Category: Web Design

NSFW: ‘Balldo’, A Dildo That Turns Balls Into ‘2nd Penis’ To Last Longer In Bed


Image via Balldo

With all that spare time at home, there’s more reason for people to keep getting it on. It seems that there is room for more, since you can now up your frequency of sexual intercourse—during the post-orgasmic recovery period, no less—thanks to the world’s first dildo for testicles.

The ‘Balldo’ features a cavity to fit balls into, turning them into a makeshift “second penis” for penetration even after a partner with a penis has climaxed.

Stimulating the testicles might result in what inventor Jerry Davies calls a “ballgasm,” which, according to him, occurs when you engage the nerve-endings in scrotal skin, place them in a cozy and wet environment, and pair them with a pleasurable thrusting rhythm.

Davies, an engineer and the CEO of Nadgerz Inc., said it took three years and more than 100 prototypes to perfect the Balldo.

He told InsideHook that the idea for the Balldo came about when he and his partner were in a post-coital cuddle and she “started pulling my balls down,” which aroused him again. “So from there I started experimenting with ball weights, cock rings etc., and it dawned on me that there was enough slack at the top of my balls that I might be able to somehow make a second penis out of them.”

To use the Balldo, a male partner will have to first shave his testicles and lubricate them to prevent friction. The Balldo comes with a ring, which is to be stretched over the ball area, and two spacer rings to keep the testicles in place for prolonged activity.

Davies reassured that the scrotum won’t suffer from being tugged to fit into the Balldo, as the device is designed to hold and cup the testes comfortably. Rather than feeling ticklish, they’ll feel “protected.”

One tester of the product, via Scary Mommy, related the experience with “waving a magic wand and suddenly giving guys a second penis that never goes soft and also gives a completely different type of orgasm.”

Have you seen the #balldo yet?

If we've peaqued your curiosity tell us your questions pic.twitter.com/zZ6aRILioA

— Balldo (@BalldoBallsex) February 2, 2021

Ball stretching on its own brings enormous sexual potential. The feeling of the tug can be a turn on. While it’s not something everyone will enjoy, there's many folks who appreciate new sensations. There is no reason not to try it if you wish to try something new & pleasurable! pic.twitter.com/LQWr1MjN3m

— Balldo (@BalldoBallsex) February 3, 2021

[via Inside Hook and Scary Mommy, images via Balldo] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413305/NSFW-Balldo-A-Dildo-That-Turns-Balls-Into-2nd-Penis-To-Last-Longer-In-Bed/

Watch: Here’s How Museums Determine What To Sell At Their Gift Shops

[Click here to view the video in this article]


Image via CHOONGKY / Shutterstock.com

Ever felt drawn to a certain souvenir at a museum gift shop? Chances are, there’d be several other pieces there depicting the same artwork.

There’s a trick to museums’ retail strategies, and it’s called the mere-exposure effect. As shared in a new Vox video, based on a 2018 thinkpiece by Micaela Marini Higgs, it’s a psychological phenomenon, also known as the familiarity principle, that suggests that the more you are shown a piece of art, the more you’ll think it is important and end up liking it.

The phenomenon can be easily observed around the world. Take, for example, Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa, which is currently in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It not only appears prominently in the museum’s gift shop in the form of socks, tote bags, and more, you’ll also see the image being carried around all over the world. The print’s repeated presence informs people of its importance in art history.

Museums might apply the same formula on other product types to expand their retail collections, branching out to dog collars, smartphone chargers, color-changing tumblers, and so on.

By constantly exposing visitors to artworks, museums can also encourage curiosity about the work and ultimately leave guests feeling more enlightened when they depart from the establishment.

Of course, you’ll also find products based on major exhibitions in these shops, such as iconic polka-dotted merchandise during a temporary Yayoi Kusama show. However, Christine Doobinin, director of retail at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, says that this strategy of putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t sustainable. Instead, she’s refocused her retail model on museumgoers by walking around the museum to better understand their thought processes when looking at art.

[via Vox, cover image via CHOONGKY / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413304/Watch-Here-s-How-Museums-Determine-What-To-Sell-At-Their-Gift-Shops/

Suitsupply’s Raunchy Campaign On ‘The New Normal’ Is Making People Squeamish


Image via Suitsupply

When was the last time you even got a hug from someone outside of your social bubble? With physical contact on a low, audiences are especially uncomfortable with a Suitsupply campaign envisioning post-pandemic life, which it imagines will arrive soon.

In a series of racy photos by the menswear label, a group of nearly naked people are shown passionately making out. In each visual, the only fully-clothed person is the man in the center, dressed to the nines in Suitsupply’s suits.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Suitsupply (@suitsupply)

The shots are accompanied by the caption, “The New Normal is Coming. Get Ready to Get Closer.”

Pre-pandemic, the hot and heavy images would be enough to stop viewers in their tracks. However, given the repeated reminders about social distancing over the past year, the campaign is making people sweat, and not always in a good way.

“Post-pandemic life is on the horizon,” Fokke de Jong, founder and CEO of Suitsupply, described to Insider. “Social distancing for extraordinarily long periods of time has conditioned us to fear proximity of others and that is perfectly justified.”

De Jong explained that the photos were meant to offer “a positive outlook on our future where people can get back to gathering and getting close.”

The idea of all those people crammed into a tiny space, tongues out, spit exchanged, is nonetheless leaving social media users unsettled. Some have expressed concern for the models featured; MarketWatch reporter Elisabeth Bushward tweeted, “I hope they were both tested for coronavirus before that shoot.” One Twitter user succinctly asked, “Is that saliva?”

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin questioned, “Too soon? Not soon enough? Thoughts?”

