Design Podcasts

I love ideas and soak them up like some people take baths.

Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. One of my most relaxing sources for inspiration is listening to podcasts. Great design is delightful and magical and most of the time invisible.

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One of the most brilliant podcasts I listen to each week is a “tiny radio show about design with Roman Mars”–99% Invisible

Last week I wrote a post about a book I had just self-published, about the pioneer days of Canada’s western frontier. That weekend Roman put out episode 157: Devils Rope. In the article notes he used one of the same images in “The House Belongs To The Government“. Gotta a love the serendipity of that!

In the mid 1800s, not many (non-native) Americans had ever been west of the Mississippi. When Frederick Law Olmstead visited the west in the 1850s, he remarked that the plains looked like a sea of grasses that moved  “in swells after a great storm.” Massive herds of buffalo wandered the plains. Cowboys shepherded cattle across long stretches of no man’s land. It was truly the wild and unmanaged west, but it was all about to change, due, in large part, to one very simple invention that would come to be known as “the devil’s rope.”

Episode 157: Devil’s Rope

The story is about how a problem was solved by brilliant design and changed the face of an entire continent in the process. The simple design solution even helped spread the invention of the telegraph and telephone! There turned out to be sinister uses too, as so often happens with profound technological change.

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