Category: Blogging

Wes Anderson’s Latest ‘French Dispatch’ Posters Beautifully Introduce Characters



Image via The French Dispatch

If the posters for The French Dispatch are of any indication, the film is on track to set milestones in both art and movie history.

Though, of course, you’d expect nothing less from filmmaker Wes Anderson. Last year’s old school comic-style illustrated promo was already iconic, what with its whimsical The New Yorker magazine vibes. Now, the live-action movie’s PR team has bestowed character posters that are just as memorable, albeit donning a different style, upon fans.

Today’s headlines feature the all new character posters for Wes Anderson’s #TheFrenchDispatch Only in Theaters October 22. pic.twitter.com/b6Z75wSN3s

— The French Dispatch (@french_dispatch) September 14, 2021

The predictable route would be to create one obviously consistent template and drop pictures of the actors into them to make them all look the same—but no, these are plenty elaborate individually. Every collage here looks reasonably different to tell a story about the character it represents, and includes hints throughout, like a Kansas map or a dartboard.

Loosely based on life in The New Yorker editorial office, the comedy-drama follows French foreign bureau members of a fictional 20th-century Kansas newspaper as they prepare for its final issue.

After being delayed for over a year, the A-list-starring The French Dispatch is finally due for a theatrical release on October 22, 2021.

If you’re understandably hankering for more, check out the mesmerizing trailer too.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The French Dispatch (@frenchdispatch)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The French Dispatch (@frenchdispatch)

[via Creative Bloq, images via The French Dispatch] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415826/Wes-Anderson-s-Latest-French-Dispatch-Posters-Beautifully-Introduce-Characters/

Google-Flavored Potato Chips From The Company Pack A Crunch For Pixel Chip

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Video screenshot via Google Japan

While most tech giants would jump straight into the specifics, the truth is that, for the layperson, explaining how a computer chip works might require a different approach. To promote its first-ever self-designed system on chip (SoC), Google is crisping things up… with puns.

As reported by Android Authority, Google got the Japanese public listening about the all-new, original Tensor chip—designed for the upcoming Pixel 6 series—by rolling out ‘Google Original Chips’ in the country. Only 10,000 packs were made available, with all of them being “Googley Salty”-flavored, whatever that means.



Image via Google Japan

According to Google in Japan, the original chips—presumably both potato and Tensor chips—are “100% Google,” “manufactured completely in-house,” and have “a crispy finish.”



Image via Google Japan

The difference is that the Tensor isn’t a bag of air. First coming to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro this fall, it involved years of experimentation before Google could imbue the chip with the capabilities that the company was previously limited from adding to smartphones. These include giving the Pixel lineup “the most layers of hardware security in any phone,” the ability to take sharp photos from moving images, as well as translating and captioning foreign-language videos in real-time.

[via Beebom and Android Authority, video and images via Google Japan] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415825/Google-Flavored-Potato-Chips-From-The-Company-Pack-A-Crunch-For-Pixel-Chip/

Brands Are Switching To Designer’s Free But Awful Fake Logo Redesigns



The Washington Post’s profile picture on Twitter (left) VS on TikTok (right)

It’s not uncommon for rebrands to receive strong reactions, especially when the new look is a huge departure from the previous one. Companies are now embracing this tendency with the help of one TikToker who has been dishing out free logo critiques and makeovers for laughs.

Emily Zugay, an illustrator who had her big TikTok break after posting satirical videos of brand logos receiving significant Microsoft Paint-esque “improvements,” is now getting requests from prominent companies to revamp their brandings too.

“I graduated from college with a degree in design and I redesigned some popular logos I think we can all agree are ugly,” she shared in her original video, posted on September 8. Brands that weren’t spared from a complete facelift included Starbucks (“I don’t even know who that is,” she described of the siren); and Apple, which she said has a logo that does not even indicate a name and forces you to “guess” what it means.

@emilyzugay

Putting my degree to use

♬ original sound – Emily’sTikTok.edu

Since then, Zugay has created two other videos filled with logo redesigns, because companies have taken notice that she’s been overhauling brand icons and are sending in requests too. A number of sporting ones have even heeded the advice and replaced their TikTok profile pictures.

The joke might have flown over the heads of many, but according to Newsweek, Tinder, NASCAR, The Washington Post, Tampax, the Detroit Lions, and TikTok itself have all incorporated Zugay’s humorous graphics into their social media branding efforts, and some have tweaked their display names to match the typo-filled revamps.

how it how it's
started going pic.twitter.com/w8TVVR0dUX

— TikTok (@tiktok_us) September 17, 2021

Even Adobe’s logo was fixed at its own request, but the Photoshop parent has yet to replace its original profile picture yet.

This is what happens when you become famous on TikTok—or should we say, Tik Tock.

