Tag Archives: qotd

Zoe “Pablo” Smith Takes on the Internet

British olympian Zoe “Pablo” Smith takes on the Internet:

As Hannah pointed out earlier, we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

No Really. We suck.


From CNN:

Eight female badminton players were disqualified from the Olympics on Wednesday for trying to lose matches the day before, the Badminton World Federation announced after a disciplinary hearing.

The players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were accused of playing to lose in order to face easier opponents in future matches, drawing boos from spectators and warnings from match officials Tuesday night.

All four pairs of players were charged with not doing their best to win a match and abusing or demeaning the sport.

The Indonesian and South Korean pairs appealed the decision, the BWF said, and a decision on their appeals is expected later Wednesday.

According to reports, the players were intentionally hitting the shuttlecock into the net.

South Korea’s a appeal was rejected, and Indonesia later withdrew theirs.

Brand New Hates Helvetica

This reminds me of Paula Scher in Helvetica saying that Helvetica was the font of the Vietnam War.

Why I hate Helvetica

As it concerns identity design we all recognize Helvetica as a bastion of the rise of the practice of corporate identity in the 1960s, deployed with unrelenting passion by the likes of Massimo Vignelli and Unimark in the U.S. and Total Design in Europe. It helped shed decorative logos and present a unified front for corporations of all sizes in the most serious of manners. It was, in a way, a unifying technology of the era, establishing a specific standard for how logos should look. And that’s my biggest issue with Helvetica: It’s 1960s technology, 1960s aesthetics, 1960s principles. You know what else is technology from the 1960s? Rotary-dial telephones. The BASIC computer language. Things we’ve built on for the past 50 years and stopped using as the new, more functional, more era-appropriate products took hold. Today there are dozens of contemporary sans serif typefaces that improve the performance and aesthetics of Helvetica but yet some designers still hold on to it as if it were the ultimate typeface. It’s not. Just because it’s been glorified in a similar way as the suits and clothing in Mad Men doesn’t mean it’s still the right choice. You don’t see people today dressed like Don Draper or Lane Pryce — the business-person equivalents of a business typeface — because fashion has changed, attitudes have changed, the world has changed. But, like cockroaches, Helvetica seems to be poised to survive time and space, no matter what. When you see someone walking down the street, today, dressed like a 1960s business person, you (or at least I) think “what a douche.” That’s the same thought I have when I see something/someone using Helvetica.

The main argument of using Helvetica is that it’s “neutral.” That is absolute bullshit. There is nothing neutral about Helvetica. Choosing Helvetica has as much meaning and carries as many connotations as choosing any other typeface. It has as many visual quirks as any other typeface it was meant to shun for needless decoration. Helvetica is the fixed-gear bike of typefaces: it’s as basic as it gets, but the statement it makes is as complex as anything else. Standing for independence and going against the grain, supposedly not caring about what others think or of being duped for the upgrades and improvements that “the man” forces upon us. Helvetica is old. Helvetica is clunky. No business, service, or product deserves Helvetica in the twenty-first century more than anyone deserves to sit in a dentist chair in the 1960s.

I agree that it’s absurd to say that Helvetica is “neutral” since nothing is truly neutral, especially given its history as essentially the stylish least-common denominator. The politically correct font if you will. I also agree that fetishizing the past is lazy. Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann aren’t some sort of demigods. However, there’s something ironic and a bit pathetic about wanting modernity and advancement in typography of all things. It’s a field that’s based on copying or slightly tweaking existing work. Helvetica? 1896’s Akazidenz Grotesk. Garamond is from the mid 16th century. Some serif fonts can trace their lineage back to illuminated manuscripts, so claiming that designers shouldn’t use a 50 year old font because it’s dated falls flat.

“Don’t Worry. Your Data is Safe.”

I took my laptop to the Apple Store to get it repaired. (The keyboard doesn’t work.) After explaining to the guy at the store, he starts taking down my contact info. When he’s done, he says. “And what’s your username and password? Don’t worry. Your data is safe.”

