Team Nimuno is currently crowdfunding an invention that will let you realize your wildest dreams because this tape makes everything LEGO compatible. Nimuno Loops is a flexible, bendable, shapeable, cuttable, reusable tape with a top side compatible with LEGO, Mega Bloks, Kreo and other major toy building block systems. You can LEGO on the walls. You can LEGO on the ceiling. You can LEGO on the fridge, your glasses, the toilet, your kid’s toy dinosaur, the sink, your forehead, an umbrella, your car and, well, you get the idea. Nimuno Loops turn almost any surface into something you build on so you can finally realize your desire to create an entire Inception-style world with folding buildings if you have enough bricks, imagination and adhesive tape. The product is currently in the prototype stages with estimated delivery in July of this year. Based on the fact that the project was designed and developed by two professional industrial designers—and the fact that it has absolutely crushed funding goals—it’s a pretty sure bet that a successful product will end up on your doorstep in just a few months.
This was bound to happen eventually. Jimmy Buffett’s hospitality and food empire already includes Margaritaville (which encompasses restaurants, hotels, resorts, and casinos), a beer brand (LandShark, which is a better beach beer than it has any right to be), and all the beach-related merchandise that any ocean-adjacent person could possibly need in one lifetime. So naturally, as the tropically-obsessed singer/songwriter leans into his 70th year on this sandy, tequila-filled Earth, it’s only right that Buffett has decided to partner with development company Minto Communities to open a Margaritaville-themed retirement home community.
Before you even waste a second thinking about the obvious: yes. The first location of Buffett’s retirement home will be based in Daytona, Florida.
The first location will include approximately 7,000 available homes and be dubbed “Latitude Margaritaville” with prices in the reasonable range of $200-350,000 for residents 55 or over. According to Senior Vice President of Minto, Bill Bullock, the company aims to have things completely up and running by 2018. There are already 10,000 registrants on the list for a spot so if your parents want a prime location in the Daytona community they better sign up fast and hope people ahead of them on the list…drop off somehow. To put it nicely.
Now, this idea might be easy to make fun of, but for anybody who has actually experienced and embraced the world of Jimmy Buffet and his “Parrothead” fans, it makes sense why this type of retirement opportunity is appealing. Although I hate to admit it, I’m one of those people and it’s largely (read: entirely) because my dad is a legitimate Parrothead (complete with a parrot tattoo that he got in Key West decades ago). So it only makes sense to me, having been to 10 concerts and counting with this community’s target audience, why this could be appealing enough to buy into. Each 2 or 3-bedroom home comes with personal beach access, spa and fitness facility access, and live entertainment for residents.
For a not-small section of a generation, Buffett concerts are a yearly escape where 12 hours or more of tailgating and making friends in the parking lot has turned into a kind of beach-based religion where frozen drinks at 11am and turning your car into a pirate ship is the norm, not strange. So it’s no surprise that 10,000 people and counting have decided that some approximation of this environment is where they would like to live out their days. A daily concert of Buffett’s pre-1996 discography sounds like the perfect way to break up the normal retirement home monotony. Any album after ’96 is, of course, strictly ignored for everyone’s mental well being.
Jimmy is heading into his 42nd straight summer of touring this year so who knows? He may make a surprise appearance every now and then once his retirement kicks in fully. Until then, Parrotheads finally have a place to enjoy retirement where they can try to reason with hurricane season every day, until they go up to that big cheeseburger paradise in the sky.
Anyone who’s ever thrown their Ikea Färlöv against a wall in a mid-construction rage might have their heritage to blame. According to a new study, spatial anxiety is an independent, diagnostically different feeling separate from general anxiety, and it might be rooted in a person’s genes. Prospective parents be warned: Building Ikea furniture might be an excellent test for a relationship, but fighting couples might very well pass on that anxiety to their kids.
In a study published Wednesday in Scientific Reports, researchers from King’s College explain that certain subjects are known to cause specific anxieties, such as mathematics and spatial tasks, but the actual roots of those anxieties are largely unexplored. By examining the origin of and the relationship between three types of anxiety — general, math-induced, and spatial — they hoped to determine whether anxiety treatments need to be specialized according to subtype.