Justifying the advertisements’ portrayal, de Jong told Insider, “People are looking to get out and about again… At the beginning of the pandemic, Suitsupply was among the first to implement safe shopping experiences, that’s what people needed, and we met that moment. I believe people want to connect to something more positive now.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Suitsupply (@suitsupply)

Their Instagram posts are somehow worst pic.twitter.com/l2W2TlZNph

— T (@cocaineshrimp) March 4, 2021

I can't even cope with people shaking hand in scenes that were recorded 20 years before the pandemic…

— Miguel Vara (@themiguelvara) March 4, 2021

watching the suit supply orgy pic.twitter.com/ZflzGaKunG

— Bridget Read (@bridgetgillard) March 4, 2021

I'm just deeply concerned that this was the old normal and nobody told me? That this was how you were supposed to do kissing?

— Taffy Brodesser-Akner (@taffyakner) March 4, 2021

I can't even cope with people shaking hand in scenes that were recorded 20 years before the pandemic…

— Miguel Vara (@themiguelvara) March 4, 2021

Stocks down on that Suitsupply ad

— Josh Barro (@jbarro) March 4, 2021

I’m uncomfortable pic.twitter.com/pgmZS5by6t

— CanLen 🕙 (@CandiceLen) March 4, 2021

[via Insider, images via Suitsupply] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413303/Suitsupply-s-Raunchy-Campaign-On-The-New-Normal-Is-Making-People-Squeamish/

Banksy Shares Behind-The-Scenes Of New Prison Art In The Form Of Bob Ross Video



Image via Banksy

Banksy has claimed responsibility for artwork that appeared on the wall of Reading Prison earlier this week.

In an Instagram post, the street artist shared the process behind the monochrome mural, which sees a man escaping from prison with a rope made out of bedsheets, rolled out from a typewriter. The piece is meant to resemble the famous inmate Oscar Wilde, per the BBC.

According to the BBC, Wilde was detained in Reading Prison in the late 19th century after an “indecent affair” with Lord Alfred Douglas. His time in jail inspired the poem Ballad of Reading Gaol, which touched on the harshness of the Victorian penal system.

In the Instagram video, Banksy is seen spraying paint to create the artwork, Create Escape. The clip is juxtaposed with an episode of an art instruction video, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

The prison has been derelict since 2013 and was put up for sale by the government to build housing. Currently, the Reading council hopes to save and transform it into an arts complex, according to the BBC.

The Reading Borough Council added that Banksy’s involvement might have suggested that he is backing the movement to save the prison.

“We are thrilled that Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind the council’s desire to transform the vacant Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage, and culture with this piece of artwork he has aptly called Create Escape,” the council said.

The council is pushing the Ministry of Justice to take important steps to protect the artwork.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)

[via BBC, cover image via Banksy] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413300/Banksy-Shares-Behind-The-Scenes-Of-New-Prison-Art-In-The-Form-Of-Bob-Ross-Video/

Sony Patents Technology To Turn Bananas & More Into Video Game Controllers



Image via Shutterstock

Sony has patented a technique to turn a banana, or any other object, into a PlayStation controller.

The patent filing, via GamesIndustry.Biz, describes that game peripherals can be too complicated and expensive for some users, so Sony is looking to find “an inexpensive, simple and non-electronic device” as an alternative.

Sony’s potential solution? Readily-available objects. The company suggested that as long as an object is “non-luminous” and “passive,” it can be used as a controller.

The patent states that a user could hold the object in front of a camera to be recognized as a gaming device before being imposed with inputs and being usable for video games.

It also details how the technology could generate “an augmented reality image of a non-luminous passive controller,” and then detect changes in the motions of the object to adapt to a player’s hand movements so as to generate superimposed virtual inputs like a “finger detector.”

The bizarre technology resulted in mixed reactions on Twitter. “Why on Earth would anyone use a banana to play video games?” a Twitter asked. One hopeful user wrote, “Better hope you don’t get hungry in the middle of a boss [stage]! That controller gonna start looking good.”

A look at a potential PSVR 2 Controller and it's Bananas! https://t.co/mnRoaRv3L2

— PlayStation Discourse (@RedditPS) March 3, 2021

okay. pardon my french, but what the FREAK!!!??? WHY IN EARTH WOULD ANYONE USE A BANANA TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES! Terrible marketing scheme by Sony even tho at this point it’s oddly expected from a Sony who are completely past their prime. SMH🤦‍♂️.

— Gerbalz (@Prodigy_Gerbalz) March 4, 2021

Better hope you don't get hungry in the middle of a boss! That controller gonna start looking pretty good.

— Valdin (@Lord_Valdin) March 4, 2021

pic.twitter.com/KBrhQK09AO

— TREX (@Trexbradbock) March 3, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I play my PS5 with a #2. pic.twitter.com/DXMZnSxqNL

— Robert (@robert_8383) March 3, 2021

I mean come on just have a controller and a snack with you is awesome

— Zboss0204z (@zboss0204z) March 4, 2021

[via In The Know, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413297/Sony-Patents-Technology-To-Turn-Bananas-More-Into-Video-Game-Controllers/

Los Angeles Builds Colorful Tiny Home Village So All Can Have A Place To Live

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Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles

Some people are stuck at home; others don’t have one. The City of Los Angeles hopes to improve living conditions for the homeless by opening a vibrant little village of 40 tiny homes, an admirable solution for one of its most glaring problems.

The colorful Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village, located in North Hollywood, was designed and constructed by Lehrer Architects and Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering under the direction of the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission. According to a report by House Beautiful, it took only 13 weeks to build the village before its opening on February 2.

Each prefab home can accommodate just one or two people, but the upside of the compact size is that 40 of the houses can be efficiently fitted into the once-abandoned infill lot. The units were supplied by Washington-based Pallet Shelter, which specializes in building portable and durable personal shelters.

