Saturday, January 29, 2011

People to know

Saul Bass

American designer and filmmaker. He worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick, and Martion Scorsese.

Paul Rand

American graphic designer. He is best known fir corporate logo designs including IBM, UPS, ABC, and Westinghouse.

Alexander Girard

Textile designer.

Alvin Lustig

American graphic designer and typeface designer.

Alan Fletcher

British graphic designer

Alex Steinweiss

Graphic designer and art director at Columbia Records.

The Eames

American designers made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture.

Maira Kalman

American illustrator, author, artist, and designer.

Steven Heller

American art director, journalist, critic, author, and editor. He specializes in graphic design.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Things My Girlfriend and I have Argued About

This cover does a pretty good job of combining text and imagery. Between the title and what is shown the viewer understands some of the things that may come up in the book. Also the cover is balanced and is not over crowded.

Star Dust

I thought this cover was really eye catching. The contrast between the white and black helps with that as well. I like the feeling that the "dust" was wiped away to reveal the title.

Sex. Lies. Murder. Fame.

This one really explores simplicity, and because of that i feel it is successful. Each of the symbols could probably stand alone, and the words are there for clarification. I also really like the limited color palette.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Poppy and Rye

Edward Irving Wortis (born December 23, 1937), better known by the pen name Avi, is an American author of young adult and children's literature. He is a winner of both the Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal.
Avi and his twin sister Emily Wortis Leider (also a writer) were born in New York City to Joseph Wortis, a psychiatrist, and Helen Wortis, a social worker. In the year after Avi's birth, his family moved to Brooklyn. When he was young his sister gave him the nickname "Avi." Two of Avi's grandfathers were writers, and one grandmother was a playwright. In interviews, he recalled his mother reading to him and his sister every night, and going to the public library on Fridays. He is also the first cousin of the Academy Award-winning actor Alan Arkin.
Avi's parents transferred him from Stuyvesant High School to Elisabeth Irwin High School, a smaller private school. There he studied with a tutor, Ella Ratner, whom he credits for his writing success.
Avi has written more than 70 books. He has written books for different age groups and in many different genres including historical fiction, fantasies, comedies, mysteries, ghost stories, adventure tales, realistic fiction, and picture books. Avi has won awards for his books, including a Newbery Honor for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle in 1991 and another for Nothing But the Truth in 1992. His fiftieth book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2003. Avi's book, "Iron Thunder," about the ironclad Monitor and its battle with the CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Va., was selected as the 2009 Beacon of Freedom Award winner by Williamsburg Regional Library and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. At of the end of 2010, Avi will have published 71 books, all written for children/young adults. In 2006 Avi wrote a sequel to Crispin: The Cross of Lead titled Crispin: At the Edge of the WorldThe third part of the series, `Crispin: the End of Time.' was published in 2010.

Poppy, a deer mouse, sets out on a search for her fiancé's family to tell them about his death. She is accompanied by her friend Ereth, the porcupine. She makes her way through the Dimwood Forest, not knowing where she was going so she asks for help along the way. When Poppy finally reaches Ragweed's family she discovers that the beavers have invaded their home. Now the oldest brother, Rye, who has fallen in love with Poppy tries to prove his love to her and his loyalty to his family by forcing the beavers to leave. During his adventure Rye gets kidnapped by the beavers.

