Is satisficing rational?

The word satisficing was coined by Herbert Simon. Simon pointed out that human beings lack the cognitive resources to maximize: we usually do not know the relevant probabilities of outcomes, we can rarely evaluate all outcomes with sufficient precision, and our memories are weak and unreliable. A more realistic approach to rationality takes into account these limitations: This is called bounded rationality.

Billboard Liberation Front

It’s on 7th and Folsom in San Francisco. Showing the now-iconic silhouette of the hooded Abu Graib prisoner, standing on a box with electrodes on his fingers, the billboard is on your left if you exit I-80 at 7th Street and head toward Market Street. Advertising suffuses all corners of our waking lives; it so permeates our consciousness that even our dreams are often indistinguishable from a rapid succession of TV commercials. BLF site

VWs Iroc concept car.

VW’s Iroc concept: proof that Wolfsburg still has some wicked design mojo left in its leiderhosen, despite the numbing new Jetta.

Fear Fighter by Paul Notzold

An interactive street projection: asking the question, “What are you afraid of?” You text message your fears to the displayed number and they appear in his thoughts as he guns them down. It’s the latest txt message enabled street performance by Paul Notzold. Video clip

New York Times critic, Herbert Muschamp.

New York Times architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp rhapsodizes about Seattle’s new Central Library calling it, “The Library That Puts on Fishnets and Hits the Disco”. Seattle is a town with a big case of boosterism. Towns with this affliction usually have an inferiority complex derives from their envy of big cities like New York, Los Angeles and even San Francisco. This is precisely the case here. So when a big, bold, beautiful new edifice goes up, the local papers pull out all the stops. And they won’t disappoint with their coverage of Koolhaas’ Central Library. NY Times article

City Hall, London

The Norman Foster design, on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge, is a deliberately iconic building. Its form – a distorted glass sphere, sometimes seen as head-shaped – is justified in terms of two sorts of function: environmental, reducing the total glass surface area of the building; and democratic, with the whole building designed around a magnificent interior ramp down which the people can symbolically walk above the debating chamber of their elected representatives. Link

Good Agile, Bad Agile

“Google is, obviously, a group of very smart people. But, as this post argues/asserts, if you can take just one tiny step back/out of Google-world, I think you will see these smart people are not living in the “real” world, by which I mean, *the world that their customers live in.* Blog

Children’s poverty marathon.

After a poor four-year-old Indian boy sprinted into local record books for running 65km (40 miles) in seven hours in May, many children are following in his footsteps. Budhia Singh’s run catapulted the little boy from the sleepy eastern state of Orissa into the national limelight and controversy with the country divided on the hazards of allowing children to run marathons. Emboldened by his feat, other children in the state are running long distances for fame and money. BBC News article

A Vatican for film-makers


How does a Havana film school attract lavish funding and the likes of Soderbergh and Spielberg? With a nod and a wink from Fidel Castro. Chris Payne reports on a little corner of Cuba that is forever Hollywood .

“If you’re unfamiliar with Cuba’s cinematic heritage, you might assume that a film school run with Fidel Castro’s help would be coaching its students in flag-waving reconstructions of the Bay of Pigs or promo reels exhorting the nation’s nickel workers to greater heights of production. Hardly any films produced on the island since the 1960s have achieved distribution in the UK. The Buena Vista Social Club, the internationally successful documentary about a group of old-time Havana musicians, which became the soundtrack of every middle-class dinner party, was made by the German director Wim Wenders.”

Guardian article reporting on this amazing discovery in Cuba.

RCA Design Interaction shift


The name of the Interaction Design Department at the RCA has now changed to Design Interactions ….

“designing for the complex, troubled people we are, rather than the easily satisfied consumers and users we are supposed to be.”

Design Interactions is a small change, but we think it is significant. It reflects our emphasis on designing interactions of all kinds – not just between people and digital technologies, or even other emerging technologies, but also between people and possible futures, and between design and other fields of art and science.

