Author - Brett Loewe

Traveling musician. And I write about it. Isn't that fun? And what do you do to be happy in life?

Fashion Science

New Probiotic Suit Fights Body Odor

A bio-engineered bodysuit could handle unpleasant body-odor with micro-organisms woven into its fibers.

Named “Skin II,” the leotard-like piece of clothing incorporats live, healthy probiotic bacteria that, when activated by perspiration, can diminish personal odors, help skin cells regenerate and improve our immune system.

“It’s not the sweat on your body that causes body odor, it’s the bacteria,” designer Rosie Broadhead told Reuters in an interview. “So we’ve incorporated healthy bacteria into the textiles to enable a healthy microbiome which will help to reduce your body odor,”

With her probiotic fabric, Broadhead hopes to revolutionize the interaction between fabric and skin. Other than its health (and social life!) aspects, she’s also keen on the environmental impact of her invention:

“My project offers an alternative to chemicals such as antibacterial finishes on clothing and cosmetics,” Broadhead says, “Due to the deodorizing effect the probiotics have on the body, it may reduce the amount of time you need to wash your clothes.”

Our modern life fixation on cleanliness makes it hard for “good” micro-organisms to survive, so Skin II is a big opportunity for sustainable fashion.

Probiotics are living micro-organisms that are beneficial to our bodies when in sufficient amounts. Probiotics are found naturally in some foods, like yogurt, and, surprisingly, pickles, but you can also take them as dietary supplements.

Broadhead collaborated with Belgian microbiologist Chris Callewaert of Ghent University to develop the fabric. Callewaert has done extensive research on the causes of body odor, and he provided her with probiotic bacteria. This bacteria are found on our skin and are different from the digestive system bacteria we all know from food products.

“A lot of focus is on the fashion industry’s unsustainable practices concerning waste and environmental impact,” says Broadhead, “However, much less is known about the use of chemical finishes on our clothing that can impact our bodies.”

She wanted to create clothing that was good for the skin, but has a minimal impact on the environment, “which meant using technology that had a deodorizing effect. By working with probiotics that are common on our skin I have developed ways to add function and performance to our clothing in a natural way.”

Broadhead and Callewaert plan to market Skin II with a full sportswear line, and in this heat – we just can’t wait for it to hit the shelves :-)

A bio-engineered bodysuit could handle unpleasant body-odor with micro-organisms woven into its fibers.

Named “Skin II,” the leotard-like piece of clothing incorporats live, healthy probiotic bacteria that, when activated by perspiration, can...

City Life Tech News

Daimler & Bosch Driverless Parking Has Gotten a Thumbs Up

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have received approval from the German regulators to operate their automated driverless parking facility without involving a human safety driver sitting behind the wheel.

This is the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be totally approved for everyday use.  The thumbs-up comes 4 years after the companies started working together on the technology end.

Bosch board member, Dr. Markus Heyn said this decision by authorities only shows that innovations like automated valet parking is now possible in Germany.

He believes that driverless parking and driving are the cornerstones for tomorrow’s automated mobility.  Automated parking shows just how far we have already come and the continued development path that lies ahead.

Look Ma No Hands!

Level 4 was designated by SAE which means the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human interference.

Until now, there have been several Level 4 tests and trials in the works but they all involved people behind the wheel of the vehicle as a backup.

Bosch is considered one of the largest automotive tech and hardware suppliers in the world and they handle the infrastructure aspect of the automated parking function.

It works in collaboration with Daimler’s vehicle technology on its Mercedes-Benz vehicles.  Users can easily access the independent valet service using their smartphone app.

Bosch and Daimler started developing their fully automated driverless parking back in 2015. Their initial partnership including car2go, the which is the car-sharing unit of Daimler.

They debuted their automated valet parking function back in 2017 at the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Then in 2018, after intensive testing, museum visitors ere able to test the automated parking service with one very important warning, a human safety driver must always be behind the wheel.

Using their smartphone app, visitors could reserve vehicles from the facility.  Their vehicle would arrive independently to the designated pick up place in the garage.

