People who design apps — or, for that matter, design startup companies — want their creations to elicit excitement. They (usually) design to avoid creating boredom. A fairly recent Canadian study offers exciting insights into the nature of boredom.
His ethnological research, carried out while “hanging around at a seafood stand in east London”, explores customers’ and bystanders’ reactions to seeing copious quantities of eels – jellied and otherwise.
“First, it must be noted that on a general level, any favour or smell has the potential to turn the stomach. Smells and tastes by their very nature, smudge a very important taxonomic division disturbing, by way of bodily orifces, a simultaneously psychic and physical sense of corporeal ‘inside’ and ‘out’ (Grosz 1994, 192-198). It is perhaps because smells and food necessarily disrupts this foundational boundary that Kristeva claims that ‘food loathing is … the most elementary form of abjection’
(1982, 4). Yet we know that not all food induces gut-wrenching squirms. Rather, only the movement of certain tastes and textures into the mouth, or smells through the nose, result in the convulsion that ripples from stomach to lips and across the face. The distribution of these squirms, I will argue below, is partially predicated on the particular classifcatory systems through which we sort our every day sensory experiences.”
People are displeased that a Welsh town’s library installed an Ig Nobel Prize-winning device designed to repel teenagers.
BACKGROUND: The 2006 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing an electromechanical teenager repellant — a device that makes annoying high-pitched noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not to adults; and for later using that same technology to make telephone ringtones that are audible to teenagers but probably not to their teachers. The invention is sold under the brand name “The Mosquito.”
BACKGROUND: Stapleton’s company, Compound Security, also developed a version of that same technology for a sort-of opposite purpose — for teenagers to use against older people. This alternate product is a telephone ring tone so high-pitched that elders (schoolteachers, for example) probably cannot hear teenagers receiving telephone calls (in classrooms, in that same example). Compound Security thus became like the great armaments manufacturers of old, selling arms to both sides.