Obesity isn’t just bad for individual health—or even the larger health care systems—it’s also a strain on the planet. A recent report from the British Medical Council looks at the effect of increased global fatness on world food energy demands—and finds that all those extra pounds could require as much food energy as another half billion people. This in turn could cause food prices to rise. The U.S., of course, is responsible for the bulk of the problem.
The researchers used existing data on body mass index (BMI) and height distribution to estimate average adult body mass, with total biomass calculated as the product of average body mass and population size. They then estimated the percentage of the population of major countries that are overweight or obese, as well as their average body mass. What they found is disturbing: in 2005, the global adult human biomass was about 287 million tons, 15 million of which can be traced back to overweight people, and 3.5 million of which are the result of obesity.
Not all of this extra biomass is distributed equally. North America has just 6% of the planet’s population, but 34% of its biomass comes from obesity. For some perspective, Asia has 61% of the world’s population and just 13% of biomass from obesity.
The Guardian has created a handy visualization, available here, to see the outsized proportion of human biomass in the U.S. (the country is the biggest circle). That little dot to the upper left of the U.S. is China.
Here’s the scariest part: If every country had the same body mass index distribution as the U.S., it would equal the equivalent in mass of an extra 935 million people of average BMI, with energy requirements for an additional 473 million people.
The rest of the world isn’t about to get as fat as the U.S. in the immediate future. But the trends point towards a fatter global future. Reports show that obesity is in the rise worldwide, with weight gain and malnutrition coexisting in many lower-income nations. With a growing world population already threatening the precarious ecological sustainability of the planet, we can’t exactly afford to have the current population gobbling up more than its fair share of resources. As the researchers conclude, “Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability.”
My brother, hung over as shit from a frat party, went to my mom’s to let the dogs out. He came back in and found home made beef stew in the fridge. He heated up the entire pot, took it to the living room, covered himself with blankets and the two dogs…and proceeded to weep with joy while watching Fraggle Rock and eating stew.
We’ve seen a number of looks at movie poster cliches, but this is the first time I’ve seen how the color of movie posters have changed over time. Vijay Pandurangan downloaded 35,000 poster thumbnails from a movie site, counted the color pixels in each image, and then grouped them by year and sorted by hue.
The movies whose posters I analysed “cover a good range of genres. Perhaps the colors say less about how movie posters’ colors as a whole and color trends, than they do about how genres of movies have evolved. For example, there are more action/thriller/sci-fi [films] than there were 50-70 years ago, which might have something to do with the increase in darker, more ‘masculine’ shades.”
There’s no mention of the blanked out 1924. That must’ve been a sad year. Oh wait, there were movies during that year, so there was either a massive ink shortage or it’s just missing data.
“First off, we love Facebook,” says Daniel Chin Yee. But (you knew there’d be a but), “we feel like there are some missed opportunities in the UI.” The cluttered feed, for one. Also: the styling, which, with its no-nonsense typography and its orgy of blue, looks utilitarian at best, dated at worst. “The design gets the job done, but it requires that the user do work, and the process is slower than it needs to be,” Yee says.
Thus was born Octofeed, a website that pulls the particulars of your Facebook page and organizes them into a neat, unapologetically stylish two-column feed. Gone is the lefthand sidebar, with the unnecessary list of apps and groups and favorites. So too is the (even less necessary) Twitter-like feed in the upper righthand corner. And, refreshingly, there is no Facebook blue.
Facebook’s design gets the job done, but it requires that the user do work.
So what’s left? Not a whole lot, and that’s the point. Yee, a programmer, and his wife Jennifer Puno, an interaction designer, divided Facebook into two sections—a wall and a feed—each of which can be accessed by clicking a large button at the top of the page. From there, all you see are extra-large photos, videos, and link descriptions in the lefthand column; and metadata on the right. A ragbag of typefaces (including Lorimer No. 2 Condensed, Georgia, Verdana, Chunk Five, and Calgary Script) and abstract icons for sharing and “liking” lend the page its rakish good looks.
In a way, Octofeed takes Facebook’s design ethos—which emphasizes visual and temporal storytelling to create an emotionally charged UI—and distills it down to its essence. “At its core, interacting with a UI is really just a series of decisions,” Yee says. “Since we think of UI interaction as a series of decisions, we wanted to redesign the feed to reduce the number of decisions overall and simplify the ones that remain. Fewer, easier decisions make your brain happy.”
Here, Yee takes us through Octofeed’s other key differences:
“One of the decisions you continuously make is where to focus your attention first. On Facebook.com, text color is used to categorize information types, but size and typeface aren’t used as effectively. On Octofeed, we bump up the size and change the font on text that we think should be emphasized. This helps you locate or ignore information elements more quickly.”
