Hellow

hel·low (ˈhelō/) exclamation. A salutation embodying the vibrant energy found in the color yellow.

23 April 2014

The Benefits of Brevity

"Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte." – Lettres Provciales, 1657
When translated by French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, the English language was given the sentiment:
"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter."
One of the most difficult endeavors in writing is brevity. To condense dozens of complex thoughts is a masterful art. When these ideas are not tethered, they run rampant and flow for thousands of words, consuming unnecessary space and time, galloping back in repetitious circles around themselves, repeating for dozens of statements, filling pages that need not be filled and robbing precious minutes from the reader; flowing, unrestrained, for innumerable unending sentences.
For most writing and communication, less is more.
Long and complex sentences are like an overgrown garden. Some careful maintenance can bring out the beauty. Consideration of each word can illuminate thoughts to the reader. Words can paint pictures when their presence is not overbearing. To cultivate this art, one must be mindful of one’s language. Masters of brevity select the most appropriate words and arrange them in precisely the manner needed to convey their thoughts. There is no clutter. There is no waste. Each word contributes to the sentence as a whole. No vestigial verbiage is employed.
When in a hurry, as we so often are, we neglect the power of our words. We fumble, uttering improper things, and blur the message we wish to share. The receivers of our words are left to untangle the muddled cluster we amalgamated. Unbridled language creates extraneous words; increasing the length our message, distorting its content, and diluting its impact. A careless use of language is disrespectful to whom we communicate. We are generating unneeded problems for others to solve. It is common courtesy to unscramble one’s own mess before passing it over to a peer.
A wordsmith takes the time to reflect on his thoughts before pressing pen to paper or lip to tongue. Like a sage carpenter, he measures twice, cuts once. He outlines his ideas, fleshing out their ancillary details, and snips away the excess. The product is lean and clean. It is accessible and beautiful. It is not sparse nor lacking, but compact and fulfilling, economical and precise. The craft of brief language is a skill worthy of one’s pride.
It is an art we can all learn to practice. 

16 April 2014

Confucianism the Literal Cure for the Can’t Philosophy

That title.

No.

I can't.

I CANNOT.

Literally dying.

I turned 21 today, so I suppose I am one year closer to literally dying. But I'd like to think I have many more years of literally living to get done before that. Many more years of constructing a better version of myself. Fingers crossed.

While Tumblr has bred a generation of people who can't, some classic Wuchang Confucianism should offer a notable cure.

Confucius, whose name does not predate the English word "confusion"--fear not verbophobes--was a Chinese philosopher who taught an ethical system that holds prominence in the modern Eastern world. Coined Confucianism, this complex train of thought can be seen as a form of religion that revolves around continual personal improvement. The premise of these teachings is that humans, while innately flawed, are impressionable and improvable creatures. This concept--the possibility that humans can eliminate their flaws--is unlike the common-held assumption that humans are eternally imperfect beings. Through individual and communal endeavors, Confucian thought firmly believes that human beings can transcend their imperfections. To believe that man is eternally flawed and can never achieve perfection is extremely pessimistic, no matter the perspective. To enact hope in the potential of self-creation is arousing.

So, rather than conform to the learned helplessness of the "I can't" philosophy, consider investing effort into classical Wuchang Confucianism. This practice involves five simple elements:

仁 - Ren - Humanity

義 - Yi - Righteousness

禮 - Li - Ritual

智 - Zhi - Knowledge

信 - Xin - Integrity

Since much of Cantism (the "I can't" philosophy) revolves around feelz (emotions), which are a part of humanity, Confucianism is a simple means to a paradigm shift. When there are too many feelz to cope with, many contemporaries drift into the unfortunate hopelessness of Cantism, as they feel that they are too flawed to ever can. While this admittance of defeat resonates with the honest base of Confucianism, the negative attitude is wholesomely nonconstructive.

You never heard Bob the Builder say "I can't." His can-do Confucian attitude led him to complete innumerable construction projects.

