The UK’s inflation foot soldiers: how the ONS measures the CPI

  In a shop stacked to the ceiling with toys, Brenda Cleaver is searching for a very specific car. “I am looking for a modern road vehicle, and I am checking the price. Here it is. It hasn’t changed,” she says, comparing the price sticker on the toy car with the information on her handheld […]

Beauty spot or landscape blot? Computer trained to judge scenery

  Wordsworth found it in a host of daffodils; Nan Shepherd in the nooks of the Cairngorms. For Monet it popped up all over the place, from the windmills and canals of Amsterdam, to the sailing boats of Argenteuil. What lends a scene beauty has long been left to the poets and painters to define, […]

Microsoft’s new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people

  The app works in a number of scenarios. As well as recognizing people it’s seen before and guessing strangers’ age and emotion, it can identify household products by scanning barcodes. It also reads and scan documents, and recognizes US currency. This last function is a good example of how useful it can be. As […]

Rider v rider: how transit etiquette campaigns make you the scapegoat

  At best, etiquette campaigns treat the symptoms of transit inefficiency, not the disease, they argue. At worst, they contribute to a ridership more concerned with each other’s behaviour than advocating for a better system. Read the full story here

Narrative Maps for ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books

  Maps like the ones Chooseco created can reveal the structure of a book that gives readers choices, but though the multiple story lines are part of what makes the series so fun, they’re not the only thing that defines it. The meat of “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories are gender-neutral romps in worlds where […]

Nutella employed an algorithm to design its packaging

Nutella’s manufacturer Ferrero partnered with its advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia to devise a plan to get people to buy more Nutella. Their idea? Have an algorithm design the packaging. The company provided the software with a database of patterns and colors that Ferrero felt fit with the hazelnut spread brand. It then created […]

Want to lose weight? Eat in a crinkly plate

A crinkly plate, designed with ridges that cunningly reduce the amount of food it holds, may be heading for the market to help people concerned about their weight to eat less. The plate is the brainchild of a Latvian graphic designer, Nauris Cinovics, from the Art Academy of Latvia, who is working with a Latvian […]

Google made a site that shows how millions of people draw the same object

  Back in November, Google released artificial intelligence experiment that asks you to draw a random object and see if the neural network can identify your doodle. Quick, Draw! was eventually turned into a tool that transformed drawings into clip art based on the best results it got, helping people add a visual icon to […]

Product designers ‘must reduce Pringles factor’ to boost recycling

Product designers need to retreat from “the Pringles factor” in order to make their packaging more recyclable, an environmental expert has said. Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents recyclers, pointed to the snack tube as a prime example of the failure to consider recycling in design – and listed a […]

America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide

  Innovation drives economic growth. It boosts productivity, making it possible to create more wealth with less labor. When economies don’t innovate, the result is stagnation, inequality, and the whole horizon of hopelessness that has come to define the lives of most working people today. Juicero isn’t just an entertaining bit of Silicon Valley stupidity. […]