1. Sam Van Aken’s Magical Tree Bears 40 Types of Fruit
Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University, has Frankenstein-ed together a tree that bears 40 different types of fruit, including peaches, plums, apricots and almonds. The “Tree of 40 Fruit” is the product of chip grafting—which works by splicing small branches of fruit varietals onto a main tree—and years of patience. Aside from producing loads of fruit, Aken has also configured the tree to evolve as a type of living art work. As the seasons change, each spliced-on branch reacts differently, constantly changing the tree’s shape, color and texture.
2. Inventors Create a Salt Water-Powered Lamp
A team of Philippines-based inventors has created a lamp that runs solely off of salt water. Taking advantage of the same science behind battery-making, the innovative lamp is able to safely and reliably convert water’s salinity into energy, powering the device for up to eight hours off of a single glass of salt water. The new technology is especially useful in the Philippines, where the ocean is ubiquitous (it’s comprised of 7,000 islands) and typhoons, hurricanes and earthquakes are common. The company behind the lamp, Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt), hopes to roll out the product later this year and is currently taking pre-orders.
3. Why Memes Use the Same Font
No matter how diverse their images or messages may be, internet memes are bound by one common thread: their font. That bold, white lettering is actually a typeface called Impact, and was released in 1965 by designer Geoff Lee. After becoming a “core font for the web” and securing a spot in Microsoft Paint, it reached international meme-dom when an explosive “I can haz cheezburger?” cat meme pushed it past its tipping point, spreading the typeface far and wide.
4. Why Time Flies as You Age
While time certainly does fly when you’re having fun, you may have noticed that it also flies as you get older. In his latest interactive digital project “Why Time Flies,” Austrian designer Maximilian Kiener illustrates this phenomena by culling past research into a simple, scroll-able experience. As he points out, each passing year feels shorter than the last because of its relationship to our entire lives. As an infant, one year might be half of your whole life, but, by age 50, a full year is just a fraction of that, making a year in your 40s feel equivalent to a high school summer.
5. Google Adds Restaurants’ Busiest Times to Search Results
Many popular eateries refuse to quote wait times over the phone, making it difficult to decide if the trip is worth it. Luckily, Google is taking some of the guessing out of restaurants’ wait times by adding a new feature to their search function. After Googling the restaurant in question, a neat blue graph pops up charting out the businesses’ busiest hours and the best and worst times to visit. The benefit of this new feature over specialized apps is the sheer reach of Google. The tech giant is able to gather massive amounts of data from Google Maps users to produce highly accurate information.
6. Nokia Unveils Advanced Virtual Reality Camera Ozo
After first dominating—and then exiting—the mobile phone industry, Nokia is now ready to take on virtual reality (VR). The first step in the tech company’s VR quest comes in the form of Ozo, a just-released spherical camera that specializes in capturing 360-degree audio and video with precision and speed. Weighing around six pounds, shaped slightly smaller than a human head and coming with a five-figure sticker price, Ozo is meant for professionals, and Nokia is hoping it becomes an industry standard. See more of the futuristic device’s specs on The Verge.
7. Humans are Evolving to Walk and Text
While technological advancements are meant to accommodate the way people live, sometimes humans are the ones that must adapt to technology. This is especially noticeable when walking with a friend who’s texting. As new research suggests, they subconsciously “shorten their step length, reduce step frequency, lengthen the time during which both feet are in contact with the ground and increase obstacle clearance height,” effectively modifying their gait in order to compensate for the distraction. And while it may seem minor, it’s a significant insight into behaviors that may shape future generations.
8. Tulips Turn the Netherlands’ Countryside into Art
Millions of tulips have turned the outskirts of Lisse, the Netherlands into a modern masterpiece. Between mid-March and mid-May, nearly 800 varieties of the flower bloom, turning the usually monochromatic Dutch countryside into something of a natural wonder, as thick strokes of bright, almost artificial-looking color create a beautifully striped landscape. The flowers are part of the country’s massive flower farms, which, in 2014, produced 52% of the world’s fresh-cut flowers. See more of the stunning photos on Quartz.
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