Archive for May 30th, 2008

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Indy Restaurants Strike Deal for Airport Space

May 30, 2008

This is great news for people who are in love with Indianapolis’ dining scene because of the restaurants unique to our town. It never fails to infuriate me when fast food restaurants and chains are among the top three “Best of…” choices in ‘Nuvo’s “Best of Indy” issue each year.

It’s also really great news for westsiders sick of driving all the way downtown just for a St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail–truly is one of the city’s unhidden gems. Er…that is if there’s access to the restaurants for non-travelers.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Isolated Brazilian Tribe Photographed

May 30, 2008

I linked yesterday to a conversation at the New York Times about what changes to English we can expect to see as a result of the homogenizing effects of globalization. Without advocating for or against what is likely to be the inevitable march toward one global economic community, it’s important to remember that it’s not just English, English-speakers, or America that stands to gain or lose (or be lost) through the process as this story from the BBC news makes us vividly aware.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Friday: (B)Lincoln (B)logs

May 30, 2008

Lincoln was not just a great problem solver but he had a hawk’s eye for spotting new opportunities. I’m specifically thinking of his unrivaled ability to take advantage of new technologies in their infancies and utilize them in ways unintended by their creators.

My colleague Nancy has already mentioned (in the comments section) the book she’s reading on how Lincoln was an early adopter of the telegraph and how he used that technology to improve the logistical structure of the northern army (setting the pattern for continued American excellence in military logistics).

Equally savvy, and more in line with our mission as a state humanities council, Lincoln understood the increased intimacy created between candidate and voter when the latter could view the former in photographs. During his campaign for president in 1860, 35 photographs of Lincoln by Matthew Brady were circulated, making Lincoln the first president to use the new medium for political means. This political and artistic genius culminated, in Lincoln’s own mind, in his eventual victory. As Lincoln would say afterward, “Make no mistake, Brady made me President!”

The image here is not a Matthew Brady image but was taken by Alexander Gardner to use as a model for a portrait of the president he wanted to paint and is one of several works offered through Picturing America, a collection of iconic images from throughout American history.

(Click on the image to see a larger version of it on the Picturing America website.)

Over 600 Indiana schools and libraries have received the Picturing America prints.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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The Sixth Law of Simplicity

May 30, 2008

Always interested in how to simplify the tangle of modern existence, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda (2006). Maeda is an award-winning graphic designer, a professor in MIT’s Media Lab, and the founder of the Simplicity Consortium. He writes, “Achieving simplicity in the digital age became a personal mission, and a focus of my research at MIT.”

The book’s subtitle is: Design, Technology, Business, Life. The concatenation of those elements is a lot to ponder in itself, but it’s also fun and fascinating. We are encouraged to consider how design affects our lives and livelihoods.

Maeda identifies ten laws of simplicity; the sixth will illustrate his approach. It is the law of CONTEXT. Once you foreground the background, it is possible to become confused by ambience. To leave the security of filled space and overcome the fear of white space is the challenge. We just need to remember that “There is an important tradeoff between being completely lost in the unknown and completely found in the familiar” (p. 60).

To balance safety and excitement is to achieve simplicity. Or rather, it’s one of ten ways.

This entry was posted by: Nancy