Wired: tiny cars, objectifying cool and anti-Darwin

Finished the new Wired yesterday — in addition ot the already-mentioned-here Long Tail article, there were three other very noteworthy features that had me engrossed from the first graf:

  • The Smart Car: a $10,000 plastic car with an integrated steel roll-cage that you can buy out of a vending machine. They park two to a parking space and get 50% better mileage than a Prius. These things are all over the road in Europe, but to make them work for the US market, they're rolling out an SUV — a tiny, cute, fuel-efficient SUV.
  • fMRIs to measure cool: a hipster scientest is putting peoples' heads in a functional MRI box and showing them pictures of cool and uncool objects to see how dorks' and beautiful peoples' brains differ; charmingly told by a dorky scientist ("Fifth grade was also the year that I discovered, to my shame, that the seventh grader I had privately idolized was actually the class dork, a turtleneck-and-glasses-wearing nerd incarnate"), the kicker is the junk science behind the interpretation of the results and the triumph of nerdliness over flash.
  • Anti-Darwinists: Religious fundies (and, strangely, George Gilder) have gussied up Creationism with a cloak of information-theory science rhetoric and have successfully lobbied various school districts into getting "Intelligent Design" (dishonest new buzzword meaning "God|Aliens are responsible for humanity") onto the curriculum alongside of Darwin. Infuriating piece, and a textbook example of dirty poltiicking; the author does a fine job of deconstructing the arguments of the Creationists.