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The Daily Render

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A Digital Scrapbook for the Past, Present, and Future

| FRONT PAGE | GEOSPATIAL ART | DC HISTORY / TIMELINE | NEWS | COLONIST | FOUND MAPS | FRACTALS |
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40 Random Banners Now Greet You
|| 8/31/2009 || 10:27 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

A banner graphic featuring my name written using the Cyrillic alphabet over my map New York Public Library Quilt

New banner graphic featuring my name written using the Cyrillic alphabet over my map New York Public Library Quilt

The last time I added new banner graphics to this website was back in July of 2007 and since I’ve been updating the layout of this website lately, I decided to add some new banners into the mix. Earlier today a friend of mine who specializes in the Russian language responded to an e-mail I sent her about Google’s translation of my name. Her response indicated that the translation was infact an incorrect spelling and she offered a substitute spelling. I was then able to cut & paste the text and make six new banners that feature my name using the Cyrillic alphabet over the top of previously made maps on this website. In conjunction with the first batch of banner graphics that I made, there are now 40 different banner graphics that are randomly displayed each time a page on this blog is loaded.

Below are the rest of the new banner graphics hyperlinked to their original blog entries:

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YouTube Video From Rethink Afghanistan: What Does the Easter Bunny Know About Rethinking Afghanistan?
|| || 8:55 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Watch Video on YouTube

Today I read the New York Times article American Antiwar Movement Plans an Autumn Campaign Against Policies on Afghanistan and noticed that Rethink Afghanistan was mentioned. Earlier this year, during Easter weekend, I was solicited by a friend who works with the organization to voluntarily dress up like the easter bunny and hand out easter eggs around Chinatown and the White House. The video above is the result of two days of volunteering and while I was saving the video for a blog entry next Easter*, I felt compelled to share it today.

…..4 months after this video was filmed……

  • There are more soldiers going to Afghanistan today —-not less
  • 51 percent of Americans now feel the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting
  • August 2009 was the bloodiest month since the war began
  • Afghanistan is the graveyard of Empires

Obama campaigned on bringing the troops home, but he hasn’t done so, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Imagine all the money that could be spent on free healthcare for all Americans that is currently being spent fighting unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


* I also have about a dozen pictures of this action and another video of me trying not to get arrested by police officer in Chinatown. I plan on posting them in a future entry…



YouTube Video of an Arrest Last Night Outside of the 7-11 at 12th & U Street, NW, DC
|| || 5:33 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last night I had just finished playing movies at Restaurant Marvin and was heading home on my bicycle. I decided to get a snack before I arrived home and the only place open at that time was the nearby 7-11. As I arrived at the corner of 12th & U street, I saw the two men struggling on the ground, with one man in a headlock, and the 7-11 employee had just rushed back into the store. Right after I dismounted my bicycle, I could hear the police sirens approaching, so I pulled out my camera and began filming the moment they arrived. While I was recording, I was also trying to lock my bicycle to the pole, so there are a few times when I accidentally placed my finger over the microphone and/or the camera hits the pole itself. After I lock my bike up, and it looked as though the police had the area under control, I made my way inside and stopped recording. When I left the store I started recording again and made my way back over to where my bicycle was locked. This time I placed the camera on the ground below the pole while I unlocked my bicycle, and a few moments later I picked up the camera and rode home.

Being that I arrived at the scene after the two men had already begun struggling, I cannot remark on the nature of what happened before I got there. I’m am happy that no one was shot or killed and the police did not appear to use excessive force when detaining the man. I will update this entry if & when I find the police report.



Paragraph From “Poetry and Power” by John F. Kennedy [February 1964, The Atlantic]
|| 8/28/2009 || 10:20 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgement. The artists, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure.

John F. Kennedy in a posthumously published article about poet Robert Frost.



The Mural Non-Controversy: From Edgewood to the Edge of the World Vs. ANC Commissioner Marshall Phillips
|| || 6:04 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

watch video on YouTube

Last Sunday there was a great article in the Washington Post about the just-completed mural in DC called From Edgewood to the Edge of the World. My good friend DECOY participated in the construction of the mural (and is shown in the video above), so when I originally saw the video clip on TV, I laughed out loud and decided to save the video. I originally attempted to embed the video about the story here on this blog, but was unable to do so properly, so I uploaded the video to YouTube. After I posted the video on Facebook, I decided to e-mail the popular street art blog Wooster Collective, who had posted a call to artists a couple weeks ago. The following day they posted the video under the headline “Stupidity in Washington, DC.”

The joke of this story is that there really is no controversy. Rather its one ANC commissioner, who doesn’t have much appreciation for art, trying to make a fuss about a unique cultural attraction in his neighborhood. I think it was the Redskins reference that really got me laughing. The team isn’t even located in Washington, DC! I sincerely hope someone makes a stencil of the Redskins logo and adds it to the mural. Not to comply with his request, per se, but to just make a point about the transient nature of street art. Since the artists approached him before the mural was even started, he had the opportunity to participate in the painting of the mural. So for him to complain about it lacking local relevance is in poor taste. But then again, he’s wearing a neon green jumpsuit, and from the looks of it(?), has his beard dyed grey. I’m curious about what he hangs on the walls of home.


