Replacement versus imitator

Next March in the Netherlands, there’s an offline and online event called ‘The National Week Without Meat’, with 43 brands participating. Most of those brands produce or sell meat substitutes, and aim to sell those through the week-long PR machine. The most visible absentee is the brand ‘De Vegetarische Slager’ (‘The Vegetarian Butcher’), yet it […]

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Double diffusers and bamboo toothbrushes

At the end of 2008, the regulations of Formula One were overhauled to simplify cars — especially the aerodynamics — to reduce costs and aerodynamic grip. Less grip would result in lower cornering speeds and improve overtaking. These new regulations included a component called the diffuser. This device sits at the rear of the car and produces […]

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Turing Tests

As an individual, we’re never certain whether others have thoughts and inner workings like our own, simply because we can never look into someone else’s mind. The most we can do is to figure that if others have normal human interactions, they’re probably conscious like ourselves. Alan Turing proposed that we test computers the same […]

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Fragments

If the sixteen-year-old me choose to pursue mathematics instead of graphic design, I could now have been a climate scientist by now, or an astronomer. If I’d stuck with graphic design, I might have had a top-notch portfolio, work that is featured in one of those glossy print magazines. And if I’d taken hockey or […]

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The strange ticking sound

There’s this story about a Russian astronaut, the first man to ever go into space. After launching, he’s totally alone in his huge spaceship, of which only a very tiny cabine is habitable. He’s looking at the curvature of Earth, the first ever to look at his home planet. He’s lost in that moment, thinking […]

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What’s the value of nature?

China’s population of 1.4 billion people uses roughly 80 billion chopsticks per year, for which twenty million trees are cut down. Trees have value because they produce chopsticks, and chopsticks are valued as tools for eating food. Like trees, they’re a means to an end, and are valued instrumentally. When a disposable chopstick is used, […]

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Earthrise

The Japanese satellite Kaguya orbited the Moon for twenty months, from 2007 to 2009. I opened some of its footage on YouTube and randomly clicked halfway the video. The lunar surface was whitely brightened by the Sun, which was in full behind the viewpoint of the camera. Then suddenly the blue sphere of Earth rose […]

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Fighting a common enemy

The most difficult problem to solve is one that’s invisible or indescribable, a problem in which not everybody believes. It doesn’t have a single cause, but is rather an accumulation of many problems. Such a problem only becomes worse when left alone, and even worse; time is running out. What makes the most difficult kind […]

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Do you buy products endorsed to you?

Two of my interests merged (advertising and autosport) in a topic on the British Autosport forums — whilst also providing an interest on how layman (or in this case, motorsport fans) explain how much they think advertising influences them. The answer: not by much. A user asked fellow forummers whether they bought products which their […]

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Minds of Shanghai

Minds are lonely places. We can never share our thoughts and feelings without translating them into words or actions, nor can we ever look into those of others. The best thing we can do, is to assume that the complex workings of our minds are also present in those of others. But it is precisely […]

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