Mayor of Iceland capital a comedian

Mayor of Iceland capital Reykjavík is a funny man. Before he is mayor, he is a comedian. He now refuses to form coalition with any party whose members haven’t seen all five seasons of “The Wire.” He sang about polar bears and pet a rock in his campaign video:

Besti Flokkurinn – The Best Video – Subtitles

“We are the best” – Video from the Best party – Jon Gnarr Mayor of Reykjavik 2010

Icelander’s Campaign Is a Joke, Until He’s Elected

Last month, in the depressed aftermath of the country’s financial collapse, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner in Reykjavik’s elections, with 34.7 percent of the vote, and Mr. Gnarr — who also promised a classroom of kindergartners he would build a Disneyland at the airport — is now the fourth mayor in four years of a city that is home to more than a third of the island’s 320,000 people.

In his acceptance speech he tried to calm the fears of the other 65.3 percent. “No one has to be afraid of the Best Party,” he said, “because it is the best party. If it wasn’t, it would be called the Worst Party or the Bad Party. We would never work with a party like that.” (Source: New York Times)

Did I mention that his wife is also Björk’s best friend?

Super ants are taking over Europe

The typical old native ants are an annoyance? Newer ones may be replacing them soon:

Super-Ant Taking Over Europe

An ant species that originated in the Black Sea region has invaded more than 100 areas across Europe and is moving north. Scientists say if it is not stopped, it will reach Northern Germany, Scandinavia and Britain and could invade the whole world. 

The pest, called Lasius neglectus, destroys native ant species as it invades new territory. It has also invaded much of Asia.

Ants thrive all over the world because they are very adaptive. Urban ants, for example, have adapted to the extreme heat of city living. Scientists estimate there are about 20,000 different species globally. The combined weight of ants in the Brazilian Amazon is thought to be four times greater than the combined mass of all of the mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians there.

For example, The non-native red fire ant causes about $750 million of damage in the United States every year, the authors of the new study point out. And the Argentine ant has spread along thousands of miles of coastline in southern Europe, exterminating the natural insect fauna. In California, the Argentine ant armieshave nearly wiped out all native ants.

L. neglectus resembles the common black garden ant, but its colonies involve up to 100 times more workers. It frequently settles in parks and gardens, the researchers say, and it quickly exterminates native ants.

So how do they spread across a continent? They infest potted plants, and humans carry them far and wide, the researchers said.

“The future will therefore see many more ants become invasive, so it is about time we understand their biology and this study is a major step in that direction,” said Jes S. Pedersen, who coordinates the invasive ant program in Copenhagen. (Source: Yahoo!)

We should feed them with cup cakes.

How does IKEA design their products

Well, if you have the time, you can read the following. It’s very interesting to me – the way IKEA place effort in their design process and tweaking their designs to achieve greater cost savings.

“When we decide about a product, we always start with the price,” Deboehmler said. “Then, what is the consumer need?”

“When we start in the development process, we say we’d like to have a cabinet to hold a large screen TV that’s 42 inches, and priced out to come in at X dollars,” Marston said. “OK, now we’ve said we want it to retail at $500, arbitrarily. What can you make, what can you design, to make it at that price?”

From the beginning of the process, a variety of people get involved. Those include field technicians who are able to see what’s needed in the creation of a new product and determine if Ikea has already designed something similar that can be mined for parts or design inspiration.

Another example is a packaging technician.

“They’re always part of the team from way at the beginning, when the product is designed,” Deboehmler said. “We always have to find the smartest way to do something so that it can be flat-packed and minimize waste of space when transporting.”

With the Lillberg chair, the idea was to build a prototype at the factory–which the team did–and then to see what they had on their hands.

“After many, many days of trials, we thought we had it right,” Deboehmler said. “‘OK, this is the product.’ Our designer was on his hands and knees. Then we got it back to (Ikea headquarters in) Sweden and started taking it apart again, and decided we can make it better because we can fit more in the package if we changed the arm direction.”

By making a small tweak in the angle of the chair’s arm, she elaborated, the designers and packaging technician figured out they could get more of the chairs in a single shipping container, and that, in the end, meant a lower cost to the consumer.

“The arm (change) meant huge savings,” she said. Continue reading “How does IKEA design their products”

EU: Net access is a human right

Here’s what Guy Bono, French socialist and member of the European Parliament for the south-east of France, has to say about the music and movie industry pressuring governments to shut off internet access for people who are “illegally” downloading copyrighted materials.

Guy Bono says:

The repressive measures are measures dictated by industries that have been unable to change their business models to meet the needs imposed by the information society. Switching off internet access is a powerful sanction which could have profound repercussions in a society where access to the internet is a mandatory law for social inclusion.

Well said, sir. The EU Parliament has just voted in favor of Bono’s bill which asks individual countries to “avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights… such as the interruption of internet access”. (Source: Mashable)