“THE STUFF OF THOUGHT: Language as a Window Into Human Nature” is a new book by Steven Pinker reviewed by William Saletan in today’s New York Times.
The medium isn’t just reason; it’s language — and language isn’t the manifestation of one mind; it’s the joint manifestation of millions. The reason language works is that it reflects the world as we jointly experience it.
Donald E. Knuth, Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, maintains one of the homelier homepages on the web. But he has a refined eye for design. I’m fascinated by his photographic collection of diamond road signs. Knuth is known for attention to minutia. He invented TeX a system for typesetting and Metafont a format for creating and encoding typefaces on computers. Perhaps it’s his eye for typographical detail that drew his eye to the distinctiveness to be found in common road signs.
Some of my photos appeared with Gregory Dicum’s Nicaragua article in last Sunday’s New York Times. (Registration may be required to view the article.) The online version includes extra photos along with a short video clip we made about exploring Nicaragua’s volacanoes.The article has been picked up on the New York Times news wire as far away as the Taipei Times.
The Boston Globe ran one of my Nicaragua photos today with an article on Fair Trade coffee by Gregory Dicum.
Over at A List Apart, I ran across an archived article by Dean Allen published back in November of 2001. Dean is an interesting character with a keen insight into how communication design works. His critique of Edward Tufte’s rant against PowerPoint is what first got me listening. He created Textpattern, a PHP-based content management system for websites. Anyway his thoughts titled Reading Design ring refreshingly true to someone who makes a living trying to wring clarity from OPP (Other People’s Powerpoint).
For long term redevelopment after Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquakes in Kashmir, I entrust my disaster relief dontations to Oxfam.
Mick LaSalle doesn’t always seem to care what he writes these days in his movie reviews for the Chronicle. But today’s piece on “The Constant Gardender” goes far beyond anything that makes it into the New York Times or the New Yorker. His description of Ralph Fiennes’ performance deserves a place in the OED for the meaning of “diffidence:”
Fiennes can be an austere actor, but this role calls for different notes, a softness, almost a sweetness. He plays Justin, a diplomat sent to Africa in the British foreign service, with a specific and rather interesting form of diffidence — as interesting here as when one finds it in real life: It’s the diffidence of someone who is meek by disposition, but whose self-image is, at bottom, healthy and confident. Such people are interesting because they’re rare, in that most people, if anything, tend to be the reverse, blustering on the outside and unsure on the inside.”
It may be that you’ve arrived here hoping for a snazzy self-marketing site. You won’t ever find that here. I am working on some examples of the work I do in design. But I’m hoping to avoid the pitfalls of overmarketing.
Last night I finished a new website design for my friend Justine Baum, a freelance stylist for commercial photography. Anyone looking for an experienced photo stylist should check out her work. She’s especially good with kids.