Thursday, January 05, 2012

Friday Five – New Years Edition

I know, seeing three posts in a week is sheer madness! I'm trying to start this New Year out right by updating a bit more often-- and I think that is the perfect way to introduce this week's Friday Five.

1. Buzzfeed’s 45 Most Powerful Photos of 2011

Through my social media gatherings, I came across Buzzfeed’s 45 Most Powerful Photos of 2011, and I have to say… it about knocked my socks off. And by that I mean it almost had me in tears. It’s amazing to think of how many astoundingly dramatic events happened in the year past, and how these events have come to shape our world, and the years to come. Even though we’ve read the news headlines, it’s amazing to see a visual representation, and artistically emotional ones at that—from the devastation that took place in Japan and areas of the US, to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It runs the gamut of happy and absolutely heartbreaking, and I would highly recommend giving them a look.

photo via re-nest

2. Starbucks’ new store… made of shipping containers!

I have a very love-hate relationship with Starbucks. On one hand, I feel they are a true threat to local coffee houses all over the globe… on the other hand, they are the most reliable place to find a good latte downtown after 2:00pm when everything seems to close. Also, it’s kind of hard to not love the new store they opened in Washington state this week—which is made of shipping containers. Anyone that knows my urban design and creative architectural tastes knows that I have a big place in my heart for any project that combines these affordable, sustainable boxes into a building… and I wholeheartedly support (and applaud) Starbucks’ new store.


Continuing on with my theme of mega-corporations, IKEA wins the third spot in this week’s Friday Five. Why? Two reasons: I happened to visit the Pittsburgh location and had a grand old time putting together my coat rack as if I was building a LEGO house. A few other fantastic accessories kept me in retail (and apartment) bliss. Also, I read over the last couple of weeks that a subsidiary of the IKEA group is actually building an entire neighborhood, complete with its own IKEA houses, in London. There is definitely much critique to be given to the style and even concept of this corporation establishing a neighborhood… but I’m also curious to see what the outcomes will be. Clearly not any one style of housing or neighborhood can be standardized to fit all areas, but this could do great things for affordable housing if approached in the right manner. Only time will tell…

4. The Amazon Kindle

Though I posted earlier this week a tutorial on making your own Kindle cover, I didn’t really talk much about the device itself… and I feel it is deserving of some serious praise. I had contemplated purchasing one for many, many months, and happened to get one for Christmas. Had I spent the whopping $80 for it, I would have been absolutely pleased still. It’s light, easy to use (even for a tech idiot like myself), and has a few different functions I wasn’t even aware of prior to getting it—such as being able to highlight particular passages, which are then compiled into one place! Apparently you can add notes as well, but I haven’t gotten quite that far in my technological capacities yet. Baby steps! Still, I plan on getting my textbooks this semester via Kindle because it will be far easier to not have to cart around those books with me downtown, and you can read them online as well!

5. Betterness: Economics for Humans by Umair Hague

The perfect segue, my last item on this week’s list is actually the first book that I purchased for my Kindle. I purchased it after reading a review covering the book at Urban Times. After the very first page I knew it was a great decision. For a whole $2.69, I got Betterness: Economics for Humans delivered to my device instantly, and jumped straight into a critique of the modern, industrial-age business paradigm. I finished a few days later with great energy in pursuing specifically laid out steps toward a healthier, well-rounded, and I dare say better idea of how our economy should be conceptualized and run. It’s a compelling read, and it’s written by an economist who is also a columnist for the Harvard Business Review… so I’m fairly certain he knows what the hell he’s talking about. He takes every idea I’ve ever had about what’s wrong with the economy (we’ll still give him credit for it), and articulates it poignantly, taking it about three levels beyond to something that is cohesive and in many ways actionable. I’m struck and smitten. Great read. You should really check it out.


  1. wow i just lost a good 2 hours on this post and then reading each of your links. thanks for sharing!

  2. Happy that you enjoyed it!


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