Category: Blogging

Your Credit Card Number Isn’t Random—Here’s How To Decipher It

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Photo 151657816 © Apichon Pechnun |

Do you, like most people, have trouble remembering your credit card number? One key method for retention is to give it meaning. Luckily for you, those cryptic numbers actually represent something, and this new video by the Half as Interesting channel breaks them down.

First and foremost, your primary credit card number—the 16 digits that make up the front—is actually split into three sections. That’s interesting to know, but let’s dive deeper.

The first six to eight digits identify the issuer of the card, with the first digit itself indicating the nature of business (one or two for airlines, three for travel, four to six for banking, and so on). There’s also specific identification for Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cardholders.

And the last digit, called the ‘Check Digit’, is the outcome of a formula between all the other numbers. Machines use it to verify that the credit card number is valid; enter any of the digits wrongly, and they would automatically know it is invalid without running it by a database.

Discover more geeky trivia about your credit card in the video below.

[via Boing Boing, cover image 151657816 © Apichon Pechnun |]

This T-Shirt Dyed With Naturally Black Ink Absorbs CO2 From The Environment

Image via Vollebak

Having black as your go-to outfit color certainly has its perks; it’s timeless, never too flashy, and no one would remember you wore the same shirt last week. What’s not really known is that most black pigment is derived from carbon black, which is generated from burning heavy petroleum partway. As Fast Company notes, producing carbon black isn’t great for the planet, and the pigment is potentially even carcinogenic, if scientific studies like this one published by the World Health Organization are right.

Are your tendencies to wear the shade enough to outweigh the dark effects? Acknowledging that most people aren’t going to give the color up, UK clothing label Vollebak has teamed up with US biomaterials firm Living Ink to create the ‘Algae Black Shirt’, which, as its name suggests, is dyed in the much friendlier algae ink. As a plus, algae sucks up carbon and pumps oxygen back into the atmosphere during photosynthesis.

Image via Vollebak

There’s an abundance of algae in the world, and it’s often grown as feedstock for animals—which is the case for a Californian algae farm engaged to provide the base for the ink. When removed from water, a black component appears, and it can be dehydrated and crushed to make a pigment. It only takes a matter of days to grow the organism with only water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide, CEO Steve Tidball told Fast Company.

Thanks to the copious supply of algae, black algae could be used as an alternative for carbon black at scale, and Vollebak is hoping the fashion industry would eventually make the switch to bring down carbon emissions. “You would have to use it at a mass scale to store a lot of carbon, so for this project what we are most interested in is proof of concept,” Tidball elaborated.

The T-shirt itself is biodegradable, being constructed out of eucalyptus, beech, and spruce from responsibly managed forests; put it in soil, and it breaks down in 12 weeks.

In addition, the algae ink used has been treated to be UV-resistant, ensuring that the color doesn’t fade. The garment is then washed with a mango-based softener for ultimate comfort.

Only a few thousand Algae Black Shirts (US$110 each) will be available when they launch on August 5, but the hope is that other brands would catch up with their own versions. The garments are part of Vollebak’s ongoing mission to challenge the fashion industry in positive ways through unique designs.

Image via Vollebak

Image via Vollebak

Image via Vollebak

[via Fast Company, images via Vollebak]

KFC To Open Crisp ‘House Of Harland’ Hotel With Chicken Concierge Service

Image via

If you live near Shoreditch in the UK, get ready, as KFC is opening a fried chicken-themed hotel in the city. Called ‘The House Of Harland’, the hotel gets it name from KFC founder Colonel Sanders, whose real name was Harland David Sanders.

According to Campaign, the popup hotel will be open for 11 consecutive nights from August 18, a nod to the 11 herbs and spices KFC uses in its recipes.

And if you’re wondering, yes, everything will be chicken-themed. There’s fried chicken decor, “chick-flicks” in the cinema room, a KFC “Hot Winger” arcade game, and the best part – a “press for chicken” concierge service.

Guests will also ride in a black Cadillac, aptly named the ‘Colonelmobile’, on the way to the hotel. Upon arrival, a “Chick-in-clerk” will be there to show visitors to their rooms and assist them with anything they need.

The suite can accommodate two adults, and is available for reservation here from August 11. Six stays are available, each at £111 (US$154) a night. Proceeds from the hotel will go towards The KFC Foundation.

Image via

Image via

[via Campaign, images via]

Apple’s iOS 15 Can Read Out All Notifications For You; Embarrassment Is Optional

Image via Apple

Expanding upon the Announce Messages and Announce Calls functionalities utilizing Siri as your pocket-sized personal secretary is iOS 15’s addition: Announce Notifications.

