A nice piece by Lena Groeger on how we make use of visual information in maps, graphics and other visualizations concentrating on the small end of the scale. Pre-attentive visual processing and more. Recommended!
In their study, Norton and Kiatpongsan asked about 55,000 people around the globe, including 1,581 participants in the U.S., how much money they thought corporate CEOs made compared with unskilled factory workers. Then they asked how much more pay they thought CEOs should make. The median American guessed that executives out-earned factory workers roughly 30-to-1—exponentially lower than the highest actual estimate of 354-to-1. They believed the ideal ratio would be about 7-to-1.
“In sum, respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates,” the authors write.
Americans didn’t answer the survey much differently from participants in other countries. Australians believed that roughly 8-to-1 would be a good ratio; the French settled on about 7-to-1; and the Germans settled on around 6-to-1. In every country, the CEO pay-gap ratio was far greater than people assumed. And though they didn’t concur on precisely what would be fair, both conservatives and liberals around the world also concurred that the pay gap should be smaller. People agreed across income and education levels, as well as across age group
On 23 December 1924, a group of leading international businessmen gathered in Geneva for a meeting that would alter the world for decades to come. Present were top representatives from all the major lightbulb manufacturers, including Germany’s Osram, the Netherlands’ Philips, France’s Compagnie des Lampes, and the United States’ General Electric. As revelers hung Christmas lights elsewhere in the city, the group founded the Phoebus cartel, a supervisory body that would carve up the worldwide incandescent lightbulb market, with each national and regional zone assigned its own manufacturers and production quotas. It was the first cartel in history to enjoy a truly global reach.
The cartel’s grip on the lightbulb market lasted only into the 1930s. Its far more enduring legacy was to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb. By early 1925, this became codified at 1,000 hours for a pear-shaped household bulb, a marked reduction from the 1,500 to 2,000 hours that had previously been common. Cartel members rationalized this approach as a trade-off: Their lightbulbs were of a higher quality, more efficient, and brighter burning than other bulbs. They also cost a lot more. Indeed, all evidence points to the cartel’s being motivated by profits and increased sales, not by what was best for the consumer. In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence.
Today, maintaining privacy without guided assistance is an onerous task, whose initial costs are high, immediate rewards low and solutions fragile and constantly evolving. The moment after perfectly balancing your Facebook privacy settings, a new “feature” is introduced and suddenly potential employers can view your bachelor party photos. While you admit you should password protect your smartphone, half of us don’t bother in order to avoid the “enormous” burden of typing in a PIN. Leaving our private text messages and bank accounts wide open.
Frankly, most people just give up, and hope the anonymity of the crowd, their own boring lives, and wishful thinking is sufficient protection. But they are mistaken. There are already good solutions today, but better systems will still be needed.
How can we bring a semblance of order and control back to the individual in the face of an increasingly complex and “transparent” world? Not without help. And that help will come in the form of an automated, personal privacy adviser.
This paper is concerned with how future cities have been visualised between 1900 and 2014, what these projections sought to communicate and why.
The paper is organised into eight sections. Each of the first seven sections is highly illustrated by relevant visualisations to capture the main ways in which the thematic content is evident within future cities. We present a brief summary at the end of each section to understand the key issues.
• First, we describe the relevance and power of imagined cities and urban visions throughout popular culture, a multi-disciplinary discourse, along with an explanation of the methods used.
• Second, we examine the role of different media and its influence upon the way in which ideas are communicated and also translated, including, but not limited to: diagrams, drawings, films, graphic novels, literature, paintings, and photomontages.
• Third, we interrogate the ‘groundedness’ of visualisations of future cities and whether they relate to a specific context or a more general set of conditions.
• Fourth, we identify the role of technological speculation in future city scenarios including: infrastructure, mobility, sustainability, built form, density and scale.
• Fifth, we examine the variations in socio-spatial relationships that occur across different visualisations of cities, identifying the lived experience and inhabitation of the projected environments.
• Sixth, we consider the relationship of data, ubiquitous computing and digital technologies in contemporary visualisations of cities.
• Seventh, we establish the overarching themes that appear derived from visualisations of British cities and their legacy.
In conclusion, we establish a synthesis of the prevalent patterns within and across legacies, and the diversity of visualisations, to draw together our findings in relation to overarching narratives and themes for how urban life has been envisaged and projected for the period under scrutiny.
BBC Radio 4's Food Programme has a rundown of the MAD (food) symposium recently held in Copenhagen, The 28 minute audio piece is a good introduction and there are links to more in-depth pieces. If you have an interested in food - particuarly how it relates to people - have a listen.