Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mad Electricity: Nikola Tesla

I was watching this engaging documentary of one of the greatest inventors of all time, Nikola Tesla.

He was the father of the modern electric age & single-handedly created many of its wonders that we take for granted now-
Tesla was the inventor of A/C electricity, florescent light bulbs, wireless signal transmission, and other ideas that literally changed the entire world.

Unfortunately, he hasn't historically always received the credit he deserves & his efforts were often challenged or outright squashed by greedy corporatists like Thomas Edison, or short-sighted financiers like J.P. Morgan. Tesla initially worked for Edison, who screwed him out of compensation he owed for Tesla's inventions.

Before his success lighting the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with A/C power, he even had to find work digging ditches in New York City for a time after he left Edison's lab.

This History channel documentary, "Mad Electricity,"is an excellent overview of the amazing insight & accomplishments of this visionary mind.

Here's another great page on the PBS site for information about Tesla:

Tesla: Master of Lightning
Even his previously fantastical vision of wireless electric power is now finally being realized, as well. 

Engadget Primed: 

Tesla was truly a genius & his work should be taught in every science class around the world.

 “When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

-Nikola Tesla

Friday, January 27, 2012


by Benjamin Patterson


 My answer would definitely be....

maybe   [  ]

I also came across this very relevant quote by crazy wisdom master RAW on The Daily Grail:

"Do not try to give either/or answers 
in a multiple-choice universe"  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monkeys & Mortality

There are many things I enjoy in life, but bizarre creations & monkey pictures always make my day.

I saw the masterpiece below on the Tumblr blog JUST_MONK3Y.
A pensive ape, wearing a fez hat with the the all-seeing eye, is holding a human skull.

Using the mind-boggling power of Google Images & Search ("ape+fez+skull"), I just took 30 seconds & tracked down the creator of this superb image, Jean Labourdette. The title of the work only adds to its awesomeness:

by Jean Labourdette

Perhaps the ponderous primate is wondering about the nature of the process we call consciousness that experiences our mortal existence...

Perhaps he is thinking about bananas...

Also on that blog, I saw this funny vintage print of a cheeky monkey trying to make moves on a human circus lady.

I looked up the artist, E. Gayac, but there's not much info other than that he was a Spanish postcard artist.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union 2012

Last night, I watched the premier piece of political pageantry in American politics, The State of the Union address.

This version posted by the White House has additional infographics accompanying the speech:

 Some people will inevitably complain about it being just another speech by Obama & his teleprompter that, according to his critics, no President has ever used before. Personally, I think The Long-Legged Mack Daddy has done as well as anyone can be expected to in his position.

The one credit I've always given our previous President, George W. Bush, is that he's the reason I got interested in politics & government affairs as a young adult.

His administration was like a car wreck that I had to watch, in horror. The GOP's policies were horrible overall, and Bush was himself was a continual disaster & embarrassment in the eyes of the world. The real President at the time, Dick Cheney, was widely regarded with the same affection as The Emperor in Star Wars.


Therefore, it's nice to be able to sit through these State of the Union speeches & not feel like the leader of the country is an inarticulate ignoramus.

Obama's clearly not perfect, but he's a helluva alot better than Bush or any of the current Republican candidates. If anything, he hasn't been forcefully progressive enough. Actually, the points where Obama & his administration are at their worst is where they try to continue the policies of the Bush White House. However, he campaigned as a moderate Democrat (not a liberal) and realistically has to deal with the conservatives in Congress & "The System" in general.

Haters gonna hate, though, so there are people who get sucked into the Fox News & right-wing talk radio (((brain-warp))) who think Obama's a muslim socialist who was born in Kenya & deeply hates America. I read the comments for articles on Fox Nation & Red State with the same sense of morbid curiosity as someone visiting an insane asylum. ...but, hey, all views should be taken into equal consideration, right?
Fair & Balanced™!!!