Spatial anxiety is, fittingly, described as the anxiety that people feel while dealing with situations that have a spatial component — like using a map to navigate a new city, or figuring out how to build Ikea furniture from a set of frustratingly text-free instructions. To determine its roots, the researchers examined data from 1,464 pairs of identical and fraternal twins who took part in the Twins Early Development Study, a long-term analysis of twins born in the United Kingdom between 1994 and 1996. The twins took a series of online tests designed to measure their levels of general, mathematical, and spatial anxiety. Meanwhile, the researchers examined the genetic variation of the pairs of twins to determine how much of their anxiety was caused by genetic versus environmental factors.
The researchers found that for all three types of anxiety they focused on, 30 to 40 percent of anxiety measurements could be pegged to genetics, while “non-shared environmental factors” explained the rest. Because identical twins share 100 percent of their genetic makeup and fraternal twins share 50 percent of their genes, the scientists could determine when anxiety had a genetic correlation.
Exactly which genes lead to each type of anxiety has yet to be determined, but they seem to be related to the processing capacity of the brain. The results indicated that each type of anxiety had its own “specific neuronal and cognitive processes” in addition to the base-level physiological and cognitive processes shared by all three forms of anxiety. For example, mathematics anxiety was more strongly associated with the disruption of visual working memory, while general anxiety interfered more with the verbal working memory system. Spatial anxiety could be further broken down into subtypes of stress — navigation anxiety and rotation-visualization anxiety — differences that have to do with differences in DNA, study author Margherita Malanchini, Ph.D., explained in a video.
Interestingly, one gender-related result that they expected to observe did not occur: While women demonstrated “significantly higher levels of anxiety than males did in all domains,” the researchers couldn’t peg this difference to environmental factors. Previous studies have found that women who think math is important and are aware of the social stereotypes about women and math tend to feel more anxious about math than men, but this study didn’t find any differences related to these environmental factors.
If Ikea furniture building sends you into a panic, take heart: While you can’t readily change your genes (at least, not yet), you can change your environment to make it less anxiety inducing. Previous studies have found that anxiety is easily passed on when people try to help each other and that enjoying an experience is more important than intelligence when it comes to successfully solving problems. Next time you’re faced with the prospect of Ikea furniture building, you may want to skip the pictogram instructions and just make a request to Task Rabbit.
Light streaming through windows can do a lot more than brighten up a room. Adding silicon nanoparticles to the glass could allow our windows to harvest energy while filling our homes with cheery rays of sunlight.
Researchers have been working for a while on ways to incorporate energy-harvesting technology into windows, and the latest breakthrough in the research is out of the University of Minnesota (UMN) and University of Milano-Bicocca where scientists have developed a technique to embed silicon nanoparticles into what they call luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). Their system can trap the useful frequencies of light and direct them to the edges of the window where small solar cells can be used to capture the energy. This allows for very efficient absorption of light at various wavelengths.
In the past, this same result was achieved using complex nanostructures that contained toxic elements, like cadmium or lead, or rare ones, like indium. In contrast, silicon is non-toxic and naturally abundant in the environment. Even if it weren’t, the amount needed is very small. “Each particle is made up of less than two thousand silicon atoms. The powder is turned into an ink-like solution and then embedded into a polymer, either forming a sheet of flexible plastic material or coating a surface with a thin film,” Samantha Ehrenberg, a University of Minnesota mechanical Ph.D. student and co-author of the study, told UMN.
SILICON SAVES THE DAY
Combining solar concentrators and solar cells is not new, but the addition of silicon nanoparticles into the equation is opening up new possibilities. The exceptional compatibility of the silicon nanoparticles’ optical features with the simple industrial process of producing the LSCs brings us so much closer to the possibility of affordable photovoltaic windows that can capture significant amounts of energy.
“This will make LSC-based photovoltaic windows a real technology for the building-integrated photovoltaic market without the potential limitations of other classes of nanoparticles based on relatively rare materials,” adds Francesco Meinardi, physics professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and one of the first authors of the paper.
