GAFA — the extractive industries of the mind

16th August 2017

In the 20th century ‘globalisation’ was heralded as the future, but a subtlety that is lost in the ether is that this was only if we didn’t offshore the means of production. Obviously, we did. We are in an age where the ‘means of production’ is [largely] in our minds (intellectual endeavour from capital markets […]


Provenance raises $800K for blockchain-based product tracking + appoints me as Chair

12th July 2017

Provenance raises $800K to launch groundbreaking service for transparency in the food and drinks industry British tech startup Provenance, a digital platform enabling brands and retailers to bring integrity and transparency to their supply chains, has raised funding from strategic investors to revolutionise consumer trust. 2017-07-11 LONDON – Following a successful international pilot tracking tuna […]


Adventures in acoustic cosmology

6th July 2017

ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE Adventures in acoustic cosmology RAS PR 17/30 (NAM 13) 3rd July 2017 A project that explores whether there is a musical equivalent to the curvature of spacetime will be presented on Thursday 6th July by Gavin Starks at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull. Starks, who has […]

dgen data waste

Data is not the new oil. Data > Oil

10th May 2017

“The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” says The Economist “Data is the new oil”, said Clive Humby and many others Some people have described why it is and that it’ll be a new currency. 2014 Wired said it was and that “data infrastructure should become a profit centre” In 2012 Forbes asked “Is […]

hospital club

TALK — Forms of Knowledge: Calculations and Creativity

10th March 2017

“In celebration of a new installation of work by glass artist Dr Shelley James, The Hospital Club presents a panel discussion about the science and art of data. Join Professor Arthur I Miller, author of Colliding Worlds: How cutting edge science is redefining contemporary art, and I, for a conversation chaired by Professor Barry Smith, Director of […]


The AMEE story (part one)

10th March 2017

The AMEE story In 2005, I was working with climate change charity Global Cool, and global hedge fund Man Group (in my spare time) to try and create a global movement around climate change awareness and action. While chairing the working group that created the “Global Cool Tonne” (which became one of the UK Government’s Gold […]


DMA – Data Protection 2017

24th February 2017

Slides from Data Protection 2017, “Culture is always left to the end in technology revolutions. Make no mistake, the web of data is a revolution: but it has very little to do with new technology. Learn about the cultural impacts and business models that will help you navigate in a data-driven world.” DMA — Data […]


Data as culture – summary

15th February 2017

In October 2012, as CEO of the newly-created Open Data Institute, the first work I commissioned was … art. Why art? For me, artists help to shape questions before we’ve worked out that questions are needed. They might not be able to articulate a precise question, but often indicate a shape of something emergent. Over […]



17th November 2016

sea ice

Arctic continues to lose oldest and thickest ice

17th October 2016

[via NSIDC] After a quick initial freeze-up during the second half of September, ice growth slowed substantially during early October. On October 20, 2016, Arctic sea ice extent began to set new daily record lows for this time of year. After mid-October, ice growth returned to near-average rates, but extent remained at record low levels […]



4th June 2016

It’s almost as if “Destroying the Earth should be viewed as a crime.” The UN and Interpol report that environmental crime is a growing threat to security and natural resources,  is now the world’s fourth largest illicit enterprise after drug smuggling, counterfeiting and human trafficking and has outstripped the illegal trade in small arms. More: […]


The tweetable scientific method

27th February 2016

Reposting from my tweet: ■ Observe→Question→Hypothesise→Create tests →Test→Adapt→More tests→Generalise→Repeat↺ [The Tweetable Scientific Method]  


The porous city

29th January 2016

This is not a thought piece, it’s a call to action. We have failed to create smart cities. We have failed to create truly scalable and sustainable mechanisms to enable our cities and countries to benefit from the internet age. We are not addressing the challenges we face, from housing to healthcare, from taxation to […]


some themes emerging

2nd August 2015

Thinking about the sea and webcasting and music and long playing things and cosmology/topology and data Some interesting Venn diagrams emerging.


Welcome back Philae!

