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Archive for the ‘Human Factors/Ergonomics’ Category

You have got to Ask for feedback: Feedback don’t come easily and without much specific prompting…

There was a time when the term feedback was associated with some kinds of “production process“.

Coming from an engineering background, particularly industrial and human factors engineering, feedback meant receiving the reactions of clients and customers in the usage of products, such as safe usage, easy manipulation, health consequences, quality of product, of processes…

Feedback has acquired a life of its own and expanded to mean “How do you perceive my behavior, and how do think people are judging me…?”

Thus, feedback in the workplace on how I control, manage, and connect with people, employees, clients…

When was the last time you received useful feedback?

When it was not too late to nurture and mentor this “good person” who is trying hard to communicate with you?

An angry person will vent his feelings, turn and bang the door…How much of a feedback you think you received?

Do you think receiving feedback from someone who is Not an expert in the field or didn’t work on the field can give use any useful feedback?

“How am I doing?” is not a great beginning: It doesn’t sound serious or honest.

Everyone who really craves excellence craves feedback.

You need to know how you’re doing and how to improve.

Honest feedback is rare. And you don’t receive feedback because you don’t ask.

The primary problem in feedback is the level of Honesty:

The higher your level in the hierarchy, the more likely people say what they’re expected to say, not what they believe. Honest feedback is rare.

Try full sentences for a change, like: (extracted from a short list by Dan Rockwell)

  1. What do you think I was trying to accomplish by the way I______? (Fill in the blank with an outcome, “Led the meeting,” Leader, manager, coach, spouse, etc.)
  2. What did I do that made you think I was ______? (Fill in the blank with their response to #1.)
  3. How could I improve what you think I’m trying to accomplish
  4. “How/where do you fit into what I’m trying to accomplish?” (Nathan, Thanks for giving me this powerful question.)
  5. How can I help you better fit in?

The feedback question that changes everything uses behaviors to identify what’s really going on.

It doesn’t begin with a list of job responsibilities.

How can leaders invite feedback?

What questions invite useful feedback?

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Your sense of smell controls what you spend and who you love

By Georgia Frances King 

Smell is the ugly stepchild of the sense family.

Sight gives us sunsets and Georgia O’Keefe. Sound gives us Brahms and Aretha Franklin. Touch gives us silk and hugs. Taste gives us butter and ripe tomatoes.

But what about smell? It doesn’t exist only to make us gag over subway scents or tempt us into a warm-breaded stupor. Flowers emit it to make them more attractive to pollinators. Rotting food might reek of it so we don’t eat it. And although scientists haven’t yet pinned down a human sex pheromone, many studies suggest smell influences who we want to climb in bed with.

Olivia Jezler studies the science and psychology that underpins our olfactory system.

For the past decade, she has worked with master perfumers, developed fragrances for luxury brands, researched olfactory experience at the SCHI lab at University of Sussex, and now is the CEO of Future of Smell, which works with brands and new technologies to design smellable concepts that bridge science and art.

In this interview, Jezler reveals the secret life of smell. Some topics covered include:

  • how marketers use our noses to sell to us
  • why “new car smell” is so pervasive
  • how indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air
  • the reason why luxury perfume is so expensive
  • why babies smell so damn good
  • how Plato and Aristotle poo-pooed our sense of smell

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Quartz: On a scientific level, why is smell such an evocative sense?

Olivia Jezler: Our sense of smell is rooted in the most primal part of our brain for survival. It’s not linked through the thalamus, which is where all other sensory information is integrated: It’s directly and immediately relayed to another area, the amygdala.

None of our other senses have this direct and intimate connection to the areas of the brain that process emotion, associative learning, and memory. (That why we don’t dream “smell”)

Why? Because the structure of this part of the brain—the limbic system—grew out of tissue that was first dedicated to processing the sense of smell. Our chemical senses were the first that emerged when we were single-cell organisms, because they would help us understand our surroundings, find food, and reproduce.

Still today, emotionally driven responses through our senses of taste and smell make an organism react appropriately to its environment, maximizing its chances for basic survival and reproduction.

Beauty products like lotions and perfumes obviously have their own smells. But what unexpected businesses use scent in their branding?

It’s common for airlines to have scents developed for them. Air travel is interesting because, as it’s high stress, you want to make people feel connected to your brand in a positive way.

For example, British Airways has diffusers in the bathrooms and a smell for their towels. That way you walk in and you can smell the “British Airways smell.”

It’s also very common in food. You can design food so that the smell evaporates in different ways. Nespresso capsules, for instance, are designed to create a lot of odor when you’re using one, so that you feel like you’re in a coffee shop.

I’m sure a lot of those make-at-home frozen pizza brands are designed to let out certain smells while they’re in the oven to feel more authentic, too.

That’s an example of the “enhancement of authenticity.” Another example might be when fake leather is made to smell like real leather instead of plastic.

So we got used to the smell of natural things, but then as production became industrialized, we now have to fabricate the illusion of naturalness back into the chemical and unnatural things?

Yes, that’s it. People will feel more comfortable and they’ll pay more for products that smell the way we imagine them to smell.

For example: “new car smell.” When Rolls Royce became more technologically advanced, they started using plastic instead of wood for some parts of the car—and for some reason, sales started going down. They asked people what was wrong, and they said it was because the car didn’t smell the same. It repelled people from the brand. So then they had to design that smell back into the car.

New car smell is therefore a thing, but not in the way we think. It is a mix of smells that emanate from the plastics and interiors of a car.

The cheaper the car, the stronger and more artificial it smells. German automakers have entire olfactory teams that sniff every single component that goes into the interior of the car with their nose and with machines.

The problem then is if one of these suppliers changes any element of their product composition without telling the automaker, it throws off the entire indoor odor of the car, which was carefully designed for safety, quality, and branding—just another added complexity to the myriad of challenges facing automotive supply chains!

Are these artificial smells bad for us?

