Foolproof Flat-pack Warns of Assembly Errors

“While IKEA’s instruction sheets lead to a safely constructed unit, Antifakos thinks that the order in which parts should be assembled often seems arbitrary to the buyer. ‘People find this annoying so they don’t follow them,’ he says. ” –Foolproof Flat-pack Warns of Assembly ErrorsNew Scientist) Do people hate reading instructions so much that furniture makers need to embed computerized sensors in “ready to assemble” kits?

Trapped by the Web

“If all you have is a hammer then everything is a nail. How else can you explain why web sites are so incredibly painful to use? If I were paranoid I’d assume there was a conspiracy to assure that the Internet is kept lame. But perhaps it is a combination of ignorance and laziness.” Bob Frankston –Trapped by the Websatn.org) Well now, isn’t that SPECIAL. Now who could be behind…

Are Weblogs Changing Our Culture?

“A blog works if it addresses its audience, whether that audience is five or 500 or 5,000. In fact, many blogs, by their precise nature, are never going to get that big. So, why worry about the bigger fish? Enjoy yourselves.” Andrew Sullivan –Are Weblogs Changing Our Culture?Slate) “What the relentless focus of bloggers like you and Kaus on the Times and other big media institutions must surely do is…

The Science of Scientific Writing

“Science is often hard to read. Most people assume that its difficulties are born out of necessity, out of the extreme complexity of scientific concepts, data and analysis. We argue here that complexity of thought need not lead to impenetrability of expression; we demonstrate a number of rhetorical principles that can produce clarity in communication without oversimplifying scientific issues. The results are substantive, not merely cosmetic: Improving the quality of…

Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

“The diamond invention… is a mechanism for converting tiny crystals of carbon into universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance…. To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them.” The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever — ‘forever’ in the sense that they should never be resold.” Edward Jay Epstein –Have You…

The Right to Read (short story)

“…Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory. ” –The…

In Greece, Use a Game Boy, Go to Jail

“Thousands of tourists in Greece are unknowingly facing heavy fines or long terms in prison for owning mobile phones or portable video games…Internet cafes will be allowed to continue to operate, providing no games-playing takes place. If a customer is found to be running any sort of game, including online chess, the cafe owner will be fined and the place closed.” –In Greece, Use a Game Boy, Go to JailC|Net)…