alips / Alex

There are two people in alips’s collective.

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  1. FluxFM Ryan Keen & Sven Regener

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  2. Speaking of Interpreting

    Eve and Corinne interview InterpretAmerica co-Presidents Barry Slaughter Olsen and Katharine Allen (aired live on March 12, 2014)

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  3. 3: Willing to Negotiate

    Airlines: we’ve heard the horror stories. Now we dig deeper into how to get the results we want at the gate, on the phone, and in the air. (Part 2 of 2)Are we stuck in a breadline in Kiev back in ‘78, waiting for shitty vouchers for shitty airlines, or could we eventually see Our Own Fuckin’ Airline? #SuperplanePanelists: John Roderick, Jim Dalrymple, Lex Friedman, Brent BillingsSpecial Guest Star: Majel Barrett RoddenberrySPONSORSTransporter: personal cloud storage that lives in your house. Use offer code ELECTRIC75 for 25% off Transporter Sync at FileTransporter.comSmile: Visit for details and a brief video introduction to TextExpander.Delta’s In-Flight Trivia GameIgloo: try an intranet that you’ll actually like using. It’s free for up to ten users, and affordable beyond that. Click here to support the show, and sign up for their free SXSW event on 3/12 from 3:30-6:30pmSHOWNOTESBrent Billings survived the airline industry and now does photography and design.John Roderick makes music with The Long Winters, and shares custody of Roderick on the Line (a show about The Beatles and Hitler) with Merlin Mann. Watch your ass, 6F. He’s coming for you.Jim Dalrymple runs The Loop, The Loop Magazine, and hosts Amplified.Lex Friedman is EVP of Sales and Development for The Mid Roll, and co-hosts Not Playing with MacWorld’s Dan Moren. Give us this day (Y)our Daily Lex.Subscribe to Thank You For Calling (iTunes/RSS)Subscribe to the ESN Master Feed (iTunes/RSS)

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  4. 2: Hostile Professionalism

    Airlines: we hate them, and it feels like they hate us. Is our only choice to "ride in the fucking toilet"? A former airline employee joins us to help peel back the curtain at Gate 21. (Part 1 of 2)Panelists: John Roderick, Jim Dalrymple, Lex Friedman, Brent BillingsSubscribe to Thank You For Calling (iTunes/RSS)Subscribe to the ESN Master Feed (iTunes/RSS)Brent Billings survived the airline industry and now does photography and design.John Roderick makes music with The Long Winters, and shares custody of Roderick on the Line with Merlin Mann. Watch yourself, he might be elected Senator someday. #SupertrainJim Dalrymple runs The Loop, The Loop Magazine, and hosts Amplified.Lex Friedman is EVP of Sales and Development for The Mid Roll, and co-hosts Not Playing with MacWorld’s Dan Moren. Give us this day (Y)our Daily Lex.SPONSORSSmile: Visit for details and a brief video introduction to TextExpander.Squarespace: everything you need to get started making a website. Use the offer code mentioned in the show (part of the show’s title) for 10% off(Not) United AirlinesHover: get 10% your purchase when signing up at using offer code MAKEITSO

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  5. Storming Mortal 012 — Lonelysandwich Magic and a Place for the Soul, with Merlin Mann

    Merlin Mann was part of You Look Nice Today. That show is so good, he could have just stoped making cool stuff after it was finished. He didn’t. He keeps making awesome things. We talked about them. And other stuff. Whom is Casey Liss?


    Tagged with

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  6. Razzle Dazzle | 99% Invisible

    This is probably not what you think of when you think of camouflage.

    (Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI..)

    (Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)

    Becoming invisible with your surroundings is only one type of camouflage.  Camofleurs call this high similarity or blending camouflage.  But camouflage can also take the opposite approach.

    (Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)

    Think about zebras: it’s hypothesized that their stripes make it difficult for a predator to distinguish one from another when the zebras are in a large herd. The stripes also might make zebras less attractive to blood sucking horseflies. This is called disruptive camouflage.

    When it comes to humans, the greatest, most jaw-droppingly spectacular application of disruptive camouflage was called Dazzle.

    (Anon, photograph of the USS West Mahomet in dazzle camouflage, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 1733.)

    Dazzle painting emerged in the 1910s as design solution to a very dire problem: American and British ships were being sunk left and right by German U-Boats. England needed to import supplies to fight the Central Powers, and these ships were sitting ducks in the Atlantic Ocean.  They needed a way to fend of the torpedoes.

