25 June 2013

Dumb ways to die

Winner of the Cannes Lions award, for the second year in a row, goes to a public service message. The Cannes Lions award is for best TV advertising campaign in the world. This year the winner is from Metro Trains in Melbourne. There are many dumb ways to die - failing to follow basic safety rules around trains is one of those dumb ways.

The ad has a variety of animated characters getting killed in doing stupid things, like poking a stick at a bear. All the animated death is accompanied by a happy, catchy tune.

Yes, I admit it, I found myself humming the tune after long after the video was over. 

18 June 2013

American english pronunciation by region

I found a fascinating article on how the pronunciation for the same word will vary depending on where in America you live. Not that this will be a surprise to anyone, but Joshua Katz, a PhD student in statistics at North Carolina State University, has done a study and mapped those differences.

Not only is are language patterns interesting, but as a New Zealander, I enjoyed see where out language matched - if it matched at all. New Zealand is fascinating because it is so influenced by both British & American english. We're a British colony, so obvious influence there, plus we had many immigrants from Ireland and Scotland. The American influence on the other hand is newer, but pervasive, coming as it does through TV and movies.

This map looks at drinking fountain (blue) vs water fountain (red). Interesting little blip is bubbler (green) in Wisconsin & Rhode Island. In NZ drinking fountain would dominate.

 Generic term for sweetened carbonated beverage. Soda (red), pop (blue), coke (green) or soft drink (yellow). In NZ it'd be a soft drink or fizzy drink.

Generic term for rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class. Tennis shoes (red), sneakers (green), gymshoes (green). In NZ they would be sneakers, and we would wear them in PE class, (and as a side note in South Africa they would be takkies).

A few others that interested me listed below (for these maps & others go o Mr Katz's study.)

Pronunciation of 'Route', to rhyme with 'out' or said like 'root'?
In NZ this would be a bit of a mix of both, some of that would be driven by age, & some by usage. Route is pretty much consistently used in IT, but when plotting a journey there is more of a mix. However this is a word that should be used with care in NZ as 'root' it is also a slang term for having sex :)

Nickname for your paternal grandmother (is there a distinction)?
In NZ there is generally a split between the maternal and paternal, one being nana, the other grandma. I however, grew up with a granny. My maternal grandmother didn't comply with any traditional names - I called her Moo, a childish corruption of her given name which was Muriel.

What do you call the wheeled contraption you carry your groceries in at the supermarket? A shopping cart, grocery cart, or buggy. In NZ the option would be other, we call it a trolly. A buggy, on the other hand, is what you push babies around in.

Trash can or garbage can? In NZ it's a rubbish bin.

Take out or carry out?  In NZ it's take away.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did, and if you're not a Kiwi I hope it was a little window into the world down-under :)

10 June 2013

Marriage Proposals

A little while ago I posted a fun marriage proposal, I thought it would be nice to post a few more.

In game love:

When the movies come to life:

Super sweet:

03 June 2013

The Evolution of Type

We had one artist last week, this week I thought I would look at another: Andreas Scheiger. Artist Andreas Scheiger has created a wonderful exhibition in honour of type/lettering (call it what you will), the medium through which so many have communicated their ideas through the years. That allows us to preserve our history and separates from our pre-literate ancestors.

From his Exhibition:
"Of all the achievements of the human mind, the birth of the alphabet is the most momentous. Letters, like men, have now an ancestry, and the ancestry of words, as of men, is often a very noble possession, making them capable of great things. indeed, it has been said that the invention of writing is more important than all the victories ever won or constitutions devised by man. The history of writing is, in a way, the history of the human race, since in it are bound up, severally and together, the development of thought, of expression, of art, of intercommunication, and of mechanical invention.(...) A letter should possess an esthetic quality that is organic, an essential of the form itself and not the result of mere additions to its fundamental form nor to meaningless variations of it."

When my eyes crossed this excerpt of famous type designer Frederic W. Goudy´s "The Alphabet and Elements of Lettering" (1918) suddenly letters full of life showed in my mind´s eye. Letters are organisms and typefaces are the species, all classified similar to biological taxonomy! I drafted this cognition in a chart for print and in order to prove my finding to the interested audience I took one step further. I surgically opened the letters S, Z, S, A, W and how contented I was to discover muscles, veins, tendons and bone just like the ones shared by so many living creatures.

Below are some of his wonderful sculptures that give a visceral evolution to letters.
You can see more here.