European colonial Empires, British, French in the 19th and 20th Centuries – The Map as History

European countries began exploring and seeking to dominate the rest of the world during the 15th and 16th centuries, thanks to their ability to control sea routes and to the discovery of the American continent. In the 19th century, energized by the industrial revolution and under pressure from a rapidly growing population, Europe launched a new period of colonial expansion, inspired by the discovery of new markets, new areas for the settlement of Europe’s poor migrants, and the desire to ” civilize the barbarian nations “.

via European colonial Empires, British, French in the 19th and 20th Centuries – The Map as History.

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Japanese Aesthetics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

This is more philosophical – but as a window into an amazing world – its great.

Two preliminary observations about the Japanese cultural tradition to begin with. The first is that classical Japanese philosophy understands the basic reality as constant change, or (to use a Buddhist expression) impermanence. The world of flux that presents itself to our senses is the only reality: there is no conception of some stable “Platonic” realm above or behind it. The arts in Japan have traditionally reflected this fundamental impermanence—sometimes lamenting but more often celebrating it. The idea of mujō (impermanence) is perhaps most forcefully expressed in the writings and sayings of the thirteenth-century Zen master Dōgen, who is arguably Japan’s profoundest philosopher, but here is a fine expression of it by a later Buddhist priest, Yoshida Kenkō, whose Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa, 1332) sparkles with aesthetic insights:

It does not matter how young or strong you may be, the hour of death comes sooner that you expect. It is an extraordinary miracle that you should have escaped to this day; do you suppose you have even the briefest respite in which to relax? (Keene, 120)

via Japanese Aesthetics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

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Japanese aesthetics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is very stilted text. But as an intro is a beginning. I spoke yesterday about how Japanese design has a place for perfection. No auto tune for them I told you. Well take a look at this wikipedia text and start your journey into an amazing world.

The modern study of Japanese aesthetics in the Western sense only started a little over two hundred years ago. The Japanese aesthetic is a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), and yūgen (profound grace and subtlety).[1] These ideals, and others, underpin much of Japanese cultural and aesthetic norms on what is considered tasteful or beautiful. Thus, while seen as a philosophy in Western societies, the concept of aesthetics in Japan is seen as an integral part of daily life.[2] Japanese aesthetics now encompass a variety of ideals; some of these are traditional while others are modern and sometimes influenced from other cultures.[1]

via Japanese aesthetics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Toyota Crown – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A study of the Toyota Crown reveals a lot about the role of cars in our social discourse. I spoke about the Crown as a window into understanding the social significance of automobiles – as a text that unravels much about the world we live in. Take a look …

The Crown’s history and reputation has given it prominence in the Toyota lineup, as it is one of the few current Toyota models to carry its own unique insignia for the model line with the current Crown having a stylized crown emblem on the grille and steering wheel along with inspiring the names of its smaller progenitors. The Corona, introduced as a smaller companion to the Crown means “crown” in Latin and was initially exported as the “Tiara”, while the Corolla took its name from the regal chaplet. The Camry’s name is derived from the Japanese phrase kanmuri (冠, かんむり) meaning “little crown” and the Toyota Scepter took its name from the sceptre, an accessory to a crown.

via Toyota Crown – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Kawaii craze sweeping the world has reached Australia

I spoke yesterday about Kawaii. One person in class knew what is was. Don’t designers need to be on top of this? Take a look.

While the rest of the world hasn’t embraced the head-to-toe Kawaii look, its key elements are influencing global fashion, accessories and craft, including intricate nail art, bright mobile phone accessories and decorative brightly-coloured washi tape, which can be used for wrapping gifts, making art or sticking on the wall to frame a photo.

“We’re looking at polka dots and bright colours and the fashion here includes lots of pastel colours now, which is using the colour palette from Kawaii,” she says.

via Kawaii craze sweeping the world has reached Australia.

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Device App Combo Project: Obesity

I work with Adelaide Women and Childens Hospital and have been collaborating in the space of Paediatric Obesity. 

