Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Infographic: Hierarchy of Digital Distractions

In a digital age rife with an endless stream of distraction, from email updates to text messages, it’s important that we get our priorities straight. This handy hierarchy created by Information is Beautiful helps ensure that your limited attention span is always focused on the most important detail of the moment. With considered multitasking such as this, it’s a wonder any of us is able to get anything done.

Source: PSFK

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BMW Reveals New Plug-in Hybrid Sports Car Concept


There are still a few weeks before the 2009 Frankfort Auto Show opens but BMW released images of a new concept car it will feature over the weekend. The Vision EfficientDynamics is a plug-in hybrid sports car with a new dynamic exterior and interior design language. But underneath the eye catching design is a smaller and more efficient engine BMW is exploring for possible future use.

BMW were aiming for the Vision concept to have the performance characteristics of their M3 but also achieve a very low level of fuel consumption. Engineers fitted the Vision with a new three-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that BMW claims has a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds while scoring 62.6 mpg (U.S.). The Vision debuts a new hybrid drive system that uses a 33-hp electric motor between the engine and transmission and a second 80-hp electric motor driving the front axle. The total output of the drive system is surprisingly near 400 hp.

The architecture of hybrid cars seems to be starting to find commonalities. The way the battery pack runs down the center tunnel of the car resembles the layout of the Chevy Volt. BMW is claiming it has a system that can extract 80 percent of the battery’s capacity over the Volt’s capability to only use 50 percent. While the Volt delivers all of its power from the electric drive system, the Vision is powered by a blend of the electric motors and the diesel. The car can run on electricity alone for 31 miles and the added 6.6 gallon diesel tank gives the car another 400 miles in range.

Layering technology developed by the BMW Group Design Division acts as the fundamental guideline in designing the exterior and interior. Applied for the first time in exterior design, this technology layers one surface on top of the other, creating very smooth seams and joints to reduce the number of components and, accordingly, the weight of the car. Lightweight aluminum makes up the chassis, suspension and roof of the car.


New LED lighting technology has also been integrated into the Visions exterior and interior illumination. The aerodynamic taillights in particular are all red with not lit but have integrated LED chambers that alter certain portions to change to yellow for turn signals.

Last week, we mentioned the driving technology that had filtered down into more mainstream vehicles like the Ford Taurus. The Vision’s on-board technology gives a glimpse of next generation features. The car has a central computer that has the ability through the use of sensors to look-forward and forecast driving conditions on the stretch of road immediately ahead to benefit the car’s efficiency. Should the computer establish, for example, that the driver is about to get on the freeway, the power used for running the cooling system is reduced for a certain period in advance, on the assumption that the short increase in coolant temperature resulting from such an energy-saving measure will quickly be set off by the higher speed of the car on the motorway.

The drivers interface with the computer is through the interior Head-Up Display. The display can project information on the windshield in 3D with superimposed layers. The system can show gauge graphics in the background while the latest information on route guidance or warning signals from BMW Night Vision, for example, are shown in the foreground.

[via autoblog]

Wooden Building In Norway Will Be Tallest Of Its Kind


The world’s tallest wooden building is being constructed in Kirkines, Norway, and will serve as the town’s cultural center in addition to housing energy-efficient offices for the Barents Secretariat (the organization that commissioned the structure).

The building will stand 17 stories, and will be created using sustainable materials. The project is intended to act as a model of green construction as well as a center for diplomacy serving the many cultures that converge in that area of the world. Norwegian firm Reiulf Ramstad Architects will be handling the project.


Source PSFK

City Life, One Minute At A Time

City Life, One Minute At A Time

cityoneminutes is a global web video project that allows you to observe 41 different cities around the world in one-minute intervals.

From a drunk man staggering to hail a cab in Addis Ababa to a serene San Francisco cityscape in the wee hours of the morning, there’s a wide range of cultural and behavioral morsels to absorb, in addition to all of the architectural and design idiosyncrasies of each area.

You can search for videos by city or specific time of day, watch an entire day in one region, or skip around from place to place.

The project is part of a greater collaboration between Dutch public television station VPRO and many different sponsors (including UNICEF and the Netherlands China Arts Foundation) called theoneminutes, which is a site that applies the same one-minute video idea to different scenarios- such as train rides, weddings, and abstract video art.


theoneminutes is also accepting submissions for all of their different categories at present. The best one minute videos will be picked out at year’s end for an annual awards show. Click here for more information.

Bikini Car Wash, Hybrids Only


Yesterday, girls in green bikinis took to the streets of Los Angeles, offering a free car wash to any driver behind the wheel of a hybrid. Coordinated by, the publicity stunt was arranged to promote the site’s, ahem, “hot, green, and shameless” environmental agenda; and to also hawk a new coconut-based, waterless cleaner called Lucky Earth. In other words, water conservation — and perhaps fuel conservation? — were the day’s themes.

As evidenced on angrygreengirl’s YouTube channel, the stunt apparently worked, attracting scads of local media coverage. And while the event’s underlying message may have been somewhat muted by the abundance of green bikinis, there’s a valid point to be made:

Why is it so important to save water even if you don’t live in a draught-plagued state? Because purifying and processing water to make it fit for human use is expensive. Even if you think water is abundant in your area, it still costs the community (and you) a considerable sum to make it potable… Washing your car with a hose uses 80 gallons of water, on average. (To put that in perspective, [a] keg holds 15.5 gallons of beer.)

Battery Swapping Taxis

Battery Swapping Taxis

Image credit: Getty Images, Cocoip/Flickr

Wired magazine points out that Tokyo is planning to test out a new electric vehicle program with its fleet of taxis. By January, a small test group of taxis will be part of a battery swap system created by Better Place.

Rather than tether cars to an outlet, vehicles recharge by swapping out batteries at special charging stations. The benefit of using taxis allows for a centralized base of operations built by Better Place.

To see how the battery swap functions, watch the minute long video below:

Source PSFK

Manage Your Online Media with thisMoment


Most social networks or media sharing sites thrive on their unique offerings or exclusivity, but a new site called thisMoment hopes to bring together their disparate functions into a single portal. thisMoment offers traditional ways of uploading photos or video to the site, but can also pull in material from other sites like Flickr, Facebook or YouTube. The interface for thisMoment resembles a Flickr slide show with more options and the comment system is arranged to share emotions under an entry starting with “This moment made me feel…” as well as the usual space for snarky Internet one-line comments. The content you organize through the site is grouped into related “moments” that are easily accessible in an interactive timeline called your “moment flow.”


While this site could simply be another attempt to take over market share of social networks, thisMoment stands out by encouraging users to use their media on other online platforms, even letting you pull images from related events with a media search engine called the Moment Maker. The interesting implementation of a timeline gives a calming perspective to our digital lives, sharing a distant past or coming future rather than focusing on constant real-time updates. The Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg Solution continues,

You can create moments for things that happen in the past, present or future, like an upcoming wedding or birth, and a timeline at the top of the Web site shows where these moments fit in, according to their dates. If you share a moment with someone who is labeled as being in that moment, she can “seize” the moment, adding it to her own timeline. ThisMoment also encourages you to rate your moments on a scale of small to big according to how much they matter to you, though I often forgot to do this, and to label your moments so they can be organized into different categories.

Source PSFK