By using the logic of humanity, one can learn to not only accept the flaws of mankind, but embrace the potential to improve them. Ren and Yi are the cornerstones to a productive attitude, as these elements focus on doing the right thing for the greater good. The tools to enact these values lie in disciplined ritual, Li, and an understanding of the world, Zhi. When the core of these elements is directed with wholesome intentions, Xin, one can began to cultivate himself into a better individual and overcome the obstacles that once hindered his growth.

Living a constructive life is skillful art, but it can be done.

09 April 2014

Jigsaw Puzzles & Other Pointless Things

People say that puzzles are good for the mind. Doing puzzles helps with memory and cognition and problem-solving ability. Puzzles are just all-around good things to keep the mind "sharp." Whether it be Sunday newspaper crosswords, Sudoku books, Rubik's cubes, or jigsaw puzzles, these are great workouts for the mind. They are an excuse to keep it active, but for what point? Upon completion of a Sudoku grid or crossword, a momentary feeling of accomplishment is aroused and you feel great. But why? You have accomplished nothing. You completed a mentally stimulating (questionable) task and nothing changes. Most puzzles are about as useful as this list of useless objects that can be considered art (although many of these are admittedly quite clever and mildly inspirational).

One of the most interesting products available for sale is puzzle glue--an adhesive used to preserve completed jigsaw puzzles so that you may frame your hard work and hang it from a wall like a taxidermized animal head. Jigsaw puzzles exist for a feeling of false accomplishment. They were once complete pictures that were later divided into hundreds of little pieces for the purpose of being put back together again. They could be about the journey--the process of rebuilding a purposefully deconstructed image--and the end product/destination is irrelevant, but at what point does the time investment of completing these puzzles become selfish? Economically, the opportunity cost is quite astounding, but what's the big deal?--it's just a puzzle. The amount of energy spent to turn a pile of cardboard pieces into a complete image could have many better uses. Completing a jigsaw and returning it to its box is a circle of pointlessness intended to sharpen one's mind. A spinning whetstone sharpens swords in the same circular motion.

At the end of the day, the glued-together puzzle on the wall could have been made without dividing it into a thousand pieces and putting it back together and coating it in adhesive. If the mind needs to be sharpened, there are plenty of problems in the world to be solved and plenty of constructive projects to improve mental acuity. But this sounds stressful and fun-sucking. To compare a relaxing process and the gamut of unsolved global issues is absurd. The mental challenge of solving larger problems, while good exercise for the mind, does not return the relaxing results that a simple jigsaw puzzle affords. These pointless puzzles offer a form of meditation, almost. They provide a goal, although not that important in the scheme of things, but a goal nonetheless. In order to achieve the goal, a series of small, and slightly mindful tasks are required. Puzzles, in all their self-serving existence, can be a therapeutic means to mental health. The impracticality of solving these playful problems is globally sinful but personally enriching.

02 April 2014

Writers on Rails

A series of 140 character messages sparked Amtrak to consider a new opportunity for writers. As individual wordsmiths began to collectively tweet about their love of writing on trains, the #AmtrakResidency idea developed. Months later, Amtrak is now offering a two to five day on-board residency program for writers. Moving across the American countryside as they draw ink across pages, these 24 individuals will be sponsored by the company to pursue their creative passions on rails. Amtrak is offering a sleeper car with a desk and amenities to each writer. If you are reading this post on this blog, it is likely that you have an interest in the written word--or at least believe in its ability to be a medium for art--so consider applying to the program here.

