Bottomed Out?

Calculated Risk posted this job-losses chart on Friday (click for larger version):


Have we bottomed out?

(Nod: Chart Porn)

Story Time


TUAW tells the story of the iPad home screen image:

Richard Misrach had submitted 10 photos for Apple to consider for “wallpaper” some time ago, but they had all been rejected, he told Art Info. There was no mention of the iPad at the time, but they eventually called back to say yes, they’d like to use his “Pyramid Lake (at Night)” photo.

He describes the image as “…a long night exposure where the moon is lighting up the mountains in the distance. I shot it on an 8×10 camera, so the quality is really beautiful and you can see star trails going through the sky.”


The Difference 40 Years Make

Via The Daily Dish, here’s the “Internet” in 1969:

1969 technology, meet 2010 technology:

How do you like them Apples?

The last 50-ish years have been remarkable period of human achievement.   Look at the entire timeline of human existence and then look at the last 50 years or so.   At no time in human existence has technology not just electronic/computer technology advanced so rapidly and so robustly.   Truly remarkable.


The 160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes:


Celestial tones or what the planets would sound like if they were a music box.

solar system music box

(Nod: Information Is Beautiful)

Say Cheese to New Packaging

Back in August, I mentioned I first saw the new Stop & Shop branding on the milk jugs and cartons.   In the post, I commented, “I hope this cohesion [of the new branding] is extended to their line of shredded cheese because it’s a mess.”   The cheese aisle in August:

stop and shop shredded cheese

Well finally this week, I noticed the new branding started creeping into the cheese packaging.

stop and shop cheese

stop and shop cheese

Great to see a more cohesive packaging in the Stop & Shop dairy aisle.   I’ll have more on Stop & Shop’s repackaging endeavor some other time.

Just a Bill?

He’s not just a bill.   No, not only a bill:


See here if you missed the joke.

(Nod: Nagle)

“The Unfinished Business Is Done.”


From The Washington Post:

The political odyssey of health care reform in many ways is the story of Ted Kennedy, and as President Obama signed the historic bill into law Tuesday, Kennedy’s gravesite was a place of quiet celebration and poignant reflection.

The late senator’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, spent hours Sunday at the simple white cross at Arlington National Cemetery marking where her husband was laid to rest only seven months ago. Ted Kennedy’s youngest son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), visited on Monday morning and left a hand-written note that read: “Dad, the unfinished business is done.”

A General Milling About the Cereal Aisle

I haven’t posted any branding/packaging images in a while, so here you go.   Recently at the grocery store, I discovered a mother lode of new packaging: General Mills cereals.   Except for the Kix packaging, the design seems retro, so I wonder if this is a limited-time redesign similar to the Oreo and Ritz redesigns from last summer or if this indeed a temporarily permanent redesign.   Either way, these look great.   Gone are the Americanized, ADHD-inspired design elements like arced balloon text and swirls within swirls.   Instead, we have simple text, simple layer styles, and simple design elements.

cherrios redesign

lucky charms redesigncinnamon toast crunch redesignkix redesign

More please!

Yes We Can! Hell No You Can’t!

(Nod: Roger Ebert)


From the White House Flickr stream today:


In case you’re concerned that the president can’t draw a circle, his name contains 11 letters, but he used 20 pens to sign his name, so more than one pen was used for some letters.


Another brilliant cartoon by Tom Toles:


More Chat Roulette Piano Improv

Ben Folds, impersonating his impersonator, signs into Chat Roulette during a concert and serenades the people he meets.   Amazing:

Here again is his impersonator.   Also amazing:

(Nod: Nagle and GOOD)

“This Is What Change Looks Like”

White House photographer Pete Souza captures President Obama applauding the House passage of the health care bill last night:


The Health Care Vote

The Atlantic‘s James Fallows on why this moment matters:

For now, the significance of the vote is moving the United States FROM a system in which people can assume they will have health coverage IF they are old enough (Medicare), poor enough (Medicaid), fortunate enough (working for an employer that offers coverage, or able themselves to bear expenses), or in some other way specially positioned (veterans; elected officials)… TOWARD a system in which people can assume they will have health-care coverage. Period.

That is how the entire rest of the developed world operates, as noted yesterday. It is the way the United States operates in most realms other than health coverage. Of course all older people are eligible for Medicare. Of course all drivers must have auto insurance. Of course all children must have a public school they can attend. Etc. Such “of course” rules offer protection for individuals but even more important, they reduce the overall costs to society, compared with one in which extreme risks are uncontained. The simplest proof is, again, Medicare: Does anyone think American life would be better now, on an individual or a collective level, if we were in an environment in which older people might have to beg for treatment as charity cases when they ran out of cash? And in which everyone had to spend the preceding years worried about that fate?



Chat Roulette Piano Improv

Fantastic stuff:

(Nod: Nagle)

They’re Creepy and They’re Kooky

addams family

/Film is reporting Tim Burton will work on a 3D, stop-motion Addams Family film something that seems better fit for Tim Burton than a glove is fit for a hand based on the original cartoon by Charles Addams.   So if his past films are any indication, Gomez will be voiced by Johnny Depp and Morticia by Burton’s wife, Helena Bonham Carter.   And we’ll get a Danny Elfman score instead of a Marc-Shaiman-doing-Danny-Elfman score as we did in Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 film (terrific score nonetheless).   Seems like this good be great.

