We love our jobs and all but … we can still appreciate this ad campaign for Outside’s Go Magazine. It reimaginesthe technology that imprisons us as actual prisons. (Above, a mouse.)
And speaking of the cords that bind us (to our desks) we’ve done a couple of interviews that relate to that subject…
1) New York Times technology journalist Matt Richtel on digital overload and his series, “Your Brain on Computers”
2) Sherry Turkel on her book Alone Together about how technology is changing how we communicate.
So now to get out of this office and enjoy the last of this beautiful day…
via Twisted Sifter
Today is the 100th anniversary of Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building, one of New York’s most beautiful structures, and at the time of its opening, the world’s tallest skyscraper.
On this day in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson pressed a button in the White House, igniting 80,000 incandescent bulbs in the new, 792-foot Gothic tower.
So how does the New York City skyline compare to that of other world cities, a century after the Woolworth opened?
Using Yoni Alter’s “Shapes of Cities” design series (above) as a starting point, I put the question to a number of architects and experts, some with an obvious New York bias, a couple who’ve worked abroad and have substantial international experience:
Carol Willis, Founder and Director of The Skyscraper Museum: “The skyscraper is an American invention and now it’s an American export. Hong Kong is visually the most stunning, because it’s the most exaggerated in terms of density of construction and the dramatic contrast with the landscape. [But] I’m partial to New York. Looking at the Empire State Building gives me the most joy of any structure in the city. The Empire State Building still stands for the 20th century triumph of New York. The capital of capital.”
Rick Bell, Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects NY: ”New York’s profile has evolved over time, an eclectic mix of structures that are recognizable, resilient and robust. In architectural terms the excitement generated by our skyline here in NYC results from diversity of form, iconographic silhouette and sustainable aspiration. The product is the most loved skyline in the world, heralded by cinema and evoked by writers to symbolize hope and progress.”
Hisham Youssef, Principal at RTKL Shanghai and Co-founder of the Architectural Association of UAE: “I know one thing for sure, the view coming into Manhattan from JFK as I cross the Triboro bridge is un-matchable anywhere in the world. Dubai has its Burj Khalifa, but it does not quite have the same skyline…..yet. Shanghai (Pudong) has a very impressive skyline, and so does Hong Kong. And Asia knows how to play it up with all the LED, and lights on buildings. Hong Kong and Shanghai are among the best in the world, but do not share the same romance as Manhattan……until they have made many movies and built up this appeal, I think.”
Erik M. Ghenoiu, Graduate Architecture and Urban Design School, Pratt Institute: “A glance at [Yoni] Alter’s images suffices to show that in the New York of the last 100 years, [the urge to exploit high rental values] has consistently beaten out monumentality. It’s why even something like the Freedom Tower will turn out to be so regrettably boring…
“No city currently leads the world as the new architectural hotbed. Dubai, Shanghai, and Shenzhen no longer excite as much interest in the design fields as they did ten or even three years ago, and European favorites like Berlin and Barcelona have more or less wrapped up construction for the moment, and they didn’t accomplish as much in architectural terms as we had all hoped.”
Because reality is obviously not enough for some of us, Google - Apple aren’t far behind - will soon be releasing their “augmented reality glasses”. On the outset, the idea is pretty simple. Stick on a pair of glasses and carry out a whole variety of tasks, hands-free. If you want to take a picture, you just say “take picture” and the glasses will do that for you. Afraid of getting lost? The glasses will provide you with a head up, or eye up display of a map. Want to send a message? Just speak, to send a message. It’s basically Apple’s Siri, wrapped round your eyes. All very clever and cool, but what happened to using our own eyes to search for information? Have we become so lazy, that we have to rely on technology to do things for us? The overwhelming answer is yes.
As I sit here typing this blog post, I’m staring at a screen. Much of my day has been spent in an office staring at another screen. Before that, on my journey to the office, I was staring at another screen. And before that, I woke up to look at the alarm on my phone, which of course is another screen. There is a theme here and it’s called Asthenopia or repetitive eye strain. It’s a very common condition that occurs when eyes are over used. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and now the Google glasses are the latest, in a long list of gadgets designed to put our eyes to the test.
Whilst not causing any long-lasting damage, these gadgets can certainly account for fatigue, painful headaches, and weak or impaired vision. Have you ever noticed that when looking at a screen, you hardly blink? The eye muscles are pulled back and stretched to the point of becoming dry, hence the rubbing of your eyes when you look away from a screen. Blinking, believe it or not, is good for you as it naturally moisturises your eyes. At work, the pain has become so unbearable that I ordered an anti-glare protector for my monitor.
I appraise Google for the technology, but consider this? Is it really needed? I certainly won’t be parting with my money for a pair of ‘glasses’, just because everyone else has. My eyes are precious to me, as they should be to you. Pretty soon, we won’t be going to the opticians for eye tests, we’ll be going to specialised Google Glass ‘drop-in centres’ where Google will offer bi or varifocal versions of the glasses for those with vision problems. Who knows…they may even have in-in built anti-glare lenses? And let’s not forget Apple. They’ll probably buy Boots opticians and re-name it i - eye.
All jokes aside, vision impairment and eye strains have risen dramatically. My optician even said to me, that he hasn’t seen a generation as bad as ours. Just remember that, the next time you’re staring into a screen, for hours on end.