Amtrak Residency

Imagine sitting in motion. Your mind is moving while your body is still, with the exception of your hand scribbling words on a page. The train is moving, the country stationary. You are still within the train but are carried with it. No physical effort is required on your part. You are travelling, but there is no destination. The only goal is mental. A blinking cursor that your want to keep moving as words are left in its wake or a series of lines and letters being drawn upon a sheet of paper as your mind dances between the concrete and abstract, trying to form art in the wake of your fingertips. Constant inspiration outside the window above your desk--always moving, not pausing for a moment. Not predetermined, no plot, not rehearsed, no acting, and not fabricated, no screen. An authentic experience that stimulates your mind and forces you into thinking--moving over mental barriers, unobstructed by writer's block, continuing to push forward, vomit more words, and make progress while moving nowhere. The train deposits you where it picked you up and you have a heap of words in your hands when the rails screech.

There is something about motion that is stimulating. It is romantic, exciting, filled with uncertainty and new experiences. This dynamic and nomadic lifestyle is foreign for many. Most of us live in stable homes with solid roofs and steady incomes and scheduled meals. Living in motion--like on a train--is not a lifestyle for most, but an activity with a beginning and an end. While the Amtrak Residency program is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the beauty of motion and stimulate the mind into creative productivity, it is not a lifestyle. It is a vacation, a dynamic oasis, that can produce desired written works, but it does not hold the bold romanticism of a nomadic lifestyle. To leave behind the stability of a normal life and take up the romanticized lifestyle of motion has many unknown futures. This continued motion and instability may offer even greater inspirations for an unsettled mind.

Hop on a train with no destination.

26 March 2014

The United Crumbs of America

Any and every self help book resonates a similar solution to life’s obstacles–divide and conquer. Break large and complex problems into small and simple parts. It is easier to jump over several mole hills than scale a mountain. With any virgin problem or circumstance, a large and singular entity exists, but as men begin to interact with it, that singularity becomes divided. At every division, the large entity becomes less intricate and diverse, and the huge problem is dispersed among dozens of separate entities. When keeping the end goal in mind, the once massive obstacle has been hurdled. But are the divided segments ever put back together?
Intruding upon the unknown lands of North America, the early Europeans dug their ships onto the virgin sands and set out to divide and conquer the large continent. First with small colonies upon the Eastern shore, and then states forming as they expanded to the Mississippi, the Europeans segregated peoples and properties until they seized control of the new land. As these settlers moved west, their divisions became larger. The small segments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Delaware transitioned into the larger lands of Georgia and Missouri. Lighting out to the territories, the new lines were drawn and soon Texas and Montana and Wyoming were divided and conquered. Along the Pacific coast, the far west of the new America, only three divisions arose to conquer the territory–Washington, Oregon, and California.
As more people now migrate to the coasts, the need for future divisions arises to manage regional disparities. A proposition for Six Californias has been proposed for this purpose. While the division of California may help conquer the problems of the area, a further division of the continent seems to defeat the initial purpose of the new land of the free–to be one united nation. Although the country has effectively operated in its fifty united divisions, as continued crumbling occurs, at what point does the country become nothing but lines of division?
United Crumbs of America
A similar pattern of growth arises in the formation of businesses and organizations. A man begins building bicycles in his garage, and as more people begin to buy his work, he hires more workers to assist him. Jimmy seems to have an aptitude for attaching tires and gears whereas Timmy is much better at configuring brakes and handlebars. The man who started the business no longer needs to touch the bikes, as Jimmy and Timmy divide and conquer the building among themselves. Over time, finances are given to Oscar and advertising to Arthur, and before long, there are several layers of abstraction between the bicycle mechanic who founded the business and the people who work for it. With growth, finance departments form to manage the cash flow for buying rubber brakes pads for Jonathon, who works several managers beneath CFO Timmy. After so many divisions, the small parts become crumbs and no immediate loss is noticed when some go missing.
Let us welcome the six new divisions to the United Crumbs of America.

19 March 2014

Honest Beauty at McMurdo Station

Traveling is an experience many people claim to enjoy. Seeing new places, but not through a picture. Tasting new foods, but not through unauthentic imitations. Conversing with new people, but not over the web. These are the fruits of travel, and so many of us desire to indulge in them. Most of these desires are rooted in honest beliefs, for we often think we wish to travel and encounter something new, but to what extent can we really travel? If traveling is moving, then of course we can participate. But if travel is something more than the physical, our minds must be exposed to something foreign, something diverse. But is that what we want?

