Twentysomething Children

"We have not developed and strengthened institutions to serve young adults,” Mr. Furstenberg said, “because we’re still living with the archaic idea that people enter adulthood in their late teens or early 20s."

From The New York Times, as shared with me by Nancy, on the topic of the lengthening road to adulthood.

I know I had a relatively a-typical transition from childhood into adulthood for my generation (Y or Millennial, depending on who you are asking.)  That being said, the only “institutions” my parents afforded me for being 18 was a dolly to get my stuff out of the house as quickly as possible and a strong sense of the fact that I’m on my own if I screw up.

Certainly not the $38,000 and 2 years of full-time labor the article quotes!

It’s an interesting read, especially as we are faced with our position within this “Peter Pan” generation or are asked to lead it forward through education and administration.  

How Well Do You Multitask?

A Facebook friend of mine has just recently posted an article from the New York Times entitled “Your Brain on Computers.”  The story looks at the ways in which information saturation has begun to rewire the brains of heavy technology users.  It also discusses multitasking - specifically how effectiveness flags as more tasks are piled on top of one another.  There’s even an online experiment that will give you a sense of how well you can focus through distraction and juggle multiple items.

Below are my results.  Does this make me a “supertasker?”

Redesign BP’s Logo

Sent to me from Nancy, this Flickr group started by Greenpeace UK is asking users to submit their redesigned BP logos.  From the description:

BP claim that they are ‘beyond petroleum’. But this is a company that is up to it’s neck in the dirtiest oil going.

Their nice green logo doesn’t really seem to fit them too well, so we’re running a competition to find a logo that we can use to rebrand BP.

Check out the other submissions (460 so far.)

Ye Olde Jobs

A London lamplighter circa 1935

Graduation season is upon us, leaving hundreds of newly minted diplomas in the hands of adults across the country.  Adults who have absolutely no idea where to find a job nine times out of ten.  There are plenty of places on the web that will tell you what the hottest new opportunities for employment are, but only NPR has put together a gallery of jobs of a bygone era.  View photos, read descriptions and even listen to testimonial in “The Jobs of Yesteryear.”

How important is a clean screen?

Is it worth paralysis?  Nerve damage?  If you happen to own an iPhone, that shiny glass screen that greeted you in the box may have indirectly caused just that.  According to a new lawsuit filed in China against Wintek, a supplier for Apple and other tech companies, 44 workers have asked for compensation after being forced to clean glass screen with a known toxic chemical, n-hexane.  While the line manager who made the decision to use n-hexane has been fired, little has been done to help the workers who are now suffering the effects of such a truly stupid choice.  

The reasoning for all of this?  N-hexane dries faster and leaves fewer streaks than alcohol.

(Credit to AppleInsider)

With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations - none of which I know how to work - information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.

President Obama in his commencement address to Hampton University

Does no one else find it marginally alarming that the president - who is by no means old, uneducated or unskilled - admits to not knowing how to operate some of the most influential devices in the world?  Norway’s President uses an iPad and they aren’t even on sale in there yet!

The BP Oil Slick

One southern man has flown over the BP oil slick and reports back via YouTube what he saw:

It is hard to criticize an oil spill while flying in a fuel-powered plane, but this is certainly telling footage of the level of disaster BP and the people of the region are facing.  

The latest on the BP oil spill.

(Thanks, io9)

Dusting the Smart Way

You can now add the “toner wars" to the list of concepts from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age made reality.  At least in part - while not the intelligent nanobots he envisioned, the “smart dust" planned for deployment by HP sure does seem similar.  Aimed at becoming a neural network for the entire planet, the tiny sensors do hold the promise of keeping us more informed about the state of our infrastructure, waterways, forests and more.  However, what sorts of additional environmental calamity might trillions of tiny machines cause as they fail and break down?

I think I liked the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer itself being realized just a little bit more.

(Hat tip to CNN)

DARPA Wants Transformers

No, not the robots in disguise.  Instead, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for a new flying car that can both operate as a ground-based SUV and a vertical take off aircraft.  The government agency is asking for proposals for a $54 million program that will make a Transformer, as they are calling the concept, a reality by 2015.  

Discovery News has a video with several examples of what is sought.  Pretty cool and very Jetsons.  I suspect Michael Bay could better fund this, though.  

Air/Port Capitalizes on Melting Ice

A concept design at this point, the Air/Port project is an effort to build a commercial hub near the Northwest Passage that will allow for a landing strip and a shipping port.  The dual design will allow for existing air traffic to connect with the Port Churchill community while the Port component will take advantage of warmer global weather and the new sea routes it provides.  In addition, greenhouse space in the structure creates an opportunity for growing food as an item for trade.

Personally, I don’t know how to feel about the concept.  It’s an interesting design and certainly resourceful, but something seems so incredibly guilt-inducing about making the most of a global disaster that we’ve caused.  Thoughts?

(Thanks, io9)

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