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Birds can see Earth's magnetic fields, and we finally know how that's possible
"The mystery behind how birds navigate might finally be solved: it's not the iron in their beaks providing a magnetic compass, but a newly discovered protein in their eyes that lets them "see" Earth's magnetic fields.

These findings come courtesy of two new papers - one studying robins, the other zebra finches.

The fancy eye protein is called Cry4, and it's part of a class of proteins called cryptochromes - photoreceptors sensitive to blue light, found in both plants and animals. These proteins play a role in regulating circadian rhythms.

There's also been evidence in recent years that, in birds, the cryptochromes in their eyes are responsible for their ability to orient themselves by detecting magnetic fields, a sense called magnetoreception.

We know that birds can only sense magnetic fields if certain wavelengths of light are available - specifically, studies have shown that avian magnetoreception seems dependent on blue light.

This seems to confirm that the mechanism is a visual one, based in the cryptochromes, which may be able to detect the fields because of quantum coherence.

To find more clues on these cryptochromes, two teams of biologists set to work. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden studied zebra finches, and researchers from the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg in Germany studied European robins.

The Lund team measured gene expression of three cryptochromes, Cry1, Cry2 and Cry4, in the brains, muscles and eyes of zebra finches. Their hypothesis was that the cryptochromes associated with magnetoreception should maintain constant reception over the circadian day.

They found that, as expected for circadian clock genes, Cry1 and Cry2 fluctuated daily - but Cry4 expressed at constant levels, making it the most likely candidate for magnetoreception.

This finding was supported by the robin study, which found the same thing.

"We also found that Cry1a, Cry1b, and Cry2 mRNA display robust circadian oscillation patterns, whereas Cry4 shows only a weak circadian oscillation," the researchers wrote.

But they made a couple of other interesting findings, too. The first is that Cry4 is clustered in a region of the retina that receives a lot of light - which makes sense for light-dependent magnetoreception.

The other is that European robins have increased Cry4 expression during the migratory season, compared to non-migratory chickens.

Both sets of researchers caution that more research is needed before Cry4 can be declared the protein responsible for magnetoreception.

The evidence is strong, but it's not definitive, and both Cry1 and Cry2 have also been implicated in magnetoreception, the former in garden warblers and the latter in fruit flies.

Observing birds with non-functioning Cry4 could help confirm the role it seems to play, while other studies will be needed to figure Cry1's role.

So what does a bird actually see? Well, we can't ever know what the world looks like through another species' eyes, but we can take a very strong guess.

According to researchers at the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose researcher Klaus Schulten first predicted magnetoreceptive cryptochromes in 1978, they could provide a magnetic field "filter" over the bird's field of view - like in the picture above.

The zebra finch study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and the robin study was published in Current Biology."
birds  science  vision  navigation  2018  animals  nature  wildlife 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Patricio González Vivo & Jen Lowe - Guayupia — Territory
"“A more adequate definition of cartography needs to express not just the presence of geographical knowledge but also cosmographical or biographical information, such as the soul flight of shamans or the passage and pathways of gods, heroes, and ancestors.”*
We set out to make a map for our son, something to show him where he comes from, to explain the unlikely fact of his existence. We wondered: what could a map be?

We weren’t starting from scratch — Jen’s a data visualization expert and Patricio’s a digital artist at a mapping company — but we wanted this map to reflect our son’s Argentinian heritage, and we realized we knew nothing about the history of maps in South America. Our research turned up a rich history of native South American mapping, combining earth and stars* with humans, plants, animals, and gods, into complex cosmographical systems*. We learned that daily and annual shifts of the Milky Way were used by the Quechua people to keep track of time*. We were inspired by the mass migrations of the Tupi-Guarani people, as they searched for guayupia*, The Land Without Evil. In addition to native maps, we found shoreline sketches from European navigators’ rutters*, drawn to help them recognize harbors that were new to them. We found the more recent south-up maps of artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia*, and the comic artist Quino*.

Our son’s genealogy is vastly more colonialist than native. He’s descended from kings and soldiers and factory workers and farmers who crossed the Atlantic, settling the Americas at the cost of native lives and freedoms. Hundreds of years later, we are still travelling to find success, now even more frantically: we move every year and change jobs every few years; each move taking us further from family and friends. Our comforts still depend on the lives of others less free than ourselves. In our families, the relentless search for guayupia goes back generations. Does seeing the futility and cost of the search mean we’ll call it off? (In our hearts, this is an open question.)

We set out to make a map for our son; we made it south up, to establish his geographic first principles in the hemisphere where his family lives; we include the earth and stars and shorelines, to help him find his way to the gods and heroes he’ll map for himself."
patriciogonzálezvivo  jenlowe  maps  mapping  argentina  southamerica  2017  geography  place  inca  guayupia  colonialism  quino  joaquíntorres-garcía  quechua  navigation  time  astrononmy  américadelsur  perspective  cartography  neilwhitehead  genealogy  decolonization  guaraní  milkway  indigenous 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories? | Books | The Guardian
"Neuroscientists who insist technology is changing our brains may have it wrong. What if we are switching from books to digital entertainment because of a change in our need to communicate?"



"A few years ago I gave a lecture in Oxford that was reprinted in the Guardian under the heading: “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real)”. In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitisation of print: we are entering a new era, one with a radically different form of knowledge technology, and while those of us who have what Marshal McLuhan termed “Gutenberg minds” may find it hard to comprehend – such was our sense of the solidity of the literary world – without the necessity for the physical book itself, there’s no clear requirement for the art forms it gave rise to. I never actually argued that the novel was dead, nor that narrative itself was imperilled, yet whenever I discuss these matters with bookish folk they all exclaim: “But we need stories – people will always need stories.” As if that were an end to the matter.

