Their Types of Film

This Sunday is the 96th Academy Awards and Print magazine is rolling out the red carpet with “This Year’s Best Picture Oscar Nominees as Typefaces.” OK…

This year, the Best Picture nominees include a range of 10 films across a breadth of genres. The assortment represents an eclectic array of tones, themes, looks, and textures, much like the offerings of a font foundry. 

Premise…granted. We confess that those of us here in the Around the Web Cultural Accretion Bunker haven’t seen any of these, so we’ll take their word (or letter) for it.

Some examples:

The Holdovers, directed by Alexander Payne and starring national treasure Paul Giamatti, is a dramedy set in 1970 about a group of kids at a prep school with no families to go home to over their holiday break. As a result, they stay behind with their curmudgeonly teacher (Giamatti), and heartwarming antics ensue. The film’s time period, the retro prep-school setting, and overarching feel-good warmth all ladder up to the Gelica typeface. 

A film that has taken each facet of the design industry and every corner of our visual culture by storm, Barbie from Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie, is high femme with a powerful backbone. Belinda New by Melvastype strikes this same chord as a classic brush script that has strength and elegance in equal measure.

A period thriller from Christopher Nolan starring Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer tells the true story of the invention of the atomic bomb during World War II. Territory by Reygraphic is a frenetic, experimental typeface based on graphic elements inspired by sound waves. The distorted energy and illegibility of Territory speaks to the disorientation of an explosion and the impact of the atomic bomb on society, and the lives of the people who brought it into being.

Workflow Auto-mation

Do you like motor bikes? Tearing through your print shop? Well, trial biking world champion Dougie Lampkin (and, yes, that’s trial biking, not trail biking) has written his  autobiography called Trial and Error and as part of the publicity for it, decided to ride his bike through the shop printing the book—up and down paper rolls, even across a press.

We’ve heard of a print engine, but this is ridiculous!

AI-Yi-Yi, Part the Infinity: Ghost in the Machine

Do you like typewriters? But are you also eager to jump on the ChatGPT bandwagon? Well, then good news! Via Laughing Squid, Arvind Sanjeev has created the “Ghostwriter,” a modified Brother typewriter that uses Open AI’s language model ChatGPT to answer queries that are manually typed in. Sanjeev also has a bigger point to make about the future of creative endeavors as AI takes over.

Writers, artists, and all creatives are unsure of their role in this new world with AI. The Ghostwriter is a poetic intervention that allows us to take a moment to breathe and reflect on this new creative relationship we are forming with machines. …By interacting with Ghostwriter, creatives understand that true power is unleashed only when a human combines their emotional intellect with the computational brute force of an AI.

Getting the Point

Quick trivia question: who invented the decimal point? We know, your first instinct was to say Christopher Clavius; the German mathematician began using it in his astronomy writing in 1593 and mathematical historians have for centuries believed him ton have been the first decimal point user. However, new evidence has emerged that suggests that the decimal point is 150 older than anyone thought. Via Smithsonian:

 A 15th-century Venetian merchant named Giovanni Bianchini appears to have used the mathematical symbol in documents that date to between 1441 and 1450, according to a paper published this month in the journal Historia Mathematica.

Study author Glen Van Brummelen, a math historian at Trinity Western University in Canada, was teaching at a middle-school math camp when he noticed something intriguing: The number 10.4 was written in one of Bianchini’s Latin manuscripts, Tabulae primi mobilis B. Bianchini was explaining how to multiply 10.4 by 8.

There is also the possibility that Clavius nicked it from Bianchini.

Previously, Clavius’ limited use of the decimal point—he didn’t use it in his later writings—had puzzled historians. “Why invent a powerful new system of arithmetic, use it in such a narrow context and then abandon it?” as Van Brummelen tells Newsweek’s Jess Thomson. Clavius’ behavior makes more sense if he was simply copying Bianchini’s work.

Still, Clavius did lend his name to a lunar crater, the site of both a lunar administrative facility in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino in the Arctic Monkeys song “Four Out of Five.”

Graphene Is in the Bag

Was it a good week for graphene news? It’s always a good week for graphene news! A graphene-based handbag with a fingerprint opening system. From (who else?) Graphene-Info:

Launched just in time for Fashion Week, this collaboration blends fashion and technology, showcasing the versatility of Directa Plus materials. Crafted with Coating G+®, a special water-based coating enriched with Graphene Plus, this bag not only boasts a sleek design but also offers unmatched functionality, including antimicrobial protection (antibacterial and antiviral), UV resistance, abrasion resistance, antistatic properties and thermal conductivity. It also has advanced fingerprint recognition for secure access.

Purse-snatchers, beware!

Now, to get some graphene-based matching shoes.

Dog Tired

Do you use the app Strava to track your running, walking, or biking? Do you wish your dog did, as well? Well, there is now Strava for dogs, and how we wish we were kidding. Via Outside:

On Thursday, February 22, Strava announced a new partnership with a smart dog collar brand, Fi. Fi collars sport built-in satellite positioning systems, like in a sport watch. They’re designed to help find lost pets, and monitor a couple basic health metrics like sleep and number of steps taken. And now, the same technology can be used to log exercise for posterity online.

