• 2019

  • Every Two Weeks, a Language Dies

  • Nina Strochlic at National Geographic writes:

    Between 1950 and 2010, 230 languages went extinct, according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Today, a third of the world’s languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers left. Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 percent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century.

    In rare cases, political will and a thorough written record can resurrect a lost language. Hebrew was extinct from the fourth century BC to the 1800s, and Catalan only bloomed during a government transition in the 1970s. In 2001, more than 40 years after the last native speaker died, the language of Oklahoma’s Miami tribe started being learned by students at Miami University in Ohio. The internet has connected rare language speakers with each other and with researchers. Even texting has helped formalize languages that don’t have a set writing system.

    Other languages have not been so lucky in a post-internet world. Many, will never return from extinction. But it’s true that being more connected, we have more opportunities to connect and preserve our ancestral dialects and languages. In National Geographic’s article, they share a video of two surviving speakers of Gottscheerish:

    For more information, check out WikiTongues, the seed bank of the world’s languages.

  • Buenaventura, Colombia Will Be Exorcized Via Helicopter

  • The Guardian:

    He told local radio: “We have to drive the devil out of Buenaventura, to see if we can restore the peace and tranquility that our city has lost due to so many crimes, acts of corruption and with so much evil and drug trafficking that invades our port.

    “We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water on to it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”

    Colombia’s army is reported to be providing the bishop with a helicopter for the aerial exorcism during the city’s annual patron saints’ festivities.

    Buenaventura, on Colombia’s Pacific coast, was named as the country’s most violent place in 2014.

    Yeah, I’m sure sprinkling a few gallons of some water by air, onto the city will help everyone.

  • ICE Prepares to Raid Undocumented Immigrant Families

  • Caitlin Dickerson and Zolan Kanno-Youngs for the New York Times reports:

    Mr. Morgan then directly lobbied Mr. Trump to move forward with the raids. He is now the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, another arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

    In a tense meeting with White House officials on June 21, two days before the raids were scheduled to begin, Mr. McAleenan again outlined the challenges of the operation, including the separation of families and the logistics of housing them until they can be removed. If undocumented parents are found to have children who are United States citizens, for example, ICE agents will need to wait with the children in a hotel room until a relative in the United States can claim them.

    Homeland security officials also worried that many of the families that the administration had hoped to detain might have left the addresses known to ICE after Mr. Trump tweeted the agency’s plans.

    Anyone working in government who has contributed in any way to the organized raids of undocumented immigrants is despicable. It’s sickening, plainly morally bankrupt, and repugnant. These are people like you and I. It’s heartbreaking to see organized raids on undocumented families (these are non-threatening immigrant families seeking asylum here mind you).

    Historically speaking, when these sorts of raids tragically happen, a lot of people will die. Mainly because these organizations do not care about their lies. The deaths of these children and families will be the lasting legacy of the GOP and President Trump. There is also an eerie parallel with the Kristallnacht raids. Both are targeting immigrants. Both involved authorities moving persons to border concentration facilities.

    If you are reading this, and you are residing in the United States illegally, do not open your door this weekend. If you need legal representation or help, please contact RAICES here.

  • Ross Perot Has Died

  • From The New York Times:

    He began working at 7, selling garden seeds door to door and later breaking horses (and his nose) for his father at a dollar a head. When he was 12, he began delivering The Texarkana Gazette on horseback in poor neighborhoods, soliciting subscriptions and building his route from scratch for extra commissions. He did so well his boss tried to cut his commissions, but he backed off when the boy went to the publisher.

    He changed his name to Henry Ross Perot in honor of a brother, Gabriel Ross Perot Jr., who had died, just a toddler, in 1927. The family pronounced the surname PEE-roe, but in his 20s he changed that, too, making it puh-ROE because, he said, he got tired of correcting people. He called himself Ross; the media years later added the initial “H” at the beginning of his name, but he never liked it.

    In his lifetime, he worked at IBM, served in the Navy as a Lieutenant, founded two computer-data companies (one of which powered paperwork for Medicaid and Medicare), and donated millions to schools, hospitals, scientific research and the arts. He was a self-made billionaire Texan who didn’t make his fortunes on oil and that is a remarkable achievement. A venerable businessman, and later became something of a pseudo-Republican (having run for president under the Reform Party).

    Eagles don’t flock, you have to find them one at a time.

    In a sense, Ross Perot set the mold for many post-oil Texan entrepreneurs. His legacy of philanthropy continued with his children, and later led to the founding of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, my previous employer. While I disagreed with his personal politics, I retain a great deal of respect for the Perot family. Like many Texans I admire, he was really one of a kind.

    You can read more about his life and legacy here.

  • The Unites States of GDP

  • From G Zero Media:

    If the state of California were an independent country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world, according to a fascinating report by The Economist that looks at both that state and Texas as the harbingers of two alternative futures for the United States. That got us thinking – how do the economies of the individual US states stack up against other countries? California’s economy is about the size of the United Kingdom’s, while Texas’s matches up with Canada’s. Who’s on par with Sri Lanka or the Czech Republic? Our map’s got ’em all.