Privacy isn’t too much of a concern here; Siri won’t read your private notifications out loud for the entire bus to hear, unless you really want that to happen (there’s a setting for that). This new feature works with the brand’s AirPods (second-gen, Pro, and Max), certain Beats headphones, and CarPlay.

Like in iOS 14, there’s the option of when Siri will showcase the feature: headphones, car, or both. Users can ask what’s on their screen just by voicing out the classic “Hey Siri!”

To enable this function, users who have installed iOS 15 can find it under the ‘Siri & Search’ section in the Settings app. The notifications aren’t limited to just the built-in messages and phone apps anymore; users can now pick and choose which third-party apps they want included in their experience.

And, Siri can also reply to messages automatically with the ‘reply without confirmation’ setting, which sends a reply before reading back the message. This is handy for times when users are driving or unable to get to their phones, and want to let the other party know that they’ll read the message later.

Other notification-related updates include an updated interface, in which contact photos and app icons are displayed larger for easier identification. Plus, there’s a new ‘summary’ feature, which uses an intelligent schedule to group notifications, placing those most relevant to the user at the top.

Currently, iOS 15 is available to download as public and developer beta. Its official release is planned for fall 2021, mere months away.

[via 9to5Mac, images via Apple]

The Muppets Studio Has Grown Up, And It Shows In Its Stately New Logo

Image via The Muppets Studio

At the end of July, The Muppets Studio revealed its brand new logo on Twitter, a retro look that ties strongly back to the brand’s heritage. In a world where logos and typefaces strive to be sleeker and cleaner than ever before, this one definitely stands out.

The studio was formed in 2004 after Disney acquired The Muppets from its previous owners, The Jim Henson Company. The last logo was an intentionally wonky, playful typeface in a shade of green that can be endearingly attributed to one of the show’s stars, Kermit the Frog.

The old Muppets Studio logo. Image via Wikimedia Commons

However, the studio’s previous logo didn’t “really represent” where the studio was headed, Muppets Studio VP, Leigh Slaughter, tells ToughPigs. Now, the new black-and-gold offering “represents the early heyday of the Muppets and harkens back to a time when the nostalgia for the Muppets is very strong.”

It features “instantly recognizable” lettering reminiscent of the intro to the 1970s Muppet Show series. And the gold used is similar to the gilded interior of the Muppets’ theatre, too. “We took it a bit further by changing a few of the letters and elements so that it’s got a bit of a modern touch, as well,” Slaughter explains. “It’s part a nod to our past and part a nod to our future.”

Not a fan of the gold and black? There are more versions of the logo to come, too. Just like how the Disney logo changes in front of different films, The Muppets Studio’s logo has the potential to do so as well.

Usually, new logos mean new things are on the horizon for the brand. The Muppets Studio is no exception to this, teasing its upcoming Disney+ project, Muppets Haunted Mansion, which is coming this fall.

Curtains up on our shiny new logo for The Muppets Studio! Keep an eye out for it on new projects like Muppets Haunted Mansion this fall on Disney+.

— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) July 31, 2021

[via Creative Bloq, image via The Muppets Studio]

‘F*** You, Pay Me’ Is The New ‘Glassdoor’ Outing Brands That Pay With Exposure

Image via ID 135567715 © Artem Varnitsin |

New platform F*** You, Pay Me (FYPM) wants to help content creators negotiate better deals with brands, and also give them insight into which brands they might want to avoid working with. The site was set up by equity analyst Lindsey Lee Lugrin and Isha Mehra, a former Facebook data scientist.

According to The New York Times, FYPM aims to bridge the gap between influencers and brands, giving content creators more power and information to negotiate their fees for sponsored content.

The site works similarly to Glassdoor, a popular platform where employees can review companies they’ve worked for. FYPM also allows users to anonymously share how much they were paid to work with different brands, helping other creators to gauge and compare proposals received.

As per PetaPixel, the idea to start FYPM came from one of Lugrin’s personal experiences, when she was offered an opportunity to appear in a Marc by Marc Jacobs advertisement campaign. While she saw her images on billboards around town and on advertisements on the internet, she had only been paid US$1,000.

Not wanting creators to undervalue themselves in the same way, the site aims to be a guide in the growing online content creation space, where most deals are negotiated directly between brands and personalities.

Other than FYPM, sites like Collabstr are trying to bring more transparency to the social media industry. It lists a directory of available creators and their asking rates, so others know how much they’re charging.

