The Magic Washing Machine

If you have never seen or listened to any TED Talks, you should think about doing it. TED talks are amazing ways to learn about a myriad of topics such as global issues, science, politics, culture, business, innovation, technology, art and design, education and so on. As their motto says they are actually “ideas worth spreading”.

Hans_Rosling_1Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor and professor in the Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, has participated some times in TED conferences giving fantastic and very motivational talks. One of his most popular, and my favourite one, is The Magic Washing Machine. It points out the benefits that industrialisation and technology have brought. Rosling gives us the example of the washing machine’s effectiveness for our lives. Washing machines freed up a lot of time and energy that people would have otherwise spent hand-washing their clothes. Check something. Ask to any senior person living in developed countries when was the last time they washed their clothes or sheets by hand. They might say you that it was a long long time ago, when there weren’t washing machines at home. In the case of young people, the answer will most likely be never. However, if you ask this question in sub developed countries their answer will be totally different.

Rosling roughly separates the world population by people who doesn’t have access to electricity (poor line), people who has washing machines (wash line), and people who has any normal technology gadget which can be found in a lot of homes in developed countries (air line). For most of us, our families’ generations crossed the “wash line” long ago. Therefore, it is difficult to realise the significant impact that such a simple machine can make in the lives of the less fortunate. The talker then states “if you have democracy, people will vote for washing machines”.  A woman from a Brazilian’ favelas neighbourhood will surely vote for it. Therefore, in a few years, because of population and economic growth, people will be able to cross the mentioned division lines. This growth and more technology adoption will mean more energy consumption. Most people would think that it’s not plausible, “not every one in the world can have cars and washing machines” if we want to preserve the planet! However, do we have the right to deprive people of innovation and better standard of living? I believe the answer it’s no.
Mali_-_Women_at_workRosling’s mother said to his son the first day they got it “ ‘Now Hans, we have loaded the laundry, the machine will make the work, and now we can go to the library.’ This is the magic, we loaded the laundry. And what do you get out of the machine? You get books.” His point it’s very clear here. Is it no better to have time for education and reading instead of doing manual labour such as has to go to collect water many kilometres away every day? After agreeing about this, we can start arguing about who and what should and should not consume energy

Balancing and adopting energy efficiency and producing more green energy are the main solutions here. There’s no need to deprive people of development and quality of life. Sustainable development is the key. It’s hip to be green! Modern technology has brought many benefits to our world and we can carry on innovating provided the technology operates within balanced limits. I consider myself an advocate of green policies but I believe that we need to recall Rosling’s closing statement: “Thank you industrialization, thank you steel mill, thank you power station, and thank you chemical processing industry that gave us time to read books.”

If you have time I totally recommend you watching the talk. Enjoy!

The Magic Washing Machine

Architecture Instagramers

“Architects are spending one out of every six minutes online using social media” according to sources like

Well, actually a lot of people nowadays is spending more and more minutes every day instarch1to social media, so why architects shouldn’t? Their public and young staff is all using social media and they know that it is a real opportunity to promote their business growth, self-brand and community engagement. Besides, architects are usually artistic and creative people who like to show the world their concerns and creations. Therefore, in this actual world where the use of Instagram is rapidly increasing and having more and more followers, architects are finding their own place and keeping pace with celebrities and starlets.

Recently, in the Architizer blog and interesting post about architecture instagramers appeared. It quotes Alexandra Langer, an architecture critic, who wrote an article for Dezeen magazine about social media practice of famous architects. She said about one famous architect: “His Instagram has a lot to do with the architecture of self-promotion, but little to do with actual building,” and “The same goes for many architects’.

insta likesIs that true? Yes, apparently. As I have said before, architects (and come on, many people) like to be self-appreciated and like to promote their designs and pictures. One of the Instagram’s goals is that, to share your pics and receive the best possible amount of likes. And you know you like it! I think it is good to stimulate yourself a bit.instarch2

On the other side, I also believe it is very important not only to promote your own work but to show engagement with general architecture followed by culture, public art and community space. I believe people interested in architecture and design would appreciate an account where it is possible to find a mixture. It is very practical and (really!) comforting. It’s like having a little architecture visual library in your hand. The photos of actual and historic buildings are lovely with a pinch of filters.

The Architizer blog I was talking about so had made a research and had found these “media-savvy creatures” in Instagram. They’re not the more famous in the world but rather young and anonymous who like the freedom to share their passions. Well done!

