Category: Business Blog

The British Devised ‘Mock Bananas’ To Cope With World War II Shortage

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Image via Photo 202537119 © Alain Wacquier | Dreamstime.com

In the modern day, a worldwide virus outbreak drove a mania in banana bread-baking, leaving shelves empty of the fruit and other pantry staples. But the British endured far worse in the 1940s—there were no bananas at all, as the tropical fruit had entirely been banned.

Among those sworn into a life of quarantine baking, this writer stumbled upon 2019 reports from The Daily Meal and Atlas Obscura detailing a ban on the import of bananas by Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, in November 1940. The nation was forced to completely stop the transportation of the fruit, as refrigerated ships were required for the war.

Whether it was a case of no-banana goggles or not, locals were devastated over this fruitless loss. The era was soundtracked, in part, by songs like Yes We Have No Bananas and When Can I Have a Banana Again?.

To keep the people strong, the Ministry of Food recruited a team of home economists to teach the public how to eat healthily using the few rations they had. These included pioneering television chef Marguerite Patten, who would later be known as “the queen of ration-book cuisine.” From her, Brits learned to replicate sausages from lentils, oyster soup from artichokes, and fish cakes from potatoes, beans, and anchovy paste.

One of the most stand-out “food hacks” of the time was something called “mock banana.” To help people cope with the banana-shaped holes in their hearts, Patten devised a recipe using parsnips that were boiled or roasted, before being sweetened with caster sugar and flavored with banana essence (typically made from diluted isoamyl acetate—yum). For full effect, the mock bananas were sometimes colored yellow.

It’s unclear how popular this makeshift fruit was, but if user-submitted documentation in the BBC’s WW2 People’s War archive is to be believed, mock banana had its legions. “We thought it was [real] bananas, as we had never tasted them before!” one Mrs Farrow wrote. Another reader recounted: “I remember a dear friend telling me she made this for her husband, who loved it, thinking she had got hold of bananas in wartime… but when he found out the truth, he refused to eat any more.” To maximize the recipe, one person detailed that her mother would add milk to the mixture.

Side by side, it seems there is no comparison. “Our mothers used to make ‘mock banana’ with parsnips. It was awful!” one reader shared. And British blogger Carolyn Ekin, who tested the recipe with butter and bread in 2016, found that mock banana still tastes of parsnips, and that it is “rather strange and bizarre, but not unpleasant.”

Thankfully, by 1945, there was no longer a need to rely on this una-peel-ling recipe. The end of World War II ushered the first shipment of bananas, with five million of them arriving at the Avonmouth dock. “The first cargo of bananas has arrived at this port since the war,” a narrator declared. “We hope it’s the prelude of many more to come.”

[via The Daily Meal and Atlas Obscura, cover image via Photo 202537119 © Alain Wacquier | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415028/The-British-Devised-Mock-Bananas-To-Cope-With-World-War-II-Shortage/

Adobe Releases Free Activity Book Filled With Puzzles To Keep Your Mind Active



Images via Adobe Acrobat

Creativity comes in myriad forms, and, with constricting lockdown measures in place, Adobe has been attempting to let these aspects blossom through an ‘Inspiration Generator’, a 3D extension of Creative Cloud, and even horoscope forecasts. This time, it’s gone back to basics by releasing an activity book for those who “need a distraction.”

The Scroll This activity book for grownups features a crossword puzzle, riddles, a maze, and even a ‘Small Biz’ section that lets you create stories Mad Libs-style. The contents are designed for a general audience, so there’s no need to equip yourself with Photoshop knowledge at all.

The catch? Free puzzles aside, what the seven-page activity book really is is a subtle promotion for Adobe Acrobat. The games mention nothing about Adobe’s products, but readers are encouraged to fill in the blanks using Adobe Acrobat DC’s ‘Fill & Sign’ tool.

With that being said, the feature proves to be much more versatile than its function as a contract-signing pen.

Looks like you need a distraction.

Scroll This PDF and challenge your brain to some word games. Who doesn't love a crossword? 😉 https://t.co/lmSorQVmC2

Pro tip: Open on your desktop to use the interactive features! pic.twitter.com/NPxpRu1Ywl

— Adobe Acrobat (@Acrobat) July 29, 2021

[via Adobe Acrobat] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415027/Adobe-Releases-Free-Activity-Book-Filled-With-Puzzles-To-Keep-Your-Mind-Active/

The Pokémon Company Debuts Life-Sized Replica Of Classic ‘Million-Dollar’ Bike

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Image via The Pokémon Company

In the first-generation Pokémon games, there existed a bicycle priced at a million Pokémon dollars. This makes it an apt item for The Pokémon Company to celebrate reaching a million Twitter followers with.

In-game, players are never able to buy this bicycle, because its million-dollar price tag means it’s one dollar more than what the game actually allows you to earn. However, get your hands on a Bike Voucher, and it’s yours—except, now, someone is going to get this bicycle in real life.

Given the special occasion and special bicycle, it comes as no surprise that the bicycle is finished with delightful Pokémon details. Its green and yellow theme is enhanced with a PokéBall wheel tread, etchings of iconic companions Pikachu, Snorlax, Charmander, Squirtle, and Eevee between the spokes, and handles branded with PokéBalls. And it even plays the iconic Pokémon Blue/Red bicycle theme jingle.



Image via The Pokémon Company



Image via The Pokémon Company

Unfortunately, the bike isn’t in large-scale production, nor is it going up for sale. Instead, it’ll be given away to a fan in Japan who follows the Poké Times account and uses the “Pokémon’s million-yen bicycle” hashtag.

