Back to Blogger I go…

I’ve moved this blog back to Blogger.  The new URL is http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/.  The new blog blends together all the topics I’ve written about in the past.  Generally, they fall under the following rubric: Design, Humanism, and Productivity.  Each topic has its own section in the new blog.  If you want to only follow one topic, you can look up the topic-specific RSS feed at http://filsalustri.blogspot.com/p/feeds.html.

This blog will remain as an archive for the foreseeable future, but don’t expect new posts here.

The winds of change are blowing…

I have four blogs; this being one of them. That’s a problem, because (a) I can only post to them at 1/4 the speed I post overall, and (b) it’s hard keeping track of them sometimes. So I’ve started integrating them all into one single blog. This will take some time.

I won’t delete this blog, but I will post the new URL here when the conversion is done. Thereafter, this blog will remain, at least for a time, but will be dormant.

Jeff Melanson breaking his silence is like him breaking wind

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You can trust Jeff Melanson; he has good hair.

Digging himself an ever-deeper hole, Chief Executive Invertebrate at the Toronto Symphony, Jeff Melanson, has an extended brain fart over the Valentina Lisitsa affair, which I’ve already written about.

There’s a piece in yesterday’s Musical Toronto, giving Jeff Melanson a platform to try to explain his inexplicable cancellation of Valentina Lisitsa’s concert with the TSO.  The article also links to a document prepared by TSO containing Lisitsa’s tweets. Unfortunately, Melanson just regurgitates his past statements albeit at greater and more boring length.  Issues he could have addressed, but didn’t:

  • How is “hate” defined?
  • Who exactly is offended, and can they reasonably justify their offence?
  • Where in Lisitsa’s contract does it say they can cut her because of her private activities?
  • How were the tweets collected that allegedly demonstrate Lisitsa’s “hate” chosen?  How do we know they weren’t cherry-picked?  Where is the context of those tweets?

Without answers to these questions, Melanson is just blowing smoke, and he’s still a coward.

This week’s invertebrate organization: The Toronto Symphony

Valentina-Lisitsa-Silenced-480x300

TSO tells pianist to just play and shut up.

An upcoming performance by Valentina Lisitsa, a rising star in classical music, has been cancelled by the Toronto Symphony for reasons that are altogether unacceptable.

Lisitsa, born in Ukraine but ethnically Russian, has been tweeting statements about the ongoing strife in Ukraine, and that has apparently pissed off the wrong people. Media reports attribute the cancellation of her performance to a decision by TSO that her tweets are “provocative” and “deeply offensive.” (source)  But try as I might, I cannot find any analysis of the situation that rises above the level of knee-jerk pandering to political correctness and, possibly, ingratiation to funders – who are admittedly few and far between these days.

Continue reading

Are young people really that bad?

police-and-teen-aggression

Are the young really that bad? No, they’re not. Everyone else is.

As I enter serious middle age, and I retain memories of youth while gaining a certain wisdom of age (and still have the energy to care), I find myself wondering about some of the canards I have heard for decades.  One of them is that the younger generations are always somehow worse than they were “once upon a time.”  I really think that’s not true, and here’s an argument to support this claim. Continue reading

Sexism and shirts

The infamous shirt.

The infamous shirt.

I’ve waited a while before posting this because I didn’t want to be caught up in the unholy craziness that surrounded “ShirtGate” when it first happened.

Genital mutilation.
Rape culture.
Religious misogyny.
Unnecessary, invasive, medical procedures.
Wage disparity.
Women treated like chattel.
Irrational body image expectations.
Whole industries devoted to telling women what to be and how to be it….

…and Matt Taylor’s shirt.

One of these things is not like the others.

Continue reading

5,127 Prototypes? Really?

5,127 prototypes? (source: Wikipedia)

Here’s James Dyson, the king of vacuums, on the importance of building prototypes and the lack of prototype usage in his son’s industrial design schooling: “It was an industrial design course, where you weren’t allowed to make what you designed! I never understood that: if you have an idea you need to make a version of it to see if it works. That’s why I built 5127 prototypes of my vacuum cleaner – only then was I happy with it.” (source)

Now, I’m not going to argue with the importance of building prototypes.  There are qualities of a product you can really only get a feel for with something “real.”  Nothing on a computer screen will suffice.  Virtual reality may offer an alternative, but not yet.

Still, there reaches a point where prototyping becomes rather stupid.

And I think that making 5,127 prototypes of a vacuum cleaner is very definitely past the line of reason.

No, seriously.  A prototype is meant to verify a design, and they cost money.  I can see a dozen, maybe two dozen prototypes for something as complex as the (original) Dyson vacuum.  But five thousand?  No, that’s just not right.

I don’t mean to say that Dyson or the Times reporter lied about this.  I mean to say that Dyson, for all his fame and expertise with vacuums, just did it wrong.  There are many analytic tools available to a design engineer.  Most of them are far more economical, faster to develop, and far more accurate these days that building prototypes.  That’s not to say that prototypes serve no purposes – they do.  But their usefulness is in many ways replaced by newer tools.  And so one simply doesn’t need that many prototypes.