Non-coincidentally, in line with this shift from print to digital there’s been an increase in the number of scientific studies of narrative forms and our cognitive responses to them. There’s a nice symmetry here: just as the technology arrives to convert the actual into the virtual, so other technologies arise, making it possible for us to look inside the brain and see its actual response to the virtual worlds we fabulate and confabulate. In truth, I find much of this research – which marries arty anxiety with techno-assuredness – to be self-serving, reflecting an ability to win the grants available for modish interdisciplinary studies, rather than some new physical paradigm with which to explain highly complex mental phenomena. Really, neuroscience has taken on the sexy mantle once draped round the shoulders of genetics. A few years ago, each day seemed to bring forth a new gene for this or that. Such “discoveries” rested on a very simplistic view of how the DNA of the human genotype is expressed in us poor, individual phenotypes – and I suspect many of the current discoveries, which link alterations in our highly plastic brains to cognitive functions we can observe using sophisticated equipment, will prove to be equally ill-founded.

The neuroscientist Susan Greenfield has been prominent in arguing that our new digital lives are profoundly altering the structure of our brains. This is undoubtedly the case – but then all human activities impact upon the individual brain as they’re happening; this by no means implies a permanent alteration, let alone a heritable one. After all, so far as we can tell the gross neural anatomy of the human has remained unchanged for hundreds of millennia, while the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates – in my view – from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s, hardly enough time for natural selection to get to work on the adaptive advantages of … tweeting. Nevertheless, pioneering studies have long since shown that licensed London cab drivers, who’ve completed the exhaustive “Knowledge” (which consists of memorising every street and notable building within a six mile radius of Charing Cross), have considerably enlarged posterior hippocampi.

This is the part of brain concerned with way-finding, but it’s also strongly implicated in memory formation; neuroscientists are now discovering that at the cognitive level all three abilities – memory, location, and narration – are intimately bound up. This, too, is hardly surprising: key for humans, throughout their long pre-history as hunter-gatherers, has been the ability to find food, remember where food is and tell the others about it. It’s strange, of course, to think of Pride and Prejudice or Ulysses as simply elaborations upon our biologically determined inclination to give people directions – but then it’s perhaps stranger still to realise that sustained use of satellite navigation, combined with absorbing all our narrative requirements in pictorial rather written form, may transform us into miserable and disoriented amnesiacs.

When he lectured on literature in the 1950s, Vladimir Nabokov would draw a map on the blackboard at the beginning of each session, depicting, for example, the floor plan of Austen’s Mansfield Park, or the “two ways” of Proust’s Combray. What Nabokov seems to have understood intuitively is what neuroscience is now proving: reading fiction enables a deeply memorable engagement with our sense of space and place. What the master was perhaps less aware of – because, as yet, this phenomenon was inchoate – was that throughout the 20th century the editing techniques employed in Hollywood films were being increasingly refined. This is the so-called “tyranny of film”: editing methods that compel our attention, rather than leaving us free to absorb the narrative in our own way. Anyone now in middle age will have an intuitive understanding of this: shots are shorter nowadays, and almost all transitions are effected by crosscutting, whereby two ongoing scenes are intercut in order to force upon the viewer the idea of their synchrony. It’s in large part this tyranny that makes contemporary films something of a headache for older viewers, to whom they can seem like a hypnotic swirl of action.

It will come as no surprise to Gutenberg minds to learn that reading is a better means of forming memory than watching films, as is listening to afternoon drama on Radio 4. This is the so-called “visualisation hypothesis” that proposes that people – and children in particular – find it harder not only to remember film as against spoken or written narratives, but also to come up with novel responses to them, because the amount of information they’re given, together with its determinate nature, forecloses imaginative response.

Almost all contemporary parents – and especially those of us who class themselves as “readers” – have engaged in the Great Battle of Screen: attempting to limit our children’s consumption of films, videos, computer games and phone-based social media. We feel intuitively that it can’t be doing our kids any good – they seem mentally distracted as well as physically fidgety: unable to concentrate as they often look from one handheld screen to a second freestanding one, alternating between tweezering some images on a touchscreen and manipulating others using a remote control. Far from admonishing my younger children to “read the classics” – an utterly forlorn hope – I often find myself simply wishing they’d put their phones down long enough to have their attention compelled by the film we’re watching.

If we take seriously the conclusions of these recent neuroscientific studies, one fact is indisputable: whatever the figures for books sales (either in print or digital form), reading for pleasure has been in serious decline for over a decade. That this form of narrative absorption (if you’ll forgive the coinage) is closely correlated with high attainment and wellbeing may tell us nothing about the underlying causation, but the studies do demonstrate that the suite of cognitive aptitudes needed to decipher text and turn it into living, breathing, visible and tangible worlds seem to wither away once we stop turning the pages and start goggling at virtual tales.

Of course, the sidelining of reading narrative (and along with it the semi-retirement of all those narrative forms we love) is small potatoes compared with the loss of our capacity for episodic memory: would we be quite so quick to post those fantastic holiday photographs on Facebook if we knew that in so doing we’d imperil our ability to recall unaided our walk along the perfect crescent of sand, and our first ecstatic kiss? You might’ve thought that as a novelist who depends on fully attuned Gutenberg minds to read his increasingly complex and confusing texts I’d be dismayed by this craven new couch-based world; and, as a novelist, I am.

I began writing my books on a manual typewriter at around the same time wireless broadband became ubiquitous, sensing it was inimical not only to the act of writing, but that of reading as well: a novel should be a self-contained and self-explanatory world (at least, that’s how the form has evolved), and it needs to be created in the same cognitive mode as it’s consumed: the writer hunkering down into his own episodic memories, and using his own canonical knowledge, while imagining all the things he’s describing, rather than Googling them to see what someone else thinks they look like. I also sense the decline in committed reading among the young that these studies claim: true, the number of those who’ve ever been inclined “to get up in the morning in the fullness of youth”, as Nietzsche so eloquently put it, “and open a book” has always been small; but then it’s worth recalling the sting in the tail of his remark: “now that’s what I call vicious”.

