Itdrewitself created this timelapse video showing the fires over London after the riots that erupted last week. I have to say that what happened shocked me. I have been thinking of going to England for a week or so this fall just because I enjoyed the time I spent there so much last time I visited. It saddens me to see that the disparity between rich and poor, the uncertainty about the future and the dismal state of the Western economy has inspired the youth to behave so violently. I am surprised something like this hasn’t happened yet in the U.S. Time magazine has already released a cover with the headline ‘The Decline and Fall of Europe”. I hope that isn’t what we are witnessing. I think it’s getting harder to hide the truth that money, economy and trading is all based on a broad assumption of acceptance and agreement in the belief of an orderly system. Intrinsically we all know money has no real value except what value people agree that it has. Maybe the reality is just finally becoming too difficult to uphold and it’s time for a new reality. One thing is for certain the wealth gap has become a real problem and someone has to answer for it. You can fool some people sometime but you can’t fool all the people all the time.
In the meantime, our hearts go out to those that are so angry that they decided to behave in such a manner and our thoughts go equally with those who were injured and robbed. Unfortunately it seems that the anger is once again misdirected and those who should really answer for the current state of affairs are still avoiding justice while we fight amongst ourselves.
Some people absolutely love the Zeitgeist series of videos and other absolutely despise them. There are obvious reasons for the emotions evoked on both sides of the equation that the videos ask people to consider. One thing that is absolutely certain and pertains to this website, is that they are definitely asking society to ‘Changethethought’. Please find the time to watch the entire video because it may actually do just that.
This little video by Thinklab was inspired by a TED talk given by Stefan Sagmeister. The Thinklab crew packed up a Canon 5D and travelled through South America, Europe, and New Zealand. The video is all captured from their trip. If this doesn’t make you want to push away from the machine for a while I don’t know what will.
Sasha Barr wanted to alert us to the efforts of several artists and designers dedicating some time to creating some prints to help raise money for the relief efforts in both Nashville and Memphis after the terrible flooding that has really upset the lives and communities of a lot of people in the Southern U.S. It’s a good cause to support. Even though the floods have not been receiving much coverage on either the national or international news, it was a traumatic event that has caused some terrible hardship. You can pick up posters supporting various relief efforts at Sasha’s website The New Year (the poster shown above), Wedcandy, Lift Up Nashville or give directly to or volunteer for Hands On Nashville.
Thank you for the email Sasha. We really appreciate your efforts.
Coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson lays out the skinny on how we really screwed the ocean blue. I have been thinking about this issue a lot in recent months and was especially disturbed after watching the documentary ‘The Cove’ about the Japanese slaughter of dolphins and their unrepentant defense of the slaughter on the world stage. The end result of the documentary was really that the Japanese might be forecasting that the oceans are being totally over fished and when the reserves begin to dry up, their economy which is supported primarily by the fishing industry will be in peril. But what is more important really, an economy based upon a made up thing called money or the ocean ecosystem, a real and tangible thing that supports planet Earth without which we cannot survive.
I think this particular TED talk has a little more brevity this week considering the massive oil spill being dealt with right now. We know so very little about our ocean and it is an entirely different and amazing part of our planet. Yet without having even full understanding of it, we are already destroying it. I hope the recent natural disasters we are experiencing, combined with what looks like the collapse of our economic system will be enough to push a critical mass of consciousness that we are all here together occupying space on a singular planet and if we don’t take care of both it and ourselves, we are totally screwed. Call me an idealist I guess but I think we are beginning to find ourselves standing at the precipice asking ‘Can we change?’ Answering yes to that question is the only means of survival.
The Boston.com has a series of photographs detailing the events surrounding the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Another plume of ash erupted over the weekend that may again stifle air travel over Europe this week. I have enjoyed how the American media just refers to the news as ‘that volcano in Iceland’ as opposed to trying to pronounce the actual name ‘Eyjafjallajokull’.
I found this really interesting. Personally, I do believe in reincarnation and always have. Even from a very young age when I was taught not to. I realize that this is a polarizing view that not everyone shares but it is a subject I have always found fascinating because it gets to the very core of who we are and how we exist. I guess it has always just been impossible for me to believe that the unique energy that is who we are is individuals ever dies. I think it goes on and inhabits new forms. I do believe that time is relative and maybe so then is dimensionality. How do we know that, what we would call our soul, doesn’t move much more fluidly through time and space than we could perceive it? Maybe sometimes there is an overlap. Either way, it’s an interesting thing to think about.
