Notes

Interesting and/or cool stuff I've come across from art, design, technology, photography, movies I've watched and liked and, occasionally, my thoughts.

The Aphex Twin logo is not just one of the most memorable artist logos in the world of electronic music (and beyond), it is also exceptionally fitting for Aphex's music.

The A symbol evolved from designer Paul Nicholson's sketches for a different project, but caught the eye of then fellow student Richard D James, and that was that.

Resident Advisor has more images from Nicholsons sketchbook.

via FontSmith

Hiut Denim has published their Do One Thing Well list, winter 2021 edition — a collection of products, services and companies that do one thing and do it really well.

Pictured here is the ANAORI kakugama, a cubical cooking vessel, carved from a single block of carbon graphite.

via Kottke

Noted, October 2021

Collected bits and pieces I've noticed this month.

One Day—And One Night—In the Kitchen at Les Halles

Anthony Bourdain describes one day—and one night—in the kitchen at Les Halles, his retaurant in New York City. I've read this numerous times and it's always a treat. It's also, always, a reminder to stop myself from entertaining any ideas of restaurateurship (is that a word?).

The Nash equilibrium

In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is the most common way to define the solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players. In a Nash equilibrium, each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players and no player has anything to gain by changing only their own strategy.

It is named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. who, among his other notable achievements, pretty much willed himself to function despite suffering from schizophrenia by deciding that the hallucinations caused by the illness were not worth his attention.

The Clearview AI horror show goes on

From Wired:

Some of Clearview’s new technologies may spark further debate. Ton-That says it is developing new ways for police to find a person, including “deblur” and “mask removal” tools. The first takes a blurred image and sharpens it using machine learning to envision what a clearer picture would look like; the second tries to envision the covered part of a person’s face using machine learning models that fill in missing details of an image using a best guess based on statistical patterns found in other images.

May spark further debate? You don't say! How is this horror show still allowed to operate?

via Pixel Envy

The Start menu

Lukas Mathis briefly on the Windows 10 full-screen start menu being killed in Windows 11. I always liked the full-screen menu too.

Spell'd

Marcin Wichary shares a neat little text utility from his days at Medium.

We're getting some flavour of this with tools like Grammarly (alternative wording and tone suggestions), but it's not exactly as lightweight and elegant and natural feeling. I do miss having the definitions + spelling features available for any text I select, regardless of what app I'm in. Or maybe I just don't know how to invoke it?

Also, I... dislike it when people who tweet often bulk-delete their tweets, leaving odd gaps in the thread.

...

Everybody's favourite typeface website I Love Typography now has a store.

...

Frank Chimero is a designer who writes, this time, about colour:

"Late day, late August, ocean front, looking out: wine dark sea, red ochre sky, and at the boundary? From nowhere: chartreuse."

Jimi Hendrix in Ringo Starr’s apartment in London, 1966
via Miksa

Mind matters

A couple of mental health related links that have come across my radar (somewhat) recently.

Pro tennisist Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open to protect her mind:
"I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel."
'It's O.K. Not to Be O.K.', Naomi Osaka

...

Mariin Petoffer is creating a tiny gadget called Mental Pin that helps alleviate anxiety by cleverly syncing itself to your heartbeat, thus making itself more personal and easier to connect with, so you can focus your attention on something else than whatever shenanigans your mind is trying to pull.

...

Web developer David Oscar offers devs a routine and simple tips to help keep a balanced mind.

...

"I was struggling to get out of bed by 10am, struggling to work out, struggling to only have one glass of wine, struggling to fall asleep. /.../ And it’s not (just) the pandemic - it’s an overwhelming feeling of being done, done with this, whatever this is. /.../ So why did I burn out? I don’t know."
Burning out and quitting, Maya Kaczorowski

The Leatherman

Dressed in a suit of coarse leather — a patchwork garment he made from discarded boot tops — with a bulky pack and hand-hewn wooden shoes, he was a mystery from the outset. He refused to discuss himself. He rarely spoke at all, in fact, communicating almost exclusively in grunts and pantomime.

The Village Voice via Futility Closet

The photographs taxi driver Joseph Rodriguez took while driving around New York City are now available as a book. I've previously shared this series, published by New York Magazine.

What the FFT

Marcin Wichary wonderfully writes about discovering an obscure technique for sharpening and de-moiréing old images using FFT or Fast Fourier Transform.

I also loved this bit:

I’ve always had this theory that any long-term project requires two ingredients: things you’re good at, and things you want to learn. The first group gives you a feeling of accomplishment and mastery. The other one? It keeps things interesting.

via Pixel Envy

Chef del Mar

The very best chefs are not mere cooks, they are also chemists, engineers and of course, artists. Ángel León is one of these, always curious, always looking to find new ways to create culinary sensations.

He wants to go deeper to find something you didn’t know existed: “What’s more hedonistic, eating something no one on the face of the earth has ever tried, or eating another f-cking spoon of caviar?”

Cádiz’s native son has dedicated his life to the sea, Chef del Mar, the locals call him, approaching the ocean like most chefs approach the farm. Seafood is not just fish and mussels, there’s also plants with roots and leaves and fruit and one of these is chef Léon’s latest focus - Zostera marina.

But now, he believes he’s discovered the centerpiece of his ambitious dream: fields of rice stretched out for miles of paddies, the feathery stalks - protruding from the sea itself. Scientists have long identified seagrasses as one of the most vital ecosystems in the fight against climate change, but what few knew is that those blades of grass also contain clusters of small, edible grains with massive potential.

With more research, effort, and with any luck, eelgrass could be cultivated at scale and since it grows in salt water, which most of the water on Earth is, there is room to grow.

via Time Magazine
photo courtesy of Paolo Verzone—VU for TIME

Window House by FARATARH Architectural Studio in Iran. Photo © Nimkat Studio.

Kugelblitz

There can be too much light.

Today I learned: a Kugelblitz is the (theoretical) phenomenon where the concentration of light (or heat, or radiation) is so intense that it warps spacetime enough to spawn a black hole.

Further down the same Wikipedia rabbit hole I learned of the concept of black hole starships — using black holes as an energy source for interstellar travel.

Staying hydrated while dulling the pain.

Noted, May 2021

Collected bits and pieces I've noticed this month.

Signal ad campaign reveals creepy tracking, gets them banned

The secure, privacy focused messaging app Signal created a series of ads that cleverly exposed the data Facebook has on you to target the advertising you see. You'll never see these ads on Instagram though, cause Facebook swiftly banned Signal's ad account.

I loved this last bit:

So, here are some examples of the targeted ads that you’ll never see on Instagram. Yours would have been so you.

NFTs Weren’t Supposed to End Like This

Anil Dash writes about the origins of NFTs and how the original ideas behind it were, let's say, more noble than the inevitable reality of most things tech and crypto.

The idea behind NFTs was, and is, profound. Technology should be enabling artists to exercise control over their work, to more easily sell it, to more strongly protect against others appropriating it without permission. [...] But nothing went the way it was supposed to.

Bertone porn

This Docubyte ministe celebrating (mostly, I think?) Bertone designed concept cars is gorgeous. Check out their other stuff as well.

Create better links

A link is a promise, not a surprise.

Rian Rietveld writes at length about creating better links on the web from choosing better copy instead of "Click here", to design considerations for better accessibility.

Create better anchor links

More link talk from Amber Wilson, this time about crafting better anchor links and the accessibility pitfalls to look out for.

Portfolio update

Almost forgot, I created a little logo for a food truck called Van Der Fritt.

Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017)

Duel (Steven Spielberg, 1971)