Rants & Ramblings

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

apr
22
2012

Who Made That Pie Chart? | NYTimes.com

Hilary Greenbaum and Dana Rubinstein write, “William Playfair — a businessman, engineer and economics writer from Scotland — created the first known pie chart in 1801.”

apr
19
2012

Penguins Rocket Away from Danger Aboard Supercavitating Bubble Jets | Gizmodo

Andrew Tarantola writes, “Turns out, not being eaten by a leopard seal is excellent motivation. It’s what spurred penguins to develop an ingenious method of cutting down their drag—by wrapping themselves in a shawl of bubbles.”

apr
15
2012

Dinner Improvisation

Dinner improvisation: Soba noodles cooked in chicken broth with kale, red bell pepper, mushrooms and green onions.

For dinner last night, Rob and I challenged ourselves to use up (most of) the leftover veggies in the fridge. The result: buckwheat soba noodles cooked in chicken broth with kale, red bell pepper, mushrooms and green onions. I didn’t cook the kale long enough (it was still a little tough), but otherwise, the experiment worked out pretty well!

apr
10
2012

Why Are Chocolate Easter Bunnies Hollow? | Food & Think | Smithsonian

Amanda Bensen tracks down the history of the hollow chocolate Easter bunny, while musing, “Isn’t it cruel to disappoint kids, who bite into what looks like solid chocolate and are confronted with emptiness?”

apr
09
2012

Photo of the Day: Pie

23-mile bike ride on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Pie: earned.

Rob and I did a 23-mile bike ride yesterday on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. We earned our post-ride slices of pie. (Him: blueberry. Me: coconut cream.)

apr
05
2012

Photo of the Day: Hooray, Spring

Hooray for spring.

I don’t know what kind of flower / tree this is but it’s beautiful. Hooray for spring.

apr
04
2012

Anne Tyler's Baltimore

Map

Last week, NPR’s Morning Edition ran an interview with author Anne Tyler. To accompany the story, colleagues Becky Lettenberger, Tracy Wahl and I worked on a photo-map of her Baltimore neighborhood, where many of her books take place. Tyler’s Baltimore is very different from The Wire. Photographer Chris Hartlove (also a neighbor of Tyler’s) shot some beautifully moody-yet-vibrant photos of the neighborhood.

Stamen Design made a splash the week before with some beautifully rendered watercolor map tiles, which they made available for free via a Creative Commons license. We thought that the style paired well with Hartlove’s photography. I ran out of time to make this a truly interactive / zoomable map, and instead took a screenshot of the map at a single zoom level and layered all my pins on top of that. More about those map tiles: How Stamen Generated the Tiles | Watercolor Textures

The type on the map is set with H&FJ’s Sentinel. We usually set our maps in various weights of Helvetica Neue Condensed, but Sentinel seemed better suited to this application.

Explore The Project »

apr
02
2012

You’re Listening To A Music Instrument Made Of Jell-O | Co.Design

Mark Wilson writes, “Noisy Jelly is a project by Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard, two students at L’Ensci Les Ateliers. They experiment with agar agar jellies, placed upon sensors that convert their vibrations into music with the help of arduino processing.” I love this, and I want my own kit.

mar
28
2012

In Japan, 'Sliced-Up Actors' Are A Dying Breed | NPR

Anthony Kuhn reports, “[Seizo Fukumoto] has been killed on screen more than 50,000 times — more than once in some films.”

mar
27
2012

Dot-dash-diss: The gentleman hacker's 1903 lulz | New Scientist

Paul Marks writes, “A century ago, one of the world’s first hackers used Morse code insults to disrupt a public demo of Marconi’s wireless telegraph.”

Why Typesetting Is the Career of the Future

This circa-1947 vocational video about careers in printing is fascinating. (Via Garance)