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Seeing-Eye Shoes for the Visually Impaired

InnoMake is a shoe by the Austrian startup company Tec-Innovation. Each shoe comes equipped with front-mount light sensor. When it detects an upcoming obstacle, it warns the user with a vibration, as well as a cellphone notification delivered through a Bluetooth connection. The product website explains how it works:

The vibration feedback is provided directly in the shoe, which allows you to feel if there is an obstacle in front of you. The acoustic feedback is provided via a smartphone and if required via e.g. bone conduction headphones so as not to drown out environmental noises.
The visual impulses can be transmitted via the LED on the shoe and they can provide you with additional support in the dark. You can also use InnoMake without primary tools in familiar, safe environments, e.g. at home or at work, so that both hands are free.

-via Hack A Day

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This Is a Mushroom Knife

Core77 introduces us to the mushroom knife, which is a tool designed for the needs of people who search for mushrooms.

The blade is curved for cutting through the stem. The brush allows the user to clear away debris that may obscure the mushroom. A scale printed on the side can be used to measure the mushroom. This particular model by toolmaker Garrett Wade also has a compass just in case you're too focused on searching for mushrooms and get lost.

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The Unfortunately Action-Packed Afterlife of a California Grave-Robbery Victim

Clara Loeper was born partially paralyzed, and died in 1883 at the age of 21. Dr. Rudolph of the Eclectic Medical College approached her mother about donating Clara's body to the school for study even before she died. He was refused, more than once, and Clara was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

At Clara’s April 5 burial, her mother felt unsettled and shared suspicions that Dr. Rudolph might try something uncouth, so someone slipped a piece of wire into the mound of dirt covering the grave. On the 6th, Mrs. Loeper returned “and perceived at once that the grave had been violated,” the Oakland Tribune reported in 1883. Dirt was scattered, and the wire was nowhere to be seen. Mrs. Loeper alerted the cemetery superintendent, who started digging and confirmed the wretched truth: The coffin lid had been axed open, and Clara was missing.

She had been taken away nude. “Clothes were rudely torn off and thrown pell-mell into the grave. Even the stockings were pulled off,” noted the Tribune article. It’s hard to say why the thieves left Clara’s garments behind; maybe they thought the clothes would be easy identifiers, or perhaps they were concerned about adding property theft onto the crime of body theft. Grave-robbing was a felony in California, and a conviction could lead to a five-year prison sentence.

The investigation that followed involved both police and private investigators, and the scandal exposed Eclectic Medical College's unsavory methods of obtaining cadavers for study. Read the story of Clara Loeper's restless corpse at Atlas Obscura. 

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Video Glitch Causes Meteorologist to Multiply during Live Broadcast

Jennifer McDermed, a television meteorologist in Minneapolis, ended up a surprise remake of the Michael Keaton comedy film Multiplicity. An unknown technical glitch caused to multiply as she walked across the screen. Like in Multiplicity, her copies deteriorate with every iteration.

-via Geekologie

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Playful Automata by Kazuaki Harada

Colossal introduces us to Kazuaki Harada, a Japanese artist who delights with the world with whimsical automata. His world is filled with animals exercising, marionettes dancing, and, above call, expressions of romance. You can view more on his Instagram page or his YouTube channel.

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Filling the Void

(Poorly Drawn Lines/Reza Farazmand)

Bird is neglecting to mention that he also smokes when he feels empty. But he's probably just trying to get Mouse to shut up. Emptiness needs not adverbs. Emptiness simply is.

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The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island to Evade the Japanese in WWII

Camouflage for ships and other naval vessels was widely used in both the First and Second World Wars, but the crew of one Dutch ship – a Second World War minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy named HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, which was operating in the Java Sea – took the concept of naval camouflage to the next level. Read all in this War History Online post.

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Two Mothers Bonding Over Babies

Kiki, a gorilla at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, saw Emmeline Austin through the glass and was drawn to her five-week-old son Canyon. You might guess that Kiki is a new mother, too, and you'd be right. It's a shame that Kiki and her son Pablo are living behind glass, but conditions in the wild aren't all that great for gorillas these days, either. -via Boing Boing

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Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka

Animator and illustrator Elizabeth Fijalkowski did this digital painting of Doctor Who's the Doctor (Richard E. Grant) from the 2003 serial "Scream of the Shalka".

Source: Twitter

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Star Wars X-Wing at the Smithsonian

Are you considering a road trip to celebrate your vaccine status and re-enter the world of travel? Star Wars fans now have a valid argument for visiting the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, which is an extension of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian has acquired Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter!