TikTok creator @emilyzugay redesigned popular company logos and some of those companies have changed their TikTok pfp to her new design lol https://t.co/NkFTSqJ20H pic.twitter.com/JnO71ZTdSM

— Amanda Perelli (@arperelli) September 18, 2021

This all stems from user @/emilyzugay who has made a series of very viral satirical videos which re-design major brands logos. (The joke is that she designs them horribly. They are good videos and she’s hilariously apathetic). pic.twitter.com/OGUU9ixzOf

— Abbie Richards (@abbieasr) September 18, 2021



Screenshot via Detroit Lions



Screenshot via Tinder



Screenshot via TikTok



Screenshot via The Washington Post



Screenshot via NASCAR



Screenshot via Tampax

[via Newsweek, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415824/Brands-Are-Switching-To-Designer-s-Free-But-Awful-Fake-Logo-Redesigns/

IKEA Bands Together With Swedish House Mafia To Create Music-Centric Homeware



Image via Swedish House Mafia

IKEA is collaborating with fellow Swedes, the Swedish House Mafia, on a collection that’ll be exploring “music and creativity at home.” The collection will primarily focus on affordable music-centric homeware.

The partnership hopes to encourage more people to explore their music-making talents at home by providing homeware for the producing, playing, and listening stages of the craft.

Not only will these products make it easier to be creative at home, but they’ll also equip beginners with the necessary tools to get started.

“We want to explore how IKEA together with Swedish House Mafia could make the everyday life easier for the many people listening to and creating music. This collection will enable people to create the perfect home studio for an affordable price,” said James Futcher, the Product Design Lead at IKEA Sweden, as per Bustle.

The band concurred, saying: “We both wanted to reach out of our comfort zones and create something new and fresh together: a pure collaboration between music creators and a home expert.”

Fans of the group—or the furniture store—will have to wait a little while before the collection launches in September 2022. However, stay tuned for more details about the collaboration soon.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @swedishhousemafia

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @swedishhousemafia

[via Bustle, cover image via Swedish House Mafia] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415820/IKEA-Bands-Together-With-Swedish-House-Mafia-To-Create-Music-Centric-Homeware/

Amazon Seizes ‘Tomorrow War’ Beast, Transporting It By Truck In Enamoring Promo



Video screenshot via The Tomorrow War

Not your average Amazon shipment, a cargo truck carrying a live alien was seen in high-traffic areas in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku.

The astonishing promotional stunt for the Amazon Prime blockbuster, The Tomorrow War, took place in June and July, but it’s just now enamoring viewers on social media. The creature, one of a dangerous alien species called Whitespikes, is depicted as being chained down in a vehicle with see-through glass.

The Tomorrow War movie advertising in Japan from

interestingasfuck

The sci-fi thriller, which stars Chris Pratt, follows a group of time travelers from the year 2051, who have returned to the present day to warn of an incoming global war against the Whitespikes.

With the film’s themes centered around science and the military, this stunt was just one part of a wider global campaign. According to the Event Marketer trade magazine, more Whitespikes were captured with their tentacles dangling out of trucks in places like Hollywood & Highland, Venice Beach, and the Huntington Beach, accompanied by “military convoys.”

Jared Goldsmith, global head of action and thriller marketing at Amazon Prime Video, said the activations took a lot of strategic planning since ideas had to translate for different markets around the world. “We’re available in over 240 different countries, so it was translating and localizing into multiple languages. But it also takes creativity and all the teams aligning around a strategy and being able to develop creative that’s going to resonate globally, but still have local relevance,” Goldsmith said in a statement obtained by the magazine.

Well, it worked. Months after the advertisements’ appearances, Whitespikes are leaving the public tongue-tied again.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Tomorrow War (@thetomorrowwar)

[via r/interestingasfuck and Event Marketer, cover image via The Tomorrow War] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415823/Amazon-Seizes-Tomorrow-War-Beast-Transporting-It-By-Truck-In-Enamoring-Promo/

Huge Shark-Toothed Dinosaur Discovery Shows Predator More Terrifying Than T-Rex



Comparison of the U. uzbekistanensis (above) with the tyrannosaur Timurlengia (below). Image by Julius Csotonyi and featured with permission

As if sharks and predatory dinosaurs weren’t already quite intimidating creatures on their own, a discovery in Uzbekistan has revealed that a hybrid of both had walked the Earth about 90 million years ago.

And to add to that, the dinosaur, termed the Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, was discovered to be around 26 feet long and would’ve weighed approximately 2,200 pounds.

This makes it much larger than its cousin, the T-rex of the tyrannosaur species, which has always considered to be the apex predator of the ecosystem.

It’s not larger by just a bit though—researchers have estimated the specimen to have been twice a tyrannosaur’s length, and more than five times its weight.



Image by Julius Csotonyi and featured with permission

Although first found in the 1980s, the section of jawbone—which has been the basis of all the research done into this creature so far—was rediscovered in a museum collection more recently in 2019.

Studying the jawbone led to the conclusion that this hefty dinosaur sported a set of pearly whites most akin to sharks. These, the team states in the paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, would’ve allowed it to chomp down on a fine meal of other smaller dinosaurs.



Image by Tanaka et al. and featured with permission

The shark-toothed nature of the dinosaur was enough to indicate its belonging to a group of creatures with similar teeth: the carcharodontosaurs. These carnivores were dethroned as apex predators as they faded from existence long before the tyrannosaurs grew to overtake their place.

With its huge build and a set of teeth like these, it’s almost guaranteed that this creature would’ve been comfortably positioned at the very top of the local food chain.