Designed smells are not when they fulfill all regulatory requirements. This question touches on a key concern of mine: indoor air. Everybody talks about pollution. Like in San Francisco, a company called Aclima works with Google to map pollution levels block by block at different times of the day—but what about our workplaces? Our homes? People are much less aware of this.

We are all buying inexpensive furniture and carpets and things that are filled with chemicals, and we’re putting them in a closed environment with often no air filtration.

Then there are the old paints and varnishes that cover all the surfaces! Combine that with filters in old buildings that are rarely or never changed, and it gets awful.

When people use cleaning products in their home, it’s also putting a lot more chemicals into the house than before. (You should open your windows after you clean.)

In cities like New York, the indoor air is three times worse than outdoors.

We’re therefore inhaling all these fumes in our closed spaces. In cities like New York, we spend 90% of our time indoors and the air is three times worse than outdoors.

The World Health Organization says it’s one of the world’s greatest environmental health risks. There are a few start-ups working on consumer home appliances that help you monitor your indoor air, but I am still waiting to see the one that can integrate air monitoring with filtering and scenting.

Manufacturing smell seems to fall into two camps. The first is fabricating a smell when you’ve taken the authenticity out of the product. But then other brands simply enhance an existing smell. That’s not fake, but it still doesn’t seem honest.

Well, to me they seem like the same thing: Because they are both designed to enhance authenticity.

There’s an interesting Starbucks case related to smell experiences and profits.

In 2008 they introduced their breakfast menu, which included sandwiches that needed to be reheated. The smell of the sandwiches interfered with the coffee aroma so much that it completely altered the customer experience in store: It smelled of food rather than of coffee.

During that time, repeat customer visits declined as core coffee customers went elsewhere, and therefore sales at their stores also declined, and this impacted their stock. The sandwiches have since been redesigned to smell less when being reheated.

This is starting to feel a bit like propaganda or false advertising. Are there laws around this?

No, there aren’t laws for enhancing authenticity through smell. Maybe once people become more aware of these things, there will be. I think it’s hard at this point to quantify what is considered false advertising.

There aren’t even laws for copyrighting perfumes! This is a reason why everything on the market usually kind of smells the same: Basically you can just take a perfume that’s on the market and analyze it in a machine that can tell you its composition. It’s easily recreated, and there’s no law to protect the original creation. Music has copyright laws, fragrance does not.

That’s crazy. That’s intellectual property.

It is. As soon as there’s a blockbuster, every brand just goes, “We want one like that!” Let’s make a fragrance that smells exactly like that, then lets put it in the shampoo. Put it in the deodorant. Put it in this. Put it in that.

Well if the perfume smells the same and is made with the same ingredients, why do we pay so much more for designer perfumes?

High fashion isn’t going to make [luxury brands] money—it’s the perfumes and accessories.

What differs is the full complexity of the fragrance and how long it lasts. As for pricing, It’s very much the brand. Perfume is sold at premium for what it is—but what isn’t? Your Starbucks coffee, Nike shoes, designer handbags… There can be a difference in the quality of the ingredients, yeah, but if it’s owned by a luxury brand and you’re paying $350, then you’re paying for the brand. The margins are also really high: That’s why all fashion brands have a perfume as a way of making money. High fashion isn’t going to make them money—it’s the perfumes and accessories. They play a huge, huge role in the bottom line.

How do smell associations differ from culture to culture?

Because of what was culturally available—local ingredients, trade routes et cetera—countries had access to very specific ingredients that they then decided to use for specific purposes. Because life was lived very locally, these smells and their associations remained generation after generation. Now if we wanted to change them, it would not happen overnight; people are not being inundated with different smell associations the way they are with fashion and music. Once a scent is developed for a product in a certain market, the cultural associations of the scent of “beauty,” “well-being,” or “clean” stick around. The fact that smells can’t yet transmit through the internet means that scent associations also keep pretty local.

For example, multinational companies want to develop specific fragrances and storylines for the Brazilian market. Brazilian people shower 3.5 times a day. If somebody showers that much, then scent becomes really important. When they get out of the shower, especially in the northeast of Brazil, they splash on a scented water—it’s often lavender water, which is also part of a holy ritual to clean a famous church, so it has positive cultural connotations. Companies want to understand what role each ingredient already plays in that person’s life so that they can use it with a “caring” or “refreshing” claim, like the lavender water.

Lavender is an interesting one. In the US, lavender is more of a floral composition versus true lavender. People like the “relaxing lavender” claim, but Americans don’t actually like the smell of real lavender. On the other hand, in Europe and Brazil, when it says “lavender” on the packaging, it will smell like the true lavender from the fields; in Brazil, lavender isn’t relaxing—it’s invigorating!

In the UK, florals are mostly used in perfumes, especially rose, which is tied to tradition. Yet in the US, a rose perfume is considered quite old-fashioned—you rarely smell it on the subway, whereas the London Tube smells like a rose garden. In Brazil, however, florals are used for floor and toilet cleaners; the smell of white flowers like jasmine, gardenia, and tuberose are considered extremely old-fashioned and unrelatable. However, in Europe and North America, these very expensive ingredients are a sign of femininity and luxury.

Traditional Chinese medicine influences the market in China: Their smells are a bit more herbal or medicinal because those ingredients are associated with health and well-being. You see that in India with Ayurvedic medicine as well. By comparison, in the US, the smell of health and cleanliness is the smell of Tide detergent.

Are there smells we can all agree on biologically, no matter where we’re from, that smell either good or bad?

Yes: Body fluids, disease, and rotten foods are biological no-nos. Also, natural gas, which you can smell in your kitchen if you leave the gas on by mistake, is in reality odorless: A harmless chemical is added to give gas a distinctive malodor that is often describes as rotten eggs—and therefore act as a warning!

The smell of babies, on the other hand? Everybody loves the smell of babies: It’s the next generation.

Do you wear perfume yourself?

