The Clipperton Project

The Clipperton Project

The Clipperton Project

Île de la Passion. A beautiful name for an island in the heart of the worlds largest ocean. Initially discovered by the pirate John Clipperton, hundreds of years ago, its romantic French name betrays the lack of habitability. An one the many barely explored islands of the Pacific, it seems to swallow people faster than the Island from Lost. Initially used as a pirate running spot, the exaggerated atoll became a “hotbed” of guano mining and was even a colony for Mexico. Yet every attempt to make the island habitable has been met by disaster or bad luck. Lacking few native plants or animals, its local life consists of little more than coconut palms, poisonous crabs, and ship rats. I think it inspired “Lord of the Flies.” Just a guess.

So when I heard about The Clipperton Project I got excited. A team of seventeen scientists, journalists, and artists will leave Mexico in Spring 2012 to set sail to Clipperton to do some soul searching. Not in a sense that they are searching for their own souls, but to reflect on our planet in a place that has rejected humanity. Each artist or scientist will spend a week on the island doing what they do best and bring the results and creations to art institutions across the world. This is a field laboratory for both art and science in the form of adventure – a forgotten concept in a world of lab coats and laptops. Jules Verne would be damn proud. To support this project, click here or simply spread the word.


August 30, 2011 / By

‘Stop Coddling the Super-Rich’, An Insightful Essay by Warren Buffett

'Stop Coddling the Super-Rich', An Insightful Essay by Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett has lived a storied life, starting out delivering newspapers, selling golfballs and stamps, and detailing cars, and no currently being the third richest person on the planet. Right now as I write this, he’s probably my favorite person on earth. Yesterday he wrote a piece for The New York Times titled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, a poignant, amazing essay that helps me believe that there are sensible people out there. His point is simple and candid, if you make over $1 million a year, you should be taxed much more.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

I also love how candidly he speaks about how much he pays in taxes.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

I tip my hat to Mr. Buffett for speaking so honestly and calling upon the politicians we elected to do something worthwhile for the country. I guess we can only hope that the Dirty Dozen members of congress have the smarts to listen to him.

Click here to read the full piece over on The NY Times.


August 15, 2011 / By

Intelligence Squared U.S.

This isn’t exactly music monday material, but think of it as another option to listen to while completing tasks that require more hands than brains: oxford-style debating from Intelligence Squared. Ok, Ok, stay with me. I listened to one of these debates this past weekend centering around a proposition that “the art market is less ethical than the stock market” and since I like art, I wanted the art market to be ethical… but then I learned more about the art market (while listening to some pretty funny back-and-forth between the panelists, including artist Chuck Close, collector Richard Feigen, critic Jerry Saltz, and others.) The audience is polled before and after the debate to determine the winner.

Most of the debates center around political propositions, especially the free U.S. version, but the original, un-free version from the U.K. features more debates surrounding design such as: Fashion Maketh Woman, Modern Architecture is all Glass and Carbuncles, Real Artists Work in Advertising or Palladio versus Ruskin. Actually, after writing Palladio versus Ruskin, I can’t blame anyone for preferring to listen to music.


November 22, 2010 / By

Tiny Showcase for the Gulf Restoration Network

A few weeks back Bobby posted some heartbreaking photographs of animals caught in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the official governmental reaction has been disappointing, I have noticed a number of online charities and initiatives popping up that have been admirably designed to raise money to protect and restore the Gulf region.

Helping the cause, the people at Tiny Showcase have joined forces with artist Jen Corace to produce the above print (“Down, Down, Down”) to raise money for the Gulf Restoration Network. To my mind, it’s a win-win situation: each print sold raises $15 for the charity and buyers will have a beautiful print to hang on their walls and know that they’ve made a small difference. But do be quick: this unsigned edition will only be available until 18 June 2010.


June 14, 2010 / By

Caught in the Oil Spill

The photos above are both cruel and painful to look at, and that’s exactly why I’m posting them. It’s been 46 days since the drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana had an explosion causing crude oil to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. These photos were taken by AP Photographer Charlie Riedel and I think they sum up what’s happening quite well, showing that there are living things dying because of this catastrophe. I think it’s hard to really realize what’s happening since it’s not on land, and we can’t see exactly what this giant blot on a satellite map really means.