As a side note— I really really really dislike the blatant racism exhibited by some YouTube users. The video has been viewed about 2,000 times since I uploaded it and I’ve already had to delete some racially charged comments. This is not the first time I’ve had to deal with this type of digital bigotry. The YouTube video of George Bush getting booed at Obama’s inauguration had quite a bit of hate speech. So what gives? I am debating if I should just turn off comments on all the videos I upload so I don’t have to be the intolerance nanny.



“NO” – Found Cartographic Typography
|| || 4:44 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Photograph of two framed maps spelling out the word NO in my hallway

I have a quite a few framed maps hanging in my house just waiting to be purchased. In fact, I have more framed maps than I have available wall space. Usually before we have a big party I go around the house and rearrange the framed maps so our guests see different maps each time they visit. The other night when I was walking up the stairs I noticed that the two maps that I’ve had up for a months actually spelled something. The N from N Prague and the torus around Georgetown Lenz #2 kind of spell out the word NO. I wonder if guests saw this? Or if it could have been construed as a subliminal message?

Below are the maps as they appeared in their original blog entries:

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Google Reader’s Featured Reading Lists: Where are the rest of the newspaper journalists?
|| 8/27/2009 || 7:51 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

After logging into Google Reader this afternoon, I was presented with a link that brought me to the page above. It features lists of blogs that journalists, foodies, and tech bloggers read. I decided to go through the entire listing and was struck by the fact that so many of the journalists are from the New York Times….


News:

  • Thomas Friedman, NY Times
  • Paul Krugman, NY Times
  • Nicholas Kristof, NY Times
  • Dexter Filkins, NY Times
  • Charles Blow, NY Times
  • Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post
  • Michelle Malkin, Hot Air
  • Patrick Ruffini, The Next Right
  • John Dickerson, Slate
  • Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos

Tech and Web:

  • Chris Anderson, Wired
  • Adam Pash, Lifehacker
  • Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
  • Alex Papadimoulis, The Daily WTF
  • Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land
  • Jason Kottke, Kottke.org
  • Annalee Newitz, io9
  • Meaghan O’Neill, TreeHugger.com & PlanetGreen.com
  • Ben Popken, The Consumerist

Food and Health:

  • Mark Bittman, NY Times
  • Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times
  • Béatrice Peltre, La Tartine Gourmande
  • Faith Durand, The Kitchn

Trends and Fashion:

  • Cathy Horyn, NY Times
  • Abby Gardner, Fashionista
  • Danielle de Lange, The Style Files
  • Carrie Leber, Bloomacious

I think the overall listing is decent, but what about journalists from other newspapers? Most of the journalists & bloggers listed above do not have a daily printed edition of their reporting. Only the New York Times has a daily printed edition. So what about the reporters from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, etc., who have their writings published each day? I bet they read blogs too. The New York Times might be one of the best & largest daily newspapers in the country, but Google should have reached out for a wider range of journalists from other cities around America.



Participating in my Monthly Maps Sale in 3 Easy Steps
|| 8/26/2009 || 11:08 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Washington Monument Quilt by Nikolas Schiller - The first Monthly Map

Starting earlier this month those who are subscribed to my listserv were given the opportunity to purchase a map at the reasonable price of $100. I felt this was a great way to cheaply obtain the different maps I have created over the years. Since I have hundreds of maps to choose from, this monthly opportunity will last for years and ultimately become a great way to collect my maps.

Previously I used to point people to my ImageKind Store, but I wasn’t pleased with some of the cheap papers the maps were printed on, and have chosen to remove the middle man, so to speak, and have all the map purchases go directly through me. This way I can control the materials the maps are printed on, personally sign each map, and ensure the quality for each map that is produced.

For the month of August, the first Monthly Map, I chose was Washington Monument Quilt (above), which I first rendered on January 31st, 2006. Since the area around the Washington Monument was redacted in the 2005 USGS aerial photography, I felt it was a worthwhile piece to start with.

After sending out my initial e-mail about the offering, I had a friend contact me about purchasing the map and decided to document some of the steps involved in the process of ordering the maps through me….



Washington Monument Quilt by Nikolas Schiller in a shipping tube

Photo of the tube the map is shipped inside of.

Step One – Payment

You can either contact me about sending cash or a check or you can quickly & easily pay the $100 by credit card on my PayPal merchant account page. After I receive the payment, I will need your mailing address if you want the map mailed to you. If you live in Washington, DC, I can either mail it to you or meet you in person and hand-deliver the map. I’ve found it easiest to go through PayPal because it’s quick and safe.



