Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wim Crouwel's collected posters and covers

Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crouwel
(Groningen, 1928) is a Dutch graphic designer and typographer. In 1963, he was one of the founders of the design studio Total Design (currently named Total Identity). Crouwel's graphic work is especially well known for the use of grid-based layouts and typography that is rooted in the International Typographic Style.

There is a very extensive and interesting collection of his posters and book covers over at This Dutch site

And, there is a sharp, hi-res version of each.

Found via Coudal Partners

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2.5 or stronger earthquaakes in the past 7 days

Using data from the U.S. Geological survey, this site charts all the seismic activity over 2.5 on the Richter Scale and plots it for the previous week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How not to use Powerpoint

Frankly, if you have to use Powerpoint to make your point your point probably doesn't need to be made anyway.

Don't Talk to Strangers

Brandon Doman asked random strangers to fill up his stack of notebooks - at first in person and later online.
I’ve always been captivated by people’s stories and the amazingly complex lives of the millions of people we pass in a lifetime. In July of 2009 I decided to try to capture a glimpse of these stories of the strangers we pass every day by asking strangers to write a journal entry in my notebook.

When I started this project, I had no idea of the potential for significant emotional connection with a complete stranger—connection through spontaneous intimate discourse. The project quickly became something more than I expected. It became something organic. Something that connects us. People would laugh while they wrote. They would cry. The stories illuminated the strands that connect us all—The beautiful, dirty, scary, and exciting bits of humanity that we hesitate to show strangers.

We often feel alone—all six billion of us. We’ve learned, now more than ever, that being surrounded by people doesn’t keep us from feeling lonely.

A fascinating, if occasionally banal, look into our human condition.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Periodic Table of Periodic Tables

The web has hundreds of periodic tables but until now there was no "Periodic Table of Periodic Tables"! Now there is a wonderful and useful interactive utility linking to dozens of even more useful sources: take a look!

Augmented Reality Clearly Explained

Embedding not allowed. Please click this link.

Fount at The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A delightful film on the beauty of the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Sequence

A most beautiful 200 voice "Virtual Choir"

An absolutelly astounding "virtual choir". It brings 185 voices, all recorded independently at home, and then combined into a virtual choir. Each voice (available on the side of the video) is expert, each face unique; combined they are heavenly. Could you do a choir of 1,000? Yes, you could! A million, certainly possible.

Rhythmic cycle w/ abstract animation. Mesmerizing!

Sonar from Renaud Hallée on Vimeo.

Found via Coudal Partners

A fascinating examination of Van Gogh's "The Bedroom"

From the moment they leave the easel, paintings begin to change. That certainly applies to The bedroom, which was already damaged during Van Gogh’s lifetime. After that, natural ageing of the materials, later damage, and restoration treatments all took their toll. Recently, the painting was thoroughly examined to determine its current condition. This examination made use of a variety of modern techniques and instruments. The conclusion was that major restoration is essential, to preserve this masterpiece for the future. It also became clear that the painting has become severely discoloured over time.

Found at The Van Gogh Museum via Coudal Partners

Monday, March 22, 2010

John Grisham reluctantly embraces eBooks

Author, John Grisham, has broken his holdout against selling his books in an electronic format and will sell all of his 23 titles as e-books, his publisher said on Tuesday. The former lawyer, whose best sellers include "The Firm" and "A Time To Kill", had previously held off selling his books electronically, expressing concern that e-books would wipe out traditional book stores and make it harder for new writers to succeed.

Grisham had previously said in a TV interview last November that discounting of printed books by major retailers and the advent of e-books was "a disaster in the long term" for publishers, bookstores and authors.

"If a new book is now worth about $9 then we have seriously devalued that book," Grisham said on the "Today" show.

"Suddenly the whole industry is going to change, you are going to lose publishers, you are going to lose bookstores. I am probably going to be alright, but the aspiring writers are going to have a hard time getting published," he added.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amazon launches Kindle for the Mac

At long last Amazon has filled a glaring gap in their market by launching a beta version of their Kindle application for the Macintosh platform. The app uses the same WhisperSync technology used on the original Kindle to purchase and manage your collection.

Kindle for the Mac requires Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard, and is available for download here.

My head is in the cloud

Dave Pell has an insightful and personally disturbing (for me!) post over on Tweetage Wasteland about how we have become so accustomed to our computers, our smartphones, and the internet managing all of our personal information that we can no longer do it for ourselves.

