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As Marty mentioned in a previous post, the new Delicious design is a little wonky, and no longer pumps content to our blog and Twitter account. So here’s a roundup of articles I’ve stumbled across over the past month that you may find interesting:


As Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer approach, I start thinking of that great American tradition: the summer road trip. While rising gas prices might be squeezing this tradition a bit, an interesting documentary project is going across America on several legs and sending back Postcards from America.

There are a number of ways you can follow the 5 photographers and writer as they make there way on the first trip from San Antonio to Oakland:

It’s an interesting view into how big and varied our country really is.

Infomous is a dynamic and intuitive navigation solution – perhaps soon to pop up on websites you visit.  Web developers for content-rich sites have integrated word cloud and tablet-style flip navigation over the past few years, but this is a solution that seems to combine aspects of both: reference triggers and dynamic script.  The tool is currently available in preview/beta version through a relationship with the provider, but will roll out later this year, ready for embed.  More info at Infomous – they have a demo up for world news, a version for sports news, entertainment news, science news.  It’s easy to explore and find links to try.

We’re not gourmet anymore…or are we? A recent article in the New York Times serves as an interesting follow-up to a recent W5 blog post regarding the cancellation of Gourmet magazine. According to the NY Times and publishing company Conde Nast, we haven’t see the last of the lauded foodie mag.
An app may resurrect <i>Gourmet</i>.
Gourmet’s second chance at survival arrives neatly wrapped in a digital package as an iPad application called “Gourmet Live.” The app will be fully loaded with recycled cooking tips and recipes from Gourmet’s current archive while an occasional sprinkling of new content will be used to spice things up.

Interestingly, the app is not intended to serve as a digital form of the magazine, but as a new way for consumers to engage with the brand. Given Gourmet’s dedicated following and the widespread disappointment with the magazine’s cancellation, repackaging the magazine in the form of an app appears to be a brilliant move. Not only will the app reintroduce a trusted brand in an entirely new way, it will fill the void for dedicated readers who have yet to find a satisfactory substitute. In addition, the app well help the brand reach a younger, tech-savvy audience. The trick will be keeping the content fresh enough to attract new readers and familiar enough to satisfy older fans. With Gourmet’s culinary legendary expertise and reputation, balancing old tastes with new textures should be as easy as cooking “Easy Seafood Paella“.

I gave up reading books that can be found in the business/advertising/marketing section of the bookstore a while back. Most of the books you find in that section should have never been written in the first place: authors rehashing their previous work, self-help for the cubicle crowd, and whatever flavor of behavioral psychology is cool this month. I also posit that the original, interesting books in this section are likely to be rambling, 300 page tomes that would work better as 8 page articles in the New Yorker.

So, with few exceptions, the New York Times Business Bestseller List is dead to me. One of those exceptions is Rework, from the founders of 37signals (and the masterminds behind the best blog in the world, signal vs. noise).

Rework is essentially a collection of a hundred or so brief essays on how they do business. Anyone who has read their blog knows that they are feisty, irreverent, critical, and, in the end, brutally honest and usually right. The essays are no different. From advice on how to nurture office culture, to their thoughts on the futility of meeting and conference calls, they lay it all out there for the reader to do with as they please.

I have a strong suspicion that anyone who read this book and tried to follow their lead word for word would fail – miserably. Taken with a level head and grain of salt, however, the book is filled with provocations that will change the way they go about their life at work.

Here is a brief PDF excerpt from the book. Enjoy.

We see a lot of data and present it in a lot of different ways, so when someone is out there analyzing the analysis it brings out the research geek. I tripped across Junk Charts today, a site dedicated to highlighting some of the worst in infographics. You can also follow the site on twitter, here.

I’ve recently come across several organizations and websites that aggregate and track facts.  The Long Now is a foundation that claims as its goal the fostering of long-term thinking (blog), and companies like Ambient Devices offer cool consumer electronic products that are designed to “datacast,” constantly streaming real-time facts that by their nature are always changing, like the weather, the stock market, oil prices, traffic congestion, etc. (They go well beyond kitchen-window digital thermometers, the “Orb” on the right is one of their products.)

But Samuel Arbesman, a research fellow at the Harvard Medical School and associated with the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, started a fascinating website and blog earlier this year that focus on “mesofacts,” facts that change slowly over time, but which are challenging to track. I’ve been checking the blog periodically to see the various charts and subjects they post.

“These slow-changing facts are what I term “mesofacts.” Mesofacts are the facts that change neither too quickly nor too slowly, that lie in this difficult-to-comprehend middle, or meso-, scale. Often, we learn these in school when young and hold onto them, even after they change. For example, if, as a baby boomer, you learned high school chemistry in 1970, and then, as we all are apt to do, did not take care to brush up on your chemistry periodically, you would not realize that there are 12 new elements in the Periodic Table. Over a tenth of the elements have been discovered since you graduated high school! While this might not affect your daily life, it is astonishing and a bit humbling.”Excerpt from article by Arbesman

I’ve always felt a little challenged by retention of facts. So much of my personal approach to learning has been focused on comprehension and understanding, and pattern recognition, that the details sometimes seem to go, pardon the cliches, “in one ear and out the other,” or are “stuffed into the back of my mind somewhere.”  I can’t remember jokes to save a party, and I’m not even as good at music trivia as my friends expect me to be. I studied International Relations in undergrad, but learned about the UN of the 90s, and the political climate of the post-Cold War world; it’s been challenging keeping up with foreign affairs and the state of international communications over the past ten years.

You don’t have to be a trivia buff, a librarian, or a passionate scholar to appreciate tracking of mesofacts of some kind. We all have our interests and challenges in keeping up with the evolution of knowledge on those topics.  Your focus may be more academic, historic, entertainment, or even outright silly, but do remember to keep thinking and push yourself to keep up!

Note: We’re always seeking comments for our blog posts, but few people actually submit them!  Feel free to tell us about your fact-watching, and especially your sources for keeping up-to-date, in the thread below!

Kudos to The Awl for two fairly recent charts featuring publishing statistics from the past decade.  The images are too tall to just recopy in a single post here, but click through to check them out.  This trend data, sourced from the Magazine Publishers of America and Audit Bureau of Circulations, respectively, is very interesting, but I’m particularly fond of how they’ve crafted the charts – in a tall, blog-friendly format rather than on a standard wide frame: