April 19, 2010

Infographic Overload

This ironic meta/PoMo infographic has been making rounds in the memesphere lately:

phil-gyford-infographic-infographic

It’s true for the most part, though the 3,274 seems a bit over the top.

In any case, here are a few of the better infographics I’ve seen lately:

soyouneedatypeface

Julian Hansen has created an extremely thorough visualization of typography for dummies.

Click the image for the full, unadulterated 1983×1402 version.

Inspiration Lab

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Yesterday, before I discovered the video above, I came across a dollar bill with a red “Where’s George” stamp on it and I decided to enter it into the database (I’ve logged a couple in the past). It seems that I’ve since spent said dollar, as it is no longer in my wallet, but I managed to find it in my Firefox history. Apparently, it was in Greenpoint almost exactly a year ago; who knows what sort of wonderful adventures George #B2078 7046J has had in the mean time…

Follow the Money via Visual Complexity via PSFK

Almost (but-not-really-at-all) related: Redesigning the Dollar Bill; UPDATE: The new $100 bill.

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apple-google-microsoft-gizmodo

Gizmodo’s guide to the current fronts where the Big Three are vying for tech/information world domination.
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April 5, 2010

Cartographic Design

mpicton-brooklyn

Matthew Picton‘s sculptures are right up my alley: he makes roadmaps into art.

DB; more at Toomey-Tourell.

mpicton-portland

Claire Burbridge & Matthew Picton
Absence and Presence
Toomey-Tourell Fine Art
49 Geary Street [map]
San Francisco, CA 94108
415 / 989-6444
Through May 1, 2010
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Connie Brown NYC map

Connie Brown makes detailed, vintage-y (not to mention pricey) custom maps. She’s giving at talk at NYPL on April 10th. Much more info (and images) at NGS, linked below.

National Geographic Society via Boingboing.

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nytimes-taxipickup

The Times has an interactive feature on taxi pick-ups (in Manhattan), a nice to their piece on taxi traffic and, by extension, Jonah Lehrer’s musings on commuting. Now if only there was some way to track the Cash Cab…

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April 5, 2010

Obligatory iPad Post

*Updated on 4/7.

ipadlaunch1

So I happened to be in Midtown on Saturday morning (long story short: I was trying to get to MoMA early enough to see Marina Abramović) and I decided to swing by the cube.

While I didn’t have a chance to see the iPad in person, I’ll probably swing by an Apple store some time this week to check it out. I don’t plan on getting one at this point but I’m intrigued by the device, which may or may not revolutionize computing and media consumption as we know it. If the iPad has been criticized for being some kind of hedonistic Swiss Army Knife for entertainment at the cost of productivity (citation needed?), I should think that it is rightfully billed as more of a grown-up supertoy than anything else—it is neither overgrown iPhone nor underpowered laptop; the iPad is something else entirely.

Furthermore, insofar as the iPad represents Apple’s foray into the space(s) currently occupied by netbooks, e-books, textbooks, regular books, magazines, newspapers, television, digital picture frames, portable gaming devices, board games, and (lest we forget) tablets, I think it has the potential to redefine media in new and possibly unexpected ways. The fact that it is an easy point of entry for a mass audience to own a piece of the Apple brand (/marketing machine) almost certainly belies its true significance, whatever that may be.

ipadlaunch2

Of course, I suppose that anyone who is curious about said significance has already been inundated with news, reviews, photos, videos, etc.—the iPad has been broken, jailbroken, jailbait, photoshopped and photo-opped—from the likes of Engadget, Gizmodo, TUAW, et al. Love it or hate it, we’re far past the point of making jokes about its name.

For superbly-curated and less overwhelming opinions and aggregation, I recommend John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. Similarly, I still think that Dan Hill’s essay on the iPad is the best analysis of the its true significance (I buried a link to it in another post, but here it is again).

There are tons of demo (and demolition) videos already out there, but I happen to like this overview of magazine app art direction:

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March 18, 2010

Why There Are Mountains

» Fuck Buttons – Space Mountain (8:45) – 13.2MB mp3 @ 210kbps

» The Flaming Lips – Worm Mountain (5:22) – 6.3MB mp3 @ 160kbps

hermitskyscraper1

Zhou Hongjun and Xiong Lu have created Hermit Mountain, a multifaceted, multipurpose skyscraper, drawing inspiration from both traditional Chinese culture and modern design. The design explores a dialogue between rationality and chaos to achieve a refined yet altogether organic aesthetic.

More images at Designboom.

dini1

Designer Enrico Dini has developed a 3D printer that makes rocks.

Dini claims the d-shape process is four times faster than conventional building, costs a third to a half as much as using Portland cement, creates little waste and is better for the environment. But its chief selling point may simply be that it makes creating Gaudiesque, curvy structures simple.

Two-dimensional print may be dead, but 3D is on the up-and-up.

Full story at Blueprint (FastCompany via Inhabitat)

hermitskyscraper2

dini2

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March 16, 2010

Daylight Saving Time & Other Items

» Aesop Rock – Daylight (4:25) – 4.1MB m4a @ 128kbps

The Persistence of Trite Imagery

The Persistence of Trite Imagery

Since this Sunday marked Daylight Saving Time, I decided to put my philosophy degree to good use by pondering the psychology and metaphysics of this semi-annual ritual.