There are also exposé social media accounts that have emerged, such as We Don’t Work For Free and Influencer Pay Gap, which share anonymous posts about creators’ bad experiences with brands.

Currently, as per The New York Times, there are 1,500 creators on FYPM, with 2,000 reviews and 1,300 brands listed. As the site says, “Your bank would never accept ‘exposure’ as payment. Neither should you.” Click here to check it out.

Video via

How Apple Could One Day Remove iPhone’s Notch, Based On Its Patent Filings

Photo 216231196 © 216231196 © Wachiwit |

As accustomed as you might be with the notch, imagine how much better your iPhone would look without it. As it seems, Apple has already prepared some patents that—although not specific to smartphones—could one day enable Face ID, the front-facing camera, and other aspects of the TrueDepth technology without that pill-shaped wedge.

BGR outlines some of these filings in a new feature, which includes the possibility of Apple moving to an under-the-display design. In one patent, granted on July 27, Apple describes moving sensors that read 2D and 3D information under the screen, which would effectively make both Touch ID and Face ID possible. The device could analyze faces, as well as scan fingerprints, underneath the display.

A couple of similar ideas involving under-the-display technology were also pitched by Apple, and these were awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office on July 20 and August 3.

A second way Apple could eliminate the notch is by introducing moving parts to displays, another concept the company has brought up in a patent document. When notch components are required, such as when you need to unlock your phone, the iPhone’s screen could slide down for the sensors to do their work. During this process, contents on your display could even shift along with it and at the same speed, so user experience won’t be affected.

For the uninitiated, without a physical home button, the notch remains a necessary feature, since that’s where the TrueDepth camera system which enables facial recognition is. As for when one can expect a notch-free iPhone to hit the market, an April 2021 report by renowned tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo projects a 2023 date.

[via BGR, cover image 216231196 © 216231196 © Wachiwit |]

IKEA’s Convertible Tote Bag Quickly Becomes ‘It’ Item, Transforms Into Backpack

Image via IKEA

IKEA often delights with its ingenious designs, such as disguising an air purifier as a side table to discreetly clean the air around you. Now, another item produced by the Swedish retailer has become an online favorite: the DRÖMSÄCK tote bag.

This convertible tote bag can be worn as a shoulder tote or backpack, and is made from eco-friendly recycled polyester.

If you’re always on the go, this tote bag is perfect for any event – from work days with laptops to a fun day out in the park, there’s space for everything you need. Plus, it’s water-resistant.

The tote bag is available in dark olive or light beige, and can be purchased for US$19.99 on IKEA’s website. As per Glamour, many content creators on TikTok have been showing off their purchases, with the bag quickly becoming a trend.

Take a look at some of the videos below, and you might just want one for yourself.


IKEA Tote Bag Features 🙂 doing a dorm essentials haul soon!!💛 ##ikeatotebag ##totebag ##ikeafinds ##ikea ##fypシ ##travel ##college

♬ markjgriggio version – ✞


IKEA tote bag backpack ##ikeahaul ##unihaul ##university ##ikeafinds ##ikea ##collegeessentials ##fypシ

♬ Here Comes the Boy – Felix Gabriel

Image via IKEA

Image via IKEA

Image via IKEA

Image via IKEA

[via Glamour, images via IKEA]

Apple’s Online Store Goes Down, Returns With Fresh Look & Dedicated ‘Store’ Tab

Image via Apple

Apple’s online store suddenly disappeared, seemingly without reason earlier, only to come back better than ever with a fresh redesign of the interface and user experience.

The refreshing new page features quick links to the product lineup currently on offer, and an easier-to-find way to reach a specialist for tech help, or locate the closest Apple store. On the top of the website sits the ‘Store’ tab, brought back from an earlier version of the site for easier access.

Image via Apple

Scroll down and you will find a number of sections putting the spotlight on the latest happenings: promotions, new releases, and the current newest products. Right now, the colorful iPhone 12 and iMacs take center stage alongside Apple Card’s monthly installment plans and a link to the latest carrier deals.

Even further down brings you to quick links to the help center, a bite-sized accessories shopping section, and information about Apple products aplenty. There’s a guide to AirTags, Apple Pay, and Home integrations. It carries on the important parts of the old version of the website, just compressed into a new layout; nice and neat.

Image via Apple

The new interface featuring blocks with rounded corners, arranged neatly in grids, looks to be reminiscent of the new tab layout in Safari, coming with iOS 15 later on in the year. It’s pretty safe to say that users aren’t the only ones excited about the upcoming release; the new Apple store is too (of course).

[via iMore, image via Apple]

YEEZY Day For Sneakerheads Tanks As Bots Walk Away With Thousands Of Shoes

Image via ID 204318438 © Ded Mityay |

YEEZY Day – or August 2 for non-sneakerheads – was supposed to be an exciting event this year. Fans waited eagerly as new YEEZY products and restocks were released by the hour on YEEZY Supply, Adidas’ website, and Adidas’ Confirmed app.

However, many fans of Kanye West’s shoe brand were left upset and empty-handed, with most of the blame aimed at scalpers, bots, and poor retail management.

According to Input, before the releases even began, multiple Twitter users complained that the Confirmed app had already crashed. An error page was also spotted on YEEZY Supply, citing a “security issue” that prevented consumers from accessing the releases.

Instead of blocking scalpers’ bots from buying the shoes, the sites’ “security measures” prevented actual consumers from getting the footwear. Rumors on social media said that more bots bought shoes than actual customers, with tweets from bot-users adding fuel to the fire.

“Trickle destroyed YEEZY Day yesterday. 1,132 pairs with @tricklebot alone,” read one of the tweets, in reference to a bot used to acquire the shoes.

Another user said they made over US$38,000 in profit for just one day. The bot’s Twitter page shows many other users claiming to have secured up to hundreds of pairs of the coveted releases.

While YEEZY Day was meant to make the brand’s items more accessible to consumers, it didn’t turn out as planned. By not preventing bots from accessing the sites, it seems that more scalpers than actual fans got their hands on the merchandise, and will take them to the resale market for exorbitant fees.

Hopefully, if YEEZY Day does happen again, the sites will be better equipped to stop the influx of shoe-snatching bots.

Trickle destroyed Yeezy Day yesterday.

1,132 pairs with @tricklebot alone.

Thank you 👑 @PorterProxies ISPs 💜@StrikeAccess @SKSupply

— Tiana Porta (@tianaporta) August 3, 2021

What a day 😎
OVER $38,000+ PROFIT.
BIG THANKS TO @tricklebot @ValorAIO

— Dav (@Dav_7665) August 4, 2021

[via Input, cover image via ID 204318438 © Ded Mityay |]

Crocs Reveals A Shoe Inside Another Shoe… Where Does It End?

Image via SANKUANZ

If you were ever worried about your already-durable, already-waterproof, virtually indestructible Crocs, the brand’s newest collaboration should put your mind at ease.

Chinese label SANKUANZ has teamed up with the iconic Crocs brand to slot a trademark, holey foam shoe inside what looks like the exoskeleton of another one. Think of it like a helmet, or an armor of protection. Or like a kangaroo and its joey.

To keep the shoe firmly in place, two straps span the width of the shoe, leaving just enough room for the holes for ventilation or Jibbitz charms to shine through; practicality over aesthetics, whichever you prefer. Or, keep it simple with the SANKUANZ logo and sea dragon Jibbitz charm that come with the shoe, and leave some room for airflow.

Image via SANKUANZ

Crocs aren’t the first shoe under “protection” by the label: in SANKUANZ’s Fall 2018 runway show, it debuted a sneaker protector designed to keep your freshest kicks pristine. Although the ‘SHOES FOR SHOES’ design retails for USD$606 on HBX and the design might seem a tad ridiculous, don’t underestimate it: it’s sold out.

The Croc and its shell are attainable via Foot Locker’s Greenhouse app, and will come in neon green, white, or black, priced at US$139 a pair.

Image via SANKUANZ

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A post shared by SANKUANZ OFFICIAL PAGE (@sankuanz_official)

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A post shared by SANKUANZ OFFICIAL PAGE (@sankuanz_official)

[via Input, images via SANKUANZ]

Microsoft Paint Reveals Fresh New Look That Matches Windows 11’s Design

Image via Windows / Unsplash

Microsoft Paint’s existence has been on the rocks for years. First, the company left users devastated by announcing that it would be gone for good. It then most recently rescinded this decision by declaring that the basic graphics editor would be “updateable via the Microsoft Store.” Now that MSPaint is once again a part of everyone’s lives, it’s been refreshed with a new modern look.

Microsoft chose a rather unusual way to reveal the new design. According to Creative Bloq, the tech giant first peeled off the layers of paint by quietly posting a photo on free stock photo website Unsplash.

By the looks of this visual, the updated MSPaint appears to harmonize with Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System, matching Windows 11’s UI. The menu’s buttons are no longer constrained by borders, while monochromatic icons sport a circular look.

Notably, the app is optimized for touch, which is what Windows 11 is also built for. For the full transition, Microsoft also revamped the MSPaint icon back in April.

