City Life Lifestyle

The Power of Plants Actually Increases Your Productivity at Work!

Being tied to your desk all day long not only drains the life out of you, but your energy is shot to heck!  Many companies have been searching for solutions to increase their employee’s productivity. Well, it seems plants take the gold medal as the perfect solution!

According to a Canadian employer, they gave each one of their employees a plant and their productivity increased by 30%. Well, science is here to tell us why plants give employees what they need to keep them energized during the workday.

Plants Rock!

 Not only are plants decorative for your office, but plants give off many health benefits for our bodies and minds. Research by the National Institute of Environmental Health Services has shown that plants keep the air indoors much cleaner and improves our ability to concentrate.

It’s a known fact that furniture, cleaners, paint, and other elements in an office environment send off many toxic compounds which, in turn, contribute to our inability to think clearly.

Some of the best plants for ridding of unwanted compounds from our office air include bamboo palms, rubber plants, and snake plants plus they look really great.

The appearance of green plants around an office gives employees greater relaxation and removal of stress.  Plants also improve our mood conditions and we are able to stay focused for longer periods of time.  Companies have found that by implementing certain décor, employees’ morale and productivity are on the rise.

This includes indoor trees, planter boxes, and other natural elements to encourage natural, positive vibes.

Research has shown that looking at plants actually stimulates our brains and we will more easily enter into a more relaxed mode.  On top of that, a well-designed office with good light and plants, are a great benefit to the company’s bottom line.

 The Connection Between Plants & People

 According to studies, there is a strong need for people to be surrounded by nature.  Even though many of us live in a very fast-paced environment surround with chrome and glass, nature is a vital part of our society.  Also, when people are engaged in the modern world, they are completely immersed in their frontal lobe.

Being exposed to nature, the hyper-active frontal lobe is deactivated, encouraging happiness and stimulates creativity. So people wonder if you would have the same benefits if the plants in your office were fake.  Plants emit natural elements that benefit people, artificial or fake plants are just that, fake.

 Productivity Solutions

Companies for many years have been in debates and discussions trying to find out how much money or time is lost when their employees are unhappy, sick, or totally disengaged. Billions of dollars are tossed out the window due to issues with productivity so finding solutions are integral for expansion and profits.

Money is constantly spent in team building, developing an inclusive office culture, and extracurricular activities to promote increased productivity.  A Canadian business owner took a piece of advice from his wife, giving each employee a plant to place on their desks.

Employees were exposed to all available plants to find the perfect match. The results were astonishing, he discovered that each employee was doing approximately 30% more business.  He also added, that on top of improved metrics, all the plants were doing really well after five years of being introduced.

It seems his employees also seem to have developed green thumbs and have responded very positively to their new desk partners.  The employees each received their plants with a name tag that read “My Name Is…” which seems to have fostered an incredible relationship.  Adding plants and greenery to the workplace is a positive benefit for absolutely everyone involved.

Being tied to your desk all day long not only drains the life out of you, but your energy is shot to heck!  Many companies have been searching for...

City Life Lifestyle

Surveys Show That Baby Boomers Might Not Buy Groceries Online

Surveys have shown that Baby Boomers have not jumped on the bandwagon to shop for their groceries online, unlike the number of Millennials.  Other surveys show that delivery services and online services have increased, especially in comparison to younger generations.

Criteo conducted a survey of 1,000 US consumers, asking the participants about their use of online grocery delivery services.  The results revealed that with each new generation, there are fewer consumers using them.

It shows that 48% of Millennials and Gen Z surveyed said they do use some online grocery delivery services such as Walmart InHome, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Stop and Shop’s Peapod.  Only 37% of the next generation Gen X, said they ordered from online grocery services.

The oldest generation is the Baby Boomers and only 30% said they have used these services.  23% of Gen Z and Millennials said they do browse various websites for better selections compared to 20% of Gen X and only 10% of Baby Boomers.