The catch, if it can be counted as one, is that the bike isn’t actually rideable. The official page states that it’s not meant to be used as an actual transport device, and is instead held in place by a dual kickstand so it can’t fall over or move. There isn’t a bicycle chain, either.

However, it’s a full-scale, official replica of the elusive in-game model. It’s still going to look amazing even if it just sits in your front hallway.

[via Kotaku, images via The Pokémon Company] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415025/The-Pok-mon-Company-Debuts-Life-Sized-Replica-Of-Classic-Million-Dollar-Bike/

Protein Fed To Mice Made Them Lose Weight By Sweating Fat



Image via Photo 47750044 © Irina Kozhemyakina | Dreamstime.com

Had too much cheese? Thanks to an accidental discovery, you might one day be able to sweat it out.

In a news release published by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a team of researchers learned that, by treating obese mice with a cytokine or protein known as thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), they would be able to lose a significant amount of abdominal fat and weight by “sweating fat.” With mice sharing 85% the DNA of humans, this could bring about a new way to induce fat loss.

The effect was not the result of faster metabolism nor lower food intake. Rather, the mice’s immune systems started secreting lipids via the skin’s oil-producing sebaceous glands, as noted in the greasiness in their hair.

Interestingly enough, the scientists took on the project with no intention of studying obesity. Instead, they wanted to examine TSLP as a potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes by activating Type 2 immune cells and expanding T regulatory cells, SlashGear explains.

The researchers, led by Principal investigator Taku Kambayashi, believe they’re the first group to release calories from the skin through non-hormonal means. Nevertheless, while the study has been peer-reviewed, more research is required to test TSLP’s fat-loss effectiveness in humans.

[via SlashGear, cover image via Photo 47750044 © Irina Kozhemyakina | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415026/Protein-Fed-To-Mice-Made-Them-Lose-Weight-By-Sweating-Fat/

Zoom Users Stand To Receive $15 Each Following $85 Million Privacy Lawsuit


Image via Zoom

Zoom, the company offering the popular video conferencing software of the same name, has recently agreed to an US$85 million settlement after users brought a lawsuit against the firm for privacy lapses.

The lawsuit alleged that that Zoom had shared user data with third-party companies such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn without explicit permission. It also brought up “zoombombing” incidents, when trolls drop shocking or NSFW content into meetings without warning due to the platform’s lax security measures.

According to Digital Trends, while the settlement still needs to be approved by a US District Judge, Zoom customers who sued can expect to receive a 15% refund on a portion of their subscription fee or US$25, whichever amount is greater. Zoom subscribers outside of the suit could also receive up to US$15 in payment.

The settlement also requires Zoom to improve its security measures, with employees being trained in data privacy, as per Reuters. Zoom responded to the ruling, saying: “privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users’ place in us.”

[via Digital Trends, images via Zoom] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415024/Zoom-Users-Stand-To-Receive-15-Each-Following-85-Million-Privacy-Lawsuit/

Jeff Bezos’ Bid For NASA Moon Lander Contract Fails Despite Offering Billions


Image via Blue Origin

Just last week, Jeff Bezos offered to cover up to US$2 billion in costs in exchange for NASA’s next lunar lander contract to send astronauts to the moon.

However, there’s bad news once again for Blue Origin, as the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled that the contract would remain solely with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space venture.

Back in April, NASA had awarded SpaceX the US$2.89 billion contract to construct the next crewed lunar lander for its Human Landing Systems program. Despite giving a 10-month study contract to SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics, NASA eventually settled only on SpaceX.

After NASA’s decision, Blue Origin and Dynetics filed a complaint with GAO, arguing that the contract was unfairly awarded to SpaceX. Following GAO’s new ruling, it seems that Bezos’ protests have fallen on deaf ears.

According to Vice, GAO said in a statement that the protesting companies “could not establish any reasonable possibility of competitive prejudice arising from this limited discrepancy in evaluation.” It also rejected complaints that it was wrong of NASA to award just a single contract.

“In denying the protests, GAO first concluded that NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award,” said Kenneth E Patton, Managing Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law at GAO.

[via Vice, cover image via Blue Origin] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415023/Jeff-Bezos-Bid-For-NASA-Moon-Lander-Contract-Fails-Despite-Offering-Billions/

Hendrick’s Infuses Bus Stops With Gin Smells, Sans The Day-Drinking

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Image via Spaces

In major UK cities such as Manchester, London, Brighton, and Cardiff, flora-encased bus stops have seemingly sprung up overnight, and curious passersby who go for a closer look are hit with a whiff of… Roses? And cucumbers?

This is part of the promotion for Hendrick’s new Gin Cucumber Lemonade, a product scheduled for a cool, refreshing summer. Commuters wait for buses under an upside-down bed of roses, while the infused scent wafts peacefully by.



Image via Spaces

“Escape the conventional,” writes the posters, adorning the bus stops and citywide ad spaces. This installation is accompanied by a video including fantasy spaces of a world that exists solely for Hendrick’s Gin, a concept reminiscent of the magic of Alice in Wonderland. Oh, and encased behind a six-sheet panel, there’s also a giant 3D recreation of a Hendrick’s bottle in each takeover, which continuously and miraculously pours real liquid into a glass of Gin Cucumber Lemonade with zero spillage, as one does.

Titled Portals to the Peculiar, the short film includes scenes from the fantasy settings of ‘Lesley’s Launderette’, the ‘Automated Transport to the Marvelous’ (ATM), and ‘The Not-so-normal Newsstand’, all set within a Victorian-brand world.