14th June 2015

To celebrate the news: Click the green flag and press S to start …. then press space bar to launch Philae. Arrow keys for left and right. Up arrow for thrust. If it all goes weird, hit R to reset. Hit the red landing site to get points, but not too fast or you’ll pop! You […]

14_045_500_street at night

When/where did you first see Bladerunner?

11th May 2014

I first saw Bladerunner in 1984, at the Albacon science fiction convention at the Central Hotel in Glasgow. I was 13, on my first solo trip away from home (Whiting Bay, Arran, pop.700) to the “big city” (Glasgow, pop.700,000). I was already terrified of being in a city. Sitting in a dark room with a […]


Updated archives

8th May 2014

Well, it’s been a while since I posted here (Twitter still winning), but here’s a long overdue synopsis of some of the things my first startup, Tornado, created. I’ll be adding to this from time-to-time as I get in touch with some of the old team.


W3 conf logo, meet AMEE logo

22nd February 2013

Nice to see the similarity in thinking here (2008 AMEE logo vs 2013 W3 conf logo)  


Maxipok Zero – a quadrillion lives are in your hands

15th February 2013

A quadrillion lives are in your hands. We often hear people talk of “protecting future generations”,and there is certainly a lot of value in thinking of your children and grandchildren when thinking about the future – it makes it personal. But there is an additional way of thinking about this, which carries equal moral authority […]


The Guardian as damn-you-autocorrect?

2nd February 2013

I know it can be hard sometimes to grasp and translate ideas in a single-shot, over the phone, but this Guardian  “article” recounting their interview with me reads like it has been /auto-corrected/speech-to-text’d/ by an Engrish bot. Given it’s written in the first-person, I felt more than a little irritated by this. So, in an […]

Patrick Moore Eyeglasses

RIP Patrick Moore

9th December 2012

Very few public figures have influenced me over the years – Patrick Moore was an exception. As a friend of my aunt, he wrote to me when I was 8, sending letters and copies of his books. Being on Arran, the skies were dark, and even the Milky Way visible on a clear night. Fast-forward […]


AMEE at Strata – talk slides

2nd October 2012

My slides from O’Reilly’s Strata conference “Making Data Work” today. I described some of AMEE’s journey: through open data aggregation and distribution, accessibility, provenance,  and structure. But better data isn’t enough – no one (well, a few) really cares about the science or the technology. We need to engage with stakeholders to provide meaningful insight […]


New role at the Open Data Institute

11th September 2012

During the Olympics Opening Ceremony, the creator of the web tweeted “This is for everyone” to millions of people around the world. Decades since their invention, we are still discovering and unlocking value from the innovations catalysed by the open web, open internet, and open source. The Open Data Institute‘s mission is to demonstrate and […]


New record low for Arctic sea ice melt

1st September 2012

I’ve been tracking Arctic sea ice melt for over 5 years – we now seem to have broken the 2007 record. There are a few week left in the melt season, so this isn’t the minimum yet…. More from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Earth Observation Research Center More from the USA National Snow and Ice Data […]

linked data

NPG expands Linked Data Platform to over a quarter billion triples

20th July 2012

This is good news: “Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG) Linked Data Platform now hosts more than 270 million Resource Description Framework (RDF) statements….The data is now being updated in real-time and new triples are being dynamically added to the datasets as articles are published on Available at, the platform now contains bibliographic metadata for […]


Energy Identity

19th July 2012

[repost of my AMEE post on Energy Identity] Since AMEE’s inception in 2005, we have recognised that the emerging sets of data needed for carbon calculation and energy assessment present huge privacy issues. Combined with the automation of data capture through smart-meters, mobiles, purchases and other “digital identity” sources there is a real need to […]

isea2012 machine wilderness

ISEA 2012

29th May 2012

I’ll be speaking at the Eighteenth International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA2012 Albuquerque. Machine Wilderness is a symposium and series of events exploring the discourse of global proportions on the subject of art, technology and nature. The ISEA symposium is held every year in a different location around the world, and has a 30-year history […]

