Hi, I'm Mek
Michael E. Karpeles (Mek)
Michael E. Karpeles (Mek)
July 31, 1988 (age )
New Haven, Connecticut
|Occupation||Program Lead on OpenLibrary.org at the Internet Archive|
Mek, born Michael E. Karpeles (Mek) (July 31, 1988), is an American computer scientist, internet entrepreneur, rock climber, and musician. He is a steward of digital rights, public libraries, and an advocate of open access information. He considers himself a knowledge mapping hobbyist and aspires to help people reach fuller potentials by facilitating meaningful access to empowering information. Mek presently serves this mission at Brewster Kahle's non-profit, the Internet Archive (we're hiring!), where Mek directs OpenLibrary.org in memory of his personal hero, Aaron Swartz.Mek is notable for wearing a purple shirt branded with his name, a concept inspired by Sai. In 2015, Mek started tracking various aspects of his life in a public spreadsheet. He self-identifies as a functional minimalist and has few (but not too few) belongings.
Mek lives in Mission District, San Francisco at Serapeum, an epicurean community house named after the Serapeum Temple of Alexandria, considered to be the daughter and backup to the great Library of Alexandria). Mek lives with his three housemates Ariel Liu, Mishal Afzal, and Bobi Rakova. His former roomates include Drew Winget, Sahar Massachi, and Jessy Diamond Exum.
Karpeles was born in New Haven, Connecticut and lived at 190 Shagbark Court in Cheshire, Connecticut (in this room). In third grade, Mek became interested in computer programming after discovering the features of AOL Instant Messenger. Mek attended Cheshire High School and remained in Cheshire until college-bound at 18, at which time his parents, Dr. Richard Karpeles and Patricia Dimond Karpeles, relocated to 21 Wild Rose Drive in Nashua, New Hampshire.
In 2006, Mek attended undergraduate school at the University of Vermont (UVM) and received a bachelors of science in Computer Science. Here he led the Computer Science Student Association (CSSA) under advisory of Xindong Wu, Christian Skalka, and Joshua Bongard and met mentor, Dr. Gary Johnson, as well as friend and future business partner, Stephen Balaban. While at UVM, Mek was twice awarded the ACM Faculty award by the Department of Computer Science. During his junior year, as officers of the CSSA, Mek and Gary Johnson earned the opportunity to design and co-instruct a CS-095/CS-195 Special Topics course for three consecutive semesters. During his tenure at UVM, Mek interned at Microstrain, a wireless sensor company which later became LORD Sensing Systems. Much of his work relied on Aaron Swartz's web.py framework. In 2010, after graduation, Mek enthusiastically joined a PhD program at the University of Delaware to study computational linguistics. He was a teaching assistant for Richard Gordon's CISC 355 Computers, Ethics, and Society class and researched under Dr. Stephen Siegel in the Verified Software Laboratory.
Shortly after, Mek suspended his graduate program to join Stephen Balaban as co-founder and CTO of Baybo Labs, a service which enabled self-publishers to create online stores to sell their digital merchandise. The team moved to San Francisco and in 2011 was acquired by Hyperink, a publishing startup from YCombinator's Winter 2011 batch where Mek spent the next year leading development of their hyperink.com platform. In 2013 Mek served a stint as ark.com's VP of Engineering before co-founding Hackerlist with Andrew Valish in 2013.
Office hours with Taiwan's Digital Minister, Audrey Tang
(see 5 key learnings)
Aaron Swartz Day 2020 - HOWTO: Building a Library in the Matrix (video)
- 2020-10-22 Open Library Community Celebration 2020 (slides)
- 2020-09-04 Internet Archive: Growing Open Source Community (slides)
- 2020-07-28 HOPE 2020: On Doing Good Enough
- 2020-05-17 Big Thoughts Little Talks. Episode 3: Mek on OpenLibrary.org and using technology to enable open access to information
- 2019-02-05 Open Library with Mek (What Origin Podcast)
- 2019-01-08 Decentralized Web Meetup
- 2017-11-04 Aaron Swartz Day 2017
- 2016-06-09 Decentralized Web Summit: Archive Labs
- 2015-03-16 SuperHappyDevHouse #53 Lightning Talks
- 2012-03-05 AngelHack 2012 SF
Want to meaningfully contribute to one of these projects?
- Openlibrary.org I currently maintain Open Library, the world's largest online, open-source, non-profit digital public library w/ 3M+ books. Become a contributor!
