This is your assignment.

The words from a collaborative poster project by illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney E. Martin:

This is your assignment.

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

As much as I dig the words on this poster, I much prefer McNaughton’s illustrative work.

Learning to Learn

Learning to Learn: You, Too, Can Rewire Your Brain:

Dr. Oakley is not the only person teaching students how to use tools drawn from neuroscience to enhance learning. But her popularity is a testament to her skill at presenting the material, and also to the course’s message of hope. Many of her online students are 25 to 44 years old, likely to be facing career changes in an unforgiving economy and seeking better ways to climb new learning curves.

Dr. Oakley’s lessons are rich in metaphor, which she knows helps get complex ideas across. The practice is rooted in the theory of neural reuse, which states that metaphors use the same neural circuits in the brain as the underlying concept does, so the metaphor brings difficult concepts “more rapidly on board,” as she puts it.

I live by metaphors. Metaphors are not only one of the best ways at conveying complex ideas, but sometimes they’re the only way.

Richard Feynman famously thought if you couldn’t explain it simply, then you didn’t understand it. Metaphors, analogies, and similies are the primary devices for this complex-to-simple idea conversion.

I love Mark Bao’s analogy for analogies:

Analogies are like lossy compression for complex ideas

I went down an even deeper rabbit hole a few years ago when I read ‘I is An Other’ and learned individual words themselves are metaphors for other things.

“He struggled with reading and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia”

The New York Times has an interesting profile on writer Gabriel Tallent and his debut novel, “My Absolute Darling”:

He was more comfortable in the woods than in school. He struggled with reading and was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. When he finally started reading fluidly, he began binging on pulp science fiction novels.

In high school, Mr. Tallent started taking weeklong trips in the wilderness with friends and sometimes alone. He brought philosophy books and plays by Sophocles and Aeschylus with him. In college, he studied 18th-century literature, and began working on a sprawling novel set around Mendocino, which featured Turtle and Martin as part of a much larger cast of characters.

After graduating, he cycled through odd jobs, before moving to Salt Lake City, where his wife, Harriet Tallent, now works as a nurse in a thoracic intensive care unit. He got a job as a waiter at a ski lodge. On days he wasn’t working, he’d write for 12 to 14 hours.

Three years later, he had 800 pages of a sprawling novel about the Pacific Northwest and the strange characters who live there — hippies, survivalists, pot growers, anarchists. He realized the seed of a more arresting story was there, scrapped the draft and wrote a much different novel, one that focused on Turtle’s experience and the physical, psychological and sexual abuse she endures, and her fight to overcome it.

As an artist and designer, this description of his formative years in school sounds very familiar to me.

Tallent didn’t have attention deficit disorder (ADD). He was suffering from what artists suffer from when they’re not working on what they’re passionate about: boredom. Notice how he had ADD in school but could write for 12 to 14 hours on his own book.

As a kid I wasn’t diagnosed with ADD but I did have trouble focusing and had trouble keeping my grades up (I graduated high school with a 2.8 GPA). What I was able to figure out was if I could apply my drawing skills to assignments in my various classes — English, physiology, history — I could maintain an intense focus, learn, and subsequently get good grades on my projects. The problem was not every assignment could be translated into a drawing or comic book so I was limited to where I could use my talents.

ADD is an artificial construct used to describe what is many times a nonexistent handicap in an individual. I’m not suggesting every kid who has trouble focusing has the luxury of being able to focus on and make money from their passion later on in life. What I am suggesting is not to approach a lack of focus as a something wrong or broken with a kid.

Too Much CBD Oil for Nate Diaz

Coach: Nate Diaz ‘needs to get paid at least $20 million’ for Conor McGregor trilogy:

Conor McGregor’s huge paycheck for his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather could mean more money for his future UFC opponents — at least that’s what Nate Diaz’s boxing coach Richard Perez is hoping for.

Diaz’s last two fights under the UFC banner were against “The Notorious” in 2016, and he made $2.6 million dollars in disclosed pay in those bouts combined. After seeing what McGregor made against Mayweather, and the potential money that could be made in a trilogy bout with McGregor in the UFC, Perez expects 10 times more.

“At least $20 million, $30 million,” Perez told Submission Radio. “Come on. UFC’s making a whole lot of money, a whole lot of money and they’re pocketing it. They’re giving more to McGregor, so it’s not fair because it takes two in that ring to draw a crowd – I mean, a good two fighters. It’s just like Mayweather when he fought Berto. It was not even sold out at all. It was embarrassing. It’s because that guy couldn’t draw a crowd. See, that’s what I’m saying, it’s the fighters that draw the crowd, and Nathan and McGregor, third one would be outstanding. Everyone knows that. So he needs to get paid at least $30 million easy.”