Occupy & Climate Change: Hansen, Buffet, Chomsky

1st May 2012

Two pieces really struck me today. I think we can expect to see this form of direct action increasing. The issues (control of resource, environmental sustainability, and social sustainability) are intrinsically linked, but the shift that appears to be happening is of awareness, urgency, and engagement in direct action. Chomsky’s piece in the Guardian is […]

Antennae Galaxies

Listen to the colliding “Antennae Galaxies”

11th October 2011

A sneak preview of some of the work I’ll be presenting on Sunday. Below is a radio-image taken by ALMA of the “Antennae Galaxies” colliding. We have transformed the image-cube data, in which each pixel represents an electromagnetic radio spectrum, into a sonic spectrum. By clicking the image and moving your cursor around you can […]

heavenly discourses

The utterance of a cosmological model?

9th October 2011

“On 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. 2011 sees the fiftieth anniversary of that event…” As part of my ongoing work on Binary Dust, I am speaking at Heavenly Discourses on Sunday 16th October 16:45 – 18:00. PANEL: Music I’ll be presenting […]


Those are my stars…

25th September 2011

Calling Virgin Galactic: “if we could get our political leaders to have a summit meeting in space, life on Earth would be markedly different” Alex Evans reflects “during a break in an all-day meeting of senior policymakers at the United Nations, on the subject of ‘global sustainability’. Know what? The room had no windows”   On […]

Educational biomes?

10th April 2011

I’ve got some thoughts about a different way to create a distributed education. One I think could break through silo’s in our Psychogeography and Biogeography. Please bear with me and, of course, if someone has already done this, please let me know! Background [or skip the background] A familiar problem but always a new one […]

binary dust website

Binary Dust …

10th December 2010

Well, it’s taken a little while to pull together, but Binary Dust is now live. Hope you enjoy.

RIP Dr David Fleming

5th December 2010

A tragic and untimely loss. David is still a huge inspiration, his thinking, consideration and actions have touched so many people. I am glad we had the opportunity to share ideas, conversation, and a beer. Cheers to you David, and thank you. For those who didn’t know him, I strongly recommend reading and distributing his […]

Energy transformation is in the hands of the many

19th October 2010

Hermann Scheer (1944-2010): German Lawmaker, Leading Advocate for Solar Energy and “Hero for the Green Century” in One of His Final Interviews [emphasis mine] “HERMANN SCHEER: The big mistake in the energy debate is that most people think, because they believe that there is a monopoly and the expertise for all energy activities in the […]


Webcasting radio = innovation

16th October 2010

A big shout out to RinseFM who just got their FM license [Guardian, Evening Standard]. This is the second station I’ve helped with streaming that’s ended up with an FM license (the first was Resonance FM). Having put Virgin Radio, Kiss FM and Classic FM streams online in the mid-90s, and then all of the […]

Streaming the smart grid

1st October 2010

While mixing up a number of metaphots here, I’m thinking that RTSP and multicast would be very good mechanisms to support smart grid/smart meter infrastructure. – Lossy is “ok” – p2p/IPv6/multicast can support the back-channel from a load-balancing, network monitoring and bi-directional messaging standpoint (mashing up with MQTT) for broadcast controls, for localised network optimisation […]



3rd July 2010

Building on this two things: 1) add the cyclic patterns for every form of centralisation->decentralisation technology | politics | finance | energy | cosmology | art | religion | etc… 2) look to see if there’s a damping factor Are we dealing with periodicity that has diminishing amplitude? ie. thinking in a political/government sense: do […]


Data is not binary

2nd July 2010

Science, data, internet, ontology, work and non-work themes converging – my post on O’Reilly Radar, reposted below Why open data requires credibility and transparency. by Gavin Starks | June 30, 2010 Guest blogger Gavin Starks is founder and CEO of AMEE, a neutral aggregation platform designed to measure and track all the energy data in […]

Fixing paths when moving wordpress

24th June 2010

Keywords: WordPress, HostPapa, managed hosting, image upload, fix, migration I recently moved a friend’s blog to a managed (virtual) hosting solution (hostPapa in this case) and it all worked fine apart from the fact they couldn’t upload images via the wordpress UI. In the WP-Admin site, if went to edit a page, then tried to […]

