Monthly Archives: August 2011

Things sent to me: typography

I shot the serif

I like this better than the song

Beach creatures


Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who does Rube Goldberg one better. While Goldberg’s creations were spectacularly clever and astoundingly useless, they were very much artifices: without a human creating them, they wouldn’t exist. Your typical Rube Goldberg device fairly screams “I was created by a human!”

Jansen’s artwork is just as kinetic, and just as spectacular, but it seems almost organic. The “Strandbeests” (beach creatures) he creates are just as artificial, but they move the way organic creatures move, and thanks to clever sail structures, they are self-powered; there are no electric motors hidden away to make them move.

Definitely worth a look.

Sensible shoes for armored women


Your typical Frank Franzetta or Boris Vallejo book cover or magazine cover featured a scantily clad damsel fighting off an evil orc or BEM (Bug Eyed Monster) or heavily armored galactic overlord. The damsel might have a sword and a shield, but body armor was mostly limited to a metal brassiere, which in some cases may have been all the clothing beyond an equally scanty pair of metal mesh panties.

Some of these works put the damsel in a snowfield, which even compounds the problem: would a guy wear such skimpy clothing in such cold weather? And would a guy wear such useless armor when confronted by a brute armed with a giant battle ax?

Apparently someone else has seen the folly of such attire, and created a visual listing of more useful and appropriate armor for the female form:

Though a nice armored and air-conditioned space suit might still serve best.

A Greener San Diego

San Diego has a desert climate. It isn’t just slightly short of water; it has virtually none. The average yearly rainfall is just nine inches. There are virtually no sources of fresh water; virtually all fresh water is piped in from elsewhere.

Historically, the city has not been very concerned about the environment, either. But that has changed in recent years. This photo, taken with an iPhone on the downtown waterfront, shows a sculpture of fish, kelp, and seabirds, illustrating and celebrating the interaction of different parts of the environment.


A more definitive sign of change is this sign, also photographed with an iPhone at the waterfront. Rather than have visiting cruise ships foul the air by running oil-fired shipboard engines while in port, San Diego is supplying green electrical power at dockside. A sign of a good sign.


Feeding is now litter


This sign, posted on a San Diego, California, trolley stop, equates feeding birds with litter. If feeding is litter, this suggests you probably don’t want to try eating a snack on the trolley, or breast feeding an infant. Photo taken with an iPhone.


An alliteration of lorikeets


These rainbow lorikeets, from Australia, are more than willing to come and land on you, if you are willing to feed them. They are energetic birds, so prefer energetic food, such as sugar water.

This photo was taken at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, recently renamed for no reason from the far better known San Diego Wild Animal Park.


A coworker commented that these birds should be able to kill a lot of pigs.

How many paragliders do you see in this photo?


There are two paragliding chutes, but how many passengers?

Taken at Torrey Pines Gliderport, a wind-swept patch of dirt atop cliffs overlooking Black’s Beach and the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California.