IN A NUTSHELL 13/2019-20

PEOPLE STILL BETTER AT MAKING SHOES THAN ROBOTS

When Adidas opened their first automated shoe factory four years ago it was definitely with an intention of getting rid of human workers at all in the perspective of a few years. Speedfactory, as it was called, used only machines to make shoes and operated in Germany (later also in the USA). Over four years the company learned robots can be very good at making shoes but are able to do it only for a limited number of models. Whenever something changes in the design or materials, machines need costly and time-consuming re-programming. In extreme cases, robots have to be entirely replaced, which means ones which will make different models have to be designed. The whole process is so costly the key intention of making the production cheaper cannot be fulfilled. Finally, each automated factory produced about one million shoes a year compared to 400 million made in a traditional, human, way.

Source: komputerswiat.pl, an article from November 12, 2019 about Adidas factories

SUPERBUGS: WHY PEOPLE SHOULD TAKE LESS ANTIBIOTICS

There are basically two types of infections a human can get: caused by a virus or by bacteria. In case of viruses our bodies have to fight them on their own, but with bacteria we can count on the help of antibiotics. Unfortunately, according to international health officials there are now 5 so-called superbugs, that is to say bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics. When the last report was published, there were three. Why this happens? When people take antibiotics there are some bacteria in their bodies which know how to resist them. When they survive a round of antibiotics they proliferate and become superbugs. That is why it is so crucial to finish your round of antibiotics even when you already started feeling better — the more people let some smart bacteria survive the bigger the chance their population will start getting out of hands. Experts say what people should do now is not invent stronger antibiotics but just start taking less of them.

Source: CNN 10, an episode from November 15, 2019 about antibiotics

COMPANY WILL PAY YOU IF YOU STOP USING YOUR CAR

A lot of people would like to have a job where they get a company car. But what if a company paid you for not using one? Sounds unbelievable, yet this is exactly what a Gdańsk-based branch of Dynatrace (one of global leaders in IT sector) started doing. A worker who instead of using their car to get to work will use public transport can count on getting the money for tickets from the company. If they decide to walk, run or use a bike — they get extra money to their salary. To get the benefit employees have to show used tickets or their results from apps such as Endomondo. The company decided to introduce such solution because it wants to build and create socially responsible attitude. Copying ideas in IT sector can be a nightmare but Dynatrace hopes this one will be copied by as many organizations as possible.

Source: businessinsider.com.pl, an article from November 17, 2019 about Dynatrace

THE NEW KING OF BURGERS

Founded in 1954, Burger King is one of the oldest US fast food chains. In early November the company launched its brand new product: a meatless whopper, understandably named the Impossible Whopper. Not all vegans are impressed. They point out that it is cooked on the same grill as beef and (as is often the case in the United States) the company is being sued for it by one of its customers. BK’s line of defense is that the customers can request the burger to be cooked on a separate grill. Naturally, plant-based meats aren’t just a whim of one company, nor are they something new: they have been making headlines for several years now and its main producers are on the mission to (as Pat Brown, the CEO of „Impossible Foods” puts it) „completely replace animals as food technology by 2035”. The so-called fake-meat companies purposely market and sell their products right next to animal meat in the supermarkets, as they want to appeal mainly to meat eaters. And the experiment appears to be working, as the significant majority of plant-based meat consumers admit to eating animal meat regularly. It is quite important for the new concept to catch on, particularly that – according to the World Economic Forum – „The amount of food we’re growing today will feed only half of the world’s population by 2050.” Comparisons of environmental impact of producing a plant-based burger to a regular beef quarterpounder are astonishing. Creating the former requires 99% less water, 93% less land, 46% less energy and produces 90% less greenhouse gas emissions. The bad news: a survey from 5 years ago showed that 80% of Americans who once became vegetarians eventually started eating animal meat again.

Source: CNN 10, a November 20 material on plant-based meats.

DISCUSSION:

  1. Robots should not replace humans in any jobs.
  2. People should consult doctors as seldom as possible.
  3. Companies should pay workers for using eco-friendly transport.
  4. Nothing will ever beat regular animal meat.
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