The new partnership allows Strava to log distance traveled and number of steps taken, and tracks Fido’s progress towards goals like activity streaks and daily step totals. The app will then upload a route of your dog’s walk or game of fetch onto a map that you can see.

Fi charges owners a monthly subscription fee to use all the collars’ smart features, starting at $3.20 per week. Strava users with Fi collars on their pets can sync the two accounts, “seamlessly integrat[ing] their active lives with their dogs,” Strava said in the announcement. Once the accounts are linked, a Fi-generated graphic with your dog’s stats is automatically uploaded to Strava.

No word on whether the dog can opt out of its own accord.

Get Your Kicks

Thursday was National Cereal Day, for those who celebrate, and to commemorate this day, Fruity Pebbles—the cereal—teamed up with Kith, apparently a footwear manufacturer. Via Food & Wine:

Fruity Pebbles announced it’s teaming up with Nike and LeBron James to release a seriously stylish sneaker, the Nike LeBron 4, in the “Fruity Pebbles” colorway. 

What, no love for Cocoa Pebbles?

As Sneaker News reported, the Nike LeBron 4 “Fruity Pebbles” first hit shelves in 2006 as a Player Exclusive, meaning they were made just for LeBron. However, at the time, they were simply known as the "Cereal" as there was technically no partnership between Nike, LeBron, and the Post cereal brand. However, all that's changing this month when Kith launches the shoes in stores in the U.S. and in Toronto. But, as you can guess, the show drop is extremely limited in quantity, so be prepared to spend a pretty penny getting them on eBay soon.

Yeah, no.

Seems like a missed opportunity. You’d think a better cereal partnership with a sneaker company would be Kix.

Grand Theft Auto Thief

A favorite show here in the AtW Bunker is Mike Judge’s HBO series Silicon Valley and, in one of its classic moments, Jared is kidnapped by a self-driving car, loaded onto a container ship, and taken to a remote Pacific Island.

We were reminded of this while reading this story about a would-be car thief’s failed attempt to steal a self-driving taxi.

Los Angeles police said in a statement Sunday that Vincent Maurice Jones, 33, got into a fully autonomous Waymo car just after it dropped off a passenger on Main Street north of 1st Street, near City Hall, around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The thief got into the driver’s seat — but the theft did not go according to plan.

“Jones attempted to put the vehicle in ‘Drive’ but could not manipulate the controls,” police said.

A Waymo representative was then able to speak to Jones remotely via the car’s online communications system and told him to leave the vehicle, police said. When he did not, the representative called police, they said. Jones did not follow the instructions, and the representative contacted police, who arrived and arrested him, the statement added.

We’re not big fans of self-driving cars, but this is just awesome.

Mission Statement Impossible

Learning a foreign language is not easy, especially if you are past a certain age, and we are envious of any and all polyglots—especially those that can master some of the more arcane tongues. Via Laughing Squid:

Xiaomanyc, a polyglot who is proficient in many languages, taught himself how to speak perfect corporate jargon. He then went into the busy corporate world of midtown Manhattan to surprise the locals with his fluency. He used his newly-found language skills on the phone, with the people working the counter of a coffee shop, with his tailor, and during an interview with his friend.

Corporate speak has also been made into a folk song.

Lest Thee Be Judged…

Speaking of corporate jargon (and, as it happens, Mike Judge), can you believe it has been 25 years since the classic movie Office Space was released?

As this tribute in Salon points out, there is no shortage of stories in the media about Millennials and Gen Z and their relationship to work. We don’t recall Gen X getting that kind of attention, but:

To this day, there remains no better Rosetta stone for deciphering the Nirvana generation’s view of work than 1999’s “Office Space,” Mike Judge’s paean to the plight of the X-er cubicle drone. To call the public’s response to its theatrical release tepid would be kind. The 25 years that transpired since have yielded a slew of theories as to why it didn’t hit bigger.

Granted, we’ve never really had to endure the kind of corporate life the movie sends up, but we’ve had enough friends over the years who have—and some who still do.

They’re young, hard-working and capable in a workplace full of mid-career employees coasting through their late 40s and early 50s, half of whom are either demonstrably paranoid or barely conscious. It's not hard to see why.

Peter faces redundant, infantilizing warnings from multiple managers over forgetting to put the right cover page on his TPS reports (which are a real thing!). Initech’s unctuous overlord, Lumbergh (Gary Cole), creepily pressures him to increase output without improved compensation. Plus, there’s a disregard for downtime, including weekends.

… Recent survey findings listing young workers’ de-prioritization of company loyalty over personal fulfillment and a better life outside the office can’t be stunning. “Gen Z Wants More Money”? Duh-doy, Newsweek! You would, too, if you grew up watching movies and shows that taught you how much an eventual employer would leach from your bones if you let it, or until the powers that be found others willing to give more blood for less money and with fewer resources.

