Recently on Necessary Facts

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Monday, May 6, 2013
KALLIOPE
Last night, on patrol, I met a Muse. Kalliope, the muse of epic poetry passed by at 6th and Congress. She was coming from 6th and San Jacinto where she had been performing.

She handed me a slip of paper. “Q: What did Athena say to Medusa? … A: I haven’t seen you in Aegis.”

Friday, April 26, 2013
Disruptive Diagnostics and the Business of Science

Former UT professor Tom Kodadek returned to address the postdoctoral student association of the School of Biological Sciences on April 25. He met a full house of about 250. The title of his talk was “The Ups and Downs of Moving ‘Disruptive’ Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technology from the Lab to the Real World.” Dr. Kodadek is now with the Scripps Research Institute, in Jupiter, Florida. Originally funded by the NIH, his work is now marketed by OPKO Health, Inc.,which found the angel funding he needed to bring his theories to realization.

Monday, April 22, 2013
OBJECTIFIED

Objectified is a film by Gary Hustwit about design, designers, and the objects that they create. Dieter Rams of Braun and Apple’s Jonathan Ive appear, of course. (See, The Genius of Design below.) So do thirty other designers, and a couple of supportive critics, such as Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art. IKEA and Target both get cameo roles as they deliver to us the magic of inexpensive mass produced items that ennoble us, their owners, with the spiritual benefits of good design. You and I also appear in anonymous walk-ons because in the words of Andrew Blauvelt, “anything that is touched by man, is transformed by man, is by its very nature designed.” The human-built environment is design.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Genius of Design

“For industrial designers, the world is never enough. They give shape and texture to the world to make it livable—indeed, beautiful—for the rest of us. This fascinating five-part documentary examines the art and science of design and the stuff it shapes, from computer chips to cityscapes and everything in between. See the evolution from artisans’ workshops to industrial mass production, and the profound changes it has wrought in our economy, society, and environment.” – from the promotional.

Friday, March 29, 2013 and Wednesday, April 3, 2013
ENGINES OF CREATION and GOOFING TO A MELTDOWN
Engines of Creation
The folks at Code.Org created a video with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others, encouraging kids to learn to program computers. That much is laudable. Disgracing the video, with an odd anti-capitalist mentality, is a segment by Drew Houston of Dropbox about how much fun it is to be a programmer. (View from the 3:00 minute to the 4:00 minute mark of this 5:44 announcement.) Was it the fun of 48 hours in three days to solve a tough problem? No, it is the fun of skateboarding in the office, playing ping pong, and chatting with your fields. The segment also touts free food including gourmet cooking three times a day. But where do these come from, if no one works? Blank out.

Goofing to a Meltdown?
After the Code.Org video touting “fun at work” (see the post before this one), this article appeared on March 28 on CNN.com about the positive side of “goofing off at work.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Start the presses!
Reviews of two movies about typography, Justin Nagan’s Typeface and Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica.

The fundamental principles of composition are constant. Styles are invented, transformed, evolved. Good styles depend upon the adaptation of principles and then validate those principles. The composition may be poetry or prose, music or dance, sculpture or painting, but the same principles govern: order, structure, and motion; rhythm, melody, and harmony; contrast, conflict and resolution. These make a symphony or a skyscraper or this page.