And there is something vicious about all that book learning, especially when it had to be done by rote. There’s something vicious as well about the baby boomer generation, which, not content to dominate the cultural landscape, also demands that everyone younger than us survey it in the same way. For the past five years I’ve been working on a trilogy of novels that aim to map the connections between technological change, warfare and human psychopathology, so obviously I’m attempting to respond to the zeitgeist using this increasingly obsolete art form. My view is that we’re deluded if we think new technologies come into existence because of clearly defined human objectives – let alone benevolent ones – and it’s this that should shape our response to them. No, the history of the 20th century – and now the 21st – is replete with examples of technologies that were developed purely in order to facilitate the killing of people at … [more]
willself  communication  digital  writing  howwewrite  entertainment  books  socialmedia  neuroscience  2016  marshallmcluhan  gutenbergminds  print  change  singularity  videogames  gaming  games  poetry  novels  susangreenfield  rote  rotelearning  twitter  knowledge  education  brain  wayfinding  memory  location  narration  navigation  vladimirnabokov  proust  janeausten  film  video  attention  editing  reading  howweread  visualizationhypothesis  visualization  text  imagery  images  cognition  literacy  multiliteracies  memories  nietzsche  booklearning  technology  mobile  phones  mentalillness  ptsd  humans  humanity  digitalmedia  richardbrautigan  narrative  storytelling 
november 2016 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » Your GPS Is Making You Dumber, and What That Means for Teaching
"Ann Shannon asks teachers to avoid “GPS-ing” their students:
When I talk about GPSing students in a mathematics class I am describing our tendency to tell students—step-by-step—how to arrive at the answer to a mathematics problem, just as a GPS device in a car tells us – step-by-step – how to arrive at some destination.

Shannon writes that when she used her GPS, “I usually arrived at my destination having learned little about my journey and with no overview of my entire route.”

True to the contested nature of education, we will now turn to someone who advocates exactly the opposite. Greg Ashman recommends novices learn new ideas and skills through explicit instruction, one facet of which is step-by-step worked examples. Ashman took up the GPS metaphor recently. He used his satellite navigation system in new environs and found himself able to re-create his route later without difficulty.

What can we do here? Shannon argues from intuition. Ashman’s study lacks a certain rigor. Luckily, researchers have actually studied what people learn and don’t learn when they use their GPS!

In a 2006 study, researchers compared two kinds of navigation. One set of participants used traditional, step-by-step GPS navigation to travel between two points in a zoo. Another group had to construct their route between those points using a map and then travel segments of that route from memory.

Afterwards, the researchers assessed the route knowledge and survey knowledge of their participants. Route knowledge helps people navigate between landmarks directly. Survey knowledge helps people understand spatial relationships between those landmarks and plan new routes. At the end of the study, the researchers found that map users had better survey knowledge than GPS users, which you might have expected, but map users outperformed the GPS users on measures of route knowledge as well.

So your GPS does an excellent job transporting you efficiently from one point to another, but a poor job helping you acquire the survey knowledge to understand the terrain and adapt to changes.

Similarly, our step-by-step instructions do an excellent job transporting students efficiently from a question to its answer, but a poor job helping them acquire the domain knowledge to understand the deep structure in a problem set and adapt old methods to new questions.

I’ll take that trade with my GPS, especially on a dull route that I travel infrequently, but that isn’t a good trade in the classroom.

The researchers explain their results from the perspective of active learning, arguing that travelers need to do something effortful and difficult while they learn in order to remember both route and survey knowledge. Designing learning for the right kind of effort and difficulty is one of the most interesting tasks in curriculum design. Too much effort and difficulty and you’ll see our travelers try to navigate a route without a GPS or a map. While blindfolded. But the GPS offers too little difficulty, with negative consequences for drivers and even worse ones for students."
education  teaching  gps  belesshelpful  instruction  math  mathematics  2016  annshannon  learning  howwelearn  navigation  attention  knowledge  curriculum  domainknowledge  problemsolving 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Long-Term Exposure to Flat Design: How the Trend Slowly Makes Users Less Efficient
"Summary: Clickable UI elements with absent or weak visual signifiers condition users over time to click and hover uncertainly across pages—reducing efficiency and increasing reliance on contextual cues and immediate click feedback. Young adult users may be better at perceiving subtle clickability clues, but they don’t enjoy click uncertainty any more than other age groups."



"Please don’t think that because your younger users can adapt to poorly designed interfaces you’ve got a blank check to design careless, signifier-free interfaces. When users aren’t sure where they can click, they lose that sense of empowerment that is so critical to a positive experience. They have to slow down to determine where they can go next, which is an unnecessary addition to their cognitive load.

The motivation behind minimalist and flat design was a desire to get the ugly distractions out of the interface, so that the focus is on the content and user tasks. It’s ironic, then, that the misuse of these design styles slows users down by forcing them to think harder about what options are available to them.

This article is the second of two articles on flat design. Read the first article: Flat Design: Its Origins, Its Problems, and Why Flat 2.0 Is Better for Users

(More on the special online behaviors of the Millennial generation and these users’ attitudes toward websites in our full-day course Designing for Millennials. More on signifiers in the full-day course User Interface Principles Every Designer Must Know.)"
ux  flatdesign  usability  design  webdev  webdesign  web  hypertext  navigation  2016 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Free Community-based Mapping, Traffic & Navigation App
"Get the best route, every day, with real–time help from other drivers.

Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

WAZE. OUTSMARTING TRAFFIC, TOGETHER."
applications  driving  gps  maps  navigation  traffic  android  ios  iphone  via:everyone 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Smartphones and the Uncertain Future of 'Spatial Thinking' - CityLab
"Your brain is indeed relaxing. In a handful of studies conducted over the last decade in the United States, England, Germany and Japan, researchers have shown that GPS navigation has a generally pernicious effect on the user's ability to remember an environment and reconstruct a route. Toru Ishikawa, a spatial geographer at the University of Tokyo, quantified the difference in a study published earlier this year. Asked to recall various aspects of their surroundings, participants using GPS navigation performed 20 percent worse than their paper-map peers.

As Ishikawa pointed out to me, these findings raise questions beyond urban anthropology. Spatial thinking helps us structure, integrate, and recall ideas. It's less an independent field of study than a foundational skill; a 2006 report from the National Research Council called spatial literacy the "missing link" in the K-12 curriculum at large.

