Shure: The best?
This Q&A at the Shure site is interesting because the company rep actually backs away from declaring its industry standard microphone “the best.”

Question: I was just wondering, the sm57 seams to be the mic that most artists use for their Guitar Cabinet, but is it really the best mic for that or is it just that it’s been such a classical model so long that they just presume that its the best and therefore use it? I mean the technology must have gone forward since it was first released?

There is never a “best” microphone. Is there a “best guitar amp”? Is there a “best guitar”? The selection of a mic, guitar amp, or guitar is subjective. It is what appeals to your ear that is important. Many artists prefer the sound of the SM57 for miking a guitar amp, thus its popularity.

“I mean the technology must have gone forward since it was first released?”
The SM57 has been internally improved in many ways over the years, but the styling has stayed the same because customers like it. Some styles are classics: Marshall amps, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, Shure SM57 and SM58. Why change if it a model is successful?

Steven Berlin Johnson: Insane, etc.
At author Steven Berlin Johnson’s site, he provides snappy and straightforward summaries for each of his books. The kind of unique p.o.v. stands out from the accurate but dry summaries you usually see.

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture—and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile.

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Probably the most critically well-received of all my books, and the one that has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror.

TriTours: Asking the ugly questions
Usually, travel sites just give you hype. That’s why a site like TriTours stands out. It has a Morocco FAQ page that deals honestly with topics that might concern potential tourists. Here are the questions at the “Safety and health” section.

Is Morocco safe for Americans?
Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Morocco?
Is it safe for a Jew to travel to Morocco?
Should I get any vaccinations before I travel to Morocco?
Can I drink tap water in Morocco?
Are Morocco’s beaches safe to swim?
Is it safe to hitchhike in Morocco?
Is it a good idea to travel to Morocco with children?

Maybe more FAQs should address fears instead of hyping the sunny side of things.

Design Observer: What if I told the truth?
In This is My Process, Michael Bierut wonders, “What would happen, I wonder, if I actually told the truth about what happens in a design process?”

When I do a design project, I begin by listening carefully to you as you talk about your problem and read whatever background material I can find that relates to the issues you face. If you’re lucky, I have also accidentally acquired some firsthand experience with your situation. Somewhere along the way an idea for the design pops into my head from out of the blue. I can’t really explain that part; it’s like magic. Sometimes it even happens before you have a chance to tell me that much about your problem! Now, if it’s a good idea, I try to figure out some strategic justification for the solution so I can explain it to you without relying on good taste you may or may not have. Along the way, I may add some other ideas, either because you made me agree to do so at the outset, or because I’m not sure of the first idea. At any rate, in the earlier phases hopefully I will have gained your trust so that by this point you’re inclined to take my advice. I don’t have any clue how you’d go about proving that my advice is any good except that other people — at least the ones I’ve told you about — have taken my advice in the past and prospered. In other words, could you just sort of, you know…trust me?