Celebs Fashion Inspiring Stories

Queen Elizabeth II Has Finally Unloaded All Real Fur

Well, it seems Queen Elizabeth, Queen of England, has decided to drop using real fur and adopting faux fur in its place.

The Queen’s dressmaker has revealed that after 67-years of reigning, the Queen has dropped all real fur for fake fur.

She will be attending an engagement during cold weather in Britain as of right now, fake fur will be used to make sure she stays warm as reported by Angela Kelly author of her new book “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser, and the Wardrobe.”

Buckingham Palace has also confirmed the news.

Why Now?

Although it’s not clear what the reason behind her decision is, she has received criticism from many animal welfare groups for using real fur in the past.

Claire Bass, Executive Director of Human Society International told Insider that they are thrilled with Her Majesty officially going fur-free.  Queen Elizabeth’s decision to “Go Faux” is the perfect reflection of the British public as the majority of people detest real fur and want absolutely nothing to do with it.

The majority of people in the UK believe the Queen’s decision to go fur-free is a very powerful message that is, without a doubt, out of fashion and does not belong in Britain.  The UK banned fur farming almost 20 years ago because it’s considered cruel and also believes it’s time for them to wrap it up by banning the sale of real fur.

Bass also stated that she believes that the British government should follow suit of the Queen’s decision and make the United Kingdom should be the first country in the world to ban the sale of animal fur.”

It’s also worth mentioning, the no-fur ruling only applies to outfits worn by Her Majesty.  Therefore, the entire palace is not fur-free.

Animal welfare groups have been protesting the royal family’s wearing fur for many years now.  In 2006, activists from The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA,  staged a naked protest outside Buckingham Palace trying to get the palace guards to give up wearing bearskin hats.

There are more and more people, worldwide, that are fighting back about killing animals for their fur.  Many international designers have moved away from fashion that incorporates real fur.  Animal advocates in the United States have also been very vocal about real fur.  Only time will tell so all we can do is wait and see if animals will get the much-needed recognition they deserve.

Well, it seems Queen Elizabeth, Queen of England, has decided to drop using real fur and adopting faux fur in its place.
The Queen’s dressmaker...

Cool Stories Earth

Rare Photos of Atmospheric Gravity Waves

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life, and this can give us some of the most truly life-changing sights and scenes. However, one phenomenon that has so far been invisible to humans is known as atmospheric gravity waves.

These are ripples that you would not be able to see in the sky, but definitely have taken place. Such waves can take place in various locations but are often most commonly found during thunderstorms.

Indeed, it’s apparently not too dissimilar to what happens when you throw a rock across the water – you see that little ripple, that change. That is also a gravity wave; what is happening in the sky is similar.

Our Atmosphere is Liquid

Any disturbance to fluid can make these waves take place. Given that our atmosphere is a liquid, too, though, it can contribute to the development of similar wave effects later on in time. It’s a big reason why this kind of atmospheric wave has long been sought after by scientists looking to see it happen in real-time.

The person behind making this happen was Adam Morgan, a meteorologist at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Speaking to ABC News, Morgan said: “Essentially gravity waves are disturbances in any sort of fluid, so we see them often in water, but the atmosphere is a fluid as well, so any sort of disturbance in there can generate waves.”

Asked why this has taken place to begin with, Morgan said: “There was a big thunderstorm over the northwest of Western Australia and the disturbance, in this case, was the cold air falling out of the thunderstorm and into the warmer air near the surface,” Morgan said.

“The difference in density there causes the disturbance and then the gravity wave can travel out as the cold air spreads out,”

Indeed, he also noted that such waves can travel exceptionally large distances before they begin to dissipate and return to normal. Speaking further about the experience, Morgan said: “The disturbance will exist until everything rebalances itself, that’s why they can travel a long way,

“If you’ve ever been to the swimming pool and someone jumps in and does a dive bomb at one end of the pool, you might get the wave right at the other end of the pool after a bit of time.”

The main reason why we cannot normally see these, though, is due to the fact that they must produce some kind of cloud. Otherwise, there is not enough moisture in the air to try and give us an insight into what is going on in the background.