I wear tons of perfume. However, if I’m working in a fragrance house or a place where I smell fragrances all the time, I don’t wear perfume, because it then becomes difficult to smell what is being created around me. There is also a necessity for “clean skin” to test fragrances on—one without any scented lotions or fragrances.

Why does perfume smell different on different people? Is it because it reacts differently with our skin, or is it because of the lotions and fabric softeners or whatever other smells we douse ourselves in?

Cancers and diabetes can be identified through body odor.

Generally, it’s our DNA. But there are different layers to how we smell. Of course, the first layer is based on the smells we put on: soaps and deodorants and whatever we use. Then there’s our diet, hydration level, and general health. An exciting development in the medical world is in diagnostics: Depending upon if we’re sick or not, we smell different.

Cancers and diabetes can be identified through body odor, for instance. Then on the most basic level, our body odor is linked to the “major histocompatability complex” (MHC), which is a part of the genome linked to our immune system. It is extremely unique and a better identifier than a retinal scan because it is virtually impossible to replicate.

Why don’t we care more about smell?

The position that our sense of smell holds is rooted in the foundation of Western thought, which stems from the ancient Greeks. Plato assigned the sense of sight as the foundation for philosophy, and Aristotle provided a clear hierarchy where he considered sight and hearing nobler in comparison to touch, taste, and smell.

Both philosophers placed the sense of smell at the bottom of their hierarchy; logic and reason could be seen and heard, but not smelt. The Enlightenment philosophers and the Industrial Revolution did not help, either, as the stenches that emerged at that time due to terrible living conditions without sewage systems reminded us of where we came from, not where we were headed. Smell was not considered something of beauty nor a discipline worth studying.

It’s also a bit too real and too closely tied to our evolutionary past. We are disconnected from this part of ourselves, so of course we don’t feel like it is something worth talking about. As society becomes more emotionally aware, I do think smell will gain a new role in our daily lives.

This article is part of Quartz Ideas, our home for bold arguments and big thinkers.

Re-designing: opportunity to reframe problems and solution
Excellent read
Note: I consider this article as an extended version of how Human Factors engineers and practitioners must approach problems and experiments, and focusing on the health, safety and ease of use of any product or service.

The wider determinants of health developed by Public Health England show that in fact, things like someone’s education, their job, who their friends are, how they get on with family, and where they live can actually determine how long they will live – even if they’re using the same doctor as someone living down the road but who is likely to live 10 years longer.

In the last two decades, design has been demonstrating a refreshing approach to addressing such complex problems. This is because design provides the opportunity to re-frame problems and solutions.

It explores ways of doing things that haven’t been tried before, to address problems that haven’t been well understood before.

But in this age of complexity and multiple dependencies, problems are constantly and rapidly changing too, and so must solutions. We need to move away from the romantic notion that a solution – whether it’s a service, product or policy – needs to go through a one-off and well-polished design process, beyond which it will continue to be relevant forevermore.

Reality is very different.

So we’re making the case here that as designers, we have a mission to build the capabilities of non-designers who work within the organisations that are transforming our future.

This means they are equipped with the problem-solving mindset to constantly interrogate, improve and innovate as realities quickly evolve, and things that worked yesterday soon become obsolete.

Urgency for prevention and early intervention: There is a sense of urgency to pre-empt problems before they happen in order to save time, resource and often even lives.

The recent NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) demonstrate this urgency. With an ever-increasing population, public services are at breaking point. (It has already broken down)

But since two-thirds of deaths among those under 75 are a result of preventable illness, there is a growing recognition that keeping as many people as possible healthy is the most sustainable investment.

This is where a lot of the STP plans are focusing their energy. Because design offers a lens into the future and a provocation for possible realities, it provides those committed to prevention and early intervention with the ability to understand future problems and to design solutions that can forestall them.

Systemic complexity: We can no longer think of products, services and policies outside of the systems they exist within and interact with.

For example, we worked with the Healthy London Partnership on a deep dive to understand the root causes of childhood obesity and to try out new ways of addressing this chronic challenge.

Our insight revealed that a one-pronged approach will never do.

We need to create positive and synchronised triggers at different points in the system: we need behavioural nudges that change the habits of individuals, we need social movements that influence and inspire whole communities, we need levers that transform physical obesogenic environments, and we also need legislation and regulation such as the Sugary Drink Tax to reduce temptation.

Design invites diverse people across the system to confront problems collaboratively, by creating solutions that leverage the collective power of everyone’s experience, expertise, resource and authority.

Ongoing transformation: In a time of austerity, we just can’t afford to keep slowly chipping away at the problem through little tweaks and tricks in the hope that it will one day disappear. We need to completely and continuously re-imagine how things might work better.

When working with a national charity, we realised that funding for children’s centres was at risk, and that they were struggling to reach diverse families. This meant we needed to completely transform the service, into one where children’s centres can go (literally ‘in a box’) into the homes of those who most need them, for a ninth of the cost and nine times the reach.

A design approach to problem-solving offered staff the opportunity to experiment with transformational ideas at a small and safe scale, fail quickly, learn fast and build confidence in the direction of travel.

What capabilities

Organisations need to develop a number of problem-solving capabilities to future-proof their solutions. In a recent Touchpoint article, my colleagues Jocelyn Bailey and Cat Drew argue that these capabilities are presumably less about skill and more about mindset and culture. Armed with the right mindset, organisations can then develop (and even invent) the unique skills, methods and tools to solve all types of diverse problems. This mindset is characterised by:

Deep human understandingthe approach invites curiosity and determination to explore what lies beneath people’s actions, decisions and perceptions.

Reframing challengesthe insight revealed through deep human understanding can help reframe the challenge to get to the bottom of the hidden root causes, rather than the visible symptoms.

Working with othersa design approach to problem-solving is humble. We admit that we don’t know it all, and we invite others who have experienced the problem in different ways or who are experts in related issues across the system, to come on board and shape the journey.

