New York Systems

I'm David. I live in Astoria. During the day I work at a startup. Other times I visit bookstores.
This blog is my curio collection, sort of. I'll have a place of my own for essays... someday.


*Yes, yes, enjoy the sarcasm while you can….


The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecasts the first fall frost in Cambridge will be on November 7, with a 50% probability. We’ve got some plants that live outside, and need to make some space for them inside our small apartment. To bring them in would create a jungle on the floor, crowd already crowded space. “Let’s build shelves,” Jonah posed. I had oak floorboards in mind, ones I’d grabbed from a job M. and I had done, pulling up old floors and putting down new ones. Sturdy, thick, strong, dirty on the sides where a century’s worth of dust and dirt and human skin collected between the boards, but easy to clean up. “How about these?” Jonah said, picking up scraps from a big round table I made out of reclaimed chestnut. “Perfect. Perfect.” An inch and a half thick, and curved, so no one will bump their shoulder or their eye on a corner on the way into the bathroom of our small place. I love the way they look, and was pleased with Jonah’s vision for the wood.

Today’s political balance rests on a foundation of ignorance, in which the public has no idea what our society is really like.



and that’s my lovely city ladies and gentlemen, DUBAI.

one of the best gifs ever


May 3, 1968: “There were no sticks or pucks and the only ice around was in the drinks,” reported Enid Nemy in The Times, describing a specially invented version of hockey at the St. Regis Hotel, where the elite bounced a balloon around a ballroom at a benefit for the Girl Scouts. “It turned out to be a rather ephemeral version of basketball,” Ms. Nemy wrote. The game had a penalty box (another table), referees and rules, with teams even opting for the balloon over a beach ball for fear of breaking the chandeliers. Opposing players had gardening gloves to know whose side they were on, and the “mistress of ceremonies” said “kicking or dribbling was permitted but warned against biting, gouging or breaking balloons with fingernails.” “I’m glad I’m crippled and can’t play this game,” said one observer, who had hurt his wrist in an accident. Photo: Larry C. Morris/The New York Times


space fantasy bullshit

we’ve gotten too wrapped up in trying to make solar power compete with fossil fuels, distracting us from its real advantage, which is that it’s right on the roof, independent of the grid. You don’t need wires, or power plants, transformers, or dispatchers. “Doing away with high-voltage lines is not a Luddite view,” says Perlin, “It’s a futuristic one. The revolution will come as we cut down the utility lines and up with the rooftops.” We’ve put decades of effort into making solar conform to the grid—even down to converting solar panels from DC power to AC power and then turning that AC power back to DC power for our TVs, computers, and electronics. House by house, we’ve created redundant costly equipment. Perhaps what we need instead is a more contrarian viewpoint. “All our appliances are DC, trapped in an AC world,” said Perlin. “The history of technology is full of these discontinuity stories.”