Why Is Superintelligence So Dumb?
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

David Stairs “I think that it’s fairly likely that it will not take too long of a time for the entire surface of the Earth to become covered with data centers and power stations. Once you have one data center, which runs lots of AIs on it, which are much smarter than humans, it’s a […]

How to Design a Pandemic
Friday, June 25th, 2021

David Stairs UPDATE: As of July 23rd, 2021, following Anthony Fauci’s recent congressional testimony, this story is now being reported by the BBC. A double arginine codon inserted at the S1/S2 furan cleavage site of the SARS CoV-2 virus’s genome It was once the best of times……. except now we are coming to know the […]

Lady Macbeth Did Not Have an N95
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

David Stairs A sign of our times There are interesting new ways to mark the passage of time. I generally take account each week when I venture out of my home to grocery shop.

Of Flattened Curves and Ballooning Statistics
Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

David Stairs Informatics is enjoying a renaissance. Courtesy LiveScience.com If you haven’t already encountered it, this graph is bound to become the most talked about x-y axis since Al Gore’s Nobel prize-winning acceptance speech. And it represents events more immediate than climate change, if not more important.

World’s Most Decorative House
Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

David Stairs Say what you want about Art Nouveau, but when it came to invention its practitioners were not short-handed. For an example, I turn to Gaudi’s most famous residence design. Casa Battlo, or “House of Bones,” so named for its bone-like exterior columns

Apple vs. Design
Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Carter Scholz In the prehistory of personal computers, Lee Felsenstein and some others created Community Memory in Berkeley in 1974: a publicly available teletype terminal, connected to a mainframe computer via 110-baud modem. Users could post and read messages at a few different sites. Felsenstein had read Ivan Illich, and he saw this as a […]

Bruce Mau Revisited
Saturday, May 7th, 2016

David Stairs It’s been 10 years since this article first appeared as Bruce Mau and the Apotheosis of Data. We’re re-posting it here in our continuing celebration of D-A-P’s tenth anniversary, and because it is no less pertinent now than it was in 2006. —Ed. Soothsaying: The New Science of Designing For Nine Billion “The […]

Prius Town
Friday, August 28th, 2015

David Stairs Whenever visiting Portland, Oregon I am always struck by the huge number of bicyclists— aggressive, self-righteous, ubiquitous. No matter that many of them weren’t even born yet when I was bike commuting— it’s great to see so many! But there is another meme at work here. I am a Prius owner, but I’ve […]

Rethink Material
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Philip Borkowski Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of published Masters theses that started last year with Jesse McClain’s Actively. Many thanks to Wes Janz for making it possible. image: Wes Janz Never before has human creation effected the world as much as it does today. While living next to a large […]

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

The following is excerpted from Jesse McClain’s 2014 Master’s thesis—Ed. Jesse McClain Figure 1: Images from top to bottom: Top two images – Anawalt strip mining site in Southern West Virginia. Bottom image: Town of Keystone, West Virginia, near the city of Welch, WV. Photos: Jesse McClain. SITE CONTEXT AND DOCUMENTATION Southern West Virginia and […]

Swimming With a Cellphone
Saturday, July 13th, 2013

David Stairs Luco at music camp. I kept the phone. The campaign began about nine months ago. From the beginning I was the primary target. I never had a chance. It wasn’t even a subtle assault. Mentioned with increasing frequency, insinuated into nearly every conversation, my thirteen year-old son managed to make his desire to […]

Gary, IN.: A Critical Geography of a Fourth World City
Friday, August 6th, 2010

Olon Dotson This is the second of two special features on the racial history of America’s industrial heartland. INTRODUCTION: IN MEMORY OF JOHN THADIS DOTSON Leake County Courthouse, Carthage, MS. Only one storefront shows signs of activity on the square surrounding the Leake County Courthouse in Carthage, Mississippi. Once a thriving block of retail establishments, […]

Introduction to the Fourth World
Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Olon Dotson —With this posting we are pleased to publish a two-part investigation by African American architect Olon Dotson into the racialized nature of the cities of America’s decayed industrial heartland. We feel this is an important, generally overlooked research, and are very pleased to present it here for the first time in print. Editor […]

Monday, February 1st, 2010

David Stairs “The professional tends to specialize and to merge his being uncritically in the mass. The ground rules provided by the mass response of his colleagues serve as a pervasive environment of which he is uncritical and unaware.”1 —Marshall McLuhan The Emperor’s New Clothes I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve sat […]

First Name Basis (Part 2)
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Wes Janz In Part 1 of this two-part post, I called for a “humane architecture” and reflected on the challenges and potentials found when designers put people at the center of our work. Among the individuals and architectures discussed: Mary Martha and a dormitory for border crossers returned to Mexico; Michael’s block in Camden, New […]

First Name Basis (Part 1)
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Wes Janz 1. It’s two years since the Midwess Distress Tour, a 6-day drivathon with architecture students, organized by Olon Dotson and me. To challenged places, abandoned lives, upstart efforts. Detroit, Flint, Gary, Chicago, East St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Written up as “Compared to What?” Posted on Archinect in early 2007. Then, Olon mixed a […]

Monday, December 15th, 2008

David Stairs A Profession, of sorts I’ve never been a joiner. When I was eleven years old I signed up for the Boy Scouts. All my friends were in Scouts. It was the thing to do in those days. I soldiered on for three years, through weekly meetings, camping trips, merit badges, fundraisers and all. […]

Losing In Translation 2: Graphic Design in Hong Kong and the Peoples Republic of China
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Catherine Jo Ishino Hong Kong and PRC Design from the Reform Era (ca.1978) In the next two sections, I will explore how China’s marketplace, citizenry, and identity have begun to transform with its entry into the overarching globalization narrative that has been taking place since the last part of the 20th century. Specifically, I will […]

Losing In Translation? A Look at the State of Chinese Design Development
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Catherine Jo Ishino Min Wang, 2008 Beijing Olympic events poster Until recently, a positive view on the state of modern Chinese graphic design was difficult to find in the Western trade press. Hong Kong, under the rule of the British Empire up until 1997, was seen as simply mimicking and copying Euro-American works. The Mainland’s […]

A Designer in Congo
Friday, June 30th, 2006

Wendy MacNaughton at large in Ituri, DRC during the National Elections

Sustainable Graphic Design in Malawi
Friday, June 30th, 2006

Jesse Rankin reports from Lilongwe

Small is Beautiful
Friday, June 30th, 2006

In a nation where cookie-cutter McMansions have become common from coast to coast…

The Aestheticization of Life: A Reply to Jessica Helfand
Thursday, June 29th, 2006

It’s been a rough week in Kampala.

In Advance of the Broken Arm: Adversity as Harbinger of Design Resilience in Ugandan Toys
Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Creative design by Ugandan boys

The Strategy
Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Excerpted from THE GREAT TURNING From Empire to Earth Community (pp.225-229) By David C. Korten
Scheduled for Publication by Berrett-Koehler Publishers and Kumarian Press May 2006 and reproduced here with kind permission of both author and publisher.