Not so current developments in typography

I wrote this post about the Indian rupee some years ago but never published it. Given the feeling of time suspended brought on by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders (and suspension of normal life in general), I decided to publish rather than discard it.

My initial motivation was to come up with something interesting to say using combinations and permutations in meaning of the words “economics”, “typography”, “development”, and “current”. I DO love typography!


Mount Fuji Asian art exhibits at the Smithsonian

I have been fond of ukiyo-e woodblock prints for many years. My favorites haven’t changed: Hokusai for nature and Utamaro for portraits. My favorite Hokusai work continues to be the first I ukiyo-e I ever saw, his Wave. Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji: Under the Wave off Kanagawa is a beautiful digital reproduction!

I submitted a comment, an inquiry. No surprise there!

If possible, I hoped you might be able to answer a question, Mr. Kaplan. I viewed the enlargement of the image above, and noticed a graphic in the lower left corner, on the black matte surrounding the image. What is it? is it used for photographing and digital reproduction?

Asian art line-up

The Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art have a fine line-up for the entire year. The current exhibits are a series of Japanese spring-themed art with more Hokusai as well as Kabuki and contemporary works.

These are the next exhibits on the schedule:

  • Art of Darkness: Japanese mezzotints
  • Perspectives: Ai WeiWei
  • Shadow Sites: Archival and contemporary archaeological and aerial photograhy
  • Worlds Within Worlds: Imperial paintings from India and Iran

I wish I could visit, and see each one.

An underground passageway

The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art. I was surprised as I read about the history and design:

The Freer Gallery of Art opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery… in 1987. Both are physically connected by an underground passageway, and ideologically linked through the study, exhibition, and sheer love of Asian art.

I am particularly curious about that underground tunnel. That was a truly inspired idea!

Sometimes art museums are intimidating or cold. But this sounded fun, friendly, welcoming:

You can go wireless in the Haupt Garden (check out Asia on Google Earth while you’re at it) right outside our door: try something new, and when you’re done, come inside and take a fresh look at something old.


URL Tall Tales

I really enjoyed versus, by Jonah Keegan. It was written in December 2009, about the impact of the new Google short URL service, on link relationships throughout the internet. and A URL Shorter Story?

Jonah indicated that, owned by BetaWorks, was the most commonly used URL short link service. He described how many users were baffled about how to use, myself included! Also, was restricted to Google product pages only, and not for broader consumer use. See image* for details, and please click to view with better resolution.


Science Tattoo Emporium

Discovery Magazine’s dizzying assortment of blogs include The Loom, written by science author and Yale lecturer Carl Zimmer.  I’ve culled a few of my favorites from his gallery of science-themed tattoos, The Science Tattoo Emporium. There are over 150 images, with each tattooed scientist, engineer, mathematician or wannabe explaining his or her tattoo’s meaning and personal significance.