in 1994


UPDATE: Washington Post columnist Rob Pegoraro Tweeted that the guy who originally posted this video on YouTube was fired by NBC for releasing it. So lame NBC.

Yes, I’m quite sure that the only person left on the 2011 version of the internet that hasn’t seen this clip is probably my Mom but I’m posting it anyway.

I would claim that I’m posting it just so that I can share it with Mom and get a laugh, but the truth is she’s 76-years-old and doesn’t even own a computer and probably wouldn’t get the joke anyway. Well, that’s not totally true, she does in fact own a computer that she recently purchased. The caveat is that it’s not hooked up to the internet and she uses it as basically the world’s most expensive word processor.
http://www.metatube.com/flash/player.swf

If you have any complaints or comments about this post feel free to send them to kcouric a with a circle around it 1994 period com.

Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of Welp, We're Boned


Call Mr. Plow, that’s my name, that name again is Mr. Plow.


This visible image was captured by the GOES-13 satellite and shows the low pressure area bringing snowfall to the Midwest Jan. 31, 2011. Heavy snow is expected today in portions of northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Snowfall from the system extends from Michigan west to Montana, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. A mix of rain and snow also stretches into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and it is all moving east. This system appears to be as large as 1/3rd of the Continental U.S. The image was created on Jan. 31 at 12:45 p.m. EST (1745 UTC) by the NASA GOES Project, located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The GOES series of satellites are operated by NOAA.

Image courtesy of NASA

The L Train Claims Another, Apparently Intoxicated, Victim


This is one of those things that really should be the definition of “that goes without saying”, but time and time again, it seems it needs to be said. If you are on a subway platform and drop something on the tracks, unless it’s your child or perhaps some other living person possibly related to you, do not take it upon yourself to try and retrieve whatever you dropped.

Not only are you unnecessarily putting your own life at risk, you’re potentially threatening the sanity and emotional well-being of everyone else that is about to see you crushed by an oncoming train. Not to mention what it does to the conductors of the trains, having to live with the fact that they’ve taken someone’s life even if it was through no fault of their own.

“You can’t see anything until you are actually in the station,” the motorman said. “When I came into the station, he was about sixty or seventy feet down the platform. The only thing I could do was activate the emergency brakes.”

Fatal accidents can be tramautic to train operators. Some hang up their keys, never to return to the motorman’s cab. Others take extended leaves.

This was the motorman’s first fatality.

“It’s very uncomfortable,” he said. “I”m managing but I’m going to see a shrink, definitely. I woke up six times last night.”

In fact, there should be a new law that if you see someone jump on the tracks to “rescue” their keys or iPhone or whatever they think is worth risking their life for, you should be legally allowed to help pull them off the tracks and then beat the shit out of them for being a fucking idiot.

Photo courtesy of the NYPost

Just a Moment of Inflection if I May


I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not this is a post I wanted to write, let alone share, with anyone who cared to read it. Most of the stuff I write about is related in some form or another to technology along with my ocassional snarky comments on news and current events and rarely even more serious thoughts on deeper topics that effect us all in some way or another.

The past few months have been pretty difficult for me, culminating with the loss of my job. Many men have a natural instinct to want to be providers and protectors and when part of that is taken away it’s often not an easy thing to come to terms with. Being in the worst job market, certainly in my lifetime, doesn’t provide any easily accessible unguent for the wound. And, often times, when situations in your own personal life seem vulnerable and a bit raw, circumstances completely outside your control can have much deeper impact than they would have normally.

For me, January 8 of this year was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Having lived in NYC on 9/11, less than two miles from Ground Zero and knowing people and family members who have, or are preparing to potentially, go off to war those things seemed different. They all seemed to be followed by a period of unity and coming to together. Some sense of comfort that allowed the seeds of optimism to take hold and begin to grow back.

Perhaps it was where I was in my own personal state or perhaps there’s something more to it, but the shooting that took place in Tuscon on January 8, 2011 had a profound effect on me. As the events were unfolding I found myself captivated by the story. Heartbroken for the victims and outraged by the reactions. I tried desperately, yet fruitlessly, to learn more about the man who perpetrated this event in an attempt to understand what could have motivated something so senseless.

Having lived through Columbine, the Oklahoma City bombings, the Virginia Tech massacre, the list goes on and on, this event, this senseless act seemed to wear on me as none had before. I believe part of it may have been not only the lack of a sense of healing but the actual contrary derisiveness that arose from the event. My usually hardened sense of sarcasm and ability to somehow find a way to cope with the randomness of the world, even when it is unthinkable, seemed to abandon me. Simply put, I felt exposed.

I know that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation for my absence, but part of me felt that this sharing, this purposeful choice to be vulnerable, might somehow be cathartic and allow me to get back to the business at hand and continue to help those that I am fortunate enough to be able to help. And, more importantly, to once again take in the warmth that those same people, and more, are so eager to share with someone like me.

Regrets, I've Had a Few


Namely that I’ve been away from posting for so damn long. I got caught up in one thing after another and everything just got a little overwhelming and I let my poor little blog suffer the most. I’d come home at night yipped up on Red Bull and vodka and just sit here telling my blog how fat it was and how it was its fault that I never wanted to update it. Sure, deep down inside I knew I was the one hurting, but I just couldn’t step up to the man in the mirror, take a look at myself and make a…chaaaaange.

Anywho, I apologize to everyone who does in fact, or has in the past taken the time to read this little slice of awesome and let you know that I hope to be ramping back up to regular posts again. Thank you for being patient.

Videos from Garbrielle Giffords Shooter, Jared Lee Loughner's YouTube Channel


Is this video of the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner? The video is played behind the music, “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool. Very eerie.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L1lsLU-kUw

He has a video from three weeks ago that begins with “My final thoughts”.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHoaZaLbqB4

I believe these are from the shooter from the Arizona Massacre today. He talks about mind control and says, “in a few days, you know I’m conciounsce dreaming!”, it was posted three weeks ago.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uRjwPWaxiY

Here’s a screenshot of his YouTube profile, notice everything is in the past tense. He also lists one of his favorite books as “Mein Kampf”.