Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holy Placebo! Elevator Close Button

Not all elevator buttons are created equal: Pressing one for a floor will work, but pushing the door-close button does nothing. Credit Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times

Pushing That Crosswalk Button May Make You Feel Better, but …

It is a reflex born of years of habit: You see a button, press it and then something happens.
The world is filled with them, such as doorbells, vending machines, calculators and telephones.
But some buttons we regularly rely on to get results are mere artifices — placebos that promote an illusion of control but that in reality do not work.
No matter how long or how hard you press, it will not change the outcome. Be prepared to be surprised — and disappointed — by some of these examples.

Door-close buttons on elevators

Pressing the door-close button on an elevator might make you feel better, but it will do nothing to hasten your trip.
Karen W. Penafiel, executive director of National Elevator Industry Inc., a trade group, said the close-door feature faded into obsolescence a few years after the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.
The legislation required that elevator doors remain open long enough for anyone who uses crutches, a cane or wheelchair to get on board, Ms. Penafiel said in an interview on Tuesday. “The riding public would not be able to make those doors close any faster,” she said.
The buttons can be operated by firefighters and maintenance workers who have the proper keys or codes.
No figures were available for the number of elevators still in operation with functioning door-close buttons. Given that the estimated useful life of an elevator is 25 years, it is likely that most elevators in service today have been modernized or refurbished, rendering the door-close buttons a thing of the past for riders, Ms. Penafiel said.
Take heart, though: The door-open buttons do work when you press them.

Crosswalk signals

New Yorkers (those who don’t jaywalk, that is) have for years dutifully followed the instructions on the metal signs affixed to crosswalk poles:
To Cross Street
Push Button
Wait for Walk Signal
But as The New York Times reported in 2004, the city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that were in place at the time existed as mechanical placebos. Today there are 120 working signals, the city said.
About 500 were removed during major construction projects. But it was estimated that it would cost $1 million to dismantle the nonfunctioning mechanisms, so city officials decided to keep them in place.
Most of the buttons were scattered throughout the city, mainly outside of Manhattan. They were relics of the 1970s, before computers began choreographing traffic signal patterns on major arteries.
ABC News reported in 2010 that it found only one functioning crosswalk button in a survey of signals in Austin, Tex.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Syracuse.

Office thermostats

The same problem that confronts couples at home — one person’s perception that a room is too cold is another’s that it is too warm — faces office workers as well.
Depending on where you work, you might find the thermostat in a plastic case under lock and key, but if you’re lucky you might have control over one.
Well, you might think you have control.
The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News reported in 2003 that it asked readers in an informal online survey whether they had ever installed “dummy thermostats.” Of 70 who responded, 51 said they had.
One respondent, David Trimble of Fort Collins, Colo., wrote The News that people “felt better” that they could control the temperature in their work space after a nonfunctioning thermostat was installed. “This cut down the number of service calls by over 75 percent,” he wrote.

Sense of control

Though these buttons may not function, they do serve a function for our mental healthEllen J. Langer, a psychology professor at Harvard University who has studied the illusion of control, said in an email.
“Perceived control is very important,” she said. “It diminishes stress and promotes well being.”
John Kounios, a psychology professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said in an email there was no harm in the “white lie” that these buttons present. Referring to the door-close button on an elevator, he said, “A perceived lack of control is associated with depression, so perhaps this is mildly therapeutic.”
Knowing that pushing these buttons is futile does not mean it will stop people from trying, he added. The reward of the elevator door closing always occurs eventually, he said.
“If the door never closed, we would stop pressing the button,” he continued. “But in that case, of course, we would stop using the elevator altogether. So, that habit is here to stay. Similarly, even though I have grave doubts about the traffic light buttons, I always press them. After all, I’ve got nothing else to do while waiting. So why not press the button on the off chance that this one will work?” — The New York Times 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Back To The Future: Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 — Future Is Here

Meet the HyperAdapt, Nike's Awesome New Power-Lacing Sneaker | WIRED

Nike's Tinker Hatfield and Tiffany Beers explain the new power-lacing HyperAdapt 1.0 and demonstrate how to charge the sneakers, and tighten and loosen the laces with the touch of a button.

Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 Will Cost $1000 — Sneaker News

Nike self-lacing shoe: HyperAdapt 1.0 to cost $720 — Sports Illustrated

Nike's Self-Lacing Hyperadapt 1.0 Sneaker Will Cost $1000 — Highsnobiety


“Innovation at Nike is not about dreaming of tomorrow. It’s about accelerating toward it,” says Tinker Hatfield. “We’re able to anticipate the needs of athletes because we know them better than anybody. Sometimes, we deliver a reality before others have even begun to imagine it.”
Welcome the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, the first performance vehicle for Nike’s latest platform breakthrough, adaptive lacing. The shoe translates deep research in digital, electrical and mechanical engineering into a product designed for movement. It challenges traditional understanding of fit, proposing an ultimate solution to individual idiosyncrasies in lacing and tension preference.
Functional simplicity reduces a typical athlete concern, distraction. “When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten,” explains Tiffany Beers, Senior Innovator, NIKE, Inc., and the project’s technical lead. “Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect.”
For Hatfield, the innovation solves another enduring athlete-equipment quandary: the ability to make swift micro-adjustments. Undue pressure caused by tight tying and slippage resulting from loose laces are now relics of the past. Precise, consistent, personalized lockdown can now be manually adjusted on the fly. “That’s an important step, because feet undergo an incredible amount of stress during competition,” he says.
Beers began pondering the mechanics shortly after meeting Hatfield, who dreamed of making adaptive lacing a reality. He asked if she wanted to figure it out — not a replication of a preexisting idea but as “the first baby step to get to a more sophisticated place.” The project caught the attention of a third collaborator, NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, who helped guide the design.

