A few weeks ago, a young couple walked into New York City’s popular Big Gay Ice Cream shop and ordered a shake. One of the customers then handed the cashier his credit card, and after swiping it through Square Register, the mobile payments service developed to replace traditional point-of-sales systems and cash registers, the cashier turned her countertop iPad in the direction of the customer, prompting him for a tip. Without hesitation, the customer tapped the 20% button and the couple went on their way. advertisement advertisement The exchange is a common one with Square, according to local merchants who use the service. While a 20% tip may not sound otherworldly, the crucial difference here is that Square is facilitating tips at non-traditional venues–ice cream parlors, coffee shops, bakeries–places where tipping 20% (or tipping anything, for that matter) is not terribly common, like it is, say, at a sit-down restaurant. In interviews with Fast Company, … [Read more...] about How Square Register’s UI Guilts You Into Leaving Tips
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advertisement advertisement Earlier this year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke about discovering that truckloads of single-use plastic shopping bags imported into his war-torn nation were squandering precious resources of fuel while risking the lives of truck drivers as they passed through insurgent held territories. Recognizing the true cost of wasting scarce resources in a place with so few to begin with–call it the Afghan Price of goods–he led the effort to ban the use of those wasteful bags. He may want to measure the Afghan Price of a much bigger threat to his people next–the air pollution that kills more people than the war itself. Recent studies show that some 3,000 people die every year in Afghanistan from air pollution, more than the 2,777 civilians killed in the war in 2010. Nearly half a million suffer from respiratory disease. The sources of air pollution are mainly old cars, dirty fuels, diesel generators, and the burning of trash, all of which … [Read more...] about Afghanistan Banned Plastic Bags, Can They Also Go Farther Than The U.S. In Fixing Air Pollution?
If half of the adults in America picked up this article, they’d struggle to fully comprehend it. About one in seven couldn’t read it at all. advertisement advertisement Now, imagine how tough it would be for these men and women to obtain a decent job. A lack of transportation and affordable childcare are typically cited as the biggest barriers for low-income workers to get ahead. But there’s another fundamental factor that is easily overlooked: A huge part of the American labor force is illiterate. “When you talk about adult literacy, it sounds like you’re referring to a few folks who fell through the cracks, but that’s not the case at all,” says Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, the founder and CEO of Cell-Ed, a for-profit social enterprise that is making promising strides in combating the problem with a mobile learning platform targeted at low-skill workers. “It’s a hidden epidemic.” Formally launched four years ago, … [Read more...] about This mobile learning platform aims to combat the “hidden epidemic” of adult illiteracy.
The Rikers Island Correctional Facility, a complex of 10 jails and about 10,000 detainees located northeast of LaGuardia Airport, is a longstanding political flashpoint in New York City. For decades, civic leaders have debated shuttering the facility because of its notoriously corrupt reputation, brutal mistreatment of detainees, and inhumane conditions. Critics say it’s impossible to close, citing insufficient infrastructure–but proponents are pressing forward, with Mayor Bill De Blasio supporting a move to close the jail. advertisement advertisement Today, the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform—a multi-disciplinary group of experts convened by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—released Justice In Design, a report that envisions an alternative to a single, centralized jail. It details how community-based jails, dubbed “Justice Hubs,” might function in an urban context … [Read more...] about Redesigning New York’s Most Notorious Jail
As an astute student of productivity, my quest for work-life balance started in college. I was determined to be that person who could get good grades, have a social life, exercise, and be on committees of campus organizations. Oh, and work 12 to 15 hours a week. advertisement advertisement Despite following and sticking to systems set out in time-management books, I never managed to do everything well at the same time. It also took me a long time to realize that I can’t train myself to need less sleep (believe me, I tried.) Somewhere along the line, I learned the concept of opportunity cost and the importance of focusing on one thing at a time. Yet, I convinced myself that when I graduated from college and started working, I was somehow going to be magically better at time management. I started adulthood with a heavy dose of overcommitment and quickly faced a dose of rude awakening. College-age me didn’t quite grasp the concept that building a career entails … [Read more...] about These are the questions you should ask instead of “do I have work-life balance?”