Two different ways to design a better fire extinguisher

Since we spend most of our time in buildings, we are literally surrounded by fire extinguishers. It consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire (Wikipedia). In general, we do not pay attention to them until needed. For me, I have never used any fire extinguisher…

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Standing desk: New way to work

I suffered from minor shoulder – and wrist pain for a long time. In order to lessen the pain, I decided to train my left hand for using the computer mouse a few years back. Certainly, using mouse with my left hand was very challenging in the first couple of years. However, 3-year of intensive practice…

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Reducing eye pain in a shopping mall

In a large scale indoor space, people need breaks to reduce pains. In a shopping mall or at an exhibition, for example, people often take micro breaks on a bench to reduce the pains in the legs or feet. At a recent exhibition, I met a relatively new solution for the pains that have been little articulated: pains in…

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Electronic Vehicle Charging Station in Seoul

An EV charging station stands in the parking lot at my university. Probably, the department of automotive engineering installed it and owns the electronic vehicle. My first impression about them is that they do not interfere the traffic flow inside the busy parking lot because the charging station occupies a tiny space and it charges…

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Pillow preference

Pillows are important for a good night’s sleep. Regardless of whether innate or learned, people have their own preferences for the firmness of pillow. When they go to hotels or visit their friends’ places, however, they cannot help but accept the given pillows. Some of my friends who have a strong preference carry their air pillows.…

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Old is good intuition

Although we are always attracted by something new, we sometimes try something old to enjoy its authenticity. For instance, when a restaurant places an nostalgic vintage signboard outside or when it serves dishes in an ugly pot or on the old-fashioned plates, we infer that the restaurant must have been loved by many people previously. This “old…

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Sterilizer in beauty stores

Must buy items in Korea are skin care products. As the Korean entertainment programs including TV programs, movies, and music videos became highly popular in Asia, the beauty products made in Korean enjoy its strong brand power. Many cosmetic stores in Seoul are crowded by foreign visitors. I have noticed in the stores that many foreign…

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Mobile messaging apps in Asia

Short / Instant / Mobile messaging apps compete fiercely. It has about 5 year history and has a numerous players (e.g., WhatsApp, Line, Wechat, QQ, and Kakao Talk, Snpachat, Telegram, and Viber, to name a few). Some focus on simple communication and others provide interesting features including stickers and animated figures. I visited YongPyong ski…

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Verbal instructions do not work

People often use verbal signs to give instructions to others. The store owner posts a sign on the window saying, “This is a window, please use the door.” Government officers paint “Look Right” at the pedestrian crossing. However, I have observed numerous store visitors and pedestrians mistakenly push or slide the window and look left…

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Break: take a rest vs. get inspired

We need breaks from our everyday work. Although they have a single objective, breaks have at least two different forms. For instance, some of my friends want to take a rest without having interactions with others. They turn off mobile phones, go to an all-inclusive hotel, and then spend time on doing nothing but reading…

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Train experience: Mechanical vs. Electronic

I recently traveled on trains in UK (London – Edinburgh) and in Korea (Seoul – Busan) and found two interesting differences. First, I used a physical train ticket in UK and used an electronic ticket in Korea. In UK, I collected a paper ticket at the station and then physically showed it to the conductor…

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Advantage of popular first name

First name (or given name) is the name that identifies a specific person. It differentiates a person from other members of a group, such as a family or clan, with whom that person shares a common last name (or family name). While last name is normally inherited, first name is “free to choose” and thus can…

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Make public communication points useful

Nowadays, people rarely use pay phones or mailboxes run by government. Instead, they prefer to use private services when communicating with others; they use mobile phones or gmails. As people find the contemporary public services slow and inconvenient, they avoid public communication points. Ironically, most of the public communication points such as pay phone booths and mail boxes are…

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Pay toilet, spoiled customer, and mental accounting

I have seen pay toilets at train stations or tourist spots in London. Since paying money to use public toilet was new to me, I simply thought making profits by victimising tourists is unethical. However, one of my friends who has been living in London for a few years said money should be collected to maintain toilet clean.…

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Engineering smells of childhood memories

I visited an interesting exhibition. It was held by the Naeum, a project group of eight people who study fragrance for empathy. Differently from others interested in developing fancy and welcoming odors, they try to create a wide variety of unique smells and then enjoy them with others. In this exhibition, they introduced a series…

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