1. The Most Important Era of Innovation
A recent article in The New York Times asks, “What Was the Greatest Era for Innovation?” It’s a difficult question to answer—if there even is an answer—as everything from plumbing to airplanes, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and smartphones have shaped the evolution of American life. Instead, The Times surfaces some of the most notable inventions and ground-breaking ideas of the past couple centuries to allow the reader to decide on their own. What could you not live without: your microwave or flushable toilet?
2. How Venmo is Enabling People’s Stinginess
In many ways, Venmo—the peer-to-peer payment app, now owned by Paypal—has revolutionized the way we sort out group meals, cab rides, rent and more. It’s virtually eliminated IOUs, the hassle of searching for ATMs and the possibility of accidentally shafting someone with an unfair portion of the bar tab. But according to Quartz, the ease of using Venmo has also brought out the worst in some people. In just one of many cases, a girl was charged for a glass of wine she drank at her friend’s home. It’s unexpectedly enabled stinginess in situations when treating would usually be the norm.
3. Meet the 22-Year-Old Who’s Building “the MoMA of China”
22-year-old Michael Xufu Huang is a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate currently pursuing degrees in art history and marketing. He’s also a co-founder of one of Beijing’s brightest new museums: M WOODS. During a recent trip to New York, Huang visited the offices of Artspace to discuss the pros and cons of being so young in the art industry and how he plans to establish M WOODS as “the MoMA of China.”
4. An Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages in Real-Time
Since learning an entirely new language every time you travel is a bit absurd, there will always be boundaries when trying to communicate in foreign nations. Enter the Pilot earpiece by Waverly Labs: an in-ear, real-time translator that will allow users to seamlessly converse with each other even if they’re speaking two different languages—similar to what Skype’s in-call translator feature can do. The device is set to launch on Indiegogo on 25 May, where backers can secure a set with a pledge of roughly $129-$179.
5. Artist Liz West Fills UK Church with Rainbow Mirrors
Artist Liz West has transformed the interior of England’s historic St John’s Church into a stunning kaleidoscopic artwork for visitors to roam through. The installation, called “Our Colour Reflection,” makes use of hundreds of colorful, circular mirrors to reflect tinted light back up at the church’s ceiling, columns and archways. The breathtaking piece is currently on view at the church-turned-art space 20-21 Visual Arts Centre until 26 June 2016.
6. Google Unveils ‘Google Home’
One of the most exciting announcements to come from this year’s Google I/O developer conference is the introduction of Google Home: a voice-controlled smart device that can control other smart appliances and accurately answer queries by tapping into Google’s search algorithms. It’s a direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo, which functions in many of the same ways. Google has yet to release pricing or a launch date.
7. Saltwater Brewery’s Edible Six-Pack Rings
Delray Beach, Florida’s Saltwater Brewery has developed an edible packaging ring for its six-packs of beer. Constructed from recycled barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process, the eco-friendly rings are 100% biodegradable so sea creatures can actually eat the rings instead of becoming entangled in them. They’re slightly more expensive to produce than their plastic counterparts, but Saltwater is hoping bigger breweries will buy into the new packaging so production costs will lower.
8. Sweden is Completely Relocating One of Its Cities
Sweden is currently in the process of relocating its northern city of Kiruna about two miles to the east, taking its 20,000-person population with it. While the undertaking sounds like it would be filled with controversy, criticism and rejection, pretty much everyone is on board. The city is slowly sinking due to the iron mines below it, so the government recently broke ground on a massive relocation project that would re-house the entire population and develop a completely new city center. The move is documented in the new film, “The Is Kiruna: How to Move a City,” which you can preview at Gizmodo.