Surveys also showed that Gen Z and Millennials think it’s valuable to have the ability to gather product information with only 18% of younger consumers wanting more information in comparison to 7% of Gen X and 6% of Baby Boomers.

Walmart Launches An Unlimited Grocery Delivery Subscription

 Shipping alternatives seem to be the least concern for shoppers.  Only 8% of Gen Z and Millennials thought this was important, 3% of Gen X and only 2% of Baby Boomers believed that comparison shopping was not of any value.

Mobile-only sales made up 26% of all digital US grocery sales.  Healthcare and beauty supplies were significantly over-the-top in mobile digital grocery sales. According to Criteo’s survey, this is 37% and 31% of products ordered through an online grocery service.

 Amazon Now Offers Free Grocery Deliveries As Part Of Their Prime Membership

 Amazon Fresh delivery vans have been parking at Amazon Fresh warehouse in Inglewood, CA since June 2013.

 Last year, the online grocery market has been valued at $632 billion and doubled its market value between 2016 and 2018, according to this year’s Business Insider Online Grocery Report.

This report revealed a total of 10% of US consumers, who regularly shop for groceries online, are a small portion of the larger overall grocery market.

 After all surveys, it seems online grocery markets are on the rise.  Annual reports showed that established participants in the industry and newcomers are getting into the industry to gain a better portion of the market share.

Surveys have shown that Baby Boomers have not jumped on the bandwagon to shop for their groceries online, unlike the number of Millennials.  Other...

City Life Vacation

9 of the World’s Oldest Buildings

Old buildings are a fascinating way to look back at the development of human civilization and appreciate just how far architecture has come since man’s earliest attempts to build in stone and wood.  Some of the oldest buildings are now ruins, while others have stood the test of time, here are 9 of the oldest still in existence today:

Knap of Howar, Scotland

Dating back to around 3700-3500 BCE the Knap of Howar is one of the oldest stone houses in the world.  Not only that, but it also has a hidden passage and joint walls that link two stone houses together.

Monks would likely have been the first residents here and they probably built the houses.  There are 50 other abandoned homes nearby and while these would probably make better candidates for renovation, the fact that these ancient homes are still standing is impressive, to say the least.

Ġgantija Temples, Malta

The Ġgantija Temples are also known as the Megalithic Temples and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dating back to 3200 BCE and 3600 BCE respectively, these two temples represent some of the oldest free-standing temples in the world.  They were possibly used for the ritual sacrifice of animals according to the archaeological evidence found at the site.

Tarxien Temples, Malta

These temples are slightly younger than the Ġgantija Temples.  The oldest of the temples were constructed in 3600 BCE – 2500 BCE and has almost disappeared,  but the other three have been lovingly reconstructed.   In 2012 the local people constructed a walkway to allow visitors to appreciate the beautiful blocks, screens, and altars that remain in place there.

Shunet el-Zebib, Abydos, Egypt

Shunet el-Zebib is one of the oldest buildings in existence with much of it in ruins but parts of it do still stand which is impressive for a mud and brick building that was constructed back in 2750 BCE.  Alongside the above-ground structures, there is also an underground tomb here and it is said that this is a precursor to the pyramids.

Cairn de Barnenez,  Brittany

The Cairn de Barnenez is a megalithic structure located in Brittany, France, and overlooks the English Channel. The monument was built around 4850 BCE and is sometimes known as the “Prehistoric Parthenon”.

It is not what you could call a building but as a structure, it is one of the oldest still intact and contains 2 burial chambers and 11 passage tombs.  It remains a fascinating place for anyone interested in architecture or archaeology to visit.

West Kennet Long Barrow, Wiltshire, England

The West Kennet Long Barrow is an old tomb that forms part of the Avebury Neolithic complex.  It is believed that people built these barrows in 3600 BCE and when archaeologists excavated the site they found many artifacts like pottery, tools, and jewelry alongside the remains of around 46 people.

The site is one of the largest burial sites in Britain and has many visitors from all around the world.

