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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

In wake of debacle, and with considerable fanfare, relentless ugliness is declared new partner of choice
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:28 pm EST, Feb  2, 2008

Who would have thought the ultimate three-girls-in-the-city flick would premiere not in the flapper-fast 20s, the satin-slouch 30s, or the shoulder-pad 40s, but in the white-glove, bullet-bra 50s? In 1959, with considerable fanfare, Twentieth Century Fox premiered The Best of Everything, a title it took seriously. The movie was in CinemaScope, of course, as were all major Fox films after 1953, and the color was by DeLuxe. Indeed, "deluxe" was the operative word ...

Where some moviegoers might have seen relentless ugliness, I saw a profound beauty.

Cisco's proven competence in networking makes it our partner of choice."

Young people sought Elvis's cafe as refuge from the relentless ugliness that pervaded most public gathering places.

“Finalizing a new partner would be my first priority as the new CEO,“ Singh said. “I intend to establish GE Money as the partner of choice to both consumers and business partners.”

The relentless ugliness of the industrial age, the telegraph wires and smokestacks and steel trusswork, unnerved him. How could he be true to the contemporary world without allowing its mess and banality to infect his art?

Telecom Egypt has a decades-long tradition of being the partner of choice to all Asia-Europe submarine cable systems, by providing the infrastructure for crossing from Red to Mediterranean Seas.

He was a relentless boozer, a sucker puncher and a chippy chaser, and the sum of his personal ugliness overwhelmed whatever good he did for the New York Yankees.

chippie-chaser (also chippy-chaser) 1 [late 19C-1930s] a well-dressed loafer who spec, pursues young shopgirls and even schoolgirls. 2 [1920s+] a devot... [ Read More (0.5k in body) ]

Mucking About in a Vast Series of Tubes, Secretively Slapping Together a Post
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:22 pm EST, Jan 28, 2008

Last week the Federal Reserve announced the biggest cut in overnight lending rates in more than two decades. Congress, not to be outdone, is slapping together a massive deficit spending package aimed at giving the economy an emergency booster shot.

The CIA and the Pentagon didn't want other agencies mucking about in their computer networks; other agencies sought to maintain exclusive relationships with certain industries.

Indeed, al-Qaida, a secret and secretive organization, would be much more immune to Israeli retaliations than is Hamas, a generally pragmatic organization.

Naturally, the helpful Garbage Pail Kids want to assist, so they all steal some sewing machines and begin slapping together nightclubbing dresses for teen whores.

We must trust the richness of children's ideas, the report says, not impose our own. Case studies in the report emphasise exploration, experimentation and "mucking about with things".

The Israeli explanation for this rather casual approach to security is that the facility was so secret, not even the Syrian Army knew about it, hence the lack of defensive measures. Michael acidly suggests, “this reactor was so secretive that nobody in Syria knew about its existence. Only the Israelis knew.”

Employee engagement is one of the biggest issues facing any leading food or non-food retailer. The specific challenges for Mr Schultz were set out in a recent book, Punching In, by Alex Frankel, who worked as a trainee barista in a San Francisco Starbucks outlet in 2005. He recounts a chaotic introduction to the company, with no time to read the extensive spiral binders of training information, and a feeling that the employees were simply "slapping together" an overly expensive beverage, without any of the "romance and theatre" Mr Schultz says is at the heart of its brand.

"Well, one day I was mucking about in the shower, trying to make someone laugh by undermining the point of jokes."

Why are secret societies so secretive?... [ Read More (0.6k in body) ]

The 2007 Feltron Annual Report
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:08 pm EST, Jan 16, 2008

This one's for the lovers of great information design.

Definitely check this out if you are a fan of Edward Tufte ("Beautiful Evidence") or Richard Saul Wurman ("Understanding USA").

People who like to mail out chatty year-end newsletters should follow this lead for next year.

The 2007 Feltron Annual Report

Big Fans of Bridging the Gap between Desirements and Touch Points
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:48 pm EST, Jan  1, 2008

For our final touch point this year, I'd like to share a quick story with you -- one that you may or may not know.

It serves as a touch point for various kinds of winter sports, such as cross-country skiing, fishing and cycling down the snow covered slopes.

"I think this is kind of lame, myself," he said. "It's kind of curling but not really curling, you know? It doesn't have the energy of curling. I'm not a big fan of it at all."

