1. Big Ben Will Ring Again, For The Holidays
At the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben has been silent since August while under a much-needed four-year renovation costing roughly $60 million. It’s the first time the clocktower hasn’t rung in 157 years and done to protect the ears of those making repairs. The chiming won’t resume properly until 2021, but for the handful of days between Christmas and New Year, it will ring on the hour. Get more details over at Mental Floss.
2. Painting the Vatican’s Cortile del Belvedere in Milk
Mixed with both slaked lime and natural pigments (in fact, the original cream color used in the 1500s), milk from the Pope’s cows—raised at the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo—is being used to paint the Vatican’s Belvedere Castle. This is a centuries-old technique that also happens to align with Pope Francis’ emphasis on environmental protection. To learn more about the process and even the Vatican’s centuries of research on essential oils, head over to CNN.
3. Rotten Apples Movie Website Tracks the Work of Sexual Predators
In a clever and thoughtful move, four creatives have launched a website called “Rotten Apples,” which helps viewers keep track of Hollywood’s sexual predators. Simply type the name of a film into the search bar and you’ll be told if there are any rotten apples associated with the movie (for example, “The Usual Suspects” is rotten because it stars Kevin Spacey and was directed by Bryan Singer). If your movie pick is free from people accused of harassment or assault, you get a “Fresh Apples” result. The team—who isn’t planning on making any profit from the site—says that the aim is to help people “make ethical media consumption decisions” and also to ensure that these allegations don’t become normalized.
4. Boeing’s MQ-25 Unmanned Tanker Drone Prototype
From Phantom Works—Boeing’s more-or-less secret design division—comes an entry for the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker initiative, which tasked aviation companies with drone development. Boeing’s prototype is functional, though it hasn’t flown yet. There are planned engine test runs—on the ground—and deck handling demonstrations for early 2018. Boeing’s design does have some extraordinary stealth-enabling features, though it wasn’t not designed with that at the forefront. Boeing has been providing aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years, but this unmanned machine isn’t like anything we’ve seen before. See more at The Drive.
5. Photographer Jesse Rieser’s “Christmas in America”
Beginning seven years ago, photographer Jesse Rieser began taking pictures of how Americans celebrate Christmas. Rather than traditional or corny, Rieser’s images capture delightfully outrageous decorations. From a house covered in deflated Santa Clauses and Christmas trees to a broken neon sign saying “Happy Birthday Jesus,” these photos offer an enchanting look at the holidays across the United States. See more over at Booooooom.
6. Buzz Aldrin’s Accessories Collaboration
Teaming up accessories brand Sprayground, Buzz Aldrin has created a capsule collection called “Mission to Mars.” The Apollo 11 astronaut worked with the NYC-based brand on several bags (one of which features solar panel strips and USB ports), a coat, hat, gloves and more—all of which boast loud patches and embellishments. Aldrin even models in the campaign, and Sprayground founder David Ben-David says it was a dream come true and that they’re “proud to present a line, a vibe and a culture that isn’t limited by convention.” Learn more at Space.com.
7. Third Nature’s Pop-Up Parking Garage and Storm Water Reservoir
With storms aplenty this year, Denmark-based design firm Third Nature has proposed a parking garage concept that manages excess water in cities, and more. Called Pop-Up, the parking garage resides underground—with public space on its top, outside section. With heavy rain, the structure collects water and rises up, while building a reservoir below. While still a concept, Pop-Up demonstrates an innovative new way to tackle infrastructure in changing cities. Learn more at PSFK.
8. The Wes Anderson-Inspired “Budapest Cafe”
Inspired by Wes Anderson, Melbourne-based studio Biasol has designed The Budapest Cafe in Chengdu, China. Mimicking Anderson’s delightful obsession with symmetry, the interior is also a pastel paradise—with light pink and green accented with pale gray. The designers say, “Our design draws on filmmaker Wes Anderson’s meticulous, memorable and magical worlds to create an inviting destination with whimsical character and international appeal.” Read and see more at Dezeen.