The area is designed to look delightful, with a bright color scheme of red, yellow, blue, white, and orange, not just for the sake of grouping and for creating village vibes, but to also brighten the moods of residents. “In projects like these, design matters to uplift residents and to respectfully complete and enhance the neighborhood,” noted Lehrer Architects.

The firm explained, “Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village represents a lightning-quick, highly collaborative, inventive, efficient, and beautiful solution to the LA homelessness crisis,” shared the firm. “Lehrer Architects believes that creating a home for someone – for anyone and everyone – is about providing human dignity, safety, love, and respect, and Chandler is a model of how to enhance a community by caring for its most vulnerable residents with dignity through design.”

House Beautiful reported last month that the shelters had been fully occupied.

The Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission has also set its sights on LA’s Alexandria Park, where it will complete building a tiny housing area of 103 units and 200 beds in April.


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles


Image via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles

[via Boing Boing and House Beautiful, images via Lehrer Architects for the City of Los Angeles] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413302/Los-Angeles-Builds-Colorful-Tiny-Home-Village-So-All-Can-Have-A-Place-To-Live/

Lay’s Creates Technology That Turns On Video Subtitles When You Chomp On Chips

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Image via Happiness Saigon

Lay’s Potato Chips has released a plugin that automatically turns on YouTube video subtitles when you snack on a bag of chips, since crunching sounds can sometimes crowd out audio.

To tackle the noise and make binge-watching a better experience, Lay’s has teamed up with FCB-owned Vietnamese agency Happiness Saigon to create ‘Lay’s Crispy Subtitles’.

The team trained AI on 178 hours of crispy chip crunch sounds of various “languages,” gathered from around the world. The technology can detect and activate subtitles the second it hears a crunch, so viewers can snack without missing a single thing.

The Crispy Subtitles add-on is now available to download globally from the Chrome store.

[via LBB Online, cover image via Happiness Saigon] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413295/Lay-s-Creates-Technology-That-Turns-On-Video-Subtitles-When-You-Chomp-On-Chips/

Banksy Artwork Gets Purchased… Then Torched To Be Sold As An NFT

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Image via Burnt Banksy

A blockchain company purchased a US$95,000 Banksy piece, burned it, and then broadcasted it on Twitter. The process was all for the sake of turning the work into a virtual asset called a non-fungible token, or NFT.

The company behind the stunt, Injective Protocol, bought the screenprint, Morons (White), from an auction. The original print, one of an edition of 500, was a black-and-white depiction of an art auction with the message, “I can’t believe you morons buy this s**t.” The team then set it on fire and live-streamed everything through the Twitter account, Burnt Banksy.

Later, the group of self-proclaimed “tech and art enthusiasts” created a digital representation of the artwork, which is now available as an NFT and can be viewed and purchased digitally.

According to Injective Protocol executive Mirza Uddin, the burning event was “an expression of art itself.”

“We entirely recreate the physical piece and input specifications, such as the art version number into the smart contract code, so no one can ever alter the digital art in any way. The physical piece will forever be memorialized in this NFT,” Uddin added.

In the video showing the burning process, a member of the team said that the goal of it was to “inspire” artists to “explore a new medium of artistic expression.”

“If you were to have the NFT and the physical piece, the value would be primarily in the physical piece,” he said.” “By removing the physical piece from existence and only having the NFT… [this] ensures that no one can alter the piece and it is the true piece that exists in the world. By doing this, the value of the physical piece will then be moved onto the NFT.”

The digital Morons (White) remix will be on auction on the OpenSea marketplace until March 9.

The art will now live on as an NFThttps://t.co/1k8EXyUOEZ

— Burnt Banksy (@BurntBanksy) March 4, 2021

[via Dazed Digital, cover image via Burnt Banksy] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413296/Banksy-Artwork-Gets-Purchased-Then-Torched-To-Be-Sold-As-An-NFT/

Instagram Sparked Online Uproar After Accidentally Removing Like Counts



Image via ArthurStock / Shutterstock.com

Instagram users were surprised to find that like counts had gone missing from the platform on Tuesday. The company has been testing removing likes for years, and this time, it accidentally released the test to the public.

“We unintentionally added more people to the test today, which was a bug-we’re fixing this issue and restoring like counts to those people as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for Instagram told CNN.

The change is something that Instagram has been working on for some time. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced in 2019 that the platform would hide “like counts” on posts within a week. He also mentioned that the platform was working to roll out additional measures to improve the mental and emotional health of users.

“We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s wellbeing and health,” Mosseri expressed.

Instagram was already testing out hiding likes in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, which began in July 2019.

In April 2019, researcher Jane Manchun Wong shared a screenshot that showed the internal development of Instagram. As shown in the image, only the uploader gets to see the number of likes the post garnered. Other Instagram users can only see the handle of an account owner who has liked the post, followed by “and others.”

With the removal of likes, people might stop constantly comparing themselves with Instagrammers who carefully curate their feeds. This, in turn, could create a less stressful environment where people can feel comfortable with expressing themselves.

As soon as the bug hit, many took to Twitter to express their disappointment, while others cheered on with the assumption that the platform has finally removed likes. “I’m about to cry. Why did Instagram take away my ability to see the number of likes any post has gotten? Time to delete the app,” a Twitter user said.

“So Instagram got rid of likes and I honestly feel like that the most mentally progressive thing they’ve done all year,” another said.

This issue has now been fixed. Pull down to refresh your feed and your likes should restore – thanks for your patience!

— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) March 3, 2021

I’m about to cry. Why did Instagram take away my ability to see the number of likes any post has gotten?!?! Time to delete the app.