Still, we can now finally say that we have visual proof of an atmospheric gravity wave taking place. For many in the science community, this will be seen as a hugely impressive level of progress.

Life is often full of amazing little treats that, to the untrained eye, would go entirely unseen. Phenomena are commonly found in all walks of life...

Cool Stories Fashion

Designer Says These $20 Million Shoes are The World’s Most Expensive

In the past, it was handbags. Your purse brand and its price defined you. The more expensive, the better. But slowly, bags have taken the backseat, and shoes have begun to take their place – or so says Business Insider’s, Mary Hanbury.

In fact, numbers show that consumers are spending more money on expensive shoes than luxury handbags – $794 on one pair on average, Hanbury wrote, citing a report by The NPD Group. The most classic of these status-symbol shoes is a pair of Christian Louboutins, which can range from anywhere in the high hundreds to the mid-thousands.

However, a pair of shoes debuted on a yacht in Dubai as a part of MIDE (Made in Italy, Designed in Emirates) Fashion Week earlier this October makes the cost of a pair of Louboutins look like pocket change.

Designed by the Italian Antonio Vietri, the “Moon Star Shoes” are now the world’s most expensive shoe, valuing around $19.9 million according to Sophi Prideaux of The National, an English-language UAE news site.

Made of Stars?

So, what makes these shoes so expensive? Not only is the heel solid gold, but it also consists of 30 carats of diamonds and a bit of Argentinian meteorite circa 1576 – all combined to make a record-breaking shoe.

According to Forbes Italia, the shoes are meant to be a tribute to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Vietri is also known for designing the “world’s first 24k gold shoes” in 2017, reported Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. And, of course, they were delivered to buyers via helicopter.

“The most expensive shoes in the world are mine. And the record came to [the] city of Turin. I love my city,” the designer wrote on Instagram on October 14.

It’s undeniable that Vietri has taken the luxury market of shoes to a whole new level. What will he do next?

Still no news on how comfortable the shoes are as of yet.

In the past, it was handbags. Your purse brand and its price defined you. The more expensive, the better. But slowly, bags have taken the backseat...

Category - Humans Are Awesome

Cool Stories Tech News

SpaceX Looks at 2020 for First Internet Coverage From Space

SpaceX is looking at mid-2020 to start offering broadband services via Starlink – a huge internet-from-space project.  To get the project up and running 60 satellites must be deployed which requires 6-8 launches.

Starlink constellation will consist of thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth at low altitudes.  These satellites will be used to provide internet coverage.

The Federal Communications Commission has licensed Space X to launch 12,000 satellites as part of the project and last week the company contacted the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) to request radio frequencies it needs to communicate with another 30,000 satellites.  In total SpaceX intends to launch around 42,000 satellites into low orbit.

The World Wants to Connect

The initiative stems from the increased demand for reliable and fast internet globally, and to reach areas where connectivity has been patchy, non-existent or too expensive.  SpaceX will likely be working to make Starlink Constellation scalable to meet anticipated future needs.

To date, 60 Starlink satellites have been launched by SpaceX and 3 of these failed when they reached orbit.  Two further satellites were removed from orbit which indicates that the company can do this if they need to.  However, the other satellites have accessed the correct orbit and are functioning normally.  This was announced by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX via the system.

The project is still very much in its infancy with a lot of work still to complete before the general public can access the internet via Starlink.  As well as getting the satellites into orbit, Space X is still developing the user terminal that receives the signal from space.

The eventual roll-out may mean direct launch to customers in some areas, whereas in others it will be accessed via a telecom company.  This, along with pricing, has yet to be established.

With its venture into the Starlink Constellation SpaceX moves into the realms of space technology being utilized in commerce.

SpaceX is looking at mid-2020 to start offering broadband services via Starlink – a huge internet-from-space project.  To get the project up and running 60 satellites...

Read More
Cool Stories Nature & Tech

Hiker Saved by Apple Watch

A hiker from New Jersey has credited his Apple Watch for saving his life by dialing 911 after he and his date fell down a cliff.

