Shortform

"Because I’m Saying So."

via Rappler

via Rappler

 

The CEO of Rappler, a news website critical of the government in the Philippines, has been arrested at its headquarters in Manila.

Maria Ressa said the accusation of "cyber-libel" is an attempt by Rodrigo Duterte's government to silence the publication.

It is the latest in a string of different allegations against her.

The president, who calls the site "fake news", has previously denied charges against her are politically motivated.

Rappler journalists live-streamed the arrest on Facebook and Twitter.

 

This is the top story on the site at my time of writing this. This is a big deal.

A lot of chatter’s going to circulate the next few days regarding this, so I’ll just focus on this one part that caught my attention. Linked in the article is a Twitter thread by Rappler employee Aika Rey documenting the whole thing as it was happening, which includes a brief exchange with what seems to be one of the officers that came to arrest Ressa.

A rough transcript of parts of the exchange:

 

Officer: Come on, be cooperative. Your boss is already talking with us, no need for that… I'm sure you do understand what I'm telling you, right?

Rey: I’m not the only one doing it.

O: Yeah, but I’m talking to you right now. I’ll attend to them later, one by one.

R: Um… can you explain to me first?

O: Because I’m saying so.

R: And what will happen?

O: It’s up to you. It’s a simple request.

R: Can you maybe explain to me first—

O: No. No explanation for now.

R: Why not?

 

It’s like a parent trying to reason with their 4-year-old child.

Frankly, I can’t blame the officer for not knowing what to say. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment affair – this was likely a planned operation. Someone had to have briefed this officer on what to do and what to say, and before that someone probably had to brief that guy, too. However long the chain of command involved here, no one thought to prepare something smart to say in the event of this being documented. At the headquarters of a prominent news publication.

You don’t need me to tell you this. The Philippines is a kakistocracy, and we need to take it back.

Dieter Rams’s 931 Handbag

via The New York Times

via The New York Times

via The New York Times

via The New York Times

 

Like Mr. Ive, who branched into the luxury lifestyle space with the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, Mr. Rams, 86, also had a brief flirtation with fashion. Back in 1963, he created a leather handbag as a surprise gift for his wife, Ingeborg. Smooth and boxy, with a short curved strap on the outside but a highly functional and compartmentalized interior, it was never produced or seen by the outside world. Now, 55 years later, the 931 (as the bag has been named by Mr. Rams) is finally coming to market.

 

If ever there was a grand arbiter that decided what the essence of an object looks like, besides God Himself, it’d probably be Dieter Rams. This is, as a far as I’m concerned, the idealized handbag.

Foster + Partners Unveils "The Tulip"

via Dezeen

via Dezeen

via Dezeen

via Dezeen

 

The Tulip – a 305.3-metre tall tower topped with a viewpoint and rotating gondolas designed by Foster + Partners – is planned to be built alongside the Gherkin in London.

Foster + Partners has submitted its design for the tower, which would become the tallest structure in the City of London, for planning permission.

If approved, the tower could begin construction in 2020, with an opening date planned for 2025.

 

I’m a big fan of Foster + Partners and their ongoing collaboration with Apple. Their buildings are as big as “starchitect” projects can get while remaining tasteful.

That said, I hate this. Sure, it’s clever building on the existing lot for 30 Mary Axe, but the way it completely dwarfs it just so it barely makes the tallest building in London is comical. The Tulip is like the crow to 30 Mary Axe’s annoyed bird.

Nevermind that the design is somewhat congruent with the 30 Mary Axe, being bulbous and all – it’s still a total freak show. You can’t tell me this thing isn’t begging for attention, especially with those cars on the side like some space-age cuckoo clock.

I have high hopes this remains a proposal. Goodness.

The Look of Jazz

Vox investigates Blue Note Records, one of the foremost jazz labels, and how graphic designer Reid Miles created typography-clad album covers that gave the genre a brand:

As a design student, thinking about why things are and how they come about occupies a sizable chunk of my mind, at this point even at a subconscious level. So it’s nice to come across a fairly ubiquitous thing in the world that I haven’t yet considered as designed. My music tastes have been leaning recently towards jazz, too, so this is kinda timely.

What struck me about Miles’ work was that it’s minimal, yet so expressive. It really emphasizes how great composition goes a long way.

Facebook Approaches Misinformation in the Most Facebook Way Possible

Facebook, in a series of tweets (funny how that works), defends their decision to let blatant misinformation remain on their website:

Facebook is just gutless.

  • They act so high and mighty as if they care, when really they're just protecting their targeted ads business.
  • They think they're like a public space, when really they're more like a shopping center letting some lunatic with a megaphone disturb shoppers and feed lies to their children. It’s entirely within the rights of Facebook, a private company, to give these guys the boot.
  • Whoever gets to run this account gets to sleep at night while I just got a measly 3 hours going into a 13-hour day.

How Drumsticks Are Made

Jared Falk of Drumeo interviews Pro-Mark and D’Addario on their manufacturing process for drumsticks – a great crossover of interests:

Some interesting tidbits:

  • It’s incredible how much waste product is produced even at the very beginning of the process. (Well it isn’t really “waste” in that it’s immediately repurposed.)
  • The use of pitch in a QA task – yeah, as in sound pitch.
  • Even the mere fact that the process is this complicated for making literal sticks is remarkable. I’ll never complain about drumstick prices again.

Sidenote: I’ll be back soon, I promise.

A Look at Gary Hustwit's Rams

via Fast Co. Design

via Fast Co. Design

 

More than perhaps anyone, documentary filmmaker Gary Hustwit has articulated the supreme importance of design in our world. With his films Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized, he explored the impact of typography, industrial design, and city planning, respectively. But in Rams, his latest documentary due later this year, Hustwit focuses his lens entirely on one subject: Dieter Rams, the most influential designer of the last century.

Hustwit just dropped three new teasers for the film, along with news that it will be scored by none other than electronic music pioneer Brian Eno.

 

Judging by his previous work and these new teasers, I think Hustwit’s filmmaking style (plus Eno's score!) is going to help tell the story of Rams and his work as it ought to be told. I really hope this leads to more documentaries on other prolific designers in the future.

Vestaboard: Analog Made Digital

via Vestaboard

via Vestaboard

Found this really cool product via Jason Kottke. Though it looks awfully familiar

Vestaboard is a nice re-imagination of the split-flap display that can be programmed using a smartphone. It can also receive Wi-Fi to update itself automatically and connect to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

If I were to own one, I’d offload a lot of my news consumption onto it – headlines, at least. That’s a big “if” though – it costs a whopping $1850.

New Adidas Shoes Can Be Used as Transit Passes in Berlin

via The Guardian

via The Guardian

 

The shoes, which feature the same camouflage pattern used on the city’s train seats, double up as an annual transit pass. It’s embedded in the tongues of the trainers, which are styled as a fabric version of the BVG annual ticket, and can be used just like a regular ticket covering the bus, tram and underground in zones A and B. While the cheapest annual ticket available from the BVG is currently €728, the shoes cost just €180.

 

I’m curious how this works. Is there a way to verify the ticket on the shoe besides simply looking for the tag on the tongue? Is the pass only valid when you have the shoes on? What if you don’t want to have to wear the shoes every time you need to ride public transit?

Technical details aside, this is a really cool and clever way to encourage ridership for public transit. The savings are a big win, too… but the standalone ticket should be much cheaper than that to begin with.