Designer Be Good. Print magazine hosts a live webcast this Thursday about creating positive change in the world. Daniel Schutzsmith will talk about tools, trends, positioning at the intersection of philanthropy, design, and social media.
>  25 August 2009 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Brazil's racy telenovelas inspire drop in birth rate, rise in divorce. From the UK Telegraph: “A study of population data stretching back to 1971 has revealed that Brazil’s popular and often fanciful soap operas have had a direct impact on the nation's divorce and birth rates, as the main channel that broadcast them gradually extended its reach across the country. According to the report… the rate of marriage break-up rose and the number of children born to each woman fell more quickly in areas receiving the TV Globo signal for the first time.… ‘We find that exposure to modern lifestyles as portrayed on television, to emancipated women’s roles, and to a critique of traditional values, was associated with increases in the share of separated and divorced woman across Brazil’s municipal areas,’ the report's authors said. What is more, they added, ‘Women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility.’”
>  6 July 2009 | LINK | Filed in ,
Marx in Space. Marx with iPodMarxist geographer David Harvey has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume I each year for nearly 40 years. Now his complete course is available online as 13 two-hour video lectures. Watch them online or download the lot as a podcast. has other excellent audio and video interviews with Professor Harvey about geography, class, urbanization, neoliberalism and the financial crisis, too.
>  1 May 2009 | LINK | Filed in
Pentagon to Allow Photos of Soldiers' Coffins. “The military said the ban protected the privacy and dignity of families of the dead. But others, including some of the families as well as opponents of the Iraq war, said it sanitized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was intended to control public anger over the conflicts.... The original 1991 ban had its genesis in an embarrassment for the first President Bush. In 1989, the television networks showed split-screen images of Mr. Bush sparring and joking with reporters on one side and a military honor guard unloading coffins from a military action that he had ordered in Panama on the other.”
>  27 February 2009 | LINK | Filed in , , Stylish narrated information graphic animation about the current financial crisis.
A good yarn, beautifully rendered. But like this previously blogged infographic, it focuses on the financial machinery more than the legal chicanery that got us here.
>  19 February 2009 | LINK | Filed in ,

When Design Stopped the War

“But does it work?”

It’s one of those frequently asked questions one often hears at discussions of design and activism. That and the whole preaching to the converted thing. It refers to design specifically, but also protest generally.

It sometimes takes a long time to stop a war, but now and then the impact is immediate. Like the time in February 1998 when protestors disrupted an internationally broadcast “Town Meeting” on Iraq at Ohio State University. Students dropped a NO WAR banner in front of an CNN’s rolling cameras and made such a ruckus that the moderator had to allow them a turn at the mic. Their pointed questions about the war embarrassed the Clinton Administration, tipped public and international support, and prevented an invasion of Iraq. “Not even Ohio supports the bombing, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said a few days later. Why should Egypt?”

Of course, it wasn’t this one protest alone, nor solely the banner smuggled into the event. But the action, broadcast around the world via cable news, sealed the deal. Katha Pollit’s March 1998 article tells the story.

Update 3/16/2010: Here’s a transcript of the town hall meeting.

>  28 January 2009 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
No Spin Zone. Free the Truth in Gaza“Mr Dromi [a former government press adviser and air force colonel] admitted that the administration will struggle to win hearts and minds if footage of those suffering in Gaza continues to be shown. ‘When you have a Palestinian kid facing an Israeli tank, how do you explain that the tank is actually David and the kid is Goliath? That is why the television kills us.’” Not only has the Israeli government barred journalists from entering Gaza, they also bombed the local TV station on second day of the assault.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Consulate in New York yesterday held a “citizen’s press conference” on its new Twitter channel and blog, while the IDF’s new YouTube channel is going strong.

Update January 13, 2009: Hamas has launched its own YouTube equivalent and Al Jazeera has made its latest video from Gaza freely available at broadcast quality under a Creative Commons license.
>  31 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

8 Years Later

This has been blogged pretty heavily, but a friend hadn’t seen it so I’m posting it here. This is my favorite video short of this election cycle. It shows so much in just two minutes: war, Katrina, the economy, housing and infrastructure collapse... telegraphing familiar characters from their past comfort into the present crises, riding humor into pathos and back again into hope. For readers outside the US, the video is based on a short film that became a popular, widely aired TV ad some 8 years ago. More at wikipedia.

>  4 November 2008 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Video Your Vote. YouTube and PBS are calling for videos about peoples' voting experiences this November 4. A curated selection will be broadcast on PBS. It's being billed as a non-partisan documentary effort, but secondarily, it's clearly a way of gathering narrative evidence of anticipated problems and widescale disenfranchisement: voter role purges, access inequities, voting machine errors, etc.
>  18 October 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,
Ad Council Creative. Archive of public service announcements produced by pro-bono by ad agencies on issues related to health, safety and education.
>  23 April 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,

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