The People’s Issue: Zaha Hadid, Ed Catmull, James Lavelle, LAPD, and more

Arts & Culture

The Abstractionist

Zaha Hadid never conformed. She never played it safe. She was born to challenge the status quo. Like any professional artist, Hadid aimed to appease herself first. She liked bold shapes and curves instead of stodgy rectangles and squares. Now she leaves her art behind for others to interpret.

“There are three hundred and fifty-nine other degrees,” Hadid likes to say. “Why limit yourself to one?”

The View from the Street

Despite going mainstream, skateboarding has been able to maintain a culture of edginess, raw enthusiasm, and an appreciation for old and new tricks. Never forget.

“Sometimes it seems for the better, sometimes the worse, yet either way there have always been people out there having fun and being creative. Skating’s forward and unpredictable advance is a bit like the act of riding itself. One second you’re going this way, the next you’re turning that”

The rise and fall of Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle — and the record industry that fell with him

James Lavelle, the musician, boss, and brand manager. He might have lost his touch over the years but “Psyence Fiction” goes down as a seminal record.

And yeah, that was their number one influence; hip hop is where it all started. Mo’Wax is basically a hip hop label, but through slight influences of skating, and the London influence of drum and bass, it turned into the trip hop thing.

Philosophy & Productivity

Staying one step ahead at Pixar: An interview with Ed Catmull

Risks are tricky because no one wants to fail. Failure leaves a permanent stain. But failure is also the only way to stay a step ahead. Ed Catmull explains what kind of audacity it takes to be creative.

“One of the things about failure is that it’s asymmetrical with respect to time. When you look back and see failure, you say, “it made me what I am!” But looking forward, you think, “I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want to fail.” The difficulty is that when you’re running an experiment, it’s forward looking. We have to try extra hard to make it safe to fail.”

Social Media & Tech

How Aerial Surveillance Has Changed Policing — and Crime — in Los Angeles

LA uses a Netflix-like recommendation system to predict crime. Who isn’t using data aggregation these days?

Crime shapes cities — even Paris, the “City of Light,” takes its nickname, according to one story, from streetlights first instituted as part of a 17th-century police operation — but the reverse is also true. Cities get the types of crime their design calls for.

The Sleeper Future Of Data Visualization? Photography

I’ve just started using Google photos in addition to Dropbox. What I like about it is that it does some of the aggregation work for you, taking your images and turning them into suggested animations and gifs.

“”The Instagram model, where I need to find that precise moment to tell everything that I wanted to share is amazing, but there’s also an opportunity for the aggregate stories—how do you condense 200 photos from my Camera Roll into something that’s digestible?” he says. “I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg in how we find patterns and manage this glut.””

New Music

Episode 83 | Tunes of the Week

  1. Deft – Against the Clock
  2. Peaking Lights – Conga Blue
  3. Debruit – Above the Phosphorous
  4. Sam IRL – Headlock
  5. Com Truise – Diffraction
  6. Olafur Onalds – Study for Generative Piano

🎵 Listen here

Thought of the Week

“Whoever makes it through the social media era with their dignity, self-respect, and faith in humanity intact…wins.” – DJ Shadow

My Blog Posts

“The first taste is always with your eyes.”

Some Aphorisms

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.