— Nerissarianna 🧚🏾‍♀️✨ (@nerissarianna) March 3, 2021

So instagram took away likes destroying the popularity contest aspect… i love it 🤷🏽‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/VdbiWnfvSg

— ᗪㄩㄒ匚卄 爪卂丂ㄒ乇尺 (@iFeeLdZy_) March 3, 2021

So Instagram got rid of likes and I honestly feel like that’s the most mentally progressive thing they’ve done all year

— Demi Grace (@IamDemiGrace) March 3, 2021

Ppl gettin mad about not seeing the number of likes they receive on ig bcuz they use that as some sort of validation currency shows is how deeply twisted and vain we are. Did Instagram reveal how we are reliant on social media for our sense of worth and self esteem? Yes it did.

— Mani Phantom (@Sleezies) March 3, 2021

[via HITC, cover image via ArthurStock / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413291/Instagram-Sparked-Online-Uproar-After-Accidentally-Removing-Like-Counts/

Nikon Rolls Out ‘NX Studio’, Its Free Editing Software For Photos & Videos


Image via Nikon

If you’re on the lookout for free and affordable productivity apps, consider Nikon’s new photo and video editing program to be next on your arsenal.

The brand new NX Studio is the camera maker’s free answer to Adobe Lightroom and Capture One, as well as offers a few alternatives to Premiere Pro and Final Cut, with support for Nikon cameras. According to PetaPixel, the platform combines ViewNX-I’s management features with Capture NX-D’s editing functionality.

While several other camera companies might have decided to give their apps a more basic experience, Nikon has apparently made it a point to make NX Studio more user-friendly. Its interface is optimized for workflows, with a new menu layout to accommodate browsing, processing/editing, and export/sharing options. Further, the program is built to be faster and smoother for higher efficiency.

Through this app, users can view, process, and editing photos and videos—including JPEGs, TIFFs, and RAW NEF files—in one destination. They can then transfer their work to Nikon’s image sharing and storage platform, Nikon Image Space, to easily upload videos on YouTube.

The software can now be installed on Windows and Macs. Windows users will first need to update their computers to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit), and Mac owners will require macOS Mojave, Catalina, or Big Sur to run the program.


Image via Nikon


Image via Nikon

[via PetaPixel, images via Nikon] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413299/Nikon-Rolls-Out-NX-Studio-Its-Free-Editing-Software-For-Photos-Videos/

Postmates Debuts Cookbook With Recipes That Need No Cooking To Cure Burnout

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Image via Postmates

You’ve come across recipes that claim to be accomplishable with a microwave or promise to put dinner on the table with just three ingredients. Postmates takes it up a notch with a new cookbook—you read that right—that requires no cooking at all.

It’s been a challenging past year, and, naturally, people who started cooking during the pandemic might be tired of it right now. To help people recover from pandemic burnout, the delivery service, along with advertising agency Mother LA, has released a counterintuitive Don’t Cookbook with 206 pages worth of recipes that will all turn out right, because its partners will be the ones cooking their chicken wings, tacos, and grilled cheese.

In place of step-by-step instructions, customers are shown a series of tongue-in-cheek quips. For kale salad, for instance, they’ll be reading a bitter monologue from the point of view of kale, who can no longer hold its composure about how people are secretly badmouthing it.

It also turns out that the secret ingredient for the best taco experience is to wear a giant hat. Who knew?

Each recipe ends with a step to scan a QR code, which will lead readers to a relevant food service or get them to download the Postmates app.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Nicholas Scarpinato, JonPaul Douglass, Lizzie Darden, and Jason Travis, and will serve as a stunning yet quirky coffee table piece whether or not cooking is your strong suit.

As it seems, people are truly sick of constantly making their own meals, as all 200 copies of the cookbook, priced at US$50, were quickly snapped up. But fret not, as Postmates is looking to reprint copies; you can join its waiting list here.


Image via Postmates

Click to view enlarged version



Click to view enlarged version. Image via Postmates

Click to view enlarged version



Click to view enlarged version. Image via Postmates

Click to view enlarged version



Click to view enlarged version. Image via Postmates

[via Muse by Clio, video and images via Postmates] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413298/Postmates-Debuts-Cookbook-With-Recipes-That-Need-No-Cooking-To-Cure-Burnout/

Daring Eaters, How About A Spicy Korean Cheese Rice Cake Ice Cream For Dessert?



Image via Lotte Confectionery

South Korean confectionery company Lotte is launching a unique flavored ice cream: spicy cheese rice cake (tteokbokki).

The limited offering combines a soft and chewy dessert with a national street snack, and is part of the company’s Chal Tteok ice cream line.

Tteokbokki is a dish featuring cylinder-shaped rice cakes, cooked in fermented red chili paste (gochujang). It is often enjoyed with scallions and fish cakes.

The Chal Tteok Spicy Cheese Tteokbokki Ice Cream boasts a jalapeno-flavored orange glutinous rice flour wrapper on the exterior. Inside is a cheddar cheese ice cream packed with spicy chips and cookie crumbs.

“The sticky texture of the rice cake and the sweetness of the ice cream creates a surprising harmony of taste,” the company said, adding that the dessert will be “fun to eat.”

Priced at ₩1,000 (US$0.89), the Spicy Cheese Tteokbokki Chal Tteok ice cream is limited to 500,000 pieces and will be sold in supermarkets and ice cream stores in South Korea.

[via Korea Herald, cover image via Lotte Confectionery] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413283/Daring-Eaters-How-About-A-Spicy-Korean-Cheese-Rice-Cake-Ice-Cream-For-Dessert/

Pixar Transforms ‘Up’ Into An Epic Anime Opening Title Sequence

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Video screenshot via Pixar

Pixar has reimagined one of its most heartwarming films as a Japanese animation show, proving that differences in aesthetics and presentation can completely change the mood of a story.

The animation studio has turned the story of Up into a dramatic anime title sequence, complete with fast-moving visuals and head-banging music.

“Time to (re)mix it up!” the company shared. “Inspired by Japanese-style animation, this new twist on a pixel-perfect adventure is one you don’t want to miss.”

Viewers are first jogged through a preview of Carl and Ellie Fredericksons’ childhood and married life, similar to the start of the original 2009 film.

The rest of the video is a delightful synopsis of the entire movie, zipping you through the adventures of Carl, boy scout Russell and the balloon-hoisted house.

The grumpy old man ultimately cultivates a soft spot for the chirpy boy, stepping in to become Russell’s caretaker.

Watch the alternate-reality film below.

[via Pixar] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413294/Pixar-Transforms-Up-Into-An-Epic-Anime-Opening-Title-Sequence/

Centuries-Old Memory Trick Proven To Strengthen Short- & Long-Term Memory

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Image via Shutterstock

People with super memory are often envied by others. The good news is you can “hack” your brain with an ancient memorization technique. Even better, recent findings suggest this trick can both enhance short-term and long-term recall.

The method is called the “method of loci,” and it has been used since ancient Grecian times, Gizmodo reports. The technique involves memorizing the layout of loci, which means places, and then associating landmarks from those places with things you need to remember.

For instance, you can envision the area between your home and neighborhood bodega to form a shopping list in your head. There might be a fire hydrant nearby, which you can associate with sriracha sauce; a garden, which could remind you of salad dressing; and a tree, which could bring to mind eggs, since eggs can be found in nests and nests are often in trees.

When you’re at the store, you should be able to remember what to pick up by recalling this “mind place.”

The method of loci isn’t just good for remembering shopping lists. A new study led by neuroscientist Isabella Wagner from the Netherlands’ Radboud University Medical Center reveals that relying on it can actually rewire the brain to make room for more things to remember.

Creating a “mind place” allows you to tag new and unrelated information onto this structure. “It definitely helps to form unusual, novel, or even bizarre associations that capture attention,” she told Gizmodo. “The combination of prior knowledge and novelty is very powerful to boost memory.”

Up until recently, the method of loci’s impact on long-term memory wasn’t well-documented. Wagner and her team decided to put the memorization trick to the test by inviting 67 people—17 memory athletes and 50 non-experts—to determine how the technique might affect long-term recall.

The 50 non-experts, who weren’t trained in the method of loci, were split into three groups. The first group was asked to participate in an intensive six-week method of loci course, the second was taught working memory techniques, and the third group was not given any memory training.

The participants had their brain prints captured through fMRI scanners before and after training.

Their task was to memorize random words, displayed in triplets. The participants were asked to determine if the words were shown in the same or different sequence as they had been presented during their training.

“We wanted to see whether novices could train the method of loci to such an extent that they would reach performance levels close to actual memory champions, and also whether their brain processes become similar to those of champions with training,” shared Wagner.

Interestingly, when asked to name the words four months later, the group that was trained on the method of loci could remember an average of 50 words, those who were taught working memory recalled 30 words on average, and the group that received no training could only name 27 words on average.

The researchers were even more surprised that brain scans for both memory experts and non-memory experts revealed lower activity in the lateral prefrontal, posterior parahippocampal, and retrosplenial cortices—areas usually activated when people study or attempt to remember random word lists.

“This was somewhat surprising to us, as better performance is typically associated with increased engagement of different brain regions. What we saw here is the opposite,” explained Wagner.

However, the decrease in activity in these areas could indicate “neural efficiency,” meaning that fewer resources are exhausted in the brain when recalling something. Your brain ends up remembering stuff with much less effort.

Jeni Pathman, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto, told Gizmodo that this study proves it is possible for regular people to enhance their memory as efficiently as memory athletes. However, she noted that more research is due, since this experiment was conducted within a small group.

Video via Big Think

[via Gizmodo, video via Big Think, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413293/Centuries-Old-Memory-Trick-Proven-To-Strengthen-Short-Long-Term-Memory/

Apple TV+’s Audio Thriller Trailer Gets More Chilling The More You Listen In

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Image via Apple TV+

Are true crime shows and thrillers up your alley? If so, Apple’s upcoming TV+ series, an audio thriller—yes, you read that right—which premieres on 19 March will interest you.

Apple has released a trailer for Calls, and based on the video, it is a series told entirely through phone conversations.

There are also minimal visuals in the trailer, only abstract illustrations corresponding with the audio carrying the story. The artistic decision looks to make for a gripping and unsettling viewing/listening experience.

Apple describes its new series as a “groundbreaking immersive television experience that masterfully uses only audio and minimal abstract visuals to tell bone-chilling snackable stories.” It will follow “darkly dramatic mystery” that is revealed over phone conversations that “become surreal as the characters face growingly unsettling experiences.”

The series will feature appearances from Aubrey Plaza, Lily Collins, Nick Jonas, Pedro Dawson, and more. A total of nine 12-minute episodes will be released on Apple TV+ on 19 March.

The series is directed by horror filmmaker Fede Álvarez, and adapted from Timothée Hochet’s French series.

[via Slash Film, cover image via Apple TV+] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413289/Apple-TV-s-Audio-Thriller-Trailer-Gets-More-Chilling-The-More-You-Listen-In/

Virtual Sneakers You Can’t Wear Sold For $3.1 Million In Seven Minutes



Image via RTFKT Studios

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have made their way into the sneaker world, and one brand has managed to raise over US$3 million in seven minutes during a blockchain-based auction.

Virtual sneaker brand RTFKT Studios teamed up with “crypto artist” FEWOCiOUS to create three physical sneakers, each corresponding with a digital token. This collaboration opens new doors; while the physical sneaker may go up in value, the NFT associated with the product is an asset on its own too.

The range also offers digital merchandise in the form of a ‘Drip’ and a ‘Charm’.

In total, over 600 pairs were sold across the three styles, amounting to a total of over US$3.1 million. The ‘Charm’ design was sold for US$88,880 while ‘Drip’ was sold for US$1,500 each.

NFTs have proven to be a booming market, with musician Grimes recently selling around US$6 million worth of digital art at an auction.