First of all, there is technically only one daylight to be saved: contrary to folk wisdom that might suggest otherwise, daylight is an indivisible entity. In a sense, daylight is like money—which is also grammatically singular but conceptually plural (insofar as one would hope to have more than one money)—such that daylight is quantifiable, at least in terms of daylight hours. In other words, official terminology denotes that summer is ‘Time to Save Daylight’—i.e., Time for Daylight-Saving—while the colloquial (if not altogether prevalent) shorthand “Daylight Savings” is a gerund, as per the nominal usage of “Savings” for that type of  bank account. (Even the Wikipedia URL for the Daylight Saving Time entry is Daylight_savings.)

The monetary metaphor is useful in illustrating how DST’s pithy essence “spring forward, fall back” belies the curious phenomenon that either occasion—the turning of the clocks in spring or in fall—can be described as gaining or losing an hour. Common parlance suggests that we have indeed acquired a full 60 minutes, yet this increment simultaneously seems to have slipped through a mysterious temporal rift in the wee hours of Sunday morning. It appears that we have both gained and lost an hour on Sunday, a discrepancy that reveals two divergent systems of belief concerning time and how it is measured: absolute vs. relative. The two views correspond to a scientific picture of an independent physical world and a pragmatic ‘lived’ experience of time, respectively.

The former system holds that time marches forward of its own accord and that to push a clock forward—from 2AM to 3AM, say—disturbs the clockwork of the universe to the effect that humans have erased an hour from their day. Here the bank analogy must be modified: on Sunday, we withdrew an hour on credit, which we will pay back in October; for the next six months, we owe one hour to the universe, or nature, or whatever. We have lost it in the interest of practicality—we need to borrow the hour for the better half of the year—though we plan on restoring balance in six months or so. For the absolutist, the hour is deferred.

Those who abide by the second perspective, on the other hand, see time as more malleable, where chronology is purely pragmatic: we gained an hour on Sunday because we now have an extra hour of sunlight—and, ostensibly, productivity—to the effect that the days themselves grow longer. By springing forward, we stake a claim to the greater daylight afforded by the rotation of the Earth, silently folding one hour into the shroud of slumber in order to extend each and every day in those six months. For the relativist, it’s possible to save daylight like money albeit not in the interest of yielding a long-term dividend: everyone cashes out the same predetermined amount at the end of each day.

Of course, both schools of thought understand that the actual demarcation of time to be incidental (i.e. pragmatic in a broad sense)—otherwise we wouldn’t have license to give and take (or take and give) hours as we please. Nevertheless, I wonder if there is any correlation between the saving(s) locution and the gain/loss dichotomy: are relativists more predisposed to regarding DST as a savings account, as opposed to absolutists who treat the extra time as a line of credit?

Does that even make sense? Rather, does it even matter?

Now for the real news:

  • Advertising 2.0: This Time, It’s Personal. FaceBook is now crowdsourcing targeted advertising like social AdSense (=AdBook?). (NYT, Future Perfect) Also, Product Placement: Geolocation is so hot right now (NYT)
  • Mattel Mentality x Mad Men = Barbie. WTF. (NYT)
  • Google Maps now has (spotty) bike directions: Gothamist blurbs, Streetsblog mentions, Wired crowdsources; Bike Snob NYC is more thorough, with an incisive riposte to the Post
  • Big ups to the Alma Mater in the Times. But seriously, the prospect of digitally tracking writers’ inspiration and composition process is quite fascinating.
  • Stanley Fish on Pragmatism’s Gift.
  • I’ve always been a stickler for free throws (i.e. I don’t understand why every player isn’t shooting 90+% from the line), so I was pleased to see that Wired has posted a guide on How to Nail a Free Throw.
  • Old news, but here’s a couple of interesting articles on sports video games and their source material; specifically, how video games are have become increasingly true to life for athletes: League of Gamers (ESPN); Gamechangers: How Videogames Trained a Generation of Athletes (Wired)
  • Speaking of video games, Virtusphere. Just watch the damn video.
  • G4 (correctly, I think) identifies Chatroulette’s ‘Merton.’ NYMag’s Vulture (correctly, I think) identifies Ben Folds as a “Fin de siècle singer-songwriter.” Just watch the damn video.
  • (Over)analysis of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” music video. (Vigilant Citizen)

Music news:

  • What Would They Know: Matthew Perpetua interviews Liars for Pitchfork.
  • Time to Get Away: LCD Soundsystem finishing up their last record. (Daily Swarm)
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something: MJ posthumously lands a massive record deal. (WSJ, NYT)

Art news:

Bonus Trailer:

Ride, Rise, Roar trailer via Wired.

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March 2, 2010

Googlism

Some Google news.

Googletheonion

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January 24, 2010

Items

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January 12, 2010

Google vs China

Google.cn censored by the Chinese government

Earlier today, Google’s SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond posted a potentially revolutionary announcement on the Official Google Blog: due to security issues and censorship-related tension, Google may go so far as to terminate its operations in China (pending negotiation with the Chinese government).

This astounding move is already being regarded as a shot heard ’round the world regarding the Western principle of free speech in the face of China’s draconian Internet censorship policy, as well as an opportunity for Google to live up to its pithy dogma, “Don’t be evil”.

As someone who has personally been frustrated by Chinese censorship, I fully support Google’s stand against the insidious authoritarianism still exerted by the putatively progressive state.

Incidentally, I was staying about half a kilometer from Google’s headquarters in Beijing.

The New York Times has more coverage, as always.

See also: Grass Mud Horse

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January 6, 2010

Assorted Links

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December 16, 2009

Assorted Links

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