    Conventional high-similarity camouflage just doesn’t work in the open sea.  Conditions like the color of the sky, cloud cover, and wave height change all the time, not to mention the fact that there’s no way to hid all the smoke left by the ships’ smoke stacks.

    The strategy of this high-difference, dazzle camouflage was not about invisibility.  It was about disruption.  Confusion.

    Torpedoes in the Great War could only be fired line-of-sight, so instead of firing at where they saw the ship was at that moment, torpedo gunners would have to chart out where the ship would be by the time the torpedo got there.  They had to determine the target ship’s speed and direction with just a brief look through the periscope.

    The torpedo gunner’s margin of error for hitting a ship was quite low.  Dazzle painting could throw off an experienced submariner by as much as 55 degrees.

    (Burnell Poole, Painting of the USS Leviathan escorted by the USS Allen, 1918. Courtesy US Naval Historical and Heritage Command, NH 42691.

    A journalist at the time referred to these dazzling ships as “a flock of sea-going Easter eggs.”

    (John Everett, Painting of the SS Lepanto (c1918). Postcard. Collection of Roy R. Behrens.)

    An American “Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps” did some of the painting.

    (Anon, government news photograph of members of the US Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps camouflaging the USSRecruit in Union Square, NYC, 1917.)

    Dazzle was occasionally ridiculed…

    (Life magazine, 1918.)

    …but Dazzle also became an influence for fashion.

    (Anon, newspaper photograph of dazzle-inspired bathing suits at Margate UK, from the New York Tribune, 1919.)

    Our expert this week is Roy Behrens, a professor graphic design at the University of Northern Iowa.  He’s published several books about camouflage, and also runs the Camoupedia blog.

    The theater of war has changed so camouflage has changed with it, but there is still dazzle to be found…

    (Credit: Ewan Roberts)

    …but sadly, there are no longer flocks of sea-going Easter eggs.

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  7. Icon For Access | 99% Invisible

    There is a beauty to a universal standard. The idea that people across the world can agree that when they interact with one specific thing, everyone will be on the same page– regardless of language or culture or geographic locale. If you’re in Belgrade or Shanghai or São Paulo, you can look at a sign and know instantly, without speaking a word of the local language, that this floor is slippery. That the emergency exit is over there. That that substance is poisonous, and you should not eat it.

    (ISO Warning Signs. H200 means “Explosive Materials,” but it kind of looks like “Caution: Giant Extra-Terrestrial War Cruiser Heading Towards Earth”)

    The group behind those internationally recognized logos is called the International Organization for Standardization.

    One of the most recognizable ISO symbols in the International Symbol of Access. You might not know it by that name, but you’ve seen it.

    (The International Symbol of Access)

    The International Symbol of Access is everywhere–on parking spaces, on buttons that operate automatic doors, in bathrooms, on seats on the bus or at movie theaters. Anywhere there’s an indication of special accommodations made for people with disabilities.

    The logo was created through a design contest in 1968, coordinated by an organization now called Rehabilitation International. The logo would have to be readily identifiable from reasonable distance, self-descriptive, simple, unambiguous, and practical. The winner was a Danish designer named Susanne Koefed–though her original design didn’t have a head!

    (At left, Koefoed’s original design)

    Within a decade, the logo–the one with a head–was endorsed by both the United Nations and ISO. And so over time, the International Symbol of Access became embedded in the urban fabric of cities and towns across the world. People began to pay attention to the kinds of special building accommodations that spaces need to be inviting for people with varying degrees of ability. And then in 1990, Congress passed the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which President George H. W. Bush signed into law. Modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA…

    “…prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.”

    The presence of this single, attractive logo to signify a universal right for access helped create an atmosphere in which the world could begin to adapt to new building parameters and regulations as specified per the ADA. In many ways, the adoption of the International Accessibility Icon is a success story in a simple design changing the world for the better.

    But this isn’t the end of the story. Because as the logo got absorbed into the built environment, and the politics of (dis)ability became more nuanced, some people started finding it a little lacking.

    And so one group, the Accessible Icon Project, has created a new logo that they hope will ultimately replace ISO standard.

    (Courtesy of Sara Hendren and the Accessible Icon Project)

    Here, in the Accessible Icon Project’s words, is what’s different:

    (Courtesy of Sara Hendren and the Accessible Icon Project)

    1. Head is forward to indicate the forward motion of ahte person through space. Here the person is the “driver” or decision maker about her mobility.

    2. Arm angle is  pointing backward to suggest the dynamic mobility of a chair user, regardless of whether or not she uses her arms. Depicting the body in motion represents the symbolically active status of navigating the world.