Overall, in spite of the significant makeover, Paint seems to retain the simplicity it is most remembered for. Sneak a peek below.

Image via Windows / Unsplash

Image via Windows / Unsplash

[via Creative Bloq, images via Windows / Unsplash]

Oreo Opens Its First Café In The World, Where Your Dream Snack Hacks Are Welcome

Image courtesy of Oreo

Oreo is the star of some of the most popular food hacks, so it makes perfect sense that the brand is, at long last, opening the first-ever Oreo Café. No, you’re not dreaming.

The location has taken residence on the third floor of the IT’SUGAR store in New Jersey’s American Dream mall. To elicit envy, fans can get hold of limited-edition Oreo merchandise including home décor, themed apparel, tote bags, and more to take home as souvenirs. Of course, snack packs join the café’s shelves too.

What you’d truly be there for, though, is the menu of customizable Oreo-forward treats, served on Oreo-shaped tables. There’s a waffle sundae with baked-in Oreo pieces, and a cookies-and-cream cheesecake with an Oreo cookie mousse, a chocolate ganache and rosettes. Plus, a secret menu item whose name has been leaked in the post down below.

Most important of all is the first-of-its-kind treats bar, where you can build your own waffle, ice cream sandwich, cone or milkshake dessert out of over 200 combinations.

If you can’t get there, fret not. Merchandise can also be purchased on the IT’SUGAR and Oreo online stores. Oreo ready?

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Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

Image courtesy of Oreo

[via Oreo]

Spotify Tests $0.99 Subscription That’s Less Restrictive, Yet Not Quite Premium

Photo 111390145 © David Molina |

Spotify is experimenting with a new US$0.99 subscription option that might encourage free users to take the next step, but probably won’t be attractive enough for ad-free Premium members. A spokesperson confirmed the news with The Hollywood Reporter.

On the basic tier, users can only play shuffled music and get six free skips per hour. However, Spotify Plus, as the subscription option in testing is called, would give them unlimited skips and the ability to choose their music.

What sets Spotify Plus apart from Premium is the advertisements, which would still appear in between tracks like the free version.

The option is being trialed with a small group of users “at a variety of price points,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

At present, there’s no confirmation that Spotify Plus will end up being an actual subscription tier. “We’re always working to enhance the Spotify experience and we routinely conduct tests to inform our decisions… Some tests end up paving the way for new offerings or enhancements while others may only provide learnings,” Spotify told the entertainment news outlet.

In essence, Spotify Plus is the teasing of an ankle for what could be on the other side for free members; but put it this way—at US$9 less per month, would you be willing to overlook the commercials?

[via The Hollywood Reporter, cover photo 111390145 © David Molina |]

Sony Wants To Wrap ‘Venom’ Around Our Faces With 270º Screens & 4D Effects

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Image via ScreenX

Sony Pictures has just joined with Seoul-based cinema tech firm CJ 4DPlex, signing a three-year deal in which 15 movies by the production company will be screened on the panoramic, immersive ScreenX in more than 350 theaters worldwide.

ScreenX is a multi-projection cinematic experience, which expands the traditional singular movie screen to a three-sided view, expanding the canvas that the film has to work with. Along with revolutionary experience-based watching, CJ 4DPlex’s 4DX technology uses effects to bring the audience even closer to the scene. Motion-synchronized seats, weather effects, vibration, and scents blur the lines between watching a movie and a theme park ride.

First in the lineup is Venom: Let There Be Carnage in September, where filmgoers will be able to find themselves plunged straight into the movie; for better or for worse, given the mixed reviews the original film garnered. Other scheduled titles will include Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Man from Toronto.

“As audiences come back to movie theatres post-pandemic, CJ4DPLEX is positioned better than ever with our super-premium immersive and dynamic theater formats,” explains Jongryul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX, in the news release. The theaters are “distinctly different” from home experiences, and are expected to “motivate audiences to get out of their house and enjoy the theatrical experience once again with friends and family.”

Traditional movie release models have had to shift drastically in the last decade to accommodate the rise of streaming platforms. However, fresh and unique experiences like the one Sony has tapped into with ScreenX combined with the itch to ‘go into the real world’ post-pandemic could well see a resurrection of the box office.

[via Gizmodo, image via ScreenX]

2,400-Year-Old Fruit Discovered Intact Underwater In Ancient Egypt Ruins

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Image via IEASM

After an ancient military vessel was uncovered in the ancient Egyptian sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion last month, the team led by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) has made further discoveries at the same site.