According to the team, this finding is the last time a carcharodontosaur and a tyrannosaur were found to co-exist before the former went extinct.

[via Live Science, images by Julius Csotonyi and Tanaka et al., featured with permission] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415822/Huge-Shark-Toothed-Dinosaur-Discovery-Shows-Predator-More-Terrifying-Than-T-Rex/

65-Foot-Tall Gundam Robot Is Biggest Ever, Dominating New Mall In Japan



Image via Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport

Fans of Gundam, get ready. A 65-foot-tall Gundam robot is set to be installed at Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport in Fukuoka, Japan, and will be ready by early 2022.

Aside from shopping, entertainment, and restaurants to visit, customers to the brand-new mall will get to see a life-size Gundam robot in person.

The 1:1 scale replica is of RX-93 v Gundam, otherwise known was Nu Gundam, the star of the franchise’s first movie all the way back in 1988.

According to Time Out Tokyo, this will also be the largest-ever Gundam installation ever.

It will surpass the Unicorn Gundam in Tokyo (64 ft), the RX-78-2 Gundam in Yokohama (59 ft), and the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam in Shanghai (59.1 ft).

Fans can also look forward to a Gundam Park speciality shop and mini museum to grab exclusive souvenirs.

[via TimeOut, cover image Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415812/65-Foot-Tall-Gundam-Robot-Is-Biggest-Ever-Dominating-New-Mall-In-Japan/

Kids’ Field Trip Uncovers Entirely Unknown Species Of Extinct Giant Penguins



Photo of emperor penguins, which the discovered penguin is larger than by far. Image via Shutterstock.com

A field trip by the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club to the Kawhia Harbor in Waikato, New Zealand, revealed an entirely new species of a giant penguin that lived up to 30 million years ago.

They’d gone there expecting to find small fossils of shellfish and other similar creatures, but something bigger and a lot more fascinating caught the group’s eyes on the day they were scheduled to head home.

About a month later, an excavation process was carried out to extract the large fossil from its place in the sandstones. Then, it was donated to the Waikato Museum, Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, where researchers from Massey University and Bruce Museum investigated the mysterious creature.

Although this discovery was made by the kids back in 2006, researchers hadn’t identified this new species until recently.

With their findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the team of scientists have determined the penguin to belong to a species known as the Kairuku waewaeroa.

The latter word is Māori for “long legs,” according to The Guardian. It’s an apt description, as it bears similarities to the Kairuku giant penguins but only with much longer legs.

This places it at an estimated height of 4’6” when standing up, as compared to the 4’2” most emperor penguins stand at today. Its height most likely allowed it to swim faster and reach greater depths when diving, as reported in the study.

Dating back to a maximum of 34.6 million years ago, these penguins existed at a time when Waikato was mostly underwater, according to Daniel Thomas, a senior lecturer in zoology from Massey University and study co-author. This would explain its adaptations to improved swimming.

“It’s sort of surreal to know that a discovery we made as kids so many years ago is contributing to academia today. And it’s a new species even,” Steffan Safey, one of the kids in the club, tells The Guardian. He was 13 at the time of discovery.

This discovery will propel knowledge about giant penguins, as well as penguins as a whole. Although the existence of giant penguins has been known, we still don’t know why and how they evolved to become giant, and why giants don’t continue existing today.

A giant fossilised penguin discovered by Hamilton school children in 2006 has been revealed as a new species. It's believed the fossil is between 27.3-34.6 million years old.

Read more about the research and discovery: https://t.co/93wWbrByXe pic.twitter.com/9JRbNpQ3Uz

— Massey University (@MasseyUni) September 17, 2021

[via Newser, image via Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415821/Kids-Field-Trip-Uncovers-Entirely-Unknown-Species-Of-Extinct-Giant-Penguins/

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 Crew Returns To Earth Via Splashdown In The Atlantic



Video screenshot via SpaceX

SpaceX’s all-civilian crew, who made history when they blasted off into space days ago, has landed back on Earth with a little splash in the Atlantic.

The Inspiration4 crew, made up of Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor, and Chris Sembroski, touched down on our planet around 7:07pm (EST) in the waters off Florida.

Upon splashing back to Earth, the Dragon capsule was brought onto the deck of SpaceX’s Go Searcher ship. According to USA Today, it was then checked for hazards, such as leftover toxic materials, before the hatch was open for the crew to emerge.

Following a checkup from an onsite physician, the four members were cleared to board the helicopter back to the mainland.

“On behalf of SpaceX, welcome home to planet Earth. Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us, and that everyday people can make extraordinary impacts on the world around them. Thank you for sharing your leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity, and congratulations on your incredible journey,” said Space Operations Director Kris Young to the crew.

Take a look at Inspiration4’s glorious return below.

Splashdown! Welcome back to planet Earth, @Inspiration4x! pic.twitter.com/94yLjMBqWt

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2021

[via USA Today, cover image via SpaceX] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415818/SpaceX-s-Inspiration4-Crew-Returns-To-Earth-Via-Splashdown-In-The-Atlantic/

IKEA Teases Surf Collection Made From Ocean-Bound Plastic & Renewable Materials



Image via IKEA

IKEA is riding the wave of ocean plastic recycling—it’s in the midst of designing a wholesome collection embracing the surfing lifestyle with help from the World Surf League.

Although the partnership was confirmed by the furniture giant back in 2019, more details finally floated to shores at the virtual IKEA Festival, where it was announced that the KÅSEBERGA line will arrive globally from spring 2022. True to the calling of ocean-drawn surfers, the collection of practical and stunning pieces for “the home, the beach, or wherever life takes [you]” aims to inspire active living and a protective compulsion for the planet.

So far, IKEA has teased three types of products for early 2022: a KÅSEBERGA balance board designed by Michael Axelsson and Rob Machado; a KÅSEBERGA beach bag conceptualized by Kassia Meador and Wiebke Braasch; and KÅSEBERGA drinking glasses also by Kassia Meador and Wiebke Braasch.

Each piece is designed with sustainability and the use of recycled and renewable materials in mind. Components include wood, which is renewable; recycled polyester; and recycled ocean-bound plastics, which are plastics picked up at coastlines that are on the brink of entering water bodies. For example, one item that the Swedish company drew attention to at the event was the tote bag thoughtfully designed for beach cleanups.



Image via IKEA

To dive into customers’ expectations and needs, IKEA listened to “several hundreds of people” in the surfing community, who provided input for research and design. “We have been really tuned in to their needs in the development of this collection, pushing both form and function while also ensuring the use of more sustainable materials,” explained James Futcher, Product Design Leader at IKEA Sweden.

Kassia Meador, a member of the World Surf League and one of the collection’s designers, noted, “As surfers, we are close to the ocean and often see first-hand how pollution and waste are affecting our waterways and oceans. We are stoked now to see the KÅSEBERGA collection coming to life, and that our common strive to make society more sustainable really comes through in many of the new products. It’s exciting that we together are coming up with empowering solutions to be part of the proactive change.”

With all the effort thrown into this project, there’s no doubt the launch would be pulled off swimmingly.



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA

[via Apartment Therapy, images via IKEA] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415819/IKEA-Teases-Surf-Collection-Made-From-Ocean-Bound-Plastic-Renewable-Materials/

Walmart Experiments With Self-Driving AI Delivery Vehicles To Meet Demand



Image via Argo AI

In a new partnership with Argo AI and Ford, American retail giant Walmart is testing out autonomous vehicle last-mile delivery services in Miami; Austin, Texas; and Washington DC.

Each company brings the best of its products to the table: Argo AI provides the self-driving system to be implemented in the Ford self-driving test vehicles, while Walmart has the products and customers, of course.

Argo AI will use its cloud-based system to integrate with Walmart’s platform for online shopping. Routes and schedules will be calculated before dispatching the Ford vehicles to customers’ doorsteps, packages in tow.

“Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration,” states Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI, in the announcement.

“Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale.”

The service, planned for multiple cities, will allow customers to place online orders and expect the products to reach their homes within the same day or on the next day, a feat only manageable at a large scale with technology such as autonomous delivery.

As stated by Tom Ward, senior vice president of last-mile delivery at Walmart, the collaboration and the technology yielded from it will “further our mission to get products to the homes of our customers with unparalleled speed.”

We’ve spent more time at home in the last year than perhaps ever before, and the popularity of Australia’s drone deliveries has shown that demand for same-day or next-day delivery isn’t going to fade out soon.

This isn’t an entirely new collaboration, though; Ford and Argo AI are already collaborating on self-driving ride-hailing services in Miami and Austin, two of the areas that are being included in this new scheme.

Although this service is being introduced in just three areas so far, the companies are “aggressively preparing” to expand the network over time if this proves successful.

We are collaborating with @Walmart and @Ford to bring an autonomous goods delivery service to customers in Miami, Austin, and D.C. — Walmart’s first multi-city autonomous delivery collaboration in the U.S. https://t.co/05ryU3yU0g pic.twitter.com/RNKClxbCjJ

— Argo AI (@argoai) September 15, 2021

[via Input, image via Argo AI] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415817/Walmart-Experiments-With-Self-Driving-AI-Delivery-Vehicles-To-Meet-Demand/

Feds Aren’t Convinced Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Is Ready To Hit The Roads



Image via Tesla

Just as Tesla is getting ready for a wider release of its full self-driving software, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is suggesting a pause due to safety concerns.

Back in August, the automaker underwent a formal investigation following multiple collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

In total, all the crashes identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) resulted in one person being killed, with 17 others injured.

According to Mashable, despite the NTSB’s recommendation not being an order, it does place an impetus on Tesla to halt its software expansion in the meantime.

“Basic safety issues have to be addressed before they’re then expanding it to other city streets and other areas,” NTSB Head Jennifer Homendy told The Wall Street Journal.

The electric vehicles’ full self-driving branding “has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology,” she added.

For experts such as Homendy, the main issue with Tesla’s standout feature is that it creates a “misleading and irresponsible” impression among drivers, as “full self-driving” gives the impression that the AI is completely in control of the car.

However, the feature does require the driver to be attentive at the wheel throughout the journey. In fact, founder Elon Musk himself tweeted that the “FSD Beta 9.2 is actually not great,” though the “Autopilot/AI team is rallying to improve as fast as possible.”