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A post shared by FEWOCiOUS (@fewocious)

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A post shared by Artifact Studios (@rtfktstudios)

[via Input Magazine, cover image via RTFKT Studios] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413288/Virtual-Sneakers-You-Can-t-Wear-Sold-For-3-1-Million-In-Seven-Minutes/

Amazon Gets Called Out By Bag Maker For Copying Its Design In Witty Sketch

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Left image via Peak Design, right image via Amazon

Bag and camera gear maker Peak Design has called out Amazon in a cheeky manner after discovering a similar design to its camera bags on the marketplace.

Peak Design shared a video titled A Tale of Two Slings, comparing its Everyday Sling to Amazon Basics’ camera bag with the same name.

“It looks suspiciously like the Peak Design Everyday Sling, but you don’t pay for all those needless bells and whistles,” the narrator in the video declared, referring to the company’s research and development, lifetime warranty and commitment to factory workers, and use of recycled materials. “Instead you just get a bag.”

The clip then showed a “dramatization” of the Amazon Basics team tracing the design of the Everyday Sling.

The prices of the bags are different, as expected. The Peak Design bag costs US$80, while the Amazon bag will set you back for US$21. “Whichever one you buy, you’ll get exactly what you pay for,” the narrator continued.

“I’d like to think that the purchaser of a Peak Design bag over the Amazon Basics bag indicates caring at a deeper level,” Peak Design’s CEO Peter Dering shared. “I might be caring for the environmental journey that we are on. Whatever it is, it means something to some people, and it means less to others. For every customer, this decision is up to them.”

According to the company, it could have taken legal action against Amazon due to infringement of intellectual property but chose to release a tongue-in-cheek video because a lawsuit might mean less to consumers and employees.



Image via Peak Design



Image via Peak Design



Image via Amazon



Image via Amazon

[via PetaPixel, cover image via Peak Design, Amazon] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413285/Amazon-Gets-Called-Out-By-Bag-Maker-For-Copying-Its-Design-In-Witty-Sketch/

Cadbury Replaces Mascot With Real-Life Endangered Frogs On Packaging



Image via Cadbury Australia

Cadbury Australia has announced that it will temporarily rebrand its mascot, Freddo the frog, on some of its chocolate packaging for a good cause.

The revamps are being made to raise awareness for endangered frogs. According to Cadbury, there are at least 30 species of endangered frogs in Australia and New Zealand.

This comes as part of Freddo’s three-year partnership with Taronga Zoo Sydney, Zoos Victoria, and Conservation Volunteers Australia and New Zealand that aim to save endangered frog species.

Cadbury has pledged AU$600,000 (US$468,444) to its partners over the next three years to help save the frogs. The money will go into supporting breeding programs and building habitats for the amphibians, per Cadbury.

The new packaging features endangered frogs such as the Northern Corroboree Frogs, the Hochstetter’s Frog, and the spotted Tree Frog.

The new design began hitting Australian supermarkets and independent retailers in February.

Katrina Watson, Cadbury Australia’s marketing manager, said, “This is our opportunity to foster Australians’ passion for the environment and encourage families to continue caring for nature so that these frogs can thrive for generations of adventurous explorers to come.”



The usual packaging. Image via chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com



Image via Cadbury Australia



Image via Cadbury Australia

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[via B&T, cover image via Cadbury Australia] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413290/Cadbury-Replaces-Mascot-With-Real-Life-Endangered-Frogs-On-Packaging/

Early Humans Get More Accurate Faces With Stereotype-Free Reconstructions


Silicone casts of facial reconstructions for ‘Lucy’ (left) and the ‘Taung child’ (right). Image via R. Campbell, G. Vinas, M. Henneberg, R. Diogo / Frontiers (open access)

New reconstructions of two ancient humans, referred to as ‘Lucy’ and the ‘Taung child’, could change perceptions of what our ancestors used to look like when they lived in Africa some millions of years ago.

Researchers divulged in a new paper that past reconstructions are often highly inconsistent in their appearances in natural history museums around the world, as they are usually artistic interpretations or results of racist ideas. “Actually, many of the previous reconstructions have been highly influenced by imaginary tales about what is ‘primitive’ and ‘savage,’ versus what is ‘civilized’ and ‘modern,’” added Rui Diogo, review senior researcher and an assistant professor of anatomy at Howard University in Washington, DC, in a blog post.

Their goal was to “move away from intuition” and generate models more scientifically in line with the remains of 3.2 million-year-old Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis)—the oldest and most complete human ancestor—and the Taung child (Australopithecus africanus)—a 2.8-million-year-old child who died at the age of three. The reconstruction process would be recorded as transparently as possible, in contrast with older reimaginations that “have been largely unchallenged by the scientific community and displayed in museums with very little empirical evidence to support them.”

The new versions depict Lucy to have a skin tone similar to the bonobos’. Meanwhile, the Taung child is revealed to bear an appearance close to those of modern South African humans.

To reconstruct the Taung child’s face, the scientists duplicated the child’s skull using traditional molding and casting methods, since existing molds tend to be unreliable and inconsistent. While they could gather key features from the skull, the team still had to imagine its facial tissues.

Replicating Lucy was more difficult, as most of her cranial bones are missing. Still, the researchers were able to simulate her head due to her partly retained jawbone.

For both Lucy and the Taung child, the team especially struggled with rendering realistic versions of their soft tissues, since they no longer exist. It was, therefore, pretty much impossible to determine if their base muscles, skin, and other soft tissues were more like those of primates or humans.

To exemplify how varied the results could be, the researchers depicted the Taung child in two variations: the first with “apelike” soft tissues and the second with “humanlike” features. This might also tell us how differently our ancestors could have looked even when their faces have been recreated based on scientific evidence. Just imagine how off stereotype-influenced interpretations can be.


