August 20, 2014

Praise of disregard

Imagine, for example, that you receive an angry email from someone and there is nothing you can do about the person's grievances. You read it. You accept your inability to change the situation. Then you delete it. Instead of leaving it in your inbox to pull your thoughts toward an irrevocable past, the symbolic act of throwing it away frees your mental energies for more worthwhile pursuits. This is a metaphor, of course. It is probably quite easy for you to delete an email that bothers your brain. But thoughts, which are as virtual as email, can be gotten rid of as well. In all their immateriality, thoughts and emails still impose an extraordinary amount of authority and influence on our actions and frames of mind. Doing away with them has the same effect as removing a concrete obstacle from sidewalk ahead of you.

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June 26, 2014

Manifesto - everything I need should be at arms reach: Casey Neistat

"It's an efficiency thing. If you have to stop to spend a few hours looking for a red sharpie, that's a few hours you should've been editing and not looking for a red sharpie. So it's better to have a box that's simply labeled 'red sharpies'. I'm not OCD. I'm just doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong.

Manifesto for the studio - everything I need to make for a movie should be at arms reach.

-- Casey Neistat

November 13, 2013

Tenacity is not the same as persistence -- Seth Godin

Tenacity is not the same as persistence
Persistence is doing something again and again until it works. It sounds like 'pestering' for a reason.

Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve a goal when the old ways didn't work.

Telemarketers are persistent, Nike is tenacious.

Seth Godin.

August 11, 2011

Talk to Me | on the way to the exhibition

The Museum of Modern Art's "Talk to Me: Design and the Communication Between People and Objects" is one of the smartest design shows in years.

The show is certainly a brave undertaking for a design department that's still strongly associated with 20th-century modernism. It's a big step from a Corbusier chair to an iPhone, or as senior curator Paola Antonelli, puts it, "from the centrality of function to that of meaning."

Talk to Me | on the way to the exhibition

August 5, 2011

Brooklyn goes to the Hudson Valley

In the usual suspects of Hudson Valley exurban revival, like Beacon, Cold Spring and Hudson, in cities like Kingston and Poughkeepsie and smaller communities like Tivoli, Red Hook, Accord and High Falls, you can find something similar.

Call it the Brooklynization of the Hudson Valley, the steady hipness creep with its locavore cuisine, its Williamsburgian bars, its Gyrotonic exercise, feng shui consultants and deep clay art therapy and, most of all, its recent arrivals from New York City.

Jenifer Constantine and Trippy Thompson, bartenders in Williamsburg, found the adventurous loft life there a bit too precarious after the birth of their first child in 2007, and moved to New Paltz to open their own minimalist, Brooklynesque bar and restaurant in Rosendale, Market Market, with a locavore menu and weekly spoken-word slams.

Dave Lerner, a musician, found the Brooklyn life getting claustrophobic and moved to West Saugerties, a placed that seemed different but part of a familiar universe, where there was music and culture but you could bike, hike and breathe.

John Friedman, a lawyer who lived in Greenwich Village, fell in love with Hudson and went from making mostly telecom deals in Manhattan to making mostly agriculture deals in the Hudson Valley.

Kate Doris left her hometown of Kingston as it skidded downward after I.B.M. left in the '90s. Now she's back, plugged into the local art scene, amused at the number of her Brooklyn friends who have also moved up.

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August 2, 2011

The very best of the Awl: Brown Semiotics

To some people, it's about, like wizards, and that's cool. But to me, it's about how capitalism creates a structure of self-serving rituals to make individuals believe that they are members of a community."

"Oh," Emma said. Her therapist had told her if she felt uncomfortable at any time she should picture herself in the place in the world she most loved, and to make it as realistic as possible. She closed her eyes. "I'm at the Brentwood Town Center Jamba Juice right now with Taylor Swift. She just ordered an Apple and Greens with a Power boost and I got a 3G with a flax boost. I'm wearing a sundress from Kitson and Uggs, and she's writing a text to John Mayer about..."

"Anyway, I'm late for Shakespeare Rewrites Shakespeare..." Masha said.

"Oh," Emma said. "I was going to take that, but, in the end I was just looking for, you know, a class on just Shakespeare."

Masha sniffed. "What does 'just Shakespeare?' even mean?"

"I don't know. Reading his plays and discussing them?"

-- Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl, which are for teens but adults can read on the beach.