Currently, the beta has only been made available to several thousand drivers. But with Musk’s announcement that Tesla’s planning to go wider with the release, the NTSB’s recommendation comes at a particularly crucial time.

It’s still unclear if Tesla will respond to the NTSB’s comments, though with the heat it’s been getting from both investigators and the public, it may be wiser to hold back the wider release.

[via Mashable, cover image via Tesla] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415816/Feds-Aren-t-Convinced-Tesla-s-Full-Self-Driving-Is-Ready-To-Hit-The-Roads/

Google May Be Planning To Add Plenty Of Free TV Channels To Chromecast This Fall



Image via Google

It appears that in a bid to push a larger audience to streaming devices like its very own Chromecast, Google is considering adding a whole new lineup of FAST television channels to Google TV as early as this fall.

FAST stands for “free, ad-supported streaming television.” As suggested in its name, it’ll allow audiences to access content for free rather than replicate a model like Netflix’s, which requires payment for an advertisement-free watching experience.

As reported by Protocol, it has been confirmed by various industry sources that the tech giant is liaising with a few companies to put its plans into place.

It seems that it wants to take a step almost backward into a traditional television experience, which brings with it on-screen graphics and commercial breaks (remember those?). But, of course, this will come with the convenience and modern-day technology of an online streaming service.

Right now, there are around 30 streaming apps and channels that can be used with Google TV. These include Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max. Of course, since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s built-in, too.

Gizmodo recalls that live television has its own dedicated menu within Chromecast, but there’s only the option to access it through subscription-based services. The anticipated lineup of “over-the-air channels” will instead be accessible through antenna. This is similar to how LG and Samsung products operate, the news outlet notes.



The Google Chromecast. Image via Google

Although there has been no news or comment from Google, there are rumors that the channels may be announced at the Made by Google event taking place in October. However, there’s also the possibility that the company is waiting for early 2022 to announce this along with its smart television partners.

There’s also the possibility that the rumors may remain simply as that: rumors. But the plans, even at this early stage, already place Google at a position to rival both streaming services and traditional television, hitting two birds with one stone.

[via Gizmodo, image via Google] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415815/Google-May-Be-Planning-To-Add-Plenty-Of-Free-TV-Channels-To-Chromecast-This-Fall/

World’s Largest Tree Wrapped With Blanket To Protect it From Raging Wildfires



Image via ID 169299447 © Minnystock | Dreamstime.com

Wildfires raging in Sierra Nevada, California, are beginning to creep up on the Sequoia National Park, which houses some of the most famous old-growth sequoia trees in Giant Forest.

Unlike the park personnel and other nearby residents, they couldn’t be evacuated.

These trees have been standing for thousands of years and include the General Sherman Tree: the largest tree on Earth. It stands at 275 feet tall and measures up to 52,508 cubic feet, its volume earning it the title.

To protect General Sherman and other trees, staff and firefighters began to wrap them in blankets. Made of aluminum, these are designed to act as a buffer between the flames and the trees.

Only the bases of the trees were wrapped, as the other 100+ feet of their heights weren’t possible to reach. “The idea is to keep ground fire from getting at the tree where it is most likely to burn, which is close to the ground,” fire spokesperson Rebecca Paterson tells The Guardian.

The material helps to soothe flames and is already commonly used to protect structures. Rarely is it seen on natural features, such as trees, but the firefighters working against the KNP Complex fire raging in the park don’t have any other solution.

“It is really indicative of what a special priority the iconic monarch sequoias of the Giant Forest are for the parks and for the incident management team,” Paterson states.

The Biggest Tree in the World, the General Sherman, raked and wrapped in preparation for the incoming #KNPComplex fire. Sequoia National Park pic.twitter.com/EpVkaYvimE

— Yosemite Steve (@YosemiteSteve) September 17, 2021

Giant sequoias are actually already pretty good at withstanding fire: the heat helps them to reproduce, as seeds are released from their cones and the fire also results in clearings where the new trees can grow.

However, these fires are too intense to encourage life; instead, they threaten the existence of the trees, let alone create room for more.

“There’s no imminent threat to Giant Forest, but that is a potential,” says Mark Ruggiero, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. The closest flames were about a mile away, he explains, but that could change with time.

Last year, a similar devastation saw the loss of around 7,500 to 10,600 large sequoias, according to CBS News. It’s a truly devastating indication of climate change.

FIRE UPDATE – The Paradise Fire has a new acreage of 2,531 acres, and the Colony Fire has a new acreage of 493 acres, for a combined total for the KNP Complex of 3,024, with 0% containment. For updates on the KNP Complex, follow https://t.co/VpxXBv19c4. pic.twitter.com/CFlPLxNAOP

— Sequoia & Kings Cyn (@SequoiaKingsNPS) September 14, 2021

[via CBS, image via via ID 169299447 © Minnystock | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415813/World-s-Largest-Tree-Wrapped-With-Blanket-To-Protect-it-From-Raging-Wildfires/

Heinz Introduces Packet Roller So You’ll Never Waste A Drop Of Ketchup



Image via Heinz

We’ve all had fast-food takeouts that come with mini packets of ketchup. While more convenient to tote around than an actual condiment bottle, there’s just one issue with those packets: it’s impossible to get everything out.