Diversity is a tenet that the contemporary liberal holds dear. Diversity is the silver-lining to globalization--the homogenization of the world. Rather than preserve culture and embrace the differences among them--as our world claims to do via globalization--we are meshing them into a muddled soup. The individual spices that we once enjoyed collide and form a tasteless muck. When traveling in the modern world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to taste these individuals spices. But there is comfort in a bland stew, and maybe that's what we like?

To take America, the world's melting pot, and search for diversity, it often difficult for us to taste something we have not experienced before. The culmination of cultures in the United States boils away the "impurities"--the unrelated features of the various communities from which it is derived. The once pure land, dotted with unique family-owned motels, has been raped by the corporate sameness of Day's Inn. It would be an impressive accomplishment to find a motel untouched by the Gideons. But that is not what we seek. For many, the Day's Inn is warming. We can move great distances but find the same Bible in our bedside table at the end of the day. If we hunger, there will be golden arches before the next horizon. Try as we might, it is difficult to taste a different spice.

What is the traveller to do? Staying within the confines of one's community does little to suffice the wandering mind. For those wishing to sweat off the spiciness of a new region and have no water to quench the burn, there are few places open for raw exposure--for those places are off the beaten path devoid of the luxurious sameness where we find solace.

There is, however, something honest about these places. Their humility and simplicity. They are stark, unfamiliar. The feelings one can encounter upon visiting places such as this rare. Traveling to Antarctica, for instance, is a wholesome goal for the wanderlust. Within the mountains of snow and ice, isolated in a polar land, lies an uncapitalized beauty. McMurdo Station is buried on the Southern corner of the continent--a utilitarian town. Frigid, disconnected from other civilizations, a flavor of its own. The sharp and unfamiliar cold has no comfort, but this feeling is unique to the region. When there is no quick release from the cold--the spice--we can begin to experience something new. That is traveling.



Shipping out to McMurdo Station.

12 March 2014

Haragei & Obfuscation

As famously explored by Ishmael in Melville's Moby Dick, we are isolatoes. All creatures are islands, seemingly together and cohesive, but alone in their own skins. We may form chains, like archipelagos, but our individual selves are forever detached from the selves of those around us. We are each are own souls, spiritually separated, and beings that can never truly understand the fullness of another, if even ourselves. The closest connection we have is communication.

The origin, the "commons", is shared by the subsequent community that is formed. Communication is a set of rules through which we are connected. It is an everyday art that can bond our otherwise untouchable souls. Escaping the human superiority complex, all creatures are capable of some flavor of communication, be it oral, visual, olfactory, or else. The finer aspects of communication lie in fluency, for when users begin to subconsciously understand the intricacies of the art, greater interpersonal relationships can form, bringing isolated bodies together.

The embodiment of this mantra is haragei, referred to in Japanese as a rhetoric form that relies on subtle implications. Affected by culture, these communications spread and adapt to circumstance. Rarely enabling a concrete understanding, haragei is a representative form of communication that relies on attitudes and communal feeling. It is unspoken but moving, for it plays on more feelings than specific words. The subtlety is the source of its power, as is often the case for any art form. Haregei may be the most useful art of communication to break the barrier between our souls. Only, of course, if it mutually learned.

The most important aspect of communication lies in the origin of the word--commonality. If the form of communication cannot be used by the community members among which the system was developed, it is useless. From the guttural sounds of animals to languages in which we program computers, the gamut of communicative means relies on structure and group consensus.

While haragei is an innately simple art of conveying thoughts and feelings, obfuscation, 08|=(_)$<4+!0|\| in leetspeak, is the complication of communication. Shifts in common structure. Jargon. Repetitious or repetitive words. VV3!|^o| mechanics. Uncommon expressions. Deviations from commonplace idioms. Obfuscation is the collection of uncommon practices in a language that is designed to mislead unwarranted receivers. When in a group of several islands, obfuscation in communication can be useful for connecting a minority of parties in the group--drawing a bridge of jargon that cannot be understood by the majority.

