ChittahChattah Quickies

Pigs Playing Video Games = Ethical Farming? [Mother Jones] – Redefining the “consumer” in consumer electronics, an interspecies game developed by a team of Dutch researchers at Wageningen University suggests that livestock may become a promising new market. Perhaps someday we will see the high scores of featured menu items alongside information about their diet and dwellings. This would, of course, suggest happy, engaged and intelligent animals, just as it indicates those characteristics in video-game playing human beings. As researchers, we must consider the evolution of our methodologies to gain insights from the porcine point of view. Kidding aside, though, they’ve produced a short video demonstrating pigs and people enjoying Pig Chase together. It’s certainly odd but also a little sweet. Kind of a high-tech remote laser pointer.

…do take a moment to appreciate this concept in humane farming: As a farmer, you’d get to play video games with your hogs, and the gameplay might actually have the added benefit of making the animal’s life happier and healthier. The system includes a giant screen that broadcasts a swirl of glittering colors and lights next to the pigpen. The human participant controls the wall-sized screen remotely with an iPad, and the pigs react by touching and following the light designs with their snouts. Clement notes that researchers hope that this will all “open up new questions in debates about animal farming and welfare in the digital age…”

State Farm: Lincoln Park’s new neighbor [Chicago Tribune] – I’ve seen versions of this brewing on whiteboards from time to time. In order to provide financial services and education, learn about their more elusive younger customers (or potential customers) and of course create exposure and build brand good-will, State Farm Insurance has built a highly designed coffee-shop/community center with a slick website to match. No State Farm insurance products are sold through the channel. Access to the space, wifi, qualified financial coaches (by appointment or walk-in), classes and other events are free. Coffee and snacks are not free. I would love to know what it took to foster this concept – open since last fall – through the State Farm organization, and how they are measuring and reporting the success of the investment.

Next Door’s financial coaches are prohibited from soliciting products or services. “A lot of people want to get help with their finances and didn’t really know where to turn,” Carter said. “So to have a very unbiased person to talk to who can’t sell you anything, people have been really open to that.” The Lincoln Park location is State Farm’s experiment to gather information about how young people manage their money. On warm days, its windows open to the street, welcoming passersby. Next Door’s casual, modern design gives it a youthful vibe: lofted ceilings with wooden rafters; sleek sofas scattered throughout; cafe treats from local companies such as Kickstand Espresso Bar, Hoosier Mama Pie Co. and Noble Tree Coffee & Tea; dry-erase boards as walls; music pumping throughout; paintings from community artists; and long tables made from 1930s wood reclaimed from a South Side factory…”We check judgment at the door. That is the No. 1 rule. You’re making the first step coming here, trying to fix whatever situation you’re in. We’re just going to help you try to improve your situation.”


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