Learning by doingthe only way to test innovation is to give it a go. Design is a process of solving problems through doing, learning, improving and scaling. Starting small and imperfect can mitigate the risks of failure, and with every iterative cycle and every improved version, more investment and scale can be justified.

image: https://www.uscreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/uscreates_prototyping-1024×683.jpg

There are various ways that organisations can build the problem-solving capabilities of their workforce. Last year, I wrote an article with Joyce Yee in the Service Design Impact Report that reviewed different design capability models that the public sector draws on. There is not a one-size-fits-all model, and each presents its own benefits:

Structured trainingthis varies from one-day workshops to bootcamps. These are best for beginners who would like a taster of the mindset to assess whether it provides potential for the nature of their organisation’s challenges.

Experiential learningin other words, learning on the job. Often this takes the form of design experts facilitating a series of problem-solving sprints within an organisation, based on a real challenge. Staff are invited to shadow the process, reflect on learning, and experience the benefits first-hand.

Coachingthis model is suited for more experienced organisations who have potentially benefited from structured training and/or experiential learning. They would be keen to lead the problem-solving process themselves, with the support of a design coach for strategic guidance, alignment, and constructive provocation.

Internal disruption: a popular example of this is the lab model, where an organisation invests in an innovation team embedded within, with a role to create and grow a movement and a culture that embraces a design mindset to problem-solving.

In today’s complex and rapidly evolving world, organisations need to start thinking differently about how they are future-proofing what they do and how they do it. They need to invest in people, not solutions. By better equipping their people with a problem-solving mindset, they are creating the enablers for ongoing improvement, innovation and future relevance.

 

Joanna is Design Director at Uscreates. She is a social designer, author, speaker and lecturer with over 15 years of practical experience in the UK, the Middle East and the United States. She leads on the development and delivery of service design, user centred innovation, design research, business modelling, communication and digital design projects.

Joanna has worked with over 50 public and third sector organisations – including Nesta, The Healthy London Partnership, the Health Foundation and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – to help them better understand and address their challenges.

She has expertise across a broad range of social challenges including health and wellbeing, social integration, social action, employment, education and social enterprise. Joanna has a Ph.D. in design for social integration in design for social integration and is an RSA fellow. She is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, Kingston University and Ravensbourne University.

Read more at https://www.uscreates.com/capability-training/#rtyugoxJFYpkkelH.9

Inspiring Young Inventors? Not investors, please…

An “experimental learning workshop” where kids engage in an essential but increasingly rare activity: they make stuff.

 posted this November 25, 2013 on Mind/Shift

How Do We Inspire Young Inventors?

In New Haven, Connecticut, where I live with my husband and two sons, we are lucky to have nearby the Eli Whitney Museum.

This place is the opposite of a please don’t touch repository of fine art. It’s an “experimental learning workshop” where kids engage in an essential but increasingly rare activity: they make stuff.

Looking around my living room, I can see lots of the stuff made there by my older son: a model ship that can move around in water (in solid ice is more relevant for those trapped in the Arctic) with the aid of a battery-powered motor he put together; a “camera obscura” that can project a real-world scene onto a wall in a darkened room; a wooden pinball game he designed himself. (You can view an archive of Eli Whitney Museum projects here.)

The people who run Eli Whitney call these hands-on projects “experiments.” As they put it:

“Experiments are a way of learning things. They require self-guided trial and error, active exploration, and testing by all the senses.

Experiments begin with important questions, questions that make you think or that inspire you to create.”

This process of exploring, testing and finding out is vital to children’s intellectual and psychological development—but opportunities to engage in it are fewer than they once were.

Frank Keil, a Yale University psychologist who is in his early 60′s said: “My friends and I grew up playing around in the garage, fixing our cars. Today kids are sealed in a silicon bubble. They don’t know how anything works.”

“We scour the country looking for young builders and inventors. They’re getting harder and harder to find.”

Many others have noticed this phenomenon.

Engineering professors report that students now enter college without the kind of hands-on expertise they once unfailingly possessed.

Kim Vandiver, dean for undergraduate research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said:

“We scour the country looking for young builders and inventors. They’re getting harder and harder to find.” MIT now offers classes and extracurricular activities devoted to taking things apart and putting them together, an effort to teach students the skills their fathers and grandfathers learned curbside on weekend afternoons.

Why should this matter?

Some would argue that the digital age has rendered such technical know-how obsolete.

Our omnipresent devices work the way we want them to (well, most of the time), with no skill required beyond pushing a button. What’s to be gained by knowing how they work?

Actually, a lot.

Research in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth.

In an experiment described in the International Journal of Engineering Education in 2009, for example, one group of eighth-graders was taught about water resources in the traditional way: classroom lectures, handouts and worksheets.

Meanwhile, a group of their classmates explored the same subject by designing and constructing a water purification device. The students in the second group learned the material better: they knew more about the importance of clean drinking water and how it is produced, and they engaged in deeper and more complex thinking in response to open-ended questions on water resources and water quality.

If we want more young people to choose a profession in one of the group of crucial fields known as STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—we ought to start cultivating these interests and skills early.

But the way to do so may not be the kind of highly structured and directed instruction that we usually associate with these subjects. Instead, some educators have begun taking seriously an activity often dismissed as a waste of time: tinkering.

Tinkering is the polar opposite of the test-driven, results-oriented approach of No Child Left Behind: it involves a loose process of trying things out, seeing what happens, reflecting and evaluating, and trying again.

“Tinkering is the way that real science happens, in all its messy glory,” says Sylvia Martinez, co-author of the new book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

Martinez is one of the leaders of the “makers’ movement,” a nationwide effort to help kids discover the value of getting their hands dirty and their minds engaged.

The next generation of scientists—and artists, and inventors, and entrepreneurs—may depend on it.

Note: Read my articles in category Human Factors Engineering on Teaching methods https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/teaching-methods/

Meet Bossy,

A Cute Desktop Assistant That Wants You To Be A Better Worker

The device is concept designed to show a future where our electronics can help us organize our work lives beyond just installing more and more productivity apps.

