1. An Elevator That Goes Every Which Way
ThyssenKrupp’s Multi won’t be your average elevator beholden to a life of ups and downs. To debut soon in a Berlin residential tower, the Multi forgoes cables for strong magnetic levitation (the same technology found in high-speed trains). This means that the elevator cars will float along hoistway guide rails in all directions—even diagonally. They aren’t going to be super-fast—moving (at a reliable 1,000 to 1,400 feet per minute) but they will be quite efficient as the cable-free system allows for many more stacked cars. Perhaps most fascinating here: this frees architects, who have long had to build mega-towers around elevator shafts (which take up roughly 40% of a building’s core). Learn more about the incredible technology at Wired.
2. Pairing Wine And Weed
Stereotypically, pot pairs well with ice cream, potato chips and cookies, but in the ever-evolving and growing world of cannabis, its reputation is being elevated in all ways. We’ve seen countless companies offer a more sophisticated take on marijuana over the past several years, and one of the newest delving into food and cannabis is the Sonoma Cannabis Company. They are offering “curated” farm-to-table dining experiences for which weed is paired with wine and food. But with this comes concerns regarding California’s land, economy, tourism, traffic and more. NPR took a closer look and if this sentence—”On the elegant terrace of a winery overlooking the vineyard-covered hills of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, a dozen invited guests are sipping pinot noir, nibbling hors d’oeuvres and taking hits off a water pipe”—piques your interest, you should head there to read more.
3. Hillary Clinton’s Unused Confetti is Now Art
On view until 12 August, “Bunny Burson: And Still I Rise” (taking its name from Maya Angelou’s book of poetry) is an installation that has made the unused confetti from Hillary Clinton’s election night into a work of art. Burson tracked down the unused confetti—after being told it was likely in the trash—and turned it into a snow globe-like piece. Burson was at NYC’s Jacob Javits Center on the night of the election and says “I was among her supporters… waiting for the symbolic shattering of the glass ceiling and the shard like confetti to fall down on us. We left the Javits Center at 2 in the morning with profound emptiness.” In an effort to turn this into a message of hope, she says, “I wanted to fill that emptiness with hope by giving voice to my feelings that even in defeat, Hillary’s confetti could be used to inspire the next generations of little girls and young women to dream big and to act on their dreams.” Read more at Artnet.
4. NASA Developing Nuclear Reactors for Mars
NASA is, once again, embarking on a large and expensive project—this time a $15 million endeavor to create nuclear fission reactors that would function on Mars. If and when humans reside on the Red Planet, they will need a power source for water, fuel and air, so NASA has built several 6.5-foot reactors that will soon be tested on Earth (other reactors have been tested in space). The reason for going with nuclear power is that solar power won’t work on Mars, thanks to its distance from the Sun and frequent dust storms. Read more at TrendinTech.
5. Google’s New Initiative Will Use Tech to Write Local News Stories
In an effort to cover areas not presently serviced because of the financial woes of newsrooms, Google has committed over $800,000 to develop a software that automates news for The Press Association in the UK. Known as Radar—Reporters And Data And Robots—the service should be able to produce more than 30,000 local news stories per month, turning data into readable content. This division of Google’s Digital News Initiative mirrors efforts already underway un the US, as TechCrunch reports, simply googling the “tagline ‘This story was generated by Automated Insights’ reveals hits from news outlets” already employing such a service. It’s worth noting that many critics do believe automated content lacks the flair of a human writer’s hand.
6. Long-Lost Maurice Sendak Book Discovered
Good news for those who delight in entering Maurice Sendak’s world: a long-lost book of his and frequent collaborator Arthur Yorinks has been discovered. While nobody knew about the existence of “Presto and Zesto in Limboland” (not Sendak’s editor, nor Lynn Caponera, president of the Maurice Sendak Foundation—who eventually discovered the text), it’s now slated for publish next year. Back in 1990, Sendak created illustrations to accompany the London Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Leoš Janáček’s “Rikadla,” which is “a 1927 composition that set a series of nonsense Czech nursery rhymes to music.” When Yorinks saw the pictures, he thought it was a shame they’d only been seen once, and the duo set to writing a story for them. “It was a hysterical afternoon of cracking each other up,” Yorinks said. “But after a few hours a narrative thread began to coagulate. The story became an homage to our own friendship so we named the characters after ourselves—Presto and Zesto.” Read more at Publishers Weekly.
7. Radiohead’s Reissue of “OK Computer” Has a Hidden Treasure
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of OK Computer, Radiohead has released a £100 special edition box of the record—with a hidden treat. As well as an art book and notes from Thom Yorke, the commemorative edition comes with a C90 cassette—on which is a collection of demos and two minutes of “a bizarre high-pitched frequency.” That sound has been recognized as the ZX Spectrum (an ’80s-era British computer) and devoted Radiohead and tech fans have figured out the puzzle. “Running those EQ’d files through a ZX Spectrum emulator, the software pops up with the names of all the band members, dating the software back to the 19th December 1996,” explains Engadget. Find out more about this hidden treasure there.
8. Simulated Space Rides With Real Mission Footage
Those attending the EAA AirVenture convention (happening 24-30 July at the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) will have the opportunity to experience being an astronaut—for a few minutes—thanks to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The company will offer simulated space rides for six people at a time, complete with real mission footage, in a mock-up of the New Shepard crew capsule. The real New Shepard rocket will also be on display at the event. Find out more at Engadget.