public marks

PUBLIC MARKS from jeanruaud

01 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful - Charlie's Diary

Elsewhere on the interwebbytubes, an acquaintance asked, somewhat grumpily, if anything good had happened in the past decade (aside from the iPod). So I went dumpster-diving in memory lane for things to feel good about ...

mom, this is how twitter works. | not just for moms!

Twitter is an online social networking tool in which users post 140 character updates of what is going on in their lives along with links to things they think are interesting, funny, or useful to their followers (“following” being essentially what “friending” is on other sites). People use twitter in many ways, some as a newsfeed by following prominent people or networks, some as a pseudo-chatroom by limiting their followers and whom they follow to close friends and family, and some as a microblog for updating people about the work they are doing and their personal lives.

The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon by John Gossage

The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon by John Gossage

31 December 2010

On Language - Junk -

. In a year that brought us vuvuzelas (the dronelike plastic horns at the World Cup in South Africa) and mama grizzlies (Sarah Palin’s cadre of fierce women in the midterm elections), there’s no obvious front-runner in the sweepstakes for WOTY (pronounced “WOE-tee”). But for my money, the one word that sums up the scrapheap of the past year is junk.

30 December 2010

LRB · Eliot Weinberger · ‘Damn right,’ I said

Occasionally, someone on Team DP will insert a lyrical phrase – the tears on the begrimed faces of the 9/11 relief workers ‘cutting a path through the soot like rivulets through a desert’ – but most of the prose sounds like this: I told Margaret and Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Bolten that I considered this a far-reaching decision. I laid out a process for making it. I would clarify my guiding principles, listen to experts on all sides of the debate, reach a tentative conclusion, and run it past knowledgeable people. After finalising a decision, I would explain it to the American people. Finally, I would set up a process to ensure that my policy was implemented. There are nearly 500 pages of this, reminiscent of the current po-mo poster boys, Tao Lin, with his anaesthetised declarative sentences, and Kenneth Goldsmith with his ‘uncreative writing’, such as a transcription of a year’s worth of daily radio weather reports. Foucault notes: ‘Today’s writing has freed itself from the theme of expression.’

29 December 2010

The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist | Magazine

The riddles transfixed the city of Erie and drew headlines in newspapers from St. Louis to Sydney. It also set in motion a byzantine investigation, with federal agents sniffing out clues and hunting down leads in twisted pursuit of the shadowy criminal who came to be known as the Collar Bomber. For seven years, the FBI was engaged in a scavenger hunt of its own, one that the Collar Bomber seemed to have planned as intricately as the one that had ensnared Wells. The only question was whether the Feds would get any further than Wells had.

28 December 2010

Book Review - Decision Points - By George W. Bush -

There is something very modern, almost New Agey, and endearingly insecure, about the tone and posture the son adopts in “Decision Points.” Even as he’s bombing Baghdad back to the Stone Age, he’s very much in touch with his feelings. In college, he says, he was appalled to learn how the French Revolution betrayed its ideals.

American English Dialects

This is just a little hobby of mine, that I thought might be interesting to a lot of people. Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins. I collect dialects.

Columbia Spatial Information Design Lab

"The Spatial Information Design Lab is a think- and action-tank at Columbia University specializing in the visual display of spatial information about contemporary cities and events. The lab works with data about space -- numeric data combined with narratives and images to design compelling visual presentations about our world today. The projects in the lab focus on linking social data with geography to help researchers and advocates communicate information clearly, responsibly, and provocatively. We work with survey and census data, Global Positioning System information, maps, high- and low-resolution satellite imagery, analytic graphics, photographs and drawings, along with narratives and qualitative interpretations, to produce images."

Teach Parents Tech

"Every December, millions of tech-savvy young people descend on their homes only to arrive to a long list of tech support issues that their parents need help with. A few of us at Google thought there had to be a better way that would save us all a few hours each December... The result of our brainstorm was, a site that allows you to select any number of simple tech support videos to send to mom, dad or uncle Vinnie. The site is not perfect and hardly covers all the tech support questions you may be asked, but hopefully it’s a start!"

27 December 2010

Book Review - Finishing The Hat - By Stephen Sondheim -

The book “Finishing the Hat” becomes a metaphor for that feeling of joy, the little squirt of dopamine hitting the brain when the artist creates a work of art. It’s a feeling so addictive the artist is willing to forgo love in order to experience artistic bliss. It could be a metaphor for Sondheim’s love of songwriting. “Finishing the Hat” — a fascinating compilation of lyrics, commentary and anecdotes, covering the years 1954 to 1981 — is essentially about process, the process of writing songs for theater.

The truth about snowflakes : The New Yorker

In a way, the passage out from Snowflake Bentley to the new snowflake stories is typical of the way our vision of nature has changed over the past century: Bentley, like Audubon, believed in the one fixed image; we believe in truths revealed over time—not what animals or snowflakes are, but how they have altered to become what they are. The sign in Starbucks should read, “Friends are like snowflakes: more different and more beautiful each time you cross their paths in our common descent.” For the final truth about snowflakes is that they become more individual as they fall—that, buffeted by wind and time, they are translated, as if by magic, into ever more strange and complex patterns, until, at last, like us, they touch earth. Then, like us, they melt.

You’ve Got to Have (150) Friends -

Put simply, our minds are not designed to allow us to have more than a very limited number of people in our social world. The emotional and psychological investments that a close relationship requires are considerable, and the emotional capital we have available is limited. Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, I have found that most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off — what has become known as Dunbar’s number. Yes, you can “friend” 500, 1,000, even 5,000 people with your Facebook page, but all save the core 150 are mere voyeurs looking into your daily life — a fact incorporated into the new social networking site Path, which limits the number of friends you can have to 50. What’s more, contrary to all the hype and hope, the people in our electronic social worlds are, for most of us, the same people in our offline social worlds. In fact, the average number of friends on Facebook is 120 to 130, just short enough of Dunbar’s number to allow room for grandparents and babies, people too old or too young to have acquired the digital habit.