Their intuitive consumer touch point bridges the gap between the TV and Internet worlds through the "tagging" or "bookmarking" of TV content and moves both platforms towards addressability and accountability.

Brady, on the other hand, successfully bridges the gap between football’s sexually diverse fans, attracting both straights and gays, without getting caught in the crossfire of sexual politics.

He acknowledges that big-picture thinking about genetics and biotechnology is not part of an average Canadian Anglican's life. But related issues of disability are a touch point with most.

"It's a little bit slow for me. The balls get really fluffy and it plays extremely slow. I am not a big fan."

"It’s simpler to pull plans that are set rather than have to create out of whole cloth at the last second."

Mars, however, stands out as a chocolate maker caught in the crossfire of all the changes.

Here are ten reasons why Santa’s Service Oriented Architecture is exemplary: ... the SOA bridges the gap between the executive office (Santa) and staff (elves) to execute on common goals. ...

In addition to the 787's next-generation passenger amenities and substantially improved fuel efficiency, the plane also serves as a touch-point in the aerospace battle between Boeing and Airbus.

"They have a ... [ Read More (0.5k in body) ]

Timeless Smarminess Is From Heaven
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:03 pm EST, Jan  1, 2008

In general, they say, it's best not to overdo something -- unless it's toile, which is "timeless," Sharkey says, and meant to be used all over the place.

Confetti was available for sale, which was meant to be "thrown all over the place" at midnight. This "confetti trashing" was a big hit last year and "everyone seemed to have a good time."

Your train of thought has definitely left the station.

Say what you will, but the Wii's demand will fade and people will be left wondering where all the exciting games are. Suffice it to say, this thing will forever be known as the fad of 2007.

Suffice it to say that with house prices sliding like children at recess and the pace of foreclosures almost certain to escalate in 2008, the sector's severe drag on the overall economy is unlikely to wane.

This train of thought prepares you for understanding that the small gang of AARP card-carrying grizzled faces and white mustaches that waits just on the other side of the windowless door, despite their flannel shirts, foam hats and belt buckle trophies, is gay.

Say what you will about the guy's music, but John Mayer's blog is actually kind of funny.

This is so mind-blowingly ridiculous I'll leave all of the smarminess to you guys to wipe up in the comments.

Say what you will about the smarminess of your average Starbucks ("And what might I get started for you?" "Well, something you'll finish, I hope."), the soy lattes are from heaven.

Costume designers Alisha Engle and Mark Spain are also top notch. "Our costumes are from heaven," Anderson sighs. "The detailing is beautiful. The women who sold donuts wear these exquisite red wooden shoes and we have people with doublets and things. The worst thing about being a playwright is that I don't get a costume!"

... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Modernity Miscellany
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:02 pm EST, Nov 11, 2007

As the Eurostar links improve, Paris is emerging as the hub of a new Europe, with high-speed international links to Germany, Italy and Spain. As such, the city is once again in the kind of central role in Europe that it has always assumed to be its destiny. At the same time, unlike the competing cities of Barcelona, Berlin or Milan, Paris has not been forced to reinvent itself since the Sixties. There is therefore none of the architectural daring that characterises the new Berlin or the truly globalised designer culture of Barcelona. Indeed, after long years of political and cultural stagnation, the big question is whether tired old Paris - once so proud of its status as the so-called the 'Capital of the 19th Century' - is even fit for purpose in the 21st century.

The problem is that Paris is still beautiful.

Islamic culture has contributed a number of ideas to western culture, including the development of domes in building construction.

The United States possesses neither the capacity nor the wisdom required to liberate the world's 1.4 billion Muslims, who just might entertain their own ideas about what genuine freedom entails. Islam will eventually accommodate itself to the modern world, but Muslims will have to work out the terms.

The world in which we find ourselves at the start of the new millenium is littered with the debris of utopian projects, which though they were framed in secular terms that denied the truth of religion were in fact vehicles for religious myths.

Deception is justified if it advances human progress -- and then it is not deception.

Decade after decade, one century layering upon the last, the physical identity of this urban axis straddling two continents is constantly being reconsidered, if only bit by bit, piece by piece. So a visitor curious to understand contemporary ideas and influences in Istanbul, to know how the storied city is falling and rising today, should focus on individual elements.

We replay memories as though they were our own home movies. And other people's movies, and other people's stories, become, by some circuitous route, our own. The events unfolding up on the screen may not have happened to us, ... [ Read More (0.9k in body) ]

Recent Reco Recap
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:30 pm EST, Nov 10, 2007

Science doesn't pave the way for engineering, it's the other way around.