The disparate results of obfuscation are two-fold. For security purposes in digital environments, obfuscation can aide in encrypted messaging. For highly technical fields, such as medicine, the complicated speak can disguise unappealing information to the rest of the community. However, obfuscation, such as 133+ (leet), can often lead to communicative discrimination without a grander purpose. And when obfuscation is unintentional, poor communication results.

When communication fails, the only connection between our souls is lost. We are isolatoes.

19 February 2014

Herbert Bayer's Burning Banknotes

Any good design favors simplicity. Modern design follows the systematic use of only a few options for each visual attribute. There is no reason to use multiple font-families when one will do. There is no reason to use a plethora of colors when a small palette of 3 or 4 will suffice. There is no reason to vary between more than a pair of font-sizes or line widths. Strip away everything that is not essential and you will find the base of good design. There are many individuals responsible for birthing these design principles, either through art or necessity, but one of the most interesting and often underrepresented fathers of modern design is Herbert Bayer.

According to an article on Wikipedia, in an effort to replace the imperialistic government of Germany in 1919, the Weimar Republic was formed as a semi-presidential representative democracy. To afford the costs of World War I, Germany decided to fund the war through borrowing--not allowing an ounce of its currency to be converted to gold. As a result, the government began to buy foreign currency and significantly decreased the value of its Mark. From 1921 to 1924, Germany suffered a three-year period of hyperinflation. During this time, emergency banknotes were issued by Die Landesregierung Thüringen and designed by Bayer.

bayer4

These banknotes embraced a simple and bold style now found in contemporary graphic design. Departing from the traditional bank note standard of serif fonts, swirls, and national symbols, Bayer's design featured grids, geometry, and sans-serif. This deviation from the norm was one of the first uses of modern design in the realm of politics and economics.

Despite their beauty, the insertion of Bayer's emergency currency into the economy did little to assuage inflation. Paper money was so worthless that it was burned as fuel. Herbert Bayer's banknotes provided heat for many.

bayer3

Following the design of this currency, Bayer later created the "Universal" typeface which resonates with the widely-used sans-serif font today. The introduction of this typeface featured no uppercase letters, as Bayer believed people did not speak in upper- and lowercase. The simple beauty of his design allowed for greater innovations in effective communication.

bayer5

Unlike many great artists and designers, Bayer spent the remainder of his career in advertising. The modernism he developed in Europe well served his  innovative marketing in corporate America. The bold simplicity and geometrically balanced style was widely accepted. The principles of good design gave his work a universal appeal. As a result, much of his style permeates design today.

