Today’s Front Pages: Flat Screen Edition


I walked into the Cafe at Berkeley’s International House tonight before going to hear Robert F. Kennedy Jr. talk about the environment.  I’m used to sports on the flat screens at most places, so was startled to notice that the ones here were showing newspaper front pages from around the world.

This was the first time I’d seen other people using portrait displays to project interesting vertical content (see my post on trying this at home).

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Early Boston Telephone Book

Among all the random stuff I’ve collected over the years, this 1881 Boston phone book is one of the standouts. Published only five years after the telephone was patented (in 1876), there are a mere few hundred listings, including one for Alexander Graham Bell himself:


This is undoubtedly one of the earliest phone books, and as far as I know the only early one you can view on the web. The first book, issued in 1878 in New Haven, was auctioned by Christies in 2008.


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I was at the Cal library today reading David Lance Goines’ book about the Free Speech Movement, of which he was one of the organizers. I’d been meaning to start the book, and saw him crossing the street this morning so decided today was the day (now in his 70’s, he’s a well known Berkeley personality, graphic artist and writer).

I stopped reading just as he describes how the Free Speech Movement erupted in 1964, culminating in the mass arrests which were the opening shot of student campus protests nationwide. The trigger was the contested strip of land between Sather Gate and Bancroft Ave, where students thought they could protest but the University cracked down anyway.

I walked by this area on my way home, which was a good call because I got to see this awesome drum corps.

How Pilates Got Huge: It Went Open Source

If you want to start a trend that goes from obscure to ubiquitous seemingly overnight, open it up wide. Case in point: Pilates.2faf9c8a-91d1-4dc0-8d33-93887a717e40

I started doing Pilates this year, so I’m what you’d call an ‘early majority adopter.’ While not quite mainstream, Pilates has become a huge fitness trend with millions of participants, seemingly out of nowhere, in a short time. I’d heard of it in the 1990’s… my sister was doing it as part of a rehab program. But I had no idea that a small group of people, mostly elite dancers, had been doing it since the ’60s and 70s.

Pilates percolated for a few decades, and then went viral around 2000-2005. Why? Because it essentially became open source on October 20, 2000.

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Tracking Public Art


Over the past few years I’ve been noticing public art more. Because it’s gotten way better and more interesting – we’re finally getting away from the formulaic people-on-park-benches public art of the 1980s, and back to the attitude and adventurousness of the 1930s. I don’t know if this is somehow related to the Internet, or because people like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Christo inspired a generation of more adventurous artists. But I’ll take it.

(Above: I really liked this mural on Alabama Street in the Mission. It just appeared one day in late 2015)

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