Here you can find my favorites among this Architizer list :  @mauriciotufino @the_architext @vitovillabilbao @lifesansbldgs

Architecture Instagramers

Learning about public transport with Harry Potter’s world

A few months ago I came across with this post: What Harry Potter Teaches Us About Integrated Transport.

It caught my attention because I am a fan of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling and I’m very interested in public transport and sustainable mobility initiatives. At that moment, I asked myself how these two issues could be linked and I was eager to read it.

harry potter transportThe article starts exposing to the reader the fastest way of magical of transportation that it is called apparition. It is basically having the user focus on a desired location in their mind, then disappear from their current location and instantly reappear at the desired location (like teleportation). So, then as the writer says very well: “Once you learn about this method of travel, every other transport mode seems superfluous. Why have a Platform 9 ¾ when you don’t need to wait for a train? Why fly broomsticks when using the Floo network (silver powder that allows people to travel between different fireplaces) is orders of magnitude faster? These questions are much like one that urban planners and city leaders get every day in the Muggle world: why build public transport when there are individual cars?”.

We clearly see that the wizards or muggles/people like us cannot solve the mobility with just one method of transport. As a result, there is the need to find a network of several methods of transport that promotes sustainability “that supports connectivity – think access to jobs, education, and leisure — for a diverse range of user needs, whether these users are witches, elves, or simply city residents”.

The rest of the article compares the magic transport with our modes. He talks about the comfort, safety and sense of community that these provide. I’ve to recognize that it is very interesting to see a broomstick like a bicycle, apparition like a motorcycle…green transpIt makes you think about the technology progresses and how we can promote sustainable mobility and safety. The article is worth a look and muggles will enjoy with the comparisons!



Learning about public transport with Harry Potter’s world

Changing brains?

A few days ago I came across with this post: Technology and its influence on how we absorb information.

It caught my attention because we were talking about this in The Social Internet class the other day.

The post also comment one of the articles we read in class “Is Google Making us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, mentioning that his capacity of deep reading is weakening and he believes that is because the internet or net’s style of reading.

Both post and article talk about a study from the University College London that suggests how the internet affects cognition is changing:

“It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense”.

Is it really happening? I have to say that I’m somewhat agree with that. These days, we are constantly receiving information from many sources, having our smartphones and computers with Google, Twitter accounts, blogs,etc. always in hand. As the post said: “Modern consumers are demanding. They want the information, they want it now and they want it to be in a format that they can easily digest.” We’re learning to be selective and trying not to waste time searching for what we want.

On the other hand, we can ask ourselves: Is this bad? I don’t really think so and I agree with some comments made in this post. Culture and business are constantly changing and nowadays many people have such a lot to read in a limited time so, in my opinion they have to process it differently and in this modern life we have to get used to see people trying to adapt in order to achieve their goals, as everyone wants.

This discussion is really a “hot potato”…So here I left some of my ideas, will need to reflect more on the subject!

Changing brains?

Stay on top, keep in touch: Twitter

So, the first presentation is done! What a relief, I was so nervous… But I enjoyed a lot learning about all the data the other groups had presented.

If I have to comment all the presentations this post would be eternal! But to mention just a few points…: I really liked the general idea and the curiosity of the uprising in Egypt organized through Twitter of the first group and the personal touch (so funny) of the second. The third group part about “Mobile social media used no matter what”so true, what the users expect to happen after they become a company fan of the fourth group was really well found, too. And finally parents and social media? Educating the children or monitoring them? Like all other groups, very good.

7970301754_427a383ea4_oWe organized the teams via Twitter and as a new ‘twiterer’ I have to say it was very practical and fun. On the first days of class  you don’t know all your classmates, their interests… So, it was easy to get in contact that way. You can share you thoughts, what topics you’re interested in… Then, you reply, give your opinion while you maybe are lying in your cozy sofa or the cafeteria and that’s all, you joined your team! You can communicate more quickly and scheduling work is easier. Besides, some people are more likely sometimes to respond to a tweet than an email or a text.

An other advantatge is that throught twitter you can literally access a lot of people. That’s a huge resource of free ideas, links to interesting data… I actually find some data for our presentation that way. You feel so good when you read a tweet that really helps you with your assignments! Then, the thought about how Internet has provided an endless stream of distraction seems exagerated…

P.S. I found some interesting blog’ post about how to use Twitter in the classroom, so is somewhat realted. It has a lot of tips and it’s long but it can be an interesting lecture. Here comes the link if you want to have a look,  60 ways to use Twitter in the classroom.

Stay on top, keep in touch: Twitter