Newgrange Neolithic Historical Site, Ireland

Newgrange is located in the Boyne Valley, Ireland.  Constructed around 2300 BCE this passage tomb has a chamber with 3 alcoves. The entire structure is circular and spreads across an acre of land.  It is a popular location with visitors especially during the winter solstice when they come to see the illuminated passageway.

Tomb of Cyrus, Iran

This is one of Iran’s major UNESCO World Heritage sites and is said to be one of the first structures that was protected against earthquakes. The base is constructed in such a way that the main structure cannot move away from the foundation which is even more impressive when you consider that it was built in 530 BCE.

Old buildings are a fascinating way to look back at the development of human civilization and appreciate just how far architecture has come since...

Category - City Life

City Life Tech News

Alphabet’s Wing Begins First Commercial Drone Delivery

For some time now, the talk of drone delivery services has been a growing phenomenon. Seen as the future of automation as well as the beginning of the end for working people, there’s a massive amount of disparity on this topic.

Many people simply don’t know where such technology will eventually stop. if automation keeps coming, what will the already struggling populace do for a living?

With that in mind, it’s important to note that Alphabet, the company behind Google, has released its first commercial drone delivery service. This is known as Wing, and it’s going to become the leading name in the industry.

Having beaten the likes of Uber to the release of such a project, this is going to become a major part of the process for delivery in the near future. Indeed, it’s already been out delivering packages to people around the United States.

Wing has managed to beat the competition by being able to get access to Federal Aviation Authority approval. This means that they could be using their drones to fly door-to-door, dropping off deliveries in the same way that a normal delivery driver would.

It’s already beat the major competitor, Amazon Prime Air, to the punch. Prime Air is expected to start on December 7th, but it’s already a service that Alphabet has put into practice.

The aim is to use these drones instead of having to use delivery drivers in dense living areas. If you are trying to make deliveries in an urban area, you can find it hard to make the speedy delivery necessary. These drones would put an end to that, making sure that people can get items dropped off to them in ways and in places that was simply not possible pre-drone.

The Ideal Solution to Delivery

Wing will be able to see their drones fly out from North Christiansburg, and then start delivering parcels given to them by local retailers. While it can’t exactly chap on the door and ask the recipient how their day is going, it will allow for much faster, simpler delivery. It will improve the speed of delivery, too, and will most likely change the future of delivery for customers.

Deliveries are rapid, too, with some companies seeing deliveries to local buyers in as little as eight minutes – you’d be lucky to get ‘fast food’ delivered in that kind of timeframe. Therefore, it’s very much become the go-to option already for local firms looking to try and speed up and streamline their own delivery process.

While some people worry that such technology could one day become problematic for society, today we can appreciate having our goods dropped off to us by our friendly neighborhood drone.

For some time now, the talk of drone delivery services has been a growing phenomenon. Seen as the future of automation as well as the beginning of the end for working people, there’s a massive amount of disparity on this topic.

Many people simply don’t...

City Life Lifestyle Tech News

Hidden Online Shopping Threats: e-skimming & ‘Magecart Attacks’

The internet is obviously a great place, giving us all the opportunity to learn, to invest, and to buy like we never could in our own communities. That being said, if there is one issue with the online industry, it’s just how easy it is for hidden threats to your personal data, and even your income, through hidden online shopping attacks.

This has become a sadly common practice, so much so that the FBI in Portland has already stepped out to raise awareness. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s important that you do a bit of reading into what you could be running into when trying to buy items online.

Indeed, a common issue for many people when shopping online comes from “e-skimming”. This technique has become very commonplace in the online e-commerce industry and has seen many people impacted.

This hacking technique is used by criminals to try and get in line with third-party vendors who provide credit card payments online. However, even government agencies have been impacted in the past.

The main issue, though, is cost. The big companies and agencies often have the funds to put in place solid preventative measures to stop this problem from getting any worse. They can also then work together with others to try and reinforce their own security. But what about the small and independent companies that you might choose to buy from?

