The 10th quarterly email newsletter from the ( team. Check out the archive if you missed any!

Q2: Electric Boogaloo


A snowclone is a phrase where you can substitute out some of the words with new ones and the concept is instantly recognizable. It is called a "snowclone" because these phrases are clones of each other and snow portion comes from the phrase Inuits have X words for snow (Someone found at least 55 English words for snow, so we're not to judge).

For example, Grey is the new Black as a template is X is the new Y. Putting words back into that template we get the TV show Orange is the new Black or Knitting is the new Yoga. How many others have you heard? is a database of these common tropes. From in Soviet Russia, X Ys you to the equally common, the first rule of X is, you don’t talk about X. If you look through the list you'll see several snowclones that you've probably used and learn the origin of many that you hear, but don't realize are snowclones.

How to draw by Ed Emberley

Following on from templated language, we can get to a template to draw cute animals. One of the great books we have in our library is called Ed Emberley's Drawing Book: Make a World. He's written several books about drawing various animals, figures, transport and other objects.

On each page he takes you through how to draw animals one small object or stroke at a time. Via this additive sequence of simple objects you quickly draw fairly complex images. Why aren't more books on more topics written in this easy way to digest?


I'm delighted to be speaking at the upcoming dConstruct conference in Brighton, UK on September 5th. The theme is Living with the network. My talk is entitled Humans are only a self-driving car's way for making another self-driving car.

This year's line-up is an amazing list of speakers like Warren Ellis, Cory Doctorow, Aaron Straup Cope and many more.

Get tickets before they're gone

Internet of Things

Professor George Lakoff has written several books on the topic of language and framing. I wonder what he thinks of the term: Internet of Things.

What is the frame that we're trying to produce by saying those three words? Internet is a bit of a misnomer, since these devices can speak with each other via many different communication protocols. Things makes the devices seem ubiquitous or only available to those of us who can accumulate wealth and objects.

Quarterly Contest

02014 is the year of randomness. This quarter we'll be giving away the book The drunkard's walk: How randomness rules our lives by Leonard Mlodinow.

You can't win, if you don't enter!

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