The process saw Beers brainstorming with a group of engineers intent on testing her theories. They first came up with a snowboard boot featuring an external generator. While far from the ideal, it was the first of a series of strides toward Beers and Hatfield’s original goal: to embed the technical components into such a small space that the design moves with the body and absorbs the same force the athlete is facing.
Through 2013, Hatfield and Beers spearheaded a number of new systems, a pool of prototypes and several trials, arriving at an underfoot-lacing mechanism. In April 2015, Beers was tasked with making a self-lacing Nike Mag to celebrate the icon’s true fictional release date of October 21. The final product quietly debuted Nike’s new adaptive technology. Shortly after, the completion of the more technical, sport version they’d originally conceived, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, confirmed the strength of the apparatus.
“It’s a platform,” Beers says, “something that helps envision a world in which product changes as the athlete changes.”
The potential of adaptive lacing for the athlete is huge, Hatfield adds, as it would provide tailored-to-the-moment custom fit. “It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance.”

He concludes, “Wouldn’t it be great if a shoe, in the future, could sense when you needed to have it tighter or looser? Could it take you even tighter than you’d normally go if it senses you really need extra snugness in a quick maneuver? That’s where we’re headed. In the future, product will come alive.”
In short, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is the first step into the future of adaptive performance. It’s currently manual (i.e., athlete controlled) but it makes feasible the once-fantastic concept of an automated, nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.
The first generation of the HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available in the U.S. at select Nike retail locations. Appointments to experience and purchase the product begin November 28. Details on how to make an appointment will be announced in the coming weeks. — Nike

American Apparel Files For Bankruptcy — AGAIN!

American Apparel topples into bankruptcy again

Made-in-the-USA retailer American Apparel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday after its latest turnaround plan flopped.
The move comes about a year after the fashion retailer filed for bankruptcy for a first time. The company exited court protection in early 2016 but quickly encountered trouble again.
Canadian clothing manufacturer Gilden Activewear has agreed to a deal to acquire intellectual property assets and inventory from American Apparel, including the chance to maintain some or all of the company's Los Angeles production and distribution operations, according to a court filing.
American Apparel said it hopes to stay in business by securing a deal to keep its stores open. But liquidation is a serious risk for any retailer with the dubious distinction of having filed for what is colloquially known as "Chapter 22" — that is, Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time.
The company has already initiated liquidation proceedings for all of its foreign operations.
"The company faced unfavorable market conditions that were more persistent and widespread than the debtors anticipated," American Apparel chief restructuring officer Mark Weinsten said in a court filing. "These market conditions were particularly detrimental to retailers."
He said American Apparel's turnaround strategy "completely failed" as the company reported a 33% decline in year-over-year sales as of Sept. 30.
The chain secured bankruptcy financing to keep its doors open for now, but Weinsten said the cash would run out by the end of the year.
In the fiercely competitive teen fashion space, fast-fashion retailers H&M and Forever 21 have bulldozed their rivals in recent years. In 2016 alone, bankruptcies have included Aeropostale and Pacific Sunwear.
But American Apparel's troubles run far deeper. Famous for trumpeting its made-in-the-USA business model and sexually provocative advertisements, American Apparel has flirted with insolvency for years. In 2014, the company fired its polarizing CEO, Dov Charney, who faced allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
When it filed for bankruptcy the first time, its strategic missteps were exposed, such as its peculiar strategy of hawking swimsuits in September.
Charney's replacement as CEO, Paula Schneider, charted a new strategic direction for the company, including a plan to overhaul its controversial advertising and improve its products. But she left the company in September.
Since its first bankruptcy, the company failed to optimize merchandising, bolster online sales, improve quality expeditiously and form a cohesive marketing plan, Weinsten said.
With 110 stores in 28 states and the District of Columbia, American Apparel has dwindled in size from the time of its original bankruptcy filing, when it had about 8,500 employees at six factories and 230 stores worldwide.
The company listed about $215 million in debts. It had $497 million in net sales in 2015.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 10th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 10th, 2016

Check out the top 5 plays of the night for 11.10.2016

Jabari Parker takes flight w/ the Dunk of the Night!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 9th, 2016

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 9th, 2016

Check out the Top 10 plays of the night, featuring Marvin Williams and Nic Batum, Jake Layman, Russell Westbrook, Kristaps Porzingas, Gorgui Dieng, Justin Anderson, Stephen Curry, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine, and Jonathon Simmons.

Jonathon Simmons spinnin' n' winnin' and going airborne w/ a tomahawk dunk!

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