No Country for Old Men

Cormac McCarthy (born Charles McCarthy; July 20, 1933) is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and modernist genres. He has also written plays and screenplays. He received the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for The Road. His 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He received a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award for his 1992 novel, All the Pretty Horses.
His previous novel, Blood Meridian, (1985) was among Time Magazine's poll of 100 best English-language books published between 1923 and 2005 and placed joint runner-up in a poll taken in 2006 by The New York Times of the best American fiction published in the last 25 years. Literary critic Harold Bloom named him as one of the four major American novelists of his time, along with Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon and Philip Roth, calling Blood Meridian "the greatest single book since Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying." In 2010 The Times ranked The Road first on its list of the 100 best fiction and non-fiction books of the past 10 years. He is frequently compared by modern reviewers to William Faulkner. McCarthy is increasingly mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature by the influential and well-informed Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The plot follows the interweaving paths of the three central characters (Llewelyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Ed Tom Bell) set in motion by events related to a drug deal gone bad near the Mexican-American border in southwest Texas in Terrell County.
While Llewelyn Moss is hunting antelope, he stumbles across the aftermath of a drug-deal gone bad which has left everyone dead but a single badly wounded Mexican who asks Moss for water. Moss responds that he doesn't have any and searches the rest of the vehicles, finding a truck full of heroin. When he searches for the "last man standing" he finds him dead some ways off under a tree with a satchel with $2.4 million in cash. He takes the money and returns home. Later, however, he feels remorse for leaving the wounded man and returns to the scene with a jug of water, only to find that he has been murdered. When Moss looks back to his truck parked at the ridge overlooking the valley, another truck is there. As soon as he tries to run, he is seen, which sparks a tense chase by the gunmen in the other truck. This is only the beginning of a hunt for Moss that stretches for most of the remaining novel. After escaping from the gunmen at the scene of the battle, Llewelyn sends his wife, Carla Jean Moss, to her mother out in Odessa while he leaves his home with the money.
Sheriff Ed Tom Bell investigates the drug crime while trying to protect Moss and his young wife with the aid of other law enforcement. The sheriff is haunted by his actions in World War II, leaving his unit to die for which he received a Bronze Star. Now in his late 50s, Bell has spent most of his life attempting to make up for the incident when he was a 21-year-old soldier. He makes it his quest to resolve the case and save Moss. Complicating things is the arrival of Anton Chigurh, a hitman hired to recover the money. Chigurh uses a captive bolt pistol (called a "stungun" in the text) to kill many of his victims (and to destroy several cylinder locks to open doors), as well as a silenced shotgun. Carson Wells, a rival hitman and ex-Special Forces officer who is familiar with Chigurh, is also on the trail of the stolen money. After a brutal shootout that spills across the Mexican border and leaves both Moss and Chigurh wounded, Moss recovers at a Mexican hospital while Chigurh patches himself up in a hotel room with stolen supplies. While recuperating, Moss is approached by Wells, who offers to give him protection in exchange for the satchel and tells him his current location and phone number, instructing him to call when he has "had enough."
After recovering and leaving the hotel room, Chigurh finds Wells and murders him just as Moss calls to negotiate the exchange of money. After answering Well's phone, Chigurh tells Moss that he will kill Carla Jean unless he hands over the satchel. Moss remains defiant and soon after, calls Carla Jean and tells her that he will meet up with her at a motel in El Paso. After much deliberation, Carla Jean decides to inform Sheriff Bell about the meeting and its location.
At the motel, Sheriff Bell arrives to find Moss murdered by a band of Mexicans. Later that night Chigurh arrives at the scene and retrieves the satchel from the airduct in Moss' room. He returns it to its rightful owner, and later travels to Carla Jean's house and shoots her after flipping a coin to decide her fate. Soon after, he is hit by a car, which leaves him severely injured, but still alive. After bribing a pair of teenagers to remain silent about the car accident, he limps off down the road.
After a long investigation that fails to locate Chigurh, Bell decides to retire and drives away from the local courthouse feeling overmatched and defeated. For the rest of the book, Bell describes two dreams that he had the night before. In one, he met his father in town and borrowed from him some money which he eventually lost. In the second, Bell was riding his horse in a pass in the mountains where there was snow on the ground and cold all around him. As he rode, he could see his father up ahead of him carrying a horn lit with fire the color of the moon, and he knew that his father would ride on through the pass and fix a fire out in the dark and cold. And then he woke up.


John Michael Crichton (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008), best known as Michael Crichton, was an American author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994, Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at #1 in television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively).

His literary works are usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology. His novels epitomise the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. Among others, he was the author of Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Travels, Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, Prey, State of Fear, Next (the final book published before his death), Pirate Latitudes (published November 24, 2009), and a final unfinished techno-thriller yet to be released.[4] Forbes listed Crichton in tenth place in its list of "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities" of 2009.