  • Dallas City Hall Beach Party, 1984

  • From D Magazine:

    Since I.M. Pei’s upside-down cake of a modernist building first opened in 1978, people have complained about Dallas City Hall. Much of the decades-long jeremiad has centered on the vast, mostly useless—or, at least, underutilized—expanse in front of the building. The 6-acre plaza was part of Pei’s design, even though it’s more a shrug than an actual plan. To its credit, the city realized this early on and commissioned author and urban sociology professor William H. Whyte to study the plaza and recommend a fix. On June 15, 1983, Whyte delivered his presentation to the City Council. His idea: a pavilion with a food kiosk at its center and trees all around it, something that would provide sustenance and shade, somewhere to sit. He wanted to “bring down the scale of the plaza to the individual dimensions”—to make it “a place” (emphasis his). Apparently, the City Council was made up entirely of Alpha Betas from Revenge of the Nerds, because Whyte eloquently put forth all of these ideas, and all anyone heard was “BEACH PARTY!” A year later, in June 1984, the city trucked in tons of sand, and everyone put on their OP shorts. Lynn Lennon, who was working on a project about public spaces for the Dallas Public Library, captured the event for posterity. Lennon, whose work is in the permanent collection of SMU’s DeGolyer Library, was kind enough to dig up some of those photos for us.

    Growing up in Fort Worth, I would never imagine something like this ever transpiring in the Cowtown. But in Dallas? Of course Dallas would throw a Beach Party at City Hall. The original photograph above was developed in 1984, which is apparently a part of the DMA’s permanent collection. According to this June 1987 issue of Texas Monthly, it appears to have been an annual event for some time:

    I wonder when the Beach Party stopped being an annual thing. Here’s a couple of fun images from D Magazine (disclaimer, these were photographed by my friend, Kyle Pennington. An excellent food photographer, and musician):

    I happened to come upon these on accident. Seeing a historical photo on Reddit had me searching for more historical photos of Dallas. As it turns out, D Magazine loved doing these Ghosts of Dallas segments a while back, so there’s some amazing gems in their archives if you’re interested.

  • The Center for American Politics and Design

  • A selection of various political logos collected (so far).

    From their about page:

    The Center for American Politics and Design (CAPD) is a research group investigating the graphic vernacular of American politics.

    The first of its kind, this collection consists of every campaign logo† from the 2018 election for United States Congress. The archive is a tool to explore trends and typologies that reveal themselves only when viewed in aggregate.

    Founded in 2018, CAPD aims to increase political literacy among designers and to foster a dialogue about the role of design in the American democratic process.

    Our complete dataset is available upon request; we welcome anyone to use this collection to conduct their own analyses.

    This is a cool project. The topography of the political design landscape is so vitally important, and (in my opinion) has not been investigated thoroughly enough. It’s a monstrously large undertaking no doubt. It makes me uncomfortable to think about what horrors we may unearth about ourselves from this project. Personally, when I begin to think about dissecting our collective American graphical political heritage, I begin to think about Paula Scher’s Maps.

    Play around with the filter function on the homepage and compare/contrast regions of the US. For example, compare Rhode Island to Texas. Now look at Nebraska. You can go even further by filtering by Office, or Incumbency.

    Fascinating stuff. I’m going to love revisiting this in a few years.

  • 2018

  • Surprise, iPhone X Sales Beats Expectations

  • From Apple’s Second Quarter Results:

    We’re thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter. We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20% growth in Greater China and Japan.

    I’m not surprised at all. Turns out the rumors about sluggish sales were complete bullshit after all. I believe the iPhone X couldn’t have come into the fold at a more perfect time for Apple. I do however wonder… will it be the last of its kind?

    Going further into the press release, Apple’s vast piles of money sitting abroad is expensive business for them. So, Apple is going to level their debt, and incur one-time 12% tax-fee and finally move their overseas cash to execute a stock buyback (among other liability dodges).

    The Company will complete the execution of the previous $210 billion share repurchase authorization during the third fiscal quarter.

    Reflecting the approved increase, the Board has declared a cash dividend of $0.73 per share of Apple’s common stock payable on May 17, 2018 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 14, 2018.

    Good for them. Too bad they didn’t move it last year at a 20% rate. Oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Update: Because MKBHD’s tweets are fantastic

  • T-Mobile and Sprint to Merge

  • From the AP:

    T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere will head the merger and the company, which will be named T-Mobile. In a video announcement posted on Twitter, Legere said the new company will “create robust competition and lower prices across wireless, video and broadband” and lead the way to 5G technology.


    Sprint has a lot of debt and has posted a string of annual losses. The company has cut costs and made itself more attractive to customers, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk said, but it hasn’t invested enough in its network and doesn’t have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas. 

    I’m not normally in the camp that believes a merger of this magnitude is good for the regular consumer — but this might actually be good. Better to have three functional telecoms than four uncompetitive companies vying for the top spot amongst consumers. Sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit.