Why Airplane Bathrooms Have Ashtrays

Everyone has seen that airplane bathrooms still have ashtrays, despite smoking being banned on flights for almost a generation now. Engineering Infrastructures For Humans has a great blog post explaining why (spoiler: because some people will still smoke). Even greater is the takeaway for anyone who builds anything:

You don’t engineer your systems with the belief that none of your computers will ever break. That’s insane; you KNOW they’re going to break. So don’t assume that your users will never break the rules. Build in graceful failure as often as possible, whether you’re designing a user interface or a security policy.

Airplanes are actually quite redundant in almost every respect from human error to mechanical failure. They are, generally speaking the gold standard for engineering.

Raymond Loewy

LIFE magazine has a pretty interesting photo essay on Raymond Loewy, who designed many things you likely have seen/used but completely took for granted including the Exxon logo, Shell logo, Coca-Cola packaging, Lucky Strike packaging, Air France Concorde interior, and Skylab interior among many others. Just check out the Wikipedia article for a list of designs by decade. I’m not sure when the guy slept.