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Monthly Archives: September 2011


Tired Doodling

September 26th, 2011  |   The Sketching Mechanism

What an exhausting weekend…well Sunday really. Didn’t do much Saturday. But Sunday I got exercise for the first time in ages in the form of some Ultimate Frisbee. My feet are sore, my legs stiff but it feels great. Sadly, it saps a lot of my creative energy but I still managed to get some scribbles out.

Knights and Dragons

Speaking of the many wonders of sketching, the lovely Ms. Sunni Brown of TED seems to be in the know.

And if that piques your interest, try the long form version.

And lastly, try this neat doodling HTML game Draw a Stickman, no Flash necessary!

Frankly I’m a bit deep fried after all the social media firestorm that was this week. Google+ goes live to the public, which is to say, it’s on perpetual beta. Facebook changed their layout, again, and the crowd goes wild. Just when the crowd was calming down then Facebook announces more chances, Timelines, and other social media extras that guarantee less of your life is private. (I think team member Roma is onto something, his response to all the talk? Delivered with a devilish grin and a glint in his eye, “what’s a Facebook?”)

It’s worth noting that all this transpired while the market plummeted, in what felt like a remake of a movie we’ve already seen (or if you are George Lucas remade and ruined.)

So rather than commentary, opinion and lists of updates I would like to leave you with this for deep thought:

From Exploring Constitutional Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, an overview of the right to privacy.

 The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy.  The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information.  In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the “enumeration of certain rights” in the Bill of Rights “shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.”  The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments.

The question of whether the Constitution protects privacy in ways not expressly provided in the Bill of Rights is controversial.  Many originalists, including most famously Judge Robert Bork in his ill-fated Supreme Court confirmation hearings, have argued that no such general right of privacy exists.  The Supreme Court, however, beginning as early as 1923 and continuing through its recent decisions, has broadly read the “liberty” guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee a fairly broad right of privacy that has come to encompass decisions about child rearing, procreation, marriage, and termination of medical treatment.  Polls show most  Americans support this broader reading of the Constitution.

The future of privacy protection remains an open question.  Justices Scalia  and Thomas, for example, are not inclined to protect privacy beyond those cases raising claims based on specific Bill of Rights guarantees.  The public, however, wants a Constitution that fills privacy gaps and prevents an overreaching Congress from telling the American people who they must marry, how many children they can have, or when they must go to bed.  The best bet is that the Court will continue to recognize protection for a general right of privacy.

I can’t help but wonder what the founding fathers would make of the internet, or Facebook. Would they like it?

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

A shrewdness of apes. A business of ferrets. A team of horses. A convocation of eagles. A parliament of owls. A company of parrots. An army of frogs. A group of animals always receives a name, and links being like animals in the wild, we’ve decided that a collection of links is called a library.

This week’s edition of The Thinking Mechanism is a library of links:

• RIM Off 19%: Year View Weaker; Margins Going Down. Some people we know, that in the past swore by their blackberries, are now awaiting the iPhone 5. Why put your faith into something that seems to be fading, they seem to be asking.

Jensen Harris shows what makes a great Metro app, and demonstrates the future of Windows. Mind you the tablet and OS shown are early betas and will not be available to the public for a year. A lot can happen in a year. A lot will happen in a year.

The Boston Globe implements responsive design on their site. Beautiful and clean information and visual design Are you watching NYTimes.com?

• The United States of Design: Fast Company selects the 50 most influential designers in America, while First Lady Michelle Obama honors National Design Awards Winners.

• The much awaited Google+ API is now available.

48 hours of footage are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And now that they’ve added a built-in editor to the site the number is sure to rise.

• Google+ wants to be like Twitter wants to be like Facebook wants to be like Google+. Next step: Facebook launches a subscribe button.

• To help all the marketeers that are questioning the value of Promoted Tweets, Twitter opens up their web analytics via a free dashboard.

