Here are some things I read this week that made me think. (These are just snippets – click on the title to read the whole thing.)
Phrases like ye olde are actually just some of the late 19th century’s first marketing ploys, meant to evoke a sentimental connection to older times. And ye has its own complicated story—based in the history of the alphabet.
English has always been a living language, changing and evolving with use. But before our modern alphabet was established, the language used many more characters we’ve since removed from our 26-letter lineup.”
“Mark Zuckerberg says he is definitely not running for president, thank you very much, but as part of his 5,800-word manifesto, the Facebook CEO pledged to get people more involved with their government. (Something something “civic engagement” something something.) This week, the company rolled out a new feature, Town Hall, which helps users connect with their government representatives.”
“Today, schoolchildren aged between 8 and 18 years spend roughly a third of their lives sleeping, a third at school, and a third engrossed in new media, from smartphones and tablets to TVs and laptops. They spend more time communicating through screens than they do with other people directly, face-to-face. Since the turn of the new millennium, the rate of non-screen playtime fell 20 percent, while the rate of screen playtime increased by a similar amount.”
From making you live longer to making cities more resilient: If you want a reason to make your city more walkable, it’s in here.
– It makes people happier. Someone with a one-hour commute in a car needs to earn 40% more to be as happy as someone with a short walk to work. On the other hand, researchers found that if someone shifts from a long commute to a walk, their happiness increases as much as if they’d fallen in love. People who walk 8.6 minutes a day are 33% more likely to report better mental health.
– It connects people across generations. In the U.S., millennials prefer walking to driving by a 12% margin. In some areas, the elderly are also more likely to walk or take public transit. Making streets more walkable helps bring people of all ages—including children—together.
– It makes cities more competitive. Walkability is directly connected to liveability. When Melbourne redesigned its center for pedestrians, it saw an 830% increase in residents, and it was recognized as The Economist’s “world’s most liveable city” five years in a row.