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7 strange vehicles to get you from A to B

The Bird of Prey bike takes a form typically limited to one-off rides for speed record ...

The rise of the internet and byproducts like Kickstarter has facilitated a spread of ideas like never before, some fun, some world-changing and a whole lot that can only be described as weird. The realm of transport is a particularly good place to see oddball creations in action, and while the seven presented here might not be the most effective in getting you where you need to go, they would certainly turn some heads along the way.

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Category: Urban Transport


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Emotionally Intelligent Ways To Express These 5 Feelings At Work

You’ve heard by now that you need to be “transparent” and “authentic” and to “bring your whole self” to work. More often than not, these phrases are shorthand for expressing your feelings. But while it’s true that you need an emotionally intelligent approach both to build a great work culture and to advance your own career, there’s more to it than just wearing your feelings on your sleeve.

Showing emotional savvy isn’t only about candor, though that’s certainly part of it. Properly channeling your emotions in the workplace is a powerful leadership skill. With that in mind, here’s how to calibrate and convey five of the most common emotions you’re likely to experience at work.

Related: Why Emotionally Intelligent People are More Successful

1. Vulnerability

In his 2012 book The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni argues that good leaders show their vulnerability by using expressions like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” and “Your idea is better than mine.” He’s right that humility and vulnerability matter. But there’s a fine line between sharing your insecurities and undercutting yourself as a leader.

For example, if you tell your coworker you’re accepted a speaking gig because you want to work on your speaking skills–public speaking has never come easily to you–that’s sharing a vulnerability in a way that supports, rather than undermines, your leadership; your colleague will probably admire your courage and feel touched by your honesty. But if you get up in public to give a speech and tell the audience you’re not comfortable with public speaking, that undercuts your ability and lowers their expectations.

Related: This Is The Emotionally Intelligent Way To Handle Stage Fright

2. Empathy

Showing empathy brings you closer to everyone you come into contact with, but it’s possible to go overboard. There are times when conveying empathy in certain ways can actually weaken your ability to lead.

Suppose a team member is having a crisis in his personal life and has been seen in the bar around the corner drinking heavily after work with his staff. The best form of empathy is to help your team member work through the problem without enabling his behavior. Speak with him privately and offer to connect him with any counseling and support offered by your company’s HR department. Make yourself available for one-on-one conversation. But if the destructive habits persist, you may need to discipline or fire the individual.

It’s one thing to empathize with difficulties your team members may be having, but it’s another to let that compromise your leadership or tacitly encourage a toxic work culture. It takes emotional intelligence to try and understand someone’s point of view without adopting it yourself.

Related: 5 Ways The Most Effective Leaders Manage Their Emotions

3. Joy

Many companies try to create happy work environments through free food, games, and fun rituals means to blow off steam. But some of those experiences can create a giddy kind of joy, which can sometimes lead to an atmosphere dominated by extroverts who aren’t focusing enough on their work. Too much loud, exuberant activity can distract and alienate people who are trying to get things done.

A better way to cultivate and express joy at work is simply to share your excitement about the work you’re doing with your team. Emphasize the fun of collaborating. This joy is contagious, and because it instills a sense of purpose, dedication, and fulfillment in others, it won’t tilt into a constant party atmosphere.

Related: These Emotionally Intelligent Habits Can Make You A Better Listener

4. Anger

Anger emerges from frustration, anxiety, and conflict, but yelling and screaming is never the right response. The first step toward channelling your anger in an emotionally intelligent way is simply to step back and ask yourself whether the situation warrants such negative feelings. If on closer consideration it doesn’t, then try to let it go.

This usually means removing yourself temporarily from the source of your frustration so you can get a little clarity. After you’ve done that, find words that let you express your concerns to whoever’s responsible in an assertive but not aggressive way. Avoid accusatory language, and focus on the solution rather than the problem. It’s actually okay to get angry at work every now and then, but venting never helps.

5. Fear

Fear is another inevitable emotion you’ll encounter at work–usually due to awkward interpersonal situations. Maybe you’re afraid to ask your boss for a promotion or to press for a client to finally tell you if you’ve got a deal. So you hem and haw, get tongue-tied, or decide not to broach the uncomfortable subject at all.

