Fungi’s Many Life-Changing Uses
While there are 144,000 discovered species of fungi on the planet, there could be many more—millions more, in fact. But finding fungi and sorting out whether or not they contain any useful chemical compounds comes down to chance. The serendipity, scientists argue, is what led to great discoveries like penicillin—so hope for similar-level finds persists. Recent tests may have uncovered compounds that can help create biofuels, life-saving medicines and even limit the pollutants in animal waste. See how these experiments are conducted and how new species are discovered at CNN.
Banksy Offers Sculpture for £2
Ever the troublemaker, Banksy is offering up his remote-controlled boat from Dismaland for just £2, but the artist has added a delightful catch—as he is wont to do. To win the piece, the buyer/winner must correctly guess its weight. In order to enter the raffle, a donation (at a minimum of £2) has to be made to the Choose Love store—where shoppers can buy real gifts for refugees. With all proceeds going to Choose Love, and a Banksy sculpture going to somebody who might not ever be able to afford it otherwise, this competition truly is in the spirit of the season. Read more about the offer at Choose Love.
Dubai’s Floating Supermarket
For yacht-owners who find docking to shop for groceries a time-waster, Majid Al Futtaim (one of Dubai’s largest shopping malls) has a solution. Now, as a franchise of the French Carrefour, there’s a floating supermarket anchored at sea. Those aboard can have their groceries and snacks (of which there are 300 options), delivered right to their vessel. Beachgoers can also call the number, which is advertised on the side of the store, to have snacks delivered directly to their spot in the sand. Though the concept’s creators admit the demand isn’t sky-high, they believe interest will increase organically. Read more about the maritime market at CNN.
The Bandana’s Fascinating History
The bandana, an accessory oftentimes associated with various subcultures, has roots and uses of which many might not be aware—the “handkerchief code,” Japanese fashion and cowboy-style included. With a history dating back to 17th century South Asia and the Middle East, it’s carried a rotating slew of connotations—from resistance to violence, Americana and hip-hop culture—that have immortalized and, sometimes, subverted, its uses. Read more at HighSnob.
Conversation Tips from NPR’s Terry Gross
Host and co-executive producer of NPR’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross has spent nearly 40 years mastering the art of interviewing. It makes sense then, that the New York Times asked her for her tips on being a good conversationalist. Gross believes that, rather than asking specific questions, saying “Tell me about yourself” is the only icebreaker you need. Additionally, she shares tips on reading body language, being prepared and how to (if you must) dodge a question. Ultimately though, Gross says that being curious is the key to all satisfying, interesting conversations. Read the at The New York Times.
This Smart Dress Sheds Light on Harassment and Groping
For a project highlighting everyday harassment, Ogilvy and Schweppes created touch-sensitive dresses that reveal how often women are groped at clubs in Brazil. The sensor-embedded dress, made for the The Dress for Respect project, also measures pressure of each touch. During the experiment, three women wore the dresses and were touched 157 times in just four hours, with researchers tracking it all in real-time. Heat-sensors identified the most frequent areas were wrists, hips and lower back—emphasized by repetitive efforts from multiple men. In an interesting twist, the researchers then invited the men in attendance to look at “the now-bruised image of the dress.” Find out more at Quartz.
AirPods Will Overtake Smartwatches
Market forecasters believe they’ve confirmed the next big movement in wearable tech: ear-pods with the functionality of a smartphone. Essentially, it’s believed that ear-pods will take over smartwatch features and marketshare in under five years—thanks to upcoming patents on biometric measuring and Siri’s arrival in AirPods 2, among other updates. Directions, messaging, web browsing and more will become easier with the advancement of in-ear tech, too. Read more about the rise of “hearables” at Cult of Mac.
The Race for an African-Made Mobile Phone
With the hope of being the primary provider of high-speed and long-lasting mobile phones throughout Africa, telecom companies, governments and upstart entrepreneurs in various nations across the continent have announced their intention to bring an Africa-made phone to market. The motivations behind the race are two-fold: to compete with big, imported brands and to build out the technological interests of the general population. Also, by improving the continent’s “homegrown” technologies, infrastructure and manufacturing, the job market would see improvement, too. Read more about the efforts at Quartz.
This 2.4-Million-Year-Old Discovery Alters Human History
The discovery of 2.4-million-year-old stone tools in north Africa have—yet again—altered the human origin story. “The evidence from Algeria has changed [our] earlier view regarding East Africa [as] being the cradle of humankind. Actually, the entire Africa was the cradle of humankind,” Mohamed Sahnouni, an archaeologist at Spain’s National Research Center for Human Evolution, says. Humanity’s distant cousin, the hominin, moved north through (and evolved and developed tools to survive in) North Africa much earlier than researchers first believed. Previously, the oldest stone tools found in the region were 1.8 million years old. Read more at Gizmodo.