Navigating is among the greatest incubators of that ability. A sophisticated internal map, as a famous study of London cab drivers showed, is tied to greater development in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for spatial memory. In another study, participants with stronger hippocampus development tended to navigate with complex cognitive maps, while those with less developed spatial memory memorized turn-by-turn directions.

Isn't it ironic: the easier it is for me to get where I'm going, the less I remember how I got there. As a conscious consumer of geographic information, should I be rationing my access to navigation tools—the mental equivalent of taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator?"



"It's too early to toll the bell for human navigation. GPS remains a clumsy accessory for a pedestrian, frustrating on a bicycle, and impossible on a motorcycle. There are indications that regular car commuters, too, may be impervious to the commands of the dashboard gods. "In general, the reason there's traffic is that people take the same way even if there's a different route," says Julie Mossler, head of global communications and creative strategy at Waze. Old highways die hard.

It seems that digital maps haven't rid wayfinding of its personal touch; rather, they are just beginning to properly incorporate it. New products in consumer mapping respond to the hegemonic efficiency of tools from Garmin, TomTom, and others. A handful of services cater solely to joggers. Yahoo Labs is attempting to quantify a nice walk based on crowd-sourced impressions of the city. A Dutch cartographer aims to chart the streets you have or haven't traveled. Every few months, it seems, some entrepreneur is embroiled in controversy over a map service showing neighborhoods that the user should avoid. The worldwide map, like the sprawling territory of the Internet itself, is balkanizing into a set of increasingly specialized "maplications."

The casualty of this gradual fine-tuning, I think, is chance. Routes were once conceived in a febrile mix of logic, accident, and instinct. Today's data-driven apps have mastered logic. They have registered road traffic, train delays, and the other accidents of travel. They have also, by explicitly catering to each of our effable desires, rendered human navigational impulse an eccentricity.

It's still possible, of course, to take a walk or go for a drive; to open your mind and let the city deliver, in Walter Benjamin's phrase, its "hints and instructions." The reverie of wandering, on foot or on wheels, can't be calculated by an algorithm or prescribed by an app.

But technology doesn't go away when you don't use it. From now on, an aimless jaunt is marked not only by openness to the stimuli of the physical world, but by the strain of blocking out their virtual counterparts. Contingent on technophobic self-control, wandering has lost its essential ease."
spatialthinking  cartography  mapping  maps  navigation  2014  via:shannon_mattern  gps  smartphones  orientation  wayfinding  walking  googlemaps  driving  cars  publictransit  memory  henrygrabar 
july 2015 by robertogreco
National Geographic Found
"On stick-charts, the sticks represent wave patterns and shells mark the atolls. Marshall Islands, Micronesia, May 1967."
micronesia  maps  mapping  stickcharts  marshallislands  1967  geography  cartography  navigation 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Avoiding the crush - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
"Put simply, the time-to-collision law suggests that all individuals make subconscious calculations whenever they move, working out in advance who or what is likely to bump into them.

According to the theory, those calculations are made simultaneously and constantly; but, says Guy, the only assessments that are acted upon are those where a person or object is determined to be within two to three seconds of collision.

‘If two people are going to collide very imminently you feel really strong discomfort from that interaction, whereas if they are walking close to you but in the opposite direction there's almost no effect.’

The theory’s veracity, says Guy, is based on an examination of a vast amount of visual data.

‘Thanks to surveillance cameras, thanks to advances in computer vision, we can get hundreds and hundreds of trajectories of people walking in different kinds of environments. Something that's nice about living in the 21st century is there's lots of data.

‘We had data from previous researchers who studied people in bottlenecks, people on college campuses, people just outside of shopping malls, and what we can see is we have lots of trajectories, lots of paths that these people are taking, and we look for patterns in these paths, patterns in the trajectories.’

Time-to-collision isn’t a complete answer to how people move in a crowded environment. Dr Guy acknowledges that cultural differences can also play a part, which is why foreign tourists often find themselves instinctively walking on the wrong side of the footpath, but he argues the theory has enormous potential benefits for future urban planning and design.

‘It's a nice, simple law,’ he says. ‘It automatically suggests a new way to simulate crowds. When you have more accurate simulations you are able to better utilise your space. You are able to make buildings that have more effective hallways and more effective layouts of how people will flow.’

‘As we have more people sharing less space, understanding these movements better is going to allow us to have more efficient utilisation.’

A case of watch this space."
urban  urbanism  crowds  people  2015  via:alexismadrigal  antonyfunnell  stephenguy  time-to-collision  navigation  cities  pedestrians  trajectory 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Spyglass – Best Augmented Reality Compass, Maps and GPS Navigator for iPhone and iPad – Happymagenta
"Spyglass is an advanced compass and GPS nav app for iPhone and iPad. Spyglass comes in handy as a car, bike, boat, aircraft, vehicle or walking compass and GPS navigation to drive, cycle, sail, fly or hike off the road, in the field or woods, in the sea and in the air."
applications  ios  gps  iphone  navigation  compass 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Subcompact Publishing — by Craig Mod
"A Subcompact Manifesto

Subcompact Publishing tools are first and foremost straightforward.

They require few to no instructions.

They are easily understood on first blush.

The editorial and design decisions around them react to digital as a distribution and consumption space.

They are the result of dumping our publishing related technology on a table and asking ourselves — what are the core tools we can build with all this stuff?

They are, as it were, little N360s.

I propose Subcompact Publishing tools and editorial ethos begin (but not end) with the following qualities:

• Small issue sizes (3-7 articles / issue)
• Small file sizes
• Digital-aware subscription prices
• Fluid publishing schedule
• Scroll (don’t paginate)
• Clear navigation
• HTML(ish) based
• Touching the open web

Many of these qualities play off one another. Let’s look at them in detail.

