A Jerk and a Creep / Lighting Up / Live Long? / Unfunneled Superpower

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: A jerk and a creep — “Hidden jerk in universal creep and aftershocks” may sound like the name of a Hollywood movie – and maybe some day it will be. But for now, it is exclusively […]

The Possible Advantages of Square Cigarettes [focus-group report, 1999]

What might be the advantages of “square” cigarettes? In 1999, the US tobacco company R.J Reynolds employed the Opinion and Marketing Research firm Delta Research to investigate. Participants of two “Consumer Idea Generation” (CIG) focus groups from Indianapolis were paid $35 each (plus dinner) to list (amongst other things) possible advantages of “Square” cigarettes. The findings : […]

Cigarettes That Are Visually Offputting (research study)

A number of countries have passed laws which require cigarette manufacturers to show ‘denormalising’ images on their packaging. To take things a step further, why not make the cigarettes themselves more unappealing? This was the question tackled by a joint Australian – New Zealand research team in 2015. A set of potentially unpleasant cigarette designs […]

USB cigarettes (pay-as-you-smoke) patent

Phillip Morris International (PMI) has received (Oct. 7th 2014) its US patent for an ‘Electrically Heated Smoking System’ Unlike many currently available ‘vape’ sticks, the new device can heat actual tobacco rather than evaporating a nicotine-based liquid. And, unusually for a cigarette, it can ‘communicate’ with a host computer/ tablet etc via a USB plug. […]

“Bleeding wound? Relax and roll a cigarette.”

Cigarettes have become less popular for use by doctors on the job, but they still serve, on occasion, as inspiration. Here is one cigarette-inspired idea: “Bleeding wound? Relax and roll a cigarette,” Stuart G. Williams and Cara Connolly, Injury Extra, epub April 30, 2014. The authors, at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Scotland and Springfield Hospital, Essex, England, […]