Fun Friday Links: Personifying Software, a Sensible Biosensor, and the Crows of Pearlblossom
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to email@example.com for consideration.
The Social Prosthesis of Technology
It’s pretty easy to personify technology these days, what with game consoles you can talk to and Siri’s ability to answer even the most erroneous of questions. But as it happens, looking at new technologies through a social lens and with human perspective is exactly what some developers are doing to bridge the gap between badly-behaving gadgets and our inherent need to feel an emotional connection with our devices.
Sociologist Clifford Nass studies how people interact with technology, and has found that we subconsciously expect technology to exhibit human behavior:
“To a remarkable degree people approach technology using the same social rules, expectations, and heuristics that they use when interacting with other people. Very frequently technology behaves very badly from a social perspective. When any interface is designed the simple question that people should ask is “How would I feel if a person did this?” and it’s remarkable how often you would find that you would do things very differently if you just ask yourself that question.”
Source: FastCo Labs
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed couch potato or a dedicated marathoner, chances are you’ve felt the pain of physical burnout at one point or another. And while it may be protocol to will yourself into that extra mile or additional twenty push-ups, there always comes a point at which your body just says no. A new biosensor, designed to stick to your skin like a temporary tattoo, measures the amount of lactate in your sweat to give you a heads-up when you’re about to crash and burn. Plus, unlike our natural lactic acid-buildup alert, this sensor works during both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
The Little-Known Work of Aldous Huxley
Brave New World author and one-time French teacher to George Orwell, the late Aldous Huxley’s birthday is today, July 26th. To celebrate, Brainpickings is showcasing the one and only children’s book he ever wrote — a slightly morbid tale of two crows who wish to be parents, but whose efforts are continuously thwarted by a ravenous and dangerous rattlesnake with an appetite for eggs. The book, entitled The Crows of Pearblossom, was published post-humously in 1967 and is filled with lovely illustrations by folk-artist Barbara Cooney.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Huxley.