Beetle & Byte

Helping Insects Flourish

Dutch design firm, Atelier Boelhouwer, and its principal designer, Matilde Boelhouwer, have set about bringing more blooms to urban spaces with the creation of the series Insectology: Food for Buzz.

The series includes artificial flowers that continuously provide a source of food through a self-sustaining system. These flowers will provide emergency nourishment to bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies, and moths all of whom are pollinators.


The Perennial Bad UX

Transportation kiosks worldwide seem to share the same affliction of bad user experience. At a time when people are rushing from one place to another, these interfaces steal precious seconds and minutes.

The worst I ever experienced was in Portland. A parking kiosk required that you enter your license plate with a numeric pad, yet it didn’t provide any key for what letters correspond to what numbers. I had to reference the numeric pad on my phone to figure it out.

Images are from a Twitter thread initiate by Bobby Goodlatte.

Morning Walk

Snail on pavement

While I have time off from work, I’m trying to build better habits, one of which is a morning walk. Yesterday, as the evening’s rain began to burn off, I startled myself by very nearly stepping on this little fellow. When I’d completed my loop, I was happy to see he made it beyond the danger zone of the sidewalk. Hopefully, he too was well on his way to a good day.

Learning to Satisfice

Recognizing that inflection point — the point at which our continuing to rework our work reaches a law of diminishing returns — is one of the hardest skills to learn, but also one of the most necessary.

Dr. Alex Lickerman, Psychology Today

via New York Times


One of my favorite travel activities is to tour the local street art. You get to see beautiful—and sometimes not-so-beautiful—pieces while also discovering parts of a city you wouldn’t typically encounter. I also appreciate how ephemeral it is. What I see one day may be completely different another.

In this episode of 60 Minutes Overtime, Anderson Cooper interviews the street artist, JR. His work has appeared in over 140 countries and recently he’s extended it through his Inside Out Project to give others the opportunity to create their own street art.

JR uses the technique of flyposting, or wheatpaste posters, to affix multi-story photographs on buildings, cargo containers, city streets, and much more. His subjects are often local people for whom he’s trying to give dignity through representation. He does this in contrast to commercial advertising that is more likely to depict a idealized and unattainable life.

Just a few of his projects below.

Installation along the Mexico / U.S. border
Installation in Shanghai, China
Installation in the Flatiron Plaza, NYC
Installation in Ile Saint-Louis, Paris
Installation on a train passing by a Nairobi shanty town

A Little Surplus of Gratitude

Do I have my griefs and losses, my regrets and disappointments? Of course I do. But I’ve found that being grateful, though this is something of a cliché, offers great comfort to me, and could for you too. For cultivating gratitude for the good stuff in our lives, being aware of and even counting our blessings, brightens our view of who we are and where we are in the world—and can make us happier.

I’ve found that a little surplus of gratitude often has downstream effects, helping us become more tolerant, less judgmental, more forgiving of family and friends when they annoy or neglect us, hurt our feelings, or let us down. It’s tempting to add up their failures and flaws and compare them with our far superior selves, but we make a big mistake if we do. For while most of the folks in our life can, on occasion, be pains in the ass, so—let’s face it—can I and so can you. Figuring out that we, like they, are in need of a lot of acceptance and forgiveness can make for a happier old (or any) age.

Judith Viorst

via Girls’ Night In