12 February 2014

47 Rockets, 2 Kites, and a Chair

In the days before Sputnik, Wan-Hu, a Chinese official, strapped 47 rockets and two kites to a chair in an attempt to launch himself into space. When the smoke cleared, Wan-Hu was gone. There was no sign of his chair. No sign of his kites. No sign of the rockets other than some spilled gunpowder and burn marks on the ground. Wan-Hu left the Earth, and he was never seen again. Whether he left the Earth together or in pieces, one cannot say, but the man disappeared that night.
The hopeful and imaginative mind, untarnished by science, would believe Wan-Hu’s rocketry carried him into space. The combined force of 47 rockets accelerated him out the atmosphere and into the ether beside the moon. Perhaps the force had been so strong that he was thrust into the sky at the speed of light. Sent careening out of our solar system to explore the rest of the galaxy. Zooming by moons and planets and stars, his chair a galactic throne and he the celestial ruler. As he moved at the speed of light, delving into our photograph of space that once was, Wan-Hu left the Earth to age in his wake. Centuries passed as he traveled, untouched by time, seeing all the things our telescopes have yet to detect. Watching stars burst, planets form. Dark matter become colorful. Asteroids collaborate to form moons. Civilizations grow and crumble and rise again. Representing Earth as he comes into contact with other life. Becoming allies, forming friendships. Experiencing everything that our childhood minds dreamed and things our adult minds refused to believe. A being of the fourth dimension, Wan-Hu and his 47 rockets escaped our rock. While we look up to the stars and curse at our stagnant state, perhaps we may see him, floating on his kites beside Vanguard 1 and our cluster of satellites. We in our rocking chairs, he in his rocket chair.
But we cannot believe it. Sure, Wan-Hu left the Earth. He disappeared, not because he escaped into space, but because he was scattered into ten million pieces. Our crutch of science tells us he did not escape our galaxy. Our years of advanced arithmetic disprove the fantastic simplicity of 47 rockets, 2 kites, and a chair as means of exploring space. Our investment in the invention of science refuses to believe that Wan-Hu was successful. The second brains in our pockets can prove it. We believe it. We do not wonder about Wan-Hu because our smart phones tell us the truth. Science seeks to understand wonder, but the act of pursuing it can turn Wan-Hu to dust.
Imagination can put Wan-Hu into space.

06 February 2014

Reclaiming Urban Vandalism

It all begins with a bucket of chalk. A small child, bright-eyed and eager to express itself, defaces the concrete of its parents' driveway or the neighborhood sidewalk. Vandalism.

Sure, these cute, pretty little drawings seem harmless. Pink flowers and rainbows and unicorns and suns with smiley faces. The typical symbols of peace and innocence. They are the bearers of greater things. Praised by their parents and elders for artistic expression. Seen to be aspiring creators in coming years. Temporary now, this chalk may one day become paint and forever deface public property. And suddenly, those proud parents and elders are no longer praising.

Praise should be given onto them. To sidewalk drawings, graffiti is the Monet to coloring books. True graffiti is spray paint on public property. It paints a city and gives it character. Of course, alternatives to this have been developed that leave no lasting mark, such as beautiful tri-dimensional chalk art on city streets.

sidewalkchalk

Perhaps the beauty in this medium is the fact that it's temporary. Rain could wash away all the hours of work in a matter of moments. If this is where the beauty lies, then artists must maintain a special quality. The creators of these are exceptional people. However, the creation of most art revolves around the longevity of the artist born through their piece. Graffiti can give incentive to creators to create. If given a purpose, perhaps graffiti could be turned into something more than vandalism.

Is there a way to encourage artists to create urban art via graffiti? Should we hire graffiti artists? Sides of buildings could be forms of graffiti advertisement like the college campus rock. The unstated word is not to paint over another group's painting for a day. This form of system would give cities a new direction.

graffiti

Advertisements could become a variety of respected art, something that is no longer devalued by commercialism. By hiring graffiti artists as opposed to advertising industries, freelance creators could make a living out of their passion. The consequences of putting to use the great talent of graffiti artists could result in a large societal shift that favors the pursuit of artistic interests. Parents would be able to continue encouraging their children in their urban vandalism. Graffiti, as a respected form of art, could reclaim the word "vandalism."

29 January 2014

eOS1 & High-Waist Pantalones

The world's first emotional operating system was introduced in the science-fiction-romantic-comedy-drama Her (2013). The film depicts a future society, well-developed in technology, to accentuate the culture as opposed to replace it. For the most part anyway. When OS1--the most intuitive modern operating system--is introduced, our lonely introverted protagonist, who composes love letters for a career, falls madly in love. The film is oozing with quirkiness, and despite its cross-genre appeal, Her has a scent of its own.

