Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

jun
01
2012

Campaign Finance 2012: Where Your Money Can Go | NPR

Campaign Finance infographic

I worked on this NPR Politics infographic with S.V. Dáte and Greg Henderson. It’s mostly a straightforward chart, but I had some fun trying to visualize the streams of money from the different donor types to the various classes of political organizations. Thicker lines denote greater sums of money that can be legally donated.

Recent court cases have changed the rules about money in federal politics, but there still are rules. Here’s a snapshot of donors and fundraising recipients across the political spectrum — ranging from the candidates themselves to the new superPACs to different categories of 501(c) tax-exempt, nonprofit groups. It shows how much money can be donated, how that money can be spent and when donor names can be kept secret.

This is part of NPR’s ongoing coverage of money and politics.

View the Project »

may
31
2012

Tiny Desk Concert: Patrick Watson

I missed Patrick Watson’s Tiny Desk performance, but I saw him later that night at the 9:30 Club, opening for Andrew Bird. Lovely lovely. The song “Words in the Fire,” from his most recent album “Adventures in Your Own Backyard,” …

continue reading »

may
30
2012

Sizing Up The American Dream | NPR

I worked with April Fehling and Tanya Ballard Brown on an infographic about some of the typical components of the “American dream” — part of our series “American Dreams: Then And Now.”

View the Project »

may
22
2012

News Apps

A bit of work news: NPR is spinning up a News Apps team. This will be an interdisciplinary group of data journalists, designers and developers which will work on projects across NPR.org, NPR Music, Planet Money, StateImpact, stations, etc.

Management just announced the hire of the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Boyer as team lead. NPR.org editorial designers Nelson Hsu, Stephanie d’Otreppe and I will join this new team, as will StateImpact data journalist Matt Stiles. And we’re looking to hire two developers to fill out the team.

This should be fun.

may
21
2012

Make Good Art

Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech about making a career in the arts is lovely and inspiring — well worth watching / listening. (Transcript.)

(If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on Vimeo.)

may
12
2012

The Glacial Lagoon

Jökulsárlón

One of the big highlights of our Iceland trip was Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon in southeastern Iceland near Höfn. Icebergs calve off the nearby glacier into this lake, and then drift out to sea. It’s an amazing sight.

continue reading »

may
11
2012

Glaciers Ahoy

This morning I went through a few more photos from the Iceland trip to post on Flickr. To help me plot them geographically, I pulled up Google Maps. It came up in satellite view by default and, just … wow. …

continue reading »

2 Fresh, 2 Furious

Last night I went to This American Life‘s live movie theatre show. As one would expect, there was some great storytelling (and even stand-up comedy), and OK Go put on an interactive song performance involving handbells, smartphone apps and Guitar Hero.

If you’re any kind of public radio nerd (or even if you’re not), check out Mike Birbiglia’s awesome short film with Terry Gross (of Fresh Air):

There’s a round of “encore” screenings on Tuesday.

may
08
2012

Not Just a Jump, but Levitation | Lens | NYTimes.com

Kerri MacDonald writes, “Natsumi Hayashi does not call the photos she posts on Yowayowa Camera Woman Diary “jump shots.” A jump, she says, is composed of many movements. And those who go up must come down. No, Yowayowa Camera Woman is not jumping. She’s levitating.”

The frequent fliers who flew too much | Los Angeles Times

Ken Bensinger writes, “Many years after selling lifetime passes for unlimited first-class travel, American Airlines began scrutinizing the costs — and the customers.”

Waves of Grain | Slate

Nadia Arumugam writes, “How did Japan come to be a wheat-obsessed nation that needs gimmicks like the Gopan to eat rice disguised as wheat flour? The story of Japan’s conversion from rice to wheat involves a long, relentless campaign by the best propagandists in the business—the U.S. government, of course.”

The California Taco Trail: 'How Mexican Food Conquered America' | The Salt | NPR

Once upon a time, tacos were a Mexican snack. Now they’re an all-American institution. Gustavo Arellano leads us across Southern California in search of the roots of the American taco.”

may
06
2012

Iceland

Glacier ahead. #iceland #latergram

Rob and I spent a week in Iceland at the end of April, in part to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. I’m still sorting through photos, but for now, I’ll just say WOW. What an amazing place.

may
04
2012

The Graduate

Graduation Day

I flew out to Phoenix on Tuesday to celebrate my brother Ross’s graduation from ASU with a degree in film. Congratulations, Ross!

continue reading »