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Randall Munroe of XKCD is getting his comics in science textbooks

Artwork from his book Thing Explainer will appear in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's textbooks<p>Fans of webcomic XKCD will be well aware how lucidly its creator, former NASA roboticist Randall Munroe, can explain complicated ideas using just stick figures and dialogue. Well now Munroe's skills are going …

The Bizarre Branding Of America’s Many, Many Secret Societies

A fascinating new book reveals the visual culture of 19th and early 20th century secret societies.<p>For all of their esoteric ways, America’s early secrets societies were remarkable branding machines. They had their own slogans, their own fashions, and their own symbols and colors. They even had …

Laurent Kronental's Souvenir d'un Futur photos show Paris' monumental housing estates

<b>Photo essay:</b> French photographer Laurent Kronental has spent four years capturing the "grands ensembles" housing projects in Paris, juxtaposing the …

Big Brother management

In 2016 the job of management will be taken away from managers. For the salt-of-the-earth middle manager, it will be the most painful year on record. …

What Higher Consciousness Really Means, How We Attain It, and What It Does for the Human Spirit

“At such moments, the world reveals itself as quite different: a place of suffering and misguided effort … but also a place of tenderness and longing, beauty, and touching vulnerability. “<p><i>“[Leonardo da Vinci’s] unique brain wiring … allowed him the opportunity to experience the world from the</i> …

Leonardo Da Vinci

These Beautiful “Mental Maps” Of Cities Help Your Brain Regain What It Has Lost To GPS

We’re getting to a point where we can’t navigate even our own neighborhoods without the help of smartphones. Here’s an antidote.<p>The more we drive with GPS–or walk down the sidewalk staring at directions on a smartphone–the less we’re able to navigate on our own. Relying on navigational tech might …

Asking why is not always the best strategy

Pushing toward a deeper need is good, but you need to know when and how to draw the line at productive questioning.<p>I’m not a yes-man by any stretch. …

Woodworking

The Museum Gift Shop

The Museum Gift Shop<p>You’ve been around an art exhibition of a favourite artist. Perhaps it was Barbara Hepworth, the mid-20th-century British …

Artworks

The Strangers in Your Brain

Biologists often say that the most dangerous thing a cell can do is divide. This is because, during the complex process of replication—the unspooling of DNA, the assembling of two genomes from the halves of one—there is always the chance that the cell will make a mistake. Mutations can cost an …

This Dripping, Foggy Box Predicts Tomorrow's Weather

The desktop Tempescope mimics storms and lightning by flashing, dripping, and fogging.<p>To check tomorrow’s weather, you could open an app or turn on the local news. For something less boring, you could also consult a Tempescope, a caged atmosphere that simulates looming clouds, thunderstorms, and …

O Superman (Laurie Anderson Cover) - Performed by Moses Sumney (Live & Improvised)

Radiation. Government conspiracy. Mass hysteria. There are plenty of theories as to why the residents of a tiny Kazakh mining region keep falling asleep for days at a time, but no answers. BuzzFeed News spends a week there and tries to stay awake.

<b>It was a crisp April morning in 2010</b> when the first person in town fell ill. The handful of women who manned the market in Krasnogorsk, a town in northwestern Kazakhstan, were exchanging the usual gossip over morning tea — how everyone had slept, whose children were causing trouble, what was …

DARPA: We Are Engineering the Organisms That Will Terraform Mars

The Pentagon is working on technology that will allow it to engineer a new organism within a day of it being found in the wild.<p>It's no secret that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing heavily in genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Whether that excites or terrifies you …

Anatomy of a good sticky note

For many of our teams, the 'unit of data' in qualitative user research is the sticky note - or, more precisely, units of information captured onto …

Design Students Revisit A Le Corbusier Masterpiece

ECAL students invent household wares for one of Le Corb’s grandest Brutalist structures.<p>There’s no doubt that history informs the present, especially in the realm of contemporary design born from the modernist canon. Students are regularly lectured about the significance of certain practitioners …

Apple and Microsoft’s visions for the future are delightfully different

One wants the device at the center of your life, the other wants to make the device irrelevant<p>Microsoft’s evolution over the past few years has brought it closer to Apple than ever before. Just like its old nemesis, the Windows company now sells its own phones and tablets, gives away OS updates for …

Logitech Pulls Millions From Mice, Invests It In Design

The peripheral maker is planning a big design-led turnaround. So can they pull it off?<p>The year 2006 was a big year for headphones. It’s when the Beats brand debuted, took over every pair of ears in professional sports, and exploded into a $3 billion lifestyle-led technology company. You know what …

Photographer Sebastian Weiss uses Instagram to capture "the syntax of cities"

<b>Photo essay:</b> a smooth granite church in Iceland and a curvy concrete water tower in Germany are among the architectural structures documented in this …

Spring, a department store in an app, raises $25 million and launches on Android

A glossy feed of your favorite brands<p>Last summer we wrote about Spring, an app that envisioned bringing the experience of strolling through a mall to your mobile device. The service has struck a chord with shoppers, who the company claims come back to make a second or third purchase at roughly four …

Apps

What Mark Zuckerberg and Frank Gehry reminded me about running a service business

Over the past few years there has been a lot of talk about the future of Design and Product service companies, agencies, and firms — how they should …

Silicon Valley

Anatomy of a Job-To-Be-Done

The Jobs-To-Be-Done Magnifier<p><i>by</i> <i>Dan Toma</i> <i>&</i> <i>Tendayi Viki</i> <i>(authors of</i> <i>The Corporate Startup</i><i>)</i><p>“People are not buying quarter-inch drills, they buy …

Employment

You can now run Android apps on a Mac or PC with Google Chrome

Google’s convergence of Chrome and Android is taking a big step forward this week. After launching a limited App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) back in September, Google is expanding its beta project to allow Android apps to run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. It’s an early experiment designed primarily for …

Russell Davies

This interview with Roger Martin is all good.<p>But, the best bits:<p><b>Don't mistake non-choices for strategy</b><p><i>The very essence of strategy is explicit,</i> …

What does IDEO have to say about self-driving cars?

From easier commuting to a more pleasant daily grind, the design group imagines that big changes are heading -- self-driven -- our way<p>Part-study, …

How a Circular Smartphone Could Help Us Rethink Tech

Screens are rectangles. Even the 3-year-old playing with your iPad could tell you that. But what would the digital world look like through a …

Framing

Want to Understand Design Forces?

<i>Untangle design conversations into the forces bearing on the design, the solutions under consideration, and the fitness between the two.</i><p>I wrote some …

Listen to this charming audio drama from mobile game studio Simogo

Dieter Rams: If I Could Do It Again, “I Would Not Want To Be A Designer”

The lauded Braun designer reveals how architecture has influenced his work, what Apple gets right, and the kind of design he truly hates.<p><b>Gary Hustwit: How did you get started as a designer? What was your training?</b> <b><br>Dieter Rams:</b> I began my studies in architecture at the Wiesbaden School of Art in …

There’s nothing to do when you’re locked in a vacancy: “The Breakfast Club” and the luxurious intimacy of uninterrupted time

The crew joked John Hughes’ masterpiece should have been called “Long Day’s Journey into Detention”<p>"The Breakfast Club," which turned 30 years old this year, actually opens by namedropping its own birthday. After the on-screen quote from David Bowie’s “Changes” (suggested to writer/director John …

Battery Hackers Are Building the Future in the Garage

Revolutions that start in the garage are nothing new. The one-car shed in which David Packard and William Hewlett launched the partnership that would …