“We are hardwired to seek order in chaos, make meaning out of data noise, and it is paradoxically comforting to imagine that great tragedy is not just time and chance, but a function of some nefarious, pre-planned grand design.”
–D.J. Grothe, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation,
The creator of the infamous We Feel Fine visualization, Jonathan Harris, considers himself a storyteller first and a visualization designer second. He says that ‘the data is just part of the story. The human stuff is the main stuff, and the data should enrich it’.
[Lego] bought the exclusive rights to Star Wars. If you want to build a Death Star out of plastic blocks, Lego is now your only option.The Star Wars blocks were wildly successful. So Lego kept going — it licensed Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story and Harry Potter.
Sales of these products have been huge for Lego. More important, the experience has taught the company that what kids wanted to do with the blocks was tell stories. Lego makes or licenses the stories they want to tell.
“There are some kinds of people for whom there should be a newspaper in which every day the headline would be ‘there’s a world and it’s part of a solar system floating somewhere in the universe, and we have consciousness and life’.
“I’d like that kind of newspaper,” says Eno.
Kotkin says one of the reasons millennials are in this situation is the push for a college degree, which in earlier generations led to a better job.
“In my parents’ generation, the sort of World War II/Depression generation, if you got a college degree you were pretty guaranteed of a decent job because there weren’t that many people with BAs,” he says. “There was a huge growth in the number of jobs that needed these skills, and a relative paucity [of people to fill them]. Now the BA has become a commodity — there are so many of them.
[Bell’] felt that each of them could be classified as “post 9/11” artists.
“Their worldview is defined by the angst, the unease, the trepidation of the difficulties of the 21st century,” he says.
Bell, who’s only 32 himself, admires how these artists unite new technology with centuries-old crafts. They’re using everything from silversmithing to ceramics to explore post-Sept. 11 concerns: globalism, privacy, sustainable living, war.
Mazza, 34, intended [her piece, Knit for Defense] to recall national efforts to knit for soldiers during World War II, when knitting connected civilians to the frontlines. Nowadays, people connect to the wars abroad through Youtube videos. Hence, the knit pixels. Mazza says even though she’s exploring explicitly post-Sept. 11 themes, she’s not really comfortable with the label: “post 9/11 artist.” She doesn’t like the idea of artists being framed by just one thing.
“Lawrence Rubin, a psychology professor at St. Thomas University in Miami, posited that rather than focus on our fascination with fallen heroes, “we should turn attention from them to ourselves, and search for real and tangible ways to be heroic in our own lives.”
“Heroes are part of both popular and the broader culture as well.” They “are the rarefied and purified elements of the best of humanity,” Rubin says. They are “the distilled essence of our hopes, dreams, strength and desire for immortality.”
Source: Lance Armstrong: When A Hero Lets Us Down, via NPR
We need a new word for what the phrase “white privilege” describes; privilege suggests money and class exclusively. Until then, here’s one of the best definitions around.
White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks. … As far as I can see, my African American co-workers, friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and line of work cannot count on most of these conditions:
- I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
- I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
- When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
- Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.
- I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
- I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
Via: Maggie Koerth-Baker at BoingBoing
From: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
“Why haven’t gay man genes driven themselves extinct?
… After investigating the characteristics of 161 female maternal relatives of homosexual and heterosexual men, the researchers have adjusted their hypothesis. Rather than making women more attracted to men, the “gay man gene” appears to make these women more attractive to men.
…Turns out, the moms and aunts of gay men have an advantage over the moms and aunts of straight men for several reasons: They are more fertile, displaying fewer gynecological disorders or complications during pregnancy; they are more extroverted, as well as funnier, happier and more relaxed; and they have fewer family problems and social anxieties. “In other words, compared to the others, [they are] perfect for a male.”