    3. By including white angled knockouts the symbol presents the wheel as being in motion. These knockouts also work for creating stencils used in spray paint application of the icon. Having just one versin of the logo keeps things more consistent and allows viewers to more clearly understand intended message.

    4. The human depiction in this icon is consistent with other body representations found in the ISO 7001 – DOT Pictograms. Using a different portrayal of the human body would clash with thtese established and widely used icons and could lead to confusion.

    5. The leg has been moved forwward to allow for more space between it and the wheel which allows for better readability and cleaner application of icon as a stencil.

    –Accessible Icon Project

    Some people from the Accessible Icon Project have taken to altering signs with the current Universal Symbol of Access.

    (Courtesy of Sara Hendren and the Accessible Icon Project)

    (Courtesy of Sara Hendren and the Accessible Icon Project)

    The DIY nature of this logo redesign project points to the fact that the process by which this new project is getting adopted is the complete opposite of how the Universal Symbol of Access became entrenched in global society. Rather than go for a universal buy-in from on high, the Accessible Icon Project has been entirely grassroots–which can be a problem. Because without starting life as a universally- and internationally-recognized symbol, there’s a lack of clarity as to whether this new sign meets the standards put into effect by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    So it all comes back to the question of what we are trying to accomplish through our symbols. Having one unified icon can tell one clear story all over the world. But sometimes stories change. After all, the original name for the group behind the International Symbol of Access–Rehabilitation International–used to be called the International Society for the Welfare of Cripples!The meanings and associations that words have shift over time. And sometimes the symbols need to as well.

    But, you know, universality does have an upside. Especially if you’re in Belgrade and about to accidentally ingest poison.



    (ISO symbol for poisonous gas)

    This story was by reported by Lauren Ober (@OberandOut). Lauren spoke with Accessible Icon Project co-founder Sara Hendren, who is an artist, designer, RISD lecturer, and curator of Abler, a site about design and disability. Lauren also spoke with Gary Christenson, mayor of Malden, MA; Jeff Gentry, of Triangle; and disability rights activist Brendon Hildreth, all of whom have been working on bringing the Accessible Icon Project to their respective communities.

    Lauren also got to chat with Barry Gray, who, as Chairman of ISO’s Technical Committee on Graphical Symbols, has the best job title ever.

    BONUS! Check out Lauren’s story from Only A Game about “WCMX,” or “wheelchair motocross.”

    This is Wheelz’s logo

    (Courtesy of Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham)

    Music: “Aquarium”- Casino Versus Japan; “Epiphany”- Podington Bear; “Hard Won”- Podington Bear; “A Drifting Up”- Jon Hopkins; “Rhea”- OK Ikumi; “Sunlight”- OK Ikumi; “Program Reverie”- Podington Bear; “Heavy Flutter”- Podington Bear

    Squarespace site of the week: Audio Dregs, ““experimental music made by people equally in love with melody and invention.” You will love them.

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  8. The Xanadu Effect | 99% Invisible

    What happens when we build big?

    Julia Barton remembers going to the top floor of Dallas’s then-new city hall when she was teenager. The building, designed by I.M. Pei, is a huge trapezoid jutting out over a wide plaza. Julia found the view from the top pretty fantastic, especially when munching on a Caramello bar from the City Hall vending machines.

    But once she went to a protest in the plaza below. And those same windows, now hulking over her, made her feel small, and the whole event insignificant. Texans have a fondness for big structures—big arenas, big houses, big freeways. Julia wasn’t sure if their hidden message wasn’t simply this: I’m important, you’re nobody.

    For people who distrust the big project, Edward Tenner’s 2001 essay “The Xanadu Effect” is some comfort. Tenner, a visiting scholar at Princeton University, ponders the ways in which obsession with bigness can presage hard times for a business or even a nation. Tenner named his essay not for Olivia Newton-John’s anthem or even the Coleridge poem, but for the palace Xanadu built in the movie “Citizen Kane.” That Xanadu, of course, was based on a real-life palace that newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst built in his waning days of empire:

    On its 24,000 acres were a 354,000-gallon swimming pool, a private zoo and four main buildings with a total of 165 rooms. Along with other such extravagances, the estate helped send Hearst into trusteeship late in life. The cavernous halls of Welles’ gloomy cinematic Xanadu seemed to filmgoers — as the real, happier building must have appeared to many Hearst Corp. public investors — the very image of the pride that goes before a fall.

