September 26, 2016
From: Zoë ———To: Noah — Rules & Regulations
Intercepted by a 5th grade teacher.
[via Denny Dimples]
Helpful Hints from joeeze: Wall outlet with night light (light-activated sensor)
Features and Details:
• Looks like a standard outlet cover by day — LEDs provide ambient lighting at night
• Plug-and-play replacement for standard plug-in night lights
• No wires or batteries
• Easy to install
Hide in plain sight.
White, Ivory, or Light Almond.
September 25, 2016
Getty Museum Art Books
Download hundreds in their entirety as PDFs.
the way we like it.
there goes the day.
Cubic Cable Holder
It's a solid metal cube that secures your cable(s).
Any cable, including cubic cables.
But I digress.
Weight: 3.7 oz.
2.5" x 2.5" x 2.5".
Designed by Kebei Li.
Made in San Francisco.
Copper, Brass, or Stainless Steel.
September 24, 2016
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.
Hint: smaller than a bread box.
Another: not by Josef Albers.
A third: no moving parts.
September 23, 2016
The smallest lot in New York City (500 square inches)
It's pictured above and below.
Between Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue South, just in front of the historic Village Cigars store, there's a small mosaic triangle set into the sidewalk — the smallest legal plot owned in New York City.
This land is now part of the sidewalk: it was never sold or given to the city.
In 1910, Seventh Avenue was extended to just below Greenwich Avenue to make room for subway construction.
The city exercised eminent domain to condemn and demolish 300 pieces of property.
One of the buildings to be demolished was D. H. Hess's Voorhis Apartment, a five-story residential building.
Hess mounted a fierce battle with the city that ultimately left him with about 500 square inches of real estate shaped like a triangle.
The city requested that Hess "donate" the land to be part of a new sidewalk.
Hess did not agree and went to court to assert his rights and it became a famous case in the late 1910s known as "The D. H. Hess Estate of Philadelphia case."
Ultimately Hess won the case and created a lasting reminder of defiance: On July 27, 1922, he ordered black and yellow tile to create a defiant message [above] that can still be read today:
PROPERTY OF THE HESS ESTATE WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN DEDICATED FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES
In 1938 the Hess family sold the triangle for about 2¢ per inch ($1,000 in total) to the cigar store that still operates at the location today.
bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: BlueAnt Bluetooth Earphones
You can look like a doofus with AirPods next month or you can rock these now for less than 25% of the $159 AirPods will set you back.
I've been using these for two weeks, including an epic 8.5 mile run in 95° heat and major humidity up and down the hills of Podunkville which made me sweat like I was in a steam bath: they stayed put and the sound was fine, plenty loud, and being drenched in perspiration didn't hamper their performance one iota.
My iPhone 5 wasn't as fortunate: sweat soaked through my armband and bricked it.
But I digress.
BlueAnts are surprisingly comfortable, with a zillion ear insert size options.
What a delight, no longer having to mess around with an iPod earphone cable.
Blue, Black, or Green Ice.
September 22, 2016
The French Number — "Get connected to a random French person and talk about anything"
Excellent way to brush up your français.
Flying Wings Backpack
Sheep's wool textured to appear like layers of feathers.
Zipper, adjustable strap, inside lining.
Can Belarus-based Volha Kotova
September 21, 2016
How many of your Twitter followers are fake?
Find out here.
Some perspective: four years ago (below)
only 2% of my 1,326 followers were constructs.
You could look it up.
Electric Feathers Knot Pillow
Hand painted raw silk knot sculpture.
Composition: 100% Silk Noil
Color: Ivory/Black Splatter
Size: 9"W x 5"H x 13"L
Made in New York.
September 20, 2016
The 69 Rules of Punctuation
Click here for a much larger version.
New Australia $5 Bill — To call it tricked-out would be the understatement of the year
Australia has a new $5 banknote.
It's a psychedelic trip to the bank, layered in metallic foils and a seemingly endless array of color shifting inks that glisten like an oil slick.
Bend the note, and a printed bird flaps its wings.
The ink has texture.
It even has nubs.
Part of the bill has been carefully primed like paper, while part has been kept relatively pristine and pure, pushing printing technologies to their limits.
And perhaps most notably, the center of the note isn't printed at all.
It's a clear window, revealing the note's greatest coup: This bill wasn't printed on paper, even though the texture feels that way.
