Monthly Archives: September 2008

Neal Stephenson on craft and big ideas

From MAKE: Blog: Neal Stephenson Answers Our Questions: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, in their cubicles waiting to have that ‘big idea’ for the next great novel? Just keep writing. The big mistake is to write something and then stop for a long time while you try to sell it. Don’t ever […]

Everything is SABERMetrics, even politics

As part of my poll-obsessing, I finally checked out fivethirtyeight, recommended to me by Alex. Short version is that Nate Silver, the author of the site, is also a leader of Baseball Prospectus. He is credited with creating the very powerful PECOTA system, which rethinks baseball statistics — mostly through pure intelligence, but there is […]

Back off of camels, they are

“Angels”, according to Bedouin wisdom, “a gift from God.”

New Word Learned Today: prosopopeia

From this week’s Nation, I learned the word prosopopeia: One such device is prosopopeia, a rather literary term for what happens when the Pillsbury Doughboy persuades you to buy a bread product by giggling so charmingly after that poke to his puffy little tummy. Prosopopeia is the personification of an abstraction. As theorist Barbara Johnson […]

slide:ology: failure of nerve

It pains me to read books about presentations, and the cute title “slide:ology” is a pretty high barrier to overcome, but raves prompted me to 1-click it, and, about 30 pages in, it’s already pretty good. Even the cute puns — the title (rhymes with ideology if you want, slideument, death suislide) — are starting […]

White Roofs for a Green Planet | EcoGeek | Roofs, White, Enough, Heat, Buildings

White Roofs for a Green Planet | EcoGeek | Roofs, White, Enough, Heat, Buildings “if the 100 biggest cities painted all their roofs white, and switched their road materials to lighter colors (concrete instead of asphalt) it would reflect enough light and heat back into space to entirely offset the warming of the last few […]

David Foster Wallace – Commencement Speech at Kenyon College

… can be found here. It’s a nice encapsulation of stuff that I really liked about his fiction and non-fiction. Still can’t believe it. This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story [“thing”] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of […]

Innovation, Nussbaum, Crisis

I’m almost afraid to promote this article. Bruce Nussbaum allows that innovation may be responsible for the current financial crisis: I’m reminded of the criticism I heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January that innovation is responsible for this mess. A European banker came up to me and and said, “isn’t innovation […]

Stagecraft: Mandy Patinkin

Cool article in today’s NYT about Mandy Patinkin taking on the role of Prospero in The Tempest. Patinkin is up there with Gary Oldman as my most admired/envied performance polymaths — he does music (which I’m not crazy about but respect), TV, film, stage and ranges from comedy to tragedy to Shakespeare. (Gary Oldman played […]

Another Design Piano Lesson

I just put together a series of pretty successful brainstorms — good work, happy designers, lots of deep thinking that is continuing even after the pitch it was for. One of the keys to the success, at least in my mind, was that the brief was (brief and was) presented a day in advance of […]