February 5, 2015

bike safety idea

Someone needs to develop a lightweight and inexpensive transmitter and receiver system for bikes and motor vehicles. The system would work like this: riders install the transmitter on their bikes. Vehicles equipped with a receiver get a proximity alert (sound plus lights, ideally) that tells them they're in the vicinity of a bike equipped with a transmitter. A yellow light and low noise means the bike is X yards away, switching to red light and a louder signal when they're very close to the bike. This helps address low light, distraction and line of sight problems by alerting the driver to slow down and look for the biker.

I think this idea has great potential to go viral. Any car/truck owner with a family member who bikes will be motivated to purchase the system for all the vehicles and bikes in their family. The manufacturer's marketing department could partner with tire and repair chains like Pep Boys and Jiffy Lube as a public relations effort: repair shops buy the receivers in bulk and advertise that they'll install them for free when people come in for service on Bike to Work day or something.

Public transit vehicles and delivery trucks/vans could market based on their use of the technology. Bike shops, bike clubs and civic organizations (Boy and Girl Scouts, PTAs, etc) could get involved, buying and installing transmitters on kid's bikes to increase awareness and visibility. The vendor could partner with bike manufacturers to have transmitters come already installed on certain models of bikes, and car manufacturers could integrate the receivers as original equipment on models designed for families or young, active drivers (i.e., those who likely bike as well).

What do you think? 

January 14, 2015


We live in a global economy. Everyone wants and expects 24/7/365 services but businesses have not moved to meet this expectation. “Standard” business hours means most services (from repairs to professional services) are available from 8-5 – the hours most of us are working.  At the same time, our infrastructure is strained by demand that is heavily used only a few hours a day.

The unemployed struggle to find work because those who are currently employed are working overtime. People cannot participate in extracurricular activities because gyms, houses of worship, leisure venues, etc are open a limited number of hours.  Even if these opportunities were available, workers are expected to be on-call to meet the business's needs almost around the clock. People are exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to find the time or energy to maintain a healthy, well-balanced life.

We need a change.

I propose we move to a truly 24/7/365 world, with shorter 6-hour workdays that begin on staggered schedules every 2 hours, 7 days per week.  A shorter workday more closely matches modern attention spans, and staggered schedules mean services and infrastructure will be better matched to need. If schools and businesses move to more flexible schedules, overcrowded resources would become a thing of the past. People will be better rested, more engaged and more appreciative of the opportunities a fuller life affords.

A “standard” full-time workweek would move from 5 to 6 days/week for a total commitment of 36 hours. Yes, people would work an extra day/week, but they’d also have more time every day to live rather than pushing everything they enjoy to a few hours of freedom on the weekend. Early riser? Work from 4-10 am -- you'd feel like you have your entire day to yourself  every day. Take a hike, volunteer at your local animal shelter, run errands, take a class, write a book … your life is your own.

Schools would work on staggered schedules as well: young children rise early, so the same facility that houses a kindergarten from 8 am -12 pm can be a high school from 2 pm – 8 pm, hours that are the best match for a teen’s biological clock. Workers with children can adjust their schedules to better sync with their children's schedules, or -- imagine this! -- have some time that isn't occupied by work OR child care.

A system like this means global enterprises will be more collaborative and more efficient as the schedules of employees living in different time zones overlap. Local businesses could be open longer hours because they’d have a fairly constant flow of clients. The increased business will cover the cost of hiring more employees, and those employees will be healthier, happier and more productive.

Although I don’t have the expertise to calculate the full environmental impact of this system, my instinct says it will be beneficial. Facilities would be smaller because fewer people would be using them at a time and would be maintained at a fairly constant temperature rather than massive swings to accommodate punctuated use patterns. Peak loads would equilibrate for utilities, removing stress on overloaded grids. New construction projects may no longer be necessary: instead, necessary repairs and upgrades of existing facilities could be accomplished. As people have a less harried existence, they’ll come to value quality of life over convenience and will be more likely to support a healthier lifestyle and a healthier planet.

January 13, 2015

programming change

In the past I've used this blog as a way to share some of the strange, shiny things that catch my attention. It's great fun, and a plausible substitute for both real work and real engagement with my readers (all three of them).

But I think it's time for a change.

For better or worse, I have a problem solver's brain. It gets hold of an idea and won't let go. It's kind of like this:

In some ways it's great, but it's also pretty annoying because when my brain is fixated on a problem it won't let me move on to the other things I need to think about.

I know there are other ways to handle this: I could try therapy, meditation, exercise or probably a dozen other strategies. But I'm going for the easy one. I'm going to share them with you.

In the future. look for blogs tagged "honey badger" -- those will be the wild hairs that keep me up at night. And who knows? Maybe they'll make for good conversation.

March 6, 2013


kapil bhagat captures the essence 
of scientists' most famous achievements
in this series of designs.
(how deliciously appropriate)

March 1, 2013


the falling man series by kerry skarbakka
reflects life's uncertainty

if god is a comedian, 
i suppose all those made in his image must be as well

February 18, 2013


haruki murakami's publisher has announced
that he'll be releasing a new book in april.
but why wait to find out the plot? 
I could come up with BINGO out of the last 24 hours.
not sure whether to read something into that or not.

(bingo card courtesy incidental comics)

January 13, 2013


crayon creatures takes your child's drawings 
and uses a 3-D printer to create a sandstone figurine.
I wonder if they'd do this with Robots & Monsters?