    The downside of the Xanadu Effect has seen itself play out in other places—the Empire State Building, for example, was conceived in the 1920s but completed during the Great Depression, when it was known as “the Empty State Building.” Tenner’s not arguing that big things shouldn’t be built; he’s saying bigness is a gamble. It pays off when it it uplifts people, gives them a sense of grandeur and purpose. It fails when it crushes them or just makes life a pain, as in the big-built city of Moscow, where pedestrians have to scurry under the wide avenues in tunnels:

    (Above: A pedestrian tunnel in Moscow. Credit: Veronica Khokhlova)

    On a recent reporting trip to Russia for PRI’s “The World,” Julia travelled to Sochi, Russia’s southern-most city and upcoming host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sochi is Europe’s biggest construction site right now, with Xanadu-like ice-palaces going up right on the Black Sea.

    (Above: Big Ice Palace. Credit: Julia Barton)

    All the construction—including billions of dollars of infrastructure—is good news for the Russian state and shoring up its presence in the Caucasus. It’s not necessarily good news for the locals. Julia interviewed a Sochi resident, Alexei Kravets, who’s been in a stand-off with authorities about the fate of the home he built by the Black Sea.

    (Above: Alexei Kravets. Credit: Julia Barton)

    Kravets’s court case to save his home has been standing in the way of a new railway complex. Construction workers have been throwing rocks through his windows, scraping his walls with backhoes, and hauling away his storage units. Kravets has been confronting them on film:

    It’s a dramatic example of big vs. small, but this type of conflict often happens in the face of massive development. Edward Tenner says beyond just governments or private developers, we all need to think more carefully about the costs and benefits of building big.

    “Bigness is a strategy that just about always fails, unless it succeeds. Or you could say it always succeeds except when it fails. And there really is no one way that you can regard it. You have to see it as a very powerful, easy-to-misuse, but also tempting way to go about things in life,” he says.


    Julia Barton produced another great story from 99% Invisible about the Unsung Icons of Soviet Design. An all-time fav.

    More audio from the Russian protest Julia attended on her own podcast, DTFD.

    Julia’s story for PRI’s The World: Sochi 2014: Building Boom for Winter Olympics Leaves Some Behind

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  9. Mobile World Congress: Chancen nur noch in Schwellenländern

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

  10. 3: Libido of a Salesman

    Adam Lisagor, Guy English, and John Gruber talk about the blurring lines between marketing and entertainment, the death of "what’s on" content, and Jackass’ magnum opus. Interview excerpt: Richard Dreyfuss (available uncut as Screen Time 56). (Part 1 of 2)SPONSORSTransporter: personal cloud storage that lives in your house. Use offer code ELECTRIC75 (before 3/14/2014) for 25% off Transporter Sync at FileTransporter.comIgloo: try an intranet that you’ll actually like using. It’s free for up to ten users, and affordable beyond that. Click here to support the show, and sign up for their free SXSW event on 3/12 from 3:30-6:30pmPANELISTSAdam Lisagor (twitter) makes ads that are so engaging and fun that you forget they’re ads (because they’re engaging and fun). Guy English (twitter) should get to seeing Bad Grandpa when he isn’t blogging.John Gruber (twitter) is Daring Fireball and its commentary track, The Talk Show, as well as 1/3 of Q-Branch, who make Vesper.SHOWNOTESHouse of Cards is becoming one of the biggest broadcast shows on top of redefining what a "broadcast show" is with ripped-from-headlines subject matter.Home Box Office was such a revolutionary idea then that it’s weird they still feel shackled to "traditional" cable. Meanwhile, WWE is going the other direction.David Lynch on iPhone movie-watching, Kevin Spacey and Johnny Knoxville on The Daily Show.The studios used to own the movie theaters.Netflix’s first "original" series was Lilyhammer, but unlike House of Cards, they didn’t greenlight or produce (and therefore own) it.Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (trailer) is a much better movie than you may assume. One nutjob on the panel thinks it’s one of the best American movies in years.Enlisted makes a surprising ratings leap week-over-week thanks to DVR.Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is one of our favorite TV shows not on TV.Farmed and Dangerous is propaganda designed to be entertaining. The Guardian looks at their decision to go in the direction of ecosystem marketing. Would Super Size Me have worked with a company logo slapped on it (or was that the question Spurlock tried to answer with POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold)?Amazon devoured the UK’s Lovefilm whole last week and announced a new season of original series Alpha House, even though John Goodman has no idea how to tell people to go watch it, but no one knows how many people actually watched the first one. Gary Trudeau is taking a hiatus from Doonesbury to focus on this.Transparent sounds really good.

    —Huffduffed by alips one month ago

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