“Portals to the Peculiar was an invitation to the curious to depart the daily grind of their routine and venture into an aquarium in the sky,” explains Spaces, the advertising agency that worked with Hendrick’s on this campaign.

“Having escaped the mundane and experienced delightful moments of peculiarity, our curious gin drinkers left with a greater appreciation of the delectable taste of Hendrick’s.”

This isn’t the brand’s first foray into fantasy: in 2019, it also worked with Posterscope on a London Underground tunnel wrap that also smelled like roses and cucumber.

Take the mundane. Transform the experience. Make it unforgettable. ⁰

For the UK’s #1 Premium Gin, normality is not a mixer. Across 5 cities sit Victorian surrealism-themed bus shelters to transport commuters from the conventional, into the delectable world of @HendricksGin.🍸 pic.twitter.com/pY2TdWegrn

— space (@agencyspace) July 23, 2021

[via Fast Company, images via Spaces] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415021/Hendrick-s-Infuses-Bus-Stops-With-Gin-Smells-Sans-The-Day-Drinking/

iPhone Users, Not Fond Of Siri? You Can Now Activate Alexa On Your Home Screen



Image via ID 109821394 © Seemitch | Dreamstime.com

If you’re getting tired of listening to Siri, you can now opt for Alexa instead. Amazon has updated its iOS Alexa app so that it has its own Home Screen widget on both iPhones and iPads.

Once you’ve downloaded and updated the app, you’ll be able to add an Alexa widget anywhere on your home screen. Simply tap on it to talk to Alexa anytime you need it, or Ziggy, Amazon’s new male counterpart. If the rest of your smart home is controlled by Alexa’s timers and reminders, it might be more convenient to use the Amazon voice assistant.

However, there are some functions that Alexa can’t perform as a third-party app. Currently, only Siri can change the screen’s brightness, turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’, and change other settings on the iPhone or iPad itself.

If you’re concerned you’ll be saying goodbye to Siri forever, fret not. By adding an Alexa widget, you’re not replacing Siri entirely. Users will be able to toggle back and forth between both voice assistants for different needs. Essentially, you’re getting the best of both worlds on one device.

[via CNET, cover image via ID 109821394 © Seemitch | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415020/iPhone-Users-Not-Fond-Of-Siri-You-Can-Now-Activate-Alexa-On-Your-Home-Screen/

Playdate, The Newest Retro-Inspired Handheld Gaming, Is Almost Preordered-Out

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Image via Playdate

Panic Inc., the company that published Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch, is releasing a neat little game device called the Playdate. When preorders opened on July 29 just last week, 20,000 units were sold in 17 minutes.

Playdate is its new-yet-retro take on a handheld video game system, made in collaboration with Stockholm-based company Teenage Engineering. Don’t underestimate its size: even at 76 x 74 x 9mm (3 x 2.9 x 0.4”), the handy little device still packs a punch.

Its display is a non-backlit reflective black and white screen, and doesn’t turn off when not in use; instead, it turns into a low-power clock. There’s a D-Pad and two buttons, and a crank on the side.

“Is it a gimmick? Nah. Does it charge Playdate’s battery? Nope. Is it really fun? Yes yes yes,” writes Playdate’s website. It goes on to explain that the crank is actually another way to control the device: “allowing you to precisely dial in the action.” Not every game uses it, but there is definitely the potential.



Image via Playdate

The 180MHz Cortex M7, 16MB RAM system comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a trove of indie games is scheduled to be delivered via this wireless function. In a unique feature called Seasons, two new games are delivered to players every week for 12 weeks for free upon the purchase of the console.

Developing games for the Playdate is easy, too: the team is releasing its SDK for free download. A highly accessible software, all users will need is a web browser. This promises an eclectic, unique mix of games from developers and users alike.

For all its cool factor and convenient yet fun design, plus the 24 free games that come alongside the device, it sits at just US$179 and can be found here. There are also accessories available to jazz up the console, such as a stereo dock (which also charges the device) and a nifty case to protect it during travel.



Image via Playdate

“If we made hardware, and built a tiny little game system that came with lots of surprise games, would that make people happy?” was what the team wondered. Given the staunch success of the first preorder batch so far, it’s clear to see that the answer is a resounding yes.



Image via Playdate



Image via Playdate

In just one week, it's time to pre-order your Playdate.

Join us on Thursday, July 29th 2021, at 10:00 AM PDT. pic.twitter.com/WXWVBZvUI1

— Playdate (@playdate) July 22, 2021

It's always hard to explain Playdate's black and white, no-backlight screen with words… but here's a great video of Playdate outside in natural light.

(This is the very cool Pullfrog from @amanogames_, who are taking part in our Developer Preview.) pic.twitter.com/ZtvcCO0dyO

— Playdate (@playdate) June 15, 2021

[via Forbes, images via Playdate] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415019/Playdate-The-Newest-Retro-Inspired-Handheld-Gaming-Is-Almost-Preordered-Out/

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Enlists All-Black Female Biker Gang To Model Intimates

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Video screenshot via Savage X Fenty

Once again reminding the world that there are more ways than one to style lingerie, Rihanna’s size-inclusive intimates label Savage X Fenty has recruited an unexpected crew to front its August campaign: Black female motorcyclists.

The Caramel Curves are an all-Black, women-only biker gang from New Orleans consisting of mothers, community leaders, and small business owners who meet on Sundays to engage in the male-dominated sport. Before this campaign, they had already amassed an admirable following thanks in part to their flashy style, Vogue shares.