It might seem like working long hours would make you better at your job, but the opposite is actually true: It can make you less productive and lower the quality of your work.

(Even worse, it also makes you more likely to die early).

A new product concept from U.K. that design student Lucas Neumann aims to help by telling you exactly what to do so you can finish work early–like a friendly version of a robot boss.

Neumann designed the product for freelance workers with flexible hours, who might be more likely to procrastinate and get distracted by an avalanche of information online.

But it probably could be helpful for anyone who’s stuck in front of a computer all day and has trouble concentrating.

The tool, called Bossy, is a physical device that sits on a desktop, rather than yet another app. “When I was doing research, I started installing all of these organization apps in my phone and on my Mac,” says Neumann. “But I realized that after time we stop engaging with particular apps because we’re dealing with too much stuff.”

Bossy is a constant reminder of whatever’s next on your to-do list, so you never have to open an app or check in.

“I realized that if you have something that sits there with you all the time, off your phone and computer–while at the same time connected with everything–it might be easier to create a relationship with it and a long-lasting kind of engagement,” Neumann explains.

The simple white device connects to your calendars, to-do lists, apps, and wearable tech, and then displays your top three priorities.

Once you finish something, you push a button–made squishy so it’s more satisfying–and the device records your progress on a separate desktop and mobile app, offering badges and other rewards as you improve.

Over time, Bossy learns how you work in order to be more helpful.

It can also remind you to stand up, stretch, drink water, or take breaks, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by various feeds online, a swipe of a button on the device will shut down the noise.

Neumann created the design for an RSA student challenge that asked for solutions for the way we’ll work in the future. “It’s looking 15 or 20 years ahead,” he says. Still, the technology and predictive analysis used in the design are already available, so in theory, the product could be built now.

For the moment, Neumann wants to tweak some details of the hardware–a special white screen that he wants to use, for example, isn’t available yet on the market.

But as he researches the concept with freelancers at coworking spaces and elsewhere, he’s already getting requests to make it right away.

ADELE PETERS is a writer who focuses on sustainability and design and lives in Oakland, California. She’s worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley. Continued

When he is not teaching samba classes and helping kids in rural Brazil with their homework, Lucas Neumann de Antonio designs. And when he does, it ends up on FastCo.

 

What a 40 min-day longer on Mars do to managing team on Earth?

We didn’t think that we are going to have Mars watches and the logistics of the time

Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States’ rovers on Mars.

But working a 9-to-5 on another planet — whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth’s — has particular, often comical challenges

Nagin Cox. Spacecraft operations engineer

Nagin Cox explores Mars as part of the team that operates NASA’s rovers. Full bio

So many of you have probably seen the movie “The Martian.” But for those of you who did not, it’s a movie about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars, and his efforts to stay alive until the Earth can send a rescue mission to bring him back to Earth.

Gladly, they do re-establish communication with the character, astronaut Watney, at some point so that he’s not as alone on Mars until he can be rescued. So while you’re watching the movie, or even if you haven’t, when you think about Mars, you’re probably thinking about how far away it is and how distant.

0:50 And, what might not have occurred to you is, what are the logistics really like of working on another planet of living on two planets when there are people on the Earth and there are rovers or people on Mars?

So think about when you have friends, families and co-workers in California, on the West Coast or in other parts of the world. When you’re trying to communicate with them, one of the things you probably first think about is: wait, what time is it in California? Will I wake them up? Is it OK to call?

even if you’re interacting with colleagues who are in Europe, you’re immediately thinking about: What does it take to coordinate communication when people are far away?

we don’t have people on Mars right now, but we do have rovers. And actually right now, on Curiosity, it is 6:10 in the morning. So, 6:10 in the morning on Mars. We have four rovers on Mars. The United States has put four rovers on Mars since the mid-1990s, and I have been privileged enough to work on three of them.

I am a spacecraft engineer, a spacecraft operations engineer, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles, California. And these rovers are our robotic emissaries they are our eyes and our ears, and they see the planet for us until we can send people. So we learn how to operate on other planets through these rovers. 

before we send people, we send robots. So the reason there’s a time difference on Mars right now, from the time that we’re at is because the Martian day is longer than the Earth day. Our Earth day is 24 hours, because that’s how long it takes the Earth to rotate, how long it takes to go around once. So our day is 24 hours. It takes Mars 24 hours and approximately 40 minutes to rotate once.

that means that the Martian day is 40 minutes longer than the Earth day. So teams of people who are operating the rovers on Mars, like this one, what we are doing is we are living on Earth, but working on Mars. So we have to think as if we are actually on Mars with the rover.

Our job, the job of this team, of which I’m a part of, is to send commands to the rover to tell it what to do the next day. To tell it to drive or drill or tell her whatever she’s supposed to do. So while she’s sleeping — and the rover does sleep at night because she needs to recharge her batteries and she needs to weather the cold Martian night.

And so the rover sleeps. So while she sleeps, we work on her program for the next day. So I work the Martian night shift. (Laughter)

in order to come to work on the Earth at the same time every day on Mars — like, let’s say I need to be at work at 5:00 p.m., this team needs to be at work at 5:00 p.m. Mars time every day, then we have to come to work on the Earth 40 minutes later every day, in order to stay in sync with Mars. That’s like moving a time zone every day.

one day you come in at 8:00, the next day 40 minutes later at 8:40, the next day 40 minutes later at 9:20, the next day at 10:00. So you keep moving 40 minutes every day, until soon you’re coming to work in the middle of the night the middle of the Earth night. Right? So you can imagine how confusing that is.

Hence, the Mars watch. (Laughter) This weights in this watch have been mechanically adjusted so that it runs more slowly. Right? And we didn’t start out — I got this watch in 2004 when Spirit and Opportunity, the rovers back then. We didn’t start out thinking that we were going to need Mars watches.

