Thought You Should See This, February 24th, 2012

This week’s updates on my innovation/design-themed blog, Thought You Should See This:

Google introduced the concept of “heads-up display glasses” and people, predictably, freaked out. I was most taken with the apparent wide admission that there’s no business model for any of this. Yes, being too rigid too early is no way to innovate, and yes, flexibility and iteration are important, but given Google’s previous poor track record of figuring out how to monetize its inventions, it seems both predictable and somewhat unwise.

An Observer reporter who should know better wrote an uninformed rant about how designers are ruining the web. I responded.

As interest in Pinterest reaches the mass media, my colleague Erik Van Crimmin flagged an interesting piece on Fancy, an upscale competitor.

Graphic loveliness and design nerdery, for those into that kind of thing: designer Mike Joyce mixes his two loves — of punk rock and Swiss type — to create Swissted, a series of amazing posters.

Timely reminder of a great Bertrand Russell quote: “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” The piece it was included in, a look at open innovation initiatives in government, is well worth a read too.

Another colleague, Peter Giorgio flagged this story about photographer Dennis Manarchy, who’s traveling around the U.S. with a 12 foot tall, 35 foot long, 8 foot wide camera. Craziness.

And finally, Doblin’s Audrey Clarke sent over this story about promoting space in which to think creatively. Apparently, *literally* thinking outside of a box can help. Bizarre, but also kind of great. (“Super Cool” cardboard box image, shown top, c/o Tuppus on Flickr.)

The need for gun regulation in the U.S.

The other night, I was in a cab on my way home to Brooklyn. As I sat in the back seat, I went into my usual mode of checking my phone and entirely ignoring the city streaming past the window. I didn’t pay much attention when I heard voices outside in the street. But I did look up when I heard yelling, and then froze to my seat when I suddenly heard the unthinkable: multiple shots being fired. Two things happened right then, both huge cliches: first, time slowed down, and I watched, mesmerised, as I saw a crowd of people run, bowlegged, in different directions. Then I heard myself ask incredulously, “was that *gunfire*?” And then I heard screaming, an otherworldly noise that cut right to the soul and gives me chills to recall.

What actually happened is still unclear, though it seems that a disagreement led to five people being injured, four shot in the legs, one in the arm. Many of the bystanders had been attending a basketball match at the school that’s right there on that corner, and I can vouch for the fact that many of those screaming lustily were incredibly young.

In the wake of the terrible events in Tucson, everyone is thinking a lot about guns and gun control, though this brought the issue rather closer to home than I’d expected. I truly remain baffled at the easy acceptance that any discussion of gun regulation is a complete political non-starter. Why is it so outrageous to suggest that there should be rules around who can own deadly weapons? Why is nonpartisan debate an impossibility?

Bill Maher puts it best: guns are at the heart of the psychology of the United States, and it seems that there’s a nationwide fantasy that owning a gun will somehow reduce violence and bloodshed. That’s logic that’s upside down and horribly dangerous. Watch Maher discuss the issue with Jay Leno here.