Savage X Fenty’s 100-plus-piece range of body-hugging new garments—with fishnet tights, biker gloves, and embroidered bras—isn’t uncharacteristic for this badass gang, who has been tasked to cruise down streets on two-wheelers in the latest Savage X Fenty shoot. Participating in the campaign are cofounders Nakosha “Coco” Smith and Shanika “Tru” Beatty, president Andrea “Hoodpriss” Shepherd, as well as members Tierra “Choosy” Thomas, Kimberly “Karma” Gilbert, and Dezel “First Lady Fox” Hayness.

“The Caramel Curves show the world what being a badass boss is all about, while bringing sexiness along for the ride,” describes Rihanna in a press release, according to Refinery29. Apparently, the singer is a lover of motorcycles herself.

The new lingerie collection will be available on savagex.com from August 1.

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A post shared by SAVAGE X FENTY BY RIHANNA (@savagexfenty)

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A post shared by SAVAGE X FENTY BY RIHANNA (@savagexfenty)

[via Refinery29 and Vogue, images via Savage X Fenty] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415022/Rihanna-s-Savage-X-Fenty-Enlists-All-Black-Female-Biker-Gang-To-Model-Intimates/

NASA Invites The Public To Attend Starliner Launch Online, Here’s Where You Can

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Image via NASA / Joel Kowsky

On Tuesday, August 3, at 1:20 PM ET, NASA will launch the Starliner to the International Space Station (ISS) for its second uncrewed flight test.

Viewers will be able to tune in to prelaunch, launch, and docking coverage as the spacecraft is sent into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The Starliner will be carrying over 400 pounds of cargo and crew supplies to the ISS, and is slated to be bringing over 550 pounds of cargo when it comes back to Earth.

According to Slashgear, the mission hopes to demonstrate the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner and Atlas V rocket. The live coverage will air on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the NASA website.

Upon its return, the spacecraft’s capsule will land in a desert in the western United States. To watch the live coverage of the launch, check out the app and desktop streams. A YouTube livestream will also be ready closer to the launch.

[via Slashgear, cover image via NASA / Joel Kowsky] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415017/NASA-Invites-The-Public-To-Attend-Starliner-Launch-Online-Here-s-Where-You-Can/

Twitter Is Giving Away Thousands Of Dollars To Fix ‘Racist’ & ‘Sexist’ Algorithm



Image via Photo 133465603 © Michele Ursi | Dreamstime.com

Humans are to blame for the prejudice rooted in artificial intelligence, and humans will fix it. After much struggle, Twitter is now offering bounty rewards to researchers and hackers who can identify bias in its algorithm, as well as offer solutions to fix it.

A cash reward of US$3,500 will be presented to the winner, with prizes of US$1,000 and US$500 set aside for runners-up and other participants with meaningful entries.

A new blog post announcing the competition, running through August 6, invites “bounty hunters” who can discover “potential harms of this algorithm beyond what we identified ourselves” to not only abolish gender and racial bias in Twitter’s image-cropping feature but also help resolve a broader challenge of “algorithmic harms” faced by the industry. As such, there are also openings for ‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Generalizable’ (applicable to most algorithms) ideas.

Twitter acknowledges that the rewards were inspired by criticism around its image-cropping AI, which seemingly favored white people over Black figures. For instance, the tweet below includes photos of both former US president Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but only shows the latter. The social network overcame the issue by killing the photo-cropping tool in May.

Trying a horrible experiment…

Which will the Twitter algorithm pick: Mitch McConnell or Barack Obama? pic.twitter.com/bR1GRyCkia

— Tony “Abolish ICE” Arcieri 🦀 (@bascule) September 19, 2020

The challenge’s entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges—including Harvard computer science PhD student and research scientist Ariel Herbert-Voss, Ford Foundation Tech Fellow Matt Mitchell, network security expert Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, and data scientist Patrick Hall—on “both quantitative and qualitative” aspects of the research. Winners will also be invited to present their findings at Twitter’s DEF CON AI Village workshop in August.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our algorithms to reduce the unintentional harms they can cause on the people who use Twitter, and society at large,” Twitter noted in a tweet. “We can’t solve these challenges alone, and we want your help.”

Here’s the TL;DR.

What:
Our first-ever algorithmic bias bounty challenge. We’re openly sharing a Twitter algorithm so adversarial minds can do what they do best. The winners will receive cash prizes.

— Twitter Engineering (@TwitterEng) July 30, 2021

[via Insider, cover image via Photo 133465603 © Michele Ursi | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415018/Twitter-Is-Giving-Away-Thousands-Of-Dollars-To-Fix-Racist-Sexist-Algorithm/

Dreamy Retro-Themed Cinema In Vietnam Draws Inspiration From Old Saigon



Image via Module K

Beta Cinemas Quang Trung is Ho Chi Minh City’s newest movie theater, a seven-roomed, thousand-seat space located in Ward 11, one of the busiest areas of the Go Vap district. Local interior company Module K designed the space in “Artistic Urban Lifestyle,” drawing elements and references from the city’s past.

For example, columns in the cinema’s central hall area pay homage to the Central Post Office, an old colonial building. The popcorn stall and ticketing booths are reminiscent of the stalls at the iconic Ben Thanh Market. And, the Gothic style of the Tan Dinh Church is acknowledged in the incorporation of the arched pillars throughout.



Image via Module K



Image via Module K

The cinema is described to reflect the young, dynamic energy of past Saigon, but with a gentle touch. Its eye-catching vibrant color scheme of pink, green, and orange greets visitors as soon as they enter, and is woven throughout the architectural elements and interior design.

