This is London

The Boston Globe‘s Big Picture feature today features London from above, a bunch of stunning photos by aerial photographer Jason Hawkes. Go see them all.

Also, if you like great photos, add the Big Picture’s RSS Feed to your feed reader. You’ll get some real gems from time to time, like the Olympic opening ceremonies and events, California wildfires and even astonishing photos of the Large Hadron Collider (a couple more photos below).

Continue reading This is London

Happy 50th, Helvetica

The BBC celebrates Helvetica’s 50th birthday. Check out the comments, where amateur font geeks have gathered to make bad font jokes (sample: “Two fonts walk into the bar, and the barman says, ‘sorry lads, we don’t serve your type.'”) and wistfully talk about their favourite fonts (“Helvetica’s sexier sister, Verdana”) (!).

PS. Windows users take note — Arial looks a lot like Helvetica, but isn’t.

Quick Bits: Violence, English, Solar

Some of this is old news, but I had to flush my bloggable bookmarks queue, so here goes…

  • Solar Cells reach 40% efficiency. Slashdot notes that this means a sunlit area 265 miles square could meet the world’s energy needs. More practically, developing but energy-poor countries like India may have just found a way out of their energy trap. Solar panel infrastructure on roofs and two-way metering are just some innovations that would let Indian cities improve their residents’ quality of life in an environmentally friendly way.
  • “…In the end, America may be stronger for it.” Anti-offshoring lobbyist Scott Irwin shuts down his lobby group. (via)
  • Patent laws stifle drug innovation (via)
  • The Decline of Violence (via)
  • A Middle Ground on Climate, from the NYT. And reaction from RealClimate. (via)
  • English: a Celtic language with Germanic words?
  • “Extraterrestial Intelligent beings do not exist.”

Increasingly True in India Too

Very insightful post from John Robb

It is true that in the US, we have a meat grinder assembly line approach to life. If you fall behind, the machine chews you up and turns you into a hotdog. If you get far enough ahead, you can leap off the conveyer belt and stand in safety — and stay there unless you are dumb enough to spend enough to get close to the belt again.

However, the safety net for many of us is our family. They can support you through the most difficult of moments. They can pull you off the conveyer belt for a while — the moment it takes for you to gain the strength for another run. The price is that family isn’t free. It takes an investment of years. It takes an ability to forgive and forget, and more comprimise than you think you think you can stand.

Maybe the ability to build and maintain a strong family is a mindset. It is a mindset people haven’t talked much about. It requires that people know how to keep connections alive. How to throw insults and humiliations away as so much transient garbage — that were generated in the heat of the moment. How to give up what you want to do what is right for your family, even when every fiber of your being demand that you drive it up to the edge.

And finally: to forget. Most importently, the ability to forget the negative is the best way to build a strong family.

The Atlantic on Introverts

Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic:

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

The Aftermath of Merit-based Scholarships


Though not exactly ordinary, Ms. Ryan’s story is familiar around here. Campus veterans marvel at all the poolside apartments that have sprung up since Georgia popped the income cap off its merit awards. Professors are testing their hypothesis that instead of increasing college enrollment, the state’s $1.7 billion scholarship program has been a blessing for the automobile industry — since so many families roll the savings into buying new cars.