Archive for June, 2010

Kindle ‘Popular Highlights’

June 21, 2010

With so much information floating around these days, it is no wonder that Amazon has created a new top 25 list. Think of it as the future of the New York Times Best Seller List but in byte sized pieces.

Basically, Kindle readers have the power to highlight passages in books that they deem important, cool or just interesting. The result is that these passages will be highlighted for other Kindle users – unless they choose to disable this new feature called ‘popular highlights’ – as well as featured on

Depending upon how you look at this, this can be a positive or negative. While it gets you to the heart of what America is reading, it can also be seen as another way that we are weakening our brain matter. Akin to multitasking, relying on this type of technology can result in further lack of concentration. What is better? Being more connected or less focused? Hummm…


Lucky China

June 17, 2010

While the US is a meritocracy…work hard, get good stuff…China is all about luck. Most people may know this already, but it became very clear to me recently when reading articles about China how the concept of luck is truly embedded in the culture. Merit means something too…but good fortune helps you along. Numbers are harbingers of good fortune or not depending on the number. Why…because the name of the number sounds like and looks like something auspicious (or not). 8 is the most auspicious number because the name in Chinese sounds like the name for “lucky”. That’s why the Beijing Olympics started on August 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm. It also looks like infinity which is long life! 4 meanwhile, sounds like death, so most buildings omit the 4th floor and derivatives of 4 (40, 44, etc), much like we omit the 13th (1 +3 = 4….hmmmm) People pay a lot of money for cell phone numbers and license plates with auspicious numbers…hundreds of thousands of dollars in fact. Here’s to crazy eights!!!

The Color of Culture

June 14, 2010

If we can believe this chart, the only universal colors accepted by all cultures for a particular emotion are black (for evil) and red (for passion). The information design also leads one to believe (though I find it hard to imagine they intend this communication) that jealousy only exists in Western Europe, America, and Japan (or I suppose that there simply isn’t a color for it elsewhere; I suspect these gaps are just that, however: missing information).

In any event, a concise and interesting piece of information design, courtesy of Information is Beautiful.

Silence Please

June 14, 2010

What is going on in the world that no fewer than four recent publications should feature the theme of “silence”? Look at these titles:

In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise by George Prochnik

Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence by George M Foy

Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence by Anne D. Leclaire

The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise by Garret Keizer

It doesn’t take much volume to hear a yearning for simplicity, a way to cut through the clutter, and at the very least improve the signal to noise ratio in our lives.


June 14, 2010

It’s batter in a can and you blast it out for perfect pancakes. OK, maybe the name is a little wacky and skews it toward the pre-school set, but let me tell you: if you’re an adult and like pancakes (or crepes) at all, this is an amazing product. Light, fluffy (yet not puffed or yeasty), sweet enough to be eaten without syrup if you prefer, and organic! You will not believe this comes in a can.

Jai Ho, Graduates!

June 10, 2010

At the recent commencement ceremony at RISD, students suddenly interrupted the scheduled program, flash mob style, and performed a rendition of the dance from Slumdog Millionaire. I say, “Jai Ho, graduates!”

via flavorwire