Today’s lunchtime news chum theme is evolution. I’m not talking Darwinian evolution here, but the evolution of ideas, companies, and places. As with Darwinian evolution, sometimes this results in something better. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
- Evolution of … Televisions. For those of you who are old (like me), you may remember the TV sets of the 1960s. Big, elegant wood cabinets housing gigantic tube televisions … often in black and white, but increasingly in color. You remember how the sets changed over the years into the sleek designed monitors of today, with nary a wood box surrounding them. Television has gone from being a piece of furniture to being art on the wall. One of my various feeds led me to this article, which chronicles the rise and fall of Television Manufacturer empires. A very interesting piece, exploring how we went from black and white sets to the new color TVs, creating explosive growth of RCA… which then fell to the Trinitron monster of Sony… which then fell to the electronics of Samsung… which is now falling to the new manufacturing approach of Visio.
- Evolution of … Tumblr. With the recent news of the Yahoo acquisition of Tumblr, it is interesting to look at the origins of Tumblr and how it began as a site for Tumblelogs. What I found interesting in this article was the repeated comparisons of Tumblr to Livejournal, the seminal journaling site where I began blogging. I can see some comparisons with friends list, but I haven’t used Tumblr enough to see the creative free-form blogging, especially with the detailed commentary and discussion. Tangentially related to this is the evolution of language, and how teens are using what is called social steaganography, hiding meaning in banal and otherwise topical discussions. This is a movement of language from straightforward expression we saw in the USENET days to discussion explicitly designed to be public yet private, with one level of surface meaning and another level designed only for friends.
- Evolution of … Disney. We start with an article that links to the early history of Disneyland: the prospectus sent out to investors. Reading the linked prospectus one can see some of the original ideas; if one is familiar with the park in the 1950s one saw those ideas executed. Some of them failed (Recreation Park, Holiday Land), and some succeeded (Fantasy Land). The evolution of the park and of marketing led to the evolution of the Disney Princess. This concept is being shaken somewhat with the kerfluffle over Merida, and it has created the question of whether the notion of princess must evolve beyond either “girly-girl” or “tomboy”.
- Evolution of … Cheese. We’re all familiar with Little Miss Muffet, who ate curds and whey. What we probably aren’t familiar with are curds and whey. Curds are the coagulated milk solids one gets when you coagulate milk with acid or rennet; the remaining liquid is the whey. One used to never see curds and whey, but now they are everywhere. Curds, of course, are in cheese (or you can just buy curds at Sprouts… yum!). Whey is also making a culinary comeback, both for cooking purposes and for making protein powders (in fact, there’s so much money in the latter that California dairyfarmers want in on the windfall). However, not all whey is valuable. The growth in the Greek Yogurt has resulted in the growth of acidic whey, which is difficult to convert to profitable uses. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Music: Backstory (2011 Original London Cast): “Money”