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Has Venice cracked the bottled water conundrum?

Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world. They drink more than 40 gallons per person annually. Among many ecocidal by-products: until recently, discarded plastic bottles littered canals all over Venice, a world heritage site. Appeals to civic duty came to naught. Exhortation and public education proved ineffective in persuading people to […]

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This is not an object

and neither are these: Well I know they *look* like objects, but that’s because you have not read a new book called Nonobject about the design philosophy of Branko Lukic. Branko’s collaborator on the book, Barry Katz, cites respected commentators in support of his proposition that although these images appear to depict objects, they do […]

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In the air of Madrid

Ever since we organised Doors of Perception 3 on the theme “info-eco” in 1995, we’ve been preoccupied by the dilemma of environmental data. Our world is awash in eco information, we concluded then, but starved of meaning. In the worlds of science and policy, hundreds of organisations churn out a flood of reports, graphs, studies, […]

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Look – or connect?

Each year 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness and on any given night, over 700,000 people are without a roof. In Houston alone, some 15,000 homeless people live in abandoned buildings, on cardboard makeshift beds, under freeways, and in shelters throughout the city. In Western Europe, too, the number of homeless people is at its highest […]

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Of popes, pixels, and micropayments

Before Twittter, a serious connoisseur might study the Mona Lisa for 20 years before reaching a conclusion. Today, the average museum visitor looks at a work of art for 42 seconds. Now 45 seconds is a long time compared to the 11 seconds that most shares are owned by high frequency trading machines. But for […]

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From Easter Island to Three Mile Island

You don’t need to know how a combustion engine works to drive your car to work. Why should you need to know anything about the programming behind the pixels just to get around the web? For Douglas Rushkoff, in his new book Program or be Programmed, the answer is that the web is different. ‘It’s […]

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The meaning of melons (revisited)

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told the US Congress last year that Japan’s debt path was ‘out of control’. Simon warned of “a real risk that Japan could end up in a major default”. [The IMF expects Japan’s gross public debt to reach 218pc of gross domestic product (GDP) […]

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Innovating our way to oblivion

(Summer re-run: first published 16 June 2008) Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place. I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative. But now we’re suffering a massive counter-attack […]

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Marketing, me, and the future of tv

(Summer re-run: first published September 2009) A marketing whiz I know in New York asked me to do her a favour: answer some questions about the future of tv. At least, that’s what I thought she asked. But when, a couple of days later, a FedEx package arrived, it contained a tiny digital voice recorder […]

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