The famous but fictional spacecraft of the blockbuster Star Wars film franchise is on long-term loan to the Smithsonian from Lucasfilm Ltd. Fans can now watch while the X-Wing undergoes conservation at the Restoration Hangar alongside World War II aircraft and other historic airplanes and space vehicles. Late next year, the famed film prop will go on display outside the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to have an X-Wing on exhibit,” says Margaret Weitekamp, space history chair at the museum. “It is a real screen-used vehicle from the 2019 film Rise of Skywalker. This display speaks to that crossover connection between people who are excited about space flight and have been inspired by the visions Star Wars has been putting out since 1977.”

Read about this particular model of X-Wing and what the Smithsonian is doing with it at Smithsonian magazine.

(Image credit: Jim Preston, NASM)

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What's the Minimum Number of People Needed to Survive an Apocalypse?

A common theme of apocalyptic movies is a small set of survivors trying to build thriving communities after a worldwide disaster. But how small could that number of survivors really be in order to repopulate the earth? Scientists, as well as scriptwriters, have been studying the issue.

The short answer is, it depends. Different catastrophes would create different doomsday conditions for surviving human populations to endure. For example, a nuclear war could trigger a nuclear winter, with survivors facing freezing summer temperatures and global famine, not to mention radiation exposure. However, putting some of these conditions aside and focusing on population size, the minimum number is likely very small compared with the approximately 7.8 billion people alive today.

"With populations in the low hundreds, you can probably survive for many centuries. And many small populations of that kind have survived for centuries and perhaps millennia," Cameron Smith, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University in Oregon, told Live Science.

An article at LiveScience looks at the numbers, by looking to the past and how small populations worked in prehistory, and by looking to the future when people may travel to other planets. -via Damn Interesting

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Esports Gym In Tokyo

Finally, a gym I agree with! Esports Gym (seriously, that’s the establishment’s name), located in Tokyo, lets its members take lessons from esports professionals. Founded by Tokyo Metro and esports start-up Gecipe, the gym aims to train a new generation of players. The business will open this May, according to Kotaku. 

Image via Kotaku 

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The Worst Lake In The World

Meet the Salton Sea, a lake in California known as one of the biggest disasters in California history. Ouch. The largest lake in California is murky, and full of toxic materials and algae. For decades, the Salton Sea has been semi-abandoned thanks to disagreements, errors, and bureaucratic bottlenecks, and the continuous debates over what people could do to actually restore the lake. The Daily Californian’s Landon Iannamico and Sage Alexander travel to the area to learn about the events that made the Salton Sea the worst lake in the world. Check their full piece here.

image via the Daily Californian

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So, Can We Stop Procrastinating?

Personally, I don’t think so. However, it would be nice to know how the phenomenon actually works. Did you know that more than 50 per cent of students regularly procrastinate? Procrastination is so widespread that scientists found pigeons displaying the same behaviour! According to  Dr Fuschia Sirois, a researcher who dedicated 20 years to learning about the phenomenon, procrastination is not the result of poor time management:  

“There hasn’t been any convincing scientific evidence to say procrastination is the result of poor time management. But we can easily say it’s all to do with mood management,” Sirois says.
“At its core, procrastination is about not being able to manage your moods and emotions. Although many think impulsivity and self-control are the problems – and they do play a factor – underneath is a poor emotional response.”
As Sirois explains, every person faces stressful situations, demanding tasks that trigger brain activity that involves a brain region known amygdala. And it’s the amygdala that processes emotions and signals threats, capable of prompting a ‘fight or flight’ response linked to procrastination.
“Interestingly, people who say they are chronic procrastinators tend to have larger grey matter volume in the amygdala,” says Sirois.
“This means they will also be more sensitive to the potential negative consequences of their actions, leading to more negative emotions and procrastination.”

Psychologists have discussed and searched for methods on how to stop or at least tackle procrastination. There are many quick-fixes that we could do to try and stop procrastinating, as Science Focus details: 

For example, one compelling Psychological Science paper described how downsizing larger metrics of time (think 48 hours instead of 2 days, or 10,950 days instead of 30 years) can make events seem more immediate, prompting people to engage in upcoming tasks. 
However, for Sirois, there are two primary ways of reducing procrastination at its root cause: self-compassion and cognitive re-framing.
“I think people don’t realise that procrastinators, especially chronic procrastinators, are extremely hard on themselves – before and after the task. And rather than getting on with the job, they just go round and round spinning their wheels,” she says.
“My advice is to not go full in overidentifying and becoming that frustration. Step back from it for a minute and just acknowledge that you’re not happy with yourself. And then move forward.

Image via Science Focus 

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Taking a Break at an Animal Rescue Shelter

There's lots of work to be done at Sunshine Animal Refuge Agadir in Morocco, but everyone needs a break now and again. One commenter asked "Is this heaven?" and Recomemedur (the uploader) replied, "Damn near." -via Nag on the Lake

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