The better approach is to acknowledge your anxiety and recognize that you’re going to feel uncomfortable, but that there are other things about the situation worth paying attention to as well: the desired outcome, for example, or facts on your side. When your fear stems from confronting a higher-up, remember that title and rank don’t define leadership. The more you speak up and show confidence in the face of authority, the more leadership you’ll be able to project despite your underlying nervousness.

Emotional intelligence involves dealing with our emotions so that they serve–rather than undermine–your leadership. Don’t try to “manage” or suppress them, but if you can pause long enough to consider how to communicate your feelings, you and your coworkers will always be better off.

Just 1 degree changes our risk of severe weather

Current commitments won’t meet the Paris Agreement’s aspirational goals of limiting temperature—and that could make the world a degree warmer and considerably more prone to extreme weather.

The difference between this UN goal and the actual country commitments is a mere 1 C, which may seem negligible. But a new study in Science Advances finds that even that 1-degree difference could increase the likelihood of extreme weather.

In this study, Noah Diffenbaugh, professor of earth system science at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and colleagues expanded on previous work analyzing historical climate data, which demonstrated how greenhouse gas emissions have increased the probability of recording-breaking hot, wet, and dry events in the present climate.

Now, the group analyzed similar models to estimate the probability of extreme weather events in the future under two scenarios of the Paris Agreement: increases of 1.5 to 2 degrees if countries live up to their aspirations, or 2 to 3 degrees if they meet the commitments that they have made.

“The really big increases in record-setting event probability are reduced if the world achieves the aspirational targets rather than the actual commitments,” says Diffenbaugh, who is also senior fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “At the same time, even if those aspirational targets are reached, we still will be living in a climate that has substantially greater probability of unprecedented events than the one we’re in now.”

Droughts, floods, and heat

The new study is the latest application of an extreme event framework that Diffenbaugh and other researchers at Stanford have been developing for years. They have applied this framework to individual events, such as the 2012-2017 California drought and the catastrophic flooding in northern India in June 2013. In their 2017 paper on severe events, they found that global warming from human emissions of greenhouse gases has increased the odds of the hottest events across more than 80 percent of the globe for which reliable observations were available, while also increasing the likelihood of both wet and dry extremes.

“Damages from extreme weather and climate events have been increasing, and 2017 was the costliest year on record.”

The framework relies on a combination of historical climate observations and climate models that are able to simulate the global circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. The group uses output from these models run under two conditions: one that includes only natural climate influences, like sunspot or volcano activity, and another that also includes human influences like rising carbon dioxide concentrations. The researchers compare the simulations to historical extreme event data to test whether the condition with natural or human influences best represents reality.

For the new study, the researchers expanded the number of climate models from their previous paper that had investigated the 1 degree of global warming that has already occurred, strengthening their earlier conclusions. Then, they used their findings to predict the probabilities of severe events in the two Paris Agreement scenarios.

Two very different scenarios

Although the researchers knew that increases in temperature would very likely lead to increases in severe events, the stark difference in the outcomes of the two scenarios surprised them.

The researchers found that emissions consistent with the commitments countries have made are likely to result in a more than fivefold increase in probability of record-breaking warm nights over approximately 50 percent of Europe, and more than 25 percent of East Asia.

People report the most stress about this climate worry

This 2 to 3 degrees of global warming would also likely result in a greater than threefold increase in record-breaking wet days over more than 35 percent of North America, Europe, and East Asia. The authors found that this level of warming is also likely to lead to increases in hot days, along with milder cold nights and shorter freezes.

Meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the global-scale warming to less than 2 degrees is likely to reduce the area of the globe that experiences greater than threefold increases in the probability of record-setting events. However, even at this reduced level of global warming, the world is still likely to see increases in record-setting events compared to the present.

When people build a dam, plan the management of a river, or build on a floodplain, it is common practice to base decisions on past historical data. This study provides more evidence that these historical probabilities no longer apply in many parts of the world. The new analysis helps clarify what the climate is likely to look like in the future and could help decision makers plan accordingly.

“Damages from extreme weather and climate events have been increasing, and 2017 was the costliest year on record,” Diffenbaugh says. “These rising costs are one of many signs that we are not prepared for today’s climate, let alone for another degree of global warming.”