The Apple Watch has several emergency response features including the ability to detect a fall and notify first responders.  Its location services send the coordinates of the wearer directly to emergency services.

James Prudenciano certainly believes that but for his Apple Watch he would not be alive.  He said that he and his date, Paige Paruso, had lost visibility as the sun went down when they were out hiking and had fallen down a cliff.

They had tried to slide down the drop believing it to be a lot lower than it was.  At the bottom, they were shocked to find they were going to fall directly into the Navesink River below.

The Watch Dialed 911

Paruso landed in the river sustaining minor injuries but Prudenciano landed hard on some rock, causing 3 spinal fractures.  At this stage, he believed he was going to die but the Apple Watch had already dialed 911.

All Apple Watch models after the Series 4 are fitted with this automatic SOS feature.  It can detect if a user falls and will ask if they require 911.  If there is no response or the wearer is immobile for longer than 60 seconds it automatically calls first responders and sends coordinates.

The couple were rescued by boat and were treated at the Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

A hiker from New Jersey has credited his Apple Watch for saving his life by dialing 911 after he and his date fell down a cliff.

The Apple Watch has several emergency...

Read More
Humans Are Awesome Tech News

Google Confirms ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Breakthrough

Google has now confirmed that it has achieved quantum supremacy with its 54-qubit Sycamore processor. The announcement comes in an article in Nature. The news was unofficially leaked a month ago but now all of the research is public and being scrutinized by the scientific community.

According to Google, Sycamore took 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would take an existing supercomputer around 10,000 years. This is said to indicate that the way the machine made the calculation would not be possible using a non-quantum machine.

The supercomputer that Sycamore has been said to have beaten is operated by IBM which, not surprisingly, has disputed Google’s claim. IBM states that its computer could do the task in 2.5 days and not 10,000 years as stated.

Extraordinary Achievement

Although IBM is keen to play down Google’s achievements researchers have welcomed the news. Likely, our ability to produce quantum computers that are suitable and practical for common usage is years down the line but Sycamore does indicate that it is indeed possible.

Scientists have been so enamored with the new machine that they have compared it to the first plane flight undertaken by the Wright Brothers in 1903.

Google has now confirmed that it has achieved quantum supremacy with its 54-qubit Sycamore processor. The announcement comes in an article in Nature. The news was...

Read More
Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Vacation

20 Hours in the Air – Longest Flight Has Just Landed

Qantas has announced that flight QF7879 has landed in Sydney after traveling non-stop to New York. With a flight time of 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air, it is officially the longest non-stop flight in the world stealing the top spot from Singapore Airlines who regularly travel from New York to Singapore.

Qantas is intending to test another non-stop flight, this time from London to Sydney which would add an extra 1 hour of flight time and 500 miles.

As airplanes continue to develop technological advancements and better fuel economy these longer flights become possible. However, this raises the question of how well flight crews and passengers will cope with the extra air time instead of the usual layovers which many passengers feel gives a much-needed break.

Qantas carried out research during the flight and intends to do so again in the planned London-Sydney flight to see how people cope with the extended time in the air and also looking at how to minimize the effects of jet-lag in passengers who will be crossing a total of 15 time zones.

The flight took 40 passengers and 10 crew with a complement of 4 pilots. The passengers included frequent fliers, Qantas staff, researchers and media. A full load of passengers and the associated cargo would reduce the plane’s range, making the continuous flight impossible but there are planes in development that will be able to do this.

Airbus and Boeing are expected to have these ready for service within the next 5 years.

Fewer Passengers – More Legroom!

The reduced numbers meant that passengers could make use of a business class seat which converts into a bed but they were asked to spend as much time as possible in the coach cabin. One of the passengers said that he felt better than expected and although he usually prefers direct flights rather than layovers he did not know how he was going to feel after the full 20 hours.

Qantas also adjusted the in-flight routine so as soon as the aircraft took off the flight was in Sydney time.

All of the lighting, meals, and food were tailored accordingly in an attempt to help the passengers adjust more easily to the time zones. All of the staff worked to the custom shift times and ate the adapted menu but also participated in additional tests including melatonin and brainwave measurement.