Nate Diaz is out of his fucking mind if he thinks he can get $20 million to fight McGregor in the UFC.

Conor pocketed a base of $30 million (over $100 million after the final numbers were tallied) for his boxing match this past Saturday with Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor and Mayweather are both businessmen and promotion machines who work to generate the inevitable buzz that builds up around their fights. They did a 4-city world promotional tour before their fight. Nate Diaz can barely form sentences.

Can Diaz fight? One hundred percent. Diaz is an incredible fighter, but when you’re asking for $20 million, you have to bring more to the table than your fighting skills and the ability to throw water bottles at your opponent.

Alan Peckolick

Early this month logo designer Alan Peckolick died:

Alan Jay Peckolick was born on Oct. 3, 1940, in the Bronx to Charles Peckolick, a letter carrier (actual letters, not the kind his son would work with) and the former Belle Binenbaum.

“I never knew anything about design or graphics or any of those fancy words,” Mr. Peckolick recalled in 2015. “But I used to draw. I used to draw everything. When my mother used to send me out to get groceries, by the time I was back there were little drawings on the grocery bags.”

He graduated from Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island, just across the Queens border, after which, he said: “My mother put together a portfolio which was made of anything I drew on — handkerchiefs, scraps, whatever — and put it literally into a brown paper bag. She sent me out into the world to go to places like Cooper Union and the School of Visual Arts. Both schools, he said, “immediately saw there was no talent here, and they rejected me.”

I’ve been working as a graphic designer for 18 years and I admittedly didn’t know about Peckolick until I read his obit.

I am, though, very familiar with his mentor, Herb Lubalin, and if you look at Peckolick’s work the influence is clear as crystal.

The NYPD Drops Their Windows Phones for iPhones

The NYPD has reached the end of the line with their Windows Phones and are switching to iPhones:

The NYPD has to scrap the 36,000 smartphones it gave cops over the past two years because they’re already obsolete and can’t be upgraded, The Post has learned.

The city bought Microsoft-based Nokia smartphones as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio touted as “a huge step into the 21st century.”

But just months after the last phone was handed out, officials plan to begin replacing them all with brand-new iPhones by the end of the year, sources said.

The move follows Microsoft’s recent decision to stop supporting the operating system that runs the NYPD’s devices and nearly a dozen custom-engineered apps.

I find Microsoft’s constant rebooting of their smartphone efforts ironic. Remember, this is the company famous for their legacy support, particularly for their Office applications.

The blame for this tech decision falls on Jessica Tisch:

Law enforcement sources blamed the boondoggle on NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch, with one saying, “She drove the whole process.”

“Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgment of one person,” a source said.

“I don’t care if you’re Jesus f- -king Christ, you get a panel of experts.”

Fuggitaboutit. Yo, call in the mahf#ckin’ experts.

I’d love to know Tisch’s rationale in picking Windows Phone. It makes me wonder if deals were made behind-the-scenes.

“Boxing is different from when I boxed. Those guys are businessmen up there.”

Mike Tyson reacts to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight back in 2015:

It’s almost like I’m in, I wouldn’t say church, but a library. Maybe I’m just a Neanderthal. I wanted to kill the other guy. I’m a natural born killer. I want to win in dramatic fashion and hurt people. They make one guy the good guy and one guy the monster and they sell it and make a lot of money. Boxing is different from when I boxed. Those guys are businessmen up there.

He really was a killer in the ring.

Conor

Mike Chiappetta writing for MMAFighting.com:

Things returned to a normal order last night in Las Vegas. McGregor’s prediction — a knockout in less than four rounds — ticked away, unfulfilled. He didn’t finish Floyd Mayweather; he didn’t even win. The best boxer of the last 20 years got off to a slow start but eventually stopped McGregor in the 10th round when referee Richard Byrd stepped in to save the Irishman from an unanswered barrage.

The stoppage, even if McGregor mildly protested it later, was both fair and final. Yet here’s the thing: McGregor won. Not in the literal sense. In the record books, he’s now an 0-1 professional boxer. But figuratively, McGregor far surpassed the expectations of most, from his performance to his courage.

The “farce” decried by many never materialized. The “freak show” got real competitive, real quick. The MMA fighter turned novice boxer hung in with the now 50-0 superstar.

Much like his UFC loss to Nate Diaz, McGregor handled his loss to Mayweather like a professional.

I wanted McGregor to win, but I knew the chances were slim. Despite his loss, I’m not bummed because I quickly realized Conor isn’t bummed. Just look at the two posing after the fight.

It’s clear he’s unlike most MMA fighters and boxers. You could easily argue he’s more of a businessman than a boxer.

