The UN’s Floating City Concept
Presented by a group of designers, architects and engineers at a United Nations roundtable last week, this floating city could be the future of sustainable (and affordable) living. Built in a lily pad-like array of hexagonal platforms, nearly 10,000 citizens could live in this sea-based city, which would float—but also be moored to the ocean floor—just a mile off the coastline. The citizens would also, in theory, grow fresh produce above and below water. In the instance of emergencies or sudden scarcities, they would also be able to harvest water from the air using a condensing technology. Plus, the city would strive to ban high-emitting vehicles—and eventually vehicles altogether. The city can be unhinged and towed away during natural disasters—and withstand earthquakes and hurricanes. Read more at Business Insider.
United Airlines Offers X Gender Option for Non-Binary Passengers
Last year New York City (independently from the state) joined Oregon, California and Washington in offering a third gender option (X) on birth certificates. But many other official documents and forms (like passports, licenses, immigration visas) require people to choose male or female—making the process of representing oneself to governing bodies more stressful and less accurate. Now United has become the first airline to offer the non-binary gender option X, as well as Mx for those who wish not to disclose any gender. The airline is also working with various organizations, including “The Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign to train staff on preferred pronouns, LGBT workplace competency and other inclusivity initiatives.” The news came just before International Transgender Day of Visibility which not only celebrates the community, but also aims to educate and raise awareness surrounding continued discrimination. Read more at The Guardian.
Airbnb Offers a One Night Stay at the Louvre
From an after-hours, art-historian guided tour to a night of sleep inside a scaled replica of IM Pei’s Pyramid—beneath the shimmering glass pyramid itself—Airbnb’s latest partnership celebrates the 30th anniversary of the iconic addition to the Louvre. One winner and their guest will be treated to this night at the museum experience—with the Mona Lisa as their host. Cocktails will commence with La Joconde. Dinner will then be served beside the Venus de Milo. Later, entertainment is set to unfold in the apartment of Napoleon III. “We know that many people would love the opportunity to wander alone at night through the Louvre,” Deputy Managing Director of the Musée du Louvre, Anne-Laure Béatrix says, before acknowledging that it’s their goal to make the experience magical. Learn more at Airbnb.
Four-Legged Whale With Hooves Fossil Discovered
A 140-foot whale fossil has been discovered off the coast of Peru, only it’s unlike any other. This particular gigantic mammal would have been able to transition between land and sea with ease, thanks to its tail and four legs. Its webbed feet would have helped move underwater, but the bend in the limbs suggests that the creature could move just as well on land. While the discovery is crucial in terms of piecing together the animal’s evolutionary timeline, the location of the discovery divulges critical information too—regarding when and how whales moved westward. Researchers dubbed it the Peregocetus Pacificus, aka “the traveling whale that reached the Pacific.” Read more at The Guardian.
Vogue’s “Non-Issue Issue”
British Vogue’s newest issue makes an important statement: age discrimination has no place in today’s society. With Jane Fonda on the cover and featuring Helen Mirren within, the issue combats stigmas and discrimination surrounding aging—specifically for women. After all, “a person’s age will always be a more intriguing, nuanced and inspiring factor than a simple number could ever suggest,” British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful says. Read more at It’s Nice That.
NASA and MIT’s Shape-Shifting Wing
Hundreds of identical polyethylene resin components form a new airplane wing developed by NASA and MIT. These shape-shifting pieces can morph during flight to form the most efficient wing for the existing conditions. The entire aircraft is within one lightweight, flexible wing surface. Researchers have already tested one hand-constructed model in the wind tunnel of NASA’s Langley Research Center. Read more about the wing and its composition at Phys.
Study Reports Americans Are Having Less Sex
With analysis drawn from the General Social Survey‘s latest round of data, Americans have once again reported that they’re having less sex. This three-decade trend is led by young people (men in particular) aged 18 to 29 years old. Previously, “20-something men and women reported similar rates of sexlessness,” says the Washington Post. Since 2008, however, there’s been a steep distancing. Factors include live-in relationships, roles in the workforce and technology—streaming services, in particular. Read more at the Washington Post.
Newly Discovered Evidence Confirms the Sudden Demise of Dinosaurs
In the excavated terrain of the Hell Creek geological formation, an archaeologist named Robert DePalma made a discovery. The theory that dinosaurs met their demise at the impact of a planet-rattling meteor is generally uncontested, but some researchers felt they were doomed well before the day it hit. Dinosaur fossils are never found less than nine feet below the layer of soot—known as the “KT boundary”—produced during the meteorite crash. This nine-foot threshold represents thousands of years, hence making a sudden demise less believable. But, DePalma’s site uncovers a precise record of immediate doom. He uncovered fossils of all species—those that existed on land, in the sea miles away as well as native plants—in the KT boundary; indicating that the dinosaurs really did cease to exist in an instant. This remarkable discovery forever changes the future of archaeology. Read more at The New Yorker.