The novel is narrated by the protagonist Jack Forman, who is an unemployed software programmer who used to work with artificial intelligence. He is fired for attempting to expose an internal scandal in his company, MediaTronics. As a result, he is forced to take the role of "house-husband" while his wife Julia works as vice-president for Xymos, a nanorobotics company. Julia claims that Xymos is on the verge of perfecting a revolutionary new medical imaging technology based on nanotechnology.

The story starts with a series of strange events happening in rapid succession. Jack's baby daughter Amanda develops a very strange painful rash that propagates and becomes very severe. While the doctors are unable to find the cause of the rash, an MRI scan instantly cures her. Amanda's room is visited by a special team of Xymos personnel. Later, Jack is surprised to see the memory chip of an MP3 Player belonging to his son corroded into powder. During this time, Jack also begins to suspect that his wife, who comes home very late and shows aberrant behavior, is having an affair. MediaTronics contact Jack, explain to him that they have become a contractor of Xymos and offer to rehire him as a software consultant for Xymos to help deal with a problem in the PREDPREY algorithm, which was designed at MediaTronics under Jack's leadership. The following night, Julia hastily leaves home shortly after arrival to go back to work. Jack and his son both see what looks like the silhouette of a man in her car, although Julia denies it. Julia ends up crashing her car through a guard rail and over a small drop. At the scene of the crash, Jack spots the Xymos special team in a van, wearing strange gear, who immediately leave when he begins to get close to them.

Convinced that Xymos is somehow connected to all these strange events, Jack accepts MediaTronics' offer and travels to the Xymos manufacturing facility, known as "fab plant", in Nevada. At the fab plant, he is joined by members of his old software development team - Mae, Charley, David, Rosie, Bobby and Ricky. Ricky, now working for Xymos and in charge of the fab plant, gives Jack a brief tour of the building, and explains that the company was under contract from the Department of Defense to create a swarm of nanorobots that act as a camera for reconnaissance and spying. The swarm is created by genetically modified E. coli bacteria, which create gamma assemblers from raw materials that, in turn, manufacture nanobots.

Ricky claims that building contractors failed to properly install filters in a certain vent in the building. As a result, hazardous elements such as the assemblers, the bacteria, and the nanobots were blown into the desert, evolving and eventually forming autonomous swarms. These swarms appear to be solar-powered and self-sufficient, reproducing and evolving rapidly. The swarms exhibit predatory behavior, attacking and killing animals in wild, using code that Jack himself worked on. Most alarmingly, the swarms seem to possess rudimentary intelligence, the ability to quickly learn and to innovate. The swarms tend to wander around the fab plant during the day but quickly leave when strong winds blow or night falls.

The nanoswarm kills a rabbit outside the complex, and Jack goes outside with Mae to inspect. They find that the rabbit died of suffocation resulting from the nanobots blocking its bronchial tubes. While Mae goes inside for equipment, Jack is attacked by the swarms. He barely manages to get through the airlock inside the lab before falling unconscious from anaphylactic shock.

The team explains to Jack that they believe Julia is the reason the swarms wander around the plant: During the earlier days of swarm appearance, Julia had started an attempt to make personal contact with them, first "entertaining" them with kid toys and then testing their intelligence using colored blocks. As time passed, Julia gained more affection for the swarms. In turn, the swarms, especially one of them, developed an affinity toward her.

Persuaded by Jack, the team decides to destroy the swarm. They believe that the swarm must have nested in the desert to reproduce. They attempt to find this nest by tagging the swarm with radioactive isotopes and following them back to their nest at night. Under the cover of a strong wind that forces the swarms to remain dormant, the team goes outside to a storage shack to find the isotopes and build a spray device. However, as the wind dies down, four swarms attack the shack and eventually kill David and Rosie. The rest of the team are forced to take shelter in the cars parked outside. The Swarms begin an attempt to enter the cars.

The team notices that these swarms are more advanced than the ones they saw before. They are capable of tracing tracks, tripping their prey by making the ground slippery, taking snapshots of their prey and forming a flat surface to display rudimentary still images.

Eventually, the swarms find a way to enter the cars, but not long before the wind picks up in speed again. Jack and Mae manage to escape to the lab before losing consciousness, but Charley falls unconscious outside his car after he sprays his swarm with the isotope. Bobby, Vince and Ricky refuse to go outside and help Charley. Jack, dizzy and nauseous, goes back out again to save Charley as the swarms attacks again. Using a motorbike found in David's car, Jack manages to get himself and the semi-conscious Charley to the safety of the airlock before he falls unconscious again.