Small issue sizes
I’ve written quite a bit about creating a sense of ‘edge’ in digital space. One of the easiest and most intuitive ways to do so is to limit the amount of data you present to the user.12

It’s much more difficult for someone to intuit the breadth of a digital magazine containing twenty articles than a digital magazine containing, for example, five. By keeping article number low this also helps decrease file size and simplify navigation.

Small file size
Speed is grossly undervalued in much of today’s software — digital magazines inclusive. Speed (and with it a fluid and joyful user experience) should be the thing you absolutely optimize for once you have a minimum viable product.

One way to bake speed into a publishing product is to keep issue file sizes as small as possible. This happens naturally when you limit the number of articles per issue.

Reasonable subscription prices
Ideally, digital subscription prices should reflect the cost of doing business as a digitally indigenous product, not the cost of protecting print subscriptions. This is yet another advantage digital-first publications have — unlike print publications transitioning to digital, there is no legacy infrastructure to subsidize during this transition.

Fluid publishing schedule
With smaller issue sizes comes more fluid publishing schedules. Again, to create a strong sense of edge and understanding, the goal isn’t to publish ten articles a day, but rather to publish just a few high-quality articles with a predictable looseness. Depending on the type of content you’re publishing, days can feel too granular, and months require the payload to be too large. Weeks feel just about right in digital.

Scroll (for now)
When I originally presented these ideas at the Books in Browsers conference in 2012, the dismissal of pagination was by far the most contentious point. I don’t mean to imply all pagination is bad. Remember — we’re outlining the very core of Subcompact Publishing. Anything extraneous or overly complex should be excised.

I’ve spent the last two and half years deconstructing scrolling and pagination on tablets and smartphones. If your content is formless, then you might be able to paginate with minimal effort. Although, probably not.

Certain kinds of pagination increase the complexity of an application by orders of magnitude. The engineering efforts required to produce beautiful, simple, indigenous, consistent — and fast — pagination are simply too high to belong in the subcompact space.

Furthermore, when you remove pagination, you vastly simplify navigation and thereby simplify users’ mental models around content.

No pagination is vastly superior to pagination done poorly.

Clear navigation
Navigation should be consistent and effortless. Subcompact Publishing applications don’t require complex how-to pages or tutorials. You shouldn’t have to hire a famous actor to show readers how to use the app with his nose. Much like a printed magazine or book, the interaction should be intuitive, effortless, and grounding. The user should never feel lost.

By limiting the number of articles per issue, and by removing pagination, many of the routes leading to complex navigation are also removed.

HTML(ish) based
When I say HTML I also mean EPUB or MOBI or any other format with an HTML pedigree. HTML has indisputably emerged as the future format for all text (and perhaps also interactive) content. By constraining Subcompact Publishing systems to HTML we bake portability and future-proofness into the platforms. We also minimize engineering efforts because most all computing devices come with high-quality HTML rendering engines built in.

Open web
Simply: whatever content is published on a tablet should have a corresponding, touchable home on the open web.

Content without a public address is non-existent in the eyes of all the inter-operable sharing mechanisms that together bind the web."
craigmod  publishing  epublishing  magazines  themagazine  writing  digital  design  2012  digitalpublishing  html  html5  matter  joshuabenton  touch  mobilephone  ios  iphone  ipad  skeuomorphs  openweb  scrolling  pagination  navigation  tablets  claytonchristensen  davidskok  jamesallsworth  marcoarment 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Eye Magazine | Opinion | Are you sure you need that new logo?
"Item: Last year, in the remote town of Sylhet, in the north-east corner of Bangladesh, I hailed a cycle-ricksha and asked to be taken to the house of my friend Abdul Khaled Kayed in the district of Ambar Khana. I didn’t even know the street he lived in, let alone the number of the house. ‘No problem,’ said the ricksha driver, though he had never heard of my friend and was not familiar with the district. We proceeded by means of a series of encounters with shopkeepers, cafe waiters and fellow ricksha drivers, each one taking us a little closer to our destination. It was a leisurely, somewhat erratic journey. Each conversation was interesting and enjoyable, including invitations to take tea, to describe my house in Camden Town and to discuss the meaning of life; I was almost sorry when we finally arrived at my friend’s house. If there were any street signs to be seen during the journey I didn’t notice them, nor did my driver consult them.

Item: In her book New Lives, New Landscapes (1970), the late Nan Fairbrother showed two photographs of the main street of Suffolk village of Lavenham. The first is of the street festooned with telephone wires and power cables. The second shows exactly the same viewpoint, taken after a successful campaign to remove the overhead wires. The improvement is startling. The Civic Trust Award, so often given to commemorate the application of lettering to shopfronts and offices, or the addition of suitably designed concrete tubs with suitable plants to enhance the village square, was here given to a scheme whose sole purpose was subtraction."



"Item: When I set up my Graphic Design business 30 years ago, one of our first clients was a prestigious furniture maker who wanted a complete graphic styling job: stationery range, information sheets, showroom graphics, vehicle livery and promotional pieces. When we presented our proposals, the managing director was duly impressed and gave us an immediate go-ahead. Then he said, ‘I particularly like the name style for the company, but perhaps we’ll hold on to that until you come up with your proposal for the symbol to go with it.’ When I told him we considered the name style to be quite adequate as an identity device and had no plans for including a symbol, he was much taken aback. ‘But we’ve always had a symbol,’ he said, ‘and anyway, I thought you would insist on us having one.’ After some to-ing and fro-ing we agreed he would think about it. At the end of a nail-biting week, he phoned back to say he was entirely reconciled to not having a symbol. ‘A much more elegant solution,’ he said. ‘And it kills two birds with one stone. We won’t have to bother about all the problems of symbols – when to use them and when not, how small can they be without becoming mere blobs, how big without looking bloated. And we save the sizeable fee you’d be charging us if you did design it.’