If you could do that, that would be great

Plastic People

Curious to know what plastic surgery procedure is the most popular in your state? The Onion has you covered. Some highlights:

  • New York: Brass ball implants
  • Minnesota: Adding second mouth for apologies
  • Rhode Island: State enlargement
  • Pennsylvania: Good ol’ fashioned breast raising

Reel People

The things you learn. Via Food & Wine:

photos of people holding fish on dating app photos have become a bit of a joke in the last few years, a survey of Plenty of Fish users shows that 25% of respondents are “more likely to message someone if their profile features a fish pic.”

We’re very happy to not be a part of this world. Anyway—and there is a dating app called Plenty of Fish?—said dating app has teamed with Busch Light.

On Tuesday, the beer company and the dating app announced they’re coming together to create a new Fish Pic Badge, which fish-loving daters can proudly show off on their profiles on Plenty of Fish. The new badge, the two companies shared in a joint press release, is also meant to highlight Busch Light's limited edition Fishing Cans, and serve “as a moment to celebrate anglers who are casting their lines in the world of online dating and share a love of the great outdoors.”

And, it being Lent, you can use the Plenty of Fish app on a Friday instead of the Plenty of—no, perhaps it’s better if we not complete that thought. If you’re into fishing—in the water as well as online—you can be rewarded.

From Tuesday, March 5 through March 24, all US-based Plenty of Fish singles who are 21 and over who use the new Fish Pic Badge have a shot at winning a prize bundle that includes a three-month subscription to Plenty of Fish, first-date funds (in the form of a cash voucher), and two Busch Light fishing t-shirts. To enter, users can upload a screenshot of their profile with the Fish Pic Badge visible to

Now, if you’re into spiders, you may want to keep the pics to yourself.

This Week in Printing, Publishing, and Media History

March 4

1852: Ukrainian-Russian short story writer, novelist, and playwright Nikolai Gogol dies (b. 1809).

1882: Britain’s first electric trams run in east London.

1913: The United States Department of Labor is formed.

1957: The S&P 500 stock market index is introduced, replacing the S&P 90.

1974: People magazine is published for the first time in the United States as People Weekly.

March 5

1512: Flemish mathematician, cartographer, and philosopher Gerardus Mercator born.

1616: Nicolaus Copernicus’s book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres is added to the Index of Forbidden Books 73 years after it was first published.

1953: American screenwriter and producer Herman J. Mankiewicz dies (b. 1897).

March 6

1475: Italian painter and sculptor Michelangelo born.

1665: The first joint Secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg, publishes the first issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world's longest-running scientific journal.

1885: American journalist and author Ring Lardner born.

1888: American novelist and poet Louisa May Alcott dies (b. 1832).

1899: Bayer registers “Aspirin” as a trademark. What a headache that must have been.

1927: Colombian journalist, author, and Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel García Márquez born (not in the time of cholera).

1943: Norman Rockwell published Freedom from Want in The Saturday Evening Post with a matching essay by Carlos Bulosan as part of the Four Freedoms series.

1946: English singer-songwriter and guitarist David Gilmour born.

1966: English comedian, actor, and screenwriter Alan Davies born.

1975: For the first time the Zapruder film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is shown in motion to a national TV audience by Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory.

March 7

1274: Italian priest and philosopher Saint Thomas Aquinas dies (b. 1225).

1765: French inventor of photography Nicéphore Niépce born.

1792: English mathematician, astronomer, experimental photographer, and inventor of the blueprint John Herschel born.

1872: Dutch-American painter Piet Mondrian born.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the “telephone.”

1917: American engineer and programmer Frances Elizabeth “Betty” Holberton born. She was one of the six original programmers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer, and was the inventor of breakpoints in computer debugging.

1999: American director, producer, and screenwriter Stanley Kubrick dies (b. 1928).

March 8

1010: Persian poet Ferdowsi completes his epic poem Shahnameh.

1618: Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion.

1775: An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, publishes “African Slavery in America,” the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.

1817: The New York Stock Exchange is founded.

1865: American type designer Frederic Goudy born.

1931: American author and critic Neil Postman born. (His 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death was eerily prescient.)

1979: Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time.

March 9

1454: Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci born.

1776: The Wealth of Nations by Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith is published.

1815: Francis Ronalds describes the first battery-operated clock in the Philosophical Magazine.

1842: Giuseppe Verdi’s third opera, Nabucco, receives its première performance in Milan; its success establishes Verdi as one of Italy's foremost opera composers.

1918: American crime novelist Mickey Spillane. (It was Hammer time!)

1954: CBS television broadcasts the See It Now episode, “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy,” produced by Fred Friendly.

1959: The Barbie doll makes its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

1963: American journalist and author David Pogue born.

March 10

1876: The first successful test of a telephone is made by Alexander Graham Bell.

1903: American author, playwright, and diplomat, United States Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce born.