Blog Posts

Family house in Japan centred on an indoor garden

Eleanor Gibson, writing for Dezeen:

This family house in Japan’s Shiga prefecture was designed by local studio Hearth Architects around an indoor garden, which is planted with a tree that extends towards a skylight.

To make the most of this sunny spot, the architects created a double-height void for an indoor garden.

The tall rough rendered walls around the garden provide the residents with privacy from the street, with two openings that offer natural ventilation.

The inner walls of the garden are also fitted with openings to offer views from the spaces inside towards the garden and access to daylight.

As the deciduous tree sheds its leaves in the winter it will allow more light into the residence, and when it flourishes in the summer it will offer shade.

Not to skimp over the immaculate craftsmanship or beautiful material palette, but what draws me to this house is the beautiful execution of space in this smallish apartment; of the indoor, the outdoor and the in-between.

A list of things more heavily regulated than buying a gun in the United States

Sarah Hutto, belting it out:

Having a fucking bake sale

Building a fucking shed in your own backyard

Pumping fucking gas

Getting a fucking vasectomy

Owning a fucking car

Driving someone else’s fucking car

Riding in a fucking car

Disposing of fucking batteries

Cutting fucking hair for a living

Having a controlled bonfire on your own fucking property

Owning a fucking dog

Walking a fucking dog

Selling a fucking mattress

Watching a fucking DVD

Holding any sort of public fucking performance

Importing foreign fucking cheese

Changing your last fucking name to your spouse’s

Buying fucking fireworks

Riding a fucking bicycle

Having a fucking swimming pool

Xeroxing and distributing copyrighted fucking material

Transporting a bottle of opened fucking wine home from a restaurant

Using a fucking skateboard

Buying unpasteurized fucking milk

Recycling

Weekly Vision: October 01, 2017

The Weekly Vision is a collection of stories that are worth consuming as whole, or just not worth the time editing. You’ll find out either way.

1) A timeless live-work space located in Antwerp, Belgium

2) An architect builds his own backyard studio

3) In pictures, a walkthrough of the Steve Jobs Theatre (which houses the largest column-less carbon fibre roof)

4) Google and Levi release a $350 tech-enabled Jacquard jacket…

5) …Which can only be washed ten times

FDA okays a blood sugar monitor that doesn’t need finger pricks

Mariella Moon, writing for Engadget:

A fingerprick isn’t just a fingerprick when you have to do it all the time to test your blood sugar levels. Thankfully, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first continuous glucose monitoring system for adults that doesn’t require you to draw blood several times a day. Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System works by inserting a tiny sensor wire below the surface of your skin. The wire needs 12 hours to start up, but once it’s ready, you can simply pass a mobile reader over it to read your glucose levels. It even works for 10 days before you have to replace it.

There are also some rumours floating of an Apple Watch reading your blood count without any wire whatsoever. The Libre is a baby step, but significant nonetheless. People with Type 1 diabetes may be used to pricking themselves 10 times a day (even children), but everyone would be better off without it.

Amazon introduces the Echo Spot

Amazon introduced (and refresh) a slew of Echo products at a recent event, a summary of which can be found at The Verge. What caught my eye was the Echo Spot:

Amazon’s new Echo Spot is a smart alarm clock that can make video calls and be connected to external speakers via cable or Bluetooth. This new device seems to be a crossover between the Echo Dot and Echo Show, with a tiny 2.5-inch screen and a more curved edge. You can make video calls or it can double as a nursery camera. The Spot is going on sale in December 19th and costs $130.

Seems like a much more miniature (and subtle) version of the Echo Show. The entire range is below $150. Amazon’s strategy is clear: Double-down on successful products; iterate at full throttle first; weed out the redundant later.

Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy empire, dies at 91

Laura Mansnerus, writing for The New York Times:

Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant — all the while, as its very public avatar, squiring attractive young women (and sometimes marrying them) well into his 80s — died on Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 91.

Well, one man who certainly lived his idea of life to the fullest.

Twitter begins testing 280-character tweets

Via Twitter:

Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.

Interestingly, this isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet. For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all.

Apparently what initially made Twitter so unique and digestible —brevity, copywriting and editing — are no longer relevant. I would have hoped for a better solution. In my opinion, crisp and condensed text is the best way to compete in a society that is anyway disposed to consuming images and video over written content.

(Image courtesy: Brian Barone)

Building a Lego CV to stand out from the other portfolios

Andy Morris, writing for Bored Panda:

Applying for jobs is a boring process that involves mountains of paperwork. This is not only tedious for the applicant, who must fill out each and every sheet while ensuring that everything looks aesthetically appealing, but can also bore the employer, who must sort through each applicant and their paperwork. Because of the tedium, standing out and creating a fresh spin on resumes and CVs has become popular. Additionally, making a creative resume can be fun for both the applicant and the employer, as it spices up the monotony of the job hunt and adds a much-needed element of fun.

My name is Andy Morris and I’m a recent design graduate from the University of South Wales who enlivened my job applications with a unique CV in the form of a LEGO minifigure. I used my design philosophy and experience with toys to create a LEGO minifigure CV that sets me apart from my peers.

The Pi Charger: A first step toward truly wireless charging

Eric Frederiksen, writing for Techno Buffalo:

The best part of Qi charging is not having to plug your phone in. Just set it down and forget it. The worst part is everything else. It doesn’t work through certain materials. The surfaces we have to set our devices on require absolute precision to get a charge. And using a phone while it’s charging on a flat surface is annoying to say the least. The real dream is proximity wireless charging, where simply being in the same room as a charging device will top up our devices. A startup called Pi – work on the name, guys – is working on one of the best solutions yet for a wireless charging solution.

To make the charging work, the device uses beam-forming tech that allows it to point the magnetic charging field directly at the device. The team has demonstrated that the phone can be moved around within proximity of the device and maintain its charging connection along with up to three additional devices. The field itself is pretty weak, meaning that you’re not going to be sitting in the proximity of a strong electromagnet all day.

I’ve had a phone with compatible wireless charging since a while, but I’ve never felt it provides enough convenience over the typical, more reliable and faster, cable.

These are obviously early days but the Pi charger is the right step forward. In about 10 years, we’ll be reminiscing about how batteries used to be an actual issue on devices.

Anatomy of a moral panic

Maciej Cegłowski, writing for Idle Words:

On September 18, the British Channel 4 ran a news segment with the headline, ‘Potentially deadly bomb ingredients are ‘frequently bought together’ on Amazon.’

The piece claims that “users searching for a common chemical compound used in food production are offered the ingredients to produce explosive black powder” on Amazon’s website, and that “steel ball bearings often used as shrapnel” are also promoted on the page, in some cases as items that other customers also bought.

The ‘common chemical compound’ in Channel 4’s report is potassium nitrate, an ingredient used in curing meat. If you go to Amazon’s page to order a half-kilo bag of the stuff, you’ll see the suggested items include sulfur and charcoal, the other two ingredients of gunpowder. (Unlike Channel 4, I am comfortable revealing the secrets of this 1000-year-old technology.)

The implication is clear: home cooks are being radicalized by the site’s recommendation algorithm to abandon their corned beef in favor of shrapnel-packed homemade bombs. And more ominously, enough people must be buying these bomb parts on Amazon for the algorithm to have noticed the correlations, and begin making its dark suggestions.

But as a few more minutes of clicking would have shown, the only thing Channel 4 has discovered is a hobbyist community of people who mill their own black powder at home, safely and legally, for use in fireworks, model rockets, antique firearms, or to blow up the occasional stump.

This is an excellent deconstruction of sensationalist reporting; worth reading the whole article.

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