Driving the point home, this passage:
Recently, our babysitter was struck by a car just a few steps from our front door. Luckily, none of her injuries were life threatening. Her cell phone, however, was brutalized beyond recognition.

Before heading to the emergency room, I climbed into the back of the ambulance where I asked her if she wanted me to call her boyfriend. She said she did, but she didn’t know his telephone number. It was lost along with her now obliterated cell phone, and she had never committed the number to memory.

At first, I was shocked. How could she possibly not know her own boyfriend’s telephone number? It must have been the trauma of being hit by a car. But then I thought about it for a few seconds, and I realized that – without pulling out my iPhone – I don’t know her telephone number either.
Aside from a few numbers I have known most of my life, I know almost none of my friends contact information. As Dave says:
Now, after a few years of this, I realize that when I look up from the screen I know almost nothing. And maybe that would be fine if the absent phone numbers and upcoming dates were freeing space for deeper and more introspective thought. But I sense that my addiction to the realtime stream is only making room for the consumption of a faster stream.

Excellent read at the link.

Found via: Coudal Partners

Image lifted from: Greg Verdino's blog with no attribution.

How and why college students use Wikipedia

There is a very interesting article published in the March edition of "First Monday", the University of Illinois at Chicago's on-line, peer-reviewed journal, analyzing how and why college students use the on-line encyclopedia, Wikipedia, for their scholarly research.

The students - 86 of them - were interviewed in eleven different focus groups on seven different campuses. 70 percent were female and they ranged in age from 20 to 30 years old. Students were full–time sophomores, juniors, seniors from four–year public and private colleges and universities, and full–time community college students, who had completed at least one semester at the institution. The mean GPA for the total student sample across all seven schools was 3.44, or just above a B+ average.

There was also an on-line 32 item survey which was distributed to 27,666 students on six campuses in the U.S. between April and May 2009. The study sample was 2,318 responses. The overall response rate was eight percent.

Major findings from the study are as follows (full results are available at the top link):

  1. Far more students, than not - 53 percent, used Wikipedia. Wikipedia was used in addition to a small set of other commonly used information resources at the beginning of the research process.

  2. Reasons for using Wikipedia were diverse: Wikipedia provided students with a summary about a topic, the meaning of related terms, and also got students started on their research and offered a usable interface.

  3. Respondents who were majoring in architecture, engineering, or the sciences were more likely to use Wikipedia than respondents in other majors.

Figure 1: How often do students use Wikipedia during the course–related research process?

Figure 2: Why do students use Wikipedia for course–related research?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

30,000 items in the British Library on-line gallery and there are "Virtual Books"

A most excellent resource.

Librivox - find free audiobooks fast! (beta) provides a simple interface for finding both the free audio books at and the pay books at

Their goal is to provide a one stop shop of all the audio and electronic books available on the web. Using free tools such as jQuery and jQuery.TOOLS, Librophile offers a simple interface based around scrolling through books in the various archives. You can browse the latest books, search by keywords or choose more broadly by genre. You can often listen to chapters online, download a whole book, play a sample or subscribe using iTunes.

Found at lifehacker

Can colleges go textbookless?

David McGrath, professor emeritus, College of DuPage, currently teaching at Edison State College in Fort Myers offers his opinion based on experience of how colleges can save students money and offer a better more relevant education at the same time.

He notes that the material in the $72 volume required by his department is little changed from principles he has been teaching for two decades using $20 college handbooks. Throw in some essays from recent periodicals available and already paid for in their college library eResources and any professor worth his chalk can present skills and concepts directly and more interestingly at great savings to their students.

Perhaps it’s time universities go “textbookless,” to free our students from the expensive tyranny of Bedford, Pearson, Prentice Hall, and Houghton Mifflin. David McGrath

Agence Eureka - a wonderful collection of older graphic images

Agence Eureka has pages and pages of older illustrations, trading cards, maps, adverts and more. Lots to see and all delightful.

Found at Coudal Partners.

Friday, March 12, 2010

University of South Florida Launches Lit 2 Go

Lit2Go — a collaboration between the Florida Department of Education and the University of South Florida College of Education — supports literacy by providing access to recordings of historically and culturally significant literature. The extensive collection of hundreds of audiobooks, stories, and poems, including classics such as Alice In Wonderland, Aesop's Fables, and A Tale of Two Cities, is available on iTunes U.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Write a Mission Statement That Doesn't Suck [video]

Let's say you founded a pizza parlor. And your first idea for a mission statement is something like this: "Our mission is to serve the tastiest damn pizza in Wake County." That's pretty good. If I worked for you, I could get excited about that. Now here's how it will go off the rails.