The team of 4 pilots under Captain Sean Golding worked together for landing and take-off and then worked in four shifts.

Qantas has announced that flight QF7879 has landed in Sydney after traveling non-stop to New York. With a flight time of 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air, it is...

Read More
Celebs Cool Stories

A Royal Halloween

The royal family does not have an official Halloween celebration but they will dress up occasionally. Over the years notable royals have happily donned the occasional costume including Princess Beatrice who dressed as a cat, back in 2016 and Prince Harry once proudly wore a goblin outfit for a school play. (Plus, of course, we all remember his infamous Nazi costume back in 2005).

Even Queen Elizabeth herself has been photographed sporting fancy dress.

It is reported that Prince William and Kate hold private parties at Kensington Palace for their own children although this has not been officially confirmed. Over the last few years, there have been few clues as to how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could choose to spend Archie’s first Halloween.

It is unlikely that we will see many selfies posted on Meghan and Harry’s Instagram page as they rarely post anything personal there. The account is primarily for promoting their various charities. However, Markle did celebrate the holiday before she married into the royal family and back in 2016 she was spotted with a large pumpkin on her head.

At this time Harry was visiting her in Toronto, and it was said that they did attend a Halloween party as a couple.

Since their marriage, the Duke and Duchess have only been seen celebrating in an official capacity, for example when they met performers in New Zealand just before Halloween last year. The couple seemed impressed by the spooky array of outfits and took plenty of photographs while they were there.

What about trick-or-treating?

The royal children will probably not be going door-to-door considering the amount of interest they get from the media everywhere they go. However, the home and grounds of Kensington Palace are extensive so it is likely that they can make their own fun. Normally, any royal activities that include the children are private.

Although the royal family doesn’t celebrate publicly it will likely be a busy time for the Middleton family who run their own business Party Pieces.

Perhaps there will be a private party for George, Charlotte, Louis, and Archie. The Duchesses have arranged play-dates for their children before and when could be a more perfect time to organize some spooky fun than Halloween!?

The royal family does not have an official Halloween celebration but they will dress up occasionally. Over the years notable royals have happily donned the occasional...

Read More
Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Science

NASA: New Spacesuit for First Woman on the Moon Revealed

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.

The two suits each have a unique purpose.

The xEMU suite (Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit is intended to be used on the Artemis program which aims to launch the first woman to walk on the surface of the moon in 2024. The long term aim is to establish a presence there and there are hopes that it will help pave the way to future missions to Mars.

The xEMU suit has several new features that have been incorporated based on the experience of spacewalks. Specifically, the suit has been made more resistant to dust – essential because of the makeup of the moon’s soil. It can also withstand huge changes in temperature from -25oF to 25oF in light of the temperatures that exist on the dark and light sides of the moon.

The backpack of the suit has been altered to include miniature versions of life-support equipment, allowing a back-up to be carried in case of a system failure or for use on longer walks on the surface. New materials and technology have been utilized to make the suit more flexible, allowing easier movement. Communication improvement includes a microphone directly embedded within the suit.

Modular and Personalized

The xEMU suit has a wide range of interchangeable parts and the module design lends well to full customization; it can be set up according to the specific needs of the astronaut and where the suit will be used. It is possible to add extra layers in cases of extreme cold and the visor can now be easily replaced and repaired with no need to return it to Earth.

The Orion suit is a flight suit – used by the astronauts on the Artemis and Orion during launch and re-entry, during an emergency or in a high-risk situation. This has been improved on since the Space Shuttle missions and the helmet is no longer one-size-fits-all; it is fire resistant, can adjust to varying temperatures, is stronger, more comfortable and helps reduce noise levels to assist communication.

The Orion suit has been designed in a bright orange to make it easier to find astronauts when they must leave the capsule after re-entry and landing. The suits also have a built-in emergency survival kit. The Orion can sustain life for up to 6 days enabling an astronaut a better chance of returning to Earth if cabin pressure is lost.

Like the xEMU the Orion is also more mobile, it is custom-built to the astronaut and can be put on or taken off more quickly. The gloves are specially designed for protection and strength while taking into account the need to be flexible enough to use touch screen technology.