When the visitor is finished with the vehicle, they could deliver it to the drop off area.  The vehicle would then drive itself back to its assigned spot, guided by the garage’s infrastructure and onboard sensors.

The pilot program was limited in scope and restricted by a safety driver, but it served a valuable purpose for Bosch and Daimler and even other companies hoping to use automated driving in Germany.

That said, Germany does not have an approval process for automated driving without a human driver.

From the beginning, Bosch and Daimler brought in authorities from Stuttgart and the state of  Baden-Württemberg’s transportation ministry as well as experts from the German certification authority TUV Rheinland.

You would think the group would assess the safety of Bosch & Daimler’s parking function but it also helped regulators come up with guidelines for testing and the approval benchmark that could be applied beyond the pilot project in a parking garage in Stuttgart.

Bosch & Daimler tested lighting ideas on the vehicle’s pilot project.  They used turquoise lighting to indicate that the vehicle was in automation mode and informed others passing by along with other road users, that the vehicle was driving itself.

This is not the only Bosch & Daimler project that is in the works.  In 2017, they partnered to bring fully automated vehicles to urban roads within the next 10 years.  Last year, they announced plans to have a pilot robotaxi service in San Jose, Calif.

They are planning on using automated Mercedes-Benz S Class vehicles during the second half of 2019. There will be a geofenced area in the San Carlos and Stevens Creek corridor which is between downtown and west San Jose.

The pilot will have an on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services.  All rides will be monitored by a safety driver.

Presently, Bosch is building a $1.1 billion facility designed to assemble semiconductors used in self-driving cars, smart homes, and smart city infrastructure.

The Dresden-based chip is expected to start manufacturing silicon, commercially, in 2021 and construction is expected to be finished in 2019.

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have received approval from the German regulators to operate their automated driverless parking facility without...

Lifestyle Vacation

Top 7 Rooftop Bars to Visit in Berlin

If you want to experience Berlin in a whole new way, it’s a good idea to visit some of the most unique and coolest rooftop bars you’ll ever set foot in. Berlin’s skyline is amazing, but these rooftop bars have a lot more to offer, so here are the top 7 options to visit in Berlin!

  1. Amano Hotel Rooftop Terrace

If you want to see the TV Tower up close, the Amano Hotel Rooftop Terrace is the right spot for you. Here you can sip on drinks such as Moscow Mule or a Dark and Stormy and enjoy the view of the city rooftops.

Drinks are a bit more expensive here than in other places, but that view is 100% worth it.

  1. Deck5

Deck5 has earned the honor of being the highest beach bar in Berlin. During the winter, the sand disappears and the entire space is decorated with Christmas ornaments and it becomes the highest Christmas market in the city.

It doesn’t matter which season you visit in, Deck5 is sublime year-round.

  1. Gallery Rooftop bar

The Gallery, located at the rooftop of the Hotel Indigo, offers breathtaking views of what used to be East Berlin, the longest standing stretch of the Berlin Wall, and the Spree River.

The cocktail menu is full of creative options and get ready, because they’re strong! Try not to fall apart after a few.

  1. Hotel de Rome Rooftop Terrace

If you want a more swanky option, the Hotel de Rome rooftop terrace is the right one for you.

This one offers incredible views of the St. Hedwig Cathedral and the opera house, so it’s definitely worth a visit. The drinks are a bit expensive, but when you consider where you are, you won’t mind splurging a bit.

  1. House of Weekend

House of Weekend is the right spot for people who want to club and still enjoy a jaw-dropping view up high. This techno club, located near Alexanderplatz, is 17 floors up in the Haus des Reisens.

It’s open from Thursday to Sunday morning, so keep that in mind when you plan your visit.

  1. Klunkerkranich

Klunkerkranich is an interesting option because there’s no sign or way to find it on your own. This rooftop bar is on the top of a parking garage and it’s one of the hippest options on the list.

It’s the perfect spot to have a cold beer and enjoy the view of the city below. Sometimes there’s even live music!

  1. Monkey Bar

Last but not least, the Monkey Bar is a fashionable place to visit during your stay in Berlin. The bar is set on the rooftop of the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin and it takes its name because you have a full view of the monkeys at the zoo, making this a truly unique experience.