“Although different types of information on Facebook.com are grouped, the groups are positioned in a way that makes the information run together. Octofeed tries to be more explicit about separating content types, both in positioning and visual style. Photos, videos, and link description/summaries are on the left, metadata is on the right.”
“Another decision you continuously make is whether to pursue an interaction further. We simplify this process by selectively displaying information up front to help you make that decision or avoid the decision entirely. For example, we make photos as big as possible and we avoid cropping them. Showing a higher resolution photo means you don’t have to enlarge it yourself to inspect some detail that gets lost in a small image. Not cropping the photo means that you don’t have to expand it to see what you’re missing.”
“YouTube and Vimeo videos play automatically so you don’t have to decide whether to watch them based on a tiny thumbnail (unless you don’t have flash enabled). By the time you’ve finished reading the description of the video, the video is already playing, but muted until you click it. If multiple videos are in view, unmuting one will mute all the others. If you don’t want to watch the video you can just keep scrolling. Once it’s out of view, it will stop playing.”
“Another area we focused significant energy on was making the layout adapt to any window size you throw at it. Photos and videos are scaled appropriately to make use of your screen real estate. The layout switches to single-column mode when you make your window skinny (perfect for phones).”
Octofeed is still a work in progress. It doesn’t include notifications (those are coming soon). And only recently did Yee and Puno add a small speaker icon and help message on videos to clarify how the audio-player works. The goal here isn’t to replace Facebook, anyway.
“The idea is for Octofeed to complement your Facebook experience,” Yee says. But as more people hear about the site—and realize how much easier it is to navigate—it stands to reason that they’ll start checking their Octofeeds before their Facebook pages. At minimum, Octofeed offers a seductive glimpse of what Facebook could be if the social media giant set loose all those talented designers it has sitting around. Hope Zuck and friends are taking note.
I spend a lot of my time going onto Google Earth/Bing maps studying sites and grabbing screen shots. However, I find these sources equally useful for textures and finding site plan elements. For example, in my last post, I uploaded an image of a site plan through which I was experimenting with different styles and looks. I needed some trees and grass textures for part of the image. I noticed a nearby golf course in Google Earth had exactly what I was looking for.
These images of the trees worked particularly well for my needs because the grass around the trees was much lighter than the trees and shadows making it much easier to extract the elements from the background.
With the “Dodge” tool, I set the range to “Highlights” and began lightening the grass even more so that I was left with just the detail of the trees and shadows.
With the “Polygonal” tool, I roughly windowed the trees and dragged them into my site plan Photoshop file. To remove the white part of the cutout trees, I set the layer blend mode to “Multiply”. Using this blend mode removes the light areas of the layer and keeps the darkest sections of the layer, hence why I lightened the grass to almost white.
Using this method saves a lot of time and looks better compared to trying to selectively cut out around the trees and shadows using the eraser tool or magic wand tool.
PHOTOSHOP LAYERS: Below, I have also uploaded the different layers I used to compile the final look of the site plan. I will try to add links to the different areas of this site showing how I achieved each layer.
1. Above, the first layer is simply an exported image of my Sketchup model with the face style set to both “Hidden Line” and “X-Ray”. I also have “Guides” turned on. Steps explaining how to add and turn on guides can be see in my 3D BLUEPRINT tutorial.
2. Next I created a clay rendering of the Sketchup model to get the shadow information. To set up and render a clay model, check out my CLAY MODEL RENDERING tutorial.
3. The shadows in the rendering are still reading a little flat, so I also rendered a second clay model that will act as an “ambient occlusion” layer. I have two ways that allow you to get this effect. The first is the faster route and uses Kerkythea. I explain how to do this at about the 1:46 mark of the SOFT SHADOWS VIDEO tutorial. This step can also be accomplished manually if you are more comfortable in Photoshop rather than using a rendering engine. Visit my AMBIENT OCCLUSION tutorial to see how to manually create this layer in Photoshop.
4. I also used an exported image of my Sketchup model with the face style set to “Shaded with Textures” to give some basic color info as well as allow me to more easily locate the sidewalks and other architectural elements.
5. Finally, I compiled the above layers together along with some grunge textures and Google Earth elements mentioned earlier in this post. Some of you may ask why so many layers? Many of these layers could have been combined together such as rendering the Kerkythea clay model with textures turned on, or combining the x-ray and color Sketchup exported images. The reason why I keep these separate is so that I can adjust the opacity/blend modes individually of each layer allowing for more flexibility towards reaching the best final look. Every rendering I do is slightly different than the others and thus requires different adjustments accordingly. Plus, setting up the many different layers allows for more experimentation when looking for that unique look.