Monday, May 28, 2007

Helvetica: the Official Font of the 20th Century

A "Slide Show Essay" presented by Mia Fineman for Slate -- though you will quickly notice the writer's near total dependence on Wikipedia for photo sources (much like this post itself). Take that, Getty Corbis people! From the essay:

It's been used in countless corporate logos, including those of American Airlines, Sears, Target, Toyota, BMW, Tupperware, Nestlé, ConEd, Verizon, North Face, Staples, Panasonic, Evian, Crate and Barrel, and the Gap. You can spot it on billboards, album covers, and directional signs, including all the signage in the New York City subway system. Even the IRS uses Helvetica for its income tax forms.

Now, the typeface is the subject of a small exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art centering around an original set of Helvetica lead type donated to the museum by Lars Müller, designer and publisher of the 2005 book Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface. And a new feature-length documentary, Helvetica (2007), directed by Gary Hustwit, has been playing to sold-out houses at film festivals and art schools since March.


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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Art of the Soundbite: Topically Applied Topical Metaphors

Check out this quote from Cliff Spiegelman, a Texas A&M statistics professor and an expert in bullet-lead analysis, on his recent JFK assassination study:
"We're not saying there was a conspiracy. All we're saying is the evidence that was presented as a slam dunk for a single shooter is not a slam dunk," said Spiegelman, a Texas A&M statistics professor and an expert in bullet-lead analysis.
This is pretty much the definitive way to get your quirky, left-field news story reported on CNN or probably any other major news outlet. Give them a cute opportunity to allude to something that's actually (in the) news. (In this case, George Tenet's dumbass basketball metaphor for the WMD intel. Imagine if it had been Baseball. "The intelligence is a standing double with a man on third!")

Basically Spiegelman has gotten his hands some ultra rare Western-Winchester Cartridge Co. Mannlicher-Carcano bullets and fired them all over the place to see if the claims of the late Warren commission forensic chemist, Vincent Guinn, hold any water. He says no.
[Link to paper published in "Annals of Applied Statistics"]
[Link to CNN article]

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

This Week In Websites I Want to Save

* Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP [Link]
* Free MP3's of Ghoul Related Music: "A song-by-song tour through pop music's unexpected fascination with the ghastly and supernatural." [Link]
* Bono: Tax Evader [Link]
* Persepolis Teaser Trailer [Link]
* Frontline: Spying on the Home Front [Link]

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Goofy Units of Measurment in the Sciences: Tap Density

Tap density is used to describe different types of metallic powders. Below is a description of a $35.00 article on tap density from the American National Standards Institute:
The principle of the method specified is tapping a specified amount of powder in a container by means of a tapping apparatus until no further decrease in the volume of the powder takes place. The mass of the powder divided by its volume after the test gives its tap density. By agreement, the tapping may be carried out by hand.
For about five weeks, I've been under the assumption that my boss had been refering to "tab density." In some ways, I wish I had never found out the truth. [Link]