Three simple suggestions to make Dutch train travel even better

Dutch train travel is fantastic. It’s affordable, pretty much always on time (despite what the naysayers say), and it has nearly four hundred stations in our tiny country. Here are just three simple suggestions that can make it even better. 1) Make the screens of entrance gates flicker when you swipe your card During rush hour, […]

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To balance a brand

Nowadays every generic brand video wants to remind us that ‘we live in times of change’, and startups love to tell us about Moore’s law and exponential growth, and how the smartphones we have now are a million times more powerful than NASA’s computers with which it landed Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969, […]

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Trees of Shanghai

Two out of three trees in Shanghai are London plane trees. City planners call it a super tree. Its secret is its peculiar camouflage-patterned bark, which peals off in quick succession, allowing the tree to ‘clean’ itself from pollutions. As a result, it has a high tolerance to pests and diseases, and captures smog and carbon […]

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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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