There’s the rub. How do we charge for convincing our clients not to have some graphic indulgence they have set their hearts on? And even more difficult, how do we get them to remove something that is unhelpful, or intrusive, or superfluous, or downright misleading? Who is going to pay for something they are not going to get? And who is going to pay for having something they do not need taken from them?"
legibility  design  wayfinding  kengarland  unproduct  notbuilding  bigidea  1993  branding  logos  simplicity  navigation  cities  graphicdesign 
august 2013 by robertogreco
DrupalCon Portland 2013: DESIGN OPS: A UX WORKFLOW FOR 2013 - YouTube
"Hey, the dev team gets all these cool visual analytics, code metrics, version control, revision tagging, configuration management, continuous integration ... and the UX design team just passes around Photoshop files?

Taking clues from DevOps and Lean UX, "DesignOps" advocates more detailed and durable terminology about the cycle of user research, design and production. DesignOps seeks to first reduce the number of design artifacts, to eliminate the pain of prolonged design decisions. DesignOps assumes that the remaining design artifacts aren't actionable until they are reasonably archived and linked in a coherent way that serves the entire development team.

This talk will introduce the idea of DesignOps with the assumption that the audience has experience with a basic user research cycle — iterative development with any kind of user feedback.

DesignOps is a general approach, intended to help with a broad array of questions from usability testing issues, documentation archiving, production-time stress, and general confusion on your team:

What are the general strategies for managing the UX design process?
How do you incorporate feedback without huge cost?
What happened to that usability test result from last year?
How much space goes between form elements?
Why does the design cycle make me want to drink bleach?
WTF why does our website look like THIS?
* Features turnkey full-stack (Vagrant ) installation of ubuntu with drupal 7 install profile utilizing both php and ruby development tools, with all examples configured for live css compilation"
chrisblow  contradictions  just  simply  must  2013  drupal  drupalcon  designops  fear  ux  terminology  design  audience  experience  shame  usability  usabilitytesting  work  stress  archiving  confusion  relationships  cv  canon  collaboration  howwework  workflow  versioncontrol  versioning  failure  iteration  flickr  tracker  creativecommons  googledrive  tags  tagging  labels  labeling  navigation  urls  spreadsheets  links  permissions  googledocs  timelines  basecamp  cameras  sketching  universal  universality  teamwork  principles  bullshitdetection  users  clients  onlinetoolkit  offtheshelf  tools  readymadetools  readymade  crapdetection  maps  mapping  userexperience  research  designresearch  ethnography  meetup  consulting  consultants  templates  stencils  bootstrap  patterns  patternlibraries  buzzwords  css  sass  databases  compass  webdev  documentation  sharing  backups  maintenance  immediacy  process  decisionmaking  basics  words  filingsystems  systems  writing  facilitation  expression  operations  exoskeletons  clarification  creativity  bots  shellscripts  notes  notetaking  notebo 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Bird's-Eye View - Radiolab
"Tim Howard heads to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the story of a WWII hero whose feats of navigation saved hundreds of lives. The hero? A pigeon named G.I. Joe. Museum Curator Mindy Rosewitz fills in the details. Professor Charles Walcott  helps Tim delve into the mysteries of how pigeons pull off these seemingly impossible journeys--flying home across hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain. Then, Dr. Lera Boroditsky tells us about a language in Australia in which a pigeon-like ability to orient yourself is so crucial...you can't even say hello without knowing exactly which direction you're facing. And finally, Jad and Robert talk to Karen Jacobsen, aka "the GPS girl," about her own navigational abilities."

[The rest of the episode ("Lost & Found"): http://www.radiolab.org/2011/jan/25/ ]

[Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lera_Boroditsky
http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~lera/
http://falmouthinstitute.com/language/2010/07/the-relationship-between-language-and-culture/
http://tylertretsven.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/time-and-space-in-pormpuraaw/
http://fora.tv/2010/10/26/Lera_Boroditsky_How_Language_Shapes_Thought
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/culture-conscious/201110/is-the-left-after ]
leraboroditsky  language  pigeons  gps  directions  place  orientation  2011  radiolab  emiliegossiaux  giuseppeiaria  karenjacobsen  alanlundgard  lost  languages  pormpuraaw  thought  thinking  maps  mapping  navigation  geospatial  culture  australia  aborigines 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Dung Beetles, Dancing to the Milky Way : The New Yorker
"The cosmos is nothing if not egalitarian; we are all equally small. It seems fair that Earth’s sanitation workers should benefit from the Milky Way, as the rest of us do. And dung beetles likely aren’t alone; crickets, moths, nocturnal bees, and other insects probably share their ability to navigate by the Milky Way and by polarized moonlight. “I’d be surprised if they were the only insect,” Warrant said."

"We suppose that we are superior to dung beetles, but are we really? At least dung beetles recycle. We scavenge, hoard, consume…what? Crap, mostly. It piles up around us; increasingly we live on a ball of it. Even light we waste; designed to illuminate, it now obscures. As our celestial guides recede, we risk losing our bearings and will have ever less to consider but ourselves."
milkyway  astronomy  navigation  skies  sky  dungbeetles  insects  2013  nature  animals  via:anne  cosmos  egalitarianism  science  biology  sight  vision  light  sun 
january 2013 by robertogreco
momo: a haptic navigation device
"Momo is a haptic navigational device that requires only the sense of touch to guide a user. No maps, no text, no arrows, no lights. It sits on the palm of one's hand and leans, vibrates and gravitates towards a preset location. Akin to someone pointing you in the right direction, there is no need to find your map, you simply follow as the device leans toward your destination."
kristino'friel  che-weiwang  2007  nyc  momo  haptic  gps  robot  art  arduino  navigation 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Embark | Mass Transit Made Simple
"We make mass transit simple. Embark provides an accurate, reliable, and interactive transit experience that helps you get where you want to go."
navigation  mapping  maps  longisland  newjersey  philadelphia  dc  washingtondc  sanfrancisco  london  chicago  boston  nyc  applications  trains  transportation  transport  guidebooks  iphone  android  ios 
february 2012 by robertogreco
AWOL — A Guide To Getting Lost — The Pop-Up City
"Recent Chelsea College of Art & Design graduate Dan Cottrell has created a guide for the sole aim of getting lost. Pyschogeography is nothing new, but AWOL provides a beautifully simple design approach to the subject.