Record temperature surge from 2014 to 2016

“But the good news is that we don’t have to wait and play catch-up,” Diffenbaugh adds. “Instead, we can use this kind of research to make decisions that both build resilience now and help us be prepared for the climate that we will face in the future.”

Additional coauthors of this paper are Deepti Singh, postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and incoming faculty at Washington State University, and Justin Mankin, visiting research scholar and incoming faculty member at Dartmouth College, and scientist with Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University; The Earth Institute and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University; and the US Department of Energy funded this work.

Source: Stanford University

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general design discussion • Re: Machines v. Humans

NURB wrote:
Mr-914 wrote:The design example to me is the smartphone. No one is doing anything interesting with the hardware. It’s all bland, precision machined soap bars, including Apple. The cultural example is pop music. Listening to pop from the ’70s I hear cracking voices, slightly out of tune guitars, beats that are just a fraction of a second off. Nothing that makes it sound bad, but it sounds human. Today’s pop is so well produced that it becomes an inhuman wall of blandness. That god we have rap and hip-hop defending humans doing music.

Yes! Dear god I’d love to see an interesting smartphone. I’d even settle for an interesting smartphone interface in the interim…

louis leblanc wrote:
Economics and the industrial in industrial design is ultimately what is driving humans out of manufacturing. Unfortunately, I have a hard time seeing that trend going backwards. As much as people like character, I have a hard time imagining people wanting to pay 10x on everyday items.

But people DO pay more for quality in almost every category.

Example 1: Leather boot from Wal-Mart, roughly $45. Handmade Red Wing Heritage boot, $350.
Example 2: “Schwinn” Mountain Bike from Target: $199 – Moots Custom Titanium Mountain Bike $3K-$6K depending.

In both examples, all products sell relatively well. People are willing to spend for quality (or pay for some kind of actual or perceived value), when it means something to them. Again, in all segments, down to dishwasher soap.

aren’t those examples kinda missing the point? it isn’t that people don’t pay a premium for actual or perceived value, but the distribution of people willing to do so at scale, right?

maybe manufacturing to this point has dehumanized or disconnected people from making things, but when you look at how people spend their money, manufactured goods/products seem to be taking up less of people’s income. so you could easily take the view that it has generally been a good thing…

the example of a smartphone is an interesting one, because there actually have been quite a few attempts to do interesting things with the hardware, both with the form & with materials…they just didn’t take or haven’t yet caught on and arguably why would their need to be something interesting done to the hardware when many are just going to put it in a protective case? imperfection sounds novel & ‘adds character’ when talking about music or objects that are/can be sentimental (and it may just be that was the limitation of what they were capable of a the time, who is to say if they couldn’t have got it more precise they wouldn’t) but super frustrating when you need the designed object to do a task or when the off spec thing costs you money…and it isn’t like (hand)crafted objects have ceased to exist

i think what he is basically saying is that technology disenfranchises people and we’re losing something in the process…but that is the kinda story of civilization…i think the pursuit of perfection (or the ideal as it related to something being quality, useful, or well made) predates or at least coincides with, the designed object…

general design discussion • Re: Machines v. Humans

I think he (we) want to have it both ways and we just haven’t found the right balance:

Under capitalism the more production there is and the more consumers there are, the happier we all are; at least that’s the story most of us are living…(check out Sapiens by Yuval Noah for a good read on the subject).

So technology and automation lowers costs and increases production, which in turn allows a bigger swat of the population to partake, it’s a devil’s bargain since we lose character and jobs in the process, it is also probably not sustainable.

We might need to experience the extreme before turning back, maybe a product that is conceived,designed and manufactured without human intervention. Such a product might be a great product in itself, but if the cost is greater than the benefits we might decide it is the wrong solution and bring back humans, it might also be the right path and open a new age of prosperity, I am not sure, the economics and sustainability aspects worry me.