Washington Monument Quilt by Nikolas Schiller in a shipping tube

Photo of the rolled up map next to the shipping tube

Step Two – Printing

After I receive payment, I send the map to the printer. For the time being, my Monthly Map Sale is featuring 30″ x 20″ prints on Kodak PerfectTouch Paper. Throughout the last 5 years I’ve had the best results on this medium, both in quality of colors and durability of the paper. It’s also the same medium I used when I donated 8 maps to the Library of Congress in 2006. In about 3 days or less, I receive confirmation that the map has been printed and is in transit to me or you.



Washington Monument Quilt by Nikolas Schiller in a shipping tube

Photo of unrolled map of Washington Monument Quilt

Step Three – Shipping

I can have the map shipped directly to you as well (without signature, date, or label) for faster turnaround or I can have it shipped to my house. After the map arrives, I remove it from the shipping tube (above), carefully flip it over, label the name of the map, label the date it was originally rendered, label the date it was printed, and sign the map (below).

After this, I roll the map back up into the tube, add a little extra padding to ensure the map will not be damaged, then I bring it to the post office. Three days later it should be delivered to your mailbox. Or if the map is purchased locally, we can meet up and exchange the map in person.



Washington Monument Quilt by Nikolas Schiller in a shipping tube

Photo of the label, date, and partial signature

THATS IT! I think the whole process is pretty simple. In all this process takes about one or two weeks depending on the speed at which the payment is received and how long it takes for the map to be printed and shipped.

I think the hardest part of it all will be choosing which map to offer each month! Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing this month’s map or have suggestions for future Monthly Map offerings.



Map of the Indigenous Languages of North America
|| 8/25/2009 || 5:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Map Created by Wikipedia User ish ishwar in 2005, using the GIMP software.
Click to view original map.

I came across this map of the Indigenous Languages of North America the other night and it reminded me of my previous entry related to the map of the languages of Europe.

According to the Wikipedia entry on the map:

about sources

Map redrawn and modified primary based on two maps by cartographer Roberta Bloom appearing in Mithun (1999:xviii-xxi). Incidentally, these maps are very derivative of the Driver map of the 1950s-60s (which means that, although published in 1999, it is not as up-to-date as one might think). The other main source used is the up-to-date and very well-done map found in Goddard (1996), which was revised as Goddard (1999). Essentially, Bloom’s map was used for the projection and general outline of language borders while Goddard’s maps were used to adjust Bloom’s borders to reflect the more recent research.
Additional references include Sturtevant (1978-present), Mithun (1999:606-616), and Campbell (1997:353-376). Mithun and Campbell have several maps based on the maps found in Sturtevant (1978-present) and Bright (1992).


about map content

— Map delineates each language family in a unique color.
Language isolates are all in dark grey, e.g. Chitimacha (#7) is an isolate in Louisiana. This is not meant to imply any relationship among them whatsoever. All isolates are assigned a number and listed on the right side of map.
Unclassified languages (i.e. #1 Beothuk, #4 Calusa, #8 Adai, #10 Karankawa, #12 Aranama, #15 Solano, #19 Esselen, #26 Cayuse) are in light grey and are also assigned a number and listed with the isolates on the right. (Unclassified languages in the case of North America are unclassified because there is not sufficient data to determine genealogical relationship.)
— Areas in white are either
1. uninhabited (in Alaska, Canada, Greenland),
2. unknown (due to early extinction and little or no data; this is mostly in the East), or
3. outside of subject area (in Mexico). (note that Seri (#17) is included because it is usually considered part of the Southwest culture area and also included in various Hokan phylum proposals.)
— This is a historical map: Although most languages are still spoken in North America, the extent of their distribution has been profoundly affected by European contact — many languages have become extinct (sometimes including even the peoples).
— Language areas are those at earliest time of European contact, as far as can be determined. Since contact occurred at different times in different areas, no historical Native American maps of the entire continent are of a single time period.
Language areas are not as well-defined as this map would suggest: borders are often fuzzy and arbitrary and the entire language area may not be fully occupied by language speakers.
— Na-Dene here is Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit, excluding Haida (#28).
— The following groupings are disputed by some (or are considered not fully demonstrated):
1. Plateau Penutian (aka Shahapwailutan) = Klamath-Modoc (isolate) + Molala (isolate) + Sahaptian (family). Sometimes Cayuse (#26) is included in Plateau Penutian, but this language is not very well documented and is now extinct. Thus, it is considered unclassified here.
2. Yuki-Wappo = Yuki (isolate) + Wappo (isolate).


Note: Since I inverted the color scheme when publishing this map, the white is black and the grey is still grey.

What struck me about this map was how many languages were spoken in North America before European colonization. I’m curious about how similar and dissimilar some of the languages were to each other, but alas, I can never hear all of them now. When it comes to the spatial proximity of the language isolates with languages of larger tribes, I’m curious as to how these languages were able to remain linguistically different. While some tribes travelled each year between summer and winter cities, I would imagine that there was some interaction- either through peaceful trade or warfare. Sadly, most of that information has been lost, but I’m glad some researchers have taken the time to attempt to draw the map above.


