1. How Virtual Reality Can Help With Dieting
At Tokyo University’s Cyber Interface Lab, researchers are exploring the ways virtual reality can influence the way we see, taste and experience different foods. Using a head-mounted camera and virtual reality display, scientist Takuji Narumi has found a way to give a single cookie five distinct flavors, just by manipulating the way it looks and smells. He’s also experimented with portion control, using the headset to change the size of the cookie, which then alters the eater’s appetite. Watch as host Simon Klose taste-tests the virtually augmented foods on the first episode of Munchies’ new series Food Hacking.
2. The World’s Saddest-Sounding Spots
Funny new Instagram account @SadTopographies offers daily Google Maps snapshots of “some where to go, when you’re feeling low.” The two-week-old account is the brainchild of Australian artist Damien Rudd, who came up with the idea after stumbling upon Mount Hopeless in Australia. Since then he’s uncovered Tragedy Pool, Despair Island, Unfortunate Cove and Cape Disappointment—to name a few. So if you’re feeling a little gloomier than usual, browse @SadTopographies for a spot to sulk, or for a funny reminder that people actually live in a town called Misery.
3. At Age 101, Japan’s Oldest Photojournalist is Still Going Strong
Noted Japanese photojournalist Tsuneko Sasamoto began capturing Japan’s pre- and post-war society at the age of 25. Now 101 years old, Sasamoto has seen (and taken photos of) it all and doesn’t plan on slowing down—even after breaking her left hand and both legs last year. She’s currently compiling a new collection of photos called “Hana Akari,” dedicated to her friends that have passed away. In a recent interview, Sasamoto offers advice on how to age gracefully: “You should never become lazy. It’s essential to remain positive about your life and never give up.”
4. NASA Released Thousands of Apollo Mission Images
Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, astronauts took thousands of photos as they made their way to the surface of the Moon. After years of scanning and digitizing them, NASA has finally published the treasure trove of high-quality images to Flickr for all to see. Over 8,400 photos have been uploaded to the account and depict everything from astronauts shaving in their spacecraft cabins to majestic shots of the lunar surface. No doubt Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins will be posting some pretty spectacular #TBTs to Instagram.
5. Medium’s New Visual Identity
Along with a bevy of new technical features including news apps, mentions and custom domains, publishing platform Medium has rebranded itself with a playful new logo. They’ve stuck with the “M” that has been so identifiable with the website, but—with help from design studio PSY/OPS—have eschewed a font altogether. Instead, four isometric planes intersect to form the M, giving the new logo depth and flexibility. They’ve also come up with a new word mark that’s just as simple and thoughtful as the website itself. Take a look at the design process on Medium.
6. Svetlana Alexievich Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature
After a remarkable career spent reporting on the Soviet Union, Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Through a combination of literature and journalism, Alexievich expertly highlighted the lives of female Russian soldiers in World War II, the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the Soviet-Afghan War—among other critical events. The Nobel Prize committee acknowledges her for her “polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” She is just the 14th woman to win, and is one of few people to do so with mostly non-fiction works.
7. A “Missed Connections” Ad That’s Better Than Some Books
The Missed Connections section of Craigslist is usually reserved for hopeless romantics searching for a second chance with someone they met on an airplane. But out of the pack of three-liners stands a heartbreaking, hopeful and profound story on the effects of a simple human connection. In the Boston-based Missed Connection “I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972,” an army veteran recalls the day a serendipitous meeting with a beautiful stranger saved his life from suicide. Through expertly written and compelling prose, the author tells an incredible tale not unlike something you’d read in a novel or see on the big screen.
8. How Moog Synths Shaped Trent Reznor’s Career
After announcing the discontinuation of the iconic Minimoog Voyager synthesizer, Moog music spoke with Trent Reznor to discuss the impact the machine has had on his life and musical career. The Nine Inch Nails frontman and “The Social Network” soundtrack composer recalls the first time he acquired a Moog synth at an early age, sparking a legendary career in machine-made music. “My entire musical career, from the first demoes of Pretty Hate Machine to the present, really the only constant has been Moog in one form or another,” he explains. See the interview on YouTube.