In a statement last month, a tumulus (Greek funerary area) was declared to have been found alongside the wrecked ship. Now, ancient Greek ceramics have been found amongst the remains of the tumulus, and surprisingly, baskets still filled with what must’ve been offerings.

Even more surprisingly? The fact that the contents remained still rather intact. Grape seeds and doum fruit lay in the wicker baskets for millennia, untouched. It’s speculated that they were able to retain their condition either because they were buried soon after being offered, or because they had been kept safely in an underground room.

Greeks were allowed to settle in the city during the Pharaonic period, and built their own communities and settlements near the temple of Amun. However, a series of earthquakes led to the collapse of the area they had built on, swallowing the city alongside its neighbor, Canopus.

Thônis-Heracleion was located at the mouth of the River Nile’s Canopic branch. The once-bustling city is described to have hosted “intense activity”, which brought about its prosperity. Franck Goddio, who leads this archeological research, estimated that just 5% of the city has been discovered so far.

[via CNN, image via IEASM]

Icelandic Hotel Accepts Northern Light Photos As Payment For A Month’s Stay

Image via ID 50373377 © Surangaw |

If you’re a photographer with a knack for landscape photography, a hotel in Iceland is offering the deal of a lifetime. Hotel Rangá is looking for a “light catcher” photographer to capture the incredible Northern Lights, in exchange for a month’s free stay.

According to My Modern Met, Hotel Rangá is situated in the countryside of South Iceland, with picturesque views of the Eystri Rangá, the salmon river, the volcano Mount Hekla, glaciers, and the Westman Islands. The hotel is also one of the ideal spots to view the Northern Lights, which typically occur from September to March.

In exchange for the photographs, the chosen applicant will get free flights to and from Iceland, accommodation at the hotel for an entire month, and access to its stargazing observatory and hot tubs.

Applicants have to be available for at least three weeks during the Northern Lights season, and must grant Hotel Rangá unlimited access to their photographs for promotional materials.

Not a full-time photographer? The hotel is also accepting applications from hobbyists. If you think you’ve got a shot, find out more here.

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[via My Modern Met, cover image via ID 50373377 © Surangaw |]

NASA Rover Gets Up Close To Mysterious Stone Arch Found On Martian Surface

Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered a small, naturally-formed stone arch in the Gale Crater on Mars.

The high-definition image of the formation is available to download at the official photo repository, though NASA-JPL engineer Kevin M Gill has also personally stitched the images together for a more detailed look.

While exciting, this discovery doesn’t signify the existence of life on Mars. So, no, your alien theories won’t hold up here. According to Futurism, similar to the landscape on Earth, the surface of Mars has naturally-occurring formations and arches. However, it’s still incredibly impressive we’ve managed to capture an image of one up close.

“I’ll leave it up to the scientists to explain what the hell is going on here,” Gill tweeted.

While we wait for more in-depth answers from scientists, take a look at the intriguing formation below.

I'll leave it up to the scientists to explain what the hell is going on here…@MarsCuriosity ChemCam RMI, Sol 3190

— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) July 28, 2021

[via Futurism, cover image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL]

Mural Of The Obamas Has Been Defaced ‘Beyond Repair,’ But Not All Hope Is Lost

Image via ID 4228038 © Danny Raustadt |

A mural in Madison, Wisconsin featuring former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama was recently vandalized beyond recognition.

The artwork, originally painted by Dane Arts Mural Arts, portrayed both the former US president and first lady with the words “respect,” “empower,” and “include.”

Due to the Barack Obama’s face being defaced to the point it couldn’t be salvaged, the city decided to paint over it so no one would see the damage. The image of the first lady remains untouched on the right, as per Hollywood Unlocked.

Pete Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer during the Obama era, brought this incident to the public’s attention through an Instagram post. It first shows the photographer posing with the mural before it was vandalized, a stark contrast to the second picture, which sees Obama’s face had been painted over.

“Last year, my daughter made this picture of me standing in front of this beautiful mural that was commissioned by DAMA (Dane Arts Mural Arts) in Madison as part of the State Street mural project. I’m sad to report that the depiction of President Obama was vandalized beyond repair, and the city had to paint over his portrait (swipe to see how it looks today),” Souza wrote.

The photographer, who is based in Madison, also led a call to donate to the Friends of the Madison Arts Commission, in hopes that the mural can be redrawn. For more information, head to the post here.