It's a magic trick of plastic.
In a world full of smartphone payments and cryptocurrency, 85% of all transactions are still done in cash.
"What you're trying to do is create a banknote that's very difficult to forge, either in being costly, or in effort. If someone has to go through a huge amount of effort to reproduce these to pass it, it's not going to be a cost-effective proposition," said [James] Holloway [deputy head of note issue at Reserve Bank of Australia].
Australia's $5 note has been in development for a decade.
It began with three concept designers reimagining the existing currency with royalty, flora, fauna, and more than 200 proposed security measures.
That was only step one.
Most of the real work happened when the winning design was taken to the country's banknote printing industry, and over years, engineers figured out how they could actually produce the most complicated bill they could imagine.
Because in a world where our off-the-shelf ink-jet printers can seemingly print anything, currency has to be designed to be as unprintable as possible.
Even today, smearing and bleeding are real issues at the industrial scale, and the modern Australian banknote continues to exploit this fact in several ways, pushing printing to its technical limits.
They feature microprint — tiny text that’s difficult for machines to handle.
Then they squeeze "security features"—those complex printed foils are embedded with holograms, while color-shifting inks seem to spontaneously catch light in a predictable rainbow — very close to one another.
"We're trying to cram a lot of different things in a limited space, and printing to tight tolerances so colors don't bleed from one part to another," says Holloway.
Any graphic designer would find the results fairly hideous, and yet, they're very hard to reproduce.
As for the image of the queen, that's been rendered like an engraving, with long, spindly, and swirly lines.
It's a throwback to an older aesthetic we expect in currency, but this linear graphic approach is also "very difficult for most printers to reproduce," says Holloway.
"Most printers are dot matrix, so if you look under a microscope, they're just a lot of dots put together. So it's actually part of the security printing process."
In other words, older print graphics are actually harder to counterfeit.
Printing is just part of the moneymaking process, however.
There are 13 different production processes in all, and machines are also set up with specialized tools to further alter that plastic to feel just right.
This means foils are stamped onto plastic, sure, but the physical security goes much further than that.
After some layers of the banknote are printed, they're placed under high pressure, pressing the inks further into the plastic.
The effect creates micro valleys on the surface called Intaglio, creating that distinctive rough feel you get when you rub your hand across some print.
Along the same lines, the new notes feature a nub at the top and bottom edge.
It's just a bump — what’s the big deal?
"The issue is, if you put a tactile feature on a banknote, you need it to be durable. It's not much use if it wears down on circulation," says Holloway.
Indeed, if the bump were to wear down, it would essentially make real money look like it was counterfeit.
The solution was an assembly line tool which pokes into the note, bending the plastic and embossing the cash.
The Reserve Bank says that it can produce 300,000 bills an hour, and many of these different treatments to the banknote come off the line very quickly.
But that stat is a bit misleading, because the entire process is still painfully slow.
Each note takes months to produce, mostly because the print needs to be able to dry or cure between all these different steps — again, reinforcing that an investment in counterfeiting would be a big one.
Finally, the bank had to overcome issues in scaling the note's pièce de résistance — that clear window, which was so hard to print, so hard to duplicate.
Think about it — every other part of that note is covered in a base coat of primer, and all these inks.
And here is this clear window that lets light right through.
The problem was, it was actually too clear.
This break in the note was registering to money collection and distribution machines as a bill being fed in two separate pieces.
"[Machines] see it as, the banknote stops," says Holloway. "So we had to find a way for the machinery to see this clear thing and keep processing it. We've done quite a bit of work with the industry to find technical solutions so they read that as one banknote."
How exactly they solved it?
Holloway won't say. Just like he won't list every way that the banknote has been designed to spot counterfeiting.
Why don't you waste even more time?
Here's a video to amuse and distract from whatever it is you're avoiding.
Worked for me.
You can too: $6.66 (USD).
September 19, 2016
On Depression — by Anonymous
For most of the 25 years, my depression was pretty low-grade, without suicidal ideation. I had a brief flirtation in my teens, which I guess isn't uncommon, and then the divorce sent me spiraling. If I didn't have kids, I wouldn't be here. Heck, if I didn't have really good friends who wouldn't give up on me, I might still not be here. I know I spent a lot of time thinking about a David Foster Wallace essay he wrote after 9/11 in which he described how much he understood the jumpers, and how he compared it to his own life. I know I'd fall asleep at night begging God to take me in my sleep, and wake up angry that I was still alive.