During the evening, security cameras show another alarmingly more evolved swarm in the vicinity of the facility that can form into a 3D replica of Ricky. This swarm acts as a decoy while other swarms stealthily carry away the dead corpses of David and Rosie.

As night falls, Jack, Mae and Bobby set out to find the swarms. While searching for them, they discover that one of the swarms, now so evolved that it can operate without solar energy, is moving the now deceased Rosie through the desert. They follow the body to find the swarms nesting in a cave. As some of the swarms come out of the cave after them, a Xymos helicopter arrives and traps the swarms inside the cave using its powerful draft. Mae and Jack then venture into the cave and proceed to exterminate the swarm, their nest and their organic assembly plant (which looks very similar to the original Xymos assembly plant) using explosive thermite caps. They return to the Xymos plant, exhausted.

At the plant, Jack, Mae and Bobby are enthusiastically greeted by Julia, who was earlier discharged from the hospital and was brought in by the chopper. Julia's behavior seems to be extremely aberrant: She seems to heed to nothing else other than trying to entice Jack and kissing him, even when Charley is found dead in the locked communications room with a swarm flying around him and the communication links cut. Jack cannot understand how the swarm got inside the rigorously protected airtight building, why Charley would have disabled the facility's communications, or why Julia and Ricky seem to be coming up with various out-of-character ways of how he died.

Jack wakes up early the next day and finds Mae looking over a security camera's video. To Jack's horror, the video not only reveals that Julia and Ricky had an affair but also shows how Charley engaged in a vicious fight with Ricky and Vince. All of them end up in the communications room where Julia kisses a subdued Charley, injecting a stream of swarm into his mouth.

Eventually, Jack and Mae realize that everyone in the facility except themselves have been infected by a symbiotic version of the nanobot swarms. These nanobots, although evolved alongside the other swarms, do not show aggressive predatory behavior. Instead, while they seem to invigorate their hosts' physical statistics and their perception, they slowly devour and take over their hosts, initially affecting their decisions and then controlling them, while allowing them to travel and contaminate others.

Jack comes up with a plan to destroy this new strain. Mae and Jack drink vials containing a form of phage that kills the nanobot-producing E. coli bacteria. The phage would protect them from infection. Jack then proceeds to take a sample of the phage and pour it into the sprinkler system and drench everyone with it. He tricks Mae into alerting Julia and the infected team. They set out to stop Jack. In the vicious struggle that ensues, Vince is killed and Jack, who barely escapes death multiple times, finally manages to dump the sample into the sprinkler system.

In order to prevent the sprinkler system from triggering, infected-Ricky disables the plant's safety network. However, this is exactly what Jack wants, as Mae has already allowed the phage into the assembly line, causing the phage to reproduce rapidly. The assembly line is rapidly overheating because of the no longer active safety system. If Ricky and Julia do not turn on the safety system the assembly line will burst, filling the lab with the phage. The infected-team, who are now doomed either way, choose to re-activate the safety network and get drenched with the phage. Jack and Mae escape the facility in a helicopter shortly before the facility explodes due to a methane gas leak combined with thermite Mae has placed in the building. After returning home, Jack infects all his children with the phage to eradicate the potential nanobot infestation. Mae calls the U.S. Army and sends a sample of the phage to her lab.

Jack puts together all the missing links. The corrosion of the memory chip in Eric's MP3 player as well as Amanda's rash were caused by gamma assemblers. The MRI's strong magnetic field detached the assemblers from her. These assemblers were most likely brought home by Julia. Knowing this, Julia called in the Xymos special team to scan Amanda's room. The person who Jack spotted in Julia's car was in fact the cloud of nanobots.

Jack also discovers an e-mail on Julia's laptop that indicates that the release of the swarm in the wild was not accidental. Julia had authorized the release of the swarms in the first place in hopes that it would evolve and solve their problem, failing to realize the potential consequences of their actions. Consequently, one of the swarms infects Julia and then Ricky, who both die in the fabrication plant explosion.