autobio | my political platform | 371 soapbox essays | my résumé | my random projects |

the adventures of victor benjamin turner

* site interface *
subscribe, RSS 2.0  linkdump
updated: 12M/26D/09Y
An RSS feed of interesting links that I find regularly. I try not to borrow too much from other blogs, seeking instead content from alternative sources.

updated: 07M/26D/13Y
A lengthy look at my life and what different things mean to me.

my blog
Periodically updated with very long essays.

my reputation research posts
Posts exploring identity/reputation issues and privacy vs. publicy on

my random projects
I like to create little neat psychology/sociology/anthropology sites to practice different coding languages, particularly for school projects at NYU-ITP.

my platform
If I ran for office, here'd be my political platform!

private side
[NOW DEFUNCT (but nice design)] Apply for access to the private side of

robin hood
My Robin Hood information site.

other random stuff
Where I dump a lot of extra stuff. Including my Kindle highlights.

Wuntsah...  Join the project!wuntsah...
Capture yourself through photos wuntsah day, month, or year. Watch yourself grow!

my soapbox
Ended in 2005, but over 300 essays on various topics.

Rebel Haute Couturabolis
Celebrating the high fashion of Libyan rebels.

e-mail me
Let me know of site problems, issues, cool stuff going on with you.

Let's do business.

* about me *

I'm Ben Turner, ex-soldier, ex-web designer, and ex-stock trader. I'm 42 years old, and am a recent master's graduate from the the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, studying international development and communications policy (read my research papers). I like basketball, personalities, tennis, anthropology, web technology, and sophisticated women. I'm now an NYU grad student in the Tisch School of the Arts for the Interactive Telecommunications Program. I've been in this game since 1995.

* my stuff off-site *

My Facebook profile. It's getting rather excessively descriptive and verbose.

My research papers at Scribd. Papers on Facebook, Japan vs. US cellphone sectors, Iraq democratization, US-Iran policy.
My future start-up, dealing with online reputations and identities (e.g. whuffie). Hopefully it'll make millions and I can subsidize other projects!
My social bookmark list. lets you share your bookmarks online, and tag them according to their topic.

Collates all the data I'm streaming out to the Internet from various sources.

My photo albums at Flickr. Most of the photos are private. With Flickr, you can tag photos by topic and sort them into different sets. wishlist
Stuff I want. A diverse book list!

My blogroll at bloglines.
apply for access to the private for access to the private for access to the private

old news     

A Minor Early 2016 Update

Been a while since I've posted!

I live in Manhattan. I love the city. I work as a web developer. Been married close to 2 years now.

I feel more security and stability than I've felt in a long time -- I know how the opposite feels, having endured a lot of changes and some hardships. I had it better than most, but I still know how it feels when you feel like you're getting pounded by more and more bad news.

So now is a good time. I am still working on It's my baby and I want it to one day realize its full potential and to show all the ideas that I've had for it.

    posted @ 11:18PM EST on Thursday, February 11th, 2016


Such good news to report!

On August 27th I proposed to my fiancée in a secluded spot at the gardens of Versailles in France, and she said yes! It was just so green where I asked her; take a look:


The other good news is that I've settled into my place of employment at the most excellent Barbarian Group.

I got an opportunity to show my worth from the very beginning, with Project Popcorn, which forms a team of people from different areas of the company to build something out of an open-ended idea.

We chose to build Cryptstagram, which lets you upload an image, encrypt it with a secret message via a password (steganography), and then give it Instagram-like glitch aesthetic filters.

I got to build the server myself (Kevin, a senior art director, did the design wireframes, while Tucker and John wrote the copy, and Aimee pushed strongly for steganography from the very beginning as tech director), so I chose node.js/express.js with mongodb, along with jQuery on the front-end (the external libs I used made using other frameworks somewhat difficult since libs tend to have methods that don't inter-operate), exploiting cool tricks with HTML5 Canvas, Amazon S3 (ugh, CORS and CSRF), and client-side encryption and face detection.

What's more, we got some good coverage out of it! Over 1k images submitted, thanks to some press from Wired's design blog, Laughing Squid, PSFK, etc.

Finally, done with over a decade of school and ready to build a life for me and my new family!

    posted @ 10:42PM EDT on Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Becoming a New Yorker

Since my last update, I moved down the street back to the East Village (joining my girlfriend, who moved from Queens), graduated from NYU (at Radio City Music Hall), and started a developer job at The Barbarian Group. It's been a very fortuitous summer!

I'm going to France for a wedding in a month, should continue to ramp up my knowledge in various web frameworks and design patterns and arcane tech knowledge, and hope to resume a life of normalcy where I can hang out with friends again (some of whom are getting engaged!).