Right? We thought, OK, we’ll just have the time on our computers and on the mission control screens, and that would be enough. Yeah, not so much. Because we weren’t just working on Mars time, we were actually living on Mars time. And we got just instantaneously confused about what time it was.

you really needed something on your wrist to tell you: What time is it on the Earth? What time is it on Mars? And it wasn’t just the time on Mars that was confusing; we also needed to be able to talk to each other about it. So a “sol” is a Martian day — again, 24 hours and 40 minutes. So when we’re talking about something that’s happening on the Earth, we will say, today.

for Mars, we say, “tosol.” (Laughter) Yesterday became “yestersol” for Mars. Again, we didn’t start out thinking, “Oh, let’s invent a language.” It was just very confusing.

I remember somebody walked up to me and said, “I would like to do this activity on the vehicle tomorrow, on the rover.” And I said, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, or Mars, tomorrow?” We started this terminology because we needed a way to talk to each other. (Laughter)

Tomorrow became “nextersol” or “solorrow.” Because people have different preferences for the words they use. Some of you might say “soda” and some of you might say “pop.” So we have people who say “nextersol” or “solorrow.” And then something that I noticed after a few years of working on these missions, was that the people who work on the rovers, we say “tosol.”

The people who work on the landed missions that don’t rove around, they say “tosoul.” So I could actually tell what mission you worked on from your Martian accent. (Laughter) 

we have the watches and the language, and you’re detecting a theme here, right? So that we don’t get confused. But even the Earth daylight could confuse us. If you think that right now, you’ve come to work and it’s the middle of the Martian night and there’s light streaming in from the windows that’s going to be confusing as well.

you can see from this image of the control room that all of the blinds are down. So that there’s no light to distract us. The blinds went down all over the building about a week before landing, and they didn’t go up until we went off Mars time.

this also works for the house, for at home. I’ve been on Mars time three times, and my husband is like, OK, we’re getting ready for Mars time. And so he’ll put foil all over the windows and dark curtains and shades because it also affects your families.

And so here I was living in kind of this darkened environment, but so was he. And he’d gotten used to it. But then I would get these plaintive emails from him when he was at work. Should I come home? Are you awake? What time is it on Mars? And I decided, OK, so he needs a Mars watch. (Laughter)

But of course, it’s 2016, so there’s an app for that. (Laughter) So now instead of the watches, we can also use our phones. But the impact on families was just across the board; it wasn’t just those of us who were working on the rovers but our families as well.

This is David Oh, one of our flight directors, and he’s at the beach in Los Angeles with his family at 1:00 in the morning. (Laughter) So because we landed in August and his kids didn’t have to go back to school until September, they actually went on to Mars time with him for one month.

They got up 40 minutes later every day. And they were on dad’s work schedule. So they lived on Mars time for a month and had these great adventures, like going bowling in the middle of the night or going to the beach. And one of the things that we all discovered is you can get anywhere in Los Angeles at 3:00 in the morning when there’s no traffic.

we would get off work, and we didn’t want to go home and bother our families, and we were hungry, so instead of going locally to eat something, we’d go, “Wait, there’s this great all-night deli in Long Beach, and we can get there in 10 minutes!” So we would drive down — it was like the 60s, no traffic.

We would drive down there, and the restaurant owners would go, “Who are you people? And why are you at my restaurant at 3:00 in the morning?” So they came to realize that there were these packs of Martians, roaming the LA freeways, in the middle of the night — in the middle of the Earth night. And we did actually start calling ourselves Martians. So those of us who were on Mars time would refer to ourselves as Martians, and everyone else as Earthlings.

And that’s because when you’re moving a time-zone every day, you start to really feel separated from everyone else. You’re literally in your own world. So I have this button on that says, “I survived Mars time. Sol 0-90.” And there’s a picture of it up on the screen.

the reason we got these buttons is because we work on Mars time in order to be as efficient as possible with the rover on Mars, to make the best use of our time. But we don’t stay on Mars time for more than three to four months.

Eventually, we’ll move to a modified Mars time, which is what we’re working now. And that’s because it’s hard on your bodies, it’s hard on your families. In fact, there were sleep researchers who actually were studying us because it was so unusual for humans to try to extend their day. And they had about 30 of us that they would do sleep deprivation experiments on.

I would come in and take the test and I fell asleep in each one. And that was because, again, this eventually becomes hard on your body. Even though it was a blast. It was a huge bonding experience with the other members on the team, but it is difficult to sustain.

these rover missions are our first steps out into the solar system. We are learning how to live on more than one planet. We are changing our perspective to become multi-planetary. So the next time you see a Star Wars movie, and there are people going from the Dagobah system to Tatooine, think about what it really means to have people spread out so far.

What it means in terms of the distances between them, how they will start to feel separate from each other and just the logistics of the time. We have not sent people to Mars yet, but we hope to. And between companies like SpaceX and NASA and all of the international space agencies of the world, we hope to do that in the next few decades.

So soon we will have people on Mars, and we truly will be multi-planetary. And the young boy or the young girl who will be going to Mars could be in this audience or listening today.

I have wanted to work at JPL on these missions since I was 14 years old and I am privileged to be a part of it. And this is a remarkable time in the space program, and we are all in this journey together.

the next time you think you don’t have enough time in your day, just remember, it’s all a matter of your Earthly perspective.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.

“I hate my époque with all my forces. Man is dying of thirst”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry of Petit-Prince and other books that were made into movies

The last letter from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to General X on July 30, 1944. He disappeared with airplane the next day on July 31, 1944

Lettre d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry au général X : « Je hais mon époque de toutes mes forces. L’homme y meurt de soif. »

antoine-st-ex-partenaire                    

Antoine de Saint Exupéry : mythe absolu de l’aviateur et de l’écrivain, auteur du Petit-Prince et de nombreux romans, est mort au combat le 31 juillet 1944.

La veille, il écrit au général X et s’exprime avec une lucidité exceptionnelle sur la condition de l’homme moderne. Testament avant l’heure, cette lettre, déchirante à la lumière de son destin, parle étrangement et profondément de notre temps.