It’s super fun to watch them play, but if that’s somehow not your thing, you can also enjoy incredible views of West Berlin, so it’s a great place to visit.

If you want to experience Berlin in a whole new way, it’s a good idea to visit some of the most unique and coolest rooftop bars you’ll ever set foot in. Berlin’s skyline is amazing, but these rooftop bars have a lot more to offer, so here are the top 7...

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Weird ‘Praying Monk’ Ice Daggers Host Life in an Extreme Environment

We first heard of nieves penitentes in scientific literature written by Charles Darwin back in the 1800s, but most of us have never heard of this strange term.

This is because nieves penitentes, strange blades of ice found in remote places, were discovered first in the Andes which are difficult and extreme and therefore, extremely hard to venture into, especially for an extended period of time for study.

However, a group of brave scientists made the trip into Chile’s Volcán Llullaillaco, recording their findings in the journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. “This is a very remote area that’s difficult to access,” study co-author Steve Schmidt, from the University of Colorado Boulder, said in a statement.

“The entire back of one of our pickup trucks had to be filled with barrels of drinking water. It’s no trivial thing to go out there, and that’s one of the reasons these formations haven’t been studied much.”

Nieves penitentes are long blades of hardened snow and ice ranging anywhere from a few inches to 16 feet long. They are found in cold, dry regions about 13,000 feet, the most extreme, high-altitude environments on Earth.

Since UV radiation is high and humidity is low, the temperature changes drastically and the winds are extreme, making it difficult for life to exist.

These snow formations usually form pointed toward our sun, and they were named nieves penitentes – meaning “penitent snow” – because of their resemblance to praying monks wearing white robes.

Red Ice?

What the scientists found was astounding: the penitente fields, found at a height of over 16,000 feet, had red ice patches. This means that microscopic life exists! Further analysis showed that the patches held a community of snow algae closely related to that which has been found in other alpine and polar environments.

“In this environment penitentes provide both water and shelter from harsh winds, high UV radiation and thermal fluctuations, creating an oasis in an otherwise extreme landscape,” the team wrote.

This is the first time life has been recorded in these formations. Since they are believed to exist on other bodies within the solar system, including Pluto and Jupiter’s moon Europa, this could provide insight into extra-terrestrial life.

The scientists say its meaning is significant when we consider the search for alien life.”Intriguingly, recent planetary investigations have suggested the existence of penitente-like structures on other planetary bodies of our solar system,” the team concludes.

“Therefore, penitentes and the harsh environment that surrounds them provide a new terrestrial analog for astrobiological studies of life beyond Earth.”Lara Vimercati, lead author of the study, said in a statement:

“Snow algae have been commonly found throughout the cryosphere on both ice and snow patches, but our finding demonstrated their presence for the first time at the extreme elevation of a hyper-arid site.” They found nieves penitentes near the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth; moreover, it’s landscape is thought to be most similar to Mars.

These discoveries giving insight into life existing on such harsh environments help scientists understand what types of places it could show up in the rest of the solar system. Currently, researchers strongly believe that Jupiter’s moon could be harboring microscopic lifeforms in its subsurface, saline ocean since they’ve found thousands of species beneath Antarctica’s surface.”

Our study shows how no matter how challenging the environmental conditions, life finds a way when there is availability of liquid water,” Vimercati said. Schmidt added: “We’re generally interested in the adaptations of organisms to extreme environments. This could be a good place to look for upper limits of life.”

We first heard of nieves penitentes in scientific literature written by Charles Darwin back in the 1800s, but most of us have never heard of this strange term.

This is because nieves penitentes, strange blades of ice found in remote places, were discovered...

Fashion

How to Dry Clean at Home

In today’s age, everyone is wearing workout clothing in other places such as at the workplace or for a casual occasion.  Most workout clothes are made from materials that can be easily thrown in the washer and that’s it.

That said, we all have other clothes such as cashmere sweaters or silk pants with labels that clearly say “dry clean only”.  You know you cannot throw them in your washer without damaging them, so you pack them up and head off to your dry cleaner and spend a good chunk of change to get them cleaned.