The choice of architecture matters.

Where in the free world can one see 10,000 children dancing in synchronisation, dressed as eggs?

"Time forks perpetually towards innumerable futures."

The process of tying two items together is the important thing.

What was once the mark of utter uncoolness, a veritable byword of selling out, has become the norm.

I suppose we need not go mourning the buffaloes.

Steerage is steerage. ... the nominee is steering clear of a potential legal quagmire ... There is little romance left in long car rides.

Social networks conceal a trivialization of interaction.

I’m hearing from a lot of people that late 2007 is much like late 1997.

Ideas don't explode; they subvert. The truly subversive thing is to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands.

... some ideas burst upon us naked without the slightest evidence they could be true but with all the conviction they are.

... the burden falls upon you to spread your idea.

"Think of the kids you don’t have. Think of your unborn grandkids."

From curious children, hackers were born.

A hugely entertaining slice of sunbaked Gothic.

The Byzantine system of power has triumphed.

"It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."

... the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less.

It's like precrime in reverse.

"We sign these treaties to ... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Reviewing the past two weeks ...
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:28 pm EDT, Oct  8, 2007

The double helix is much too simple to be the secret of life.

The interstates changed the phenomenology of driving.

"You will have succeeded when you become really hard to manage."

Escape bird flu; visit the moons of Jupiter, or get your own moon.

Visualize open networks. Of text.

I had one little side room we called "the pi room," because on its walls were 53,000 digits of pi, done in pale green on black, a "Matrix" homage.

Crowd farming is people!

Behold, the all-seeing super-eye.

"The eventual goal is to have elaborate video surveillance well in advance of the 2016 Olympics."

TSA officials say the behavior-detection officers may play a more important role in thwarting terrorist attacks than traditional screening techniques.

I thought I saw the warm-vomit look in his eyes.

What society needs now are new ways to forget.

What are your Big Things?

Atlanta is hosed.

Coding is the New Maneuver.

Steven Colbert, the Man in the Irony Mask, has a new book.

Exploring the New World ... of MemeStreams Archives
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:36 pm EDT, Oct  7, 2007

Building a new nation is never a straight, steady climb upward. Today can sometimes look worse than yesterday -- or even two months ago. What matters is the overall trajectory: Where do things stand today when compared to what they were five years ago?

You know it's hard out here for a pimp. It's even harder, let me tell you, for a whore.

America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty, and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity.

Americans love gumption. We believe that stupid ideas become brilliant ones if you just keep working on them with bullish tenacity.

This not a war against terror any more than World War II was a war against kamikazes.

I have a distinct memory of the first place and time I saw

Counterinsurgency is more like an election than a military operation.

Curiosity becomes yearning, and yearning becomes obsession.

The report of the 9/11 Commmission is now available as a comic book.

The level I work at is at the juxtaposition, say, of Prada and Santeria. But it's not about Prada or Santeria. It's not about having ideas about either. It's about seeing what happens when the two are put together.

He has built "unplayable" musical instruments -- including a 25-foot-long accordion -- and created such signature works as "Video Quartet" and "Crossfire," film clip remixes powering mind-bending interactions among images, soundscapes and music.

Indeed, only 63 words ... are needed to make up half of everything said on TV.

He was free to be less than perfect, which is more interesting than perfect.

Brian Eno once famously remarked that the problem with computers is that there isn't enough Africa in them.

Escape the rat race.

... attempting to fasten a usable structure around a continually evolving computational ecology ...

To the extent that ... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Douglas Coupland: I Luv Helvetica
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:40 pm EDT, Sep 27, 2007

Helvetica essentially takes any word or phrase and pressure-washes it into sterility. I love it. So does Panasonic, BASF, Bayer, American Airlines, PanAm, Lufthansa, BellSouth, Hapag-Lloyd and any number of other firms that use it for their logos and as their house font.


I had one little side room we called “the pi room,” because on its walls were 53,000 digits of pi, done in pale green on black, a “Matrix” homage. But a very funny thing happened once it was up — people would go into the pi room, and their brains would become quiet, and they would emerge relaxed — to the point where if someone was getting stressed about the installation deadline, we’d say, “Go stand in the pi room.”

Douglas Coupland: I Luv Helvetica

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