Related Found Maps:

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Twitter T-Shirt Design: “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED @USERNAME”
|| 8/24/2009 || 8:15 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

An Animated GIF of a t-shirt for Twitter Users

I recently saw a photo on-line of someone’s hand-written white shirt that basically said “follow me @USERNAME” and was inspired to modify his concept. Thus the image above is by no means an original design. However, I was looking through other t-shirts featuring roughly the same notion, and very few used the concept of following @USERNAME placed on the back side of the shirt. Most of the tacky shirts on customization websites merely mention that the wearer is on twitter or ‘huge or twitter,’ but since they are generic and don’t mention the user’s actual name, they have little practical use. In this design, the Twitter Bird (does she have a name?) extends the branding to visually legitimize the @USERNAME. Replace the stylized Twitter Bird with your company’s logo and, in theory, you’ve got a brand & social marketing t-shirt campaign. Or what about an entirely fake URL? “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED BY @JESUS” Or “I PREFER TO BE FOLLOWED BY @SPAM” By using an incorrect @USERNAME the wearer is poking fun at the nature of the website, but paradoxically advertising the @USERNAME. Since I joined Twitter I’ve taken issue with the lexical aspect of following people and while I’ll eventually start following (in name) people, I am curious about how this t-shirt design will slowly creep into the mainstream. On the other hand, I hope its not from people buying this shirt, which is cool in concept, but also somewhat aesthetically tacky.



Photographs of a Major Laser in the Hallway [Timelapse Laser Painting]
|| 8/23/2009 || 11:15 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Photographs of a red & green laser in my friend's apartment in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC

Saturday night I was on my way over to a friend’s 1990’s-themed house party and when I got to the house I realized that I had left my bicycle lock at my home. Perturbed, I hopped back on my bicycle, pedaled home as fast as I could, and when I arrived at my house, I received a text message from a different friend asking me to bring over his laser that he’d left at my house the previous night. I weighed my options and decided to bring the laser to my friend’s apartment in Adams Morgan. After I arrived, we decided the best place to shoot the laser in the apartment was down the length of his long hallway. I noticed that there was a tripod in the kitchen, so I decided to get out my small camera and take some photographs of this major laser in the hallway.

The following photographs were taken using my Canon SD750 and the aforementioned tripod and laser using long exposure settings to capture the geometric designs the laser created:

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[Commissioned Map] National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Quilt – Tessellation #4 / Drafts #7 & #8
|| 8/22/2009 || 7:12 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 4 featuring the Hexagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller

A few days ago I started on a new commissioned map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The client made it somewhat easier for me because they were interested in either a Hexagon Quilt Projection map (above) or an Octagon Quilt Projection map (below). Unlike the previous two drafts, today’s drafts feature a far-away view of the area immediately around the Sculpture Garden.

View the Google Map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art


Please contact me if you would like to have a custom map designed for your home, office, or as a gift for someone special!


:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 4 featuring the Octagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller


Photographs from The Phillips Collection After 5 exhibition: “Sensory Remix: A Video-Art Collage”
|| 8/21/2009 || 6:47 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photos from The Phillips Collection After 5 exhibition: Sensory Remix: A Video-Art Collage

On Thursday I was given the opportunity to assist my friends Robin Bell, Videokillers, and Dissident Display with the setup of their VJ / DJ exhibition at The Phillips Collection After 5 exhibition: “Sensory Remix: A Video-Art Collage.”

Below are some of the photographs I took of the evening:

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[Commissioned Map] National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Quilt – Tessellation #3 / Drafts #5 & #6
|| 8/19/2009 || 6:42 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 3 featuring the Hexagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller

The other day I started on a new commissioned map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The client made it somewhat easier for me because they were interested in either a Hexagon Quilt Projection map (above) or an Octagon Quilt Projection map (below). Like the previous two drafts, today’s drafts feature a close-up view of the area around the Sculpture Garden.

View the Google Map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art


Please contact me if you would like to have a custom map designed for your home, office, or as a gift for someone special!


:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 3 featuring the Octagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller


Dear WashingtonPost.com: Either You Are Censoring Bloggers Or Your 3rd Party Widget Isn’t Working Properly
|| 8/18/2009 || 4:25 pm || 5 Comments Rendered || ||

Screen grab from the Washington Post article on the Real World highlighting the link that is supposed to show who is blogging about the article you are reading

On Sunday I was pleased to see that Washington Post staff writer Dan Zak had transcribed my poster in his article on MTV’s Real World filming in DC. So pleased in fact, that I spent about an hour writing and formatting a blog entry about the article.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I decided to go back to the article to see what kind of reaction Dan Zak’s article made on-line. The metrics for ascertaining this information is somewhat straightforward; the more comments the article generates, the larger the reaction. This, however, only gives the basic information of who decided to comment on the Washington Post website. The second metric that can be used to gauge the popularity of an article is to see who is blogging about it.