After speaking with people in the know, we discovered you do not have to run off to your dry cleaner!  There are dry clean only items that can actually be had washed!

What you don’t know, that label that reads “dry clean only” is actually a way for the manufacturers to not be held accountable if the instructions are not followed to the “T”.  The sole purpose for these labels allows the manufacturers to place the blame on the dry cleaners if an item is damaged.

The DIY DryClean Experiment

Well, back in 2014, an experiment was conducted by taking a series of items with labels for dry cleaning, washed them, and then recorded the results.  It seems cashmere, silk, and polyester did really well but tailored suits or decorative detailed tops did not do well.

Note – these items were not thrown into a washing machine with other items such as sportswear or socks.  They were washed by hand but before deciding to hand wash these items, you should perform a spot test first.

If you are a little trepidatious, test these items in an area that is inconspicuous to the eye and find out how the material reacts to water.  If you find the color is bleeding, the area you tested is shrinking or there’s puckering, you should take it to the dry cleaner.

Keep in mind, there are materials that should never be washed such as leather, suede, rayon, and polyamide fabrics unless the label clearly states the item can be washed.

Also, if you prefer to take these items to the dry cleaner but have no plans of going there every week, you can purchase a fabric freshener, like Fabreze, to keep the item fresh for a longer period of time.

In many cases items that require dry cleaning are usually more expensive to buy so it’s very understandable why you might prefer not to run the risk of washing these items and cause damage On the other hand, if you are willing to give it a shot, there are several really excellent products for hand-washing such as Woolite.

In today’s age, everyone is wearing workout clothing in other places such as at the workplace or for a casual occasion.  Most workout clothes are made from materials that can be easily thrown in the washer and that’s it.

That said, we all have...

Vacation

The Top 10 Destinations to Travel to This Summer, According to Airbnb

Summer Vacation. These two words fill us with the excitement of traveling, relaxing, seeing new places, meeting new people, and more.

Some of us envision a glass of rose by the sea while others of us long for something more foreign and adventurous, explorations in Asia or the mountains somewhere.

The world is an incredibly vast place, and there is no end to the places we could travel to.

If you’re having a hard time choosing where your summer getaway should be in 2019, Airbnb can help with their definitive ranking of this summer’s must-see summer travel destinations.

Airbnb used internal booking data to see which are the hottest and most desirable locations this summer, and the options are quite various. Some focus on nature, like Bragg Creek, Canada while others display the coast, like South Korea’s coastal city of Yeosu.

Two cities of China made their way on the list of top 10 destinations, and it also seems like Puerto Rico has become increasingly popular.

The number one destination was claimed by a commune in northern France right next to the Belgian border and on the Scheldt River – Valenciennes.

Time to Choose!

Those vacation days are almost upon us, so if you haven’t managed to land on a location for you this summer, let Airbnb’s top global destinations help! They are as follows:

  1. Valenciennes, France
  2. Changsha, China
  3. Matsudo, Japan
  4. Marigot, St. Martin
  5. Wuhan, China
  6. Dorado, Puerto Rico
  7. Vieques, Puerto Rico
  8. Río Grande, Puerto Rico
  9. Yeosu, South Korea
  10. Bragg Creek, Canada

Some of you are planning a trip for you and a significant other, and for most popular trips booked by couples, Airbnb has a whole other list.

You’ll be surprised at some of the destinations that trend the most, like Munising in Michigan, but others are headed to Argentina, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We’ve listed below the top five locations for those booking for two:

  1. Nanterre, France
  2. Nanjing, China
  3. Williams, Arizona
  4. Courseulles-sur-Mer, France
  5. South Uist, Scotland

Summer Vacation. These two words fill us with the excitement of traveling, relaxing, seeing new places, meeting new people, and more.

Some of us envision a glass of rose by the sea while others of us long for something more foreign and adventurous...

Animals Cool Stories

25 Year Old Shark Tooth Removed From Man’s Leg

Florida resident Jeff Weakley was bitten by a shark near Florida’s Flagler Beach back in 1994 and had long since put the incident behind him until he suddenly noticed that he had developed a lump similar to a blister on the same foot.  He decided to pop the blister with some tweezers only to have a piece of shark tooth fall out.