Fun and contemporary modern shapes swath the furniture used, each boldly colored to contrast yet complement its surroundings. There seems to be a curved theme running throughout the space, creating a friendly, welcoming space.



Image via Module K

Beta has about 20 cinemas across Vietnam, and Module K is reportedly working on another location similar to this one, Wallpaper reports. Indeed, movie theaters are the perfect space to work on an otherworldly project, one that transports its visitors to a different, dreamy realm.



Image via Module K



Image via Module K

[via Wallpaper, images via Module K] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415016/Dreamy-Retro-Themed-Cinema-In-Vietnam-Draws-Inspiration-From-Old-Saigon/

Ever Wonder Why Movie Theaters Have Red Seats & Curtains?



Image via ID 24255384 © Denis Raev | Dreamstime.com

Step into a movie theater, and you’ll see rows upon rows of plush red chairs, along with red velvet curtains adorning the sides. Have you ever wondered why theater seats and curtains sport this color? Well, it seems that the answer actually has to do with science.

According to TikTok user @designsecretsss, who is a concept designer and inventor, the reason red is used is because it’s the first color the human eye loses sight of in low-light conditions. This will ensure that moviegoers concentrate fully on the cinematic experience.

Contact lens brand Cooper Vision claims that pilots use a similar trick to prepare their eyes before flying at night. Wearing red-tinted glasses for half an hour before going into a low-lit flight prevents the rod cells, which help us see light, from picking up the color red.

This explanation is also backed up by I’m A Useless Info Junkie, who also posits that it could partially have been inspired by the décor of Italian opera houses, which were mainly red and gold. When theaters replaced operas, they kept the same design cues, including the plush red decorations.

The next time you head to a theater, pay more attention to the seats in front of you, and see if they are the first thing to disappear from your field of vision once the lights go off.

@designsecretsss

Why movie theater seats are colored red #movie #design #designsecrets #ux #color #learnontiktok #fypシ

♬ Movie Theater – Fernando Furones

[via Hunker, cover image via ID 24255384 © Denis Raev | Dreamstime.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415015/Ever-Wonder-Why-Movie-Theaters-Have-Red-Seats-Curtains/

Google Just Made A Breakthrough ‘Time Crystal,’ Apparently. Now What?



Image via Google

According to fresh-baked research straight out of the oven, Google’s quantum computer has apparently just managed to build a ‘time crystal’—in order words, a new type of matter which throws Newton’s first law of motion right under the bus.

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion,” states the law. Events happen due to energy exchanges; for example, ice melts in water because of an energy exchange (heat) from the water to ice. Entropy remains the same if no processes are happening, and increases when they do.

Put simply, time crystals ignore this concept. They can be used in processes without succumbing to entropy; without losing or using energy.

The Next Web explains this using the analogy of a snowflake which “constantly cycled back and forth between two different configurations” whenever it “wants” to. It refers to the time crystal as being able to have its cake and eat it too. And the fact that this can occur inside an isolated system means that it can have and eat the cake, then make it reappear for an indefinite amount of time without using up any energy.

Before ruminating on what comes next, it’s important to note that it hasn’t been truly confirmed if Google has indeed created a time crystal, or if it even belongs to it. The research is yet to be peer-reviewed. But the prospect of a time crystal finally de-myths the existence of one, which has been hypothesized since 2012 but never proven.

So if it really is a time crystal, what does this mean for us? Quantum computers are designed for wildly challenging problems such as warp drives, interstellar travel, and medical breakthroughs. The discovery of such a crystal could work countless miracles and provide breakthroughs in virtually any field.

[via SlashGear, image via Google] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415013/Google-Just-Made-A-Breakthrough-Time-Crystal-Apparently-Now-What/

Yayoi Kusama Creates ‘Obliteration Room’ To Join Several New Pavilions In Tokyo



A photo of the ‘Obliteration Room’ at Tokyo’s New Nation Art Gallery. Image via ID 95175888 © TOrigamiplanemechanic | Dreamstime.com

Despite the threat of the pandemic and various scaling-downs and cancelations that Tokyo 2020 has faced thus far, the city is still pressing on with its art installations in celebration of the National Stadium, designed by Kengo Kuma, and the summer’s events. A series of nine pavilions have sprung up around the stadium, created by celebrated artists and architects.

Pavilion Tokyo 2021 comprises temporary structures envisioned by Kazuyo Sejima, Sou Fujimoto, Junya Ishigami, Yayoi Kusama, Terunobu Fujimori, Akihisa Hirata, Teppei Fujiwara, Makoto Aida, and Daito Manabe + Rhizomatiks.

They have created offerings such as a surface river within the city’s gardens, a floating white cloud, a teahouse, and an “obliteration room” for visitors to cover in stickers, to name a few. The structures are located around a 3km (1.86-mile) radius of the stadium, which creates a “treasure hunt” of sorts for visitors.

There’s also an exhibition being held at the Watari Museum, one of the partners behind the event, alongside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Arts Council Tokyo. Mini versions of the pavilions are on display, alongside process sketches and behind-the-scenes videos.

In an unassuming office building in Shibuya sits Yayoi Kusama’s installation, The Obliteration Room. It starts off as an all-white space, and visitors are encouraged to “decorate” the space, filling it with color in the form of dotted stickers, a tribute to Kusama’s own acclaimed work.

Kochi Watari, chairman of Production Committee of Pavilion Tokyo 2021 and Watari Museum’s CEO, considered canceling this exhibition in particular due to the high-contact nature of the interaction, DW reports. However, he decided to keep it running as he was determined to showcase the message behind the installation.

