Monthly Archives: February 2008

A Global Encyclopedia of Sorts

The Global Lives Project is well on its way to achieving its goal of filming a day-in-the-life of ten people whose diversity represents the world’s population (meaning the breakdown of those featured will include six Asians, two people who live on less than $2 a day, two Muslims, one Hindu, and three Christians, among others). I’m especially excited about the project’s web experience, which serves as an “online video library of human life experience.” It will feature live translations of the full 24-hour, high definition footage through a Creative Commons license when the shoots are completed in January 2009.


Project founder David Evan Harris anticipates that a corresponding museum installation will run early next year and said that a few Japanese universities and a certain widely distributed global photography and travel magazine have expressed interest. The in-person exhibition will feature rooms with ten screens that each show what the subjects were doing at the same hour that the audience is looks at them. This technique for keeping 240 hours of film footage intact should also ensure that no two visitors’ experiences are the same, Harris said. 

The craziest part of the project? As much as 98 percent of the work on the four interviews conducted so far has been done by volunteers and much of the funding for the shoots, which can cost as much as $2,500 apiece, has been through in-kind contributions. There’s been more interest from independent filmmakers than there are opportunities to shoot at this point in the project.

“We want to create the real time experience of stepping out of your own life and into someone else’s in another part of the world,” Harris said. “What Wikipedia did for objectivity is what we’re looking to do for subjectivity.”


Post-1:30 AM Austin flight purchase

No thanks to But this was a good preview of why I’m excited about South by Southwest (and the friends who convinced me to shell out the money for a wonderful music ‘n interactive-filled weekend).

Samantha at Stacy’s

Around the lunch hour today I went to pick up a copy of Samantha Power’s “Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World,” a biography of the former UN High Commissioner’s human rights work and untimely death in a terrorist attack. I really admired Power’s last book, “A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide,” a must-read for her deep knowledge of the history of genocide worldwide and ability to make the subject of mass killings readable with actionable steps.

I was told I could find the book upstairs at Stacy’s and walked up to find the author mid-reading. I’d seen her once moderating a session with General Wesley Clark, but this time she talked more casually about her own work with the Kennedy School (oops, that would be the recently rephrased Harvard Kennedy School) and the Obama campaign. She elicited a few bookish laughs from an anecdote about her work campaigning for the Senator on Irish public radio, which refers to him as O’Bama (no comment). Otherwise she offered great explanations for why meeting with the US shouldn’t be treated as a prize for select countries only and why Hillary Clinton would make a fantastic Senate Majority Leader. 

Much better than my normal coffee-and-salad routine. Book review to come, and she’s speaking at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley tonight at 7:30 in the meantime. 

Indie this and that

A great day for two reasons:
12 Galaxies hosted the bi-monthly Mission Indie Mart, a conglomeration of local jewelers’ and designers’ wares, which draws a colorful crowd and pretty decent prices. Bloody Marys and good early ’90s songs (yes, there were some) make for a most enjoyable shopping experience. My favorite vendors were IBI from Santa Clara, whose fun use of gold and soft sweaters I first found at Appel & Frank’s eco-design event last fall, Coma and Cotton’s colorful shirts, and Gold Dust’s imaginative stationary.

I also heard the new Missy Higgins’ album (a beautiful follow up to “The Sound of White,” the type of music you imagine you’d perform if you were better at piano and had a world tour). I’m a big fan of the Aussie songbird but won’t be among her sold out crowd in SF tomorrow; Independent employees take note if you’re looking to get your photo into cyberspace. I could even link to your own MySpace tracks in exchange for a ticket. Not that I’m begging. It’s just that she was really good in Chicago.

Outstanding Achievement

I can’t stop talking about this fantastically researched and written blog. As a white woman who regularly looks at their photos from studying abroad, apologizes unnecessarily, and just threw a perfectly creased NYT Sports section in the recycling bin, it’s breathtaking. Alas, when I got to the public radio post I had to close it, but you certainly shouldn’t.

Je t’aime le Tour


President’s Day brought the chance to ride a portion of Stage One of the Tour de California, a multi-day ride that’s commonly considered the most important annual pro cycling event in the U.S. by the spandex set. We rode part of the course from Sausalito to Santa Rosa before having to jump off as the cyclists rode through–and with good reason, as they come through at an average of 28 MPH. In the towns we rode through, it was great to see so many people coming out to see a sport that seems to only be generating attention for doping of late. 


Thanks to a friend-of-a-friend I had the chance to ride a Cannondale SystemSix, whose carbon fiber frame (look here and here for reasons why they’re great) felt more smooth and responsive than anything I’ve tried. The $3,000 price tag puts it beyond my reach, but the Cannondale gents were gracious about telling me more about less pricey bikes. A great day all said, and one that may have turned me into a demo junky.

The friendliest fight you’ll ever see

It looked like it was snowing last night at the Embarcadero–I’m still finding feathers after SF’s annual pillow fight last night. Lots of laughter and kids of all sizes. Tiring, but far from inciting sleep…