I am deep in the middle of that end-of-the-year-clean-off-my-desk thing and came across a clipping from the NYT. It’s a little story about how Switzerland, in an effort to strengthen its animal-welfare laws, has a new regulation on its books regarding the ownership of guinea pigs. Apparently, the little rodents are quite prone to loneliness, so it’s now illegal to own a single guinea pig. As with any new law, there are unforeseen problems that crop up. For instance, what happens when one dies? Do you buy a new one? That could go on ad infinitum. Or do you seek help from Pridska Kung, of Hadlikon, who rents the little guys (castrated males) for as long as you need them? A vexing problem, I daresay. Video via fuckyeahguineapigs.
So, we can probably agree on the fact that Kim Jong Il was bad news for North Korea and pretty much the rest of the world. And I doubt that I need to go into a litany of reasons why. All that aside, I still keep this water bottle under protective custody. In a moment of inspiration, Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak (of Project No. 8 / Various Projects) made these years ago and gave me one as a gift. Don’t even ask if you can have it.
I’ve been following the European debt crisis with some bit of fascination, fear, horror and disgust. How the F*ck did we get here? Although their debt crisis is different from our own in some ways, it’s also borne out of the same greed, speculation, mismanagement, ideological differences, growing divisions of wealth and the list goes on…and on. I posited the question some time ago to someone way more expert than I in the field of economics as to whether they thought the euro was at risk. As often happens with so-called experts, they dismissed my query as ridiculous. And amateurish. Well, fast forward a few months. While the likelihood of the euro-zone being disbanded is unlikely, it’s still a possibility. A previously unthinkable one. Anyway, all this talk of euros made me feel incredibly nostalgic for the former currencies of Europe: Those individual bills printed with beautiful illustrations and likenesses of famous people. I have favorites (see the 10 Francs note with Voltaire’s face) for sure. This little collection comes courtesy of Jacob Lewis Bourjaily. He has a site where he documents all the currencies of Europe bearing depictions of either scientists or mathematicians. I like his parameters.
If one were to look at the dysfunction in our healthcare system through the lens of design, one could safely say that we are in deep deep trouble. I went to visit a close friend in the hospital this weekend, and I was aghast at all the cords and clip and tangles. There was absolutely no attention paid to aesthetics, much less usability, neither of which are insignificant or shallow, especially when one is ill or injured. My husband said it best: Hospitals aren’t designed for patients. They are designed for practitioners. I’m not even sure that is true.
I thought this might be an effective (albeit temporary) palliative for some of the recurrent pain that accompanied today’s reading of the news. Notice, no baby elephants.
Well is it? Gosh, I hope not. Found this telling bit of typographic excellence at one of my favorite blogs, Friends of Type. I think we have Erik Marinovich to thank for this, but it’s a little hard to tell where the credit lies. It could also be from Uppercase, which is another much-loved site and magazine. Who knows. And in truth, I’m a little despondent right now, so I’ll leave it up to you to find out.