Since the Washington Post’s print edition does not make it’s way out of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia to other parts of the United States and the rest of the world, bloggers are an integral part of the Washington Post’s digital distribution model. As a way to track this digital diaspora of off-site responses to an article, the WashingtonPost.com has a link posted in each article that is supposed to show who is blogging about the article you are reading (see red arrow above). This link is managed, err, powered by a third party called Sphere, which is supposed to track instances of when bloggers use the URL of a specific article in their blog entry.

Screen grab from the Washington Post article on the Real World questioning why my blog entry does not appear in the listing of who is blogging about a article

So why wasn’t my blog entry mentioned? Does this third party widget not work as well as it should? Are the 206,000 websites that Sphere.com says are using their product not really getting the best product they thought they were receiving? Or is there some form of censorship that is being employed at the Washington Post to scrub out blogs that the web editors don’t want their readers to see?

In my opinion, I think Sphere.com is not working to the best of it’s theoretical ability. I say this because I would rather not think there is some sort of censorship taking place– but I will not rule that prospect out. In my original blog entry I made sure that I hyperlinked to the article, used the entire name of the article, included the name of the author, and I even sent a trackback to the URL on the WashingtonPost.com. Combined together, all of these factors should have put my entry in the “Who’s Blogging” listing. But, alas, its not.

This has some important implications. First and foremost, the author of the article is not able to fully see the extent to which his article was covered on-line. His boss might incorrectly assume by reading the Sphere.com information that the article had minimal on-line reaction and possibly make future editorial decisions based on this partial & incomplete information. Secondly, WashingtonPost.com readers are unable to see other opinions about the article. Instead they are only offered the opinions written by other WashingtonPost.com readers (which I’ve griped about before) and not writers who have their own established blog and dedicated readership. Lastly, since I was not given credit for writing the sign transcribed in the article, I was further excluded from receiving any residual credit, and the WashingtonPost.com readers were never informed of why the sign was put up in the first place.

In conclusion, I hope the WashingtonPost.com and/or Sphere.com fix this widget or refrain from this type of subtle censorship. This exclusion of other viewpoints only hurts their readership and stifles subsequent information discovery. My opinions are just as valid as those expressed by the commenters on WashingtonPost.com and its disingenuous to present a link that appears to give accurate information about who is blogging about an article, when it’s clearly not showing all the bloggers who took the time to participate in the discussion.



[Commissioned Map] National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Quilt – Tessellation #2 / Drafts #3 & #4
|| || 2:35 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 2 featuring the Hexagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller

Yesterday I started on a new commissioned map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The client made it somewhat easier for me because they were interested in either a Hexagon Quilt Projection map (above) or an Octagon Quilt Projection map (below). Unlike yesterday’s two drafts, today’s drafts feature a close-up view of the area immediately around the Sculpture Garden. Tomorrow I plan on posting two more drafts featuring the close-up imagery…..

View the Google Map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art


Please contact me if you would like to have a custom map designed for your home, office, or as a gift for someone special!


:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 2 featuring the Octagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller


The Medicare Constitution – American Healthcare Reform Parodied from the UK’s NHS Constitution
|| || 1:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Yesterday I read the op-ed “In Defense of Britain’s Health System” by British doctors Ara Darzi and Tom Kibasi in the Washington Post. Near the end of the article they stated:

Standing in defense of Britain’s health service does not mean that we believe it is the right prescription for the United States. It is not for us to propose the solution for America, but we hope that correcting the record on some of the facts about our NHS will help Americans evaluate the real strengths and challenges of our system, instead of focusing on the misinformation spread by fear-mongers.

It got me thinking, what if the American healthcare reform was simply expanded Medicare coverage? Even though only people 65 or older qualify for Medicare, its already America’s largest health insurance program, covering over 40 million Americans (Number of Uninsured Americans = 47 million). This concept of expanding America’s current single-payer healthcare option is already outlined in the bill HR 676, which is withering away in Congress due to intense pressure from insurance corporations, pharmaceutical corporations, industry trade groups, and small-government conservatives. But what if Americans received a Medicare Constitution that outlined the rights, pledges, expectations, responsibilities, and values of a national healthcare system? To answer these hypothetical questions I decided to plagiarize the British NHS Constitution and replace NHS with Medicare and Parliament with Congress (as well as few other minor changes). Below is the result:


A photoshopped graphic from the NHS constitution

Medicare belongs to the people.

It is there to improve our health and well-being, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most.

Medicare was founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves – patients and public – and the staff who work for it.

This Constitution establishes the principles and values of Medicare in the United States of America. It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which Medicare is committed to achieve, together with responsibilities which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the Medicare operates fairly and effectively. All Medicare bodies and private and third sector providers supplying Medicare services will be required by law to take account of this Constitution in their decisions and actions.

The Constitution will be renewed every 10 years, with the involvement of the public, patients and staff. It will be accompanied by the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution, to be renewed at least every three years, setting out current guidance on the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities established by the Constitution. These requirements for renewal will be made legally binding. They will guarantee that the principles and values which underpin Medicare are subject to regular review and recommitment; and that any government which seeks to alter the principles or values of Medicare, or the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities set out in this Constitution, will have to engage in a full and transparent debate with the public, patients and staff.