“In a way, the COVID-19 crisis is rather similar to this obliteration room, because we are all together tacking a common challenge that will eventually disappear, just like this white room.”

Pavilion Tokyo 2021 will be on display until September 5. A full list of locations and details can be found on Tokyo Art Beat’s website.

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A post shared by 【公式】パビリオン・トウキョウ 2021 (@paviliontokyo)

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A post shared by 【公式】パビリオン・トウキョウ 2021 (@paviliontokyo)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 【公式】パビリオン・トウキョウ 2021 (@paviliontokyo)

[via ArchDaily, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415011/Yayoi-Kusama-Creates-Obliteration-Room-To-Join-Several-New-Pavilions-In-Tokyo/

Cleveland Guardians Probably Could Have Done More Research For Its Domain Name



Image via Cleveland Guardians

Last week, Cleveland’s MLB team unveiled its new name, switching from the ‘Indians’ to the ‘Guardians’. The new name was inspired by the large stone edifices, known as traffic guardians, that flank both ends of the Hope Memorial Bridge.

The team took more than a year to decide on the new name, spending over 140 hours interviewing fans and community leaders, including a survey of over 40,000 supporters. However, it seems to have had an oversight on one of a brand’s most important assets: its URL.

Turns out, according to Deadspin, clevelandguardians.com has been taken by a local male roller derby team. It’s been named the ‘Cleveland Guardians’ since 2011, and currently owns the domain name, as well as social media usernames on Facebook and Instagram.

The MLB team filed a trademark application for its new name on July 23, though the roller derby team followed with their own submission on July 27.

It seems that the roller derby team has been out of action for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and only recently updated its website for the first time since 2018. This could give the MLB team a chance to argue that the long gap in activity could mean the name is up for grabs.

Plus, to settle the dispute quickly, the Guardians could offer the roller derby team an out-of-court settlement that would be hard to turn down. If it does go to court, it’s hard to imagine the roller derby team could pay for a defense to rival that of an MLB team, too.

The lesson? Always do a thorough Google search before deciding on a brand name. In a time when brand URLs are more important than ever, it’s incredible to see a big name get tangled up in such a silly mistake.

[via Deadspin, cover image via Cleveland Guardians] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415010/Cleveland-Guardians-Probably-Could-Have-Done-More-Research-For-Its-Domain-Name/

IKEA Reveals Fall 2021 Home Collection That Gives Your Space A Farmhouse Feel



Image via IKEA

The year flew by just like that, and lo and behold, it’s August. Time passes more quickly over at IKEA, which is now ushering the season of fall by unveiling the HÖSTKVÄLL home collection, filled with undeniably autumnal looks, feels, and scents.

Translated to mean autumn evening, the HÖSTKVÄLL range of seasonal décor items, serving ware, and textiles evokes cozy family get-togethers and “feeling thankful.” The warm pieces of burnt orange, browns, and earthy neutrals invite you to give your home an instant switcheroo as quick and easy as the seasons seem to have turned this year, from gift-storing decorative pumpkins to rustic cushion covers and a chic, clear picture frame with a leaf in it.

IKEA describes that the pieces are “inspired by the American farmhouse style and traditional IKEA Scandinavian design,” Apartment Therapy quotes, perfect for entertaining.

It’s not officially fall until you get a whiff of cinnamon and wood. IKEA is thus bringing the entire experience to your living space, whether the oven is on or not, with candles scented like cinnamon and sugar, as well as cedar and magnolia.

The HÖSTKVÄLL collection will arrive this month in IKEA stores and online.



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA



Image via IKEA

[via Apartment Therapy, images via IKEA] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415012/IKEA-Reveals-Fall-2021-Home-Collection-That-Gives-Your-Space-A-Farmhouse-Feel/

Honda-Backed In-Shoe Navigator Could Help Guide The Visually Impaired

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Honda

Following the untimely death of a visually impaired relative that could’ve been avoided, Honda EV-engineer Wataru Chino began working on the ‘Ashirase’: a device integrated into a wearer’s shoes that uses haptic vibrations to guide them as they move. Honda even helped to incubate the design, building the startup through its new business incubation initiative, IGNITION.

According to Yanko Design, visually impaired pedestrians often struggle with navigating routes to unknown destinations, either concentrating too much on directions that they fail to pay attention to their immediate surroundings, or the reverse, when they forget to follow directions and are lost.

The Ashirase helps wearers concentrate on walking, while also receiving directions in a less distracting manner, as compared to listening to a smartphone GPS.

The device is fitted between the wearer’s foot and shoe, freeing their hands to hold onto their walking cane instead of a smartphone. Before setting off on their journey, users just have to feed their end-destination into Ashirase’s smartwatch app.

Currently, it runs on the Google Maps API, which means it requires data on the go in order to work, though the company is currently working on a solution for the issue.

As suggested in its name, which means “notification” in Japanese, the wearable notifies users while they walk through vibrations, signalling to them when to change directions.

A beta version of the product will be released in the fall of this year, where users will begin testing the wearable. The company aims to launch it publicly by October 2022, with a subscription model costing between US$18 to US$27 a month.

Take a look at the Ashirase in action below.



Image via Honda



Image via Honda

[via Yanko Design, images via Honda] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415008/Honda-Backed-In-Shoe-Navigator-Could-Help-Guide-The-Visually-Impaired/

‘Final Fantasy 14’ Quickly Redesigns Icon After Provoking Players’ Fear Of Holes



Image via Square Enix

Final Fantasy 14 (FF14)’s Endwalker expansion is scheduled for release later this year, and the team has been releasing news about it prior to the date. One of the new features is the addition of the Sage job, which comes with its own icon. However, players’ feedback after their trypophobia was triggered has been so strong that the team has now changed the initial design.

