Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-31434
Dolphins and humans coexisting in a single hotel/embassy space together in the nation’s capital—why not, right?
If you missed out on the National Building Museum’s “Unbuilt Washington” exhibit this year, I don’t know what to tell you. It was a personal highlight for me for the first half of 2012.
If you’ve run into me since I walked through this collection of wonders at the end of May, you probably heard me mention Doug Michels’ Dolphin America Hotel, which envisioned a space for humans and dolphins to live and interact with one another.
Proposed Dolphin America Hotel, designed by Doug Michels Architecture in collaboration with Jim Allegro, AIA, 1989. Architect Doug Michels was fascinated by dolphins and proposed various projects that would bring humans into closer contact with the aquatic mammals.
Just take a look at the design and let that idea sink in for a minute.
Also, what is that in the sky—a B-2 over the Washington Monument? Or a UFO?
I don’t necessarily avoid manga in my reading diet—it’s just not a staple. I’ve enjoyed Cromartie High School, Ghost in the Shell, Akira and even a little Yotsuba&!. Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto’s The Drops of God was little off the beaten path for me—not something I would have come to naturally. As David Brothers over at ComicsAlliance wrote last year, though, it’s manga about wine. What’s not to be interested in?
Being neither a manga nor wine connoisseur, this book only had things to teach me. It’s a comic about the son of a famous wine critic, who has a quest that conveniently allows him discover and describe real-life wines or trigger a lesson on the history of French winemaking. After you begin to understand the structure and story beats that are going on, you start to get curious as a reader about what’s around the corner, what’s on a label that’s being obscured or why a wine tastes a certain way.
Yes, there is a hokey quality to the melodrama that permeates the pages of The Drops of God. Those groan-inducing sequences of a manager belittling an employee or the story’s villain pondering his master plan snowball hilariously into moments of revelation that punctuate the chapters and keep things going at a respectable pace.
I’m only one volume into this series so far, but I’ve already learned more about Henri Jayer and French vineyards than I ever would have read and remembered anywhere else.
The near-photorealistic illustrations of the labels and bottles integrate seamlessly with cartoonish illustrations to stitch together the non fiction with the fiction.
And I should note that you won’t walk into the wine department at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods able to dazzle your friends with observations and interpretations after reading this manga. In fact, most of the knowledge you glean will only be useful under significantly more expensive circumstances. However, if you do happen to wander onto some French vineyards in the future, you may find yourself significantly more informed about why a crop of grapes is going to be ideally suited for whipping up a particularly good batch of wine, as well as why that batch shouldn’t be enjoyed for at least 20 years.
Twitter and LinkedIn both offered blog explanations and spin on Friday about Twitter’s drive to deliver (in the words of Twitter Group Product Manager Michael Sippey) “a consistent set of products and tools.” As it turns out, that goal does not include allowing LinkedIn to populate users’ feeds with tweets that are being pulled from Twitter accounts.
As of Friday, LinkedIn no longer displays tweets. Many users may be grateful for one less redundancy in their daily social media diet. Others will likely be annoyed by the extra step they’re now faced with when they want to use a tweet to start a LinkedIn group discussion. What’s obvious, evident and relevant to everyone, however, is the fact that Twitter is tightening up the reins on how tweets can be displayed.
As Sippey puts it, Twitter wants “developers to be able to build applications that run within Tweets,” not applications for tweets to run in. And there’s an important distinction to be made there.
It’s easy to understand why Twitter would want their content to be displayed and accessed anywhere with a consistent user experience, but the question now becomes how far they will go to restrict feeds and API calls. For instance, how long will Facebook continue to be able to receive tweet updates to users’ statuses? That seems like the most obvious next battleground to me. Or is there some important difference there that I’m missing?
• Chuck Klosterman has joined The New York Times Magazine as the publication’s new ethics columnist. Like most of his readers who have followed him for more than a book or two and around the Internet, I’ll read whatever he has to say about anything, so watching him hit an ethics piñata around on a regular basis should be fun.
• Meanwhile, Laura Hudson announced that she’s leaving ComicsAlliance as editor-in-chief. The site will be in capable hands with Andy Khouri and Caleb Goellner, both of whom are outstanding wranglers of news and commentary. Laura really elevated the conversation on numerous occasions at CA, though. She’ll be missed.
• Quentin Tarantino’s new trailer for “Django Unchained” arrived. Race relations have always been a minefield for criticism in this guy’s films. It looks like “Django” won’t be an exception.
• Ray Bradbury’s death cast a shadow over the the week. The history of his perspective on e-publishing and how he ultimately decided to allow his works to be published digitally was nice to read, however.
• I had hoped to add something E3 related that I was excited about here, since the show concluded a few days ago. “Watch Dogs,” the WiiU and Microsoft’s SmartGlass were definitely the most interesting topics to emerge from the show, but I really can say for sure yet whether or not I’ve got a personal interest in getting my hands on any of them.
