Here's where we post periodic updates on what we've been up to at Fathom. Reflections on the interesting stories that emerge from our client work, side projects, after-hours rabbitholes, and other miscellaneous threads of inquiry.
The final month of 2011 was approaching and I was brunching with a friend in Inman Square. We hadn't seen each other in a couple of weeks, so we spent some time catching up. At some point in the pedestrian conversation, we both remarked on the importance of having health goals. Both of us would be turning thirty in 2012 and wanted one last stab in our twenties to get into peak physical shape. We both had been rock climbing for years, but had recently struggled with a lack of motivation. We needed a game plan. I reached back into my childhood of growing up in the dirty south and latched onto some lessons learned from a rich history of riverboat gamblers–we would need to hedge our bets if this was going to shake out. But how exactly?
For the week of May 14th, I had the pleasure of having my very own intern. This wasn't just any intern, but Dana Fry, an intern excited about mathematics—rare, I know. After spending some time thinking about a project that (a) would have a relatively low technical barrier to entry, (b) would be open-ended enough to allow exploration (like a freeform jazz odyssey) and (c) wouldn’t require too much cobweb dusting on my part, I decided upon the relatively simple question:
Just recently, our friend Ricarose Roque came for a visit and talked to us about her latest work. A Ph.D. student this Fall at the Media Lab in Mitch Resnick’s “Lifelong Kindergarten” group, Ricarose has been thinking about using the group’s project Scratch to explore questions about the gendered use of computers and programming.
Do you ever have that overwhelming urge to design something tangible? Involving lasers? Me, too. Which is why I took a break from screens a few Fridays ago to toy around with a quick prototype and send it off to Ponoko. The idea was to have a handy stencil to quickly draw a thumbnail window at the correct proportion for an iPad, and at just the right scale for the grid inside a Moleskine Extra Large Squared Cahier (this designer's sketchbook of choice).
Anyone who writes about the American novelist Joyce Carol Oates mentions her productivity. Since 1963, when she at age 25 came out with her first collection of short stories, Oates has published over 120 books. Stephen King, also known for his productivity, has a mere 75 to his name.
Our latest piece for GE (ge.com/visualization/annual) explores 120 years’ worth of their annual reports, spanning the years 1892-2011. The initial idea was to look at how words were used over time: plotting the emergence and disappearance of themes over more than a century of history.
On February first, Chris appeared at work with a clean face. He told us that this was the beginning of a charity stunt. Chris had joined a group of men who would shave, then grow, then partially shave again to raise funds for Community Servings, an organization that make meals for Boston’s ill.
We're looking for people to join us at Fathom. Sharp-eyed readers might note that the descriptions are a re-post, but we continue to be on the lookout for the right people to help fill our studio here in Boston.