The wrong order and a few more beauties
The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy. But like all information systems, the index card had unexpected political implications, too: It helped set the stage for categorizing people, and for the prejudice and violence that comes along with such classification.
On the categorization of imaginary beings and what it all means.
As defenders of the supernatural will be quick to point out, many arthropods have six limbs; squids, skunks, bombardier beetles, and plenty of other real creatures spew strange things; nature sometimes contrives to recombine old animals in new ways (see the half-striped zedonk—part zebra, part donkey—or the recent emergence of the coywolf: part coyote, part wolf); and, considering the many kinds of metamorphoses exhibited by animals—tadpole to frog, caterpillar to butterfly, baby-faced to bearded—how far-fetched is it, really, for a bat to turn into a man?
And then down the rabbithole of reality it goes:
Most of us understand that our perceptual systems, far from passively reflecting the world around us, actively sort, select, distort, ignore, and alter a huge amount of information in order to construct reality as we experience it. But reality as we experience it also departs from actual reality in deeper ways. In actual reality, space and time are inseparable, and neither one behaves anything like the waywe perceive it; nor does light, and nor does gravity, and, in all likelihood, nor does consciousness. Yet all the while we go on experiencing space like a map we can walk on, time like a conveyor belt we travel on, ourselves as brimming with agency, our lives as mattering urgently.
See this – “Back in 2006, a Massachusetts court heard a case that determined the legal definition of a wrap. Panera Bread, which had been granted exclusivity over all things sandwich at a suburban mall, charged that an encroaching Qdoba — with its signature burritos — was, in fact, serving sandwiches. A quick look at Webster’s Dictionary and a few expert witnesses later, and the judge ruled in favor of Qdoba.”
The soy milks versus the cow milks, the definition of milk is being fought over.
The world of bird taxonomy can get a little crazy, apparently.
“We’re just trying to make the best of a bad situation. That’s all taxonomy is,” says James “Van” Remsen, the SACC’s chairman.
Sharing blog posts to Twitter.
Since I moved the blog to blog.petervandijck, it’s living on (hosted WordPress). I was reading through older posts today, this is starting to feel like a long-term solution. I also set this up to share to Twitter.
What it says on the label and standards.
Timezones are fascinating when you get into them, and this is a good place to start: http://time.is/time_zone_news
How Unicode decides which emojis to support.
World Bank changed the definition of extreme poverty – interesting discussion of the challenges.
The “Named Colors” section of the CSS Color Module Level 4—the latest specification for color values and properties within the Cascading Style Sheets language—are 141 standard colors. Each has its own name, so beyond the essentials of “black” and “white” are shades like “papaya whip,” a warm orange pastel; “lemon chiffon,” a faint, milky yellow; and “burlywood,” which has likely made an appearance on a safari tour guide’s shorts.
Thomas agreed. Frustrated with inconsistent displays, he started to find it futile to standardize color names. In response, he stated in an e-mail that he “sat down one evening with the handiest standard of subjective color names, a box of 72 Crayola crayons. That birthed “aquamarine,” “orchid,” and “salmon,” to name a few.
You gotta love standardization efforts!
This is a real email: http://datacenter.iers.org/eop/-/somos/5Rgv/latest/16
“To authorities responsible for the measurement and distribution of time”
(related to the leap second in 2015)
We give names to moons of other planets, so why is ours called just “Moon”?
For many people, gender identity is more complex than just “male” or “female.” Starting today, I’m proud to announce that Google+ will support an infinite number of ways to express gender identity, by giving you the option to customize the way your gender is represented on your profile.
Seriously good talk.
- The elegance of simplicity.
- The power of experience. (What’s a great experience?)
- The magic of stories. Technology + Art = Magic.
How can we get lots of disciplines work together? To solve large problems?
- At Pixar, creatives and techs get paid the same.
- It’s really hard to get the tech people to respect the creative people and vice versa.
Works for all systems, not just software.
- Peer culture: everyone shows everyone else their work and get lot of feedback.
- Learning environment. Empowered people. Great at tech & creativity – work hand in hand together. Same team. Giving feedback.
- Product design + Engineering + Understand Consumer problem.
- Team of DIFFERENT thinking people. Not just engineers. Different. Respect each other. Bounce ideas of each other.
- Examine and understand a problem.
- Iterate to a solution.
- NEED A TEAM! Not one person, one designer, one product leader.
Great photos of Medellin http://www.behance.net/gallery/Las-Golondrinas-Comuna-8-Medellin/5910203
Easy product tours with http://bootstraptour.com/