1. Principles that guide Medicare

Seven key principles guide Medicare in all it does. They are underpinned by core Medicare values which have been derived from extensive discussions with staff, patients and the public. These values are set out at the end of this document.

1. Medicare provides a comprehensive service, available to all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief. It has a duty to each and every individual that it serves and must respect their human rights. At the same time, it has a wider social duty to promote equality through the services it provides and to pay particular attention to groups or sections of society where improvements in health and life expectancy are not keeping pace with the rest of the population.


2. Access to Medicare services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay. Medicare services are free of charge, except in limited circumstances sanctioned by Congress.


3. Medicare aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism – in the provision of high-quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience; in the planning and delivery of the clinical and other services it provides; in the people it employs and the education, training and development they receive; in the leadership and management of its organizations; and through its commitment to innovation and to the promotion and conduct of research to improve the current and future health and care of the population.


4. Medicare services must reflect the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers. Patients, with their families and carers, where appropriate, will be involved in and consulted on all decisions about their care and treatment.


5. Medicare works across organizational boundaries and in partnership with other organizations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population. Medicare is an integrated system of organizations and services bound together by the principles and values now reflected in the Constitution. Medicare is committed to working jointly with local authorities and a wide range of other private, public and third sector organizations at national and local level to provide and deliver improvements in health and well-being.


6. Medicare is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources. Public funds for healthcare will be devoted solely to the benefit of the people that Medicare serves.


7. Medicare is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves. Medicare is a national service funded through national taxation, and it is the Government which sets the framework for Medicare and which is accountable to Congress for its operation. However, most decisions in Medicare, especially those about the treatment of individuals and the detailed organization of services, are rightly taken by state & local Medicare and by patients with their clinicians. The system of responsibility and accountability for taking decisions in Medicare should be transparent and clear to the public, patients and staff. The Government will ensure that there is always a clear and up-to-date statement of Medicare’s accountability for this purpose.



2a. Patients and the public – your rights and Medicare’s pledges to you

Everyone who uses Medicare should understand what legal rights they have. For this reason, important legal rights are summarized in this Constitution and explained in more detail in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution, which also explains what you can do if you think you have not received what is rightfully yours. This summary does not alter the content of your legal rights.

The Constitution also contains pledges that Medicare is committed to achieve. Pledges go above and beyond legal rights. This means that pledges are not legally binding but represent a commitment by Medicare to provide high quality services.

Access to health services:

You have the right to receive Medicare services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions sanctioned by Congress.
You have the right to access Medicare services. You will not be refused access on unreasonable grounds.
You have the right to expect your local Medicare provider to assess the health requirements of the local community and to commission and put in place the services to meet those needs as considered necessary.
You have the right, in certain circumstances, to go to other states or countries for treatment which would be available to you through your local Medicare provider.
You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of Medicare services including on grounds of gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability (including learning disability or mental illness) or age.

Medicare also commits:

  • to provide convenient, easy access to services within the waiting times set out in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution (pledge);
  • to make decisions in a clear and transparent way, so that patients and the public can understand how services are planned and delivered (pledge); and
  • to make the transition as smooth as possible when you are referred between services, and to include you in relevant discussions (pledge).

Quality of care and environment:

You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organization that meets required levels of safety and quality.
You have the right to expect Medicare organizations to monitor, and make efforts to improve, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide.

Medicare also commits:

  • to ensure that services are provided in a clean and safe environment that is fit for purpose, based on national best practice (pledge); and
  • to continuous improvement in the quality of services you receive, identifying and sharing best practice in quality of care and treatments (pledge).

Nationally approved treatments, drugs and programs:

You have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by FDA for use in Medicare, if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you.
You have the right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence. If Medicare decides not to fund a drug or treatment you and your doctor feel would be right for you, they will explain that decision to you.
You have the right to receive the vaccinations that the CDC recommends that you should receive under a Medicare-provided national immunization program.

Medicare also commits:

  • to provide screening programs as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (pledge).

Respect, consent and confidentiality:

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights.
You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent. If you do not have the capacity to do so, consent must be obtained from a person legally able to act on your behalf, or the treatment must be in your best interests.



2b. Patients and the public – your responsibilities

Medicare belongs to all of us. There are things that we can all do for ourselves and for one another to help it work effectively, and to ensure resources are used responsibly:

You should recognize that you can make a significant contribution to your own, and your family’s, good health and well-being, and take some personal responsibility for it.
You should register with a General Practitioner, who will become your main point of access to Medicare.
You should treat Medicare staff and other patients with respect and recognize that causing a nuisance or disturbance in clinics and hospitals could result in prosecution.
You should provide accurate information about your health, condition and status.
You should keep appointments, or cancel within reasonable time. Receiving treatment within the maximum waiting times may be compromised unless you do.
You should follow the course of treatment which you have agreed, and talk to your clinician if you find this difficult.
You should participate in important public health programs such as vaccination.
You should ensure that those closest to you are aware of your wishes about organ donation.
You should give feedback – both positive and negative – about the treatment and care you have received, including any adverse reactions you may have had.



