- IKEA is pushing back on the minimalist interiors trend in their latest catalog, and with a series of videos on "collectors" advocating for the value of being surrounded by stuff (at least when held in IKEA containers). The videos could easily be mistaken for content from The Onion: In one video, the subject says "I don't even have eyebrows, so that's, I think, proof of how, like, my aesthetic is quite minimalistic."
- On the design of high-end consumer electronics like Apple's iPhones (and so much more) from Jay Owens: "We touch our phones 2,617 times a day, a 2016 study by DScout suggests - nearly a million touches a year. Each tap, type, swipe and click produces a reaction of some sort - communicated through touch haptics, not just visually; we stroke our devices, and they purr and give us dopamine and a sense of agency back."
- A company called Naked Labs is now shipping a full-body scanning system that monitors changes in your body's form and composition, designed for everyday home use as a souped-up alternative to the traditional scale. While health and fitness are obvious use cases, it's easy to imagine how the technology (with some modifications) could dovetail with digitized products and services, like automatically updating your dimensions for a bespoke clothing company or recommending the best off-the-shelf fit from Amazon's offerings.
Machines for Moving:
- An article on air-conditioning's role in climate change, which is worth reading for its brief history of how our ancestors dealt with the oppressive heat and humidity of summers past.
- Sci-Fi writers spend their days imagining the look and feel of possible futures: societal change reflected in material change. Futures of either gleaming technological possibilities or dismal, post-apocalyptic wastelands, two poles that represent the best and worst outcomes of our attempts to reconfigure our reality to suit us. The likely future is somewhere between those extremes: a world with profoundly positive changes, along with patches of blight where we have carelessly blotted out resources for good, or greatly reduced the quality of existing options. As an example of what he calls "disaster aesthetics," Willy Blackmore looks at how climate change is impacting the color and texture of lumber, with beetles rampaging for longer and longer spans as winters contract.