The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway

The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City SubwayHelvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when it created a new signage system at the end of the 1960s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? What was chosen in its place? Why is Helvetica used now, and when did the changeover occur?

King Prong

A National Geographic expedition to a tiny South Pacific island has discovered scores of new species, including over 600 types of crabs.

Feather Star Crab

The distinctive hexagonal shell, long legs, and claws of this delicate-looking feather star crab help it blend in with its host, the crinoid or feather star.

The crab dwells in the center of the feather star, where it grabs food particles from its filter-feeding host’s arms.

Over 150 scientists from 20 countries participated in the survey of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific, scouring caves, mountains, reefs, shallows, and forests collecting species. Out of over 10,000 species collected, the researchers are predicting that as many as 2000 may be previously unknown to the scientific community.

More photos and info:  Crabs! Not-crabs!

(via Zooillogix)

First time anyone’s caught the sample in No Exit, too.

A new review of Bone Music, this time from the Grave Concerns e-zine:

What really sets apart Khan’s work from most of his contemporaries in the dark electronic scene is a fondness for more traditional sound sources. While there’s no shortage of electronic ambience and computer-generated percussive sounds, there’s also plenty of mostly unadorned rock and classical instrumentation. “Waiting for Gira” backs its rumbling percussion with the heavy throb of low-end bass guitar, for example, and “Friends of Father” sees what sounds like old-school guitar distortion and clattering snare drum emerging from a fuzzy wash of static. This more organic sound translates especially well to Khan’s use of rhythm. Often, his beats sound less like programmed sequences than tribal percussive ensembles, especially on the ominous “International Dark Skies,” which evokes imagery of some midnight voodoo conjuration, and title track “Bone Music,” which despite the morbid imagery of its title is actually possessed of a sense of fun not unlike Einsturzende Neubauten’s mellower instrumental experiments.

Kill him. Kill him dead.

I’ve been hoping for a Liberal-NDP coalition government since Chrétien left office, but I never thought I would actually see it so close to actually happening.

If the opposition comes out on top when the dust settles, we might see a new era of coalition governments in Canadian politics, and — dare I say it — electoral reform to prevent the vote-splitting which allowed the Conservatives to take power in the first place. Blue sky thinking to be sure, but no more than a Liberal-NDP coalition was, five years ago.

I could go on for days about my dream cabinet, or the platform I think we’ll see, but all of that is secondary to what would be the most important consequence of a successful coalition: The destruction of Stephen Harper.

Scott Reid said it better than I would:

Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP and the only serious contemporary challenge to the Bloc Quebecois. Without him, his party is an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and Red Tory desperates. They don’t matter or even exist without Mr. Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think on that.

And if that’s not compelling enough, remember: He doesn’t play to win. He plays to conquer. Under his guidance, the public interest is always subjugated to his personal political advancement. And he poisons Parliament with an extreme, bare-fanged breed of partisanship that has no hope of repair until he is banished.

This becomes relevant because suddenly, he is weak. In fact, at this particular moment, he is almost unable to defend himself. Owing to a ridiculously ill-considered act of hubris, he has laid himself vulnerable to his opponents. Their imperative could not be more clear: kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to finish him off.

He’s right. Everyone involved has gone past the point-of-no-return; this is uncharted territory, and whoever gains ground will be salting the earth behind them.

If we had time machines someone would soooo be fired

Thanks to Life Magazine, a pre-war German espionage cypher has been revealed:

What you see here is a photo that never should have been allowed to be taken, and one which provides an amazing, one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of WWII espionage and counter-espionage. As far as I can tell, what is shown in this picture is an FBI agent in New York encrypting a message, passed from “DUNN” – Duquesne – through Sebold, prior to transmitting that message to Germany via shortwave radio.

There’s more discussion on this photo taking place on Bruce Schneier’s site that’s worth reading for any crypto fans. Incredibly fascinating stuff.

Think Godzilla’s Scary? Meet His Lawyers

Think Godzilla’s Scary? Meet His Lawyers“It’s been 54 years since an atomic blast awakened the slumbering reptilian monster Godzilla, and the fire-breathing, fin-tailed beast has been terrorizing downtown Tokyo ever since — in more than two dozen movies, on television and in comics and cartoons.But Godzilla is a pussycat compared to the coterie of lawyers and investigators in Los Angeles and Japan who aggressively protect the radioactive behemoth from anyone who dares to appropriate his lizardly image for profit.”

You got your art in my architecture!

Design done right: Using technology to build a bridge between problem-solving and art. The Dutch have always had stunning currency design (I will forever lament the loss of the guilder, and what is perhaps the most beautiful banknote ever produced), and their new coder-designed 5 euro coin is amazing:

5 Euro Macro Crop

The Dutch Ministry of Finance organized an architecture competition for which a selected group of architectural offices (unstudio, nox, …) and artists were invited, including myself. The goal of the competition was not to design a building, but the new 5 euro commemorative coin with the theme ‘Netherlands and Architecture’. The winner will be rewarded with a nice price, but most of all with the honor: his design will be realized and will be a legal coin within the Netherlands.

As long as life endures.

Shelter mourns dozens of homeless who died in Ottawa in 2008.

Close to 100 people crowded into downtown shelter Friday morning to remember more than 40 shelter users who died this year in Ottawa. [...]

About 10 people came before the crowd to share their memories of those whose struggles on the street ended over the past 11 months. A list of the dead, who ranged in age from 19 to the early 60s, were read out and the crowd sang Amazing Grace in their memory.

About 900 to 1,000 people live in shelters downtown, said Paul Soucie, co-executive director of the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter.

Ronald Waldrif, who has been using the Centre 454 shelter for two years, said he knew some of them, including one man who was starting to get his life back together when he died in a hit-and-run collision.

He added that many committed suicide. Others died as a result of homicide, illness, or drug overdoses, Cheam said.

I wish I had known about this. When I was working with the shelters/drop-in, we were never allowed to do anything along these lines.

Our unwillingness to address homelessness in Canada is tragic and shameful.