December 30, 2009

Morality on five axis, Jonathan Haidt

harm reduction, reciprocity and fairness, purity, respect for authority, and in-group loyalty

Jonathan Haidt talking about his work as a moral psychologist. His big insight is that people experience moral intuitions along five axes: harm reduction, reciprocity and fairness, purity, respect for authority, and in-group loyalty. Of those five axes, highly educated upper-middle-class Westerners, and in that group liberals more than conservatives, tend to define only the first two axes, harm reduction and fairness, as really about morality, and think of the other three as being matters of personal preference or emotional reaction rather than right and wrong; in contrast, most people outside that fairly small class feel that all five axes are of comparable moral importance. In political matters, he argues that liberals are disadvantaged by speaking this impoverished language of morality: most people feel that in-group loyalty, purity, and respect for authority are matters of fundamental importance, and liberals don't give those concerns the weight they deserve - to create a more appealing message, liberals would need to talk more about those issues.

March 30, 2009

Most educated towns (degrees) Top 25

As usual, Boston and Washington DC are well represented in the most educated towns list. [CNN]

Rank City % residents with graduate degrees

1 Arlington, VA 35.7%
6 Towson, MD 31.2%
8 Bethesda, MD 29.1%
9 Alexandria, VA 29.0%

3 Brookline, MA 32.5%
15 Newton, MA 26.9%
16 Cambridge, MA 26.3%

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February 28, 2009

North Face eats its dogfood

A nice example of a company using its own product:

Even companies not receiving federal money are trimming back. The North Face, the outdoor apparel and equipment company, hosted dealers and business partners at a Squaw Valley resort near Lake Tahoe in California late last year.

But to save the cost of 400 hotel rooms for the first night, North Face created a base camp where the group slept outdoors in North Face clothes and sleeping bags. Groups gave presentations around a camp fire. "The night was freezing cold," said Katja Asaro, managing director at Henry V Events, the Portland company that had planned it. "But people really got into it."

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December 27, 2008

Best building, 2008: Peking International Express

In Beijing, it didn't matter what the Dow was, of course, since the Chinese government's decision to make itself the world's leading patron of architecture was dependent on other things, including cheap labor. In time for the 2008 Olympics, the world saw the fruits of China's decision to put aside nationalism, hire the greatest architects from around the world, and let them do the kind of things they could never afford to do at home. That brought us two of the greatest buildings of the year, Herzog and de Meuron's extraordinary Olympic Stadium, the stunning steel latticework structure widely known as the Bird's Nest; and Norman Foster's Beijing Airport, a project that was not only bigger than any other airport in the world, but more beautiful, more logically laid out, and more quickly built. And the headquarters of CCTV, the Chinese television network, by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture--a building which I had thought was going to be a pretentious piece of structural exhibitionism--turned out to be a compelling and exciting piece of structural exhibitionism.

-- Paul Goldberger, the New Yorker's architecture critic.

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May 26, 2007

Hipper than Prague

Budapest became the new Prague, I've been wondering where
the new Budapest (or, perhaps, new new Prague) would be. The
answer turns out to be Krakow.


Anywhere with an Ikea less than two years old will do.

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February 11, 2007

Alpine, NJ is in the winners' circle

Experts say the phenomenon of the newly rich gravitating
toward country-club enclaves like Alpine is well established
in American society.

The old adage is crowding into the winner’s circle
and so these superaffluent communities are very desirable
for the big winners in our society, and there’s always
the contrast between the old money and new money.

-- Jim Hughes,
Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and
Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Especially in the case of hip-hop stars, many of whom insist
they’ll never lose touch with their street roots.
-- NYT, on Alpine NJ, 07620.

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September 16, 2006

Tilley Endurables, safari tourist fashion

Tilley Endurables, supplier of safari style tourist fashion.
Classic hats, cargo pants, and sturdy belts.

April 22, 2006

Zenmi flows

The positive psychology of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Between anxiety and boredom there is a satisfying range
where challenges match the skills.

More: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1991),
Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life (1997).

Via: MeFi, 43 Folders, FastCompany, Austega.

December 6, 2005

Google maps mania

Google maps mania charts the
mash ups and applications.

May 4, 2005

Jon Udell

Jon Udell offers pragmatic computer technology reviews with
can-do examples. A favourite writer since Byte magazine.
At O'Reilly, InforWorld index.

Example recorded actual product demos like this Oxygen XML
editor kill vapourware angst of Dan Bricklin's slideshows.