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A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza)

[via Hollywood Unlocked, cover image via ID 4228038 © Danny Raustadt |]

IKEA Creates Meatball-Scented Candle So Your Home Can Smell Like Its Food Courts

Photo 128227915 © Nina Firsova |

For many who make the trip out to an IKEA store, tucking into those meatballs is the reward. Now, the Swedish furniture giant is letting customers reap some of the benefits, without the footwork or calories, by rolling out a candle that smells like its famous HUVUDROLL meatballs.

First reported by USA Today, the limited-edition HUVUDROLL candle is part of IKEA’s ‘Store in a Box’ package celebrating the 10th anniversary of the brand’s US Family Program. Other than the scented product, other items that deliver an “immersive sensory experience” are to be expected.

Depending on how hungry you are, the scent of meatballs wafting through your living room might be torture. However, as they say, much of flavor comes from smell, so you might even be able to taste them oh-so-slightly at the tip of your tongue.

To obtain the package, shoppers will have to participate in a sweepstakes, which will run from August 6 through August 22.

It’s unclear what other sensory pleasures will be stashed in the box, as IKEA is only teasing this much, so let’s see how they could possibly top this piping-hot meatball special.

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[via USA Today and PAPER, images via various sources]

Amazon Offers First Look At Its Most Expensive Series, ‘The Lord Of The Rings’

Image courtesy of Amazon Studios

Amazon has finally offered fans a snapshot of its new The Lord Of The Rings television show, which is also the media giant’s most expensive series to date. The show was first announced three years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic had interrupted filming, causing a delay in its production timeline.

Fans can now get a first look at the highly-anticipated series. In the newly-released image, shown above, a new character (who is currently unnamed) looks out at a breathtaking landscape of Middle-earth. While it hasn’t been revealed which part of Middle-earth this is, many fans have posited that it could be Valinor, the Undying Lands where the Hobbits retire to, as per ShortList.

Along with the new image comes the announcement of a release date. While Amazon had initially planned to unveil the series in 2021, pandemic disruptions mean fans will have to wait (very patiently) till September 2, 2022. And if you’re wondering just how much Amazon’s investing into the show, GamesRadar previously reported that it spent nearly US$450 million on the first season.

For the uninitiated, as per Amazon’s synopsis, The Lord Of The Rings series is set “thousands of years before the events of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”

Intrigued? Well, you’ll have to wait till fall next year before the first episode hits your screens.

Image courtesy of Amazon Studios

[via ShortList, cover image courtesy of Amazon Studios]

Porsche Turns One-Of-A-Kind Design Sketch Into Digital NFT, Sold For Charity

Image via Porsche

Luxury cars all start somewhere: from an initial sketch, outlining the sleek silhouette and profile of the vehicle in its most beginning stages. German automobile company Porsche is now making one of these sketches available to the public for purchase, featuring two signature cars.

Peter Varga, Head of Exterior Design at Porsche, combines the Taycan Cross Turismo and the 911 into a one-of-its-kind freehand sketch that is being auctioned digitally on SuperRare as a non-fungible token (NFT). The winner will get the physical copy of the sketch alongside the NFT, and the knowledge that they’re the only person in the world who has it.

“Future and past are combined in this drawing,” Porsche declares. “The lines, silhouettes and proportions represent the unique Porsche DNA and show that there is a part of the iconic 911 in every model. Innovative lines and the dynamic look of the flyline hint at Porsche’s future.”

This isn’t Porsche’s first foray into the digital world; in June, the brand’s subsidiary Forward31 launched an NFT-based trading card platform, Fanzone. Given the exponential success 2021 has seen NFTs so far, it’s pretty safe to say that this probably won’t be its last NFT venture either.

The auction runs from August 2 to August 6, and the highest bid at time of writing is 5.2 ETH (around US$13,000). Proceeds from this auction will be donated to Viva con Agua, a charity focused around providing clean water and hygiene.

Image via Porsche

.@Porschedigital offers an original design sketch in an NFT-charity-auction partnered with @fanzone_io, running from August 2-6. The NFT shows the combination of two iconic Porsche models: the all-electric Taycan Cross Turismo & the iconic 911.

Read more:

— SuperRare 💎 (@SuperRare) August 2, 2021

[via Bitcoinist, image via Porsche]

Pentagon Reveals Its AI Program Can ‘See Events’ & Enemies’ Moves Days Ahead

Image via ID 157519946 © Andrea La Corte |

At a recent press conference, the commander of the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) Glen VanHerck revealed that the military was trialing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data gathering tools to predict enemies’ next steps days in advance.

So far, the Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE) has been showing promising results. According to ZDNet, the system was designed to gather real-time information that can aid military leaders in deterring possible conflicts, rather than responding to incidents once they’ve unfolded.