Found at Fast Company.

Quotiki – a social quotes wiki

Quotiki is a social quotes wiki that lets you quickly find and enjoy quotes. As a member of the community, you can start tagging, rating, submitting and collecting quotes.

Find famous people and your friends in speeches, dialogs, chat logs, quotations, sayings, jokes and more! Tag yourself and other people in your favorite quotes and easily share them with friends.

Samsung's new eReader - the E6.

Samsung has announced its first entry to the e-book reader market and it will go through Barnes & Noble, complementing the bookstore chain's own Nook device. The E6 will go on sale for under $300. Samsung's device doesn't look like the typical modern e-reader. It goes more for an old-school PDA style. It even has a stylus-activated touch-screen, MP3 player, and digital notepad and calendar.

The E6 has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity (for wireless audio transmission). Additionally, like the Nook, users will be able to share selected books with one another. For example, person A, with a Nook, will be able to send a book to person B, with an E6, which will be accessible on person B's device for 14 days.

Found at TG Daily

Printing and Bookbinding - a short film to inspire

Ditoria from typometro on Vimeo.

Found at Coudal Partners

The Oscar winning animated short "Logorama"

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A collection of Robert McGinnis covers

Robert McGinnis (born 1926), is an American artist and illustrator known for his illustrations of over 1200 paperback book covers,and over 40 movie posters, including Breakfast at Tiffanys (his first film poster assignment),Barbarella, and several James Bond and Matt Helm films.

Here is a wonderful collection of some of his work. NOTE: Pulp novels sometimes demand "racy" covers. You will find a little nudity and suggestive images. But then that is part of the fun.

Why DRM Doesn't Work

Click to embiggen

Found at The Brads

Google's New Public Data Explorer

Yesterday, Google Labs unveiled the "Public Data Explorer," which allows you to see animated visualizations of some of the most searched-for data sets on the Web. The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don't have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings.

As a "Google Labs" project, it is a work in progress and Google, in usual form, is soliciting input from users for its refinement.

PictureIt Rare Book Reader

Modeled on similar projects at The British Library and the National Library of Medicine, The University of Michigan's “PictureIt” site
puts some of the most beautiful and sought‐after items in our collections into the hands of readers worldwide –

The first of our treasures accessible in this way is volume one of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. Our
eight‐volume, double‐elephant folio edition of Audubon’s magnificent work was the first purchase by the
Regents for the University Library. The Regents paid $970 – an extraordinary expenditure in 1838 – for the set, a
significant act of faith for a university that had yet to offer a single class or construct its first building.

Audubon's original work is on permanent display in the The Audubon Room.

Found at The Proverbial Lonewolf Librarian

Monday, March 08, 2010

Author Name Pronunciation Guide

Quite simply, a collection of brief recordings of authors & illustrators
saying their names. Hello, my name is . . .

The site is also searchable. Found at Book Patrol

The New Yorker Magazine Jigsaw Puzzler

Three levels of fun available here.

A beautiful collection of old railroad posters

Dozens and dozens of beautifully designed railroad posters available here.

Paths forward for the Google Books Settlement: Infographic

Now that the "Fairness Hearing" on the Google Books Settlement has occurred, it is up to Judge Chin to decide whether the proposed settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." The chart below attempts to diagram some of the possible paths forward.

Click to enlarge

Found at Library Copyright Alliance

Friday, March 05, 2010

Mobile Market Share: Infographic

Click to enlarge

Found at: iCrossing

Shelter Box. Off topic, but needs to be known

I just found Shelter Box.

Shelter Box instantly responds to earthquake, volcano, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict by delivering boxes of aid.

Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. The contents are tailored depending on the nature and location of the disaster, with great care taken in sourcing every item to ensure it is robust enough to be of lasting value.

The cost of a box is $700, including delivery direct to those who need it. Each box bears its own unique number so as a donor you can track your box all the way to its recipient country via the website

Highly trained ShelterBox Response Teams distribute boxes on the ground, working closely with local organisations, international aid agencies and Rotary clubs worldwide.

Since its inception in 2000, ShelterBox has firmly established itself at the forefront of international disaster relief, providing emergency shelter for the people who need it most on every continent.