Mostly I've been active on Twitter but I've posted some longish blog posts: one on Snowden and surveillance, another on higher education.

    posted @ 01:52AM EDT on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

My First Summer in NYC, Last Year of Art School

Summer has drawn to a close in NYC. It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. And I had a lovely female New Yorker guide. Now fall approaches, my second year of art school begins, and I prepare to present as my thesis project.

Me and my dad at Darwin Station!

This summer I managed to go to the Galapagos Islands and Quito (and the equator) with my dad. It was even better than I thought it could be!

The Nikola Tesla statue at Niagara Falls, with me and my Tesla/Edison shirt on.

I also got to go up to Niagara Falls and see some of what Nikola Tesla created. And I went to see horse racing for the first time, in Saratoga. Went to Vegas to see long-time friends, as well. And got a lot of practice with Python, MongoDB, and node.js at work in the heart of NYC Silicon Alley. All while having met an amazing woman.

One more thing: I finally watched "It Might Get Loud", a documentary/jam with The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White, where they talk about how they came to love the electric guitar and how they crafted their sounds.

What struck me about the film was seeing them together, sharing parts of their famous guitarwork, and, well, seeing these men, experts at their craft, being able to look at what magic they've created, and being able to share it with like minds. Simply wonderful.

The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack Black sharing a conversation on a special set together

And it makes me yearn to one day be similarly masterful in something. The road has been longer and harder and full of more curves for me, not in ease (I've lived a good life so far), but in the degree to which and the time I've had to invest trying to find what it is I could be masterful at. I long for reaching that point, though. What will I be good at?

    posted @ 04:59PM EDT on Monday, September 24th, 2012

The Upheaval Continues

I just completed my first year of ITP and finished up my two semesters at The Colbert Report. I'll be saying goodbye to many people I wish I didn't have to. I also just moved to another place a little north from where I was before, from the East Village to Stuy Town. From my room and from the shower, I can see the Empire State Building, particularly at night, when I can see the ill-chosen flashes of tourists' cameras from the Top of the Rock. Hopefully I won't need to move from here for a while. I'd be happy -- it's a spacious place with a great roommate in a gorgeous, quiet part of NYC by the East River.

View from both of my apartments, old on the left, new on the right

This summer will be somewhat stable and simple, allowing me to focus. I have an internship at a TechStars startup alumn so I'm hoping to gain a lot of hacker cred. And I'm taking a long-awaited trip to the Galápagos Islands -- it's my number one most-wanted place to go and will provide inspiration, catalyzation, and photo...ization? for my ITP thesis next spring.

So here's to a period of settling in, finding roots, finding friends, finding purpose.

    posted @ 07:07PM EDT on Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Almost the One Year Anniversary

...of the fire that pushed me out of my favorite home ever, in Logan Circle in DC. Still haunts me.

I'm living in Manhattan now, with a view north of the Empire State Building's lights coming into my window at night. I'm now in school studying Processing, Arduino, Final Cut Pro X, Sinatra, Ruby, etc., becoming a far more experienced coder and jack-of-all-trades. To be around the artists, actors, and other creatives who go to the Tisch School, and to be around my classmates, who are all digitally savvy, curious, fun-loving, playful, and resourceful? Well, it's a bit like being a kid again. My creative classmates inspire me with their fantastic ideas and executions of those ideas. To see my classmates all on "the floor", working and tinkering on multiple playful projects -- it's what I always hoped I could do while in school. :) On the side I'm interning at The Colbert Report and getting a crash course in Linux administration and jQuery. I'm becoming even more digitized than I was before, which is getting scary.

On the other hand, grad school is like two years of feeling brain-addled. You do nothing particularly well, and you're never completely done with anything. It's a necessary evil to get to where I want to go, though I'm worn out of being a student at this point. I bring that up because it's a counter-point to all the benefits: living in East Village, using my deserved Post-9/11 GI Bill, experiencing an alternate universe where people give a damn about things that are beautiful, where people create instead of destroy.

There is, perhaps, too much destruction taking place right now. This includes, I fear, the destruction of yet another of my previous lives, which I've become rather good at, much to the detriment of my ability to create.

    posted @ 10:30AM EDT on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


So, welcome to This site is very old, and much of what is here is out-of-date and was produced in the web's toddling days and when I was in high school/college. I leave it up for posterity, and you can find most of it from the sitemap.

Most people visit my autobiography first, to find out what I'm all about. I neglect to update it from time to time, but it covers my early formative experiences pretty well. Next, people will read the soapbox because it has about 400 essays I've written over the years, from rants to poems to social commentary.

My Robin Hood section gets the most traffic besides root hits. In it, you can find loads of resources on the man of Sherwood.

Contact me by e-mail if you have problems. Of course, you can always just do your own thing below.

[visit MY COUNTRY]

gnothi seauton.

* discuss it *

quote "This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -Fredrick Douglass