A + B = C

I haven’t posted a Sporcle quiz lately, so here you go: Name the movie based on other characters the actors have played.   This is what I call “The Movie Game” and have played with people in the past.   The idea is this: An actor in movie ‘A’ and an actor in movie ‘B’ starred together in movie ‘C’.   Got that?

For example, I would say, “Edward Scissorhands and The Lord of the Rings,” and you would say, “Pirates of the Caribbean” because Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands and Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings starred together in Pirates of the Caribbean.   It’s a fun game for when you need to pass some time (waiting, driving, etc.).

Sporcle takes this concept a little further.   Instead of giving movies, they give you character names from those movies.   This version is a little harder, I think, because if you don’t know who played the character and don’t know what movie that character is from, you’re stuck.   At least with knowing the movie (in my version), you might have an idea who was in that film.   With this version, there are enough clues that you can still probably have a shot.   Try it!


Tom Toles takes on the Texas Crusaders.



After about four months of development time and a few very long nights last week, my NCAA touchscreen brackets graphic debuted on SportsCenter yesterday. ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb revealed his bracket using the Perceptive Pixel touchscreen.

Here are a few short videos of Doug in action yesterday:

Part of my fun with this project was working with all the anchors and analysts who will be interacting with the touchscreen. Yesterday I was in support mode making sure Doug was comfortable with the graphic.

Doug making a pick:

doug gottlieb ncaa tournament brackets

Doug tossing away two teams’ stat panels:

doug gottlieb ncaa tournament brackets

Doug and others will be using the touchscreen throughout the tournament, so check it out on ESPN!

iMaxi iPad Case With Wings!

We all should have seen this one coming: The jokes about the iPad’s name continue.   The iPhone Blog posted yesterday Etsy is releasing a case for the iPad called the iMaxi.   And it has wings.


This is as creative of a case as AirMail’s folder sleeve for the MacBook Air:


Which was made in response/homage to Steve Jobs at the keynote address announcing the Air.

jobs with macbook air

Well done.   Well done.

Betty White is Awesome


Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers on Twitter yesterday confirmed on 08 May, Betty White will be hosting the show.   Fantastic!

“Dr. Linus”


“Dr. Linus” certainly wasn’t the most exciting or most tense episode of the series, but it was a great episode to move the story along and start giving us answers (keep reading).   Here are a few thoughts:

But something that I wanted an answer for didn’t get: How did Ben escape from the temple?   Last week we left him in an unsettled state backing away from Sayid, and this week we see Ben running through the jungle.   Did he use the secret passage, too?   If not, how did he get past smokey?

Some future action (don’t know what yet) will reset everyone’s timelines at some point before the crash of Oceanic 815.   Therefore, the flash-sideways that we see now really isn’t an alternate realty like the writers have said; instead, it’s THE timeline.   This theory of mine was backed up by:

The most revealing piece to me was when Roger Workman mentioned the Dharma Initiative and leaving the island.   That was the first mention of the island in any flash-sideways we’ve seen so far.   Something happened to change what we know of their past.   What was it?   And when was it?   We also found out that Richard Alpert was given a gift by Jacob and that presumedly Richard came to the island on the Black Rock.

Back in “The Substitute” when we were first introduced to Dr. Linus, a friend of mine and I thought that his teaching subject, European history, wasn’t an accident.   For instance, why not have Ben be a statistics teacher or a grammar teacher; European history was chosen for a reason.   Perhaps that reason was revealed in this episode.   When discussing Napoleon on Elba, Dr. Linus mentions something about Napoleon being powerless on his own island a parallel to Ben on the LOST island.

That wasn’t the only parallel between on-island and off-island Ben.   In both story lines, Ben was tempted by Locke and was given the choice of being the Ben we’ve known for so long or a different Ben; he could choose the self-interested path to power, or he could act for the greater good.   Both on-island and off-island, he resisted temptation and chose the more righteous path.

Final thought: Walter Peck is still a dick.

Can’t wait for next week!

Do You Know Where Your Cows Are?

GOOD this week linked to a website called “Where Is My Milk From?” that will, upon entering a code found on your milk container, tell you where in the U.S. your milk came from.   Very cool and very interesting to see 1.) where it came from and 2.) what larger distributor is behind “generic” milk.

For instance, my Stop-and-Shop-branded milk is produced by Garelick Farms in Franklin, MA.   They make their own milk, but apparently they also produce Stop and Shop milk.

stop and shop milk map

Last week I had Market-Pantry-branded milk from Target.   This milk came from Byrne Dairy in Syracuse, NY.

target milk map

I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of this, except I started watching Food, Inc last week.   The film mentions that so few food corporations control the American food supply, and even when you think you’re buying a different brand, you really aren’t.   Nowhere on either milk cartons are Garelick or Byrne mentioned.   That seems obfuscatory at best, nefarious at worst.

See where your milk came from (and who actually produces it).