Aghast, I say “But my data is NOT safe if I give you my password!*

“Uhh….”

“Can’t you just boot off an external drive or something?”

“Well, umm… yeah, but this is how that prefer we do it.”

Sure enough, the Apple form has blanks for username and password.

In the end, I gave them Ming’s password, because really it didn’t matter. I was giving a perfect stranger an unencrypted drive. It does make me think though. After decades of telling users not to share they’re passwords. Not to give them to people saying they’re from IT. Not to trust anyone with your password, Apple is undoing this as part of standard operating procedure. Or maybe I’m just old, and I’m supposed to think of Apple as a parent.

* Yes, I recognized the naivete of believing a simple password provided adequate security in this situation.

My parents never read my stuff. I see no reason to read my child’s.

Mount Paektu

North Korean lore calls [Mt. Baekdu] the birthplace of Kim Jong-il, though Western experts say he was born in the Soviet Union.

The Koreas are sending a joint research team to the active volcano Mt. Baekdu, located on the North Korean-Chinese border. Apparently, the North Koreans are concerned about the possibility of an eruption – or as they’d probably call it, a glorious tribute by nature to the Dear Leader.

I find North Korea a very bizarre place; not only because of the “traffic girls” on empty streets, the lack of streetlights, the ubiquitous hand-drawn propaganda posters, and the comically bellicose official statements, but because of how the cult of personality is so entrenched in the culture. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how it would even enters someone’s mind to say something so absurd like saying a halo appeared over the birthplace of a leader. Yet, there are those people that believe it. (There are always true believers.) I think it’s the same problem I have with religion. It’s just so patently absurd, the only honest reaction is to laugh.

Of course North Korea’s propaganda ministry isn’t the most absurd. That one goes to the late Saparmurat Niyazov‘s lackeys in the Turkmenistan. Niyazov wrote his “Book of the Soul”, and then proceeded to order it placed in mosques next to the Koran. He ordered a golden statue built and made to rotate with the sun. He ordered his picture be placed in all government buildings, and to run constantly in the corner on state television station. Most famously, he ordered the names of the months and days of the week changed. Most interestingly, this last one wasn’t his idea. It was proposed by Ahmet Çalık, a Turkmen oligarch sucking up to Niyazov.

Pandora’s Vox

From Carmen Hermosillo’s (aka humdog) 1994 essay Pandora’s Vox

i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last, i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money-value. in the nineteenth century, commodities were made in factories, which karl marx called “the means of production.” capitalists were people who owned the means of production, and the commodities were made by workers who were mostly exploited. i created my interior thoughts as a means of production for the corporation that owned the board i was posting to, and that commodity was being sold to other commodity/consumer entities as entertainment. that means that i sold my soul like a tennis shoe and i derived no profit from the sale of my soul. people who post frequently on boards appear to know that they are factory equipment and tennis shoes, and sometimes trade sends and email about how their contributions are not appreciated by management.

Seventeen years later, it’s still the same, but in one sense it’s worse. Before it was just selling ads based on traffic. Now we’re processing the text of your posts for sentiment. Processing your social connections to determine whether your or one of your friends are more of an “influencer.” We’re trying to peer into meaning. Typically the concerns about text-mining / social-network-analysis / big-data revolve around privacy, which I believe mostly clouds the issue.

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If Your Child Reads Only One Book…

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

John Rodgers

Silicon Valley, Lasers, and Airplanes

The San Francisco Bay Area, has two airports in the top five for laser-aircraft incidents according to the FAA. While the FAA didn’t release the total number of incidents, the relative ranking of the airports are are:

  1. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor
  4. Mineta San Jose
  5. Oakland

Money quote from the article:

The U.S. Marshals Service Office theorizes it may be due to the number of people involved or interested in high tech. While some portion of the laser shooters are thought to be middle-aged methamphetamine users looking for thrills, other shooters are young, well-educated and interested in science, science fiction and are tech-savvy, officials believe.

SFO? Where are you?