The next stage is that the suits will be subjected to testing in spaceflight conditions to ensure they perform before they are officially commissioned

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.
The...

Read More
City Life Cool Stories

Out-Of-This-World & Totally Impractical Bridge Designs

Some designing concepts for the new pedestrian and cycle crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico in southern London are either pedestrian-friendly or just so far out of this world they have been called “The Flaming Mouth of Hades”.

The pedestrian bridge spans the Thames River that will link two different areas of the city and must be technically sound while creating a beautiful experience for a cyclist while offering a solid engineering design to provide enough required height to accommodate passing river traffic.

The designing of this bridge has drawn the attention of dozens of entries from around the world.

A list of contenders will be presented and the winner will be named, sometime soon.  The design must include what the bridge will look like from a distance, what it will feel like to pedestrians crossing it, and how it will look touching the shores on either side of the Thames.

Design is Critical for the Bridge’s Success

At this point in time, there is only a gallery of images to look at without much information on each design so it’s really difficult to tell just what you are looking at in some of these designs.  According to the City Metric, most of the entries look ridiculous, including one that is definitely not a bridge.

They pointed out that one looks like a spoon while another looks like an Escher painting! (Escher’s paintings were bizarre and impossible in reality).

There is no debate that the strange violet and orange creation for the bridge has been nicknamed “Hades” and is far from clear how this design could actually function as a bridge.

I guess you have to question if some of the entrants are just submitted for the heck of it vs. serious engineers that must complete this pedestrian bridge for aesthetic beauty as well as safety.  On particular design is actually quite beautiful featuring a perforated undulating canopy over a series of paths with planted greenery.

All in all, we will just have to wait to see what the judges think!

Some designing concepts for the new pedestrian and cycle crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico in southern London are either pedestrian-friendly or just so far out of...

Read More
Funny Stories

What’s With a British Hotel Charging $68,000 for a Pint?

According to Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer and beer editor for The Australian, he was watching the Ashes Cricket Match in Manchester at the Malmaison Hotel’s bar on a Sunday. He paid his tab for his Scottish Caledonian Deuchars IPA but later realized something was terribly wrong.

In a Tweet, he said he didn’t have his reading glasses when he was handed his bill for the beer. The barmaid said she had problems with the register but eventually fixed it.

He didn’t give it much thought and said he didn’t need a receipt and then just before she left, he realized this was the most expensive beer in the history of the Malmaison Hotel in Manchester with a whopping $99,983 charge!

He realized something was not right and asked her how much he paid for the beer. The girl looked at the receipt responding “Oh My God!” He said she appeared a little reluctant showing him the bill.

The hotel told him they would correct the mistake and rectify his bill. Lalor left, believing his bank would never approve this large charge on his bill.

The Plot Thickens

He told The Guardian, he was woken by a phone call from his wife. She discovered a huge drop in their mortgage account.! On top of that, he said they had no problem taking the money out of his account in a matter of seconds but took them 10 working business days to put it back in. Not only has he lost a fair amount of interest but he is also out $99,000.

On top of that, he was charged a $1,710 transaction fee! He found it very concerning that his bank and Visa would let this huge amount of money to go through without asking so much as one question?

A spokesperson from the Malmaison told the paper the hotel was conducting an investigation. They contacted Lalor to apologize and ensured this situation would be resolved as quickly as possible. (Really? You need to investigate a charge of $99,000 for one pint of beer??)

He did say the hotel was being very helpful in correcting the error and he praised Deuchars. He said it is a good beer that has received many awards including the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain. He added that if you think this beer is not worth anywhere near this price tag, he couldn’t agree more!

Note: Very rarely is a beer as expensive as the pint Lalor purchased, but a 750ml bottle of “Lost Abbey Cable Car Kriek did sell for $923 at the Skinner Auction.

According to Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer and beer editor for The Australian, he was watching the Ashes Cricket Match in Manchester at the Malmaison Hotel’s...

