SETI is gearing up to release a brand-new mixtape out into the cosmos, following their deployment of the Golden Record 40 years ago. This mixtape, called EARTHLING, will feature crowdsourced human voices, contributions from professional and amateur musicians, and an app that will allow anyone with a smartphone to capture sounds and mix them into a musical contribution. EARTHLING was revealed at this year's SXSW and is helmed by Felipe Perez Santiago, a composer and SETI's artist-in-residence.
New Research Suggests Massive Reforestation Efforts Could Erase 10 Years of Carbon Emissions
The Lorax isn't the only one speaking for the trees. Dr. Thomas Crowther, an ecologist from ETH Zurich, also speaks for the trees—all three trillion of them. Using ground surveys, satellites, machine learning, and AI, Crowther and his team arrived at not only a larger number of trees than previously estimated, but also an ambitious assertion about their potential to mitigate climate change. If an additional 1.2 trillion trees are planted in non-urban and non-agricultural lands, it could effectively cancel out 10 years of anthropogenic carbon emissions, Crowther says.
Bad Acoustics Are A Killer. Here's What Designers Can Do About It.
Noise is all around us, whether we like it or not. We're only now beginning to understand the detrimental effects loud sounds can have on our health. Luckily, we can mitigate those effects with design thinking.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has a message for Silicon Valley and people who want to get there: stop working yourself to death. What Ohanian calls "hustle porn" is a pervasive idea that to succeed in tech a person needs to give up everything that isn't work related— including families, hobbies, and regular eating and exercise schedules— and embrace suffering as evidence of hard work. This ethos is harder on women to adhere to, and overall it's terrible for anyone's health.
France Develops App to End Cultural Snobbery
Imagine being an 18 year old with a smartphone, a lot of free time after school and on weekends, and an almost $600 stipend from the federal government. About 10,000 French teenagers found themselves in just such a situation when the French government's Culture Pass app went live in September. Designed like a "Tinder for the arts", users can swipe left or right on cultural activities happening in their immediate surroundings, which the government hopes will result in more fluid and accepting definition of culture for the French. The Culture Pass project will cost France's government approximately $490 million a year and is heavily subsidized by contributions from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Truth Is Out There In Technosignatures
The quest to find evidence of extraterrestrial life has largely focused on the hunt for exo-planets and watery moons, but in the 20th century it was all about finding technosignatures. Largely comprised of radio signals and/or microwaves, technosignatures present not only an opportunity to find alien life, but intelligent alien life. Representatives from NASA, SETI, the Planetary Science Institute, and large research universities held a three-day conference in Houston to re-examine this avenue, astoundingly due to pressure from Congress in support of these efforts. Maybe it has something to do with .
If it seems WeWork couldn't possibly do more with the modern office, think again. The $20 billion company realizes that for some of its tenants who represent established companies, such as Microsoft or Facebook, the built-in culture that WeWork offers isn't what's needed. For that reason they created HQ by WeWork, a pared-down arrangement with less staff and minimal WeWork branding.
Food Gets The Futurist Treatment
We may not have flying cars or jet packs (yet), but the future is undoubtedly here. That reality of unprecedented changed applies to what and how we eat, too. The future of food looks hopeful, with a predicted abundance of tasty faux-meat products, personalized diets tailored to your genome, and an increase in genetically engineered foods that will provide more nutrition in a smaller serving size.
Numtots Are Exactly the Type of Meme-Making Millennials That City Dwellers Need
Public transit: it’s ubiquitous, divisive, and apparently meme-worthy. Numtots, or members of the Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” are an international group of millennials whose big ideas about improving city life all use the Internet’s favorite means of communication. Although seemingly niche, the group has over 100,000 active members.
Art in the 21st century is bursting out of frames and into the real world. Tokyo’s Digital Art Museum immerses visitors into 107,000 square feet of psychedelic visualizations, many of which are interactive. A group of ultra-technologists called teamLab brought this unprecedented space to life.
House-Flipping Has Come to the Virtual World
One of the best parts of The Sims, the wildly popular life simulation video game, is building and renovating the house the Sims inhabit. Finally, there’s a game that lets players focus exclusively on that pursuit without the mundane life stuff, like getting a job or taking a shower. House Flipper, available on Steam for under $20, allows players to flip a fixer-upper in impressively rendered virtual detail with complete creative control.
In 2022, You Can Finally Step Inside a Studio Ghibli Movie
Celebrated Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, helmed by co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, has unveiled visualizations for a theme park slated for completion in 2022. The nearly 500-acre attraction will feature recreations of the 19th-century European brick architecture that takes pride of place in such beloved films as Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle. No designers have been named yet, but Studio Ghibli asserts that the end result will respect Japan’s historical origins and natural environment.
From keychains to bullet trains, Hello Kitty is one successful cartoon cat. The expressionless feline made her shinkansen debut this year on a pink-and-white train that will whisk commuters and tourists between Fukuoka and Osaka. Everything from the windows, seat covers, flooring, and even a specialized photo-op carriage are decked out with Hello Kitty decorations.
FreelandBuck Creates Visual Puzzles by Cloning Historical Ceilings
The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery presented its first large-scale architectural commission, an immersive site-specific ceiling installation by architectural firm FreelandBuck. Parallax Gap is a visualization of American ceiling design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, exploring the concept of parallax, or how the position of an object appears to shift from one viewpoint to the next. Utilizing Rhinoceros and Grasshopper programs, FreelandBuck recreated structures from nine buildings including Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and Philadelphia’s City Hall on stacked polypropylene panels.
Emojis Double as Gargoyles
In the Dutch city of Amersfoot, on the façade of a perfectly normal brick structure, Attika Architekten emblazoned 22 emoji roundels. The commonly used text messaging symbols have traversed that formally solid line between digital and analog visual representation. What was formerly meant to quickly communicate emotional states has now been uplifted to a state of permanence once reserved for heads of state and religious icons.