Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sylvan Esso, Empathy & Sunny Patios

Weekly Update 2017-21: Big sounds from a little lady (and a man), what to do when you feel wronged, and how to find Toronto's sunniest patios for a day beer.

Music: Sylvan Esso
Never before had I heard so many musical styles come out of the mind of such a small person. Sylvan Esso is singer Amelia Meath along with producer Nick Sanborn, a duo out of California. They combine her soft voice against brash electronic beats to create something that makes you feel weird, perhaps a bit uncomfortable, while tapping your toes at the same time. I saw them play a show at Wayhome, and Amelia is so short that she wore 4-inch platform shoes (while she danced around as though barefoot, I should mention). Listen below:

The band will visit Toronto tonight at the Phoenix Concert Theatre.

I've got a somewhat-finished template of a post page for my blog! I didn't get as far last week as I would have liked, but I really want to get this right so I can reuse it for my portfolio project pages, so I don't mind taking a little more time. I actually spent a bit of time looking into templates to borrow from, but I realized I could make a good template myself. When it's finished, I'll be posting it to GitHub to share with others, in case anyone else is looking for that. Sharing community and all that fun stuff.

I also made a list of design firms to visit, organized by region. Portland is wonderful because every street address includes a denotation to tell you which of the four/five quadrants it's in, so you can never get too lost. I'm hoping to email some of these places within the next two weeks so they can let me know if I can come by to visit.

This week I'll be finishing the template for the post page on my blog, and then testing out the font pairings live to see how they feel. And of course, I'll be using a real blog post (gotta use real content) so there's nothing better than this fresh post hot off the press to test with. So look out for some meta repetition of this content in some screenshots I'll be sharing with you soon.

Now that I've got all my design firms mapped out (that was the important thing for sure), I'd like to start planning some Portland activities that correlate to the areas of the design offices. Since the city is divided into four quadrants, it'll be easy to plan each day around one planned activity. As I mentioned in my posts about Munich, I love to create a general list of one or two things to do per day, and let the rest flow naturally. You've got to allow for some spontaneity, especially in a city with which you're not familiar.

Random Thought:
If anyone's ever wronged you, which I sincerely hope they haven't but more likely they have, you may have felt the common feeling that they should meet the same fate as they plagued upon you. This feeling is related to the idiom “eye for an eye”. If you pluck my eye out of my head (I assume in the style of Kill Bill), I should then be allowed to pluck an eye from your head and then we will be even and everything will be right in the world. But of course, the second part of the idiom is that if everyone were to follow that rule, the whole world would be blind.

Of course, this fact rarely keeps people from feeling that the “eye for an eye” process would give them satisfaction. I think people find comfort in this thought because it would force the person who wronged them to feel sympathy for their situation. All we ever really want is to be understood, right? Of course, if the person who wronged them had felt empathy in the first place, then the eye-plucking never would have happened. To me, that's the meaning of empathy.

Sympathy = agreeing with someone's point of view
Empathy = understanding someone's point of view without necessarily agreeing

Empathy is much harder to master, but its dividends are much greater in the long run. You might feel pain from losing an eye, but it should be much easier for you to take a second and realize that, just like you, others would not want to feel the pain. So why continue an endless cycle of pain until everyone is hurting?

Inspiration: Every Sunny Patio in Toronto
My favourite kind of data visualization. Using the open data revolution (Toronto City Council's decision to make data open source for people to use as they please), Licker Geospatial Consulting has created an excellent map of all the sunny patios of Toronto at any given time of day. Their ingredients:
  • 1 Massive buildings dataset with heights that is reasonably up-to-date;
  • 1 digital elevation model of reasonable accuracy and precision;
  • 1 list of every patio in town;
  • and the capacity to build a solar shading model for an entire day at regular intervals; and
  • some GIS wizadry to put it all together!

I love this idea, simply because I believe it never would have happened if not for the open data revolution. I think there is no greater joy in life than analyzing some various datasets and finding a cool link between them that allows people to make data-driven decisions in life. I mean, sure, no one asked for this visualization, but that doesn't mean no one wants it. And if you look at the comments section on the page, you'll find that actually the opposite is true.

Check it out for yourself here.


  1. Thanks for the link-back Chloe, I would hasten to add that folks probably have been asking for this type of visualization for a long time, they just didn't have the words to articulate it. i'll keep churning out neat stuff! -Aaron

  2. Hey Aaron! Thanks for stopping by, lovely to have the POV of the creator!