Beware of Magecart attacks

Another common problem that has become a major blight on online shopping is known as ‘Magecart’ attacks. These are part of the wider e-skimming industry, but they are used to attack everyone from the little to the large. While some warning signs on a Magecart attack, it’s often something that could slip through the net.

From a new company domain name appearing to edited JavaScript codes, there are many telltale signs of a potential e-skimming attack. The most common FBI tips included updating all of your systems and software, segregate your network systems and avoid running them all on one platform and make sure that all of your login credentials are advanced as well as regularly changed.

Of course, it’s also essential that any staff who are working with an e-shopping facility are trained and educated on the challenge of cybersecurity. This is becoming a major issue across the internet; the more that can be done to tackle the problem and minimize the risk, the better.

The internet is obviously a great place, giving us all the opportunity to learn, to invest, and to buy like we never could in our own communities. That being said, if there is one issue with the online industry, it’s just how easy it is for hidden threats...

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 this world they have been called “The Flaming Mouth of Hades”.

The pedestrian bridge...

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 scooting around and through traffic in crowded cities for hours, all in a single charge.

For...

City Life Lifestyle

Things You Should Know Before Ordering Steak at Your Favorite Restaurant!

If you like your steaks medium-rare, you need to be careful because you might not get what you are expecting in this day and age.

Most professional chefs will tell you for a medium-rare steak the temperature must be 135° to seal in the flavor and ensure the steak is tender.  The steak should also be allowed a little more time for that nice charring on the outside.

Today, ordering a medium-rare steak might end up being a great deal rarer than you were hoping for.  Many customers at their favorite restaurant have reported that when their order for a medium-rare is delivered to their table, the meat is almost completely raw!

So, Why Is My Medium-Rare Steak Raw?

It really has nothing to do with the cooking process, it’s the cost!

The cost for a high-quality rib eye is now $8 while a few years ago it was $6. We all know that the cost of living is on the rise from our rental costs to labor.  With restaurants, the competition is very high causing more high-end restaurants to try and outdo their competition both in food, décor, and even advertising.

Costs Effect The Cooking Process:

If a customer has to send their steak back because it’s under-cooked, the chef will put it back on the grill for a few minutes which will not increase the cost when it’s returned to the customer.

On the other hand, if a customer complains their steak is over-cooked, it has to be thrown out and the chef must start all over again and this leads to higher costs,  Today, profit margins are very tight and therefore a chef will show caution by under-cooking the steak.

How To Get Your Steak Just Right:

You should try to communicate with your waiter what you want in your steak. Instead of ordering a medium-rare steak, tell them you want a medium-rare + steak.

It will still be medium-rare but just cooked a little bit longer.  This will guarantee you get the steak your want so you can enjoy every morsel!  If you bring home a doggy bag, you should know how to reheat your steak without losing those incredible flavors,  Check out this link for great results.

I hope this will help you get the steak you are expecting the next time go out to eat!

If you like your steaks medium-rare, you need to be careful because you might not get what you are expecting in this day and age.

Most professional chefs will tell you for a medium-rare steak the temperature must be 135° to seal in the flavor and ensure the...

City Life Lifestyle

Find Out How KFC Creates Such Perfect Crispy Chicken!

If you’ve tried to emulate KFC’s crispy chicken and failed, read on and discover their secret recipe.  Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed a bucket of KFC’s crispy fried chicken along with their side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit.

Even though their prices are the best, their popularity is due to how crispy their fried chicken is.  You now have the golden opportunity to find out how you can create the best crispy chicken with KFC’s incredible recipe!

Follow the directions below and I promise you will not be able to tell the difference.

Start With Their Spices:

First off, you must include their 11 secret spices and their incredible recipe for the breading with 2 cups of flour and coating the chicken pieces in their batter made from egg and milk.

