The Null Device


Things __ People Like + Democrat sympathies = Things younger than Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Includes entries for things like nylon, Helvetica, The Grapes of Wrath, the Golden Gate Bridge, Kodachrome, both of Barack Obama's parents and various other notably old and cranky politicians.

And, via the Helvetica entry, various designers weigh in on McCain's use of the Optima typeface. The usual things come up (Optima being a bet-hedging typeface, the use of a bold weight outweighing any elitist connotations of the regular weight, Optima's association with the dental profession, and, of course, its resemblance to the inscriptions on the Vietnam War Memorial), but most interesting was type designer Matthew Carter's claim on how Optima McCain's choice of running mates:

I set the possible names in a bold weight of Optima caps and certain things became clear. HUCKABEE looks awkward in Optima, and ROMNEY is afflicted with the same difficult ‘EY’ combination that has plagued the current vice presidency. Perhaps because Optima is a German typeface, the word SCHWARZENEGGER looks predictably good.
Although it’s German, Optima took its inspiration from Quattrocento inscriptional lettering in the cathedrals of Florence and Siena, which may explain why GIULIANI looks so simpatico. In the end, however, my research suggests that the optimal running mate — so long as you don’t have to typeset her first name — is RICE.
Is typography destiny?

(via tyrsalvia) barack obama history john mccain optima politics typography usa 1

In the popular beliefs of our times, the figure of Albert Einstein fulfils the role of the metaphorical "smartest human being ever", to the point where urban legends attributing factoids to (such as "we only use 10% of our brains") to various luminaries end up mutating into "Einstein said that...". So, not surprisingly, a lot of people are eager to claim the great man's endorsement for their beliefs, however tenuously.

Not surprisingly, there has been much debate about Einstein's views on religion (i.e., whether his famous statement that "God does not play dice" was an acknowledgement of a higher being or mere metaphor), with both theists and atheists claiming him for their team. Now, newly released letters from 1954 reveal that, at least towards the end of his life, Einstein regarded religion as "childish" and "primitive legends":

In the letter, dated January 3 1954, he wrote: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.
He wrote: "For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.
The letter recounts Einstein's questioning of religion having begun at age 12.

(via Boing Boing) albert einstein atheism philosophy religion 0