All posts filed under “Cargo cult

Cross-purposes?

Cross-purposes?

Last week I was at a seminar where a fellow student was outlining some (very interesting) research about how to adapt ‘professional’ products to be usable by a ‘lay’ audience (what functions do you retain, what do you lose, how do you deal with different […]

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The Rebound Effect nicely illustrated

The Rebound Effect nicely illustrated

The Rebound Effect is a significant problem in energy policy and sustainable design: if new devices are more energy efficient, will users simply use them more, or leave them on for longer? (A kind of Jevons’ Paradox). This UK Energy Research Centre report (PDF, 5 […]

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Normalising paranoia

Normalising paranoia

This is brilliant. Chloë Coulson, Erland Banggren and Ben Williams, three Ravensbourne graduates, have put together a project looking at the “culture of fear”, the media’s use of this, and how it affects our everyday state of mind. The outcome is a catalogue, WellBeings™ [PDF […]

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Friday quote: Fashion & convention

Friday quote: Fashion & convention

L.J.K. Setright, the late motoring writer and commentator, self-taught mechanical engineer and all-round Renaissance Man, once wrote: Fashion is a terrible fetter; convention, since it lasts longer, is even worse. This was in an issue of Car, when it was still any good. Setright wrote […]

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No photography allowed

No photography allowed

A couple of recent stories on photography of certain items being ‘banned’ – Cory Doctorow on a Magritte exhibition’s hypocrisy, and Jen Graves on a sculpture of which “photography is prohibited” – highlight what makes me tense up and want to scream about so much […]

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Dependence

Dependence

Karel Donk has some intriguing thoughts on ‘maximising the upside’ of life, by reducing dependence on other people, status and possessions, so that there is less to lose: So one of the important things in life is to be as independent as possible and rely […]

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Limiting frequency of cigarette use

Limiting frequency of cigarette use

 Images from nicostopper.com and Popgadget Nicostopper is an electronic dispenser which holds up to 10 cigarettes, and releases them one at a time at programmed intervals, to help pace and restrict the smoker. The screen “will also flash “self-help” messages each time to make you […]

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Locking out IE users

Locking out IE users

UPDATE: The code being used is from the Explorer Destroyer project, which has an explanation of its rationale here. It’s worth noting that it’s not just ‘Get Firefox’, but ‘Get Firefox with the Google Toolbar’, hence the $1 referral fee… I’d much rather have Firefox […]

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A vein attempt?

A vein attempt?

Blue lighting is sometimes used in public toilets (restrooms) to make it more difficult for drug users to inject themselves (veins are harder to see). The above implementation is in Edinburgh, next to the Tron Kirk. It was more difficult to see my veins through […]

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The Tell-Tale Part

The Tell-Tale Part

Open the case of your mobile (cell) phone. Do you see a round white sticker, similar to that in the first photo below? This is a water damage sticker, which changes colour if moisture gets into this bit of the phone, and will be used […]

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BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

BBC: Surveillance drones in Merseyside

From the BBC: ‘Police play down spy planes idea’: “Merseyside Police’s new anti-social behaviour (ASB) task force is exploring a number of technology-driven ideas. But while the use of surveillance drones is among them, they would be a “long way off”, police said. … “The […]

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Inconvenience: deliberate or accidental?

Inconvenience: deliberate or accidental?

Seth Godin mentions providing a ‘convenience’ feature for customers and then intentionally making it inconvenient to use: “Here at the White Plains airport, I’m noticing all these people doing things to me. Enforcing irrational rules. Intentionally putting the seats far from the electrical outlets so […]

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Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Last month I mentioned some fascinating details on planned obsolescence gleaned from a review of Giles Slade‘s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Having now read the book for myself, here’s my review, including noteworthy ‘architectures of control’ examples and pertinent commentary. Slade […]

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