Why Wikileaks Will Kill Big Business And Big Government | The New Republic

Wikileaks is, in effect, a huge tax on internal coordination. And, as any economist will tell you, the way to get less of something is to tax it. As a practical matter, that means the days of bureaucracies in the tens of thousands of employees are probably numbered. In a decade or two, we may not only see USAID spun off from the State Department. We may see dozens of mini-State Departments servicing separate regions of the world. Or hundreds of micro-State Departments—one for every country on the planet. Don’t like the stranglehold that a handful of megabanks have on the financial sector? Don’t worry! Twenty years from now there won’t be such a thing as megabanks, because the cost of employing 100,000 potential leakers will be prohibitive.

The philosophical underpinnings of David Foster Wallace's fiction. - By James Ryerson - Slate Magazine

When the future novelist David Foster Wallace was about 14 years old, he asked his father, the University of Illinois philosophy professor James D. Wallace, to explain to him what philosophy is, so that when people would ask him exactly what it was that his father did, he could give them an answer. James had the two of them read Plato's Phaedo dialogue together, an experience that turned out to be pivotal in his understanding of his son. "I had never had an undergraduate student who caught on so quickly or who responded with such maturity and sophistication," James recalls. "This was this first time I realized what a phenomenal mind David had."

University Diaries » From UD’s Christmas Reading:

“The best thing about America is its universities. Not Harvard, Yale, e tutti quanti: though marvelous, they are not distinctively American – their roots reach across the ocean to Oxford, Heidelberg, and beyond. Nowhere else in the world, however, can boast such public universities. You drive for miles across a godforsaken midwestern scrubscape, pockmarked by billboards, Motel 6s, and a military parade of food chains, when – like some pedagogical mirage dreamed up by a nineteenth century English gentleman — there appears… a library! And not just any library: at Bloomington, the University of Indiana boasts a 7.8-million-volume collection in more than nine hundred languages, housed in a magnificent double-towered mausoleum of Indiana limestone." Tony Judt - The Memory Chalet

Frank Chimero - The Two Best Things on the Web 2010

Late last week I started drafting a list of my favorite things on the web from this year. After a review of the list, I realized most of it was droll, forgettable, ephemeral, and not really worth documenting in the grand scheme of things. Basically, it mattered at the time of its release, but time had not treated these things well: they were more flow than stock. My top two choices, however, stood tall as perhaps the best stock I’ve had the pleasure of reading on the web, both in terms of their scope, but more interestingly about how they treated their content and audience. There’s a pattern here that I enjoy. I’d like to introduce you to them, and hopefully in the process make a bit of a point about the direction I want the web to take in the next year. I’m optimistic.

AD Classics: Chrysler Building / William Van Alen | ArchDaily

In a skyline that has developed New York as a destination for architects and city lovers alike, the Chrysler Building by William Van Alen is identifiable from any distance for its distinguishable style and profile against its surroundings. With the initial intention to be the world’s tallest building, it remained so for only eleven months until it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. The Chrysler Building is a classic example of the Art Deco style, from the street to its terraced crown. Interior and exterior alike, it is admired for its distinctive ornamentation based on features that were also found on Chrysler automobiles at the time.

Scott Adams Blog: Impractical Solutions to Intractable Problems 12/01/2010

Today's impractical suggestion is to make all voting online. My theory is that this simple change could solve just about every major problem in the world. Is that an exaggeration? You be the judge.

Scott Adams Blog: Two Conspiracy Theories 12/02/2010

I'm a fan of conspiracy theories. I'm fascinated by the fact that any wild story can be engineered to sound feasible to some portion of the public. Let's call this the ordinary kind of conspiracy theory, such as the idea that a small group of rich people are secretly running the world, or that aliens are abducting people and implanting chips in their necks. These conspiracy theories are hugely unlikely by their nature. But there's another category of conspiracy theory that is way cooler. These are the theories that are far more likely to be true than not, although no smoking gun has been found. I give you today, two conspiracy theories of my own design. I'm not saying these are true. I'm just saying they are far more likely to be true than false. We'll probably never know.

26 December 2010

100 Colors, 100 Writings, 100 Days: Observatory: Design Observer

Every day for one hundred days (from October 30, 2008 to February 6, 2009) I picked a paint chip out of a bag and responded to it with a short writing. I have selected my favorite forty, titling each writing with the number of the day it was written (out of 100) and the name of the color from that day’s paint chip. This project was generated in Michael Bierut’s 100 Day Workshop at the Yale School of Art.

L’autisme : une forme extrême du cerveau masculin ?

Les capacités verbales et spatiales sont les domaines clés du fonctionnement cérébral à travers lesquels ont été jusqu’ici étudiées les différences entre sexes. Dans cet article, j’avance l’hypothèse que deux dimensions négligées dans la compréhension de ces différences entre les sexes sont l’« empathisation » et la « systémisation ». Le cerveau masculin y est défini, de manière psychométrique, comme celui des individus chez lesquels la systémisation est, de manière significative, meilleure que l’empathisation. Tandis que le cerveau féminin est défini par le profil cognitif opposé. En se basant sur ces définitions, l’autisme peut être considéré comme une forme extrême du profil masculin normal. De plus en plus de données issues des recherches en psychologie confortent la théorie de l’autisme comme forme extrême du cerveau masculin

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