It sickens me that the our government hasn’t done more to make these assholes pay for what they’ve done. I don’t think there’s even a way to calculate the damage that has been done and the potential long term problems. I hope whenever this mess is over that BP is held fully accountable for not taking the proper precautions and that our government makes sure that this never happens again.

I also wanted to point out that designer/educator Frank Chimero has updated the Lousiana image from his States Project to reflect the current state of the state. Originally there was gum on the bottom of the shoe, making the statement about how difficult it was to get out of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit. But it’s amazing how well this works when you simply change the pink of bubblegum to the black of crude.


June 4, 2010 / By

No on Prop 8

It’s Election Day here in the U.S, a day which is now so important for the entire world. If you’ve read my blog before you know that I’ve voted for Barack Obama, I’ve been supporting him on this blog since last April when I first heard about him and heard his intense passion for this country. At this point I’m fairly certain he’s going to win, even my mother, a republican, just wrote me saying that she thinks he’s going to win, and Karl Rove, one of the most vile men on this planet, has stated he will win. So I’m feeling good about that.

My other concern is called Prop 8, a proposition currently being voted on here in California. Basically Prop 8 wants to make a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Currently in California same-sex couples can get married, and enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. If people vote yes on Prop 8, then people like me, a gay man, won’t be able to get married to the person I love.

A lot of people who are voting yes on 8 say they want to “protect marriage”, which confuses me. Let’s take for example Bristol Palin, a 17 year old girl who got knocked up by her 18 year old boyfriend… they plan on getting married because she got pregnant, not because they’re in love. So, how is any of that sacred? How many countless heterosexual people get married in Vegas on a whim? Is that what people are trying to protect?

Then there’s the issue of religion. I’m not a religious person in any way, shape, or form. I wasn’t raised in any particular way, and I’m quite happy the way I am. That being said, I don’t want to get married in a church, I want religion to be no part of my ceremony. I want to be married on the beach, surrounded by all of the friends and family I love, telling all of them that I’m committing myself to one person for the rest of my life.

The last issue comes from the false statements from the Yes on 8 people stating that children will be taught about homosexuality as early as kindergarten. From the No on Prop 8 site:

“Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education. And no child can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it.”

That’s what I have to say about the issue. It’s about equal rights for everyone. And c’mon California, we’re one of the most progressive states out there. We can be a beacon for change for the rest of the U.S., paving the way for other states to follow suit. So please, VOTE NO ON PROP 8.


November 4, 2008 / By

Michael Beirut’s Politically Neutral Lapel Pin

Politics. While they may frustrate my to no end, they intrigue me even more. So when I came across this new lapel pin by Michael Beirut, a collaboration between he and Men’s Vogue, I was quite excited, as it was designed to be politically neutral, something we can all appreciate. With the pins design, Beirut “tried to defamiliarize a very familiar configuration of letters”, and it’s unique shape is inspired by the country’s history as a melting pot.

I think this is a really beautiful piece of work and is extremely timeless feeling, something I’ve found is really important to me lately. There are only 5,000 made and they go for $10 a piece, so grab one while you can, I already did.


October 21, 2008 / By

Obama Letterpress Print by Dan Funderburgh

I’m an adamant supporter of both Barack Obama and Dan Funderburgh, so when you combine the two it’s almost like waking up on X-Mas morning! Dan, along with Dylan Fareed over at I Am Still Alive, have teamed up to create another amazing poster called Census. The poster features all sorts of patriotic bits and bobs arranged in a way that only someone like Dan Funderburgh can do.

Most importantly, ALL proceeds go are being donated straight to the Obama campaign, so if you’re like me, this is a great deal on both ends. The prints measure 13 x 20″, and are only $30, which is an amazing deal for such an awesome print and an amazing cause. Click here to order one!


October 8, 2008 / By