In the latest experiment carried out by the Pentagon, 11 US commands simulated the takeover of a crucial site. VanHerck said that during the trial operation, data was gathered from military and civilian sensors across the globe, before being run through an AI model that detects patterns and notifies on significant activities, such as a submarine preparing to leave a port.

Impressively, it seems the algorithm is able to predict events up to days in advance before they potentially happen. This could be expanded even further in the real world, with real-time information available from existing satellites, radars, sensors, and other cyber programs.

“The ability to see days in advance creates decision space. Decision space for me as an operational commander to potentially posture forces to create deterrence options to provide that to the secretary or even the President,” VanHerck added.

The key is that new information isn’t being discovered; rather, the system takes the information and sifts through it for key information that would typically take hours and days for analysts to process.

“Keep in mind that it’s not new information. It’s information that today is just not analyzed and processed until later in the time cycle, if you will,” VanHerck explained.

As per the commander, the AI algorithm could possibly take note of how many cars are in a parking lot, or airplanes in a hangar, and issue a warning when it notices change. It could even spot missiles preparing to be launched and prepare the Pentagon days in advance, giving leaders time to react.

While using AI and similar technology in military settings is still somewhat of a gray area, the Pentagon’s new system allows existing information to be analyzed much more efficiently, which could help save the organization and its partners tons of man hours in important situations.

[via ZDNet, cover image via ID 157519946 © Andrea La Corte |]

Adidas x Cheetos Tease Fun Outfits You Can Only Unlock With Cheese Dust Fingers

Image via Cheetos / PR Newswire

Highly-loved snack brand Cheetos, sportswear giant Adidas, and multi-platinum Latin superstar Bad Bunny have teamed up in a collaboration that somehow feels like an ambitious crossover yet makes total sense at the same time.

As part of the Deja tu Huella (“Leave Your Mark”) campaign, Chester Cheetah and Bad Bunny are banding together to celebrate the Hispanic community as the start of the school year comes upon us once again. First up is an exclusive collaboration with Adidas; secondly, the Deja tu Huella Estudiante Fund, a contest awarding US$500,000 in total prizing to American and Puerto Rican students.

In the Adidas collection, a tracksuit and a pair of jerseys is up for grabs, HYPEBEAST reports. The apparel is a vibrant marriage of the singer’s bright style and Chester Cheetah’s “Cheetos Look,” drawing upon the cheetah pattern of its mascot and signature orange of the brand.

What sets the release of this collection apart is the concept of the Cheetle iD. Before the collection’s official NTWRK launch on August 6, fans will have the chance to unlock early access; all they need is Cheetos dust on their fingers. Technology on the Cheetle iD website will detect the decimated remains of the moreish treat, and the first 100 to do this will receive first access.

“It’s an honor to give back to the Hispanic community that has done so much for me,” Bad Bunny declares in a press release. “Between music and fashion, there are so many ways to leave your mark on culture, and I want to encourage everyone to follow whatever path inspires them. That’s what the Deja tu Huella program is all about.”

Check out the fun lookbook below.

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[via PR Newswire]

YouTube To Start Paying Creators $100 To $10K A Month For Short Videos

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Photo 214439111 © Vladyslav Yushynov |

Internet users aren’t just looking for bite-sized news in the form of tweets and the ilk, but videos are also becoming more condensed to capture the waning attention of audiences. If you’ve been on the internet in the past year, and more specifically on TikTok, this wouldn’t be a strange concept.

YouTube, pioneering platform for original videos, is hoping to attract the gaze of a new generation of viewers. After launching TikTok competitor ‘Shorts’ in the US this year, it is now starting a fund to incentivize creators to produce short-form clips. Like regular-length YouTube videos, how much they’re paid depends on engagement and viewership, though YouTube says they can earn between US$100 and US$10,000 a month.

Beginning this month, YouTube will reach into a US$100 million YouTube Shorts Fund and extend a payment to thousands of eligible creators. This will take place monthly over the course of 2021 to 2022. YouTube says payments could fluctuate from month to month based on “audience location and the number of creators making Shorts.”

Similar to TikTok videos, YouTube shorts are bite-sized looping clips, and viewers can scroll up to view the next video. Users can also react to them by liking, disliking, or adding comments.

To be entitled to the fund, creators have to be at least 13 years old, live in eligible countries like the US and UK, and have at least one eligible Short in the last 180 days, among other criteria. Most importantly, perhaps, is that channels need not be monetized to qualify for this payout.

For more details on eligibility, and to find out more about the fund, please head here.

[via Insider, cover photo 214439111 © Vladyslav Yushynov |]