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In the News 30.12.14 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 30.12.14 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

 

1. What Is Fatigue?

“When, on a blustery day in Oxford in 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile, measuring out the full capacity of his lungs and legs and collapsing across the finish line, he felt, as he later wrote, “like an exploded flashlight.” That was the feeling researchers were trying to evoke, recently, when they paid thirteen volunteers at Bangor University, in Wales, to pedal a stationary bike at a predetermined pace for as long as they could. Such “time to exhaustion” trials are a well-established method of measuring the limits of physical endurance, but in this case the experiment also had a hidden psychological component. As the cyclists pedalled, a screen in front of them periodically flashed images of happy or sad faces in imperceptible sixteen-millisecond bursts, ten to twenty times shorter than a typical blink. The cyclists who were shown sad faces rode, on average, twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds. Those who were shown happy faces rode for three minutes longer and reported less of a sense of exertion. In a second experiment, the researchers demonstrated that subliminal action words (GO, LIVELY) could boost a subject’s cycling performance by seventeen per cent over inaction words (TOIL, SLEEP).”

 
Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

 


 

2. Why is everyone so busy?

“Why do people feel so rushed? Part of this is a perception problem. On average, people in rich countries have more leisure time than they used to. This is particularly true in Europe, but even in America leisure time has been inching up since 1965, when formal national time-use surveys began. American men toil for pay nearly 12 hours less per week, on average, than they did 40 years ago—a fall that includes all work-related activities, such as commuting and water-cooler breaks. Women’s paid work has risen a lot over this period, but their time in unpaid work, like cooking and cleaning, has fallen even more dramatically, thanks in part to dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves and other modern conveniences, and also to the fact that men shift themselves a little more around the house than they used to.

 
Read the rest of this article at The Economist

 


 

3. Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer

“This fall, JetBlue airline finally threw in the towel. For years, the company was among the last holdouts in the face of an industry trend toward smaller seats, higher fees, and other forms of unpleasantness. JetBlue distinguished itself by providing decent, fee-free service for everyone, an approach that seemed to be working: passengers liked the airline, and it made a consistent profit. Wall Street analysts, however, accused JetBlue of being “overly brand-conscious and customer-focussed.” In November, the airline, under new management, announced that it would follow United, Delta, and the other major carriers by cramming more seats into economy, shrinking leg room, and charging a range of new fees for things like bags and WiFi.”

 
Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

 


 

4. Anatomy of a 2014 villain: Bill Maher

“Background: Bill Maher has forged his reputation on an outspoken brand of progressive views that blurs the lines between comedy and outright prejudice. He speaks often about freedom of speech, to the point where he even defended Donald Sterling’s right to privacy after his racist remarks were publicized.”

 
Read the rest of this article at Salon

 


 

5. The changing nature of design is coming full circle

“Design is entering its golden age. Now, like never before, the value of the discipline is recognized. This recognition is both a welcome change and a challenge for designers as they move to designing for networked systems. John Follett, editor of Designing for Emerging Technologies recently sat down with Matt Nish-Lapidus, partner and design director at Normative Design, who contributed to the book. Nish-Lapidus discusses the changing role of design and designers in emerging technology.”

 
Read the rest of this article at Radar

 


P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

 

 

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