Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat

Anything that comes in a box, tin, bag, carton or bottle has to bear a label listing its contents, and many of us have become experts at reading these labels. But many of the additives and ingredients that once jumped out as fake and unfathomable have quietly disappeared. Does this mean that their contents have […]

In the line of duty: how the British followed fashion during the second world war

I’ve often wondered what “normal” life was like during the war. There was still crime, people still went to work, fell in love, died of natural causes, and worried about fashion. The women’s auxiliary services were shameless in using clothes to catch recruits. Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) officers were generally reckoned to have the […]

The future of design: texting cows and life-saving toilets

Immense pleasure might be derived from Moocall, a device that allows cows to send text messages to farmers. Not of the “Set me free” or “Stop squeezing so hard” kind, but an auto-alert along the lines of “COME QUICK, I’M HAVING BABIES!” Moocall simply slips on to a cow’s tail and, using gesture- recognition technology, […]

Anti-homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’

From ubiquitous protrusions on window ledges to bus-shelter seats that pivot forward, from water sprinklers and loud muzak to hard tubular rests, from metal park benches with solid dividers to forests of pointed cement bollards under bridges, urban spaces are aggressively rejecting soft, human bodies. Read the full story here

How Kids Company feeds Britain’s hungry children

Kids Company is a rare children’s charity in that the people it feeds and looks after are self-referring. Children come to them by themselves, and later they bring others who are also in need. “Between 2011 and 2012 we saw a 233% increase in these self-referrals,” Guinness says. As a result they launched the Plate […]

Boiling point: redesigning the kettle for the 21st century

When Nils Chudy came up with the idea of redesigning the domestic kettle just over a year ago he was struck by how little this vital organ of all kitchens had altered over the years. “Five thousand images, all of the same kettle. Bit of a different shape or bit of a different colour or […]

Battle of the drones: the little guys taking on the tech giants

This weekend, Dubai hosts the UAE Drones for Good award, a competition with a $1m prize for a drone used in a socially responsible project. Hardy has built one of the prize contenders, designed to plant forests in inhospitable terrain. “The drone has something like a paintball gun mounted below it,” he says, “so it […]

Past visions of future cities: where are our flying cars and hoverboards?

One particularly influential idea is the Garden City, first proposed by Ebenezer Howard in 1898. “The Garden City paradigm is one that just keeps re-emerging, with a slightly different remix each time,” says Dunn. He observes that a number of new themes have become more dominant in recent visions of the future city, among them […]