165- The Nutshell Studies05/20/15
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland is a busy place. Anyone who dies unexpectedly in the state of Maryland will end up there for an autopsy. On an average day, they might perform twelve autopsies; on … Continue reading →
164- The Post-Billiards Age
We live in a post-billiards age. There was an age of billiards, and it has been over for so long, most of us have no idea how huge billiards once was. For many decades, starting in the mid-19th Century, billiards … Continue reading →
163- The Gruen Effect
Retail spaces are designed forimpulse shopping. When you go to a store looking for socks and come out with a new shirt, it’s only partly your fault. Shopsare trying to look sobeautiful, so welcoming, the items so enticingly displayed and … Continue...
162- Mystery House
According to legend, Sarah Winchester’s friends advised the grieving widow to seek the services of a Boston spiritual medium named Adam Koombs. The storygoes, Koombs put Mrs. Winchester in touch with her deceased husband—but William had bad news. He...
161- Show of Force
DuringWorld War II, a massive recruitment effort targeted students from the top art schools acrossthe country. These young designers, artists, and makers were being asked to helpexecutea wildidea that came out of one the nation’s most conservative...
160- Perfect Security
The pursuit of lock picking is as old as the lock, which is itself as old as civilization. But in the entire history of the world, there was only one brief moment, lasting about 70 years, where you could put … Continue reading →
159- The Calendar
A month is hardly a unit of measurement. It can start on any day of the week and last anywhere from 28 to 31 days. Sometimes a month is four weeks long, sometimes five, sometimes six. You have to buy … Continue reading →
Eightyyears ago, New York City neededanother tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus beganconstruction oftheLincoln Tunnel....
54- The Colour of Money (R)
United States paper currency is so ubiquitous that to really look at its graphic design with fresh eyes requires some deliberate and focused attention. Pull a greenback out from your wallet (or look at a picture online) and really take … Continue...
157- Devil’s Rope
In the mid 1800s, not many (non-native) Americans had ever been west of the Mississippi. When Frederick Law Olmstead visited the west in the 1850s, he remarked that the plains looked like a sea of grasses that moved“in swells after … Continue reading →
156- Coin Check
The United States Military is not known for being touchy-feely.There’s not much hugging or head-patting, andsuperiors don’t always have the authority to offera servicemana raise or promotion. When a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps,...
155- Palm Reading
Reports of palm theft haveappeared in LA,San Diego, andTexas; palm rustlingalsogets a mention in Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. To understand why someone would want to steal a palm tree, we need tounderstand their value—which has a lot to do …...
154- PDX Carpet
Portlanders have a tradition when visiting their airport: taking a picture of their feet. It’s not to show off their shoes, but rather, what’s under them. They are documenting the famous PDX airport carpet. Julie Sabatier from Rendered has the …...
153- Game Over (R)
A few months before the end of the world, everyone was saying their goodbyes. The world that was ending was The Sims Online, an online version of The Sims. Even though The Sims was one of the most popular computer … Continue reading →
152- Guerrilla Public Service
At some point in your life you’ve probably encountered a problem in the built world where the fix was obvious to you. Maybe a door that opened the wrong way, or poorly painted marker on the road. Mostly, when we … Continue reading →
151- La Mascotte
The idea of the mascot came to America by way of a popular French opera from the 1880s called La Mascotte. The opera is about a down-on-his luck farmer who’s visited by a girl named Bettina; as soon as she … Continue reading →
150- Under The Moonlight
In 1885,Austin, Texas was terrorizedby aserial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator.The murdererwas never actually found, but he claimedeight victims, mostly black servant girls, all attacked in the darkof night. The very, very dark night...
149- Of Mice And Men
If you are looking at acomputer screen, your right hand is probably resting on amouse. To the left of that mouse (or above, if you’re on a laptop) is your keyboard. As you work on the computer, your right hand … Continue reading →
148- The Sizzle
The first trademark for a sound in the United Stateswas issuedin 1978 to NBC for their chimes.MGM has a sound trademarkfor their roaring lion, as does 20th Century Fox for their trumpet fanfare. Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound … Continue...
147- Penn Station Sucks
New Yorkers are known to disagree about a lot of things. Who’s got the best pizza? What’s the fastest subway route? Yankees or Mets? But all 8.5 million New Yorkers are likely to agree on one thing: Penn Station sucks. … Continue reading →
- San Francisco, CA