Lucky China

June 17, 2010 by

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 by

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 by

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 by

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 by

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

Better Than Fake Cigarettes!

May 31, 2010 by

Le Whif is BREATHABLE chocolate!!! All of the taste, none of the calories. Each colorful tube of Le Whif gives you up to 10 puffs of chocolately flavor: chocolate, chocolate-raspberry or mint chocolate. It actually doesn’t enter the lungs, but delivers a rich chocolate taste sensation to the tongue and sides of the mouth. And now Le Whif has developed coffee hits…for that caffeine jolt on the go!


May 31, 2010 by

Over 10 years ago, Kyla said to me “I think vending machines will sell luxury/high tech items, even artwork and be in places like night clubs, hotels, airports”. This is why she’s my business partner…she’s brilliant. Check out the gold brick vending machine…or shall we say “automated retail experience”! According to an article in the New York Times last week, “Vending machines in neon-splashed Tokyo have electronic eyes that evaluate consumers’ skin and wrinkles to determine whether they are old enough to buy tobacco. In bathrooms at upscale Canadian bars, vending machines with flat irons enable women to defrizz their locks. In Abu Dhabi, the lobby of a luxury hotel has a vending machine that dispenses gold bars and coins at more than $1000 an ounce.” When you can get an iPad from a vending machine, it makes a Baby Ruth seem so pedestrian!!!


May 31, 2010 by

While facebook may be able to achieve things great and small — whether it is reinvigorating the career of an 88-year-old actress, or simply reconnecting two old friends ­– I have been boycotting the social networking site since it started. One of my initial objections to the service was the rumor that users personal information would be sold to other companies for data mining.

More recently I’ve heard about various facebook problems — constantly changing and ever confusing privacy policies, as well as a glitch a few weeks ago that temporarily made members’ private chats visible to all of their friend — leaving many users nervous about the privacy of their information.

So I wasn’t that surprised to learn that a group of college students are receiving a great deal of attention (and start-up money) based on their concept of a social networking site that respects and maintains the privacy of its users. They plan to launch their social networking framework, diaspora*, in September 2010.

“Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook” – The New York Times

iPad TV

May 20, 2010 by

I admit it. When doing somewhat rote work related things, I like to have the TV on…But no TV at the office, so all of that rote work used to happen at home (usually late at night or on weekends). With the iPad and NetFlix, I can now stream various TV shows and have that on at the office. TV at work…yep, makes the rote stuff go faster and I don’t have to work weekends. Whew!!!

I’d Like to Book Room PMS 382, Please

May 19, 2010 by

Pantone licensing reaches its apotheosis with the Pantone Hotel, in Brussels. Dig a beautiful brand and you’ll just find more beauty. This is cool.

Courtesy: Fast Company