Two versions of facial reconstructions of the ‘Taung child’ without hair or pigment. The child appears more “apelike” on the left and more “humanlike” on the right. Image via R. Campbell, G. Vinas, M. Henneberg, R. Diogo / Frontiers (open access)

While the team had hoped to deliver results as accurate as possible, “we believe that this is not at all the case,” they admitted. This was evidenced by their attempt to recreate Lucy’s skin using modern humans’ skin thickness; when paired with equations supposedly consistent with early human skin thickness, they sometimes received negative results. This is impossible, as animals cannot have negative tissue thickness.

The researchers want to remind museums, scientists, and artists that “presenting information that is not known diminishes the value of that which is known, and may lead to confusion and discourage further interest in human evolutionary theory.” However, staying objective is one of science’s most valued ethics, and it can oftentimes pay to let go of the past so everyone can move forward.


An “intuitive” 2018 reconstruction of the soft tissue of ‘Lucy’. Image via R. Campbell, G. Vinas, M. Henneberg, R. Diogo / Frontiers (open access)

[via Live Science, images via R. Campbell, G. Vinas, M. Henneberg, R. Diogo / Frontiers (open access)] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413292/Early-Humans-Get-More-Accurate-Faces-With-Stereotype-Free-Reconstructions/

Netflix’s ‘Fast Laughs’ Is Like TikTok But With Funny Clips For Your Dose Of Joy

[Click here to view the video in this article]


Video screenshot via Netflix Is A Joke

Everyone needs a little pick-me-up sometimes, especially with the COVID-19 situation still persisting. During this time, social media users have been turning to Netflix for an instant escape and TikTok for some quick gratification. Netflix is now bringing the best of two worlds together with ‘Fast Laughs’, a stream of bite-sized clips to tickle your funny bone.

The feature is markedly inspired by TikTok. Like the popular video-sharing platform, ‘Fast Laughs’ lets you watch and scroll through a mixed bag of short clips, as well as react to and share them. However, unlike TikTok, Netflix draws from its own content. You can then add the respective program to your watchlist, or tap ‘Play’ to watch the show immediately.

‘Fast Laughs’ started trials late last year, and it appears that it was so well-received, Netflix is pushing it as a core feature. It even has its own tab, located next to ‘Coming Soon’.

Currently, ‘Fast Laughs’ only showcases snippets from Netflix Originals—including Murder Mystery, Big Mouth, and The Crew—but the company told TechCrunch it will extend to its entire catalog.

iOS users in select countries will get first access to this option as part of a test, though Netflix intends to bring the feature to Android users “soon.”

[via TechCrunch, video and cover image via Netflix Is A Joke] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413287/Netflix-s-Fast-Laughs-Is-Like-TikTok-But-With-Funny-Clips-For-Your-Dose-Of-Joy/

Mozilla Asks People Blowing Their Tops Over Logo Design To ‘Remain Calm’


Image via Mozilla

Logo make-unders often seem to tick off consumers. Not only are some people tired of the same old aesthetics, but they’re also worried that this maximalist obsession for minimalism will end up sucking away the essence of the brand.

So when internet users heard that Mozilla apparently stripped off the fox from the Firefox logo, they were livid. The backlash against Firefox spread like, one might say, wildfire, all across Twitter and Reddit. Social media users went on a witch hunt to find out who “killed” the beloved mascot.

THEY KILLED
THE FUCKING FOX pic.twitter.com/mr3Ys4zNWb

— Real Luigi ™ (@very_real_Luigi) February 20, 2021

Firefox kinda sus from

memes

Usually, brands would keep mum whenever customers complain about a redesign, but for understandable reasons, Mozilla couldn’t stay quiet any longer—because the news about the fox being put to sleep was simply untrue.

In a a blog post, the company shared a number of viral memes that mourned over the supposed death of the mascot. It admitted that each one was “funnier” than the last but also inched “further from reality by degrees.”

The company, urged for all to “remain calm,” as the logo in contention is just the emblem for Firefox’s parent brand, which oversees “the family of Firefox products.” The fox lives on in the branding for the internet browser.

“The logo causing all the stir is one we created a while ago with input from our users. Back in 2019, we updated the Firefox browser logo and added the parent brand logo as a new logo for our broader product portfolio that extends beyond the browser.”

Mozilla assured that the fox-free icon won’t be something people would see “on a dock, [their] phone’s home screen, or desktop.”

In a way, it was comforting to know that people were so protective over the fox. Mozilla concluded, “We’ve heard from lots of you recently that the Firefox logo — and specifically the fox — really does it for you. Well, fear not, because no matter what you think you heard on the internet, the fox isn’t leaving any time soon.”


Image via Mozilla

[via Creative Bloq, images via Mozilla] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413286/Mozilla-Asks-People-Blowing-Their-Tops-Over-Logo-Design-To-Remain-Calm/

Starbucks’ Iconic Siren Receives A Glow-Up On 50th Anniversary Coffee Pack



Image via Starbucks

Starbucks is set to release a limited-edition coffee blend in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The Anniversary Blend is described as “a bold blend sourced exclusively from Indonesia that displays tasting notes of smoked cedary spice, black truffle and fresh tarragon.”

This isn’t the first time the coffee chain has offered an Anniversary Blend to its customers. Its first offering was back in 1996 when it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The coffee blend is housed in soothing meadow green bags that feature an illustration of the iconic siren logo. The siren has a subtle irradiance that makes her long tresses shimmer. In her hand, she holds a coffee tree branch while staring straight at the viewer.

If you do not intend to purchase the whole bag of coffee roast for yourself, the Anniversary Blend will be available as part of a dark roast brew in Starbucks stores come 8 March to 14 March.

It was an absolute honor (and dream) to design the @Starbucks 50th Anniversary Blend.

