The costs of work-related illness are comparable to those of all cancers combined.
Here’s a simple – and rather scary – demonstration of just how important Human Factors are in design: the costs of work-related ill health is equivalent to the costs of all cancers combined.
The World Health Organization
reports that work related injury and disease costs 4% to 5% of the total global
domestic product, and 2.2 million
people die from work related causes every year.
Lots of people put up with horribly designed products because they don’t realize just how much damage they’re causing themselves. Sometimes the harm accumulates slowly over months or years – there’s no particular point where one might say “Oww! That’s not right!” (So-called repetitive strain injuries.) Other times, it’s just plain stupidity (like using the bucket of a front end loader to lift a ladder that’s not tied off to anything to reach the top of a structure). In any case, the costs arising are huge, as is shown in the chart.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
The Ziggurat Pyramid, Dubai
The Ziggurat Pyramid is another monument to excess and decadence planned for Dubai, land of the gold bar ATMs, in-door year-round skiing, and ridiculously tall buildings (can you say “compensating”?). It’s intended to be a single, self-sustaining complex capable of housing one million people in non-drone-like conditions.
Honestly, it’s just the latest incarnation of Paolo Soleri’s Arcology concept (dating back to 1969), so it’s not some kind of modern intellectual breakthrough. While I think it’s important that we keep searching for better ways to live in “urban settings,” I don’t think the Ziggurat Pyramid will be a long term success. And I can sum up my concern in a single word: modularity.
[NOTE: I wish I could properly cite the interview on which I am basing this post, but I just can't find it. If anyone can provide me with a link to the actual story, please let me know.]
On 25 September, around 7:00 pm, I listened to an interview on CBC Radio 1 (Toronto) of a professor of Disability Studies from Ryerson University. The interview was essentially a commentary of a powerful video by Dr. Donald Low, the exceptional microbiologist who steered Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis. In that video, Dr. Low called for new standards to provide dying with dignity to everyone. The commentary by the Ryerson professor, herself disabled, raised warning flags about Dr. Low’s call.
She talked – very eloquently – about all the different ways that one can define “dignity” as a social norm, and that any such norm would lead to a slippery slope that would end up with the disabled being euthanized without their consent because society had decided they lacked “dignity” in their lives. Essentially, she argued that every life has some kind of inherent dignity that must be respected – even if that means denying them dignity in death.
I’ve added Rule 38 to my Rules page: There are no slippery slopes, only slippery people.
That is to say, slippery slopes are fallacious reasoning, and I believe one uses a slippery slope argument only because one has ulterior motives for arguing against a claim. Far better, I say, to be clear and honest about those motives.
Sam’s Teats (Courtesy Wikipedia)
There’s a bit of drama going on in Toronto these days regarding the (in)famous sign that used to adorn the storefront of Sam The Record Man. The admittedly iconic sign was safely put aside before the store was demolished as part of the revitalization of that part of Yonge Street. Ryerson University is erecting a new Student Centre on that site now, but it may well be that the sign will have to be re-mounted elsewhere. This is causing ‘way more of a fuss than it deserves.
Maura E. Charette. Photographed by her father, who wrote an equally questionable article in the same issue of IEEE Spectrum, on the “myth” of a STEM “crisis.”
August must have been a slow news month at IEEE, because they’ve published a staggeringly bad article, Is a Career in STEM Really for Me? The piece is so shallow and naive, I felt compelled to write about it.
Maura E. Charette wrote the piece. She has just started Grade 8.
(I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.)