Read More
City Life Cool Stories

New High-Powered Self-Balancing Scooter

A blend of road-worthy and rugged, the self-balancing electric scooter boasts a quick-start functionality and speeds of up to 25 miles per hour which is cool for scooting around and through traffic in crowded cities for hours, all in a single charge.

For those already into other private scooter-share programs like Lime or Bird, but are dissatisfied with having to hunt for them, this device is a phenomenal boost in durability, personalization, maneuverability, speed, and acceleration.

Meet The “Stator”

Nathan Allen, a California-based product designer developed the Stator with all these demands in mind. It has oversized wheels connected to a single-tube frame and a single, wraparound handlebar with an electronic control unit (turned on by a wireless RFID tag or standard key).

Part of the design’s charm is its modularity. Made up of components that can be personalized and swapped, comprising of custom racks and rack bags, headlights, phone chargers and holders, seat, brake lights.

It’s powered by a 1000W geared motor and a 20-Ah, 48-volt, lithium-ion battery pack tucked into the baseboard. Different power settings can be used to get better performance or equalize the energy usage.

It won’t be easy to lug around at 90 pounds, but if you’re an urban street cruiser then that shouldn’t be a hassle. The extra weight helps provide extra features, like regenerative brakes paired with front-wheel hydraulic disk braking. It’s still a prototype, but its creator hopes to put up models for sale in the near future.

A blend of road-worthy and rugged, the self-balancing electric scooter boasts a quick-start functionality and speeds of up to 25 miles per hour which is cool for...

Read More
Celebs Fashion Inspiring Stories

Once Again Meghan Markle Speaks Up For Ethical, Sustainable Fashion

Meghan Markle has hit the news again championing her fashion choice with the STAUD sustainable fashion during her African tour. The royal family has always been in the limelight so she has stepped up with her choice in clothing that’s dear to her heart.  Sarah Staudinger, the co-founder of STAUD, was so honored that Meghan chose to wear one of her designs, a recycled nylon dress.

During her visit to the Auwal Mosque with Prince Harry, she wore an olive green shirt dress with a cream-coloured headscarf and flats.  Not only was the look very chic but was made entirely from recycled nylon, showing her need to speak up for an eco-friendly lifestyle.

The designer told the press that the response to Meghan’s choice in clothing has been incredible and has given her great exposure to a much larger audience.  This dress can be pre-ordered for $325.

Zero-Waste Fashion

From the beginning of the tour, her sustainable theme in clothing was apparent with her black and white print dress from Mayamiko.  Mayamiko is an ethical, zero-waste fashion line that uses reclaimed, re-cycled materials along with locally sourced fabrics from Malawi.

Mayamiko has stepped up and trained disadvantaged women in their workshop and many of these women suffer from the HIV pandemic.  Their line of clothing is produced in limited supplies and therefore Meghan’s Dalitso Dress was sold out almost immediately.

Meghan has also worn outfits she has re-cycled from her own closet, such as her blue Veronica Beard shirt dress and her striped Martin Grant maxi dress which she wore on her last tour.

This is not the first time the Duchess has chosen clothes from her closet, she also revamped a black jumpsuit from her Everlane collection which she wore in a video for British Vogue last September. This video was called Forces For Change which she played a large role in editing.

She has become a positive role model for women everywhere with her views about eco-friendly fashion.  Zofia Day, Los Angeles-based and founder of Lisette Polyn Jewelry, said Meghan chose her pave diamond and gold bracelet to accessorize her Everlane jumpsuit.

She went on to say that Meghan is showing women that it’s beautiful to be conscious of our environment and you can make choices that make a difference.

This project has been a passion of Meghan’s since she and Harry announced their engagement.  As a matter of fact, during one of her first royal walking tours, she wore a sustainable Welsh denim brand from Hiut Denim Co which creates organic sustainable jeans and employs from their own community.

The Duchess also dons ethical and socially conscious lines like Gabriela Hirst, Maggie Marilyn, Reformation, and Outland Denim. She chose Stella McCartney to design her evening wedding reception dress.  Stella is considered an early pioneer of ethical fashion.

