Thursday, February 26, 2015

10 Favorite Cricketers

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With the World Cup in New Zealand in full swing, here’s a look at my favorite cricketers of all time… KR
  1. Gary Sobers
  2. Allan Border
  3. Richie Benaud
  4. Farokh Engineer
  5. Harry Pilling
  6. Jimmy Anderson
  7. Clive LIoyd
  8. Jackie Bond
  9. Ian Botham
  10. Frank Worrell

Technicolor Turns 100

Technicolor was first incorporated in 1915; however it didn’t really cotton on until after World War II. Originally considered a passing fad, adding color represented a revolutionary shift in onscreen storytelling, changing visual narratives forever, as told by Adrienne LaFrance in a recent article on The Atlantic.

While it’s hard to imagine not having the option of color these days, not everyone was open to the change. In the beginning, only small parts of films were in color, due to the expense. Largely it was for dramatic effect and to make a bit of a splash. The Wizard of Oz is perhaps one of the most memorable instances; when Dorothy leaves her sepia-toned reality for the colorful Land of Oz.

Color was imbued with emotion, accompanying scenes that filmmakers wanted us to really feel. Scientists in the 1930s were even working to establish an emotion spectrum – emotions being the ‘primary colors’ of the movie palette. From The New York Times in 1937: “Gray, blue and purple are associated with tragedies; while yellow, orange and red complement comedy scenes. Red was the color that best accentuated scenes of great dramatic intensity, with gray and purple the next most effective.”

We’re spoilt with color these days – to the point that directors even use bespoke color schemes to establish the feel of their work. Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock and Sofia Coppola are known for it. One of my favorite TV series ‘True Detective’ is also known for its unique color palette, described as ‘murky’ and ‘stripped’, helping to define the show’s vibe.

Black and white movies may carry nostalgia, but if you look beneath the surface, color carries more than just a splash.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good Ideas Gaining Traction

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When was the last time you came up with a brilliant idea but stopped there, without having the means or ability to execute it? There’s a solution to this in ‘Quirky’, a modern invention machine that takes ideas and refines, manufactures and markets them, before voila, your invention (yes yours, because you’re still given credit as the inventor), hits the store shelves.

In the past, one of the challenges of having a good idea was getting traction. Ideas that might not have seen the light of day 5-10 years ago now have an entire online industry dedicated to their execution, so they don’t just remain in the dark. Not only that, our digital world provides an organic means of marketing – achieve viral status via social media and you’re one foot in the door.

To start, there’s the obvious difficulty of refining an idea and coming up with a prototype, a gap that Quirky has filled. Etsy provides a different sort of help in the form of a virtual store, and crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter provide a platform to generate revenue, enabling people to make things happen for themselves.

Kickstarter also provides a means to rally people around an idea and test it, and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to it to get their ideas and early stage companies off the ground. An article on Forbes highlighted those that have seen huge success, such as the Pebble E-Paper Watch, one of the first affordable smart watches on the market, which raised over $10 million in just over a month. Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset, raised around $2.5 million in 30 days, before going on to raise more capital and being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.

This new age of invention and crowd support has prompted all sorts of ideas to come out of the woodwork. TIME published a list of the 25 best inventions of 2014 at the end of last year. A few stand-outs for me include Witricity, technology that allows appliances to pull power from a central charging base instead of using a cord; Superbananas, vitamin-A enriched bananas to help cure blindness in sub-Saharan Africa; and Quirky + GE aros, a smart air conditioner that is powered from an app that can track owners’ movements via GPS and turn itself off and on depending on their proximity to home.

Of course, the selfie stick features in TIME’s list too – slightly goofy, but there’s a market nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Showing Solidarity

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Solidarity. Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group (according to the Oxford English Dictionary). So what does it mean to show it? I think a big part of it is precisely that – showing it, not telling it. Showing up. Showing you care.

Here’s a list along these lines, of ways we can show solidarity.
  1. Being there and making an effort. You only regret the things you don’t do.
  2. Looking for ways to help people, without thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’
  3. Reaching out to people. Making connections. Making conversations.
  4. Making time for people. Entertaining their conversation topics.
  5. Being polite. Holding the door open. Sharing.
  6. Appreciating the people around you. Paying someone a compliment.
  7. Thinking about what your actions mean to other people.
  8. Having a sense of humor. Sharing jokes. Laughing with other people.
  9. Seeking help from other people when you need it. Sharing your trials and tribulations.
  10. Being loyal and showing support.
Among other things, solidarity builds social capital. And Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Am And / And

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I’ve talked about And / And over the years, albeit in a different context, but I see that the idea of not limiting one’s choice to Either / Or is permeating through many parts of life. How we define ourselves through what we do is one of them.

It’s becoming more and more common for people to adopt not just one, but multiple professional personas. I’m told that the popular term for it is ‘slashie’, which purportedly originated from the 2001 film Zoolander, with its ‘actor-slash-model’ award. Slashies have evolved since then to encompass any and every trade, and certainly don’t just apply to actor-slash-models.

Being a ‘slashie’ is about variety. Pursuing multiple interests, taking on different jobs and playing different roles. In the music world it’s common place. A smattering of examples include Bob Dylan (musician / poet / painter), Keith Richards (musician / children’s book author / actor), Brian May (musician / astrophysicist ), Roger Daltry (musician / trout fishery owner).

Though one may say that these people have only taken on second careers out of interest and not necessity, the fact remains that being a slashie enables people to apply varied interests to meet different sorts of people, explore different points of view and ultimately, create richer experiences.

Slashie Sarah Liu explains, “It’s about flexibility…it’s not having one job, nine to five, five days a week. It’s about seeing possibilities above and beyond that and saying it’s ok to reject the status quo, that that’s how change and disruption actually occurs.”

Variety is the spice of life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Favorite All Blacks

Image source: Brian Joseph

Not necessarily the greatest (though some are) they are the ones who inspired me for different reasons at different times in my life.