Now, Heinz has released the perfect tool so you’ll never need to squeeze a sauce packet with all your might ever again. Aptly named the Packet Roller, it’ll help get everything out, so you’ll never waste a drop of ketchup.

The condiment giant said the invention is the “biggest innovation in sauce since the packet itself,” which is a bold statement to make. The gadget, which is about the size of a key chain, looks just like the ubiquitous Heinz ketchup bottle.



Image via Heinz

According to Delish, by placing a sauce packet into the Packet Roller, it’ll help squeeze all ends of the packet evenly, so all the ketchup gets out. No more using four packets of ketchup for just one serving of fries!

“Our packets bring the magic to mealtime no matter where people are having their burger and fries, but squeezing out every drop is no easy feat. We engineered the Heinz Packet Roller to give fans a whole new way to savor their favorite condiment and ensure the last drop never goes to waste,” said Brand Director Ashleigh Gibson.

To get your hands on your very own Packet Roller, head over http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415811/Heinz-Introduces-Packet-Roller-So-You-ll-Never-Waste-A-Drop-Of-Ketchup/

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet To Be Available To The Public In Mere Weeks



Image via Starlink

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has just announced that Starlink, the company’s foray into providing internet connection from space, will be finally out of beta come October.

Almost one year ago, SpaceX began to invite its customers to trial Starlink on public beta. Ever since then, the company has faced no small number of setbacks, even if they’re slightly wackily laser-related.

“During beta,” the company explains in its FAQ, “users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system.”

Next month

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2021

There may also be brief periods of no connectivity, but SpaceX says that it’s working on it by launching more satellites and installing more ground stations.

Presumably, this has somewhat come to fruition, and Starlink will soon be able to confidently promise an internet connection like no other.

Its satellites are more than 60 times closer to Earth than the traditional satellite, Starlink’s website claims. This results in lower latency, or the time taken to send data from point A to B, and could lead to the invention of new services that require high speeds such as these.

This will also benefit users who might run into difficulty accessing the internet otherwise, according to the company. It’s thanks to the way it’s “unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure,” and will ensure users will be able to receive high-speed internet no matter which corner of the world they’re located in.

Last month, Starlinks were deployed to the Wise County Public School District in rural Virginia, where ~40% of students and teachers did not have internet access at home, helping to broaden connectivity in the area

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 1, 2021

Currently, the company has stated that there are more than 100,000 users receiving service from upward of 1,700 satellites. These are regularly launched to space by SpaceX, and they’re documented on its Twitter page.

Pricing stands at a one-time fee of US$499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router, as reported by Ars Technica. Then, a monthly fee of US$99 for service will continue to be paid.

As with most new technologies, Musk has warned that Starlink may run into teething problems when the userbase broaches a million and more. However, that’s not to say the company hasn’t begun troubleshooting already.

Only limitation is high density of users in urban areas. Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service. More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 4, 2021

[via Ars Technica, image via Starlink] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415810/SpaceX-s-Starlink-Internet-To-Be-Available-To-The-Public-In-Mere-Weeks/

UNIQLO Opens Its First-Ever Café In Massive Global Flagship Location

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via UNIQLO

UNIQLO’s commitment for daily essentials now extends to well-needed caffeine fixes. Last Friday, the Japanese everyday fashion brand introduced its first and only café along with the grand reopening of its mammoth global flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo.

The massive revamp celebrates UNIQLO’s 10th anniversary in the location. All of its 12 stories have been reworked from the ground up, with an official UNIQLO Coffee space taking up the top floor. The café serves a one-of-a-kind UNIQLO Original Blend for just ¥200 (US$1.82) for both hot and iced versions, and a serving of a premium Geisha hand-drip coffee would set customers back ¥450 (US$4.09).



Image via UNIQLO

Being more familiar at folding clothes than cookie batter, UNIQLO borrowed the expertise of the nearby Ginza West, a local pâtisserie with over 70 years in its history. The confectioner’s famous butter cookies will be a staple to be enjoyed by guests as they peer at Tokyo’s shopping heart from the store’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The café isn’t the only highlight in this massive space. Shoppers are welcomed by colorful blooms at the UNIQLO florist on the first floor, where they can grab a pretty bouquet for about US$3.55. Within the store, a swinging installation of LifeWear cashmere knits against a wall of clothing greets customers.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 宮田 理江 (@i_am_riemiyata)

Meanwhile, a suit salon on the 10th story endeavors to give outfits a more tailored look with the help of trained staff, and a dedicated photo booth sits on the 11th floor.

Combining art with delectable treats in a laidback atmosphere, this UNIQLO location is anything but basic.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 和食絵巻 WASHOKU DESIGN:主宰講師 巻真美 (@makimamiroll)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 銀座ウエスト (@ginzawest_official)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by SAWAKA (@izuo.jp)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by erutaro (@erutaro)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by emmanuelle moureaux (@emmanuellemoureaux)

[via SoraNews24 and HYPEBAE, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415814/UNIQLO-Opens-Its-First-Ever-Caf-In-Massive-Global-Flagship-Location/

Google Maps ‘Ghost’ Keeps Talking To Users, App Vows To Bust It



Image via BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com

There are sleep paralysis demons, and now, a Google Maps “ghost” that’s haunting people in their waking life.