Trypophobia is a strong aversion or phobia of clusters of small dots or holes. While it’s not an officially recognized medical condition, it does elicit strong reactions of disgust or discomfort. Things like honeycombs, hatching tadpoles, crumpets, or even the iPhone’s recent multi-camera “cluster” make the skin crawl. It’s believed that the aversion comes from the natural human instinct to avoid signs of sickness, like decaying flesh, or what looks like oncoming insect infestations.

Each job in the FF14 universe has its own logo or icon for players to be able to easily distinguish between items or characters’ roles. The Sage symbol is comprised of four blades, or nouliths. In the now switched-out emblem, the top three had a tiny opening on the ends, and the grouping of the nouliths was enough to set trigger players’ reactions to the holes.

In a thread on the official Japanese forum, players expressed how uncomfortable the icon made them feel. It currently spans 24 pages.

This prompted the game’s director and producer, Naoki Yoshida, to make a statement addressing their concerns. He admitted that the team didn’t think that the new graphics for the Sage and Reaper roles were “particularly big reveals” but were told very much otherwise by feedback received by global players, who informed the team that the icon made them feel “uncomfortable or fearful.”

“Considering also the fact that job icons are prominently visible in the game, and that they also appear on merchandise, we’ve made the decision to redesign the sage icon,” he stated.

The new design is “unchanged” and retains the original four nouliths, but the three now have been filled in, removing the cluster. “Now, comparisons will inevitably be made, and some of you may prefer the original,” Yoshida said. “But we believe that designs like this are things that grow on you as you play the job, and ask for your understanding as we head into Endwalker.”

The Sage job icon has been changed from the odd looking one to something more dynamic.#FFXIV https://t.co/u5wpaiYOXd pic.twitter.com/RjH7fgWUy2

— JonRON2000 (@JonRON2000) July 30, 2021

[via Eurogamer, image via Square Enix] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415006/Final-Fantasy-14-Quickly-Redesigns-Icon-After-Provoking-Players-Fear-Of-Holes/

Germany’s ‘Cube’ To Be ‘World’s First’ Carbon Concrete Building, Needs No Steel



Image via HENN

Concrete is usually reinforced with steel, but this cube at the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden) is planned to be the world’s first to leave that technology behind. It will be reinforced with carbon fibers instead, which allows for lightweight design while retaining structure and strength.

Researchers from the Institute for Solid Construction at TU Dresden have been collaborating with the architecture firm HENN to create this experimental building, which covers comprise 220sqm (2368sqft) and includes laboratories and event rooms. The roof can also be opened into a skylight, allowing nature to pour in and fill the space.

It acts as the centerpiece of the C³ (Carbon Concrete Composite) project carried out by TU Dresden, which investigates the new material. This is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Carbon fibers are “light yet robust,” writes HENN. They’re more flexible and save resources during construction. “You can make the concrete much thinner while being able to carry heavy loads, so you can design completely different shapes,” senior carbon scientist Dr Erik Frank tells Dezeen in an interview. “The aim is to get away from the huge amounts of concrete that are being used today.”



Image via HENN

Additionally, with the reduction of steel comes the reduction of CO2 emissions: up to 50% are cut, which is a promising figure for more Earth-friendly architecture and construction moving forward.

The Cube’s design aims to reflect this innovative material, too. With the “fluid merging of ceiling and walls in a single form” to interpret the “textile nature of carbon fibers,” the design also hopes to suggest future architecture pairing environmentally-friendly design with “radical rethinking of the most basic architectural elements.”

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A post shared by HENN (@hennarchitecture)

[via Dezeen, image via HENN] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415009/Germany-s-Cube-To-Be-World-s-First-Carbon-Concrete-Building-Needs-No-Steel/

This In-Shoe Navigation System Could Help Guide The Visually Impaired

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via Honda

Following the untimely death of a visually impaired relative that could’ve been avoided, Honda EV-engineer Wataru Chino began working on the ‘Ashirase’: a device integrated into a wearer’s shoes that uses haptic vibrations to guide them as they move. Honda even helped to incubate the design, building the startup through its new business incubation initiative, IGNITION.

According to Yanko Design, visually impaired pedestrians often struggle with navigating routes to unknown destinations, either concentrating too much on directions that they fail to pay attention to their immediate surroundings, or the reverse, when they forget to follow directions and are lost.

The Ashirase helps wearers concentrate on walking, while also receiving directions in a less distracting manner, as compared to listening to a smartphone GPS.

The device is fitted between the wearer’s foot and shoe, freeing their hands to hold onto their walking cane instead of a smartphone. Before setting off on their journey, users just have to feed their end-destination into Ashirase’s smartwatch app.

Currently, it runs on the Google Maps API, which means it requires data on the go in order to work, though the company is currently working on a solution for the issue.

As suggested in its name, which means “notification” in Japanese, the wearable notifies users while they walk through vibrations, signalling to them when to change directions.

A beta version of the product will be released in the fall of this year, where users will begin testing the wearable. The company aims to launch it publicly by October 2022, with a subscription model costing between US$18 to US$27 a month.

Take a look at the Ashirase in action below.



Image via Honda



Image via Honda

[via Yanko Design, images via Honda] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415008/This-In-Shoe-Navigation-System-Could-Help-Guide-The-Visually-Impaired/

New Amphibious RV Can Go From Land To Water In Seconds

[Click here to view the video in this article]



Image via CAMI

Ever lament the fact you’d probably never be able to afford superyachts billionaires cruise on? Well, there’s a recreational vehicle that combines a motorhome with a yacht—plus it has an onboard jacuzzi.