AWOL comes as a pack, consisting of a compass that doesn’t work, a simple poster and and a map that feature algorithmic walks, which always lovingly return you to your departure point – ensuring you can explore your surroundings worry-free."
awol  dancottrell  2012  psychogeography  anti-navigation  navigation  situationist 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Lost & Found - Radiolab
"In this episode, Radiolab steers its way through a series of stories about getting lost, and asks how our brains, and our hearts, help us find our way back home.

After hearing about a little girl who gets lost in front of her own house, Jad and Robert wonder how we find our way in the world. We meet a woman who has spent her entire life getting lost, and find out how our brains make maps of the world around us. We go to a military base in New Jersey to learn about some amazing feats of navigational wizardry, and are introduced to a group of people in Australia with impeccable orientation. Finally, we turn to a very different kind of lost and found: a love story about running into a terrifying, and unexpected, fork in the road."
radiolab  wayfinding  navigation  human  brain  jonahlehrer  beinglost  classideas  animals  love 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Serendipitor for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
"Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app that helps you find something by looking for something else. Enter an origin and a destination, and the app maps a route between the two. You can increase or decrease the complexity of this route, depending how much time you have to play with. As you navigate your route, suggestions for possible actions to take at a given location appear within step-by-step directions designed to increase the likelihood that, in the end, you will have encounters you could never have pre-planned. You can take photos along the way and, upon reaching your destination, send an email sharing with friends your route and the steps you took."

