Health as urban design:

I spoke at the Cusp Conference last week to a packed audience at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art about health, design, and time. Other speakers were Richard Saul Wurman who founded TED and Maggie Breslin who heads up the Mayo Clinic’s SPARC Design Group and that’s just to name two.

The argument I made is that how we spend our time is the number one killer in the developed world and modern medicine doesn’t have the tools to improve how we spend our time. From 1880 to 1960, our life expectancy increased 31 years. From 1960 to 2010 (the era of “modern medicine”), we’ve only added 7 years. It was simple public health measures like clean water, vaccines, and antibiotics that made such a drastic change prior to 1960. And now we’re stuck because pills and scalpels don’t fix unhealthy lifestyle.

So, if modern medicine isn’t going to fix our bad behavior, what will?

I’m calling this Public Health 2.0. Public Health 2.0 is taking an active role in designing our built environment, our food supply, our activities, and our social connections to ultimately influence for the better how we spend our time in this modern world. We should talk about good design more in terms of health.

Chicago has done their best to lead by example. The new Millennium Park is a phenomenal example of “healthy” urban design. It brings people together to give us ridiculously interesting things to see, hear, feel, and smell. It gives us a reason to be active and connect with our friends and family. This is Public Health 2.0.

The great “success” of modern America.

Our leaders have given everyone enough rights to shut us up.

Women can vote, but they can’t get equal pay. African Americans can be served along with whites. We can watch two men kissing on national television, but they can’t marry. 

All of these things have happened while retaining that last bit of superiority. Women, gays, and blacks are almost equal right? When things are almost equal, only the most passionate people on the fringe care. And those people are quickly deemed radicals.

That’s why Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in The New Yorker is spot on in terms of the internet sparking real social change. “Weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism." No matter how much Twitter we have, the vast majority of us are happy enough.

The great “success” of modern America.

The internet is getting boring.

Here are the “next big things” from TechCrunch Disrupt:

PingerTurns your iPod touch into a free cell phone.
DataSiftHelps you find a needle in the real-time tweetstack.
Qwiki. Turns the web into a video and audio experience. MG Siegler of Techcrunch wrote“Just may be the future of information consumption.”
CloudflareWants to be a CDN for the masses. Makes your website faster and more secure.
OpziA Quora for the Enterprise.
BadgevilleWants to layer social gaming (and yes, badges) across the entire web.
Game CrushLets guys pay money to play online games with women.

Real game changers eh? It’s weird to think that after nearly two decades of seeing the world change before our eyes, it’s now come down to this in 2010.

The internet is getting boring.

Texting bans for drivers increases crash rate, US study shows

Laws banning texting while driving may actually increase the risk of road crashes, according to U.S. research published Tuesday.

The findings from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) showed crash rates rose in three out of four states after texting bans were put in place.

“Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in three of the four states we studied after bans were enacted,” said Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws,” he said. The findings “call into question the way policymakers are trying to address the problem of distracted driving crashes,” he added.

Lund said that the increased crash rates were due to drivers responding to the ban by moving their phones lower down and out of sight when they sent a text – increasing the risk of a crash because their eyes are diverted further from the road and for a longer time.

Texting bans for drivers increases crash rate, US study shows