Hidden Heroes

Simple but ingenious
The ‘Hidden Heroes’ finally have a podium. Or rather a box. In the Designhuis in Eindhoven 35 ordinary everyday objects are on display. These objects make our daily activities so easy that we don’t even notice them. They are so ingenious in their simplicity that they are taken for granted in our daily lives. The numbers in which they are produced runs in the billions, the products have become anonymous. A shame, since most products have a funny or interesting story to tell. They were originated by accident, at the kitchen table for practical reasons or as a result of a contest. Nicolas Appert, won a contest with ‘the can’ in 1809. The contest was organized by Napoleon who wanted a way to keep his troops’ food from spoiling. Now, we can’t image life without the can. In the exhibition the band aid, paperclip, juice packaging, Lego, zippers and matches are put in the spotlight in a playful and colorful way including the history of their birth. In an era in which a new product is dated within three months, it is good to see that there are products that will be around forever. Because they repeatedly demonstrate their usefulness, they are the heroes of our daily life.


Crowdsourcing website

World’s first crowd-sourced news site
If the rise of the citizen journalist has alarmed traditional media types, this new idea will really put them in a panic. Billing itself as the “world’s first crowd-sourced news site”, ViewsHound will rely entirely on volunteers who will contribute articles, photos, cartoons, opinion pieces… and readers. At stake is a daily $120 prize for the best contribution to the site, which will use filtering software to test for plagiarism and inappropriate content. The new site says that “entries are judged on a combination of editorial merit, page views achieved, and other interactions that readers have with the content.” There is even a whopping $1,000 up for grabs for pre-launch posters, presumably so the site has enough content to fill its front page upon launch, slated for sometime in May.

The brains behind ViewsHound set up Publisha in 2009, a web-based service that lets anyone build a digital magazine to be published as an iPad or iPhone app or as a Facebook page. ViewsHound claims to provide a “readymade audience” for wannabe bloggers and artists, which seems to us to be rather jumping the gun for a website that hasn’t launched yet and which has no content. Nevertheless, its vision of a kind of little brother for AOL’s newly-acquired Huffington Post (which doesn’t pay bloggers) combined with a more mature/longer form Digg or Reddit is certainly a new approach. And it will no doubt chime with the thousands of unpaid bloggers out there who fancy earning a modest return for their work.
Source: www.newscientist.com, April 28, 2011

More media sites customizing news for you

Tech and media companies are in a race to sap the serendipity from news consumption and distill readers’ interests into an algorithm. This week was full of headlines about new entries into the personalized-news market — sites that customize their offerings based on what types of stories a user seems to like.An update to Google News on Thursday brought “automatic personalization” to that article-aggregation site. When you’re logged into a Google account with the Web History feature enabled, the News home page will transform itself based on the news you’ve clickeAlso on Thursday, Betaworks, the New York tech incubator that’s home to Bit.ly, launched News.me, in partnership with the New York Times. The iPad application and e-mail newsletter aggregate news based on what’s most popular among people the user follows on Twitter.
Source: www.cnn.com, April 22, 2011

Mobile phone flirting is hotting up

New technology has changed the way some people flirt and date Spending on flirting and dating services on mobiles phones showed signs of hotting up, official figures show. The amount spent rose by 36% in 2010 compared with the previous year to £34.7m, premium rate regulator Phonepayplus said. Mobile and online flirting services reported a boom in sales of “virtual gifts” – such as a virtual kiss sent to somebody’s mobile. Men are more likely to phone flirt, the report said. Some 63% of users were men, with 18 to 34-year-olds the most likely to use the premium rate flirting services. “As
a regulator, we welcome innovation in the market and very much want consumers to enjoy fun new services with the reassurance that there is a regulator working with industry to prevent consumer harm,” said Paul Whiteing, chief executive Phonepayplus.
Source: www.bbc.co.uk, April 21, 2011

H&M Conscious Collection

Sustainable Fashion
This April H&M, as part of its focus on sustainability, will introduce Conscious Collection, an ongoing range for women, men and kids, made from environmentally- adapted and greener materials such as organic cotton. The collection is made from environmentally adapted and sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, TENCEL® and recycled polyester. H&M’s in-house designers have been inspired by different shades of white, one of this spring’s most important colors. A minimalist, tailored look is combined with romantic lace, border anglaise, frills and draping. The Conscious Collection will be on sale in all H&M stores beginning April 14, 2011.
Source: www.hmconsciouscollection.com

Visit Grocery Stores

The history of the small store
Grocery shops, they seem a forgotten species. At various locations in Amsterdam there are exhibitions about the present and the past of the grocery shop. The Amsterdam Historical Museum has an exhibition, but there is also plenty to see in Mustafa’s coffee house in the Javastreet. Several neighborhoods are highlighted and there is a lot of attention for personal stories. Thus, a woman who has lived her whole life in the district Kattenburg has seen her cozy neighborhood with nearly one hundred shops change into an area with only one supermarket. This is the case in many neighborhoods. In 1930, there were still 906 grocery shops, now there are only 83. The milkman has been changed to “my Turk ‘on the corner. The life-course of the local shops says a lot about our way of life. With advent of factories and hence the supermarkets with low prices, there was a decline in the small shops in the 1060’s. The guest workers who couldn’t get used Dutch cuisine opened their own shops. These shops are still around and were seen as very old fashioned. But what the exhibition makes very clear is that the local shops for a feeling of togetherness is gone. The daily chat, personal advice or home delivery, has become rare. Perhaps the concept of the little shop or that crazy Turk is not such a bad idea. A store where you encounter your neighbors and make you feel more involved with your environment is a nice thing to have around.

Bacteria are becoming resistant

Bacteria strike back
It starts gradually getting ‘critical’ according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More and more bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, which makes certain infections hard to beat. Especially when a “super-bacteria” is spreading. Currently, 25,000 people in Europe die each year from infections that can’t even be treated with the newest antibiotics. If nothing changes a ‘nightmare scenario’ will become reality, where untreatable infections will spread worldwide, according to the WTO.

This week, the NDM-1 super bacteria was found in some patients in England. The bacteria comes from New Delhi in India and causes nasty infections that can’t even be treated with the strongest antibiotics. Researchers at Cardiff University fear that the bacteria has contaminated the drinking water in New Delhi and therefore forms a threat to millions of people. Measurements were taken from the water and in a number of samples, the bacteria was found. This bacteria spreads diseases like diarrhea, cholera and dysentery faster, especially in a country like India, where 650 million people lack access to clean water or proper sanitary facilities. The researchers urge the world to take action and do more research. By finding the bacterium in England it shows that bacteria are rapidly spreading around the globe.
Source: http://www.volkskrant.nl, April 7, 2011