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Interesting Posts from 2009

12 october, 2009
Good Advice

This could be generalized to pretty much everything:

"That woman was sexy... Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."

21 september, 2009
Some of our Assumptions may be Wrong

Ants looking for aliens: we've searched dozens of these floor tiles for several common types of pheromone trails. If there were intelligent life up there, we would have seen its messages by now.

14 september, 2009
Things that you don't understand

The Royal Society (a national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth) issued a study concluding that it is now feasible to start geo-engineering the climate.

The same week, researchers at UCLA reported the discovery of previously unknown basic mode of energy transfer from the solar wind to the Earth's magnetosphere in the earth's upper atmosphere.

"It's like something else is heating the atmosphere besides the sun." said Larry Lyons, a co-author of the research.

To paraphrase Stevie Wonder: when you mess with things that you don't understand, you suffer.

17 august, 2009
Colors We Never Dreamed

This is old news by now, but it still makes me smile when I imagine...

The spectrum we learned in high school is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

This covers all the wavelengths of visible light. The wavelengths longer than red light and shorter than violet light are infrared and ultraviolet, invisible without special equipment.

So where's magenta, which should be halfway between red and violet? Magenta is a chord.

In music, a chord is two or more notes played at once. For example, the simplest form of a C-Major chord is just two notes: C and E. The C-Major chord cannot be represented by a single note.

Magenta is a chord in the same way, but instead of being C and E played together, it's composed of red and violet played together, and cannot be represented by a single wavelength.

What if there are other colors that we've never seen -- other colorful chords that can't be found in nature, but only by mixing natural colors?

10 august, 2009
If By Whiskey

Here is a list of logical fallacies. It's fascinating reading, and gives you the tools to know if someone (especially a politician) is trying to put one over on you.

I especially enjoyed the "If By Whiskey" argument.

10 august, 2009
Fly Lice and Trashcans

These stories are awesome and short -- only a few paragraphs each. Written by a genius who works for Google.

Five months later, I chuckle out loud about once a week when I remember them.

For two of my favorites, load the page then search for:

- Chinese Restaurant (the fly lice story)
- When My (the trash can story)

Thanks, Steve.

10 august, 2009
Deep Impact and Armageddon

Remember Deep Impact and Armageddon? Curious about what really became of the Little Prince?

30 july, 2009
They're Assholes, But They're Not Stupid

Every time I call someone who has a cell phone, and they don't answer, I hear their message followed by a message from the phone company. This second message is along the lines of:

"[Person] is not available right now. Please leave a message after the tone. When you have finished recording, you may hang up, or press pound for more options."

This message makes a lot of money for the cell providers. From David Pogue: "If Verizon's 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year."

12 july, 2009
Cats Don't Apply

If you're not busy, you could kill ten minutes reading about one of the most successful lawyers of all time, Richard "Racehorse" Haynes:

"If you can prove [that] the victim abused a dog or a horse, you can convince the jury that the guy deserved to be killed... for some reason, cats don't apply."

The entire article is both fascinating and hilarious.

22 may, 2009
Design Makes Me Sick

I've been a professional graphic designer for almost twenty years. I've been feeling more and more lately that there is something offputting about most of what we consider to be good design.

As I mentioned in my post on comfy websites, When I see stuff that's really great, top-notch design, my reaction is almost always "that's not for me."

Admittedly, this may say more about me than about the design.

But what I'm getting at is that good design (real good design, not pretty design) should be functional and inclusive. Too often, design by the best visual designers is shockingly well done but subtly pushes away the user/client/visitor. You feel like you've wandered into the opera by mistake, and you're underdressed.

I guess the word would be pretentious, but I'm looking for something a little less negative... counter-inclusive. Often what we consider to be good design runs against the weaving of relationships with people.

For me, a design is good when it functions well mechanically and above all encourages the audience to jump in the arena and to splash some mud around.

My guess is that this is why the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon is so popular... people now feel like they can participate in the internet. They feel invited.