Obama, like all Presidents, is faced with a tremendous job & there are plenty of decisions to criticize or praise. I generally agree with his articulated vision for the country. If he had a greater degree of cooperation from Congress, the country would be improving at a much faster rate. The alternative is the traditional, disastrous Republican ideology, which is basically the privatization of everything & welfare only for multi-national corporations & the top 1%, sucking up America's wealth.

I'm pretty cynical, but I still think voting is an important civil act. I'll almost certainly be voting for President Obama, regardless of what obscenely rich knucklehead the GOP finally nominates.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day in the Life of a Graphic Designer

On Ffffound! I saw this retro-looking graphic by Amerikan Made Prints.

It's a very funny poster & I can relate to alot of it. Thankfully, my life as a graphic designer isn't quite as crazy!

Amerikan Made Prints:

click to enlarge

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Magic of Bob Ross

Recently I caught a bit of this documentary about the late, legendary landscape painter & TV personality, Bob Ross.

Bob Ross was on public television when I was a kid, and later became a hero for me & some of my friends in high school. 

Part of the reason I admired him was due to my love of art, but his laid-back demeanor & hypnotic banter could make anyone feel like they were in a Zen-like state of mental relaxation.

His descriptive imagination & his seemingly magic technique could instill a sense of wonder not just for art, but for the natural world that he was recreating in his paintings.

One of my friends recently sent me a video of his young daughters transfixed while watching an old episode of The Joy of Painting. Though he's no longer with us, Bob's gentle spirit still has a calming effect on people of all ages.

After seeing some of the documentary, I decided to have some fun & imagined myself in his painting. I wish I could've been lucky enough to meet him...

 "Paul Mic in the Mountains"
not by Bob Ross

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ancient Greek Punishment Games

 This could also be called 'The Game of Life'

Continuing on the idea of completely un-playable, not-so-fun games... I saw this on Neatorama and thought it was a very funny idea:

These simple 8-bit style games put you in the role of characters from ancient Greek myths who were punished by the gods with eternal torment.

I've been interested in ancient mythology since first learning about the Greek & Roman stories in grade school.

These impossible games simulate the torturous afterlives of the following characters:

...and my favorite, which is actually a philosophical paradox & not an eternal punishment:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Truther Toys

Continuing on the topic of having some fun with conspiracy theories from my last post...

I saw a link to these totally crazy "Truther Toy" parodies that take some of the more nefarious conspiracy theories floating around, and made them into games & other not-so-fun products for kids.

Having years of experience designing products for the toy & game industry, I can confidently say that NONE of these concepts will ever make their way into the toy aisle, at any store!

My favorite, however, is probably the Bank$ters Monopoly Press, which is a goof on the illusory, abstract nature of our entire monetary system:

click to enlarge

Right now, perpetual Presidential candidate Ron Paul & his fanatically loyal supporters are probably the most visibly vocal opponents in this country of the Federal Reserve & the entire fiat system of debt-driven currency. Although I find some of Congressman Paul's policy positions to be questionable, the private control of the issuing of money is one aspect of economy that is untenable & definitely needs major reform.

Although auditing the Fed, while creating more transparency & accountability in the highest levels of the financial sector, would be a good thing- his obsession with gold-backed currency seems antiquated & impractical in the digital age.

Like all things, the global economy & our systems of exchange will continue to evolve- perhaps into processes that we may not be able to even imagine today.

Reality Sandwich:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conspiracy Theory Rock: Media-opoly

This "TV Funhouse" skit by Robert Smigel (aka Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) is as true today as it was a decade ago when it was made for SNL.

The power of the giant multinational corporate conglomerates still disproportionately influences the media, the economy, & the government.

Any attempt to reign in the inevitable abuses committed by these impersonal, profit-driven monstrosities through regulation is usually met by screams of "Socialism!" or "government overreach!" by those with little sense of business ethics or social responsibility.

This particular segment was never used on the show, for obvious reasons.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Satirical Genius of Stephen Colbert

 Stephen Colbert transferring his "Colbert SuperPAC" money to Jon Stewart.

I've been a regular viewer of The Colbert Report since the first episode. He was one of the funniest 'correspondents' on The Daily Show, and (in my opinion) has far surpassed Jon Stewart has the greatest political satirist alive... maybe ever.