[via: http://twitter.com/agpublic/status/21619402371 ]
serendipity  serendipitor  applications  iphone  maps  mapping  location  driftdeck  flaneur  wayfinding  navigation  gps  urban  urbanism  urbancomputing  urbanexploration  ios 
august 2010 by robertogreco
bruketa & zinic: kvarner visual identity
"the new visual identity for kvarner county tourism office has been developed by advertising agency bruketa & zinic. throughout history, kvarner located in croatia has been known as an intersection of four transport routes. according to bruketa & zinic, the very name kvarner evokes this quadrant, navigational spatial orientation. this is why the source of this visual identity proposal begins with the familiar symbol of the wind rose, which also includes references to navigation, four-sided spatial orientation and wind direction. this motif is then divided into simple geometrical visual elements, their simple forms and colors creating a kind of 'toolbox' for further development of the visual identity of the kvarner region and each one of its individual parts."
relationships  evolvinglogos  design  identity  graphics  logos  branding  croatia  spatial  navigation  geometry  visual 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Paper Maps Not Ready to Fold Yet | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine
"study comparing paper map users versus GPS users yielded surprising results. Dr. Toru Ishikawa...found that people on foot using a GPS device make more errors & take longer to reach their destinations than people using an old-fashioned map...In Ishikawa’s latest study, three groups of participants on foot were asked to find their way to various urban locations. 1/3 of participants used mobile phone w/ GPS, 1/3 paper map & remainder were shown route by researcher before being required to navigate on their own.
gps  maps  navigation  wayfinding  mapping  tcsnmy  geography  technology  behavior  internet 
march 2010 by robertogreco
OffMaps: Offline Maps for iPod Touch and iPhone
"OffMaps lets you take your maps offline. It is the ideal companion for any iPhone and iPod Touch user, who wants to access maps when travelling abroad (and avoid data roaming charges) and who wants to have fast access to maps at all times. This app (and the icon) just has to be on the right hand side of Apple's built-in maps app. OffMaps uses OpenStreetMap that include a lot more information than simple road maps: from ATMs and train stations to restaurants and pubs! You choose which areas to download instead of buying a new app for every city you want to visit. Our guides include all data from OpenStreetMap and lets you browse a wide array of points of interest offline. Check out the Guides section to see our ever-expanding Guide library." [Update: Kottke approved]
googlemaps  openstreetmap  mapping  ipod  ipodtouch  itunes  gps  maps  iphone  applications  navigation  offline  software  mobile  travel  handhelds  osm  offmaps  ios 
february 2010 by robertogreco
TomTom GPS system with Homer Simpson voice
"Directly from Springfield, America’s most popular Dad makes his way to TomTom devices. With the original Homer at your side, even the shortest drive will transform into a journey to remember.
homer  gps  navigation  humor  thesimpsons 
june 2009 by robertogreco
More Geo-Games: Ship Simulator on Google Earth - O'Reilly Radar
"Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog just posted about Ships, a new ship simulation plugin that uses the API ( Frank's movie review). It's one of the Plugins he's going to dissect in his Google Earth workshop at Where 2.0 tomorrow (use whr09rdr for 20% off that last-minute registration)." See also: http://ships.planetinaction.com/
games  googlemaps  simulation  geolocation  googleearth  ships  navigation  maps  mapping  simulations 
may 2009 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: X Ways to Ride a Bike in the City
"Coast, As a Swimmer among Monsters, Synaesthetically, Risk vs. Reward, Mindfully."
bikes  cities  urban  navigation  adaptation  cv  via:migurski  fredscharmen 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Edushui.com
beautiful pixelart map application for Hong Kong (probably bookmarked this before somehow)
hongkong  china  maps  interactive  navigation  graphics  illustration  mapping  pixelart 
june 2008 by robertogreco
With GPS Expected on the New iPhone, Portable Nav Suppliers Are "Scared %#*@-less" | Autopia from Wired.com
"automakers' expensive in-dash systems have been shown to actually decrease the value of a vehicle...if GPS is introduced on the new iPhone, as expected, it could accelerate the shift away from portable nav systems"
gps  iphone  markets  navigation  cars 
june 2008 by robertogreco
First LIVE images and videos of FULLSCREEN Android demos! | Android Community
"Next up, Google’s Street View gets the Android treatment with a built-in compass. That lets you pan around the location-based image, turning the handset into something of an augmented reality device. As you can tell by the applause, this was one of the
android  google  mobile  phones  compass  navigation  streetview 
may 2008 by robertogreco
How Birds Navigate: Research Team Is First To Model Photochemical Compass
"results provide clear proof of principle that magnetic compass sense of migratory birds is based on magnetically-sensitive chemical reaction whose product yields and/or rate depend on orientations of molecules involved with respect to geomagnetic field,"
birds  migration  science  biology  navigation  wayfinding  vision  sight 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Architectradure: New interaction technique for timeline control in video scenes
"Objects on video scenes are used to control their trajectories in time, basically any object that appears in the video becomes a slider that can control the video timeline. The project is meant to be a "more" frame-accurate in-scene video navigation than
video  timelines  control  interaction  navigation  interface  cativaucelle 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Enkin: navigation reinvented
"new handheld navigation concept...displays location-based content in unique way that bridges gap between reality & classic map-like representations...combines GPS, orientation sensors, 3D graphics, live video, several web services and a novel user interf
android  google  geolocation  geotagging  visualization  location  location-based  locative  maps  navigation  wayfinding  gps  software  handheld  mobile  phones  embedded  mapping 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: From You to I: ""Where are you now?" doesn't go away with shared location awareness, it becomes "Where am I now?""
"sharing current location information with peer group...someone knows local neighbourhood better than you; has access to better data; or more suitable device to view it - right now they know where you are better than you do."
mobile  technology  phones  location  location-based  navigation  wayfinding  sharing  future  identity  social  janchipchase 
april 2008 by robertogreco
..::: Mogi :::..
"players move outside, pick up virtual items through mobile phone then trade w/ other players to complete collections...based on players' location...from Web interface, players see in real time on 3D map positions of connected players, collection items."
japan  interface  gps  geotagging  games  gaming  pervasive  mobile  phones  ubiquitous  ubicomp  tokyo  location  locative  location-based  moshimonsters  videogames  virtualworlds  navigation  social 
march 2008 by robertogreco
EveryScape
"EveryScape isn't an online world, it's the world online. EveryScape takes you from the streets to the sidewalks and through the doors of the world's cities and tours. Letting businesses organizations and consumers build and share their world the way they
maps  mapping  photography  virtualworlds  virtual  urbanism  travel  tourism  visualization  visual  geotagging  collaborative  location  locative  local  navigation  360  3d  buildings  cities  collaboration  internet  online  webapps 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Virtual Cable™ Car Navigation - Safe, Simple and Intuitive
"Our invention, called Virtual Cable™ is a unique display for a car navigation system. The driver sees the Virtual Cable™ image through the windshield."
cars  mapping  maps  prototype  technology  transportation  gps  navigation  displays  wayfinding  virtual  interface 
january 2008 by robertogreco
momo
"A haptic navigational device that requires only the sense of touch to guide a user. No maps, no text, no arrows, no lights. momo sits in the palm of your two hands and navigates you to an end location by leaning and vibrating."
haptic  location  navigation  wayfinding  locative 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Inverse Machinima and Interfaces for 1st Life Play
"What are the near future possibilities of mixing and blending first life props, actions, movements, proximity relationships, time (especially time factors) into the core of what counts as the user interface?"
parkour  videogames  firstlife  gaming  play  games  machinima  lifeasgame  characters  stories  storytelling  nearfuture  flickr  photography  imagination  gamechanging  interface  interactive  interaction  social  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  hybrids  experience  design  julianbleecker  psychogeography  navigation 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Stick Charts
"Like the carved wooden map from Greenland stick charts reflect a different perception of the world. They are made with sticks with shells to represent islands. The straight sticks are a framework. Curved sticks indicate ocean swells curving from contact
navigation  wayfinding  marshallislands  charts  maps  mapping  gvlo  stickcharts 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Micronesian Stick Charts
"constructed by palm ribs bound by coconut fibre with shells used to represent the islands. These stick charts are not charts in the western sense but are instructional and mnemonic devices concerned with swell patterns. They are not an essential navigati
navigation  wayfinding  marshallislands  charts  maps  mapping  glvo  stickcharts 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Marshall Islands stick chart - Wikipedia
"Marshall Islands stick charts were made and used by the Marshallese to navigate the Pacific Ocean by canoe off the coast of the Marshall Islands."
navigation  wayfinding  charts  maps  mapping  glvo  marshallislands  stickcharts 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Digital Urban: Connected to the World but not to the City - The Local Cloud
"Devices such as the iPhone are also of interest due to lack of GPS, compared Nokia N95...question arises for urban use if a GPS is necessary, in 4 minute wait for satellite fix we can simply look up at a street sign and type in it"
googlemaps  iphone  ipod  touch  location  locative  navigation  pervasive  wifi  wayfaring  n95  nokia  gps 
november 2007 by robertogreco
The End of Cyberspace: A thought about the future of memory
"computer memory's impact on human memory isn't merely one of "offloading" or externalizing or digital amnesia: it's a story of a shifting of mnemonic resources, and a reconfiguration of the contents of our memories, not a simple shrinking of our memories
memory  mobile  tagging  storage  flickr  notetaking  writing  experience  navigation  gamechanging  cognition  brain  human 
november 2007 by robertogreco
ZenZui
"ZenZui is a new, versatile and free application which allows you to easily discover, enjoy, and share web-based content on your mobile phone. Featuring a lush, intuitive “Tile” zooming interaction, ZenZui is optimized for on-the-go experiences across
applications  browser  mobile  phones  zoom  navigation  software  browsers 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Loki - You Can Get There From Here
"Combining GPS-like location, local search and one-button access to location-based content, Loki is the first web-based application to make the Internet revolve around you. Literally."
gps  googlemaps  directions  geotagging  location  location-based  locative  mapping  maps  search  firefox  wifi  extensions  browser  spatial  tagging  tags  wireless  networks  navigation  findability  geography  geocoding  interactive  mobile  tracking  browsers 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Birds Can "See" Earth's Magnetic Field
"Scientists already suspected birds' eyes contain molecules that are thought to sense Earth's magnetic field. In a new study, German researchers found that these molecules are linked to an area of the brain known to process visual information."
birds  navigation  sight  animals  biology  perception  nature  science 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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