30 juillet 1944

Je viens de faire quelques vols sur P. 38. C’est une belle machine. J’aurais été heureux de disposer de ce cadeau-là pour mes vingt ans.

Je constate avec mélancolie qu’aujourd’hui, à 43 ans, après quelques 6,500 heures de vol sous tous les ciels du monde, je ne puis plus trouver grand plaisir à ce jeu-là. Ce n’est plus qu’un instrument de déplacement – ici de guerre.

Si je me soumets à la vitesse et à l’altitude à mon âge patriarcal pour ce métier, c’est bien plus pour ne rien refuser des emmerdements de ma génération que dans l’espoir de retrouver les satisfactions d’autrefois.

Ceci est peut-être mélancolique, mais peut-être bien ne l’est-ce pas. C’est sans doute quand j’avais vingt ans que je me trompais.

En Octobre 1940, de retour d’Afrique du Nord où le groupe 2 – 33 avait émigré, ma voiture étant remisée exsangue dans quelque garage poussiéreux, j’ai découvert la carriole et le cheval. Par elle l’herbe des chemins. Les moutons et les oliviers.

Ces oliviers avaient un autre rôle que celui de battre la mesure derrière les vitres à 130 kms à l’heure. Ils se montraient dans leur rythme vrai qui est de lentement fabriquer des olives.

Les moutons n’avaient pas pour fin exclusive de faire tomber la moyenne. Ils redevenaient vivants. Ils faisaient de vraies crottes et fabriquaient de la vraie laine. Et l’herbe aussi avait un sens puisqu’ils la broutaient.

Et je me suis senti revivre dans ce seul coin du monde où la poussière soit parfumée (je suis injuste, elle l’est en Grèce aussi comme en Provence). Et il m’a semblé que, toute ma vie, j’avais été un imbécile…

Tout cela pour vous expliquer que cette existence grégaire au coeur d’une base américaine, ces repas expédiés debout en dix minutes, ce va-et-vient entre les monoplaces de 2600 chevaux dans une bâtisse abstraite où nous sommes entassé à trois par chambre, ce terrible désert humain, en un mot, n’a rien qui me caresse le coeur.

Ca aussi, comme les missions sans profit ou espoir de retour de Juin 1940, c’est une maladie à passer. Je suis “malade” pour un temps inconnu. Mais je ne me reconnais pas le droit de ne pas subir cette maladie. Voilà tout.

Aujourd’hui, je suis profondément triste. Je suis triste pour ma génération qui est vide de toute substance humaine. Qui n’ayant connu que les bars, les mathématiques et les Bugatti comme forme de vie spirituelle, se trouve aujourd’hui plongé dans une action strictement grégaire qui n’a plus aucune couleur.

On ne sait pas le remarquer.

Prenez le phénomène militaire d’il y a cent ans. Considérez combien il intégrait d’efforts pour qu’il fut répondu à la vie spirituelle, poétique ou simplement humaine de l’homme.

Aujourd’hui nous sommes plus desséchés que des briques, nous sourions de ces niaiseries. Les costumes, les drapeaux, les chants, la musique, les victoires (il n’est pas de victoire aujourd’hui, il n’est que des phénomènes de digestion lente ou rapide) tout lyrisme sonne ridicule et les hommes refusent d’être réveillés à une vie spirituelle quelconque.

Ils font honnêtement une sorte de travail à la chaîne. Comme dit la jeunesse américaine, “nous acceptons honnêtement ce job ingrat” et la propagande, dans le monde entier, se bat les flancs avec désespoir.

De la tragédie grecque, l’humanité, dans sa décadence, est tombée jusqu’au théâtre de Mr Louis Verneuil (on ne peut guère aller plus loin). Siècle de publicité, du système Bedeau, des régimes totalitaires et des armées sans clairons ni drapeaux, ni messes pour les morts. Je hais mon époque de toutes mes forces. L’homme y meurt de soif.

Ah ! Général, il n’y a qu’un problème, un seul de par le monde.

Rendre aux hommes une signification spirituelle, des inquiétudes spirituelles, faire pleuvoir sur eux quelque chose qui ressemble à un chant grégorien. On ne peut vivre de frigidaires, de politique, de bilans et de mots croisés, voyez-vous !

On ne peut plus vivre sans poésie, couleur ni amour. Rien qu’à entendre un chant villageois du 15 ème siècle, on mesure la pente descendue. Il ne reste rien que la voix du robot de la propagande (pardonnez-moi). Deux milliards d’hommes n’entendent plus que le robot, ne comprennent plus que le robot, se font robots.

Tous les craquements des trente dernières années n’ont que deux sources : les impasses du système économique du XIX ème siècle et le désespoir spirituel.

Pourquoi Mermoz a-t-il suivi son grand dadais de colonel sinon par soif ? Pourquoi la Russie ? Pourquoi l’Espagne ?

Les hommes ont fait l’essai des valeurs cartésiennes : hors des sciences de la nature, cela ne leur a guère réussi.

Il n’y a qu’un problème, un seul : redécouvrir qu’il est une vie de l’esprit plus haute encore que la vie de l’intelligence, la seule qui satisfasse l’homme.

Ca déborde le problème de la vie religieuse qui n’en est qu’une forme (bien que peut-être la vie de l’esprit conduise à l’autre nécessairement). Et la vie de l’esprit commence là où un être est conçu au-dessus des matériaux qui le composent.

L’amour de la maison -cet amour inconnaissable aux Etats-Unis – est déjà de la vie de l’esprit.

Et la fête villageoise, et le culte des morts (je cite cela car il s’est tué depuis mon arrivée ici deux ou trois parachutistes, mais on les a escamotés : ils avaient fini de servir) . Cela c’est de l’époque, non de l’Amérique : l’homme n’a plus de sens.

Il faut absolument parler aux hommes.

A quoi servira de gagner la guerre si nous en avons pour cent ans de crise d’épilepsie révolutionnaire ?