With Halloween still more than a month away, users were spooked to hear an intermittent voice change from their Google Maps app. The tool would start off speaking in its default voice, before suddenly switching to a male version with a slight East Indian accent, BGR details.

“On my trip home today, it was mostly the woman voice, then suddenly for one instruction, it talked in what sounded like a deep man’s voice with a slight Indian accent,” one person reported on Reddit.

One Twitter user noted that the mysterious voice would keep possessing their voice assistant. “My Google Maps voice keeps going in [and] out of an English woman voice… I don’t know how to fix this or why this has happened… please send help.”

Some expressed feeling “weirded out” and were concerned about their app possibly being hacked. “Nobody would believe me,” said a witness.

Google maps have issue😂 My voice selection is always default (US lady voice).Since yesterday, US lady voice and Indian guy voice navigate on my google maps. I've checked google map setting but it's not my problem! I've found some people have same issue!#googleMaps #issue pic.twitter.com/4yTUj5Mjwh

— 🇯🇵ユニボン🇨🇦 (@Churro_Can) September 15, 2021

While the issue seems to only affect a small group, one Redditor lamented that their “whole work crew noticed it.”

Google is aware of the bug and says a fix is on the way. However, it did not elaborate on what is causing the voice switch. “The team is working on a fix and it will be rolled out soon. Thank you for your patience,” it responded last Thursday.

Have you been followed by the “ghost” of Google Maps? In related news, here’s what’s been following Google Street View to be able to snap photos of places around the world.

My google maps voice keeps going in an out of a English women voice to an Indian man, idk how to fix this or why this has happened pls send help 😭

— Abira (@Abira_r) September 15, 2021

WHY DID MY GOOGLE MAPS VOICE RANDOMLY TURN INTO AN EAST INDIAN MAN TO GIVE ME THE WRONG DIRECTIONS THEN CHANGE BACK INTO THE LADY

— yamy (@amyaliece666) September 14, 2021

So this is weird…while driving with Google Maps giving me directions in a feminine voice with a generic North American accent, it randomly switched to a masculine voice with some sort of South Asian accent…MULTIPLE times? Does this happen to anyone else? Why is it doing this?

— Benjamin Cheung | 張煦 | 장후 (@UBCDrBenCh) September 14, 2021

Am I the only one that has an East Indian voice intermittently jumping in for @GoogleMaps directions lately? #yegtraffic #canada

— Lincoln Ho | Yegventures 🇻🇦🇨🇦🇭🇰 (@yegventures) September 15, 2021

[via BGR, cover image via BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415809/Google-Maps-Ghost-Keeps-Talking-To-Users-App-Vows-To-Bust-It/

Harley Davidson Debuts Vintage Electric Bikes Inspired By Its First Motorcycle



Image via Serial 1

Harley Davidson’s electric bicycle company, Serial 1, has announced that a limited run of Serial 1 MOSH/TRIBUTE bicycles are available for sale.

This e-bike, in its sleek, gorgeous glory, appears to resemble the original prototype that was revealed late last year to much interest. However, it wasn’t a finalized design at that point.

Its fresh look is inspired by a vintage throwback to the first Harley Davidson motorcycle from a century ago, reflected in the leather saddle and handgrips, among other tasteful elements.

The bike has been “elevated with premium finishes, added technology, exclusive components, and unmatched attention to detail,” the company states in its description.



Image via Serial 1

It makes particular mention to the “distinctive, white-toned Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires” that are exclusive to the company. Alongside this, the honey-colored saddle and grips are from Brooks England, a renowned bicycle saddle manufacturer and leather specialist.



Image via Serial 1



Image via Serial 1

Apart from the design and aesthetics of the MOSH/TRIBUTE, the bike has its base in the MOSH/CTY model of the company’s lineup.

These include a Brose mid-drive motor, Gates carbon belt drive, and TRP hydraulic disc brakes. Of course, the signature integrated lighting makes an appearance, too.



Image via Serial 1

With delivery anticipated for the end of this year, only 650 units in total are available. According to the product listing on the website, it appears that the bike is selling like hotcakes, or even faster.

Electrek reports that the company is planning to release more special editions of its e-bikes such as this one. There hasn’t been any news on what potential makes we might see in the future, but seeing the tasteful design of this one is a promising sign of what’s to follow.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Serial 1 (@serial1cycles)

[via Electrek, images via Serial 1] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415808/Harley-Davidson-Debuts-Vintage-Electric-Bikes-Inspired-By-Its-First-Motorcycle/

NSFW VR Game Tech Gives You ‘Dream’ Mate To Fall In Love With, Gets Physical Too



Image via friend and lover to millions across China, is one example of this. But XiaoIce is more of a comforting presence; an understanding companion, someone to talk to. After all, when the bot was first designed, she was made to be just 16.

Heating things up now is the Virtual Mate VR System. This has claims to the title of the world’s first immersive virtual reality (VR) system that transcends the boundaries between human intimacy and virtual connection.

