Vol. 2.36 | 09.20.19

Read time: 3 minutes
Reacting to the 9/11 Memorial

Last week’s 18th anniversary reminded me of my first visit earlier this year to the inverted fountains that are perpetually filling the footprints of the Twin Towers that once stood in the heart of downtown Manhattan. I was there after hours, so was unable to visit the 9/11 Memorial itself; I look forward to the chance to do so in the future. This essay, written five years ago by James Panero, the Executive Editor of The New Criterion, almost poetically presents the mix of emotions and depth of experience captured by the memorial site and museum.

Augmenting the Reality of Museums

I’m the kind of person who is a slow museum walker, lagging behind the rest of my family group as I try to read the informational placards that supplement whatever exhibit item has caught my eye. At San Francisco’s de Young museum of fine art, I may never make it out. There, the curator has explicitly incorporated Google Lens visual search icons into the exhibits, enabling patrons to use their smartphone camera to instantly access all kinds of ancillary information and content related to the art pieces on display.

Mapping a Nuclear Ground Zero

One of the main selling points of modern data visualization techniques, tools, and projects is the unique ability of well-crafted visualizations of data to unlock insights and shape new ways of thinking about old subjects. In that vein, nuclear weapons historian Alex Wellerstein created NUKEMAP, a web-based interactive tool that allows users to see the effects of any kind of atomic/nuclear weapon throughout history, anywhere in the world. His next project: move the NUKEMAP to the 3D world of virtual reality, in order to test how an even more real experience of a hypothetical nuclear blast effects people’s understanding/views about the use of such weapons.

Here’s a beta-test look at NUKEMAP VR

Leader Eating Last

The world of big-time college sports is the last place I would’ve expected to find an example of such generous, share-wealth-instead-of-hoarding-it leadership as this. But, by all accounts, University of Virgina men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett is not your typical, demi-god-on-campus college coach. After leading UVA to their first national championship earlier this March, Bennett was rewarded with an offered raise as part of having his contract extended. Bennett declined the raise, insisting on extending his current contract for another year at his current salary of just over $4M a year. Instead, Bennett asked that the extra money be given as raises to his staff and used to improve the facilities for sports generally at UVA. On top of that, Bennett and his wife pledged $500K to start a career development program for current and former players, knowing most will not be heading to the NBA after their playing days are done. (If you’re not familiar with the headline reference, check out Simon Sinek’s 2nd book, Leaders Eat Last.)

The Power of Iconography

Interesting look at not only what the status of your phone’s battery life icon says about you — are you the “be prepared” responsible type who’s always charging, or the reckless “run it down to the red” psychopath type? — but also how that one symbol of phone charge status has begun to reshape how people think and talk about time.