The NY Times magazine had this great article that gives a look behind the persona that he has meticulously crafted.

NY Times Magazine:

His roast of Dubya in 2006 was a legendary performance & guaranteed him a place among the Gods of Comedy.

Google Video

However, since then he has continued to bring an insane amount of wit & cutting insight to every show. His character is a consistently brilliant parody of the know-nothing plutocratic jerks who can usually be found on right-wing media like Fox News, as either guests or pundits.

Recently on his show, he has been masterfully utilizing all the great comedic material being provided by the buffoons running in the GOP primaries.

He has also been busy exposing the ludicrous process & laws behind elections in our country. At the forefront of his crusade to highlight the absurdities of our political system has been the 'Citizen's United' decision by the Supreme Court.


Basically, it ruled that current election law allows corporations to be considered "people" when it comes to political speech.

Therefore, through supposedly unconnected groups known as Super PACs, unlimited money can be raised by supporters of candidates. There is no requirement to disclose how much has been raised or where it came from.

Therefore, he started Colbert SuperPAC to show the process behind forming these legal entities which are having such a detrimental effect on the democratic system.

This week he made a surprise move to hand over the operation of his Colbert SuperPAC to Jon Stewart. By doing this, he has opened himself up to exploring a run as a candidate in the South Carolina primary election!

This should be very interesting... & hysterical!

Full Episode Link

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Design Like Nobody's Watching

I saw this funny design lesson on This Isn't Happiness:

by Grant Snider

Vermin Supreme, a Tyrant You Can Trust

On a couple websites I saw links to this video of a maniac who turned an otherwise boring public forum into an insane spectacle.

So I finally watched it, & the brazenly wacky Vermin Supreme is truly a sight to behold.

He is apparently a political activist of the crazy kind & has somehow been allowed to run in the Presidential primary in New Hampshire.


His jingle that he sings around the 5:00 mark and then glitter-bombing anti-gay activist Randall Terry is worth sitting through the rest of the madness.

I'm totally entertained by absurd happenings such as this.
Madmen such as Vermin Supreme briefly lift the veil off the artifices of accepted social mores & our general perceptions of reality.

Despite my enjoyment of crazy crap like this, I can't imagine how anyone would actually let "Mr. Supreme" near public office. Most people prefer a state of order over mayhem- even if it's an order that's corrupt & dysfunctional.

Last night, Stephen Colbert was skewering GOP candidate Rick Santorum. They showed a clip of Santorum being confronted by.... a crazy man wearing a boot on his head!
I had a friend over who exclaimed, "Look at that crazy boot-head!" I couldn't remember the name at the time, but I knew it was ridiculous & ended up looking it up online.

When the primaries move on from New Hampshire, who knows if the Vermin Supreme phenomenon will continue...

In the long line of 'out-there' politicians, Vermin Supreme is on a different level.

See also:

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Guides to Creative Thinking

I saw this list on Visual Bits & thought it had very good points:

I also came across this excellent article in The Atlantic that sums up the mysterious creative process:

The four steps outlined in the article definitely reflect how I usually approach design projects or problems in general:
1. Saturation - expose yourself to as many different possibilities & solutions as you can
2. Incubation - take time to reflect & simply think about the project or problem
3. Ilumination - the often sudden mental lightning strike of an idea
4. Verification - re-evaluate the approach you are taking and weigh the pros vs. cons.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

10 Technology Breakthroughs of 2011

This is a little late, but here is a good list of some really mind-boggling innovations that have been emerging recently.


I never stop being amazed at the ability of the human mind to physically realize what it can imagine. My Dad always comments about how visionary Star Trek was back in the 60's, but he doesn't even know just how much of that sci-fi tech is now really being developed.


When I see things like 'Brain-like CPUs', 'Cloud Computing', 'Auto-Repairing Circuits', & 'Nanorobotics', it's clear that an 'Apple iThink' computer is closer than ever.

From Paul's Portrait