A typewriter with Comic Sans typeface, will these catch on?

Friday, 24 October, 2014

As a font, Comic Sans can’t be regarded as being too flippant, especially if there is a typewriter – purpose designed in this instance by Pittsburgh based artist and educator Jesse England – that sports the much maligned typeface.

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Will our robots be more like R2D2, or C3P0?

Friday, 24 October, 2014

The robots are coming. One day. And when they do, will they enslave us, or will they make our lives easier? But as… individuals, as apparently intelligent entities, what will they be like?

“Star Wars” makes as good a starting point as any, when it comes to visualising the way our droids may be:

R2-D2 excels in areas where humans are deficient: deep computation, endurance in extreme conditions, and selfless consciousness. R2-D2 is a computer that compensates for human deficiencies – it shines where humans fail. C-3PO is the personification of the selfish human – cloying, rules-bound, and despotic. (Don’t forget, C-3PO let Ewoks worship him!) C-3PO is a factotum for human vanity – it engenders the worst human characteristics.

I think the commentary on Threepio is a tad harsh… a mixture of both may be the way to go.

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And you don’t send me text messages like you used to…

Friday, 24 October, 2014

It’s been six years since data scientist Alice Zhao first met her now husband, and to mark the occasion she has published an analysis of their text messages to each other over that time… needless to say there have been changes to both their style of texting, and the words they use now, as opposed to earlier on:

While we were dating, we started thinking about each other around 3pm in the afternoon and we’d send each other text messages until 3am in the morning. As a married couple, our texting schedule has pretty much flipped. We text all through the workday and never at night.

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, am I making the right decision?

Friday, 24 October, 2014

It happens too often, we agonise over a decision, and then tear our hair out when it becomes apparent we chose the wrong course of action. It could be then that looking into a mirror should be part of the decision making process… seemingly the larger the pupils of our eyes at such a time, the more likely it is we are making the wrong choice.

This is because pupil size is a measure of a person’s arousal: the more aroused they are feeling, the wider their pupils are and the worse they perform on the test. As with many things in life, the ideal level of arousal for most tasks is somewhere in the middle: when people’s arousal levels are low they are bored and when they are too high, they can’t concentrate.

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And the hardest part of typeface design is?

Thursday, 23 October, 2014

The font, or typeface, you’re looking at here, right now, is called Agenda Medium. Its design, by Font Bureau, is based on a font created for signage and the like on the London Underground in 1916. But that doesn’t explain how Agenda Medium came to be named Agenda Medium.

There may be a reason for that though. Of the many, long, steps involved in bringing forth a typeface, naming it is seemingly the hardest part of the process.

Years ago, I asked one of my mentors what he thought was the hardest part of designing a typeface. I was expecting “the cap S” or “the italic lowercase” or something like that. But he answered without hesitation: the name. Finding the name is the hardest part.

Well, that surprised me.

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I’m precisely one hour, ten minutes late, let’s get this party started

Thursday, 23 October, 2014

There’s nothing worse, this I know from years of trials and tribulations, than arriving too early, or for that matter, too late, to a party. So, what’s the happy balance in this regard? For an average size sort of gathering, arriving around seventy minutes late, seems to be about right:

The median number of guests at each party was 23 people. When we look at parties with 23 or fewer attendees, the median arrival time – that is, when the middle person showed up at the party – was 29 minutes late. For parties of 25 or more – your ragers, throw-downs, events with a keg – the median arrival time was 70 minutes after the designated start time.

The size of the gathering makes a difference though, the smaller the bash, the more promptly you should arrive.

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A soldier’s room left untouched since he left for the front line

Thursday, 23 October, 2014

A touching memorial, surely, to Hubert Rochereau, a French soldier who died in Belgium in April 1918, during the first World War, the room at the house where he grew up has been preserved – just as he left it – by his parents, then later, other owners of his home.

Even though Rochereau’s family sold the house in 1935, the sale agreement specified that his room not be altered in anyway for five hundred years. Although no subsequent owner has any real legal obligation to adhere to this stipulation, the current occupiers of the house seem happy to abide by the request.

The parents of the young officer kept his room exactly as it was the day he left for the battlefront. When they decided to move in 1935, they stipulated in the sale that Rochereau’s room should not be changed for 500 years. “This clause had no legal basis,” said the current owner, retired local official Daniel Fabre, who showed the room to the Nouvelle République newspaper. But nevertheless he and his wife, who inherited the house from her grandparents, have respected the wishes of Rochereau’s parents and will continue to do so.

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Counting the cost of cosplay

Thursday, 23 October, 2014

Cosplay, or costume play, in essence, is dressing up to look like any fictional character, and possibly also portraying them in a performance of some sort. And as an art form, or subculture, cosplay certain has its adherents.

While cosplayers may not exactly mortgage the house to cover the costs of their attire though, some of the outfits require more than just a little cash outlay, as a survey of those present at New York Comic Con this year, revealed.

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The adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, illustrated

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014

Illustration by Jared Muralt

Depictions of the voyages and adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, by Bern based illustrator and artist Jared Muralt.

Via Hypnophant.

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South of the river is where it’s all at in London

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014

South of the river is where it’s all at in London. If you disagree, you disagree I guess. For those however who like things South London, then you’ll likely enjoy SE/SW, a collection of photos of the region, taken by Benedetta Martini.

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