Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, May 17, 2021

Take Facebook (or, for that matter, MySpace) customs out of their computer-based contexts and try them in the face-to-face world, and you’ve got something like this:

Not bad. I think it would have been better if it had addressed the faulty logistics of having several hundred/thousand “friends” in an offline environment, i.e. highlighting how artificial such connections are.

Also, this piece obviously is a Web 2.0 update of Dave Chappelle’s “If the Internet Was a Real Place” skit from “Chappelle’s Show”. The absence of porn in this latter-day rendition makes me sad, somehow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/17/2008 07:11:55 PM
Category: Comedy, Internet, TV
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Courtesy of AIGA (formerly the American Institute of Graphic Arts), here’s a repository of EPS and GIF files of the 50 universally-recognized symbol signs for visual navigation.

This system of 50 symbol signs was designed for use at the crossroads of modern life: in airports and other transportation hubs and at large international events. Produced through a collaboration between the AIGA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, they are an example of how public-minded designers can address a universal communication need…

A first set of 34 symbols was published in 1974, and received one of the first Presidential Design Awards; 16 more symbols were added in 1979. These copyright-free symbols have become the standard for off-the-shelf symbols in the catalogues of U.S. sign companies. They are now available on the web for the first time.

Seems to me these images have application well beyond airports and such. Handy resource for graphic design needs.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/17/2008 06:48:51 PM
Category: Creative
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Capitalizing on the Wii’s success more as a family entertainment unit than as a traditional gaming console, Nintendo is rolling out the lifestyle-focused Wii Fit exercise game/activity mat. It’s already selling out in Europe and Japan, and is expected to hit big in the States this week.

The family-friendliness angle is taking a bit of a hit, though, over calculations that potentially label impressionable younger players as “fat”, even when they’re not:

At the center of the debate is the game’s use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a means of judging the health of its players. After standing on the game’s innovative Balance Board peripheral and entering basic information like height and weight, the game doles out an overall BMI number as well as a label, such as “underweight,” “ideal,” or in some cases, “fat.” While the somewhat callous system is reasonably accurate in determining the BMI of adults, a child’s BMI can literally change from day to day. Experts have deemed its use in Wii Fit misleading.

“I’m absolutely aghast that children are being told they are fat,” said Tam Fry of the [British] National Obesity Forum. “BMI is far from perfect [and] with children it simply should not be used. A child’s BMI can change every month and it is perfectly possible for a child to be stocky, yet still very fit.”

This isn’t new — BMI has been criticized for years as too rule-of-thumb to be a reliable measure. I remember reading that, because the “mass” part of Body Mass Index doesn’t distinguish between fat mass and muscle mass, it routinely misdiagnoses body builders as “obese”. So like any shorthand, it’s nothing upon which to base your entire information set.

That’s what makes it so surprising that Nintendo would blindly go ahead with building it into such a lucrative franchise like Wii. Not to mention a game whose sales hinge upon parental approval (and even participation). How many moms and dads are going to want to purchase a game that falsely runs down their kids’ self-esteem? Despite Nintendo’s initially blase reaction, expect them to attempt to head this off by quickly pushing through an update patch for the U.S. version that replaces that “fat” label with something less charged (probably “unfit”).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/17/2008 03:37:06 PM
Category: Science, Videogames
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