Redefining America

I came across a couple of interesting articles that seemed to tie together kind of nicely, so I thought I’d post them both at once.

The first is by Annie Lowry who wrote an article called What if senators represented people by income or race, not by state? which she wrote for the Washington Post. The article talks about trying to bring about a better sense of balance when it comes to the Senate. According to the official Senate historian Donald Ritchie, “Half of the population of the nation lives in 10 states, which have 20 senators. The other half lives in 40 states that have 80 senators.” So what Ms. Lowry suggest is basing the Senate “on statistics rather than state lines.”

For example:

“Imagine a chamber in which senators were elected by different income brackets — with two senators representing the poorest 2 percent of the electorate, two senators representing the richest 2 percent and so on.

Based on Census Bureau data, five senators would represent Americans earning between $100,000 and $1 million individually per year, with a single senator working on behalf of the millionaires (technically, it would be two-tenths of a senator). Eight senators would represent Americans with no income. Sixteen would represent Americans who make less than $10,000 a year, an amount well below the federal poverty line for families. The bulk of the senators would work on behalf of the middle class, with 34 representing Americans making $30,000 to $80,000 per year.”

In essence we would have a body of power that truly represents the make-up of the United States. Originally Senate seats were divided more equally so that larger states couldn’t take advantage of smaller ones. This same thought doesn’t really have the same importance anymore, and breaking out Senate seats into income classes seems like an extremely intelligent way of going about it.

The other article is by Pete Warden,who’s been busy data-mining from Facebook’s 210 million profiles. Based on the data he’s accumulated he’s been able to divide the U.S. into seven major geographic regions; Stayathomia, Dixie, Greater Texas, Mormonia, Nomadic West and Socalistan. While I think the names are a bit silly, the information is rather interesting.

He was able to create these geographic clusters together by using a couple of different criteria. The first is the relation of the user in distance to their friends, and the second is by popularity of fan pages. By aggregating this data he’s found information like the following:

Sorry Bay Area folks, but LA is definitely the center of gravity for this cluster. Almost everywhere in California and Nevada has links to both LA and SF, but LA is usually first. Part of that may be due to the way the cities are split up, but in tribute to the 8 years I spent there, I christened it Socalistan. Californians outside the super-cities tend to be most connected to other Californians, making almost as tight a cluster as Greater Texas.

Keeping up with the stereotypes, God hardly makes an appearance on the fan pages, but sports aren’t that popular either. Michael Jackson is a particular favorite, and San Francisco puts Barack Obama in the top spot.

Though the data isn’t perfect it certainly gives an interesting glimpse into the makeup of the country. Also, Nomadic West sounds awesome, like Mad Max in the U.S.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 10, 2010 / By

‘Shadow People’ by Dr. Dog

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Shadow People by Dr. Dog

One album that I didn’t realize was coming out was Shame, Shame from the amazing Dr. Dog. My old friend Graham got me into these guys a few years back and they’re hands down one of the most creative dudes out there right now. Their sound is vintage and familiar but like nothing you’ve heard before. They harmonize like the Beach Boys and jam like My Morning Jacket.

They’ve got a new song out called Shadow People to give you a taste of what the new album is going to sound like. Honestly they just keep getting better as they go. This song sounds like they’re jamming a little more, it’s a little more epic, maybe with a touch of 80′s guitars at the end. It’s wonderful no matter how you want to describe it.

Shame, Shame comes out on April 6, which isn’t nearly soon enough. They’ll also be touring the album, so be sure to catch ‘em live if they come near you.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 10, 2010 / By

Monopoly Gets A New Look

Monopoly has a rather sordid past, or so says Wikipedia, but it dates back to 1904 when a woman named Elizabeth (Lizzie) J. Magie Phillips created a game called The Landlord’s Game. This is believed to be the earliest incarnation of the game, though it’s gone through many a change in 100+ year history. Recently though Hasbro has given the classic game a rather contemporary twist, one I don’t think I’m so fond of.

The new version now features a round board, which I guess makes it edgy? They’ve also ditched cash altogether, opting for only credit cards which makes it feel more contemporary. Although, in our current economic climate I’m not sure if a lot of people are as spend happy as they used to be… I guess overall I feel like they’re just trying to make this classic game feel new and cool, but it doesn’t vibe with me at all.

Oh yeah, and the board plays songs like Rihanna’s Umbrella and Beyonce’s Crazy in Love… I think Hasbro needs to go directly to jail, they should not pass go, and should not collect $200 (or however much this game costs).

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 10, 2010 / By

Molson Canadian Beer Redesign



There have been some interesting redesigns over the last week so I thought I’d talk about a couple more. Last year on Boxing Day beer brand Molson Canadian rolled out a redesigned label, ditching that moist leaf (ew) and slanted type for something more traditional, and well, awesome looking. The new design looks crisp and ageless, like the logo has been that way forever.

The redesign was done by Spring Design Partners and I think they’ve launched this brand in the right direction. It definitely falls in line with the heritage style of branding that’s quite popular right now in all fields, but this feels so much better than the previous version. I still can’t get over that slightly italicized font on the old label. One detail that I think is pretty rad is that each letter alternates between red and blue… how many other brands can you think of that still do that?

Sadly though, their website uses Flash and still has the old branding. Boo.

Found through Brand New

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 10, 2010 / By

Adam the Velcro Suit



I don’t know what to call this guy other than Adam the Velcro Suit, a designer from Cape Town who’s got a really great portfolio of work. He focuses mostly on silkscreened posters but he’s got a really nice style going for himself. I think that galaxy bear wrestling a smelly onion man (or whatever) is my favorite, there’s just something so random about it that really entertains me. Some of his work reminds me of Jason Munn’s over at The Small Stakes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 9, 2010 / By

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