mardi 4 mai 2010

Interesting stuff on the web (links)

# Hand-drawn maps from firefighters, club-hoppers, Boy Scout dads, grandmothers, and Alexander Calder. [Slate Magazine]
No matter what it looks like, a handmade map offers several advantages over a road atlas or the directions you get from Google.... The crucial advantage of the handmade map is that it is designed for a particular person confronting a particular task... A proper atlas must include every street name, not just the names of the streets you're looking for. By comparison, the minimal amount of information [on a hand-drawn map] makes for a map that's easier to use than one that's cluttered with detail.... Homemade maps also play with scale in fascinating ways: by magnifying unfamiliar areas or tricky places, they can distort scale to increase comprehension.... Handmade maps also tend toward straight lines and right angles, a phenomenon spatial psychologists refer to as "rectilinear normalization."... Homemade maps often include error indicators, signs that you've taken a wrong turn or gone too far.

# How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity - [Harvard Business Review]
A movie contains literally tens of thousands of ideas. They’re in the form of every sentence; in the performance of each line; in the design of characters, sets, and backgrounds; in the locations of the camera; in the colors, the lighting, the pacing. The director and the other creative leaders of a production do not come up with all the ideas on their own; rather, every single member of the 200 to 250 person production group makes suggestions. Creativity must be present at every level of every artistic and technical part of the organization. The leaders sort through a mass of ideas to find the ones that fit into a coherent whole—that support the story—which is a very difficult task. It’s like an archaeological dig where you don’t know what you’re looking for or whether you will even find anything. The process is downright scary.

# Think Tank: The Case of Faisal Shahzad [The New Yorker]
Last week, before the Times Square incident, I was talking with a former U.S. intelligence officer who worked extensively on jihadi cases during several overseas tours. He said that when a singleton of Shahzad’s profile—especially a US citizen—turns up in a place like Peshawar, local jihadi groups are much more likely to assess him as a probable U.S. spy than as a genuine volunteer. At best, the jihadi groups might conclude that a particular U.S.-originated individual’s case is uncertain. They might then encourage the person to go home and carry out an attack—without giving him any training or access to higher-up specialists that might compromise their local operations. They would see such a U.S.-based volunteer as a “freebie,” the former officer said—if he returns home to attack, great, but if he merely goes off to report back to his CIA case officer, no harm done.