This article gives a good intro to apps in this space. Notes from that article of particular importance for design are below:

1. On the whole, the researchers found that the included apps did a pretty poor job of incorporating recommended behavior recommendations and even worse on behavioral change strategies.

2. For clinicians who deal with pediatric obesity, these findings suggest that a real opportunity remains to be realized in the use of apps to drive healthy behavior change in overweight and obese children. In this study, the researchers have outlined several key recommendations and behavior strategies that should be used – not only can this be an evaluative tool, but it could also serve as a great roadmap for developers and clinicians going forward.

ECOSYSTEM: I have sketched an ecosystem that uses the FITBIT, ARIA weighing scale and MyFitnessPal – as a way to enable a QuantifiedLife program. A Pilot program in this ecosystem involves prepopulating individual MyFitnessPal accounts with ‘normal’ foods (most people have a limited variability in their routine food consumption practices). The task of journalling food is then transformed into accounting for variations – such as a period of ‘fasting’. Or one of eating less ‘quantity’. The DESIGN question for the future is – What will this ecosystem look like in the future?

Device App Combo: The device app combo currently has three components: a FITBIT or other activity monitor (accelerometer, GPS), a weighing scale and an app where the quantitative data is collected. The app (potentially a hybrid app – front end for a website) has minimal functionality, and the website account page has the ability to record more information and set goals. The DESIGN question for the future is – What will this Deivce+App combo look like in the future?

INNOVATION: There is a need for an ecosystem (think iTunes) that works (1). Then there is a need to have a device that measures (2) – that has an extended range (can weigh heavier people), can measure Waist (see below) and picks up other physical symptoms. As a Device+App combo this is a Product Service System.

(Next – to sketch out the Future Scenario of this Innovation-Vision)

Re Waist Measurements – see:

Measuring a person’s waist circumference (WC) is the simplest way to assesscentral obesity. WC has been shown to be one of the most accurate anthropometrical indicators of abdominal fat. It is closely correlated to thewaist to hip ratio (WHR), but is thought to be a more reliable measure of abdominal fat; the WHR can mask the status of abdominal obesity with a disproportionately large hip circumference.

Your waist measurement compares closely with your body mass index (BMI), and is often seen as a better way of checking your risk of developing a chronic disease.

For most people. no matter how tall you are, if your waist measurement is more than 80cm for women and 94cm for men you are at an increased risk of some lifestyle related chronic diseases e.g Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.,+waist+circumference+and+BMI-lp

The Article Details: Child Obes. 2014 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print]

iPhone App Adherence to Expert-Recommended Guidelines for Pediatric Obesity Prevention.


Abstract Background: Pediatric obesity is a serious and prevalent problem. Smartphone technology, which is becoming increasingly available to children of diverse backgrounds, presents a unique opportunity to instill healthy behaviors before the onset of obesity. Past studies have examined the use of smartphone applications as tools of health behavior modification for adults. The present study examines the content of children’s exercise and nutrition smartphone apps. Method: Sixty-two iPhone apps were identified and coded by two independent raters for adherence to expert-recommended behaviors (e.g., five fruits/vegetables per day) and strategies (e.g., self-monitoring diet/physical activity) for the prevention of pediatric obesity. Results: App behavioral and strategy index scores were uniformly low. Apps were more likely to address expert-recommended behaviors for the prevention of pediatric obesity (93.5%), whereas few apps addressed recommended strategies (20.9%). The most common behaviors addressed included physical activity (53.2%) and fruit/vegetable consumption (48.3%). Other important behaviors (e.g., screen time [1.6%] and family meals together [1.6%]) were rarely addressed. Conclusions: Current children’s diet and exercise apps could be improved with increased adherence to expert-recommended guidelines, especially expert-recommended strategies.

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The future of health care is social, and techie

One of the first products being developed by this medical-device partnership is a breath analyzer that can detect lung cancer earlier than current diagnostic procedures.

via The future of health care is social, and techie.

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