Couldn't have done it without our amazing Creative Studio team (CDs: Kristy Cameron & Ben Nelson | Writer: Lisa O'Brien | Print Pro: Anne Stevens | PM: Erin Morgan).💚💫 pic.twitter.com/U78JuVCypD

— Mary Stratton (@mary_stratton) March 3, 2021

[via Delish, cover image via Starbucks] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413282/Starbucks-Iconic-Siren-Receives-A-Glow-Up-On-50th-Anniversary-Coffee-Pack/

NASA Lets You Send Your Name To Mars On Upcoming Mission


Image via Shutterstock

Ever dreamed of making a name for yourself in such a profound way that it transcends the universe? Well, with NASA’s intriguing program, it’ll echo right into Mars.

The space agency successfully launched the names of nearly 11 million people into the Red Planet when the Perseverance rover made it up there. Luckily for those who missed out, it is reopening the option to ‘Send Your Name to Mars’ on a future mission.

The opportunity to have your name carried to the planet was prominently termed as a ‘Boarding Pass’ in the past, but given the recent interest in actual space travel (and hotels!), that can seem quite confusing in today’s context.

To sign up, simply enter NASA’s form with your name, country, and postal code. If you also include your email address, you’ll be placed on a ‘Frequent Flyer’ list and NASA will inform you each time your ‘Boarding Pass’ checks into Mars.

Submitted names are reviewed by administrators at the space agency. NASA assures that the names won’t be shared publicly, and that details shared will never be used for commercial marketing.

Names will travel to Mars by being etched onto a microchip. At least for the foreseeable future, this might be your only ticket to the Red Planet.

[via Thrillist, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413281/NASA-Lets-You-Send-Your-Name-To-Mars-On-Upcoming-Mission/

Cadbury Celebrates 50 Years Of Creme Eggs By Launching Beer Inspired By Treat


Image via Craig Russell / Shutterstock.com

When Cadbury released an advertisement of two men sharing a kiss with a Creme Egg between their lips, many retaliated. The confectionery giant is now doubling down on its less traditional stance, proving once again that its chocolate is for all ages and walks of life.

As part of the Creme Egg’s massive 50th-anniversary celebration that Cadbury calls the Golden Goo-Beer-Lee, Cadbury UK has teamed up with the Goose Island Beer Company for what could be its most eggcentric variation of Creme Eggs yet: the Golden Goo-Beer-Lee Creme Stout.

The limited-edition stout features cacao nibs and vanilla beans to replicate the Creme Egg’s chocolate shell, along with milk sugar to recreate its oozy interior. The flavors of the Creme Egg get more complex with the beer’s ”smooth” and “creamy” blend of malted barley, oats, and wheat.

“We wanted to make sure that for whoever tried this beer, it would be unique and delicious. The tasty flavours of the stout complement the iconic Cadbury Creme Egg; we wanted to big up the chocolate and creaminess of the beer while keeping it super drinkable,” explained Andrew Walton, Master Brewer at Goose Island.

Available from 11am. This eggclectic blend of malted barley, oats, wheat and milk sugar lactose provides a deliciously rich & creamy texture. A celebratory beer that is smooth, rich & balanced. #CremeEggGoldenGoobilee

Please drink responsibly. 18+ pic.twitter.com/tkgcc400z1

— Goose Island UK (@GooseIslandUK) March 3, 2021

It’s the #CremeEggGoldenGoobilee! To celebrate, we’ve partnered with our good friends @GooseIslandUK to create a Limited Eggdition Creme Egg beer! Launching 11am 03.03.21 Grab yours before it's goo late… Please drink responsibly. 18+ https://t.co/nXF68P1V0c pic.twitter.com/jiHBIBEXKP

— Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) March 2, 2021

[via Metro, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413280/Cadbury-Celebrates-50-Years-Of-Creme-Eggs-By-Launching-Beer-Inspired-By-Treat/

The Color Personality Test That’s Saturating TikTok And Going Viral


Image via Shutterstock

Sharing personality quiz results used to be a thing on Facebook, and while the trend seems to have died off there, it turns out that a new generation of social media users is taking this interest over to TikTok instead.

With its eye-popping aesthetics, it comes as no surprise that the ‘Personal Color Test’ by South Korean company Withsome is taking the video-sharing platform by storm. Its interface is a nostalgic replica of painting software from the 1990s and 2000s, complete with color swatches and pixelated text.

i took the color personality test 🙂 pic.twitter.com/UyXdqzKxgW

— ᪥ orchid — quartz ᪥ (@lxsingfxce) February 28, 2021

Saw a friend do this though it was cool enough to share, it's a color personality test. pic.twitter.com/9HmGzigJgU

— Seen (@Seans_Ego) March 3, 2021

Given Gen Z’s obsession with 90s classics, this visual delight is bound to hold attention.

More importantly, it claims to reveal the color that best matches users’ personalities with a few short questions. It will only take a few minutes to complete the quiz’s 12 questions, which touch on how people handle social situations, such as whether they’d prefer to be out in a crowded setting or stay at home during the weekend.

While quizzes like this one are seemingly a dime a dozen, HashtagHyena details that it appears to be based on Don Lowry’s ‘True Colors’ personality profiling system from 1978. According to this school of thought, everyone’s character is a blend of four hues—blue, orange, green, and gold—and their core is made up of their two most prominent colors.

When opening some of the results, which were presented as images, DesignTAXI also noted that their file names were saved as personality types from the Myers-Briggs test, suggesting that each color corresponds to an MBTI type.

If you’re keen to discover your personal color, you can take the test here. Keep in mind that the original test is in Korean, so there could be a few mistranslations in the English-language version. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to complete the quiz just fine.

@kermitstampon

i’m a push over. also i’ll post the link in the comments http://www.designtaxi.com/news/413279/The-Color-Personality-Test-That-s-Saturating-TikTok-And-Going-Viral/