Sometimes you run some numbers, just for fun. You know you don’t have the time or the bandwidth to complete the project, but you can’t quite walk away. You’re too curious what the outcome might be.

And then you find something that makes you question everything.

This has happened to me three times in the last four years. Each time, my worldview was blown apart. These last two times, in a good way.

(Yes, I checked my math.) Time to quit for tonight.

Happy Rosh Hashanah, to those who celebrate.

Why We Need AI to Reach the Stars

When you think of artificial intelligence in space, you probably think of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, or perhaps Moya, the living ship on the Farscape TV series. You may not realize how close we are.

I have authored a few chatbots and talked to a handful more. Conversations tend to be either tedious or profound.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a bot named Samantha, on the Project December website. I wasn’t expecting to get advice on fixing my car.

>> [HUMAN] How could I take my car to the shop if it doesn’t run?

How Decentralized Finance Can Change the Climate Equation

Imagine waking up on a crisp, cool morning in early September 2038 and checking the news. You see a headline that world temperatures have fallen by half a degree Celsius in the past six months, meeting the final benchmark of the Paris Climate Accords. Then you check your online wallet. More good news. The balance is several zeroes bigger than it was the previous night — all because you made the choice to invest in the planet years before!

Image by

The proposed financial instrument is a smart climate bond, whose payout would be determined by prevailing global temperatures. Yield and time…

Where Design and Data Science Converge

First, be warned. What I am about to share is vague and nebulous.

It is also extremely powerful.

Actionable data is tech-stack agnostic. It can be applied using any of multiple tool sets. It is a paradigm — which is to say, a way of thinking. It grows from the well-known discipline of design thinking, applying the first two steps: empathy and problem definition. From there it zeroes in on a particular solution set: designing a data narrative that applies data science principles in the context of dynamic, interactive user experience.

Most of us in 2020 are overwhelmed and inundated by information. We feel powerless and enfeebled by all the bad news. Actionable data emphasizes the power of informed collective action.

Humans can self-organize, just like schooling fish.

What actionable data does is take a measurable, quantifiable…

There’s an app for that.

After the Iowa caucus debacle, apps don’t have the best rep in the Democratic party. But the party needs to retool and modernize its thinking. Here’s why:

A mobile cross-platform elections app could be pivotal to the Democrats’ success on November 3. But don’t go checking Google Play or the App Store just yet. Frito-Lay has an app. McDonald’s has an app. My bank and my insurance company both have apps. So why has neither national party invested in creating one?

Mockup for a hypothetical elections app

In modern elections, technology and storytelling define the game. A mediocre candidate supported by great technology can trounce an…

How Ethereum Smart Crowdfunding Can Democratize Tech

This article proposes a simple and elegant way to sustainably fund free software and open source projects. It can also be used to fund ongoing releases of established projects and to publish music, movies, books and games. It’s great for angels and founders, because it preserves equity. And it’s a game changer for women, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged.

Ethereum Smart Crowdfunding is crowdfunding optimized for digital goods, such as media and software.

To see the potential of smart crowdfunding on the blockchain, you first need to understand why digital goods are different than cupcakes.

Photo by Marjolein Knuit, used with permission under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Cupcakes have a limited shelf…

AKA Why You Should Come to My Launch Party Launch Party. Downtown Portland. Thursday, May 2. Free. Live Music.

Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash

I moved to Portland, Oregon two and a half years ago, from a sleepy little hamlet in Western Massachusetts close to the towns of Northampton and Amherst. I don’t have cred. I am not “old Portland.” But somehow or other I managed to convince five very different artists to get on a lineup for a Thursday night for the Launch Party at this intimate downtown venue known as The Big Legrowlski. (It’s not a big space, so if you want to be assured of getting in, come by…

Oregon is on fire.

Not all of it, but enough that Mt. Hood might as well never have existed, from the vantage point of Portland. Visibility through the haze fades to feet instead of miles. It’s not as bad as last fall, when white ash covered the hood of my car, but it’s not ok or right or in any way good.

NORTH BONNEVILLE, WA — SEPT 5, 2017: View of the Eagle Creek Trail wildfire burns thoursands of acres in the Cascade Gorge affecting Oregon and Washington (Photo by Diego G Diaz).

This is not hell, but it’s the kind of place — the kind of threshold, the kind of portico — that makes you wonder how bad things will actually get. It’s the kind of week that makes me…

Why Cryptocurrency Could Save Civilization As We Know It

Not all currencies are created equal.

It may be fashionable to call Bitcoin a bubble, and perhaps a burst one. But what sets Bitcoin apart has virtually nothing to do with financial markets. What sets Bitcoin apart is also what makes the currency uniquely resilient.

Bitcoin has no master. Bitcoin is a global, decentralized currency.

The strategic value of Bitcoin should not be underestimated. Thanks to its decentralized structure, the network supporting the currency is able to survive extreme stress and disruption. Where infrastructure is damaged by war, climate change, or terrorism, the Internet’s oldest and best-known cryptocurrency may well…

How to Be a Female Founder

This is the blueprint on how to be a female founder. This is the top secret plan.

No Resting Bitch Face, because there is no time for resting!

#1. Check your hair. Always check your hair. Because no matter how good your facts, your team, your market research, your pro formas, your supporting PowerPoint deck, your references, your working nuclear fusion demo, people will always notice your hair, first and foremost.

Check that you’re having a good hair day, then press the Big Red Button on the nuclear fusion demo. Everyone in the room will be literally or figuratively blown away.

#2. You have the best job in the world. If…


Product Architect at, a startup dedicated to creating better user experiences for machine learning and data driven applications.

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