Anyway, I won’t drone on because I know some get angered when I interrupt the stream of creative/design porn, so if you have the time, watch the documentary and form your own opinion. I do occasionally like to push the ‘Changethethought’ message through more than just creativity and design. Spirituality is the true source of creativity. We know so very little about our own existence and the inner workings of our being.
What does it mean for people like us? And by that I mean working designers, Art Directors, Photographers, Artists, etc.? Well, time will tell. A friend of mine who works at Wachovia stopped by over the weekend and said that people were pulling money out of the bank all last week and that the credit score for a simple car loan had been raised to 700. A perfect credit score is 850, and you can trust me when I say that there are a lot of people out there no where near a credit score of 700. That means working-class people like you and me are going to start feeling a crunch very soon unless something miraculous happens. I think what America is finally discovering is that you can’t build a kingdom on credit. Its akin to building a house on a foundation of sand. The days of the gold standard are long past and the concept of value now is open to speculation. And speculation just isn’t a hard currency.
One thing is for sure. The corporate government has been firmly put in place, and I think we are seeing the end of an era in the United States. I am just waiting to see what’s next. If I wake up tomorrow and hear the headline, ‘America Sold To China’, I can’t say I will be surprised.
Socotra Island…”has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, this island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on Earth.
The climate is harsh, hot and dry, and yet – the most amazing plant life thrives there. Situated in the Indian Ocean 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, the wide sandy beaches rise to limestone plateaus full of caves (some 7 kilometers in length) and mountains up to 1525 meters high.
The name Socotra is derived from a Sanscrit name, meaning ‘The Island of Bliss’.”
It is an indescribibly bizarre yet beautiful place and you can see many more inspiring pictures of it here.
Alright this is completely not design or politics related and a touch sentimental but I just thought this was so cool. I love lions. They were my favorite animals as a child so I was pretty moved by this story.
Basically the story goes, in 1969 two men named John Rendall and Ace Berg saw a lion club for sale in Harrods. They felt sorry for the little guy I guess because he was alone and cramped in a tiny little cage with none of his original pride and no owner to speak of. So they decided to take him home and raise him. They were allowed by a local vicar to exercise the cub on the grounds of a local church and he lived with them at home. He quickly became too large for them to keep however and they decided it would be best to try to reintroduce the young lion back into the wilds of Africa. They decided they wanted to visit him a year later but local authorities warned them that the lion was now the head of his own pride and completely wild. He would not remember them and might even attack.
You can see how he reacted when seeing them above. A big ole lion hug.
I apologize again for not keeping up on my one TED talk a week policy but life has been a little hectic lately. I was just thumbing through some of the talks the other day and discovered this talk by Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. Her story is unique in that she actually studies the human brain and suffered a stroke. She remembers every bit of the experience in vivid detail and tried her hardest to do so because she saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity, if she survived, to share her first person insight with the rest of the world. That is exactly what she does in this talk. It has to be one of the most moving talks on the entire TED website and it really stuck with me. I have had someone in my family go through a similar experience that it took them a long time to recover from and it may be because of that I found Taylor’s talk so touching. It takes a massive amount of courage to share something like that with so many people and her story is really amazing.
Here is the background about the talk copied from the TED website:
“One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor’s brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness …
Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the “Singin’ Scientist.”
‘How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I’ve gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career.’
DATA (Designers Against Tibetan Abuse) is a new organization that has come together recently and opened a new project that will include a book featuring various designers, digital artists, illustrators and photographers joining together to raise awareness of the terrible issues faced by the Tibetan people.
All proceeds derived from the sale of the book will go to charity and if we have enough people express a willingness to participate we will take our idea to the following charities:
Adhemas Batista, Alex Trochut, Bram Timmer, David Carvalho (Karpa) Greig Anderson, Pawel Nolbert (hellocolor), Pete Harrison (Aeiko), Mike Harrison (Destill), Si Scott, Justin Maller (superlover and depthcore), Diogo Potes (six letter word) etc.
Right now participation in the project is by invite only. I was invited earlier this week and I was honored to be considered as this is an issue I have strong opinions about and I am always happy and excited to contribute towards something I feel is a good cause.
DATA is also currently looking for designers to volunteer to make a functioning website. If you are interested please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a good thing to be involved in so if you do know someone who can help with their site, please do contact them.
You can learn a little more at the current DATA site.
Tim Russert passed suddenly today of an apparent heart attack. It’s a tragedy when considering what a hard working decent person he was and also because he is a good father. He was always fair as the moderator of meet the press, and he was respectful to his guests regardless of his opinion. He really was an objective journalist and he sincerely cared about the well being of the United States. He knew the hopes and dreams of American citizens extended beyond party lines and he was one of the rare journalists who could see the forest through the trees. It’s a sad day for American journalism and he will be missed by all. I don’t think words could express how stunned and saddened people were by his passing.
