there are 10 posts from August 2008

August 28, 2008

like a one-two punch

The Atlantic’s Joshua Green delivers a pair of persuasive analogies in his piece Hillary Goes Out With a Whimper

Clinton didn’t need to match the intensity of Dennis Kucinich, who, earlier in the evening, hopped and screamed like a meth-addled Smurf. And she rose above the rote fare of the state legislator-types who fill the endless daytime hours. But true sentiment toward Obama was hard to detect. Clinton does magnanimity like Robin Williams does understatement: it doesn’t come naturally.

I haven’t had a chance to watch Hillary’s speech yet; though in the radio snippets I heard she did sound flat. I just loved the image of Kucinich as a meth-addled Smurf; he’d be the perfect co-star alongside Williams in a Smurfish buddy pic.

August 27, 2008

mass media


I’m fascinated by Google’s Hot Trends. I don’t have a chance to follow it much during the day, but I keep it open in a tab when I’m online at home at night and occasionally refresh and it’s amazing just how closely search traffic follows what’s happening on TV.

News flash: people are watching the convention. And Dennis Rodman’s going to be on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. Also, I had no idea what slippery kittens was, or why it would end up in the top 20 hot search terms for tonight, but a quick clickthrough led to the exciting news that they were on America’s Got Talent tonight. Good for them! I guess.

August 27, 2008

commenting on commenting

Matt Haughey has an interesting post on his blog about feeling like an “old man” of blogging, railing against the young whippersnappers and their commenting habits…

It’s tough because I love blogs and I love comments in blogs, but I’m starting to think there’s this “new generation” that has grown up online only knowing blogs as having snarky comment areas and never realizing it used to be a personal, intimate space where you’d never say anything in a comment that you wouldn’t say to a friend’s face.

It’s worth reading in its entirety, of course, and there’s great stuff in the comments – from a pitch-perfect “FIRST!” to cardhouse attributing it to lowered barriers to entry (“Weblogs are practically crotch-thrusted at you, and commenting is crazy simple.”) And though I rambled on in my comment a bit (sorry, no comment permalinks on Matt’s blog, unfortunately), I’ll stick by my opener:

I used to get the best comments on my weblog hand-delivered to me over lunch. And you know what? I still do. (Plus, food!)

So if you have comments on this post, let me know and next time we’re together I’ll buy you lunch. I love lunch.

August 26, 2008

hey kid, grab those cigarette butts for me, wouldja?

NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed Beck this morning about Modern Guilt, and, of course, his relationship with his grandfather, Fluxus member Al Hansen. I love this image of Hansen sending his grandkids to scour restaurants for cigarette butts out of ashtrays:

“He liked to say he was an alchemist,” Beck says. “But really, it was that he was broke. He couldn’t afford art materials. So I think he decided early on, ‘I’m going to make art out of what I have around,’ which was candy wrappers and cigarette butts. When I was a child, he used to send us to the garbage can. When we were at a restaurant, we’d go to all the ashtrays that were left — we used to collect all the cigarette butts for him for his artwork.”

Now that’s grandparenting.

August 26, 2008


Amanda learns she’s being Exiled to Africa. (Swiped from

For years I’ve been carrying around (and pitching anyone who would listen) this idea for a summer camp / reality show called “Inward Bound” where you take rich kids from the burbs and drop them in the middle of an unfamiliar city with only $1.69 and a good luck wish.

Obviously my idea never made it off the ground…which is probably for the best. But! MTV’s gone and one upped it with their new series Exiled, which takes former stars of their must-stop-watching-but-can’t series My Super Sweet 16 and air drops them into radically unfamiliar territory…

A few years after tossing the parties that made them stars in their schools and fueled rivalries among the rich kids, you’re going to see some of the Sweet 16-ers you loved to hate the most – Ava, Sierra, Amanda, Bjorn, Marissa, Chelsi, Meleny and Alex – shipped away from their plush homes and easy lives and Exiled to foreign locations such as the jungles of the Amazon, the tundra of the Arctic Circle, the Andes mountains and remote islands in the South Pacific where they’ll have to live like local commoners with none of the amenities of their normally privileged lives.

