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Fly 2. Life on the road/life in the sky. November 30, 2008

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“The design of work and the experience of mobility are merging. In today’s networked economy, many people spend their lives doing projects to earn a living; they do not necessarily have jobs. For project workers, life on the road has replaced the daily commute to an office. (..)

The world’s airlines now carry one sixth of the world’s population- more than one billion passengers- on scheduled flights. At the moment 300 000 people are in the air above the United States alone.


Frankfurt’s airport, with a workforce in excess of 40 000, is the biggest single-site employer in Germany. London’s Heathrow employs 55 000 people directly- meteorologists, air traffic controllers, engineers, pilots, cabin crew, cleaners, police, security guards, firemen, baggage holders. Another 300 000 or more people are employed by myriad suppliers- all those van drivers and sandwich makers. Airports are also the world’s largest employers of dogs.

Costs on this scale are sustained because airports and railways termini have become large multinational business in their own right. Less than 50% of Heathrow’s earnings come from landing fees or servicing aircraft. Commercial activity on the ground is one of the main sources of airport revenue, and hence one of the main drivers of the airport design.”

(John Tackara)


Fly November 28, 2008

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“In Europe, where there are already 500 000 000 passengers fly a year, and there are already 28 000 flights each day during the peak season, fewer than 8% of the Europeans have ever been in an aircraft.” Can you believe this!?

“Modern mobility comes with a price, but the price tag is seldom visible, and we seldom pay it- or not directly. Its costs are hidden. Not only the transport is expensive n time and money to the user, but it involves such external and hidden coss as accidents, traffic congestion, air pollution, climate change, noise, and hidden infrastructure costs. (..)

There is no international agreement how to measure the matter and the energy burden imposed by aviation, but clever organization called CLiPP (Climate Protection Partnership), which sells “climate tickets”, reckons we should all pay roughly 6,5 euros per hour flown in order to found projects that foster the use of renewable energies or more efficient uses of energy. Aircraft manufacturers have promised to halve pollution from their aircraft by 2010- but the traffic as a whole will probably triple by then, meaning that the environmental impact of aviation will rise 50 percent. ”

Text from another “designers’ bible” I discovered about a year ago- “In the bubble” by John Tackara.

You can partly read the book online.

More to follow.

We are what we share 2 November 24, 2008

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Some more bites of the inspiring book “We Think” by Charles Leadbeater.

“Crowds and mobs are stupid as often as they are wise. It all depends on how the individual members combine participation and collaboration, diversity and shared values, independence of thought and community. When the mix is right- the outcome is a powerful shared intelligence. When the mix is wrong it leads to cacophony or conformity. (..) In We-Think innovators share their ideas quite freely and welcome others’ borrowing of their work and improving on it. They put a lot of effort into their innovations and then do not seek to profit from them. This behaviour we have learned to regard as bizzare and yet on the web it seems to be a part of the new normal. (..) The web’s power comes in allowing us to be social in new ways. It speaks to a deep, old-fashioned yearning people have to be connected and to share- yet one that serves a modern purpose, to generate new ideas and knowledge. The oldest habits of shearing will be central to how we innovate together using new technologies. (..)

In the century to come, the well being will come to depend less on what we own and consume and more on what we can share with others and create together, especially as consumption becomes increasingly constrained by environmental concerns that means we have to lie more within collectively binding limits. In the 20th century we were identified by what we owned, in the 21th century we will also be difined by how we share and what we give away. That is why the web matters so much. It will allow us to share and so to be creative in new ways. (..) By making tools of cultural producion ever mere wildely available, Web 2.0 has unleashed new waves of authentic talent- pensioners on YouTUbe, bloggers like Salam Pax, i-or internet performers like Ze Fank and Ask a Ninja, who can find their audiences without succumbling to the cookie-cutting marketing of the mainstreem culture industry. (..)

