Seats for disabled passengers

An interesting post by Áine Pennello in CityLab discusses how disabled passengers may find seating on public transit.  There is often not enough seating for everyone, so the matter of who sits becomes an important issue. 

The LZR bike

Ben Coxworth at New Atlas recently posted a short piece about a bicycle going by the name of the Camard LZR.  One look at the design shows that the bike is meant to be distinctive.

Is basketball the same without the sound effect?

I recently discussed the matter of authenticity in connection with soymilk.  I asked: Is soymilk milk?  Fake milk? 

Is soymilk milk?

Candice Choi published an interesting article in STAT about a controversy regarding "fake milk".  Dairy producers in the USA are asking the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on products with names such as "soymilk", arguing that they are not really milk under FDA rules.

“Mammals produce milk, plants don’t,” said Jim Mulhern, president of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Can communication cure road rage?

Timothy Revell reports on a system named "CarNote" that allows drivers to send each other messages while underway.  The basic idea is that drivers can explain their behavior to others, thus reducing the risk of aggressive interactions, e.g., "road rage".

Technology and the fragility of human dignity

Ian Bogost has written a lovely little essay for the Atlantic, musing on the ends of technology and their impact on human dignity.  His conclusion is fundamentally pessimistic, that humanity is perhaps blindly and inexorably headed towards a state where people work for their machines rather than the other way around.

Is that baby monitor fair?

A brief article in the Journal of the American Medical Association raises a significant issue related to app-enabled baby monitors.  Bonafide et al. draw attention to the increasing popularity of wearables for infants that supposedly monitor their health status and report it to parents via their smartphones.

Is honesty always the best policy in design?

Noted industrial designer Dieter Rams insisted that good design is honest.  He formulated this idea in the sixth of his Ten Principles of good design:

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

The Netherlands reverts to counting paper ballots by hand

A piece by Sewell Chan in the New York Times notes that Dutch authorities have pulled the plug on computerized ballots and ballot counting for their next national election.

The move was prompted by concerns over the integrity of the election in the face of hacking concerns. In particular, allegations of tampering in the recent US election have caused the Dutch government to re-examine their setup, which was found wanting:

Chacun à son goût

Katherin Schwab has written an interesting piece on FastCompany about a new utensil called the Goûte.  It is basically a wand with a tear-drop shaped end.  Users dip the thick end into viscous foods like yogurt, swirl to get the food to stick, and then put it in their mouths to eat.

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