Arlene Ducao makes technologies that examine the relationship between the natural landscape, our built environments, and ourselves. She is a chief at DuKode/DuKorp and inventor of MindRider, the mind-mapping helmet. Her work has been profiled WIRED, New York Times, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, Fast Company, Science Channel, and many more. She teaches at NYU, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and MIT, and holds degrees from MIT, SVA, and UMD.


A ruminant is an animal with a rumen.
A rumen is a gastrointestinal chamber where plant-based food is fermented into cud, which is then regurgitated, chewed more, and swallowed for full digestion.

In the last thirteen years, I developed a fairly regular pattern of awakening a few hours after midnight, chattering silently for a few hours, and then returning to sleep with some struggle.

I grew a mental rumen.

I regurgitate half-digested thoughts, fermented cud and chew it for hours.

It's exhausting. How do cows and sheep do it? Is this what made them so easy to domesticate?

I don't like this. I don't want to be domesticable!

On the other hand, no one is slaughtering me, milking me, shaving me, or breeding me for basic life needs. I do feel herded sometimes.

I have trouble digesting food, too. My body and mind get constipated. Things get stuck up in there.

Maybe this is why I enjoy fermented food so much. Bacteria takes some of the work out of digestion.

I haven't found a mental equivalent to fermentation.
I still bite off more than I can chew.
But I'm working on doing less.
I'm doing on working less
So I can ruminate less.
In the meantime, I read Rumi.