Obsfuscation as a method of closed data

17th June 2010

Things wrong with Companies House Crown Copyright data disclosure (which allows free copying) Get the DVD rom of the data – SIGH £30 for a copy of the data – PARTIAL WIN (it’s accessible) £1200 if you want to actually save the data – FAIL Crown Copyright Data is in a closed format –  FAIL […]

a bit more than toothache

17th December 2009

<not for the squemish…> I consider myself to have a high tolerance (albeit a low threshold) for pain: I can usually accept it and work my way through it when it arrives. Having experienced kidney stones and dental abscesses before, I know roughly where some of my own limits are. My experience over the last […]

Δten / Δ10 / delta10

27th May 2009

Many late night discussions over the last year from FOWA, IT@Cork, eTech, Green:net to Geekyoto, and with the AMEE team have led me to think on topics like “digital inheritance” (e.g. what if you could inherit your grandfather’s iPod?) dematerialisation (digital products and products transforming into services) desiring what we need (as opposed to the […]

possible futures

Possible futures?

8th May 2009

age of stupid

Age of Stupid

18th February 2009

Watch it here:

A Climate of Polarisation

28th January 2009

(copy of my post on the O’Reilly Radar) We’re all aware of the emotive language used to polarize the climate change debate. There are, however, deeper patterns which are repeated across science as it interfaces with politics and media. These patterns have always bothered me, but they’ve never been as “important” as now. We are […]

The Climate Change Act

28th November 2008

Below are some highlights from a great summary on the 2degrees site (which requires registration and I’d recommend if you want to get involved). I’m just back from IT@Cork  where amongst many things I learned that Ireland has one of the most advanced electricity grids in the world – they’re very close to being able […]

Soundcloud Terms – more rights fuzziness

21st November 2008

I’ve been a SoundCloud member since Feb 2008. My most recent login threw up a “we have new T+Cs” message with no option to continue unless you said yes. Here’s the standard stuff 1.  USER hereby grants SOUNDCLOUD and its successors and assigns a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid up, license to use, […]

Virtual conferencing at HEAD conference

26th October 2008

I presented at <head> at the London Hub (in person) on Friday, and today online (from home). I wanted to capture some of my thoughts immediately before I forget: This is the first time I believe I’ve seen what I’d call true p2p broadcasting.  Perhaps a coming of age. Having spent (too) many years webcasting […]

Cape Farewell

25th September 2008

Cape Farewell sets off today with a slightly different crew to norml; including Jarvis Cocker, KT Tunstall, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto and many other remarkable individuals. Hopefully I’ll have something more to write about soon, but in the mean time, good luck Chris and no I’m not jealous at all…

Sea ice – update (sept 2008)

21st September 2008

(source: The Arctic sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the second-lowest extent recorded since the dawn of the satellite era. While slightly above the record-low minimum set in 2007, this season further reinforces the strong negative trend in summertime sea ice extent observed over the past thirty […]

Can’t everyone define the future?

4th August 2008

At least once a year I refer someone I meet to Danny’s superb piece on Wired UK. I wanted to write about this now, partly because I’m embarking on a new venture, partly because there is a another bubble emerging, but mostly because I’m reminded of the “global coincidence of desires” that Danny spotted in […]

The Great Global Warming Swindle swindle

20th July 2008

Further to the outcry at the time, this weekend The Guardian reports; “Channel 4 to be censured over controversial climate film” “Channel 4 misrepresented some of the world’s leading climate scientists … Ofcom is expected to censure the network … but … it did not breach the regulator’s broadcasting code and did not materially mislead […]

Delia Derbyshire does it again

19th July 2008

As if she needed to leave a greater legacy, a tape recovered from her attic 7 years ago after she passed away resets the “baseline” of what electronic music was in the 1960s. Most unexpected of all, however, is a piece of music that sounds like a contemporary dance track which was recorded, it is […]