And now, I look back and see how broken my thinking was. 2013 was the worst year of my life, hands down. But then 2015 was the best year of my life, without question. I didn't expect it, and I didn't even realize it at first, but even though I was absolutely certain that the pain would never end, it did, beyond all reason or expectation.
I hope I can remember this if I'm beset by depression again. What is that essay you post annually? I was sure, but I was wrong. I was sure the pain would never end, and that any relief from the pain would be better, even the relief of death. I was wrong! And it's not because I found someone new (I'm happily solo), and it's not because some external life event made things better. I spent a lot of time in therapy, and a lot of time with some very wise friends, and I heard them tell me that there was reason for me to live. I told them I disagreed, and that they didn't understand my past or how broken of a person I was. And I joined some meetings where I could, in fact, tell my story of just how broken a person I was. And even knowing the worst possible things about me, people still told me I had a future. And I still didn't believe them. So several of my friends used an illustration from Christianity (and I'm sorry if this means nothing to you; I'm just trying to explain what meant something to me):
After Christ was killed, the hopes and dreams of his followers were dead. Many of them had given up everything to follow him, believing that he would change the world, and free them oppression, and so on, but instead he was dead. But here's the thing: they continued to hang out together. Only a couple of them had seen him alive again, but they told their friends, and while most of them didn't believe it (because it's crazy), 120 of them were meeting together four months later.
So my friends told me: it's fine to disbelieve and doubt, and not be able to see any hope in your future. Just do this: hang out with us. Be one of the 120 in that room who had no reason to be there other than someone they knew really, earnestly, truly believed what they'd seen. And so that's what I did. I didn't believe in *anything* for a while. I didn't believe in getting out of bed. But I hung out with my friends, and as they encouraged me, I began to hope. Not for a bright future or anything like that; that was too big a step. Instead, I just hoped that *their* hope was not completely foolish. And eventually, that hope was followed by belief. I began to believe — again, not in myself, or in anything big, but I just began to believe that my friends had a better perspective on life than I did.
For someone who has spent most of my life believing myself to be the smartest person in almost any room, that was a hard challenge. That's the terrible part about depression. It breaks the tool you use to figure out how you're doing. It tells you you're doing worse than you are, and you have no reason not to believe that tool, because you've used it your whole life. I began to believe that my brain was untrustworthy. That chemicals and hormones and bad neural connections and whatever else were skewing my thinking. It was terrifying, but I picked two people and told them that I didn't trust my own thinking, and that I wanted them to vet every decision I made for a while.
And that's what I did. Anything I wasn't 100% sure of, and anything that seemed important, even if I was pretty sure of it, I ran by my therapist and my pastor. When they agreed, I went with whatever they said. When they disagreed (very rarely) I pushed until I found the agreement between them. And over time, I think my brain began to rewire itself. I would do things I felt/thought were completely backwards, because my advisors said to. I wouldn't do things that made sense to me, because my advisors said not to. And over time, I began to more and more predict what they would say, and they began to tell me that they thought I was doing better.
I went from hoping in their hope, and believing in their belief, to hoping for myself. And eventually, to believing for myself.
And now it's hard for me to remember why I thought and believed some of the things I did. The horrible, terrible things I did, or the horrible, terrible person I was, well, I'm never going to run for office, but I can see now that even as horrible or terrible as I was, my basis for comparison was off. I wasn't the most horrible and terrible person in the world. I didn't do the most horrible and terrible things in the world. And the person I was, and the things I did, didn't have to define the rest of my life. And I could do that without hiding or lying about my past, but by being completely and totally open about my past.
And yeah, that meant some people who had called me a friend never wanted to talk to me again. For a while, it seemed like that included one of my own children, and that was agonizing. It still seems like it includes one of my siblings, and that sucks. But I know this: the friends I have now really and truly know me, and really and truly care about me. They don't just like the polished cleaned-up fake version of me everybody's known for decades. They like the real me, who's been a super-shitty person in the past, and may be a shitty person in the future again.
And these days, so do I.
Man, that got rambly. I guess I hope for you that you are also in a place where you like yourself, warts and all. Where you like the real you, complete with the dark past and the better future.
Because I really believe that if I can get past my shitty past, anyone can.