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RFID vs. Honor

What third world children have to do with NYC commuting and why RFID beats honor systems every time.

YOU BE CYCLIST

Remember when the One Laptop Per Child program first made waves and everyone thought a $100 laptop for the third world was anywhere from laughable to plain undoable? Well, two years later OLPC has had the last laugh with its world-changing success, and the design team behind it is after a brand new revolutionary initiative.

ubicycle

The guys at Continuum have just concepted Ubicycle: a high-tech yet brilliantly user-friendly public bike-share system. It’s simple: you “rent” a bike using the same funds-loaded Smart card you use on trains and buses. It’s RFID-enabled, so whenever you use it to unlock a bike from the rack, the system knows who’s taking the goodie. (Sure beats a may-or-may-not-honor honor system.)

And speaking of the rack, each nifty modular station holds 2 bikes and the racks can be stacked horizontally. Seven of them (that’s 14 bikes for the mathematically- challenged) take as much space as a single parked car. The lock mechanisms are powered by the solar panels coating the kiosks for the ultimate cherry on top.

(Meanwhile, Philly is still trying to get the very, very 1.0 Philly BikeShare program off the ground. Hey, at least we’re trying.)

via PSFK

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Friday FYI: Auditory Freedom

We’re starting a new thing: every Friday, you get a quick everyday good-to-know. So go ahead, know.

GET A SONG UNSTUCK FROM YOUR HEAD

Blame your brain for that horrid Britney track stuck in your head since Monday’s morning drive — a glitch in your auditory cortex is causing the record to spin round’n’round endlessly.

Two ways to get it out:

1. Listen to the song in its entirety

2. Do some math

No joke, folks. This stuff works like magic.

>>> via Wired

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Layman Voyeurism

Postcards from the afterlife, fridge-peeping, and why George W is buying people Stormtrooper outfits.

The chicken or the egg: did tabloid culture raise us to crave a glimpse into other people’s lives, or are we psychologically pre-wired with voyeuristic tendencies? Whatever the case, we’ve noticed a fairly new trend: our inner Peeping Toms have zoomed in less on Joe DiMaggio and more on Average Joe — we call it layman voyeurism, the draw of peeping into random strangers’ lives for no other reason than basic human curiosity, and perhaps a teeny little bit of self-comparison to make ourselves feel better.

POST SECRET

Ah, the granddaddy of layman voyeurism: PostSecret. Part art, part cathartic confession, this ongoing collaborative community project introduced us to the rich emotional world of suppressed human sentiment.

Through homemade postcards scribbled with personal secrets, it has brought to light thousands of never-before-spoken anonymous confessions since its inception in 2004.

It all started with an installation for Artomatic that year, but it wasn’t long before creator Frank Warren took the project online — because, after all, what better medium to indulge anonymous confession that the Interwebs? Today, there’s a Facebook page with over 150,000 fans. And, of course, there are the books — which could easily be the most moving read you’ve savored in a long, long time.

Often dark, sometimes funny, and always sure to move, the PostSecret phenomenon could easily have ignited the fuse on this whole rush for peeping into the lives of everyday strangers.

So go ahead, free-fall right into it and mail in a secret of your own. You’ll feel so much lighter.


FRIDGEWATCHER

Not all layman voyeurism has to be dark. It can, in fact, be very, very light — especially when you open the door. We’re talking about FridgeWatcher — an offbeat project that simply invites people to open their fridges to others — because “every fridge tells a story.”

We suspect this one is all about the self-comparison factor: peek into a fridge healthier than yours, and you might just guilt yourself into stopping by the produce aisle on the way home. See a sloppier one, and you’ll have a comeback for next time your mother comes over to nit-pick your life.

We dig the concept — so much, in fact, that we opened our own fridge to the world. Go ahead, be judgmental.

via getTRIO

HOW I SPENT MY STIMULUS

Sure, Bush may not have gotten the can’t-buy-me-love memo. But $152 billion in “economic stimulus” later, we’re for once reaping the benefits of W’s questionable judgment calls — and we’re all doing it in different ways.

HowISpentMyStimulus chronicles what exactly Americans are spending their give-or-take $600 on. From the rational debt-relievers, to the hopeless gadget geeks, to the unapologetically self-indulgent, to those we’ll try not to judge, the entire project is one big, rather pointless endeavor. But we dare you to close that browser window once you start stimulus-peeping.

And while we’re at it, what did you spend your $600 on?

via Josh Spear

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Birdseye Visionaire

How a paraglider, a camera, and a blooming field of lavender will change the way you see the world.

THE WORLD AS WE NEVER SEE IT

Ecology. Our collective discourse on the subject ranges from hipster t-shirts to scare tactics by various nonprofit apocalypticists. But rarely are we faced with a gripping eye-opener that uses the beautiful rather than the frightening and ugly to challenge how we think about the future of the planet.

Bulgarian photographer Alexander “Sasho” Ivanov does just that in his stunning 360° BULGARIA exhibition, a collection of breathtaking aerial photographs taken from a paraglider over the course of 8 years.

The project aims to awaken our emotional connection to the environment and remind us what exactly we’re losing as we’re squandering our planet.

The 58-year-old photographer’s inspiration is movingly honest and raw:

I was born here. I grew up here, together with the grasses, the stones, the trees, the rivers and the winds. They taught me who I am, they showed me how to see, hear and feel, but most importantly – what it means to love and be free. This nature is a part of me, a part of my memory of myself.

We find the collection powerfully humbling. The birdseye take reminds us of our own smallness, of what a tiny fraction of the grand natural equation humans are and how full of marvel the world beyond us is — a world we’re slowly losing as we continue to stomp our little feet on every fiber of it.

The message is loud and beautifully clear: it’s time to rise above our petty sense of entitlement and look — really look — at the big picture. Because, unless we do, its magnificent vibrant color will continue to fade into the man-inflicted grayness.

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