3a. Staff – your rights and Medicare pledges to you

It is the commitment, professionalism and dedication of staff working for the benefit of the people Medicare serves which really make the difference. High quality care requires high quality workplaces, with commissioners and providers aiming to be employers of choice.

All staff should have rewarding and worthwhile jobs, with the freedom and confidence to act in the interest of patients. To do this, they need to be trusted and actively listened to. They must be treated with respect at work, have the tools, training and support to deliver care, and opportunities to develop and progress.

The Constitution applies to all staff, doing clinical or non-clinical Medicare work, and their employers. It covers staff wherever they are working, whether in public, private or third sector organizations.

Staff have extensive legal rights, embodied in general employment and discrimination law. These are summarized in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution. In addition, individual contracts of employment contain terms and conditions giving staff further rights.

The rights are there to help ensure that staff:

  • have a good working environment with flexible working opportunities, consistent with the needs of patients and with the way that people live their lives;
  • have a fair pay and contract framework;
  • can be involved and represented in the workplace;
  • have healthy and safe working conditions and an environment free from harassment, bullying or violence;
  • are treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination; and
  • can raise an internal grievance and if necessary seek redress, where it is felt that a right has not been upheld.

In addition to these legal rights, there are a number of pledges, which Medicare is committed to achieve. Pledges go above and beyond your legal rights. This means that they are not legally binding but represent a commitment by Medicare to provide high-quality working environments for staff.

Medicare commits:

  • to provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs for teams and individuals that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities (pledge);
  • to provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate training for their jobs and line management support to succeed (pledge);
  • to provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, well-being and safety (pledge); and
  • to engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide, individually, through representative organizations and through local partnership working arrangements. All staff will be empowered to put forward ways to deliver better and safer services for patients and their families (pledge).


3b. Staff – your responsibilities

All staff have responsibilities to the public, their patients and colleagues.

Important legal duties are summarized below.


You have a duty to accept professional accountability and maintain the standards of professional practice as set by the appropriate regulatory body applicable to your profession or role.
You have a duty to take reasonable care of health and safety at work for you, your team and others, and to cooperate with employers to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements.
You have a duty to act in accordance with the express and implied terms of your contract of employment.
You have a duty not to discriminate against patients or staff and to adhere to equal opportunities and equality and human rights legislation.
You have a duty to protect the confidentiality of personal information that you hold unless to do so would put anyone at risk of significant harm.
You have a duty to be honest and truthful in applying for a job and in carrying out that job.


The Constitution also includes expectations that reflect how staff should play their part in ensuring the success of Medicare and delivering high-quality care.

You should aim:

  • to maintain the highest standards of care and service, taking responsibility not only for the care you personally provide, but also for your wider contribution to the aims of your team and Medicare as a whole;
  • to take up training and development opportunities provided over and above those legally required of your post;
  • to play your part in sustainably improving services by working in partnership with patients, the public and communities;
  • to be open with patients, their families, carers or representatives, including if anything goes wrong; welcoming and listening to feedback and addressing concerns promptly and in a spirit of co-operation. You should contribute to a climate where the truth can be heard and the reporting of, and learning from, errors is encouraged; and
  • to view the services you provide from the standpoint of a patient, and involve patients, their families and carers in the services you provide, working with them, their communities and other organizations, and making it clear who is responsible for their care.


Medicare values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in Medicare and should guide it in the 21st century. Individual organizations will develop and refresh their own values, tailored to their local needs. Medicare values provide common ground for cooperation to achieve shared aspirations.


Respect and dignity. We value each person as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits. We take what others have to say seriously. We are honest about our point of view and what we can and cannot do.


Commitment to quality of care. We earn the trust placed in us by insisting on quality and striving to get the basics right every time: safety, confidentiality, professional and managerial integrity, accountability, dependable service and good communication. We welcome feedback, learn from our mistakes and build on our successes.


Compassion. We respond with humanity and kindness to each person’s pain, distress, anxiety or need. We search for the things we can do, however small, to give comfort and relieve suffering. We find time for those we serve and work alongside. We do not wait to be asked, because we care.


Improving lives. We strive to improve health and well-being and people’s experiences of Medicare. We value excellence and professionalism wherever we find it – in the everyday things that make people’s lives better as much as in clinical practice, service improvements and innovation.


Working together for patients. We put patients first in everything we do, by reaching out to staff, patients, carers, families, communities, and professionals outside Medicare. We put the needs of patients and communities before organizational boundaries.


Everyone counts. We use our resources for the benefit of the whole community, and make sure nobody is excluded or left behind. We accept that some people need more help, that difficult decisions have to be taken – and that when we waste resources we waste others’ opportunities. We recognize that we all have a part to play in making ourselves and our communities healthier.





