Frisk #191

Jiminy jillickers, it’s Frisk #191! Flight Number 191 has been withdrawn from use by several airlines as it’s seen as being bad luck, after a number of flight 191s ended in tragedy. Experimental test plane X-15 Flight 191 broke apart and killed its pilot in 1967, Prinair Flight 191 crashed in Puerto Rico killing five in 1972, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed and killed 273 people in Chicago in 1979, Delta Air Lines Flight 191 killed 137 in Dallas in 1985, and JetBlue Airways Flight 191 was diverted from Las Vegas to Amarillo in 2012 when the pilot had a panic attack and had to be restrained by passengers.
Also, 191 AD was the year that Eastern Han warlord Han Fu committed suicide. Bit of a pisser all round then, really. Although the Jordan 191 is considered by many to be the most beautiful Formula One car ever built, and the US Navy Fighter Squadron 191 had the brilliant nickname ‘Satan’s Kittens’, so it’s not all bad news.


Last week we looked at how Sweden is making significant steps toward becoming an entirely cashless society. So here’s an interesting element of such a future that’s being addressed across the sea in Denmark; how do kids these days place any sort of value on money?
Think about it: when you were growing up, you probably had a piggybank – you’d take out a handful of coins, go to the corner shop and buy a bag of sweets, then you wouldn’t have that money any more and you’d have something else in its place. Or you’d take the ten-pound note you got for Christmas down to the toy shop to buy something bigger – the larger amount of money had gone, replaced by the more significant item. You’re intrinsically aware of the relative value of different denominations of currency.
…but if all your payments are made by card or smartphone, this tangibility is lost. You have the thing you’ve bought, but you still have the card or device. So just how real can it feel?
MyMonii is an app to help teach Danish kids the value of money. They can fund their own account with their pocket money and use the app to make payments in shops, and it also allows them to set saving goals for bigger things they plan to buy in the future. It may not have the same immediacy of spending coins or notes, but if those things aren’t going to exist in the future, being able to visualise the numbers involved is the next best thing.

Picking and foraging for your own food is a wholesome and earthy pursuit. If you live in the countryside, you’ll always be able to find wild blackberries scattered about the place so you can make your own jam. But what if you live in the city? Eating food that you find on the street can be a one-way ticket to gastroenteritis.
But for people living in the Bronx, there’s a fresh new option: Swale. Possibly not named after the narrow body of water between North Kent and the Isle of Sheppey, Swale is a barge that floats along the Bronx River offering a sort of aquatic ‘food forest’. Upon stepping aboard, local residents are able to pick their own herbs, fruits and various edible plants – for free!
It’s an art installation, of course – the brainchild of artist Mary Mattingly, the point is to encourage people to reconsider where food originates and how it’s produced and processed. This may work or it may not, but either way… hey, free basil.

Fake transparency
It’s troubling how quickly President Tangerine has normalised the concept of ‘fake news’. Encouraging people to distrust the press is one of the principle tenets of fascism, after all. But that’s an issue for another day; today we’re looking at the far more tangible concept of ‘fake transparency’.
Take premium water brand BLK as a test case. They’re bullishly marketing their bottled water as ‘gluten-free, zero calories, zero carbs, zero sugars, zero caffeine’. All of which ticks a lot of grocery boxes for a great many consumers, but also neatly glosses over the fact that it’s just frickin’ water. Water wouldn’t contain those things anyway. They might as well advertise it as ‘zero tiger, zero cyanide, zero ballpoint pen, zero colostomy bag’.
This act of mischief can go one of two ways. On the one hand, people are increasingly attracted to things that tell them about health benefits and improvements in wellbeing; a third of Britons prefer products which claim to have ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ ingredients. But on the other, 83% of Brits believe that brands use deliberately misleading labelling to make products seem healthier. So can all this fake transparency actually be a harmless sales tactic? What’s wrong with real, actual transparency?

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

13th September 2017