The California-based company Virtual Mate

This 2D model is interactive and responsive in all the right ways without bringing with her the stresses and limitations of a traditional relationship, the company states. There are even different ways of interaction: there’s a fast mode, story mode, and the full VR mode.

Fast mode allows users to interact with Sheila directly, while story mode gets emotions involved to follow a narrative centered around Sheila and the user’s relationship.

“The plot thickens just like a big-budget Hollywood film,” the company states. This allows the user to “build a deeper connection with her.”

Full VR will enhance the entire experience, blurring the line between reality and artificial more than already has been.

Interaction is enhanced even more with the integration of the Core, which is a male sex toy utilizing Bluetooth to collect data from its “high-sensitivity” sensors. This data is passed on to Sheila, or the user’s Virtual Mate, in real-time, which in turn elicits her responses.



Image via need social interaction. However, unlike many creatures, our current global systems don’t always necessarily allow for that.

But hey, modern problems require modern solutions, or so they say. And in this case, the solution—or, at least, some temporary companionship to forget the dreads of the world with—comes in the form of Sheila.

Come experience the hottest, most realistic, and interactive system out there! https://t.co/j6Z5m0XLZV pic.twitter.com/X3oF2K8EBY

— Virtual Mate (@virtualmates) December 11, 2019

[via Futurism, images via http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415807/NSFW-VR-Game-Tech-Gives-You-Dream-Mate-To-Fall-In-Love-With-Gets-Physical-Too/

Apple’s New iOS 15 Features You Must Know About: Focus Mode For Work, Live Text…



Image via Apple

At long last, iOS 15 has officially arrived in iPhones after months of being in public beta.

Overall, the phone’s interface will look roughly the same as it did in iOS 14. Rather, this update is made up of smaller improvements and features that aim to make the user experience more seamless than ever before.

As often with new software releases, there are myriad new features, and it can be pretty overwhelming not knowing where to start. here’s a look at some of the key features that are not to be missed with the new update.



Image via Apple

Focus Mode

The new Focus Mode takes ‘Do Not Disturb’ to a whole new level. It allows for notifications to be filtered through, based on the user’s current activities.

For example, when set to Work mode, users can choose to allow only notifications from work contacts and important home contacts to come through.



Image via Apple

The changes are also reflected in the home screen. App and widgets are automatically sorted based on the activity, fitting with the user’s state of mind to enhance productivity to the max. This can be customized in Settings.

Additionally, this sets the user’s status in iMessage so contacts know that their messages might not be seen until the end of the workday.

But it’s not just relevant in the built-in Messages app; third-party developers have the option to incorporate Focus into their own apps. With further development, this could work with messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram in the future.

Notification Summary

On the topic of notifications, there’s a new way to have notifications delivered without a constant flood of pings throughout the day. The Notification Summary mode allows users to gather less urgent notifications together in one place to be displayed at a time of their preference.

The overview is great for notifications that users don’t want to miss, but do not always want to see immediately. This works for things like game update notifications, for example.

Portrait Mode & Android for FaceTime

With the importance of video calling integrated more into our lives than ever before, it might come as a relief to know that Portrait Mode is now arriving in FaceTime, allowing users to blur out their background and bring the focus to themselves.



Image via Apple

Apart from this, Apple has also implemented a brand new Voice Isolation function that does almost the same thing as Portrait, just for audio. It has been reported by 9to5Mac that when taking a call on AirPods, users could be washing the dishes and the other party on the call still wouldn’t be able to hear anything but their voice.

Of course, there’s also the widely-hyped addition that allows users who aren’t on Apple to here.

[via CNET, images via Apple] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415803/Apple-s-New-iOS-15-Features-You-Must-Know-About-Focus-Mode-For-Work-Live-Text/

Lil Nas X Is Now Your New ‘Attorney,’ Head-Turning Billboards Claim



Lil Nas X

We’ve seen tons of artists advertise for new album releases on huge screens in Times Square or on billboards spanning an entire building.

But for his debut studio album, Montero, Lil Nas X has chosen a different route instead.

Inspired by old-timey law firm advertisements, the 22-year-old singer put up various billboards around the nation, featuring him in a variety of getups.

With eye-catching slogans, the public is then (knowingly or unwittingly) directed to welcometomontero.com, where they can order the album or watch his music videos, as per The Cut.

One billboard reads, “Do you hate Lil Nas X? You may be entitled to financial compensation.” Another is a humorous nod to the singer’s outspoken LGBTQ+ advocacy, saying, “Gay? You may be entitled to financial compensation.”

And in an attempt to bait those with certain political leanings, Lil Nas X even came up with a billboard inviting them to “take action.”

“Do you miss the real America!? Visit WelcomeToMontero.com to see how we can take our country back,” it said. Chances are, those who fall for it aren’t going to be too pleased seeing the star twerk on screen.

This is no doubt one of most creative marketing campaigns we’ve seen for an artist in a long time. Forget fancy photoshoots; who knew bringing back advertisements from the 90s could cause such a stir?

Take a look at the billbords below.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by MONTERO (@lilnasx)

[via The Cut, cover image Lil Nas X] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415802/Lil-Nas-X-Is-Now-Your-New-Attorney-Head-Turning-Billboards-Claim/