Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amount of Space...

Figure 2.6: Amount of space required to transport the same number of passengers by car, bus or bicycle. Click here for larger image.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sze Tsung Leong

The photography of Sze Tsung Leong is really a phenomenon document of the majesty and tragedy of our world. I wrote about it on the other blog, but feel the need to cross post. I highly recommend checking out the collection Horizons online, and recommend even more strongly seeing it in person, if you get the opportunity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008


About 11 months ago, I joined Method, a brand experience firm with a strong focus on design and technology that has built an excellent reputation over the last 10 years of delivering sometimes beautiful, sometimes innovative print, web, and other interactive projects for a wide-ranging client base. As I mentioned a few posts back, Method has launched our new website:


Check it out, and tell us what you think!

Can The West Lead Us To A Better Place?

An interesting article from Stanford Magazine, if slightly Stanford-centric, on the demographic changes that have shaped the American West in the past 140 years from Stanford professor David M. Kennedy, whose classroom lectures I would occasionally sneak into, not being a history major. The key themes of the article, briefly summarized: since the symbolic act of completing the Union-Pacific railroad, and more strongly pronounced since the onset of World War II the American West has undergone profound growth and demographic changes that act as both a model for an increasingly heterogeneous world and fundamentally relocate the centers of influence and power within the United States. A couple of minor notes:

- Kennedy suggests the immigrant mix of the American West as a potential model for other parts of the world (Sweden, Ireland) unaccustomed to the challenges of diversity. But is the American West, with an abundance of available land and a lack of centuries-old and strong cultural traditions, really a good model for the challenges of Europe and other nations trying to integrate new populations?

- Kennedy notes that in 1960, the last time an American president was elected from somewhere other than the South and the West, California had 32 electoral votes to New York's 45. Currently, California commands 55 votes, with New York's share having diminished to 31 -- and further, states that lie west of the 100th meridian cast 200 of the necessary 270 votes to elect a president. Kennedy speculates that, should demographic patterns hold, the West as a voting bloc may be able to elect American presidents on their own. Will the 200 year old precedents in the constitution hold under such drastic demographic changes?

- The environmental scarcity, particularly of water resources, that have always shaped the economies of the West (read Marc Reisner's excellent Cadillac Desert) will continue to determine the future of the West. With the growing economic influence of California, specifically, and the West's ability to foster and embrace large-scale technological change, perhaps one of the enduring legacies of the West will be in re-shaping the way large, demanding populations are able to thrive under environmental and resource pressures -- surely an enduring global challenge.

Photos above and below from a Flickr search for 'California.' Interesting, I suppose, that California in our imagination is still about the Pacific and mountains and expansive, magical vistas, and not the strip malls and subdivisions populated by the small shops owned by the Vietnamese and the Indians and the Mexicans and the huge, box-store malls where all the money goes. Or, as Thomas Pynchon envisioned it:
San Narciso lay further south, near L.A. Like many named places in California it was less an identifiable city than a grouping of concepts: census tracts, special purpose bond-issue districts, shopping nuclei, all overlaid with access roads to its own freeway. But it had been Pierce's domicile, and headquarters: the place he'd begun his land speculating in ten years ago, and so put down the plinth course of capital on which everything afterward had been built, however rickety or grotesque, toward the sky; and that, she supposed, would set the spot apart, give it an aura. But if there was any vital difference between it and the rest of Southern California, it was invisible on first glance. She drove into San Narciso on a Sunday, in a rented Impala. Nothing was happening. She looked down a slope, needing to squint for the sunlight, onto a vast sprawl of houses which had grown up all together, like a well-tended crop, from the dull brown earth; and she thought of the time she'd opened a transistor radio to replace a battery and seen her first printed circuit. The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had. Though she knew even less about radios than about Southern Californians, there were to both outward patterns a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate. There'd seemed no limit to what the printed circuit could have told her (if she had tried to find out); so in her first minute of San Narciso, a revelation also trembled just past the threshold of her understanding. Smog hung all round the horizon, the sun on the bright beige countryside was painful; she and the Chevy seemed parked at the centre of an odd, religious instant. As if, on some other frequency, or out of the eye of some whirlwind rotating too slow for her heated skin even to feel the centrifugal coolness of, words were being spoken. She suspected that much.