Many women have watched Meghan emerge as someone passionate about our environment and feel a need to make a strong statement to other women that it is chic and fashionable to wear clothes from recycled materials.  Not only does she always look amazing, but she will not be a hypocrite when it comes to how she addresses concerns for our planet.

Each one of us should take a little time and go through our closets and see what we can bring back into the light of day.  How many of us have clothes we have worn once and then just locked up in our closets never to be worn again?  Maybe it’s time to reconsider!

Meghan Markle has hit the news again championing her fashion choice with the STAUD sustainable fashion during her African tour. The royal family has always been in the...

Read More
Cool Stories Funny Stories

Man Loads the Sun Into His S.U.V.

A Russian has been caught on camera loading the sun into his SUV trunk, nonetheless, he is free of legal charges.

His photographer wife, Diana Badmaeva, shot the series of images, she perfectly aligned him with the setting sun to make it seem like he was stuffing it into the vehicle.

Cool Idea

She told SWNS that she does tons of sunset photography and a plan to approach the original concept.

Making all the scenes as fast as possible is the real thing because the sun sets quickly and you have just a few minutes for all this,” she said. “My husband and I talked on the phone so that he would do what I needed. It seems I managed to capture the theft of the century! Or, a quick guide on how to steal the sun.”

Of course, if you want to give it a shot, you’ll need a slightly larger vehicle than the one in the silhouette. Badmaeva told Fox News Autos that it was a Mitsubishi, with a cargo capacity of less than two cubic meters while the volume of the sun is about 1.4 x 10^27 cubic meters :)

A Russian has been caught on camera loading the sun into his SUV trunk, nonetheless, he is free of legal charges.

His photographer wife, Diana Badmaeva, shot the series...

Read More
Cool Stories Tech News

Picasso, Reconstructed by an A.I.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Picasso.

Beneath the Old Guitarist (1903-04), Pablo Picasso’s popular Blue Period painting is the figure of a woman in faint markings. She was originally noticed in 1998 when X-rays and infrared light were used by conservators of the Art Institute of Chicago to peep behind the top layer of the paint.

She sits with her right arm tucked onto her lap and her left arm reaching toward the viewer.  Strangely enough, she resembles a sketch Picasso sent to a colleague at the same time the painting was made.

Enter A.I. Conservation

The foundation for the neural network was a technique created in 2015 by Leon Gatys at the University of Tübingen, Germany, called neural style transfer. The machine vision technique can indicate the style of a painting and convert it to match another.

For example, it can convert a Paul Cézanne to the style of Michelangelo. This technique has been used on videos as well, so it is possible to watch clips of Ice Age in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

All that could be recognized of the woman in the painting until now was the slightest trace of her outline. Other intricate details like style and color were lost.

Nevertheless, with the use of a neural network trained to differentiate the style of one artist from the other or one period from the other, researchers at University College London have given her a new life, even if it is not true to the original of Picasso.

Researchers George Cann and Anthony Bourached published their paper titled “Raiders of the Lost Art,” on the arXiv preprint server. The paper was also featured in a recent article in the MIT Technology Review.

The X-rayed images of the woman’s outlines were plugged into a neural network built to convert images into the style of La Vie (1903), another exceptional piece of Picasso’s Blue Period. In as much as the result cannot be a perfect match of Picasso’s painting which was also pained over 10 decades ago, it is at least conforming to the style he used at that period.

In Picasso’s The Crouching Beggar, the same technique was also used. It was painted over a landscape thought to have been made by a Spanish painter, Santiago Rusiñol, using Rusiñol’s Parc del Laberint d’Horta.

Cann and Bourached said that they hope the results help projects on other lost works of art and also challenge the popular doubt that “algorithm can be creative, or innovate.”

“We argue that the use of machine learning as an artistic tool can ultimately broaden creative insight and widen the landscape of inspirational ingenuity by human-AI collaboration,” wrote Cann and Bourached.

The Crouching Beggar and Old Guitarist are not the only Picasso works that cover hidden paintings. Earlier pieces are usually painted over by artists, especially when a fresh canvas is hard to come by due to inadequate funds. A portrait of a man resting his hand on his head underneath Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901) was found by researchers in 2014.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and...

Read More