In the Northern hemisphere’s sky, hovering above the Milky Way, there are two constellations—Cygnus the swan, her wings outstretched in full flight, and Lyra, the harp that accompanied poetry in ancient Greece, from which we take our word “lyric.”
Between these constellations sits an unusual star, invisible to the naked eye, but visible to the Kepler Space Telescope, which stared at it for more than four years, beginning in 2009.
“We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”
Kepler was looking for tiny dips in the light emitted by this star. Indeed, it was looking for these dips in more than 150,000 stars, simultaneously, because these dips are often shadows cast by transiting planets. Especially when they repeat, periodically, as you’d expect if they were caused by orbiting objects.
Famed Designer Michael Bierut Doesn’t Believe in Creativity
MICHAEL BIERUT HAS a crazy idea. “I’ve actually never said this out loud,” he tells me one morning, while sitting in the main conference room at Pentagram’s New York City office, where he’s a partner. “It’s a private thought that I’ve had, and it’s actually sort of weird.”
Here it goes: Bierut doesn’t believe in creativity.
Ok so, it’s not that he doesn’t believe in it exactly, it’s just that he thinks creativity, in the way we often use the word, is kinda overrated. “There’s a finite amount of newness available at any one time, or maybe period,” he continues. “And you have to use it really deliberately.”
This might sounds strange coming from Bierut, who has spent the last 35 years establishing himself as one of the more—you might say—creative graphic designers in the industry. In the three-plus decades he’s been working, Bierut has crafted some of the most recognizable pieces of graphic design in recent memory.
It was an odd question, given that the city’s population is less than half the size it was in 1950, with tens of thousands of empty lots and hollow homesattesting to the ample elbow room. If any community in America has space — crannies to tuck new housing, capacity to absorb more ideas and bodies — it is Detroit.
McLuhan contends that all media–in and of themselves and regardless of the messages they communicate–exert a compelling influence on man and society. Prehistoric, or tribal, man existed in a harmonious balance of the senses, perceiving the world equally through hearing, smell, touch, sight and taste. But technological innovations are extensions of human abilities and senses that alter this sensory balance–an alteration that, in turn, inexorably reshapes the society that created the technology. According to McLuhan, there have been three basic technological innovations: the invention of the phonetic alphabet, which jolted tribal man out of his sensory balance and gave dominance to the eye; the introduction of movable type in the 16th Century, which accelerated this process; and the invention of the telegraph in 1844, which heralded an electronics revolution that will ultimately retribalize man by restoring his sensory balance. McLuhan has made it his business to explain and extrapolate the repercussions of this electronic revolution.