July 28, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state. Now, friends of Israel might consider this a rather tepid defense, but it’s the strongest one I’ve got. I think the idea of a religious state is ultimately untenable.

Source: Sam Harris.

July 23, 2014

The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect

Without it, we probably couldn’t even have phones that look anything like the ingots we tickle—the whole notion of touchscreen typing, where our podgy physical fingers are expected to land with precision on tiny virtual keys, is viable only when we have some serious software to tidy up after us. Because we know autocorrect is there as brace and cushion, we’re free to write with increased abandon, at times and in places where writing would otherwise be impossible. Thanks to autocorrect, the gap between whim and word is narrower than it’s ever been, and our world is awash in easily rendered thought.

Source: WIRED.

July 9, 2014

Scenes of defeat on the streets of Brazil

A group of German fans, one wearing a jersey and the other two with scarves, got on the subway and 50 or 60 favela kids surrounded them, the main pack of a dozen aggressors standing around them, flexing, looking for a fight. Some Brazilian girls with the Germans defused the looming confrontation, and by the end, the kids wanted to pose for pictures with the victorious fans.

“We just made it out,” Peter Mesenich said. “At 7-1, they turned on their team. At 2-1, they would have turned on us.”

Source: ESPN FC.

May 29, 2014

The Internet With A Human Face

Marc [Thiele] emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I thought my talk would be appropriate to close the conference.

“Marc,” I told him, “my talk is perfect for closing the conference! The first half is this incredibly dark rant about how the Internet is alienating and inhuman, how it’s turning us all into lonely monsters.”

“But in the second half, I’ll turn it around and present my vision of an alternative future. I’ll get the audience fired up like a proper American motivational speaker. After the big finish, we’ll burst out of the conference hall into the streets of Düsseldorf, hoist the black flag, and change the world.”

Source: Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk.

May 22, 2014

4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer

“It’s not this thing where you get some special wings or superpowers when you enter Cupertino. It’s that you now have an organization where you can spend your time designing products, instead of having to fight for your seat at the table, or get frustrated when the better design is passed over by an engineering manager who just wants to optimize for bug fixing. All of those things are what other designers at other companies have to spend a majority of their time doing. At Apple, it’s kind of expected that experience is really important.”

Source: Co.Design.

May 22, 2014

The Case for Reparations

In 1909, President William Howard Taft told the country that “intelligent” white southerners were ready to see blacks as “useful members of the community.” A week later Joseph Gordon, a black man, was lynched outside Greenwood, Mississippi. The high point of the lynching era has passed. But the memories of those robbed of their lives still live on in the lingering effects. Indeed, in America there is a strange and powerful belief that if you stab a black person 10 times, the bleeding stops and the healing begins the moment the assailant drops the knife. We believe white dominance to be a fact of the inert past, a delinquent debt that can be made to disappear if only we don’t look.

Source: The Atlantic.

May 6, 2014

Rob Lowe on sending his son off to college

As the school year winds down and many parents of high school seniors prepare to send their kids off to college in the fall, Slate wanted to share one father’s experience of coming to terms with this next chapter in parenthood. That father just happens to be Rob Lowe. The following is an adapted from Lowe’s memoir, Love Life, published by Simon & Schuster in April. 

Source: An excerpt from Love Life..

April 22, 2014

Memories of Steve

Ken and I hadn’t seen Bud in months, not since Eazel shut down, so were all making guesses about the reason for his visit. Tiring of the conjecture, I finally just stood up, cupped my hands and called out to him.

“Hey, Bud! Come over and see your old pals when you’re done to talking to that guy.” Bud looked up — slight pause — and “that guy” turned around to stare at me.

Source: Don Melton.

April 21, 2014

How Hollywood Killed Death

Blur your eyes, and they might have all been the same tedious, manipulative movie. I felt nothing watching these characters disappear off-screen, hurtling toward whatever lies beyond. I’m no sociopath. The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema’s — if not all of fiction’s — most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget. Considering this, it’s odd that death’s killer is the new, risk-averse economic logic of Hollywood.

Source: NYTimes.com.

April 21, 2014

Censorship by the Batra Brigade

Batra and I are talking past one another, playing two different games with the textual evidence. But he thinks there is only one game, and is determined to keep me off my own field. To debate a book you disagree with is what scholarship is about. To ban or burn a book you regard as blasphemous is what fascist bigotry is about.

Source: The New York Review of Books.

April 14, 2014

Apple is not here to entertain you

The mindset of the financial industry. If I told you that your company was going to be comfortably profitable for the next 20 years, you’d probably feel relieved that you could pay for your kids’ college tuition and plan for retirement. But finance types don’t think that way. I’m wary of going down a rabbit hole here, so let me boil it down to this: Financial types want to see growth. Static (albeit massively profitable) companies are boring.

I don’t want to argue about what this says about our global financial system—chase that rabbit if you want—but to point out that when you see tech stocks react in bizarre ways (like dropping in value when a company announces record profits or sales), it’s because what you consider success often isn’t what Wall Street considers success. (It’s also because Wall Street trades in futures, not in gold stars for past accomplishments.)

More than about Apple, this excerpt is instrumental in understanding why you should never play the individual stock market game. Unless you’ve insider information, which by the way is illegal.

Source: Macworld.

April 4, 2014

The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons

Susan Kare “was the type of kid who always loved art.” As a child, she lost herself in drawings, paintings, and crafts; as a young woman, she dove into art history and dreamed of being a world-renowned fine artist.

But when a chance encounter in 1982 reconnected her with an old friend and Apple employee, Kare found herself working in a different medium, with a much smaller canvas — about 1,024 pixels. Equipped with few computer skills and lacking any prior experience with digital design, Kare proceeded to revolutionize pixel art.

Source: Priceonomics.

March 30, 2014

This is a Generic Brand Video

[Source: Adweek]

March 25, 2014

Was Robert Hooke really the greatest asshole in the history of science?

Robert Hooke discovered the cell, established experimentation as crucial to scientific research, and did pioneering work in optics, gravitation, paleontology, architecture, and more. Yet history dismissed and forgot him… all because he pissed off Isaac Newton, probably the most revered scientist who ever lived.

Source: iO9.

March 11, 2014

Moral Line of No Return

Has India become so desperate for rapid economic growth, so blinded by the promise of prosperity, that she has forgotten basic humanity? It seems that, in the race towards higher GDP, the majority of India is willing to inject itself with the steroids of bigotry or ruthlessness. Ethics be damned.

Imagine if there was little or falling economic growth in the near future. Now what are you left with?

Source: Quartz.