This land-to-water RV was created by Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (CAMI), a company that’s been developing amphibious vehicles for over 20 years. Its offerings include an amphibious sports car, search and rescue vehicle, and, the most impressive: the Terra Wind RV.

According to Jalopnik, the Class-A RV made the news nearly two decades ago, though it seemed to disappear from the media after. However, upon checking CAMI’s catalog, it does seem the motorhome is available for purchase as of 2019.

Measuring 42.5 feet long and 102 inches wide, the Terra Wind is said to have a top speed of 80mph on land, and eight knots in water – similar to the speed of a large yacht.

A key difference, however, is that the Terra Wind cannot be operated in open water. It only has a 3.5-foot draft, enabling it up to handle up to four-foot waves and 40mph winds. The firm recommends only using the motorhome in lakes and rivers.

The interior of the vehicle features marble tiled floors, leather upholstery, and granite countertops similar to a luxury yacht. There’s also the usual features of an RV such as a kitchen and spacious master bedroom.

Thinking of getting your hands on one? The Terra Wind retails from US$850,000. Take a look at how it works below.



Image via CAMI



Image via CAMI



Image via CAMI



Image via CAMI



Image via CAMI

[via Jalopnik, images via CAMI] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415007/New-Amphibious-RV-Can-Go-From-Land-To-Water-In-Seconds/

Facebook Confirms It Will Release Ray-Ban Smart Glasses As Next Consumer Device



Image via Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now confirmed that Facebook’s next consumer device will be its smart glasses, made by Ray-Ban in partnership with EssilorLuxottica. This was news that came during the company’s second quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

There aren’t any visuals to go off right now, but according to Zuckerberg, they’re going to look like normal eyewear; no heavy, bulky, sci-fi-movie-esque offerings here. “The glasses have their iconic form factor and they let you do some pretty neat things,” he states.

What are the “pretty neat things”? That’s left mostly up to users to find out; the company hasn’t elaborated any further on this.

However, we do know that the smart glasses aren’t going to be fully AR, and that the development of the glasses is part of Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s venture into XR technologies. Currently, with Project Aria—the glasses used to collect research material to contribute to future AR devices—underway, the new glasses being sent out into the world could provide new real-life data to enhance the team’s current findings.

This device is part of Facebook’s plans to become a “metaverse company.” Zuckerberg has revealed that the company has plans to gradually morph into a shared, liveable platform which will allows users to “teleport” between AR and VR social experiences, as Engadget reports.

The glasses don’t yet have a final release date, despite having been expected sometime in 2021. With more than half of the year gone, it looks probable that they’ll be coming pretty soon. Perhaps the plan is for them to be available closer to the year-end holiday season, just in time to be gifted and enjoyed.

Beyond thrilled to finally share a sneak peek of our Facebook partnership with Ray-Ban! Our first smart glasses will launch next year, and that’s just the beginning… The future will be a classic and it's coming in 2021 😎 pic.twitter.com/l9992ZQGoy

— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) September 16, 2020

[via Mashable, image via Facebook] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415005/Facebook-Confirms-It-Will-Release-Ray-Ban-Smart-Glasses-As-Next-Consumer-Device/

Florida Chimps Create NFT Art Dedicated To Give Back To Their Sanctuary



Image via Save the Chimps

In a world where an increasing popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) means an increase in their value, companies have been scrambling to get their share of the pie. Since NFTs are unique to the purchaser and their ownership is embedded in the metaverse, there has been an explosion of art-related NFTs. And now, chimpanzees are getting their time to shine.

Chimps at the Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida, who were largely rescued from being used in biomedical study, created their own art collection, Primal Expressions. The style of these brightly colored, yet tasteful, pieces is perhaps best described as “abstract expressionism.”

As Ana Paula Tavares, CEO of Save the Chimps, says, chimps usually get a lot of stimulation in the wild, and the sanctuary aims to provide that in the form of enrichment activities. One of those happens to be painting, which three chimps in particular have taken a liking to.

“We know that Cheetah and Tootie and Clay are especially great artists and love spending their time painting,” Tavares tells WPTV. “Watching them paint, just it’s one demonstration of them being OK and getting a chance to just relax and be whoever they want to be.”

Primal Expressions went on sale on NFT art marketplace Truesy. All proceeds from the sales were put back into the sanctuary, further supporting the effort to create a happy and healthy environment for the three chimps and their found family.

1/3 We’re continuing to celebrate the chimps on World Chimpanzee Day by sharing their true talents! #CheetahTheChimp, #ClayTheChimp, and #TootieTheChimp all love to paint, so we are featuring their work in the form of NFTs for one week on @Truesy_official! pic.twitter.com/6uoVqbKKBw

— Save the Chimps (@SaveTheChimps) July 14, 2021

‘Artwork by Cheetah’ from the @savethechimps #NFT Collection entitled ‘Primal Expressions: Original Paintings by Save the Chimps Residents’

Available NOW! Only on https://t.co/41dOCWY0nB

Link in bio#CleanNFTs #Tezos #WorldChimpanzeeDay #TRUESY #SaveTheChimps pic.twitter.com/RLVeNz3rfu

— Truesy (@Truesy_official) July 14, 2021

[via The Conversation, image via Save the Chimps] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/415004/Florida-Chimps-Create-NFT-Art-Dedicated-To-Give-Back-To-Their-Sanctuary/