Why we walk in circles when lost

“Small random errors in the various sensory signals that provide information about walking direction add up over time, making what a person perceives to be straight ahead drift away from the true straight ahead direction.”

from The Times Online
See also Science News

The Urban Guide for Alternate Use

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Some other very similar investigations going on from Scott Burnham for the Exchange Radical Moments! Festival. Burnham is putting together a manual for urban hacking. It’s very much in tune with what I was talking about in a previous post about giving communities the tools and opportunity to try to re-imagine their surroundings. In this case Burnham’s key word is resourcefulness . From the Exchange Radical Moments Festival catalogue:

Resourcefulness has become one of the most important skills for people to develop today. What resources do you see being treated as waste in your city that could be used to benefit others?

The Urban Guide for Alternate Use is a catalogue of city-specific opportunities for resourcefulness within existing urban environments, compiled simply by asking the city’s residents to devise alternate uses for things already present in the city. It is a guide that acts as a catalyst for a new form of resourcefulness in the city, and as a communicative vehicle for exchange among residents.

For the festival Exchange Radical Moments, a guide will be created for one of the participating cities, filled with the ideas submitted by the city’s residents, as gestures of donation to their fellow citizens. The city guide will be written by the imagination and resourceful thinking of its residents, and can serve as an alternate guide to the city. Together the different submissions will form a powerful collection of insights into how people mentally and physically play with the urban landscape as a conglomeration of readymade objects ripe for intervention.

Took the words right out of my mouth. This alternative urban guide is so close to what this thesis project could become, that I’m definitely going to get on board when call for submissions arrives. In the meantime I aim to set up some workshops of my own.

Not a Number

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Taking on from my methodology research into computer errors translated into everyday life, I’ve started a flickr group pool to gather errors I, and others find.

If you have any evidence, please feel free to add them!

Aakash Nihalani and Nina Mrsnik

Aakash Nihalani
Aakash Nihalani
Aakash Nihalani

Nina Mrsnik

What I like about these tape interventions is they’re so accessible – anyone could use tape and go round their city commenting on other ways to use their environment. It gives me an idea for a workshop I’m planning to do with some children in Stockholm – about re-imagining uses for their surroundings.

Designing Error

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Ingvild Stovring from the Oslo School of Architecture has produced something that is very much in tune with this thesis project. Stovring has produced a book, or more a form of error manual, on how errors can improve products and services. In her own words:

This project is about exploring unexpected outcomes. Is it possible to use errors as an inspiration and a generator for new, fresh ideas and design solutions? Instead of trying to avoid errors, I wanted to learn from them and explore how they could improve a service / design.

Today products are being produced by machinery that is so accurate and clever that mistakes seldom or never occur. This has lead to a homogenic appearance, where every product within its category looks almost the same. This can easily be described as a lack of “personality”.

Alot of the content look very much along the lines of my methodology into nonsense and computer errors in real life. I’m trying to get ahold of her book as I’m interested to see how’s she has categorised the errors and used them to create new designs.

Thanks to Stina for the link.

The Notebook Project

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Inspired by the fake websites and email that scammers create online to fool users into entering secure financial information, this project takes the same approach in order to reverse the tables, and turn the scammee’s into the scammers.

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Various notebooks are left around the city. All contain information for a bank account and login details which lead to a fake online banking website. The question is to see just how moralistic the swedish moral-superpower really is.

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Jack Schulze

“Some people (they are wrong) say design is about solving problems. Obviously designers do solve problems, but then so do dentists.

Design is about cultural invention.

There are some people who want to reduce the domain of design to listable, knowable stuff, so it’s easy to talk about. Design is a glamorous, glittering world and this means they can engage without having to actually risk themselves on the outcome of their work. This is damaging. It turns design into something terrified of invention.

Design is about risk. We all fear authentic public response to our work, but we have to be brave enough to overcome.”

Perfect. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
From Six Questions from Kicker: Jack Schulze

Grammer errors turns 60 year old man into ‘vandal’

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Frustrated by living in “St Johns Close”, in Turnbridge Wells, Mr Gatward decided to buy a can of black paint and a craft brush before correcting the name to “St John’s Close”.

The Mystery Town of Argleton

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Brilliant! I think this might just be a trap town. Argleton has so mislead users of Google Maps that online businesses have given it a postcode (L39), and if you google it you’ll find home, job and dating services as well as its nearest chiropractor.

via The Telegraph

Empathy + Signs