As I pass the hours of my last day in Toronto chugging my way through the school assignments that were inaccessible to me for most of the week, I have stumbled upon a fun little rock garden in the cubicle of the Internet -- CSS Zen Garden. So often the technologists and aestheticians are at odds, but here they converge to have graphic designers use CSS to achieve aesthetically pleasing results on the Web.
This mission brings to mind the thesis of a book I read for LIS 2000 - Ben Schneiderman's Leonardo's Laptop. The book explores the modern computer culture and his idea of the "new computing," relating it back to the Renaissance master Leonardo Davinci. The new computing, according to Scheinderman, focuses not on what computers can do, but what we can do with the aid of computers, and how computing's most important function is human connectivity.
I think if Leonardo were alive today he would be a proponent of things like the CSS Zen Garden, as he was a genius in the fields of science and technology as well as art. (Of course, poor Leo would have probably been too busy this week giving interviews in his defense to give the notion much thought.)
So my favorite designs from the Garden? I'm partial to LuGoZee and Organica Creativa for very different reasons, but I find them both aesthetically beautiful while still perfectly readable. For those interested in taking your CSS design reading out by the koi pond, there's also The Zen of CSS Design, the book. To me there's nothing quite so beautiful as technology aiding artistic and creative endeavors.