(courtesy the guardian)

December 28, 2012

December 26, 2012


thanks to laughing squid

it's not too early to get started on those resolutions

December 14, 2012


the awl published the style sheet for
george saunder's new book, 

unfortunately, I have to wait until january 8th
to find out what vivistif(tm) is

December 10, 2012

focal point

the guardian's travel photographer of the year 2012 
gallery has some iconic images

wish you were here?

December 4, 2012


I need this on a card so I can hand it to people 
(preferably from a distance).

thank you, schroeder veidt

December 3, 2012



the person with your name who shows up in search results
when you google yourself.

(courtesy mental floss)

November 29, 2012


the @YourInAmerica twitter feed catches the grammar police 
making grammatical errors

objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear.

November 26, 2012

stupid human trick

dan menendez (the piano juggler)
does some pretty neat tricks.

but this very quick trick was way too close to the scary clown of childhood nightmares

thanks for keeping me awake tonight, geeks are sexy

November 22, 2012

November 21, 2012


the next internet meme:

please advise.
(c/o boing boing)

November 18, 2012


a miles davis and kermit mashup?

I am SO there.
(c/o laughing squid)

November 17, 2012

public service announcement

a cheerful reminder from metro australia

 courtesy pleated-jeans

November 16, 2012


photographer fabrice wittner's lightpainting project
enlightened souls
memorializes the christchurch quake in february 2011

more images and technical details
in his profile on behance.net

November 14, 2012


lalage snow photographed soldiers before, during, and after
their deployment in afghanistan.
this is pvt. chris macgregor, age 24.

view more of the series we are the not dead
at my modern metropolis.

November 13, 2012


recently eiya iwata posted about visiting kobo abe's grave
at kamikawa cemetery on abe kobo's place.
This is kobo abe's headstone.

the image and the story keep returning to me.
I think this is what the japanese would refer to as yoin.

November 11, 2012


something bittersweet to go with your coffee
on a cold gray sunday morning


November 9, 2012

use of negative space

ddesignerr has a great post today
on logos that use negative design

less is more

November 8, 2012


researchers from MIT and Harvard have found a way to use the natural battery in the cochlea to power an implantable wireless transmitter without affecting hearing.

the device could one day be used in monitors or implantable hearing aids, or even be used to deliver therapies.

read the full story at MIT News

November 7, 2012

November 5, 2012


clearly I've been watching too much Walk on the Wild Side

action figure

"I'm Wolverine!"  
"I'm Sabertooth!"

another ffffind from  ffffound

October 31, 2012

alternate use of squash

forget the pumpkin patch -
visit villafane studios instead.

who says you can't play with your food?


the dark nebula SH2 136 (photo courtesy NASA)

happy halloween

October 25, 2012


the guardian has a great slideshow of typos
from around the world

warning: it's NSWD
(not safe while drinking)

October 7, 2012


BBC Radio 4 welcomed Francesca Martinez to The News Quiz last week. I've enjoyed The News Quiz for years, and know Francesca Martinez from her work on the Disability Now podcast.

Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4

Kudos to The News Quiz for demonstrating that
smart and funny transcend physiology. 

December 15, 2011


an excellent demonstration of
"correlation does not imply causation"
by Bloomberg Businessweek
(click the link to see more)

November 30, 2011

February 19, 2011


photo of the Carina Nebula, courtesy of Geekology

this explains everything.

May 25, 2009

alternative use of livestock

who says you can't play with your food?

I hope they move on to fractals next

March 21, 2009

postus interruptus

I'll be posting infrequently in the coming months so I can focus on other projects. The most efficient way to follow this blog is to subscribe.

March 8, 2009


a film by metroamv, a 20-year-old student

created for the u@50 competition
sponsored by YouTube and AARP

February 13, 2009

point of view

images from a 2006 exhibit by adam simpson

he makes me smile.

February 7, 2009


onitsuka tiger commemorated twenty years
of making shoes worth celebrating
with the creation of the electric light shoe

and a new collaboration with tokidoki

shoes for industry, compadre

February 5, 2009

February 2, 2009


scientists have captured on film
the waterjet formed
when a stone is dropped into a pool of water

read the whole story at science daily

January 30, 2009

great ball of fire

bioephemera, just one of many terrific science blogs,
has a great post with amazing video of the sun here

I'll forego the pun about sunscreen

January 26, 2009

panic attack

iCal not your cuppa?

if you've got a second, check out the technical pages,
which provide helpful information on all things scary, including
anthrax, bomb radii, plastic explosives, ricin,
and ramadan.

and I thought checking your horoscope was irrational

January 23, 2009

intersection of life and culture

perhaps americans would be more taken with
public transportation if we followed japan's lead

and injected more whimsy into our public transportation

check out this archival post at pink tentacle
for more fun train art

January 21, 2009


location, location, location

an exhibit by mikel uribetxeberria

watch where you step

January 18, 2009

act of extortion

neko case has agreed to donate $5 to the
best friends animal society
for every blogger who posts her new song to their blog

“people got a lotta nerve”

at least it's aptly named

January 13, 2009


that's right, you're not from texas

a texas songwriters playlist on finetune
compiled by wbaillargeon

well worth the listen
(even if it doesn't include pontiac)

January 11, 2009


a dose of reality from xkcd,
a web comic of romance, sarcasm,
math, and language

maslow must be spinning in his grave

January 9, 2009

incongruity II

another inspired effort by monique motil

captured from a story in the San Francisco Chronicle
by Marta Costa about Chris Moore's use of Motil's creatures
as inspiration for characters in his book, A Dirty Job

January 7, 2009

b movie plot

the spread of walmart across the united states

to watch the drama unfold store by store, click here

just one of the many intriguing visual presentations of data
(some of which are not reminiscent of an epidemiological study)
at flowingdata.com