Just to give a little context to today’s mulberry Instagram post, we recently happened upon a grove of mulberry trees off of P Street near Georgetown. I’m assuming these are widely known to Washington, D.C., locals, but seeing as how we’re new to the area, the discovery got me Googling.
Chiefly, I wanted to share this Washington Post story from 2010 about the significance of mulberries to immigrants in the area. I will admit to falling into the category of people who are naturally hesitant to eat berries found out in the wild, but I think I’m going to loosen up a bit after reading up on how much people enjoy them.
With a solid 37 hours left to go right now, it looks like Reading with Pictures’ Kickstarter campaign for a new book of educational comics can be considered a success. I interviewed Josh Elder for Education Dive a few days ago, and he was optimistic. It would seem that his positive thinking was appropriate, seeing as how this project has now raised more than $67,000.
RwP wants to do some big things in the education world, and I’m anxious to see what kind of reception this book gets when teachers start deploying it in the classroom.
It should also be interesting to see if any other textbook projects follow RwP to Kickstarter to try this model out. Just getting a textbook approved by schools is a high enough hurdle in and of itself; depending on how things go, this grassroots approach, like e-textbooks in general, could really open up some doors for new and innovative products.
If you aren’t from Korea or don’t have anyone close to you who is, it’s entirely likely that you don’t know about KakaoTalk.
It’s an app (available for the iPhone and Android) that acts as an SMS-alternative messaging system. As I learned over the weekend, however, it also has an out-of-the-box Barack Obama voice alert.
Apparently, it was a huge deal when Obama named-dropped the app in a speech earlier this year. The clip of him saying the name “KakaoTalk” has since been repurposed as an alert option on KT’s menu.
Out of context, it’s rather hilarious. I may not use Kakao as much more than a soundboard before eventually deleting it from my iPhone in a few weeks—but for time being, I will play it often and squeeze it for all the laughs that it’s worth.
If you haven’t been following my tweets for the last few weeks, you might have missed that I joined an exciting new D.C. startup called Industry Dive on May 1st as the company’s content director. I had been looking for the perfect D.C.-area opportunity that would involve multiplatform news editorial and production, and I’m happy to say there’s going to be lot going on at Construction Dive, Utility Dive, Waste Management Dive, Education Dive and Marketing Dive over the next few months that should be of interest to anyone working in those arenas.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to update this blog when it comes to personal observations and interests—particularly matters of digital publishing, gaming and comics. So stay tuned in this feed for plenty more on those fronts. Here’s the shortlist of what’s had my attention lately:
• Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga continues to be the best new thing on my comics reading list the last couple of months. I’d missed his script-writing dearly since Vaughan took off for TV land a few years back, and the first two issues have been a welcome return to form for his character development and dialogue.
• I’ve been playing through the new Xbox 360 edition of Minecraft the last two nights. The worlds seem small, and starting off with a map in hand feels a little easy, but I think I understand why Mojang made the changes that they did. I may have some more thoughts when I get through the Achievements checklist.
• After taking a break for a few weeks, I’ve resume reading George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords—and I continue to wonder in amazement how this book and the end of Clash of Kings are ever going to translate to television for the HBO adaptation.
• The New York Times did a laudable job assembling this interactive piece on the Trayvon Martin shooting.
• Do you want to see how to take Facebook’s Timeline feature and use it to your media company’s advantage? Look no further than Spotify’s page. It’s one giant historical rundown of landmark music events, complete with clickable links to play tracks in Spotify.
• “Game of Thrones” returned to HBO last night for its second season, and I’m currently just over one book ahead of where the story is at right now. Stannis (played by Stephen Dillane) seemed understated, and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) bore a much closer resemblance to Celine Dion than I’d pictured while reading A Clash of Kings. Nevertheless, “The North Remembers” really nailed the drama and essence of its scenes one at a time and at the right pace. Meanwhile, I recommend checking out the commentary of a couple of old colleagues of mine, Josh and Sean, over at MTV.com. Sean is also covering the new season for Rolling Stone (and I’m in the same boat as he is in regards to the baby killing).
• Ashton Kutcher has reportedly been cast as Steve Jobs. I just recently completed Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio, so this choice took a few minutes to play out in my head. I can definitely see Kutcher capturing Jobs’ more manic moments. However, I’m just having a tough time envisioning how he’ll deliver some of the more condescending scenes that are going to have to be a part of the story.
• The “Girls Around Me” app is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard of, but if you’re into innovative API use, it’s definitely a case study (on use and user policies) worth being aware.
• My new favorite acronym is BOSS (Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey), and think you’ll agree that it certainly is when you see what kind of cosmic measurements it’s taking. I’m pretty much all for most things that involve better understandings of dark energy.
• If you like bite-sized Men’s Health-style advice and spunky insights, I recommend checking out my friend Patty Hastings’ new blog at YogaYumYes.com. She’s full of practical suggestions for nutrition and yoga novices such as myself.