Hot Toddy

Quite simply the best kept secret for fighting of sore throats, flu and heavy colds. Some flu experts believe that cold drinks increase congestion, whereas warm drinks loosen secretions and are more flu-friendly. Try sipping a hot toddy before bed to help you sleep and clear your stuffy head. In addition to the hot toddy – crawl into bed, cover yourself with a lot of blankets to assist your body in sweating out the cold.

Dieter Rams

These are a few of the quotes from Dieter Rams. For those of you unaware of his work, put it this way, Jonathan Ive (Head of Industrial Design at Apple) is often mistaken for his work. Which is a nice way of admiring the sensibility of Rams.

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design helps us to understand a product.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is durable.
Good design is consequent to the last detail.
Good design is concerned with the environment.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.

As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, DIETER RAMS emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.

Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki

“Nobuyoshi Araki graphic erotica is revered and reviled in almost equal measures.” GQ October 2006.

Many label him a rebel genius, while others call him a misogynist who objectifies and degrades women by turning them into lifeless sex toys. His women, some of them models, some of them lovers, stare vacantly into the lens, giving the viewer the unnerving feeling of witnessing something deeply sinister.

The 2008 Berlin exhibition includes a highlight film.

At first glance the photos of tied up woman seem to be in line with the Western concept of Bondage, but Nobuyoshi Araki has emphasized a contrast: “Kinbaku (knots with ropes) are different from bondage. I only tie up woman’s body because I know I cannot tie up her heart. Only her physical parts can be tied up. Tying up a woman becomes an embrace.” Nobuyoshi Araki takes photographs of women because photography for him is inextricably linked to love and eroticism. Most models have asked Nobuyoshi Araki themselves to be photographed for the Kinbaku series. Concurrent to the exhibition at Jablonka Galerie, the Kestnergesellschaft Hannover presents 100 colored photographs of the Kinbaku series. May 3, 2008.

You’ll be drawn into this raw, stark approach.

Mind maps

Mind Map IDEO

David Kelley, founder of IDEO uses mind maps to foster creativity.

“When I want to do something analytical, I make a list. When I’m trying to come up with ideas or strategize, I make a mind map. Mind maps are organic and allow me to free associate. They are great for asking questions and revealing connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.”

Full size graphic here

Stays in the shadows, Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive

Apple chief designer, shy from public viewing, says a few rare words in Business Week:

His design process revolves around intense iteration — making and remaking models to visualize new concepts.

“One of the hallmarks of the team I think is this sense of looking to be wrong,” said Ive at Radical Craft. “It’s the inquisitiveness, the sense of exploration. It’s about being excited to be wrong because then you’ve discovered something new.”

Nothing new with this debate.

Form follows function seems like good sense but on closer examination it becomes problematic and open to interpretation. Linking the relationship between the ‘form’ of an object and its intended purpose is a good idea for designers and architects, but it is not always by itself a complete design solution. Defining the precise meaning(s) of the phrase ‘form follows function’ opens a discussion of design integrity. The New Strength of Style takes this debate and turns it 180 degrees.

Ross Lovegrove on TED Talks

Ross Lovegrove Industrial designer, speaking at TED said,

“I’m captain organic, that’s a philosophical and well as an aesthetic position.”

Speaking about Zaha Hadid, Richard Serra and Gregg Lin, who are preserving and pioneering with fantastic new ideas of how to create 21st century design/architecture/art. The interlocution of elements on a chair. Going on to mention how observation, curiosity and instinct are the ingredients for great work.

“Ross Lovegrove: About my work? You could say its organic, but that’s just a consequence of my private thoughts and feelings towards things.”

designboom interview with him plus his TED 2006 session

Cinematographer Sven Nykvist dies

Sven Nykvist

Oscar-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who often worked with director Ingmar Bergman, has died aged 83. Nykvist won Academy Awards for Bergman films Cries and Whispers in 1973 and Fanny and Alexander in 1982. He also worked on several films with Woody Allen and was the cinematographer on 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Other film work included The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Chaplin and Sleepless in Seattle.

The Multi touch screen

Documenting Jeff Han and Frustrated Total Internal Reflection. The email thread that I recieved said, “It all started with this video!”