####

Alas, I don’t think Americans will receive such a utopic result when it comes to healthcare reform. As I stated before, there is too much money to be made off of pain & suffering for the American system to radically change to a system like the one parodied above. But I do have hope that one day people will wake up and realize that we are all in this together.



[Commissioned Map] National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Quilt – Tessellation #1 / Drafts #1 & #2
|| 8/17/2009 || 6:00 pm || 4 Comments Rendered || ||

:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 1 featuring the Hexagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller

Today I started on a new commissioned map. The client desires a map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Earlier this afternoon I e-mailed a series of eight draft maps so that they could select which one they liked best. The client made it somewhat easy for me because they were interested in either a Hexagon Quilt Projection map (above) or an Octagon Quilt Projection map (below). However, I made the choice somewhat more difficult by providing a map of the location at different spatial scales. The two drafts shown here reveal more of the area around the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art, while tomorrow’s drafts will show the area close up. Over the week I plan on posting the rest of these draft maps, and like my previous commissioned map, the final map of the series will be the one that gets printed out.

View the Google Map of the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art


Please contact me if you would like to have a custom map designed for your home, your office, or as a gift for someone special!


:: Rendered at 900 x 600 ::
Sculpture Garden Quilt - Tessellation 1 featuring the Octagon Quilt Projection by Nikolas Schiller


The sign I posted outside of MTV’s Real World DC house is transcribed in today’s Washington Post
|| 8/16/2009 || 3:01 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Last month's photograph of the sign I wheatpasted outside of the Real World DC house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC

Last month I posted the photograph above in my entry about adding some political commentary to the area around the Real World DC house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. This morning a friend of mine left a somewhat cryptic comment on my Facebook page telling me to check section E6 in today’s Washington Post. I ran downstairs, opened the paper up, and let out out a hearty laugh.

Transcribed near the end of Dan Zak’s article, Neighborhood Watch: MTV Is in the House, and Everyone Else Just Wants to Be, is the text of my sign:

Reality Bites

Sometime in July, a sign is posted on the base of the lamppost on the northeast corner of the intersection. In simple black lettering on a plain white background, it reads, one word per line:

IN
THE
REAL
WORLD
ALL
AMERICANS
DESERVE
FULL
REPRESENTATION
IN
CONGRESS.

In the next section of the article there is choice quote from some teenagers from Maryland:

“It’s been 23 years. . . . D.C. is a treasure. . . . They’ve been to New York, like, five times. . . . It’s the capital. . . . It’ll be a really good representation of the city. . . . I talked to the cast before and they’re really down to earth.”

(underline added for emphasis of the Congressional lack thereof)

While I was not identified as the creator of the sign, even though a simple Google Search would have brought the author to my website, and the author only mentioned that there was one sign (there are 8 still up last time I counted), I’m very pleased that my sign was mentioned in today’s article. In that respect, the ten dollars spent making those signs & purchasing the wheatpaste was completely validated— my message made it into the Washington Post. But the real question is if the message will make the cut and be mentioned in any of the episodes set to air on MTV in 2010?


Since the sign(s) has been up now for just about a month, I figure its time to remove them and put up something new. I already have the next flyer made, but I’m debating if I should put them up or not. The flyer is a bit over the top, but well, umm, so are most of the people mentioned in the article. But unlike the ones who actually give two shits about the show, my aim is not to get in the house or hang out with the cast (I really could care less about that), but to use their presence in Washington, DC as a vehicle to get out the larger message of DC residents being second class citizens denied representation in Congress.


Click on the screen grab below to read the last page of the article:

Screen grab from the Washington Post article about the Real World in DC where the text of my sign is transcribed

What’s interesting about the text on-line versus the text in the printed article is that there is extra space between lines of the poster in the on-line version captured above. These extra line breaks actually make the point of the poster appear more important on-line than it does in the print edition, which does not feature extra line breaks. But since the print edition of the Washington Post is not delivered outside of the Washington, DC area, this typographical difference carries significantly more weight on-line than in print. In that respect, I must thank the web editor at the Washington Post for giving the text of my sign a little bit more emphasis than it would otherwise have received if it were identical to the print edition.


UPDATE – After I posted this entry, I went back to the Washington Post website and found that the poster was briefly shown at the beginning of the video portion of the article:

Video still of the poster being shown on the video that accompanies the article


“You Are Probably Not Here” featured today on the front page of We Make Money Not Art
|| 8/13/2009 || 1:40 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab of the front page of We Make Money Not Art --- links to the actual review, not front page

This morning I woke up to find that Régine Debatty used a screen grab from my “You Are Probably Not Here” project for her book review of “Experimental Geography.” Take a moment to read the review and/or purchase the book.

As you may or may not know, my map Pentagon Quilt #3 is featured on page 149 of the book and is also on display in the traveling exhibition that is touring North America for the next year or so. The exhibit is currently on display at The Albuquerque Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico until September, 20, 2009.





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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