Energy

John Thackara
Energy: Thriving On Five Percent?
Energy requirements per person in modern times are 60 times higher than our ancestors. How do we sustain that need as populations also increase?


Alexandra Lange
Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.


John Thackara
Design In The Light of Dark Energy
A shortened version of a talk on why the world has to reduce energy consumption, the five per cent energy solution and some of the people around the world who are leading the way.



John Thackara
A Reading List for Mr. Mario Monti
A (mostly) online list of readings for the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, and anyone else who is ready for a cold hard look at our energy resources and options.


Alexandra Lange
Round Thermostats and Crystal Lanterns, Revisited
Old designs, new tricks: updates on lawsuits filed against the new Nest thermometer, and on behalf of midcentury masterpiece Manufacturers Hanover.



Courtney Drake, William Drenttel, and Deirdre Cerminaro
Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography
This bibiography surveys the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation.



John Thackara
Iceland: Eaten Alive, or Growing to Live?
Exploding the myth of Iceland's "green" energy — with alternative suggestions



Phil Patton
The Green Dashboard
The design of instrument panels reflects the new technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles



Phil Patton
Another Wrong Turn for Chris Paine
Review of the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car.




John Thackara
Renewable Energy: Salvation or Snake Oil?
Critique of The Energy Report published by the World Wildlife Fund, which asserts that the world's energy needs could be met by alternative sources.



Phil Patton
Charging Double
Comparing two new electric-car chargers: Blink and WattStation



Ernest Beck
Climate Change Chocolate Update
Update on Climate Change Chocolate and other ideas for offsetting carbon. Originally published August 17, 2009.



Ernest Beck
SELCO: Case Study Synopsis & Teaching Objectives

This case study about SELCO, a solar energy company in India, provides an opportunity to examine the strategy of a business with a social purpose and a heavy reliance on innovative design.





Phil Patton
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car
Review of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car.



John Thackara
Could Green Energy Kill the Desert?
Large scale wind power might not be as green as you think.



Mitch Epstein
Why Not in My Backyard?
Mitch Epstein's photo of Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond City, West Virginia 2004, from his book American Power (Steidl, 2009).



Jane Withers
In Praise of Shadows
Essay adapted from "In Praise of Shadows: New European Lighting Design," presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, September 19–October 18, 2009.



Julie Lasky
CO2 CUBES
Description of CO2 CUBES: Visualize a Tonne of Change, a multimedia installation created for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Conference of the Parties (COP-15), held in Copenhagen in December 2009.



Jonathan Schultz
Better Place
Report on Better Place, winner of the 2009 INDEX Award in the Community category.



Bryan Mealer, and William Kamkwamba
The Doers Club
Design prodigy William Kamkwamba recalls building a windmill to generate electricity for his village in Malawi, Africa.



Mark Dery
Paradise Fouled
Review of Crude, Joe Berlinger's documentary film about a lawsuit filed against Chevron by denizens of the Ecuadorean Amazon.


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part II
Continuation of debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Karrie Jacobs
A Thousand Points on Light: Part I
Debate between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and Dark-Sky advocate Susan Harder about proper illumination of urban, suburban and rural environments.



Teun Voeten
Hell in a Horse Cart
Photo of coal merchant in Shanxi Province, China, by Teun Voeten.



Alec Appelbaum
FLAP Bag
Report on the FLAP bag, a multipurpose messenger bag for developing-world populations.



Ernest Beck
Climate Change Chocolate
While environmentalists debate the ethics and effectiveness of carbon offsets, designers work to make them appealing.



Julie Lasky
When Worlds Collide
Report on TEDGlobal 2009, held July 21–24 in Oxford, England.



Taryn Simon
Blue Note
Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility Cherenkov Radiation, Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy, Southeastern Washington State. Photograph by Taryn Simon.



Observed | December 11

Why success stories are just propaganda. [MB]

“Design thinking is kind of like syphilis: it’s contagious and rots your brains.” [MB]


Observed | December 08

Designing an autonomous car—from scratch. (Ford says they’re ready.) [JH]

There is Nordic design and then there is incredible Nordic design. (This is the latter.) [JH]


Observed | December 07

Protect your design job! From robots! No, not the tagline of a new blockbuster movie: an article about how you can actually, um, protect your design job from robots. [JH]

New design guidelines announced for the city of San Francisco. Perhaps other cities will follow suit: better to serve humanity than to express hostility, no? At a minimum, we should strive for coherent and peaceful cities. [JH]


Observed | December 06

Airbnb: People think our logo is anatomically suggestive. New Jersey ice cream parlor: Hold my beer. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Saving faces...on eggs. [MPL]


Observed | December 05

Can design reduce stress in cities? [JH]

News from China: will design help “power the next stage of growth”? Some business leaders think so. Meanwhile, in Shenzhen, a new design center opens. And if you’re in Hong Kong later this week, threee days of design inspiration await you! [JH]

Type designer and House Industries co-founder Rich Roat has died, age 52. [JH]


Observed | December 02

A decade of Chip! [JH]

Can a logo be adorable? Air Malta thinks so. [JH]


Observed | December 01

Is this the end of an era? Is process passé? More here. [JH]

Design tool = privacy nightmare. [JH]

If God is in the details—maybe design is in the relationships? Nathan Shedroff thinks so. [JH]


Observed | November 30

Holograms and rainbow printing are just a few of the ways the new Hong Kong high-tech ID card is building in security. [JH]

It seemed like a good idea at the time? [JH]


Observed | November 29

Book lovers never go to bed alone. (Support public libraries!) [BV]

Cool new illustrations from London-based illustrator Fay Dalton for the original James Bond novels. [BV]

You’ve seen the decorations everywhere: How postwar Christmas embraced spaceships, nukes, cellophane. [BV]


Observed | November 28

From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty. [BV]

Will there be grapes in 2050? Tour the facilities where scientists breed plants to survive the future. [BV]

Zuckerberg and the data visualization that’s become core to Facebook’s mythos. [BE]


Observed | November 27

Design for Neuroticism? Sign me up! Bot designers (yes, it’s a thing) frame bot characters around something called the “big five” (I was hoping for hippos, like on safari, but no luck). The big bot five is a “personality trait model according to which each personality has five dimensions — agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, and openness”. [JH]

This just in from the department of first world problems: The Dip Clip is the brainchild of a problem encountered, a decade ago, by a group of designers who stopped during a short trip at a fast food drive-thru and “realized they could not easily enjoy their condiments without making a mess.” [JH]

“Apple’s designers have long had an influence in the company which is barely imaginable to most designers elsewhere.” In this week’s New Yorker, Ian Parker’s profile of Sir Jonny Ive and the future of Apple. [JH]


Observed | November 24

The complex history of flash photography. [BV]

Life at the Edge of Sight: a photographic exploration of the microbial world. Want even more beautiful science? [BV]

The rise and fall of the English sentence. [BV]



Jobs | December 11