Salmon Felix on the over-designed beautiful news page

Today, when you read a story at the New Republic, or Medium, or any of a thousand other sites, it looks great; every story looks great. Even something as simple as a competition announcement comes with a full-page header and whiz-bang scrollkit graphics. The result is a cognitive disconnect: why is the website design telling me that this short blog post is incredibly important, when in reality it’s just a blockquote and a single line of snark? All too often, when I visit a site like Slate or Quartz, I feel let down when I read something short and snappy — something which I might well have enjoyed, if it just took up a small amount of space in an old-fashioned reverse-chronological blog. The design raises my expectations, even as the writers are still expected to throw out a large number of quick takes on various subjects.

via Against beautiful journalism | Felix Salmon.

Top podcasts of the year, interview format

In no particular order…

By the Way, in Conversation with Jeff Garlin: Matt Weiner (Really any of Jeff Garlin’s interviews could be at the top of this list, but the Weiner interview was his best. See also, Sarah Silverman, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Zach Galifianakis.)

WTF with Marc Marron: Jim Breuer ( see also, Will Ferrell)

The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons: Nate Silver and Malcolm Gladwell

Fresh Air with Terry Gross: Bradley Cooper (see also, Bruce Dern)

The Nerdist Podcast: John Hamm (see also, Oliver Stone.)

10 Questions We Always Ask: Episode 10, Dave Connell (self-serving, I know.)

Facebook Turns Off Website Internally To Force Mobile Development via Fast Company

Facebook Turns Off Website Internally To Force Mobile Development via Fast Company.

This is a great way to force folks to think of mobile and understand why it’s important to site development. We till spend 90 percent of our workday in front of laptops and desktops — often connected to large and beautiful monitors. While this is great for productivity, I’m afraid it causes a bit of mobile blindness.

america’s athletic genius cluster

Interesting read by WaPo’s Sally Jenkins (who I normally don’t love) on the “genius cluster” around athletics and what it can teach us about developing these clusters in other areas:

Great athletes know something critical the rest of us don’t: how to acquire genius through work. “If you look very carefully at those who end up being the best you discover — by doing intensive tracking of them — that they do practice more, and better, than those in the class below them,” Shenk says. If we look at the quantitative and qualitative difference in the habits of great athletes we can then extend them to achievements in other fields. We might start with staging more science contests.

America’s ‘genius cluster’ in sports via The Washington Post.

don’t go half-way

via The Seductive Danger Of Half Measures, by Aaron Harris on TechCrunch:

Keeping a conscious eye on what the point of a test or iteration is, not just to itself, but to your overall plan and mission how building a certain number of tutors in a given area influences student activity and community creation, in my case, rather than just the number of tutors removes the halfsies quality of a test. Rather than continually shifting a business strategy to reflect the results of a single test, aggregating data across a set of them, and altering your strategy accordingly creates consistent momentum for your company where the success or failure are equally useful.

Within that framework, there needs to be set decision points – moments where you predetermine that, based on given sets of data, you will make a decision.

old-timey infographics from the london underground

The London Transport Museum has put up a collection of 7,000 posters dating back to the 1930’s for users to browse, allowing them to search by artist, theme, date and color (or colour, as the case may be). The collection includes a fair share of inforgraphics from the 1920s and beyond demonstrating the advantages and widespread use of mass transit at the time. As Treeugger notes, the use (or overuse) of infographics today is clearly nothing new.

Source: Think Infographics are New? At Londons Transport Museum, They Date Back to the 1920s via TreeHugger

charles bukowski on the literary hustle


Via this isn’t happiness: Charles Bukowski outlines his modest terms for a poetry reading. If you hire Bukowski, I’d imagine you wouldn’t know what to expect. However, as he notes, “Auden gets 2,000 a reading, Ginsberg 1,000, so you see I’m cheap. A real whore.”

total world destructive power

Chart of weapon destuctive power
Flickr user Chris Spurgeon has some great pre-lunar presentation slides from NASA, including this chart on the destructive power of weapons through time. His collection also includes several artist renditions of various stages of a mission to the moon — from lift off, to landing, to return — including this stunner of the Apollo booster before lift-off:
Artist concept painting of Apollo booster before lift-off

Spurgeon’s NASA ephemera starts here.

lego year in review via the guardian

2011 in Lego: the year's news - in pictures | Life and style | guardian.co.ukOccupy Wall Street from the 2011 in Lego: the year’s news – in pictures via guardian.co.uk.

Other moments The Guardian memorialized in Legos for their year-end review include the royal wedding, Obama et al. watching the Bin Laden takedown, and the London riots. See even more in the newspaper’s News in Lego Flickr pool. (Hat tip to Hilary Gridley)