It’s not racist, but it’s sure as hell annoying…
I recently read an article by Ariane Sherine, the Guardian columnist, on an issue that I can totally relate to. The following conversation is drawn from my own experiences:
Stranger: Where are you from?
Stranger: No, I mean where are you really from? Like where are your parents from?
Me: Sri Lanka
Stranger: Oh right, so do you ever go back?
It’s at this point, where I lose interest in the conversation. What if I asked the stranger what his Anglo-Saxon roots were? And where his parents came from? Would they hail from the Caucasus or from the land that was once known as Prussia? What if I asked the stranger if he knew where Saxony was?
The comedian Omid Djalili once commented that if he stated he was Iranian, people would instantly think that he had a bomb strapped to him. Yet, if he called himself Persian, he would be viewed as calm and noble. What he would ask, is the difference? Modern day Iran was known as Persia at the time of the Mesopotamians, the Thracians and the Phoenicians. Even the tiny things make a difference now. For instance, you’ll never hear a cat being called an Iranian cat. They’re always called Persian cats. It’s as if being called an Iranian cat would draw up images of bombs and Ayatollahs, whereas a Persian cat is a wistful drawback to a time of Darius and Alexander The Great.
It’s hard explaining to a complete stranger that the only time you visited the country of your birth was once, at the age of 13/14, as a spotty British teenager. I was born in Sri Lanka, but only briefly resided there, for 2-3 years before making the journey to Britain. I’ve lived in London since then, and obviously developed a London accent. I also don’t speak any other languages fluently, other than English. Yet because of my dark/tanned complexion (I hate the word “brown”, I’m not “brown” in the same way that no-one is ”black” or “white”), I’ve often been questioned about my ancestry and heritage. I now find the constant questioning highly irritating.
I once said to a friend that the only difference between him and I was that I could stay out in the sun for longer. If only more people saw the world that way…
Just a thought…
Here’s something you won’t hear everyday…this tale challenges the conventional wisdom of getting rich and living in a consumer-driven society.
This folk-tale is common to many cultures in Asia and Africa and it goes like this:
“A traveler observes a fisherman sleeping in the shade of a tree. He rouses the sleeping man and asks him why he isn’t catching fish. ‘I already caught two fish for my family’s evening meal.’ ‘If you had a bigger net and worked longer, you could catch ten fish,’ says the stranger. ‘But I only need two. What would I do with ten?’ ‘You could sell them. Do the same every day until you have enough money to buy a boat.’ ‘Why would I do that?’ ‘To catch even more fish. You could employ people, and send them out to catch more. You would grow rich.’ ‘What would I do with the money?’ ‘You could enjoy yourself and go to sleep in the shade.’ ‘What am I doing now?’ asks the fisherman.
Journalist by degree. PR by profession…
So what’s it like now that I’ve finally found a paid internship? Well, to begin with, I’m out of my comfort zone and in the world of PR. As I said before in my previous post, PR is a world away from journalism and to be honest, it goes somewhat against my beliefs as a journalist. However, I am certainly not complaining that I work in the field of healthcare PR because the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting on my internship journey are some of the most dedicated, passionate and hard-working individuals that I’ve ever encountered.
I have found the work challenging, and at times difficult to grasp as well as understand. The vast majority of it relies heavily on data and the input of data which to me, being the arty-creative type, is like a foreign language. Nonetheless, I’ve found myself getting to grips with it all, however I am still in the process of learning to prioritise tasks and take the initiative when the occasion arises. In addition, one of the key elements of working in PR is the ability to work well as part of a team. This particular element is something that I’m still getting used to, but in time, I’m sure that I will be able to.
I can’t really discuss much else about the internship because one of the quirks of working in Healthcare PR is that we are governed by the ABPI code. Put simply, it governs what can and cannot be said by people like me who work within the pharmaceutical industry. Representing GSK certainly has its perks…and the ABPI code is one of them. I could tell you about a ground-breaking new drug that…well that’s another story…
It turns out the ancient universe is even more ancient
New findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope suggest that the universe is an estimated 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous thought.
Take a look at the picture above - that’s the radiation imprinted on the sky by the Big Bang itself, an observation from Planck that proved pivotal to the new age estimate.
From Science Now:
The map represents the first 15.5 months of observation by the Planck space telescope, which looked at the universe’s cosmic microwave background — that extremely cold, barely noticeable glow left after the Big Bang when the universe was just a cosmic baby — about 380,000 years old.
But don’t worry universe, you don’t look a day over 12 billion.
Photo: ESA, Planck Collaboration, NASA / Associated Press
What if art ruled the world…?
What happened next…
Regular readers of my blog will probably know that a lot of my blog posts recently, have been about graduate careers and internships. More to the point, they’ve been more focused on the lack of career opportunities and the illegalities of unpaid internships.
However, for me, things have now changed. I secured a full-time, fully paid internship with a PR company called Virgo Health. They specialise in medical communications, which for me, is far removed from the world of television and radio production. The essentials however remain the same; that of working to tight deadlines, being proactive, productive and dedicated to the task at hand, which to me, are key tools in any journalist’s armoury.
I will keep everyone updated with how the internship goes and whether or not I prove to be a success in the PR industry. Just watch this space…!