In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.

— Shunryu Suzuki



At first glance Crank is the opposite of the kinds of things I would ordinarily go see.  Even film and movie enthusiasts weren’t thrilled with this one. Still there is something to it. I wasn’t exactly on the edge of my seat despite it being billed as non-stop action, but oddly it was pretty close to seeing something akin to Video Art on the big screen.

Jason Statham is well cast in this fast-paced, crazy-premised, ride.  From the pacing, to the visuals, to the constantly making fun of itself, to the this is a video game feel, somehow it all came together to make an arty package. I don’t think it was intended that way, but from a purely visual stance, I liked it.

Still, in the same way it might be hard to recommend some video art,  a piece might have some great aspects artistically, but still be very hard to watch, so too Crank had it’s tedious moments despite being an interesting visual feast.

You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe

you_are_here_christopher_potterThis is a pretty rambling account, with way too many footnotes, digressions, “useless” facts, and Scientist name dropping sprinkled in. But in the end it was an interesting journey through the world of science, with scale from mega-macroscopic to miniscule-microscopic as a loose scaffolding on which this adventure unfolds.

At times Christopher Potter’s You are Here reads like an endless litany of facts, but the over reaching arc was enjoyable. And, for a book so entrenched in science, I like how it ends on a note of maybe science doesn’t know everything after all, summarized by a quote from Robert Jastrow:

“[The Scientist] has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Design Making a Difference

When will major businesses learn that design matters? Recently we saw how Tropicana lost 20% of it’s sales with a simple redesign of it’s packaging, well, here is an opposite story. With really good design Jacek Utko was able to increase circulation of his newspaper by as much as 100% in some places. This is a pretty inspiring TED talk.

more on the TED website