According to scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Mr Weakley had contacted them after the incident so they could run tests on the tooth to establish the species of shark it had once belonged to.

The Museum is currently running the Florida Program for Shark Research so it seemed was certainly the go-to lab for Mr Weakley.  He was, however, concerned that when they ran the tests it might come back as something like a mackerel tooth, which would be a lot less exciting.

Testing the Tooth for Shark DNA

Scientist Lei Yang took the tooth and removed the pulp to test for DNA.  It revealed that the tooth did indeed belong to a shark, specifically a Blacktip sharp.  Known scientifically as Carcharhinus limbatus, this is a medium-sized shark that is often found in waters similar to that around Flagler Beach.

The event was reported in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine where laboratory manager Lei Yang explained how the test had been performed using modern genome sequencing to obtain an unambiguous result.

The University of Florida’s Naylor Lab has a DNA library of around 70% of all known sharks and similar species in the world and the Blacktip is one of the most abundant found in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since they are so plentiful it is not uncommon for the Blacktip to be implicated in shark bite cases around Florida.

Mr Yang had some sympathy with Mr Weakley’s need to find out which shark had been the one to bite him.  For his own part Mr Weakley said that this was confirmation of his initial belief that the shark had been a Blackfin.

That being the case, he still spent time in the ocean and the bite had never put him off swimming in the area.  He likened it to being bitten by a dog, he was unlucky, but it was just a fact of life that sharks are present in the local area.

The team of scientists were lucky to be able to use the DNA in the tooth because it had been inside Mr Weakley’s body for around a quarter of a century, during which time it had undoubtedly come under fire from his own immune system.

Mr Yang was keen to point out that determining a species in the case of bites could be instrumental in understanding behavior and then implementing strategies that could help prevent future incidents.  Each species is different in their life span, history and behavior so understanding the sharks is key to preventing more bites.

Florida resident Jeff Weakley was bitten by a shark near Florida’s Flagler Beach back in 1994 and had long since put the incident behind him until he suddenly noticed that he had developed a lump similar to a blister on the same foot.  He decided to pop...

Cool Stories Earth Humans Are Awesome

Find Out How LEGO Has Managed To Run On 100% Renewable Energy

Not only has LEGO earned a place in the Guinness World Book of Records but achieved their goal running renewable energy a good 3 years before their initial plan.

LEGO was launched on August 10, 9132 in Billund Denmark and is the leading manufacturer of a children’s toy famously known as LEGO Building Bricks!  They completed their wind farm off the coast of Ireland which uses 258 megawatts of energy.  They constructed an enormous life-sized wind turbine made out of LEGOs to honor the occasion.

LEGO CEO, Bali Padda, said they worked very hard to leave a positive impact on the planet and they are very excited about the inauguration of the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm. This is not the first time LEGO has been involved in renewable energy.

They own approximately one-third of the German-based Borkum Riggrund I offshore wind farm and 25% of the newly-minted Burbo Bank.

The CEO said they plan to continue investing in renewable energy to help form a better future for the builders of tomorrow.  Back to the Guinness World Record, they achieved their place by historically building the largest LEGO brick turbine.

It was constructed out of more than 146,000 LEGO bricks and it took their team over 600 hours to complete, transport, and reassemble the masterpiece at the  Liverpool ONE shopping center in England.

After reassembly, the structure was measured by officials using a measuring tape and a hydraulic crane.  If you want to see this massive, magnificent LEGO wind turbine, it’s been moved to the LEGOLAND Winsor Resort in England.

It’s About The Children:

LEGO said they have gone to great lengths to promote renewable energy because it’s about the next generation being taught about the value of sustainable power.  They know their role models are children and plan to continue taking action for reducing the environmental impact as a company.

They continue looking for ways to inspire children from all over the world by engaging them in environmental and social issues.

In 2018, LEGO released its first sustainable set of plant-based bricks made from sugar cane.  A few months later, they introduced their LEGO Creator Expert toy which is a miniature version that functions as a wind turbine for children.