• In the UK a fight to extend copyright is won. Are copyright terms on their way to being permanent? Disney sure hopes so.

• And lastly, using technology to do something just cause it’s cool: dynamic water signage/sculpture.

 

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

 

Contact:
The Mechanism, North America
Sharon Terry
+1 212 221 3444
Sharon.Terry@themechanism.com

NEW YORK, NY September 14, 2011 — Nonprofit culinary arts organization The James Beard Foundation has hired The Mechanism to help them establish a modern and effective web experience through powerful back and front-end development and online marketing. This fresh approach will allow The James Beard Foundation to utilize robust social media tools to better reach and expand their audiences. It will also encourage site visitors to not only connect with the Foundation, but to connect with fellow food and wine lovers around the world, enhancing their culinary and social experiences. Additionally, the site will offer improved online benefits to members.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. Their programs run the gamut from elegant guest-chef dinners, to scholarships for aspiring culinary students, to educational conferences, to industry awards.

“We are delighted to partner with The James Beard Foundation to take their online presence to the next level,” said Dave Fletcher, Founding Partner, The Mechanism, New York City. “The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation teams are working hand-in-hand to create the ultimate foodie experience for their members as well as future members.”

“The James Beard Foundation is excited to be working with The Mechanism to take our online presence to the next level,” said JBF vice president Mitchell Davis. “Food is such an important part of why people engage with digital media. We are looking forward to enriching the breadth and depth of the experience the Beard Foundation brings to the table.”

The Mechanism is a full-service digital agency founded in 2001 with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. They provide a distinct brand-focused approach, demystifying and guiding the use of technology in a highly strategic manner.

The Egg

September 09th, 2011  |   The Thinking Mechanism

During meetings, on phone calls, while casually talking in the hallway, someone utters the phrase “it’s a chicken and egg thing.” It is usually uttered to describe a challenge where determining what should happen first is hard to ascertain. In reality the whole chicken and the egg metaphor is just an easy way to not make a decision. By hiding behind an aphorism a decision is postponed, the conversation put on hold.

Well, the answer is the egg. So there.

Now you can’t say “what came first?” because you know the answer. So, don’t postpone the decision, keep the conversation going.

Yes, the egg.

The chicken evolved from another animal. Maybe a dinosaur, maybe a bird, maybe some other creature we have yet to discover. Chickens are mutants. Some animal laid an egg, inside that egg was a mutation and when it hatched, a chicken was born.

Except, once I started writing this and went searching for the scientific evidence that I held as truth I learned British scientists had discovered a protein they claim unequivocally proves the chicken came first.

The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken. The protein speeds up the development of the hard shell, which is essential in protecting the delicate yolk and fluids while the chick grows inside the egg, the report said.  ”It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, according to the Mail.” The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” he said.

Well, the answer is the chicken. So there.

Every day you have the capacity to know more than the day before. Every day the potential exists for you to realize that something you held as absolute truth it’s not.

Next time someone says it’s a chicken and egg thing, just say the chicken came first, make a decision, move the conversation, question your assumptions, get the thing done, and go learn something new.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

It used to be that art was the device we used to view ourselves within the world around us. Art would help us see things in new ways, with new perspectives. Once you stood in front of Monet’s Water Lilies at MoMA, a massive triptych the size of a wall, you never looked at water the same again.

Today technology is what we use to view ourselves, but unlike art, the better the technology gets the more introspective the perspective becomes. We are coddled by algorithms and mobile devices to do what we want, the way we want it, when we want it, everything shifting towards us and not the world around us.

As hurricane Irene assaulted our area with it’s macabre beauty and destruction, it was hard not to think that water is truly the enemy of technology. Hard not to think that we need more artists using technology to create art that shifts our viewfinder outwards allowing us to see things again for the first time.

That is precisely what two young filmmakers did while Irene pummeled the streets of New York, and in turn shared with us a new, unexpected perspective of the city we love and often take from granted.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.