Windows that could collect solar energy would mean that sustainability didn’t have to take a backseat to aesthetics, which are a critical aspect of buildings in metropolitan areas. In LSC-based photovoltaic systems, the photovoltaic cells can be concealed in the window frame to blend seamlessly into the structure. This makes incorporating renewable technology into the construction easy, and given the number of skyscrapers in major urban areas, the tech could essentially convert entire cities into functional solar farms.
When you hear ‘bees’ and ‘drone’ in the same sentence, you think of the low, continuous hum that the insects omit. What you don’t think is expensive gadget used to film smug family’s Jamaican getaway. Nonetheless, the scientific community’s concerns about the imminent demise of honeybees has instigated the development of drones – of the tangible persuasion – to carry out artificial pollination.
The development comes amidst ongoing concerns about the world’s bee population, and the ramifications if bees die out altogether. Extinction would have huge consequences for the global ecosystem: bee pollination is responsible, in varying capacities, for apples, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, broccoli and onions. In turn, it is estimated that bees are responsible for approximately 1.4 billion jobs worldwide; they’re a critical component of human welfare. Pound for pound, they contribute more to the nation’s GDP than the royal family.
In a recent endeavor, scientists in Japan have come up with a backup plan should the world’s honeybee population collapse, in the form of mini hummingbird-sized drones. Protruding from the drone’s body are a cluster of horsehair paintbrush bristles coated in a sticky gel, which facilitates the pick-up and redistribution of pollen grains amongst flowers.
The researchers stressed that “The global pollination crisis is a critical issue for the natural environment and our lives. The need to develop an innovative pollination tool that does not require time and effort to achieve pollination with a high success rate is urgent.”
The drones signal a step forward, certainly, but they lack the honey-producing capacity of the bees themselves. Plus, there’s a long way to go before the drones can operate without human guidance, not to mention a huge financial barrier to overcome. Nonetheless, flawed though they may be, the drones are a necessary evil; it is estimated that about 9% of bees are classified as ‘threatened’, and bee colonies are in sharp decline.
This isn’t the first time that humans have intervened, laden with technology, in an attempt to save the bees; in 2015 Australian scientists installed micro tracking chips on bees in an endeavor to find out the causes of ‘colony collapse’, the phenomenon which depletes the honeybee population.
As unsettling as all this bee-interventionism may be – you may remember a similar scenario going horribly wrong in the final episode of Black Mirror – it’s a solution to a potentially devastating problem. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of ‘buzz’ (I’m sorry) surrounding the issue…
In an effort to compete even more closely with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa-assisted Echo, Google Home owners can now shop on their devices via the Google Assistant. Whereas Amazon’s devices shop, obviously, via the e-commerce giant, Google Home instead works with participating Google Express retailers, including the likes of Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Once set up via the Google Home app, ordering is easy — users simply say something like “Okay Google, order paper towels” and the Home will do exactly that.
The new shopping feature is available now and, to encourage owners to use it, Google is waiving any additional service and membership fees on orders placed through April 30. And, according to Google, the new feature “is just the beginning of what’s possible for shopping with the Google Assistant” — the tech giant is promising to add even more features and enable purchases for other apps and services in the months ahead.
For families with young children, the convenience of laundry detergent pods is probably not worth the risk. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of chemical burns associated with laundry pods rose more than 30 percent among three and four-year-olds.
Since these single-dose detergent packs hit the market, there are have been over 1,200 reported pod-related injuries including eye burns, choking and poisoning. A study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, found that pre-school age children could easily be injured when handling the colorful pods, possibly mistaken as a toy or candy. Injuries occurred most often when the contents were squirted into their eyes or rubbed into their eyes after handling a leaking pod.
Unlike regular liquid detergent, the pods have a higher concentration of surfactants, a chemical compound used to remove stains—causing the ordinarily safe ingredient to irritate sensitive areas such as the eyes. Some children who experience pod-related eye injuries could suffer long-term vision impairment due to the caustic properties in the detergent.
In response to the study’s results, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has launched a campaign to spread awareness of possible pod-related injuries. Procter & Gamble, the parent company of Gain and Tide brand laundry pods, also put out an ad campaign to educate parents on pod safety.
