Author: karlschmieder

Teenage Engineering. Hemingway.

Teenage Engineering is a Swedish manufacturer of synthesizers and audio gear. For my birthday, Tomás and Felix, my youngest sons, gave me a Pocket Operator Arcade. It’s a calculator-sized, AAA-battery powered synthesizer. Pre-programmed with 16 video game sounds, 16 prebuilt patterns, and 16 sound effects, the Arcade is a simple, elegant sound maker. I’m using […]

Blue Tile Obsession [3×5.13]

Vertical skateboarding was borne of drought and creativity. In 1976 and 1977, Southern California suffered an extreme drought. The water shortages were so extreme that agricultural activities in some parts of the Central Valley were ceased. Reservoirs ran dry. Homeowners drained their swimming pools. Fires raged. Homes were abandoned. At the time, skateboarders had just […]

Brewing Biotechnology Stories [3×5.11]

When I speak with non-technical, non-biotech audiences, I’m always looking for a place where we can start the conversation. These days, it’s with brewing. Most people, remember, know little-to-nothing about the way biology is impacting their lives. Most people, I believe, want to know. So these days, I start the conversation with beer and wine. Both […]

Pilot Iroshizuku Chikurin Bamboo Forest Ink [3×5.10]

What $100 purchase in the past 6 months has positively impacted your life?*  A bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin Bamboo Forest green ink. I’ve used green ink in my Lamy 2000 on-off over the years but I’d never tried one of Pilot’s. Over the years I’ve used inks from Lamy, Mount Blanc, Parker, Pelikan, and […]

Dragons: Norbert the Norwegian Notchback [3×5.9]

Hagrid, Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, always wanted a pet dragon. [Alert: Spoilers ahead.] He mentions it in passing early in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. Later, he goes on to win a huge black dragon egg from “some stranger during a game of cards.” He reads Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit and heats his prize […]

Devo [3×5.8]

“You’re into Devo?” he asked. “Aren’t you?” His tone mocking. As if there was something wrong with it. Because for him, Yeah. Devo was too mainstream. Fake alternative. He was above that, and what he thought they stood for. “Of course I am,” I answered, thinking, Whatanasshole. “How could you not be?” Because at the time […]

Yeast Engineering and Apple Clinics [3×5.7]

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about this MIT Technology Review article on writing the yeast genome. The article profiles NYU’s Jef Boeke, one of the founders and leaders of Genome Project write (GP-write). Writing a genome, which is still expensive, will drive advances across many fields (I’ve written about this project in the […]

Organism Design. Minecraft Chemistry [3×5.5]

Organism or microbe design is an emerging industry. It’s analogous to the semi-conductor industry. Companies design and manufacture the semi-conductors found in computers, phones, cars, and televisions. Today, end-users rarely make semi-conductors themselves. They hire the expertise and apply what is manufactured to create a product. Organism design companies are reprograming yeast and bacteria to produce […]