My sincerest condolences to his family. My heart goes out to you.
I have decided to post a TED talk every week from here on out. There is just so much good content on the TED website that it needs to be shared. Some of the worlds most intelligent people are speaking at TED about a lot of things I think we should all be thinking about.
Mark Bittman gives a talk this week about what is wrong with what we eat and how our diet is impacting our ability to live on our planet. It’s an excellent talk and in incredibly important topic.
TED is something I check a few times a week now every week. I feel kind of ridiculous for not having written about it yet. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED started in 1984 as a conference to bring about the brightest minds and most innovative thinkers from those 3 categories. The speakers are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (although there have been a few to run over). The TED website makes the best talks from the conference free to view. There are already more than 200 talks archived at the site making it a true resource for inspiration to just about anyone interesting in just about anything. I have watched videos about topics ranging from Cern’s Large Hadron Collider to speculations on how our world will end. It’s some of the most thought-provoking content I have found on the internet and it always leaves me truly inspired. It’s an amazing effort and offers a unique insight into some of our world’s deepest thinkers.
TED is committed to spreading ideas. Ideas that can help shift attitudes and hopefully help change the world. The TED conference is held annually in Long Beach, California.
You can learn more about TED at their home website along with the TED Prize. Before you go there, you can view just a tiny tidbit of some of the amazing things going on their by watching Johnny Lee transform a $40 Nintendo Wii remote into a digital whiteboard. It’s on the lighter side of speculating on how the world will end but still amazing nonetheless
Well, I apologize for the bad news today but there are some stories in circulation that deserve attention beyond the normal banality of our design scene. Another such story that just left me aghast today is the story of Josef Fritzl.
Fritzl is a resident of the small town Amstetten in Austria. At the age of 18 he drugged and imprisoned his daughter, Elisabeth for the next 24 years. During that time he repeatedly raped her which led to her in turn giving birth to 7 children as a result of the abuse. One of whom died because of inadequate care. The child who died of neglect was a twin whose body Fritzl disposed of by incinerating it in a furnace. 3 of the children had never seen daylight until they were recently released. One of the children is still in critical condition. Another may have permanent vision problems because of his inexposure to natural light. The last, at only 5 years old was elated to ride in the police car as he had only seen them on television and never in person. He appears to be in good health.
73 year old Fritzl was an electrical engineer who apparently used his skills to construct an elaborate basement dungeon under his family home that measured less than six feet high in some areas. He kept the space secure with a massive 660 lb concreted door fitted with an electric lock that could only be opened via a remote control that he kept on his person at all times. The living space had only 3 total cells and measured only around 650 square feet. 650 square feet for 24 years. It belies imagination. It wasn’t until the 19 year old child fell ill and had to be taken to a nearby hospital that the atrocity was uncovered.
The strangest twist was that Fritzl managed to keep the entire incident secret from his wife the entire time by forcing his daughter to write fake letters to his wife (her mother). He even brought 3 of the children out of the basement hell to be raised by him and his wife claiming his estranged (but really imprisoned) daughter had left them on the doorstep.
In accordance with Austrian law it appears Fritzl may only be facing a 15 year sentence. At the age of 73 he will most likely die in prison, which is well deserved in this case. I do not believe in the death penalty but I do think he should be sentenced to at least the same amount of time he robbed his daughter of and that would be 24 years. How a man could do this to his own flesh and blood is an amazing human tragedy.
This is just disturbing. Enough so that I had to post it here instead of on the sideblog. I was just shocked when I heard this and then saw the videos. Allegations have arisen that South Carolina Highway Patrol Police Officers have been using their vehicles to ram suspects. It’s bad enough to hear about something like this on the news but it gets even worse when you watch the actual dashcam videos of the officers engaging in the alleged behavior. How does something like this happen? We have more people in jail in this country than any other country in the entire world. What has gone awry in our culture? We pay our police officers with our tax money to protect us and uphold the law. This kind of behavior crosses the line from simply unacceptable to criminal and makes these officers no better than the suspects they are trying to capture. I know it is an easy leap to think all cops are bad when you see something like this but that just isn’t true. Most police officers are good people who live a life of difficult public service because they believe in what they are doing. The bad apples here shouldn’t spoil the bunch but videos of police brutality just keep surfacing. We need to turn the law back at these officers and make sure that if they are tried in civil court for these actions they are reprimanded and punished. They are risking peoples lives and there is just no excuse. None.