Red means stop!

pedestrian signAdministrators in auto city are baffled at recent reports showing Detroit having more than twice as many pedestrian deaths per capita than it’s nearest competitor, New York City.

The high rate may partly result from drivers’ attitudes toward pedestrians, said Kelly Thayer, transportation project manager for the Michigan Land Use Institute, based in Traverse City. “There are some states where pedestrians come first, and Michigan isn’t one of them,” Thayer said.

Detroit is the first place I have ever encountered the mysterious “Red means stop!” and “Red still means stop!” signs, posted at nearly every big intersection in the city. I assumed they were an exaggeration to affect a local problem, not an attempt to address a plague.

I don’t mean to get all semiotic up in this mug, but what else could red mean if it didn’t mean stop? Perhaps these offensive drivers simply misinterpreted it as the color of blood. Who’s to blame here, bad drivers, or an overloaded sign system?

Detroit Free Press: Detroit tops U.S. big cities in rate of pedestrian deaths


burnt siennaIntroduced to the Crayola line in 1903, Burnt Sienna is now number 44 in their top 50 colors (men rank burnt sienna #39 while women find it a less attractive #53). For its 100th anniversary, Crayola will be choosing four new colors and retiring 4 of the standards—one of those singled out is none other than burnt sienna.

Whenever someone asks me for a color, for some reason or another the phrase burnt sierra pops into my head. It’s not a particularly spectacular color, maybe not even in my top 10, but there’s something about that name, a mysterious combination of words that evokes much more than a color swatch: an object, an outdoor scene, a simpler way of living.

It’s not just me that is swayed by its subtle imagery: there’s a band, a band from Texas, a band from Japan, a record label, a book, and of course, a weblog. There might even be a Mr. Burnt Sienna roaming around somewhere, and if not it’s a great fucking name for a kid.

It seems that there’s a lot more to a color than just color. It can be a whole cultural universe, filled with people, places, and lots of bands. In these terms, I can’t see how BS would be threatened at all. But alas, I’m worried that when judged for its hue alone, a sad, rusty-red mixed with crappy-brown, it stands no chance against a periwinkle or razzamatazz. And in ten or twenty years, no one will even understand me when it pops into my head.

Save Burnt Sienna!

The best of B3TA

beta logoEveryone has their sources for material, the coveted ubersites we depend on to give us special mojo that impresses other people. There’s one place I depend on more than any other, B3TA.

Every week Rob Manuel and friends send an email update that I inevitably end up chopping to bits and IMing to all of my friends. So you’re asking, why is he giving away his best source? Because it’s over. As soon as your “source” has members making advertisements for VH1, it’s over. B3TA has been growing, and they’ll probably bust soon, and what better way to pave your way from small to massive than with a “best of” dedicated to your underground years. So here it is:

B3TA – “The best of …. “

Almost all of the sites that had me in stitches are there, including Joel Veitch’s Destiny’s Child, the Giant Bee Song, Bonsai Kitten, Emotion Eric… the list goes on. They’ve got their finger on the pulse of the freshest, finest memes.

Compliancy and standardization.. YUCK!

frolicking kidsI think one of the reasons the web is such a mish-mash of badly coded HTML and lazy programming is simply that the whole idea of compliancy lacks excitement and fun. What’s in it for me? If I work my ass off and pay attention to all the specs, I might just make the mark of standard. Sure, we’re just talking about the underlying structure, but who wants to be standard? It just sounds so blah-average and uncreative it makes me want to puke (much less actually do the work).

I think the W3C and all other standards organizations should change the language around compliancy. Jazz it up a bit. Make it fun for the whole family. Maybe instead of complying to standards, we should be frolicking to agreeability!! I’m having a better time already.

I was frolicking so much today that I completely frolicked my site into agreeability with the XHTML 1.0 Transitional thing. Check me out on the lower left.. every single page on overstated is agreeable! Let’s all grab hands like the kids above and frolick our way to a compli.. I mean a more agreeable web.

OMG!! OMG!! Cameron made a post!!

Oh boy do I have lots to talk about. Most importantly, this weblog has moved over to my new web server, which will shortly be hosting Blogdex among other things. My lack of updates as of late has been due to two things:

  1. I was cramming for my general exam oral defense, which occurred last Wednesday, and was completed successfully and
  2. I have been installing a couple of new servers to finally migrate all my web projects onto Apache, which included familiarizing myself with Debian and getting apache to work with suexec. Ouch for my social life.

To say the least, I’m back, and should be returning to my regular schedule, posting 5 times on one day every week when I suddenly realize I’m not being the exemplary weblogger. Or something like that.

Soon to come: a response to the Media Lab Wired article and an update on research.