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A smooth journey

Two images have preoccupied me in recent days.
The first one [below] was taken in a lounge at Paris airport. I remember being struck by the intense design effort that had been made to create a controlled and insulated environment. On the tv screen were images of the popular revolt [continue …]

2022-10-04T10:29:11+00:00May 3rd, 2011|energy, most read, moving|

Utopia is here

Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner, made in 1982, portrays a dystopian Los Angeles as it might be in 2019. In just eight years from now we are due to discover find out whether or not the film was an accurate prediction.

Do [continue …]

2023-05-07T08:20:56+00:00March 30th, 2011|energy, most read|

What Kind of Design Institutes for India?

A decision by the Indian government set up four new National Institutes of Design [NIDs] in the country has sparked a lively debate about the kinds of design they should teach.
An influential group of design thought-leaders has launched a campaign called VisionFirst that calls for a “rigorous co-creation process to [continue …]

2023-04-21T16:53:32+00:00February 19th, 2011|knowing, most read|

A Tale of Two Trains

Oslo Airport’s mean-looking bullet train reaches the city centre in nineteen minutes. At 210 kph [130 mph] it is not the world’s fastest – some of China’a new trains will soon reach nearly twice that speed – but Norway’s is surely the most macho to look at.

[continue …]

2022-10-04T10:45:39+00:00October 31st, 2010|most read, moving|

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 [continue …]

2022-10-04T10:45:55+00:00August 24th, 2010|most read|

Silent tree hugging in Tenerife


The criminal over-development of the Canary Islands – and the loss of biodiversity and social capital that followed – was financed by the same banks and speculators that our governments are now trying so desperately to save.
Given the desecration of these [continue …]

2022-10-04T10:45:57+00:00August 22nd, 2010|most read|

Toxic sludge machine

I was critical last week of commentators who describe the financial crisis as “psychological”.

Those who blame a “lack of transparency” are on stronger ground – although ignorance of the facts or the law is not a valid excuse in other domains of life.
piramid.png [continue …]

2022-10-04T10:46:12+00:00August 6th, 2010|most read|

The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer.
Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five [continue …]

2022-10-04T10:46:18+00:00August 4th, 2010|food systems, most read|

Alternate Reality Game?

I saw this poster outside St Etienne station. It portrays The Mongoose who is “an infamous hitman hired to carry out assassinations and other evil deeds…the cruel and cold-blooded murderer carries out his orders with eagerness and glee.” It says it’s a game, [continue …]

2022-08-23T13:52:30+00:00October 22nd, 2008|most read|


So what exactly, I wondered, is the Baltic Dry Index? And is it a good thing, or a bad thing, that it is plunging downwards at the fastest rate since records began etc etc?
These turn out to be two good questions.
The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), [continue …]

2012-04-02T17:11:41+00:00October 21st, 2008|most read|

How dematerialisation adds value

Did you ever turn a packet of dried biscuits to dust trying to get them out of the packet? Me too. This brilliant solution from Bolletje, a venerable Dutch brand, adds value by de-materialising an aspect of the product. Go to the top of the [continue …]

2022-09-28T15:41:00+00:00July 31st, 2008|most read|

Eco ‘standards’ blitz

“These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”. Groucho Marx could have been talking about environmental standards. Visit any supermarket and you’ll encounter hundreds of labels and displays making claims about the environmental attributes of different products. Organic, Fairtrade, FSC Certified, “sustainable”.
This blizzard of assertions is [continue …]

2012-04-02T17:12:56+00:00May 29th, 2008|most read|
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