News from you 2/8/2010

small_long_wangNews From You was a popular series I used to do more frequently. NFY is an eclection (eclectic+collection) of news, humor, arcane tidbits and nothing of importance to the community, sent to me from all of you. Your submissions are always welcome!

Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “S”:

Sewing machines: I found this machine (right) with the brand name of Long Wang a few month ago. It’s pretty, no? Ever heard ot it before? Here’s a larger photo (300 kb). Or how about this; have you ever seen a sewing machine made of a legos?

Shoes: Speaking of legos, Armo has come up with a component shoe you can assemble, click and snap together yourself.

Soccer balls: And speaking of making, this is how soccer balls are made. I still don’t understand how they close them. I would pay to see a detailed industrial video of the process start to finish.

Humor:

Dismay/chagrin:

2010 Tradeshow Calender, courtesy of California Apparel News. Formatted for printing.

Sustainable Fabric: Have you heard of Nessle?

Nettle fabric is developed from the Brennessel plant and was very popular in the Middle-Ages when upper-class ladies preferred it over silk. This plant grows in almost all types of soils and it requires very little fertilization because the minerals are not leached out of the ground. Brennessel is naturally resistant to vermin and many parasites and can be grown without pesticides and herbicides. It can be more finely woven than cotton and can have the gloss of silk. The fiber is hollow and this makes it possible for nettle fabric to breathe and be insulating at the same time.

Blogs:
Sue provided a link to Get Smart (about Manufacturing). A jewelry designer, Wendy Brandes explains the philosophical and practical reasons why she can’t do cheap and she can’t outsource.

The situation I’m in is a classic small-business conundrum. I could sell more if I charged less, but I can’t charge less till I sell more. This applies to most small businesses, whether the product is software or apparel.

Books:
Brina says there’s a book out about Geneviève Sevin-Doering who was the inspiration for our most recent pattern puzzle. It’s 20 euros and nobody carries it in the States. Brina is thinking of organizing a book buy.

Read:
The paranoid don’t innovate. Recent research shows that the less trusting one is, the less likely they are to come up with great ideas. I definitely notice that the more obsessed one is with IP, the more likely they are to be copying someone else. Go figure. On the other hand (see the comments), it could also explain why Gen Y has to cross the hurdle of doing entry level drudge work many are wont to do. It’s less a matter of paying dues (that sounds punitive) and more with developing a reputation of trustworthiness among co-workers to be deemed trustworthy and thus, gain access to implement the innovation of their ideas. In terms of psychological fragility, Why Victims Can’t Invent Invent Anything is related.

Thomas, Zoe and Lisa mentioned word of an article from Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, Behind the Scenes: The Product Specialist. Pardon my sour grapes but the NYT has recently discovered the industry has changed forever. On the other hand, if you’ve ever doubted any of my too lengthy editorializing on the topic, you can read it from somebody else. Decent read, go pile on.

Milena sends a link (again from the NYT) about Zac Posen’s decline called The Trials of a Former Boy Wonder.

There was a time when brashness was a refreshing change in New York fashion, which had been dominated by a handful of aging mega-brands until Mr. Posen planted his flag in the biggest, most expensive tent in Bryant Park. But his extravagant success came so quickly, perhaps faster than his limited experience should have allowed, that his setbacks echo all the more loudly. He became unpredictable, lashing out at the news media as his company struggled with layoffs, a revolving door of executives and an investor pulling back the reins. He was the designer wunderkind who went too far, too fast, his sequins falling to the floor like the feathers of Icarus.

The author of the piece says Zac Posen was largely the impetus for the new breed of fashion design rock star wannabes, “Now young designers think good looks plus diploma equals business plan.” I was wondering where that came from, can’t blame it all on him tho, part is Project Runway.

Heard:
Via NPR: A depressing story about the costs of higher education. Kids today have it worse. If a bachelor’s degree today is equivalent to a high school diploma 30 years ago… I just don’t see any end to the need of incurring massive amounts of debt just to get a halfway decent job. Jeez. No wonder kids today are described as narcissistic and feel entitled to rule the world, they darn well paid for it. They haven’t even gotten their first jobs and some can practically owe the equivalent of a mortgage. It’s nothing short of educational inflation. My sister in law said physical therapy used to require a bachelor’s but now a doctorate is required for licensing. Sure, life today is great in that a greater supply of information is accessible to more people but we didn’t anticipate the downside of it actually becoming required. The more that is known, the more we need to know and the more we must know. And then getting less for it. Inspiring: NC has an early-college high school program that is an alternative to high priced, higher education.

Again via NPR, obesity has leveled out (finally) with one disturbing exception: the rate continues to increase among boys aged 6-19. Other than that it would naturally follow boys would then continue on to be more overweight than average adults, I wonder what it means -long term. There’s a related trend in Japan. Men have gained weight while women’s absolute weight has decreased.

Saw:
Strima has a whole passle of videos demonstrating unusual production equipment. For example, I’d always heard of pin tables but had never seen one in operation. There’s also a video of a sequin sewing machine. More.

Deep think: Via Farnam Street (“what the smartest people on the internet read”),

The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis: The CIA published “the psychology of intelligence analysis” as an internal guide to help analysts better understand their mental processes. The information is relatively timeless. The articles are based on reviewing cognitive psychology literature concerning how people process information to make judgments on incomplete and ambiguous information. I highly recommend that anyone interesting in complex systems, biases inherent in thinking and decision making, and human nature give this a read.

The blog author is posting a summary in four parts.
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Well that’s it for this edition. Please send your submissions to News From You.

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8 comments

  1. Lisa Shoemaker says:

    When I’m at my parent’s house we watch “How It’s Made” on the Science Channel. It is really interesting to see the machines at work and sometimes you get to see the machine operators. If we could we would just get a “science” package from the cable company of the science channel, the discovery channel, the national geographic channel, SciFi and A&E.

  2. Vicki says:

    Yea! Love your information and glad to see it back. If only that machine could talk, I am certain it would have a many good stories to tell.

  3. Brina says:

    I found a satinist here http://www.satinist.com/ and I’ve never seen Obama do that so he must be a muslin half breed. Wonder what the other half is, bouclé? buckram? seersucker?

    There was another similar Minnesota story recently–I think it was a union that outsourced it’s advertising or accounting to a company in Australia. Sorry i can’t find the blurb.

  4. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    I wish I could pick and choose from cable channels, too! I’d pick those and add History Channel and the channel that always plays all the *old* movies. Oh, and probably the Weather Channel so if my mom was over, she could be occupied. (Really, she used to leave it on all the time.) :-)

  5. Kate Rawlinson says:

    Awww, if I’d known this post was brought to you by the letter S, I’d have sent in a photo of the costume I just made. Except I messed up the canvassing and it has all kinds of droop, so I’d probably be too ashamed. But still – S!

  6. Bente says:

    About the “component shoe you can assemble”.
    I was suprised when I read about this (on the link) as if it was his invention; his consept yes, but not invention!
    I have a designer friend (most lovely person!) in Portugal that has invented and has pattented a way to zip the sole from the shoe. Their concept is really neat. You can travel with 3 pair of boots, balerina-shoes and tennis in a small week-end bag! The leather is super soft and wonderful and the styles are fashion/conteporary. If you try them on it feels like wearing nothing on the feet and it feels like walking in space! and the name is: “Made In Space”..
    I would love to tell you more about it…

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