The macro-scale factors that could keep America on top in the 21st Century
A lot of people are making hay (politically and otherwise) claiming that we're living in the midst of a catastrophic decline in American influence and power, largely due to the rise of China as an economic force in the world. But there is substantial evidence that the factors that have driven a lot of manufacturing power to China may be ready to shift gears -- or even move into reverse. Wages are rising in China, which is eroding the top-line advantage that the country has had over American manufacturers for a long time. And with other factors -- like shipping costs, reliability problems, and piracy -- all making that "cheap" price look a lot more expensive, there may be plenty of room ahead for American manufacturing to compete on a global scale for quite some time to come. It's easy to forget, amid all the whining about the decline of manufacturing jobs in America, that the workforce here has been moving out of manufacturing since the WWII era -- yet we still make more stuff than any other country in the world.
Interview with one of the great logo designers of all time
Tom Geismar has been responsible for logos like Chase Bank and Mobil. He has some interesting things to say about how some of those great logos came together. Funny thing: It's probably a safe bet that people more closely identify themselves with the logos of their employers than with any other symbol, save perhaps for that of their national flag or that of their religion -- and even then, it's probably a debatable point. Most people spend 40 hours a week at work and an hour or two at their place of worship. This isn't a bad thing -- it's just a sign of how ingrained the entire mechanism of capitalism is within our daily lives.
One year ago today: Hundreds were dying in Haiti due to cholera
It's so easy to forget upon what fragile legs civilization stands. The huge earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010 knocked out normal water supplies to many of the people around Port-au-Prince, and without reliable means of getting safe drinking water, thousands got cholera and hundreds died. Clean drinking water seems so basic and essential that Americans rarely think about it -- nobody gets cholera here. But if our water supplies weren't reliable and safe, we would be spending our time seeking that essential resource instead of, say, watching Netflix or building the next great computer company in someone's basement.