Cloudcast :: a next step in the evolution of broadcast

7th July 2008

At last, I think the nature of [AV] transmission is beginning to reveal itself. Do we need a new term? Probably – many other terms (p2p, broadcast, webcast, bitcast, torrent, web2.0, hive, etc) all describe an evolutionary step, so it does make sense to have a phrase to describe this one (note that edgecasting has […]

Fundamental UK science under threat

4th July 2008

The Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK has managed to create a terrible situation which could destroy fundamental research across the country. This would have a devastating impact on not just the lives of people who have dedicated themselves to their fields, and not just to the UK’s reputation, but would be a […]

Acoustic Cosmology at Interesting 2008

21st June 2008

Interesting2008 lived up to its name today. I gave a rather rapid (7 minute!) summary of Acoustic Cosmology. As a few people mentioned afterwards that they would be interested to know more, here’s a few links; Acoustic Cosmology (Interesting2008 presentation PDF) Acoustic Cosmology: Summary essay My own music

Dopplr do it again

20th June 2008

Lovely stuff.

Rest in peace

8th June 2008

STEAD James, age 107 (b. 1901), passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday 8th June 2008 on his beloved Isle of Arran. Loving father of Moira; grandfather of Gavin and Sheena, and great grandfather of Thomas. Funeral service 12:30 Monday 16th June at Kilpatrick, Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran and thereafter to Lamlash cemetery. […]

Food, population, climate, trade

3rd June 2008

As the UN sets out its food crisis measures, and setting aside the climate change, population growth and other globalisation issues, this image caught my attention and made me wonder, what colour *should* it be to start actually balancing trade “balances”. One very naive photoshop crayon trip later, I coloured in a different perspective. I […]

Remarkable insights

28th May 2008

The Long Now essay by Daniel Hillis on “Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine” contains some fantastic, inspiring nuggets, which I couldn’t resist quoting from … they really remind me of conversations at Jodrell Bank. “… we planned to connect the processors in a 20-dimensional hypercube …” “In retrospect, if we had had any understanding […]


Not at all pleased about this…

27th May 2008

Blogs are very useful to gratuitously vent one’s disappointments out into the Ether… Dear Bicycle Thieves, As a thief you’ll never consider that you are taking peoples belongings, not just “objects” to convert into cash. I don’t even consider myself particularly materialistic, but I did love my bike. You’ve not made me angry – you’ve […]

Quite pleased about this…

20th May 2008 For (mostly my own) reference, here’s a scan of the printed version Thanks to Wendy.

Dopplr and PMOG

13th May 2008

Some people are too clever by half. (to the dopplr, batbit) Flying with radar, gaming trashes the internet, passively.


30th April 2008

The core of dgen, 30th April, 22:54:19 up 370 days. #reboot complete A bit like my brain feels.

Ulya at the National Gallery

25th April 2008

For those interested in fine art, my friend and long-term collaborator, Ulya Gumeniuk, will be at the National Gallery (Room 21) throughout April and May 2008.


Sea ice – how well is it recovering?

16th April 2008

We’re losing 44,000 square kilometers (17,000 square miles) of ice per year in winter (March-to-March). Last year, we watched the lowest ever sea ice measurement unfold. It wasn’t happy viewing. Here’s the graph just after the low point – as of October 16, the extent was 3.20 million square kilometers (1.23 million square miles) below […]

Carbon target is a guaranteed catastrophe

7th April 2008

“Carbon target is a guaranteed catastrophe” This was the headline on the front page of The Guardian today. “If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice – that’s a sea rise of 75 metres. What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming […]

Play me, play you

2nd April 2008

Billboard says “CBS Radio and, both owned by CBS Corp, have teamed up for closer collaboration on their respective radio initiatives. Under the agreement, CBS Radio will stream all its stations to’s U.S. users. This includes KROQ in Los Angeles, WCBS in New York, WXRT in Chicago and WVEE in Atlanta. The UK […]


31st March 2008

Interesting coincidence of acronyms: Gross World Product vs Global Warming Potential vs Global Water Partnership