Quand la question allemande sera enfin réglée tous les problèmes véritables commenceront à se poser. Il est peu probable que la spéculation sur les stocks américains suffise au sortir de cette guerre à distraire, comme en 1919, l’humanité de ses soucis véritables.

Faute d’un courant spirituel fort, il poussera, comme champignons, trente-six sectes qui se diviseront les unes les autres.

Le marxisme lui-même, trop vieilli, se décomposera en une multitude de néo-marxismes contradictoires.

On l’a bien observé en Espagne. A moins qu’un César français ne nous installe dans un camp de concentration pour l’éternité.

Ah ! quel étrange soir, ce soir, quel étrange climat. Je vois de ma chambre s’allumer les fenêtres de ces bâtisses sans visages. J’entends les postes de radio divers débiter leur musique de mirliton à ces foules désoeuvrées venues d’au-delà des mers et qui ne connaissent même pas la nostalgie.

On peut confondre cette acceptation résignée avec l’esprit de sacrifice ou la grandeur morale. Ce serait là une belle erreur.

Les liens d’amour qui nouent l’homme d’aujourd’hui aux êtres comme aux choses sont si peu tendus, si peu denses, que l’homme ne sent plus l’absence comme autrefois.

C’est le mot terrible de cette histoire juive : “tu vas donc là-bas ? Comme tu seras loin ” – Loin d’où ? Le “où” qu’ils ont quitté n’était plus guère qu’un vaste faisceau d’habitudes.

Dans cette époque de divorce, on divorce avec la même facilité d’avec les choses. Les frigidaires sont interchangeables. Et la maison aussi si elle n’est qu’un assemblage.

Et la femme. Et la religion. Et le parti. On ne peut même pas être infidèle : à quoi serait-on infidèle ? Loin d’où et infidèle à quoi ? Désert de l’homme.

Qu’ils sont donc sages et paisibles ces hommes en groupe.

Moi je songe aux marins bretons d’autrefois, qui débarquaient, lâchés sur une ville, à ces noeuds complexes d’appétits violents et de nostalgie intolérable qu’ont toujours constitués les mâles un peu trop sévèrement parqués. Il fallait toujours, pour les tenir, des gendarmes forts ou des principes forts ou des fois fortes.

Mais aucun de ceux-là ne manquerait de respect à une gardeuse d’oies. L’homme d’aujourd’hui on le fait tenir tranquille, selon le milieu, avec la belote ou le bridge. Nous sommes étonnamment bien châtrés.

Ainsi sommes-nous enfin libres .

On nous a coupé les bras et les jambes, puis on nous a laissé libres de marcher.

Mais je hais cette époque où l’homme devient, sous un totalitarisme universel, bétail doux, poli et tranquille. On nous fait prendre ça pour un progrès moral !

Ce que je hais dans le marxisme, c’est le totalitarisme à quoi il conduit. L’homme y est défini comme producteur et consommateur, le problème essentiel étant celui de la distribution.

Ce que je hais dans le nazisme, c’est le totalitarisme à quoi il prétend par son essence même. On fait défiler les ouvriers de la Ruhr devant un Van Gogh, un Cézanne et un chromo. Ils votent naturellement pour le chromo. Voilà la vérité du peuple !

On boucle solidement dans un camp de concentration les candidats Cézanne, les candidats Van Gogh, tous les grands non-conformistes, et l’on alimente en chromos un bétail soumis.

Mais où vont les Etats-Unis et où allons-nous, nous aussi, à cette époque de fonctionnariat universel ? L’homme robot, l’homme termite, l’homme oscillant du travail à la chaîne système Bedeau à la belote.

L’homme châtré de tout son pouvoir créateur, et qui ne sait même plus, du fond de son village, créer une danse ni une chanson.

L’homme que l’on alimente en culture de confection, en culture standard comme on alimente les boeufs en foin.

C’est cela l’homme d’aujourd’hui.

Et moi je pense que, il n’y a pas trois cents ans, on pouvait écrire ” La Princesse de Clèves” ou s’enfermer dans un couvent pour la vie à cause d’un amour perdu, tant était brûlant l’amour.

Aujourd’hui bien sûr les gens se suicident, mais la souffrance de ceux-là est de l’ordre d’une rage de dents intolérable. Ce n’a point à faire avec l’amour.

Certes, il est une première étape.

Je ne puis supporter l’idée de verser des générations d’enfants français dans le ventre du moloch allemand. La substance même est menacée, mais, quand elle sera sauvée, alors se posera le problème fondamental qui est celui de notre temps. Qui est celui du sens de l’homme et auquel il n’est point proposé de réponse, et j’ai l’impression de marcher vers les temps les plus noirs du monde.

Ca m’est égal d’être tué en guerre.

De ce que j’ai aimé, que restera-t-il ? Autant que les êtres, je parle des coutumes, des intonations irremplaçables, d’une certaine lumière spirituelle. Du déjeuner dans la ferme provençale sous les oliviers, mais aussi de Haendel.

Les choses. je m’en fous, qui subsisteront. Ce qui vaut, c’est certain arrangement des choses. La civilisation est un bien invisible puisqu’elle porte non sur les choses, mais sur les invisibles liens qui les nouent l’une à l’autre, ainsi et non autrement.

Nous aurons de parfaits instruments de musique, distribués en grande série, mais où sera le musicien ?

Si je suis tué en guerre, je m’en moque bien. Ou si je subis une crise de rage de ces sortes de torpilles volantes qui n’ont plus rien à voir avec le vol et font du pilote parmi ses boutons et ses cadrans une sorte de chef comptable (le vol aussi c’est un certain ordre de liens).

Mais si je rentre vivant de ce “job nécessaire et ingrat”, il ne se posera pour moi qu’un problème : que peut-on, que faut-il dire aux hommes ?

                            ( Source:                                                              http://www.staune.fr/Que-faut-il-dire-aux-hommes.html                         )

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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