I don’t even have to watch the show and I already love it: it’s revenge of the TV viewer. I mean, we watched her preen and bitch and squeal and drive away in the brand new suckerparent-supplied BMW, and now we get to see Chelsi-with-an-I sent off to the Arctic Circle! Must see TV!

August 25, 2008

the big tent

Today’s fascination: The Big Tent, the home of bloggers at the convention in Denver. Kelly Nuxoll at Huffington Post has a great post today describing the ins and outs of the tent

With sponsorship from Google and Digg, among others, the Big Tent expanded to offer a lounge, a stage where speakers could address audiences of up to 350, breakout rooms for smaller gatherings, free lunch and dinner, a beer garden with an open tap, morning yoga, and a spa. A convention and media center in one, the Big Tent went up in two weeks and offers more wireless portals than the Denver Airport.

I’m especially interested in the interplay between the media producers in the Big Tent and, well, “traditional” media folks. Nuxoll again:

The best-case scenario may be that the Big Tent brings more people into politics by giving them more access to media and to each other. The worst-case scenario may be that the Big Tent, which includes a VIP blogger lounge, is a victim of its own success, substituting one exclusive political culture for another.

If you’re looking for photos, check out Flickr for things tagged “bigtent,” including these from the ever present Steve Rhodes.

August 25, 2008

how long until you see these on the roads?

“In the city of the future, it is difficult to concentrate…”

August 25, 2008

dear lulu


File under “blogging this to remember it now” since Tim O’Reilly’s already spread the meme far and wide via Radar. Fourteen design students with Frank Philippin and James Goggin produced Dear Lulu, a digital book designed to test the capabilities of on-demand digital printers.

My plan for the workshop is to investigate the visible and tangible parameters of graphic design — type specimens, halftone screens and, in particular, colour tests and calibration charts — and make a book of our own self-produced tests which we will send to print on Friday afternoon using the online print-on-demand system Lulu. The book project will therefore act as a colour/type/pattern test of the very system with which it is produced.

Worth exploring since Trina’s considering some book projects for the artists she works with…


OK, maybe not. John comments that “I tested printing my infodesign book there and Lulu’s quality was just terrible. I can’t imagine using them for an art book.” And via Google Reader, Bryan Boyer shared this comment on the Waxy link…


In case you can’t read that (hi, googlebot!) here’s what he said:

Nice idea, but apparently Lulu uses a network of print shops across the country to fulfill their printing needs, so I’d be hesitant to put much faith in the reproductions being consistent across all their equipment.

Blog-o-insert-your-shape-here to the rescue.

August 05, 2008

medal map

Great piece of info porn from the New York Times, an interactive medal map that shows the distribution of Olympic medal winnings by country over time. What I love is that you scrub the slider from 1894 to the present is just how much more diverse the winnings are – more countries competing, more countries winning.


And if you scrub the slider fast enough you can quickly skip over the whole 1980 thing.

August 01, 2008

jason fortuny and social media literacy

Somewhere in me I have a thousand word post on the need for social media literacy education in lower education[1]…but for today I’ll just quote Jason Fortuny in the everywhere-linked New York Times piece on Internet trolls.

“You seem to know exactly how much you can get away with, and you troll right up to that line,” I said. “Is there anything that can be done on the Internet that shouldn’t be done?”

Fortuny was silent. In four days of conversation, this was the first time he did not have an answer ready.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I have to think about it.”

What’s the old standby? There’s a fine line between clever and stupid?

[1] In short, “media literacy” was focused on creating smarter media consumers; understanding how media’s produced and distributed, the biases behind it, etc. (See also deconstructionism, etc.) “Social media literacy,” on the other hand, needs to be focused on creating smarter media producers, who understand the ramifications of a hyper-connected zero-cost-of-distribution world. (See also Star Wars kid.)