Here is a very informative and inspirational video. These folks are doing very good things:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Penguin Press's iPad Books. Simply amazing!

The Apple iPad is about to change the way we view books and will create an entirely new interactive experience that was only dreamed of a year ago. And it will be much more than just black-text-on-white books--if you wanted that, you'd buy a Kindle, not a giant iPhone with Wi-Fi, a huge LCD, and a top-of-its-class mobile processor. Are these game/video/audio hybrids really "books"? If Penguin's amazing examples are a sign of things to come, we may be asking that question quite often.

Penguin's CEO, John Makinson says:
"We will be embedding audio, video, and gaming into everything we do. The .epub format, which is the standard for ebooks at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we're now talking about. So for the time being, at least, we'll be creating a lot of our digital content as applications, to be sold on app stores, in HTML."
Watch this amazing demo of Penguin's offerings on the iPad.

Found via Fast Company

International Space Station in Hi-Res

Click to REALLY enlarge

All 50 State Tourism Logos

Click to embiggen

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Find Film Clips Fast

Launched in beta in December, the free Movieclips service features 12,000 classic film excerpts — from It’s a Wonderful Life to The Big Lebowski. Search by actor (”Jeff”), director (”Coen”), keyword (”Big”), or line of dialog to call up the snippet you seek (”Where’s the money, Lebowski?”). In the mood for the full flick? Movieclips directs you to other sites to download, rent, or buy. One really cool feature is that you can simply place your cursor over a clip shown on the home page to play it instantly on your screen.

If you have more esoteric tastes, turn to Anyclip (also free and currently in beta). Founded in March 2009, the site went live with 20 public-domain films in January; it will launch another 300 titles, mostly indies, at South by Southwest in March. Anyclip uses a scene-by-scene indexing system, and a crowdsourced video-editing option lets users cut clips themselves or add additional search tags to improve the service.

Burger Wars - Todays InfoGraphic

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Internet? Bah!

This article has been making the rounds on various blogs and message boards this week.

The author, Clifford Stoll, makes a couple of valid points about real experiences vs. virtual experiences, but seemed to completely miss what was about to become the rise of the internet (and of course that growth has not stopped).

It's remarkable that these comments were made only 15 years ago. And although we all know just how fast the technology landscape is shifting around us, it really does make one wonder what the world will look like 15 years from now, and which of our assumptions may end up as incorrect as this one.

Stoll, an astronomer by trade, continues to make waves. Here is a clip of him speaking at a TED conference in 2006:

Lots More Pulp Novel Covers....

Many, many more here.

Found at Coudal Partners

The State of the Internet

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from Jesse Thomas on Vimeo.

A beautiful new library

A beautiful new library has opened in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Rolex Learning Center for the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is a single fluid space that undulates like free-flowing waves over 20,000 square meters (just over 215,000 square feet) of inner city real estate. But the deliberately park-like structure makes a densely populated metropolitan area feel like the rolling hills and fertile valleys in the foothills of the nearby Alps. Almost entirely free of interior walls, long sweeping vistas seem to erase the distinction between indoors and outdoors. There is simply never ending space.

The Japanese architectural firm known as SANAA has created a single-story, slice-like structure so sublimely constructed it seems to float above the ground.

More photos and descriptives are available at Book Patrol

A descriptive video is available at the Rolex Learning Center

Monday, March 01, 2010

Wordnik: redefining the dictionary.

Wordnik was founded in 2008 by Erin McKean, former editor in chief of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. Wordnik enhances the traditional dictionary experience by allowing anyone interested in the meaning of words to participate in their definition. To supplement Wordnik's catalogue of words pulled from six different dictionaries and thesauri, including The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and The Century Dictionary, language enthusiasts can make suggestions for the inclusion of any word among the thousands that are omitted from print resources each year due to space limitations—and even submit invented words for consideration.

In addition to definitions, Wordnik offers users a wealth of unique data, including information about how a word is being tweeted, examples of related words that often appear in its context, and its value in Scrabble points. Like Thinkmap's Visual Thesaurus, another interactive online resource, which creates word maps, Wordnik uses visual elements to offer users innovative ways to conceive of language. Many definitions feature images from Flickr, Yahoo's photo-sharing site, that show how words are used in tags and captions, and also display charts that show how often the word has been used over time.

Here is a delightfully entertaining presentation at TED by Erin in which she redefines the dictionary. I love her statement that "Paper is the enemy of words."