- BookGenomeProject.org Like Pandora for books, a community and technology-powered data processor for revealing a book's unique characteristics
- Peanutsforgood.org We produce made-to-order peanut butter and use proceeds to feed SF's needy. Buy a jar (or 2)!
- Graph.global (video) aims to become a distributed global semantic database of unique entities (people, places, things) accessible by the entire World Wide Web. #memex We're open source!
- Skillsera.org A community-powered encyclopedia which teaches educational concepts by connecting bite-sized youtube video explanations. We're open source & non-profit!
- Archive Labs an autonomous, volunteer-run community (of 170) which incubate open-access and public good projects. Request an invite!
- FromScrat.ch (pre-alpha) A wiki of composable, modular, axiomatic recipes for comprehensively creating fundamental technologies from scratch.
- Hackerlist.net & Upscale spin-up an elastic team of AI software scientists
- Miley.io (defunct) is the free, milestone driven, multi-project manager for ambitious people.
- Open Journal Foundation unites institutions in universalizing public access to open journals & academic papers. Join working group!
- WhyLoop Recursive explanations down to axioms.
- Imperatives Make the world objectively better for everyone. Act on the most urgent imperatives.
- Todo.rip (alpha) is a free, light-weight, frictionless, rolling todo list with slack-like commands
- Dissertate.org (concept) Publish your directed path of academic readings to get to a conclusion
- Math.mx is a zoomable taxonomy of thousands of math topics. Read the long term goal
- Groovebox.org Listen to archive.org's collection of 135,000 live concerts, hundreds of albums and thousands of artists for free.
- Baybo An all-in-one online platform for selling digital goods
- Stomp #foot-keyboard #usb #microcontroller
- Experimental Browser #browser
- Historia (Provenance) #chrome-extension
- Enpy (English to Python Parser) #python #english #parser
- Dungeons #MUD
For a full list of essays, please view here
- The Uncertain Future of American Libraries
Standardized Testing and the Consequences of Guessing
EPIC: An Improved Ecosystem for Literate Research (RFC)
- A Version Controlled Word-Wide-Web (RFC)
- The Problems of Academic Publishing
- Towards World Wide Web 2.0
- The Web in 2040
- The Decentralized-Centralized Web
- Universal Messaging Protocol for All
- Towards a Universal Todo List
- Where Google Falls Short
- Life Lessons
- Resources for Learning Chinese
- Full Stack From Scratch
- Preventing Global and Existential Catastrophe
- A Map of All Mathematics
- Universal Knowledge
- The Laws of Science
- The Foundation(s) of Great Inventions
- (An Attempt at) A Unified Theory of the Universe
- Neurology & The Brain
- The Best Textbooks (also Internet Archive Select Works)
- Essays to Write
Music & Art
You can listen to Mek's music recordings on soundcloud or in this legacy collection. You can also browse his lyrics and poetry. You can also browse a list of some of my favorite songs and performances.
The innagural performance of Katz & Mekfunkel
Mek covering, "Yesterday" by the Beatles
Mek covering, "Landlocked Blues" by Bright Eyes
Mek covering, "At the Zoo" by Simon and Garfunkel
"Song for the Asking", by Simon & Garfunkel
"Close Your Eye", by James Taylor
Mek is a v11 bouldering amateur who is informally sponsored by Skippy™ Peanut Butter. He uses their vouchers to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for San Francisco's needy. You may find Mek climbing at Mission Cliffs most days around 7pm. Mek is apart of a ad-hoc Touchstone climbing league called Team Try Hard coached by Austin Lee
- 2018-11-29 v11 "Insane Candy-Cane"
- 2018-08-23 v11 "Amazing Grace"
- 2017-08-11 v11 "Come On"
- 2020-02-08 v10 "Purple Haze"
- 2018-08-11 v10 "Line of Symmetry"
- 2018-06-22 v10 "Green Mono-ster"
- 2018-06-03 v10 "Burling10"
- 2018-04-09 v10 "Trust the Heel"
- 2017-02-17 v10 "Lorax"
- 2017-02-14 v10 "Heel of Fortune"
- 2016-11-09 v10 "Hold the Line"
- 2017-11-03 v9 "Bloody Knuffles"
- 2017-04-10 v9 "Little Wing Sit" (no send)
- 2018-05-12 v8 "Campus Girls" @ Mt. Tamalpais