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Much tire. So overuse

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • December 12, 2013 - 12:35 PM

Is Doge a language of its own? More of a dialect, I’d say. This  io9 article discusses the rise of Doge, how it pits contemplative  dog-thought against the crabby, demanding style of LOLCats, and notes how each tongue has its own font preferences.

That made sense to me; if it made sense to you, then we’ve both been spending entirely too much time on this internet thing here. My wife has an actual job that requires her to use computers for practical implications, and I asked her whether the use of Comic Sans in Doge memes was a self-conscious attempt to use a reviled font, showing how the Doge is unaware of the font’s reputation, I’d get a look of utter befuddlement. Which I could caption VERY ANNOYED and MUCH PRACTICAL.

I think Doge is overrated and due to flame out quickly, but not until it appears in a GoDaddy Superbowl commercial. Right now it’s not a means of communicating a specific idea, but just a way of letting others know you are attuned to things that baffle Grandma.

SCIENCE! The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs may have catapulted life to Mars and the moons of Jupiter, US researchers say. Which moon? Europa, of course. So if there’s life swimming around under the ice, it might have hitched a ride on celestial ejecta.

In this new study, researchers first estimated the number of rocks bigger than 3m ejected from Earth by major impacts.

Three metres is the minimum they think necessary to shield microbes from the Sun's radiation over a journey lasting up to 10 million years.

They then mapped the likely fate of these voyagers. Many simply hung around in Earth orbit, or were slowly drawn back down.

Others were pulled into the Sun, or sling-shotted out of the Solar System entirely.

Yet a small but significant number made it all the way to alien worlds which might welcome life. About six rocks even made it as far as Europa, a satellite of Jupiter with a liquid ocean covered in an icy crust.

Six rocks, says a scientist in the article, would be enough. It would evolve into something different, I assume, although it would be interesting if we finally sent a probe to Europa and found it was populated by millions of sharks. io9 reports today that astronomers are finding water plumes on Europa - H20 volcanos that blast up 125 miles. So “Sharknado” might not be possible, but “Sharkgeyser,” perhaps. SyFy should be serving up that junk any day now.

ARCHITORTURE From the Strib, earlier this week: “The Campbell Mithun advertising agency, a downtown Minneapolis fixture since 1933, is moving into the historic 510 Marquette building, the core of which was designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert and was once home to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.” Historic, yes, but ugly. This was the building when completed:

This is the building today:

Even for the era, a remarkably gracceless overhaul. But for a while, it had a modern tower on top of the classical temple:

That’s some jack-dandy historical-context addition work there, guys.

At least it’s a sturdy thing. This NYT piece discusses the problems with buildings that look really cool in pictures and models, but turn out to be nightmares to maintain. In this case, it’s the work of Calatrava.

Mr. Calatrava was paid approximately 94 million euros (about $127 million) for his work. How could that be, Mr. Blanco asks, when the opera house included 150 seats with obstructed views? Or when the science museum was initially built without fire escapes or elevators for the disabled?  “How can you make mistakes like that?” asked Mr. Blanco, a member of the small opposition United Left party here, who said millions were spent to fix such errors. “He was paid even when repairing his own mistakes.”

Among the design decisions that looked good at the time but didn’t work out so well in practice: a glass-tiled bridge so slippery the city had to find a fix to stop being sued by people who fell and broke a leg. Their solution? Put down a big rug. Which blew up in a strong wind and knocked a man off his feet.

FILM The trailer for the next Spider-Man movie has a secret URL embedded in a few frames, and it leads right here. Okay.  Superherohype says it’s the first to find it.

FONTS As long as we started out with a mention of Comic Sans, here’s a good place to end: MyFont’s map of “Live Font Sales,” which shows who’s buying which font all over the globe, in real time.

I’ve had this thing up for hours and no one, I mean no one, in the Sahara is buying fonts. I can, however, report that someone in Indonesia bought Helvetica the other day, and someone else in Tasmania popped for an interesting script font. Have fun; see you around.

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