Welcome to the 47th edition of The Three Things, the weekly update of three links, podcasts, videos, or books you can’t miss from Michael Schechter (A Better Mess), Lindsay Bell (Spin Sucks, Arment Dietrich) and me your favorite Chief Alien.
For those of you new to this series, The Three Things arrives in your inbox on Sunday mornings (unless you don’t subscribe, but that can easily be fixed if you hurry over and enter your email address or add to your RSS feed) so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we’ve curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.
This week we look at the latest trends in web design, the never ending debate about Big Brother, and an amazing book about living with autism.
Michael on Web Design. Despite having a limited skill for actually creating them, I have a deep love and respect for a well executed website. For those who appreciate recent shifts in web design, this is a really well curated collection of the latest trends. It does an excellent job of identifying the latest shifts, and showcases those who are using them well.
Much of the design featured in the book is on the bleeding edge, but it’s a great indication of where things are heading. It’s also an impressive look at what’s possible when creativity and technology are thoughtfully blended together.
Be sure to go beyond the ebook and actually visit the sites that catch your eye. It’s one thing to hear about these trends, it’s another to see them in action.
Howie on Big Data. Big Data is one of those fancy jargon terms of the moment. It means taking a mass of data, and using computers and people to sift through it for value. This could be for the good of the people as this article mentions, like a smart power grid. It can also be the genesis of the totalitarian state aka Big Brother.
While in the United States, we are seeing a fast path to Big Brother. For example NSA spying, cameras in cities everywhere watching your every move, the police photographing your car everywhere and keeping a database of your movements (oh you didn’t read that was happening?!). But when a terrorist is found, Big Brother screams ‘Vindication.’
Obviously there are many examples of Big Data having potential to improve city life. Time will tell if this leads to better cities and more democracy, or to us hiding from the CIA/M16/FBI/KGB so we can speak in private. What are your thoughts?
Lindsay on Autism. This week, I’m sharing with you a book review. Yup, a book review. But not just any old book review. This book review reads like a finely crafted, Booker Prize worthy short story. It’s by author David Mitchell. If you’ve read Mitchell’s acclaimed 2004 book Cloud Atlas, then you’re already familiar with him. But you may not know that Mitchell has an autistic son. He’s also been the driving force behind the English translation/publication of an astoundingly raw memoir, The Reason I Jump, written by a 14-year-old autistic Japanese boy.
As Mitchell says in the review “It is no exaggeration to say The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship with our son. Naoki Higashida’s writing administered the kick I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start thinking how much tougher life was for my son, and what I could do to make it less tough.”
I don’t have an autistic child, but I have friends and family who do. And I applaud Mitchell’s efforts to bring this book to an English speaking audience.
Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, book, or article you think we need to see?