Carmakers in Detroit, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere are competing fiercely to offer cars and trucks that have the most irritating, annoying, and distracting lights possible.
“Thanks to new LED technology, we’re able to annoy and distract people in a way that we never could before, and that’s really a game-changer for this industry,” says Rolf Anthonssen, chairman of Volvo Personvagnar AB, the Swedish car making giant based in Gothenburg.
Since about 2010, carmakers have been turning to LED technology for headlights and tail lights because of the technology’s versatility and efficiency. LED technology uses light emitting diodes that require little energy to power on and off. Because of that efficiency, automakers can make lights twice as bright as traditional incandescent bulbs, and at less cost.
John Blaine, an auto industry analyst with Lehman Bros., says the technology enables carmakers to spend little to damage the retinas of drivers who have no choice but to look at the headlights and tail lights while they’re driving. “It used to be prohibitively expensive to damage people’s retinas, but now carmakers can do it for virtually no cost, so it’s really a win-win for everybody,” he says. “Well, almost everybody.”
Automakers also like LED lights because of their versatility. Now they can male headlights and tail lights using a variety of design styles, and for turn signals and brake lights, they can make the lights blink so quickly that they can trigger epileptic seizures in some people. “We never could have done this cost-effectively before,” says Anders Bernes, chief design officer for BMW. “Even five years ago, triggering seizures in people with epilepsy was just a dream, but, as you can see, it’s a reality now.”
Analysts say it’s not just cost and design flexibility that’s driving the adoption of LED lighting technology but the need to grab the attention of drivers and pedestrians who are distracted by their cell phones and other device. “When you have people listening to music, talking on their phone, or texting, you need to be able to grab their attention,” says Blaine. “LED technology, with its ultra-bright illumination and rapid-fire blinking, is able to do that.”
Automakers say the new technology enables distracted people to have their cake and eat it to. “Instead of requiring people to take responsibility for their own safety, the new technology enables them to keep doing what they’re doing,” says Anthonssen. “What we’re saying is, why take responsibility for your own safety when you can let us cut through your distraction for you, with our new technology? It’s another win-win, because you can walk across the street with confidence while you’re texting, because you know an approaching car’s ultra-bright lights will grab your attention before the car threatens your life. Then you can go back to your texting with minimal disruption.”
“In the old days, it was up to people to be responsible for their own safety,” says Blaine. “That’s no longer necessary.”
Next up for automakers is the introduction of fake and unsettling engine sounds. “Because cars are getting quieter, we need to add to the noise of the world with fake engine sounds that are unnatural and unsettling in their artificiality,” says Anthonssen. “That will be yet one more way we’ll be able to annoy and irritate people with our products. It really is a new dawn for annoying and irritating people in ways we weren’t able to annoy and irritate them before. When you combine that with road rage and guns, we’re set for an exciting future.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: mg, ab (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Tech Companies Looking to Replace More Simple, Effective Tools with Complicated, Expensive Smart Technology That Never Works
HouzSecure, a Silicon Valley start-up that made a splash last year with release of its smart door opener, says it’s launching other products that never work, are hard to program, and increase the chances people’s account numbers will be sold to criminal enterprises around the world. “Our smart door opener showed people, while they’re at work or on vacation, the freedom of having their home security system hacked by someone in Poland and their data sold to someone in Russia,” HouzSecure CEO Hunter Duncan said. “What we want to do now is take other overly simplistic and reliable household devices, like doorstops, and replace them with smart technology that no one will know how to use a week after it’s installed and unintentionally acts like a beacon to hackers around the world to come in and make a grab for your personal information.” More.
A mjority of Americans say they have enough time to look at their phones and stuff for five or six hours a day but not for the seven or eight hours a day that they’d like, and driverless cars could solve that problem for them, a poll shows. “I have friends who make comments and stuff on Twitter that I don’t like to miss when I’m making a left turn or a right turn,” says April Barnett, a manicurist in Tucson, Ariz. She says she’d like to have her car do more driving so she can keep up with her friends when she’s behind the wheel. “Like last week, my friend Ashleigh posted a video of her eating cake with her boyfriend at a restaurant and it came to me, like, when I was parking or something. I could have liked it right away but I couldn’t because, you know, the car’s not going to park itself.” More.
Chief executive officers at companies in the United States are uniting behind a push to guarantee no CEO has to work for less than $40 million a year. “This is an issue of basic fairness,” says John Carter, CEO of iQuantumData in Raleigh, N.C. “The idea that a CEO can live in this country on anything under $40 million a year is unsupportable. No one can maintain three or four houses, keep a boat, and travel to Europe for events like Wimbledon or to play golf at St. Andrews on anything less than $40 million.” Mike Anderson, CEO of Delta Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia, says the CEO profession is riven by inequality. More.