Two years ago McGregor tweeted, “Get in. Get rich. Get out.”

So far, so good.

Fitbad

Engadget:

After a series of reported delays and developmental challenges, Fitbit is finally ready to unveil its first smartwatch. The timing is appropriate, given that this is the tenth anniversary of the company’s first tracker. The Ionic is Fitbit’s most modern device to date, featuring a colorful LCD touchscreen and advanced sensors. It also serves as the launchpad for some new Fitbit services, like a fully fledged operating system called FitbitOS, contactless payment and a subscription-based custom workout guide called Fitbit Coach. The company needs the Fitbit Ionic to be successful — its sales have slowed in recent months, and it faces a lawsuit over its use of haptic feedback. Judging from the few days I’ve had an early version of the Ionic, it appears to have the potential to resuscitate Fitbit’s waning business.

Fitbit’s smartwatch is absolutely horrendous looking. I can’t imagine any man or woman with even the slightest bit of fashion or design sense would want to wear it.

If Apple had created this watch they’d be torn apart by the tech press (and rightfully so), but since this is Fitbit, they get an A for effort. How cute.

Floyd’s Submissive Body Language

I’m fascinated by all the events that have thus far led up to the Conor McGregor v. Floyd Mayweather fight happening this weekend. I’ll also say up front I’m a Conor McGregor fan. He has been discounted before most of his fights, only to prove the naysayers wrong and beat his opponents. The obvious exception to this was his first fight with Nate Diaz where he lost to a brutal rear naked choke.

I like Conor because he talks the talk in a big way, but he walks the walk too. But back to talking the talk. A lot of people like to write off the trash-talking and mind games as “just words” and “trivial”, but the truth is Conor is proving himself to be a master at getting inside his apponents’ heads and breaking them before the fight has even started.

The other night when I was binge-watching Conor McGregor videos on Youtube, as I’ve been doing for the last few months, I came across a great series breaking down the behavioral psychology and body language between Conor and Floyd Mayweather during their promotional world tour last month.

The videos are by ‘Alpaca Thesaurus’ and narrated by Courvoisier the Goddamn Newt (wtf, I know).

My favorite video thus far breaks down the Toronto leg of the tour, where Floyd displays submissive posturing at least 5 times on stage in front of Conor.

Does all the submission body language Floyd exhibits mean he’s going to lose the fight on Saturday? Absolutely not, but once you see all the ‘tells’ and unconscious gestures Courvoisier points out you can’t unsee them and they are real.

We tend to forget below all the higher cognitive functions and logic we humans are primal, tribal, and emotional animals.

The Most Liked Tweet Ever

Former President of the United States Barack Obama now has the most liked tweet ever.

It’s not surprising to find out it has a message of positivity in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our current Burnt Cheeseface President knows nothing about positivity or compassion. He would rather spend time lamenting the removal of Confederate monuments.

New York Rents

In New York, rents are increasing twice as fast as wages:

What’s worse, StreetEasy found that rent increases haven’t risen equally across the various income brackets or rent price points. For instance, apartments priced at the bottom fifth tier of the market have spiked 4.9 percent annually since 2010 while homes in the top fifth tier of the market appreciated annually by three percent, on average. In essence, the lowest priced apartments have seen their rents increase the most.

With that, New York City’s lowest wage earners have seen their paychecks increase the least since 2010, yet wages for the city’s highest earners have grown the greatest. The combination of steep rent increases paired with minimal wage gains for low-income New Yorkers have forced many to spend an unreasonable amount of their income on rent.

I lived in New York for over 10 years, but with the way rents are continuing to go, I won’t be moving back any time soon.

A few months ago I read The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen and he spends a good deal on this income/rent disparity:

Indeed, in this new world the performance of income and social mobility is rather disappointing. In spite of the people who are doing great, the data indicate that the upward mobility of Americans, in terms of income and education, which increased through about 1980, has since held steady. Partly this is because the economy is more ossified, more controlled, and growing at lower rates. It’s also because it is much more expensive to move into a dynamic city, an option that gave many a way of making economic progress in times past. Two researchers, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, estimate that if it were cheaper to move into America’s higher-productivity cities, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would be 9.5 percent higher due to the gains from better jobs. Yet no one thinks that the building restrictions of, say, San Francisco or New York will be relaxed much anytime soon. Most of the complacent class just doesn’t see building restrictions as an urgent issue, and even if they understand the problem intellectually, as many of them do, the selfish incentive to make changing restrictions a priority just isn’t there.

New York has turned into ‘a playground for the rich.’ This is unfortunate because it keeps out keeps out a key demographic that gives New York it’s rich culture: artists (painters, musicians, writers, designers).