In any case I do believe there will be a market and recognition for specialized human labor for a long time to come, the movement in a high end watch for instance does not keep time better than a machine made one, but they are sought after because we put value into the hours of training and work that went into it, we romanticize the labor and design parts of it, it’s tiny flaws are traits and give it individuality and that makes us feel warm and fuzzy, we somehow connect with these artisans, same goes for natural materials, they feed our ego and humanity.

general design discussion • Re: Machines v. Humans

Perhaps this is off topic, but I can’t stand the humanisation of the smart phone interfaces. Reading “The clock is now a quarter past five” is cute 1 time, but pretty annoying in the long run.. “16.45″ may be soulless but actually give me more peace of mind.

Not to mention Siri. I don’t need to talk to my phone like it’s a human being. I need it to perform a task because my hands are busy doing something else. The “What can I do for you” dialogue drives me mad – just sound a frigging bleep when ready like the good robot you are.. /rant.


Chris Rock’s Netflix Special Is The Standup Comeback You’ve Been Waiting For

Netflix’s approach to cornering the standup comedy market has been, shall we say, aggressive. The monolithic streaming platform has commissioned hours from just about every comic who’s moved beyond open mic status and it has doled out seven-figure sums for the heavyweights. Along with picking up specials from the likes of Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and a pre-disgrace Louis CK, Netflix also secured the long-awaited returns from some of the all-time greats: Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Ellen DeGeneres.

While Chappelle’s specials have been bogged down by controversy and overabundance (there are FOUR of them), and Seinfeld’s sank like a stone, Tamborine–the just-released special from Rock–finally delivers on the expectations of a comedy Jedi Master dropping his first special in a decade.

Chris Rock [Photo: Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix]

Tamborine’s predecessor, Kill the Messenger from 2008, was kind of a comedown from Rock’s late-90’s heyday, when Bring the Pain begat Bigger and Blacker, a perhaps unrivaled one-two punch of standup comedy. He still looked the same. He still sounded the same. But something was missing in the material. Perhaps it was a muse.

In the years since Messenger, Rock made a well-reviewed film (2014’s Top Five) in which he interrogated his own fame, appeared in some Adam Sandler movies, and put his producer’s clout behind TV shows like Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and The Rundown with Robin Thede. He also got divorced. After teasing a return to standup for several years, he embarked on a successful tour in 2017, and then surprise-dropped Tamborine this week on Netflix, with only a slightly longer lag between announcement and availability than the instantaneous new Cloverfield movie on February 4.

Of course, the novelty of surprise can’t prop up a lack of quality. (As we saw with The Cloverfield Paradox. Woof.) When a mega-famous comedian does a surprise set at a comedy club, he or she gets 5-10 minutes of guaranteed laughs, because the audience can’t believe its good fortune. After that point, though, the material has to stand on its own. In the case of Chris Rock, there is no leaning on goodwill at the top of his first special in 10 years. He storms the stage and immediately takes some big swings. He doesn’t miss.

Tamborine doesn’t linger for long on standup lightning rod Donald Trump and instead mostly explores two issues: race and Rock’s recent divorce. The race material comes first, and finds Rock in peak form. He throws out a Fox News-baiting line like “We need more dead white kids” while addressing police brutality, and then makes it seem like the most rational idea in the world. When he moves on to explain his outlandish (hopefully fictitious) approach to preparing his kids to move through the world as people of color, it’s at once hilarious and poignant. He probably didn’t actually take the extreme measures he describes to teach his kids to be wary of whiteness, but the bit betrays that he–and most nonwhite parents–did have a conversation with them about the dangers too many white people aren’t even aware of.

Chris Rock [Photo: courtesy of Netflix]

Even while talking about heavy issues, there’s a spark in Rock’s eyes, a lilt in his voice, palpable joy at performing his craft, and the confidence of knowing he’s still great at it. The world has changed spectacularly since his last special. Barack Obama wasn’t even president yet! But unlike Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld, who’ve both publicly griped about so-called PC culture, Rock’s return finds him not chafing against the strictures of what he can and can’t say anymore. For better and worse.

Anyone looking for signs of Rock not being woke enough will find it. His brags about keeping his daughter “off the pole” are stuck in old stereotypes about sex workers. Describing the compromises of marriage as “your success is her success and her success is your success” reveals a perhaps limited, heteronormative worldview. There are antiquated notions about money defining men’s status while looks define women’s. In fact, a feminist reading of the second half of this special will likely earn Rock some online pitchfork mobs–and those mobs will definitely have a point. However, Rock’s unenlightened opinions, which reflect the culture he came up in, are balanced out by the refreshingly self-deprecating and vulnerable moments in the material about his divorce, which takes up the entire second half of Tamborine (and inspired its title.)

