Buy Shares in Masterpieces For $20
For those of us who could never afford a Warhol or Monet for ourselves, there is another option: purchasing a stake in newly acquired, soon-to-be-resold art. On Masterworks, a new platform aimed at opening art up to a broader investing audience, shares begin at $20, with a number of investors entering in with investments in the thousands. Investment value could jump well beyond the initially invested numbers if the art is sold at a higher price than it was purchased at. But, for the smart art buyer, potential risks exist at every turn. Who was the previous owner? Will the art be exhibited prior to sale? Was it damaged at any point? Though this may not be a way to amass a fortune, it is an interesting effort to democratize a market commanded by the well-endowed. Read more at the Observer.
Iconic Jaguar E-Type to Return as Electric Vehicle
Exciting, appealing, controversial—the relaunch or conversion of classic cars to electric vehicles causes all kinds of reactions. Yesterday, at Monterey Car Week, Jaguar announced that, 45 years after being discontinued, the E-Type will return—in all-electric form. Using I-Pace parts, the car-maker is also offering existing E-Type owners to convert their cars—a process which they say is full reversible. Expected to be available in 2020, the E-Type Zero, Jaguar assures, will “accelerate more quickly than the Series 1 E-Type and that the electric conversion maintains the same weight balance and handling characteristics as the original car.” A bold move, considering the car’s iconic status in motoring history. Read more at The Drive.
We Pay Attention Four Times Per Second
Two new studies in the scientific publication Neuron—authored by research teams from Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley—posit that attention does not hone in like a spotlight, rather, it strobes in and out four times per second. “Perception is discontinuous,” says Sabine Kastner of Princeton Neuroscience Institute, but it is not flickering on and off entirely. Rather, we cycle between “periods of maximum focus and periods of a broader situational awareness.” Read more at medicalxpress, where both papers are analyzed.
Burt Rutan + Paul Allen’s 385-Foot-Wide Stratolaunch Airplane
On the runway of the Mojave Air & Space Port, the Stratolaunch airplane sits waiting for its first flight later this year. To date, there’s been no aircraft bigger—or as ambitious. The wingspan of the Catamaran-style plane stretches 385 feet—a distance longer than a football field. Six engines power the beast, as well. Designed by aviation mastermind Burt Rutan, and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the Stratolaunch will aim to hoist satellites to the edge of space. Piloted from the right cockpit, the plane will potentially save the tremendous energy expended by upright rockets that currently launch satellites. It also defies current launch windows. Read more about the remarkable development at Wired.
1,000-Year-Old Macaw Breeding Community in the American Southwest
Piles of macaw bones found in Arizona and New Mexico—well outside the bird’s native range in South and Central America—have been dated to between 900 and 1200 CE. New findings—based on an analysis of mitochondrial genomes—have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that this is the result of breeders inside an an undiscovered pre-hispanic settlement from this time. It is likely that they captured the parrots, bred them “and distributed these symbolically important birds through the [Southwestern United States],” according to the authors. Read more at Gizmodo.
Nikon’s New Z Series Camera System
After much speculation and uncertainty, Nikon has released its Z Mount System of mirrorless cameras and dedicated lenses with two cameras, three lenses and one lens adapter. The anchor of the release is Nikon’s flagship mirrorless camera, the Z7, which will feature what Nikon deems “revolutionary” autofocus given there are focal points across the entire sensor. For existing Nikon photographers the crux of the Z-Series’s potential lies in the F-to-Z adapter which supports virtually every lens Nikon has made to date, in turn lowering the barrier to entry for this new system. The ultra-high resolution Z7 ($3,400) hits stores 27 September and the lower res Z6 ($1,996) coming in late November. The adjacent lenses and adapters ($250-$1,000) will first hit stores on 27 September, with the final installation coming in late October. Read the detailed specs at PetaPixel.
Evidence of Interbreeding Between Early Human Species
According to National Geographic, for some time researchers have suspected that two ancient human species, Neanderthals and Denisovans, interbred. It wasn’t until paleogeneticist Viviane Slon, of the Max Planck Institute, received the results from a 90,000-year-old flake of bone she had tested (and five other sample tests from the same “child”) that this was confirmed. Slon has published her findings in the scientific journal Nature and it’s groundbreaking as nobody has ever before identified a first-generation hybrid. Denisovas were a “sister group of the Neanderthals, splitting from a common ancestor some 390,000 years ago” and so far pinned only to one area of Siberia. Read more about them—and Slon’s discoveries—at NatGeo.
Wear the Two-Armed Robot Companion, Fusion, Like a Backpack
With a head and two arms, Fusion is a robot prototype by Syrian designer Yamen Saraiji that’s supposed to be worn like a backpack. The machine’s two eyes act as cameras, porting a shared perspective to a second person, who can then operate both arms remotely (through an Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers). The goal here is to enable work between collaborators who aren’t in the same area (the same country), even when that work requires more than two hands. Read more—and see the video—at Dezeen.