This amazing company with its incredible vision is well on its way to provide 100% environmentally-friendly packaging and merchandise by 2030!

Way To Go LEGO!

Not only has LEGO earned a place in the Guinness World Book of Records but achieved their goal running renewable energy a good 3 years before their initial plan.

LEGO was launched on August 10, 9132 in Billund Denmark and is the leading manufacturer of a...

Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome

Creative Repairman Perfectly Fixes Household Goods Using Instant Noodles

Here’s an Idea:

You can fix anything, apparently, with Ramen Noodles!

I’m not sure how this actually holds up but the basis is valid – it’s a filler (noodles) mixed with glue. What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s an Idea:
You can fix anything, apparently, with Ramen Noodles!
I’m not sure how this actually holds up but the basis is valid – it’s a filler (noodles) mixed with glue. What could possibly go wrong?

Cool Stories

A House That Looks Like a Floating Island

Located in Greece above the Santorini Hills sits this incredible home.  Inside, it is a modern residence but from a distance it looks like a slice of land is levitating above the ground.

There is a living garden on the roof and because the lower levels are designed in the earth-like striations the house gives an almost mirage-like appearance in the landscape.

This house, created by Kapsimalis Architects sits in a vineyard overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Fira, the capital of the island.  It completes its integration with the local landscape with a design reminiscent of the local caves.

Mirrored Earth

The look is created using tow levels: one mirrored, and one earthen.  The living area sits in the mirrored lower floor, along with the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom.  The area has an almost subterranean feel because of the earthen level sitting above.

On this level you find an office and an attic and, of course, a terrace from which you can overlook the spectacular view.  The views are not limited to the upper level though, the architects cleverly used one-way mirroring to give stunning lower level views similarly impressive views across the local scenery.

The architects were heavily influenced by the diversity of the landscape and used that to inspire the design of the home.  They wanted the home to become integral to the scenery using specific materials combined with a mirrored level to fully assimilate the property into the natural environment.

The mixture of traditional aesthetics and modern, futuristic design has created a unique and outstanding dwelling.

The architects have created a number of other similar homes including hotels within hills, concrete homes and adaptations of Greek ruins.  All of their structures use the region’s natural shapes, textures and traditional architecture as a backdrop for their unique designs.

Located in Greece above the Santorini Hills sits this incredible home.  Inside, it is a modern residence but from a distance it looks like a slice of land is levitating above the ground.

There is a living garden on the roof and because the lower levels are...

Cool Stories Entertainment Entertainment News

Batman is 80!

Art Exhibition Showcases the Caped Crusader’s 80th year as Comic Book Icon

Long before the movies, video games, cartoons a music videos the Caped Crusader made his mark as a comic book hero.  Batman, alongside Superman, was the star of DC comics.  Looking back on our hero you can see a rich history and if that’s something you’d love to immerse yourself in then get yourself along to one of three new exhibitions of Batman Art.

The New York-based Society of Illustrators is opening three exhibitions devoted to the savior of Gotham City. Each of the exhibitions will showcase literally hundreds of Batman images across several themes.  The opening reception takes place on June 21st.

Illustrating Batman

The main exhibit, entitled “Illustrating Batman: Eighty Years of Comics and Pop Culture,”  will showcase the comic book hero as seen in the work of Jim Lee, Bob Kane, Frank Miller and Neal Adams featured alongside commercials, toys and essays.

Designer Chip Kidd has provided a personal collection entitled “Batman Collected: Chip Kidd’s Batman Obsession” You can, however, also see some pieces from Bruce Timm and Alex Ross in the mix.

If you are a fan of anime you really need to go and check out the exhibition of Bat-Manga by Jiro Kuwata.  For a 1960s manga feel buy a ticket to “Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan”

If this has whetted your appetite for more Batman get yourself over to the Society of Illustrators in New York and grab a ticket.

Art Exhibition Showcases the Caped Crusader’s 80th year as Comic Book Icon

Long before the movies, video games, cartoons a music videos the Caped Crusader made his mark as a comic book hero.  Batman, alongside Superman, was the star of DC comics. ...