If a child does get detergent in their eye, doctors suggest immediately rinsing the eye with cool water for 20 minutes. Lead researcher Dr. R. Sterling Haring says, “Don’t stop and take them to the hospital. Don’t call and wait for an ambulance to show up. Flush the eye with cool water before you do anything else. That’s going to be the deciding factor about long-term outcome for this injury.”
Although it was once a common sight around many American homes, odds are, unless you’re an avid sewer, the only thimble you’ve come into contact with recently is the Monopoly game piece. Perhaps it was that lack of relevancy that led to the silver token’s demise: Hasbro announced today that the thimble will no longer pass “Go” in the next generation of Monopoly.
More than four million votes were cast in Hasbro’s “Monopoly Token Madness” contest and the thimble — which has been part of the game’s token lineup since its debut in 1935 — wasn’t popular enough to stay.
“The lucky Thimble has lost its ‘shine’ with today’s fans and will be retired from the game,” Hasbro said.
The company hasn’t yet announced which game piece will replace it among contenders like sunglasses, a typewriter, a hashtag, computer, rubber ducky, and an array of other random (and modern) household items. That result will be announced on March 19, and the newly-updated game will be sold in stores starting this August.
The current lineup now includes the Scottie dog, top hat, car, boot, wheelbarrow, battleship, and newcomer, the cat, which was voted in as replacement for the iron token in 2013.
The smart technology found in our phones and other wearables may be great at finding us a nearby Thai restaurant, but not so much at accurately keeping watch over our infant children, say a group of pediatricians in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Their editorial, published online Tuesday, argues that the recent trend of baby monitors that come with newfangled bells and whistles — smartphone integration, sensors built into baby clothing, and an advertised ability to detect complex measurements like a baby’s blood oxygen level — may sound impressive, but they actually provide little practical benefit. In many cases, they cause parents unneeded stress. And at worst, they may be falsely marketing their potential to prevent cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death among infants less than a year old.
According to the authors, there are a few major problems with these smart baby monitors.
For one, there’s no scientific evidence that keeping tabs on a healthy baby’s vital signs through these health apps is useful in the first place. They can be notoriously inaccurate at detecting hypertension and other chronic health problems. And even famous wearables like the FitBit have gotten in legal hot water lately, with several class action lawsuits filed against the company last year by users who claim their watches couldn’t accurately track their heart rates or sleep patterns.
Secondly, even with 100 percent accuracy, they could still lead to false alarms. As one example, the authors point out that a perfectly fine baby’s blood oxygen level occasionally drops to levels below 80 percent of normal, without anything being wrong with them. If a smart baby monitor detected that drop though, that could lead to parents unnecessarily rushing their children to the hospital or otherwise drive them even crazier with worry.
You might think products like the Smart Sock monitor by Owlet Baby Care would be regulated by agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, but manufacturers have sidestepped this hurdle by saying their devices aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease. That hasn’t stopped companies from slyly implying they can in their direct advertisements to parents, however. And that side-shuffle has also allowed them to avoid proving their devices even work as intended.
While smart baby monitors shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater, particularly for children with chronic breathing problems, they need a lot more vetting and regulation before parents should give them a try, the authors concluded.
And maybe the times are changing sooner than expected — Owlet Baby Care announced earlier this week that they intend to seek FDA approval for a medical version of their Smart Sock.
We don’t have $250 million. You don’t have $250 million. But maybe if we all come together and pool our money we might be able to afford the most expensive home ever listed in America because—shockingly—it may actually be worth it. Consider some of the things included with the 12-bedroom Bel Air mansion. A car collection that includes classics from the ’30s and modern-day supercars. A massage room. A helicopter and matching landing pad. A massage room. A bowling alley. A screening room with 40 Italian leather recliners. Some seriously awesome art. A freaking candy room. A swim up bar. And, honestly, that’s only scratching the surface. The home, which is currently owned by Bruce Makowsky, even comes with a staff that’s been paid for two years of work. Check your damn sofa cushions and get back to us.