Chris Rock [Photo: courtesy of Netflix]

Although it’s not the funniest material of the special, it’s the most personal he’s ever been. This is Chris Rock’s 4:44, an deeply revealing examination of his marital failures and what he’s learned from them. Imagine the man who glided through Bigger and Blacker in a chrome leather suit talking in earnest about his porn addiction and cheating on his wife, or admitting that he is currently on Tinder under his real name and that Rihanna brushed off his advances at a party. It is something to behold.

Rock walks us through his divorce like a tour guide from the Museum of Broken Relationships. He talks about what he did wrong, sparing his ex wife any fault in the matter. (Any good-guy points from this tactful approach, though, are squandered later in a retrograde bit about housewives.) He talks about the entire process of getting divorced, highlighting elements many viewers may not have considered–like having to prove to a court of law that he’s a good parent. It’s more illuminating than funny, mostly. But it’s still funny.

Overall, Tamborine adds an exciting new notch to Rock’s legacy and bodes well for what’s next when he has more to say. It may not be the best special he’s ever done, but it’s exactly what he needed to do at this moment in his career and his life.

The Future Of Airbnb And Amazon Might Hinge On A Smart Lock

Run by a former Apple public-policy wonk, Latch wants to be the infrastructure that enables the home delivery services of the future.

It’s a cliche that inventing good software is easy, while creating good hardware is almost impossible. The reason seems simple enough: Software can always be updated, but hardware can’t change once the factory lines start running.

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Millennials don’t want to delay spouse, house, kids

Millennials are marrying, buying homes, and starting families later in life. But this group—young adults in their 20s and 30s—hope to reach important life goals at the same age as previous generations, including those now in their 60s, 70s, and older, according to a new study.

Researchers found that the ideal timing of major milestones has remained relatively constant across generations.

“Millennials want to achieve the same things around the same time as everyone else,” says Tamara Sims, a research scientist at the Stanford Center on Longevity, about the findings of the study, called the Milestones Project.

On average, people over 25 said they wanted ideally to marry by 27, buy a home by 28, and start a family by 29. However, the extent to which people reached these goals decreased with every successive generation, with those between 25 and 34 being the least likely to achieve them.

“Our findings suggest that young adults are not the disruptors that they have been made out to be,” Sims says. “They are indeed getting married, buying a home, and starting a family later than their ideal age at lower rates than other generations, but this decline did not start with them.”

As part of the project, researchers surveyed four generations—1,716 participants ranging from ages 25 to 75 and older—to find out when people hoped to attain their goals versus when they actually reached them.

The study shows that home ownership was a goal that the fewest number of American millennials actually reached. And millennials are not alone. Researchers found that even those aged between 35 and 54 experience a 7-year difference between when they intended to buy a home and when they did. Those 65 and older reported buying homes only one or two years after their ideal age for home ownership.

80’s kids have 50/50 odds of out-earning parents

In addition, the study showed that millennials want to save for retirement sooner than previous generations, and 43 percent are actually doing so, more than any other older generation did when they were that age. This finding could be attributed to an increase in policies and programs promoting retirement savings in recent years, Sims says.

“Beliefs and values about the right way of doing things—in this case, when you should get married, buy a home—are very ingrained in our culture,” says Jeanne L. Tsai, a Stanford professor of psychology in her comments about the new study. “At the same time, I think the results on saving for retirement are really encouraging. They suggest that with education and alternative models for doing things, beliefs, expectations, and even behavior can change.”

Without good jobs, more young parents skip marriage

Discrepancies between what people desire and what actually happens in their life can reliably predict poorer health and well-being, Sims says about previous research, noting that it is important to track these generational changes and strive to reduce those discrepancies.

“People are appearing to pursue ideals for life that were set around World War II, and it doesn’t make sense that we as a society haven’t questioned these ideals,” Sims says. “We hope this study, along with the center’s broader mission, helps people rethink their goals in this era of long life and empower younger generations.”

Source: Stanford University

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