Artists encourage others to borrow from them rather thatn protecting their rights as authors. As Woody Gutherie’s copyright notice put it:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singing it without permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.””

escape the reality November 15, 2008

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One of the topics in the goodbye speech of Li Edelkoort (the ex-chair woman) leaving the Design Academy was about being bored with this reality and the urge to escape it. And there are more ways than just the magic mushrooms (that she was talking about (: ) to do it. There have been many attempts in the history and still nowadays. I found my copy of the book of Hakim Bey that I red some years ago. It is called TAZ which stands for Temporary Autonomous Zone. He still makes me wonder, he makes me believe, he makes me act and try to free my mind again and again. You can read / print this book here (for free).


A flash mob in Argentina.

“Are we who live in the present doomed never to experience autonomy, never to stand for one moment on a bit of land ruled only by freedom? Are we reduced either to nostalgia for the past or nostalgia for the future? Must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom? Logic and emotion unite to condemn such a supposition. Reason demands that one cannot struggle for what one does not know; and the heart revolts at a universe so cruel as to visit such injustices on our generation alone of humankind.”

cs_woodlandcreatures Cacophony Society

” You will argue that this is a counsel of despair. What of the anarchist dream, the Stateless state, the Commune, the autonomous zone with duration, a free society, a free culture? Are we to abandon that hope in return for some existentialist acte gratuit? The point is not to change consciousness but to change the world.”


Burning Man festival


” Babylon takes its abstractions for realities; precisely within this margin of error the TAZ can come into existence. Getting the TAZ started may involve tactics of violence and defense, but its greatest strength lies in its invisibility–the State cannot recognize it because History has no definition of it. As soon as the TAZ is named (represented, mediated), it must vanish, it will vanish, leaving behind it an empty husk, only to spring up again somewhere else, once again invisible because undefinable in terms of the Spectacle. The TAZ is thus a perfect tactic for an era in which the State is omnipresent and all-powerful and yet simultaneously riddled with cracks and vacancies. And because the TAZ is a microcosm of that “anarchist dream” of a free culture, I can think of no better tactic by which to work toward that goal while at the same time experiencing some of its benefits here and now.”

Slow down and start enjoying your life! November 12, 2008

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I believe that you are sometimes wondering about it just as I do- how does it come that in 21th century with all the technology developments we are in a hurry all the time and as busy as never before.

I found this great book by journalist Carl Honoré “How worldwide movement of slowness is challenging the cult of speed” . It’s an international bestseller (and I understand why!), written in an easy-to-read way, full of inspiring examples from life. The author talks about various themes, like slow food, slow sex, slowness and children, benefits of working less hard and many more.

Here are some passages:

“Nearly half of Britons now eat their evening meal in front of TH, and the average British family spends more time together in a car than they do around a table. When families eat together, it is often at fast-food joints like McDonalds, where the average meal lasts 11 minutes. (..) Two centuries ago, the average pig took five years to reach 130 pounds; today it hists 220 pounds after just six months and is slaughted before it loses its baby teeth.”

But things are slowly (;) ) changing.. “Young Italians are signing up for courses to learn the kitchen tricks that their mamma failed to teach them. North American companies arrange fo their stuff to cook a sumptuous meal together as a tem-building exercise. Celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver rule the airwaves and sell millions of their recipe books.”

“Children are not born obsessed with speed and productivity- we make them that way. Single-parent homes put extra prssure on kids to shoulder adult responsabylities. Advertisers encourage them to become consumers earlier. School teach them to live by clock and use time as efficient as possible. Parents reinforce that lesson by packing their schedules with extracurricular activities. Everything gives children the message that less is not more, and that faster is always better. One of the first frazes my son learned to say was: “Come on! Hurry up!” (..) I came across an ad for BBC foreign language course for children. “Speak French at 3! Spanish at 7!” screamed the headline. “If you wait, it will be too late!” (..) Children increasingly pay the price for leading rushed lives. Kids as young as five now suffer from upset stomachs, headaches, nsomnia, depression and eating disorders brought on by stress. Like everyone else in our “always-on” society, many children get too little sleep nowadays.”

“Not long ago, the New Yorker published a cartoon that summed up the growing fear that modern youngsters are being denied a real childhood. Two primary-school boys are walking down the street, books under their arms, baseball caps on their heads. With world-weariness beyond his years, one mutters to the other: “So many toys- so little unstructured time.” “