Her Film

Aesthetically, the film is beautiful. It depicts a very realistic and stylish version of the near future, bringing in retrofitted styles and elegant technological advances.  Absent of chrome robots folding our clothes and spreading jam across our morning toast, Her paints a future that we could potentially live in. Fashion, for instance, is a key concept to represent the culture--taking on a style equivalent to the 1950s. High-waist pants become sexy and pastel-colored dress shirts are a comfortable and classy casual wear. The lines between engendered clothing are blurred, and the unisex appeal represents the progressive equality present in this future. Society, while optimistically portrayed in the film, is contrasted by the more serious topics of love and belonging explored in the internal conflicts of the primary characters.

Specifically, the growing complications of the human male and female computer relationship exhibit a basic human concern. What creates love? The conversations held between man and computer are engrossing and tender, truly romantic. Can love be a purely abstract concept, devoid of physical connection? As we are essentially islands beneath our skin, we can never grow to truly know the inside of another--every thought and emotion. Physical vicinity to other bodies does little to remedy loneliness, for being in a crowd can sometimes be the loneliest feeling of all. Happiness comes from within, so can love exist in one's thoughts, in a vacuum? Or does there need to be a container?  A container affects content, perhaps limiting perceptions, as the female lover explains she is exploring and expanding her understanding more than her human male could ever gather. Despite the ideal world created by external society, where crimes do not appear to be prevalent and environmental and social issues appear solved, the individual turmoil over emotions persists. We live beside each other, but we are still alone in our skin.

Her is a beautiful composition of an unsolvable problem. Regardless of every technological or societal improvement to our world, the members of it will continue to carry their emotional weight. Happiness and love come from within, but we are limited by our human selves. That physical component, no matter how limiting, is beautiful.

22 January 2014

Paper Books & Analog Clocks

Sci-fi-induced-idiocy has severely altered our perceptions of the future.

Chrome-plated floors, ceilings, and walls. Transparent touch screens with rapidly flashing data. Android housemaids. Flying cars. Strange blue foods consumed through a straw. While our view of the distant future may not be the cover of a discounted 1980s paperback sci-fi, much of our understanding of the future focuses on the technological change without a regard for aesthetics. As we progress into the future, new technology rises to replace the old--but we should not forget about the form of beauty it can take.

I do not believe anyone would argue paper books to be more practical than digital e-books. Digital books are more environmentally friendly (no need to chop down trees for paper) and more economically viable, for both the writer, publisher, and reader. There is little to no overhead to generate these books as no physical materials are required. This medium for a work enables the buyer to save money and the writer and publisher to share a great percentage of the profit, for no money flows into the creation of materials. The practicality is furthered by the ease of reading--as one could theoretically carry an entire library in one's back pocket. Despite all of this, however, paper books still persist and will likely continue their existence in the coming years. There is something illogically satisfying about holding a paper book, bound and printed. Perhaps the smell of the paper? The bend of the pages? The light crackle of binding glue when pulling open the front cover? The ability to rip out pages, dog-ear the corners, and scribble broken thoughts in the narrow margins is what gives us the satisfaction. To mar a physical book and make it our own, to form a relationship with the book and have it be personalized for own agenda. It is the aesthetics that keep paper books alive.

Digital clocks are considerably more efficient than analog clocks. It is much easier to read a series of four numbers and know the exact time than deduce the approximation from twirling analog hands. Our cell phones bear the precise time from satellites. They adjust with time zones, appropriately switching with daylight-savings and leap-years. They are incredibly more practical in our daily lives, but that doesn't mean we lose the watch around our wrists. Large analog clocks look beautiful when hanging from a wall. They are a work of art, equivalent to a painting, with a slight practical purpose. The toll of a bell-tower is no longer necessary to proclaim the time when we see it in the corner of our laptop screens. The beauty of that chime and consistent rotation of the time-bearing hands gives clocks an aesthetic value that cannot be replaced, despite technological changes in efficiency.

The future will be overridden with new technology, like driver-less cars and self-regulating homes to conserve energy, but the beauty of certain technologies will be conserved for the sake of aesthetics. Paper books and analog clocks, both beaten in efficiency by new inventions, will remain a part of our lives. Aesthetic value outweighs efficiency.