Manufacturers and technology companies have failed to blanket the living environment with blinking lights and bleeping noises even though they’ve had the capability to do so for many years, the world says. Until enough blinking lights and bleeping noises fill all living spaces at all times, there will be operations and processes that won’t be sufficiently signaled for people the world over to be sufficiently signaled about every process and operation. “As hard as it is to believe, it’s possible today to go from your home to your car without being signaled by a blinking light or a bleeping noise alerting you to an operation or process that has occurred and that could affect you,” says the world. “Has the newspaper arrived at your doorstep? Have your sprinklers been turned on to water your grass? These are the kinds of processes and operations today that remain un-signaled with a blinking light or bleeping noise. More.
When John and Lucy Wong had Angie three months ago, nothing was too good for her. Now their daughter is the first on her block to have a carriage with a built-in TV, so she can watch educational and other programming even when she’s out enjoying a stroll with mom or dad. “Why just have her watch TV when she’s in her crib?” says Lucy, 24, a marketing assistant with a financial services company in Atlanta. “Going outside for walks is the perfect time to have her watch TV, too.” Although pediatricians generally discourage screen time for children before they reach two years old, parents like the Wongs say such advice doesn’t apply to them. “That’s for people who just throw their child in front of the TV for babysitting,” says Wong. “We don’t do that. We’re always educating our daughter. More.
Trent Sanders says he had no idea the world was filled with other people like him until someone pointed it out after he had been driving around town with music blasting out of his car. “It was like a light went off in my head,” says Sanders, 25. “I was just driving around like I always do and while I was sitting at a stop light this guy pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and yelled, ‘Other people live in this world, asshole! Not everyone wants to listen to your f**ing music!’ Then the light turned green and he peeled off. And I just sat there, stunned.” Sanders says he just automatically assumed he was the only person in the world, which is why he thought it was perfectly okay for him to blast his music while he drives around. “Did I know other people were driving around, too, some trying to listen to their own music? I confess, I did not.” More.
An unsuccessful applicant for an account executive opening at an Macro Surety Analysts, an insurance risk management firm, says the company’s failure to hire him constitutes discrimination against his headphones, which he refused to remove during his interview. “I wear headphones when I work, everyone I know wears headphones when they work, and I’ve been told that Macro Surety employees often wear headphones at work, so to be discriminated against in the hiring process because I wore headphones to the interview is a clear violation of federal equal opportunity rules and the national goal of equal opportunity in the workplace, says Joseph Bernard, 24, who’s put the issue of headphone discrimination on the front burner with his claim filed yesterday with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. More.
“OMG!” A Silicon Valley web start-up is shifting the micro-blogging movement into hyper gear with its launch this week of hhrmp.com, a “hyper-micro” blogging site that limits posts to just 5 characters. “At this point in the evolution of social media, the 140-character limit of Twitter is just too big,” says Jeremy Gliner, whose title is chief hhrmp’er at hhrmp! Media. “Today’s teenagers have grown up on Twitter, Snapchat, and other micro-blogging platforms and they want their own thing. And they don’t want to compose anything that resembles a sentence. Given the success of our beta site with this critical demographic, we feel we’re giving this up-and-coming generation of word-economizers what they want.” A quick check with a group of 19- and 20-year-olds outside Hillsdale College in College Park, Md., appears to bear out Gliner’s assessment. More.
Smokers were in an uproar as CVS Caremark, the second largest drugstore chain in the United States, announced plans to stop carrying cigarettes and other tobacco products at all of its 7,600 locations by October 1. “We understand that CVS is a private company and it’s within its control to sell or not sell cigarettes,” John Beenes, president of Americans for Smokers Rights, says. “But smokers also have a right to kill themselves and CVS, in its decision to stop selling cigarettes, is infringing on that right. We will certainly fight this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if we have to.” CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., announced in February that its decision is intended in part to get other drugstores to stop selling cigarettes. “I think it will put pressure on other retailers who want to be in healthcare,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen Brennan. More.
SmartCarry™ Luggage Carts are the go-to brand of carts for most homeless people, a survey released today by Brand Trust, a business-to-business trade magazine. The magazine asked 250 homeless people in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto about their brand preferences when it came to luggage, grocery, or other types of carts for carrying their possessions and just under 200 said SmartCarry™ is their cart of choice. “They last a real long time,” says Arnold Sween, a homeless person in New York City. “I’ve had mine for 10 years and it still rolls good. Holds a lot, too.” More.