Monday, December 20, 2010

Just Finished: The Dangerous World of Butterflies

I just finished reading The Dangerous World of Butterfies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors and Conservationists by Peter Luafer last week, after hauling it around in my purse for over a month. I heard about it when I saw Jon Stewart interview the author on the Daily Show. It sounded like a really interesting book about a rather unusual topic. Needless to say, I learned a lot about butterflies! I don't know that I came away enlightened from the experience, but I did pick up some random butterfly facts, including the existence of a butterfly-phobia website and some of the inside world of endangered butterfly smuggling. I think the book would have benefitted a lot from photos throughout, even if they were in black and white. I had a hard time imagining what they looked like, and the author's descriptions weren't all that captivating. Overall, though, I enjoyed learning more about such amazing and beautiful creatures!

Koyaanisqatsi



I just watched this short documentary this weekend. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Godfry Reggio with music by Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi is a really unusual and beautiful film. There are no words – just the music and the images, and yet it is very powerful and sends clear messages. It starts off a little slow, but then the music really picks up and carries you into the scenes that are taking place. It's also really fascinating to see what life was like in 1982, when the filming was done –how things have changed and how many things are the same.

You can see the full video here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Year in Ideas

Not only is the New York Time's Annual Year in Ideas awesome, the interactive design for this year's page is amazing. I love how they have organized the information. It's fun and playful, but still informative and serious. The Year in Ideas always makes me think about all the possibilities for discovery and thought that are out there.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Art in History

The New York Times has a very interesting article in it today, Visualizing Slavery by Susan Schulten. I found the article to be particularly interesting in the way in which the author incorporated art and how it 1) can influence history; in this case it's the new type of map making and 2) how paintings are vital to learning about history. I also love the programming the Times is using in this piece. You can see highlighted parts of the map with notes, and the painting zooms for you as you move your curser over it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chickens

I was just listening to This American Life podcast, which was on the topic of poultry. It was pretty entertaining. My favorite segment was the part about a photographer who takes portraits of chickens. I looked her up after I finished listening to the segment and I think her work is really great! Her name is Tamara Staples and she now has a book out that features her chicken photos called The Fairest Foul. I think it's a really innovative and unique look at the world of chickens –creatures that have been breed and are now sustained purely for human purposes. I'm looking forward to checking out the book sometime soon!