The Scoop:

  • Two-thirds tablespoon of salt
  • Three tablespoons of white pepper
  • One tablespoon of black pepper
  • A half tablespoon of basil
  • One tablespoon of celery salt
  • One tablespoon of dried mustard
  • Two tablespoons of garlic salt.
  • One tablespoon ground ginger
  • One-third tablespoon oregano
  • Four tablespoons paprika
  • A half tablespoon thyme

Fry Right Away:

According to KFC, you should never let the coated chicken sit for any amount of time.  It should be fried right way,  If left to soak in the batter, the bread and skin will very easily soften and slide off the chicken, making for less than a crispy outcome.

You must fry at a high temperature using a good pressure cooker for that extra crispiness.  Even though you cannot deep fry with a pressure cooker, you can still get that extra crunch using a Dutch oven or a pot with a very heavy bottom.

Heat your oil to 350° or 360° and leave each chicken piece in the oil for 12 minutes.  If you have never fried, go to this link for the best results.

Now For The Secret Ingredient!

To create the perfect crispy fried chicken you need one very important ingredient to seal in all the spices, is MSG or Monosodium Glutamate which is the perfect flavor enhancer.

You can either include it in your seasoning batter or sprinkle it on after you have finished frying,  This is a very important ingredient that should not be overlooked,  If you can’t find MSG at your store, you can buy it online.

Let Your Chicken Cool A Bit:

Anyone who has enjoyed fried food knows you do not immediately dig in, it’s way too hot! Place your chicken in a warm oven for just a few minutes.  Another choice, according to KFC, set your oven to 175° and let continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes.

All said and done, you might not be able to exactly create their crispiness from your home because you really need a restaurant-grade pressure fryer for perfection. If you still need some support for frying view this handy guide.

Bon Appetite!!

If you’ve tried to emulate KFC’s crispy chicken and failed, read on and discover their secret recipe.  Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed a bucket of KFC’s crispy fried chicken along with their side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit.

Even...

City Life

You Can Improve Your City by Growing Food: Try Guerrilla Grafting!

You might not know that you do not need a permit to make your city more attractive and abundant with food.  That said, there are gardens popping up in vacant lots that were created through guerrilla grafting but somehow fly under the radar of city ordinances.

Guerrilla grafting is one way of making your city more hospitable to their residents without relying on official guidelines.  All you really need,  take some cuttings from fruit-bearing plants, have a few very simple tools, and provide a little tender loving care.

Why Don’t Cities Plant Fruit Trees?

The reason many cities only plant non-fruit-bearing fruits, they are much easier to care for and no one has to spend a great deal of time cleaning up after these plants dropping their fruit on public places including sidewalks.

There does not seem to be a high-in-demand for people to harvest and distribute fruit nor does anyone have the time.  Adding to that, there are places like San Francisco (hold my tongue) that consider grafting as vandalism.

What many places don’t understand, planting and taking care of plants that produce fruit is quite critical for communities in need of fresh fruit such as low-income neighborhoods where these groceries are very hard to come by.

Many of the people in these neighborhoods do not have access to a car to make extra or special trips to the store and do not have the money to spend on healthy items like fruit.  These areas, unlike other neighborhoods, are prime for grafting.

Guerrilla Grafters founder, Tara Hui, was denied by city officials when she wanted to alleviate fruit foods shortage in the Bay Area.  She decided to take it on herself, she joined with fellow agricultural activists to transform their existing trees into fruit-bearing trees and collect data to prove this really does work.

The group only splices edible plants into areas where volunteers will monitor and maintain the trees to combat problems such as insects and other pests.

If you’d like to start something in your neighborhood, all you need are some fruit tree cuttings, a sharp knife, Ziploc bags, grafting tape, rubber bands, and other household items. Visit the Guerrilla Grafters website to get a manual that you can enlarge to read or download in English, German, or Spanish.  Happy Planting!

You might not know that you do not need a permit to make your city more attractive and abundant with food.  That said, there are gardens popping up in vacant lots that were created through guerrilla grafting but somehow fly under the radar of city...

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...

City Life Cool Stories

Urban Hacking: 5 Inexpensive and Cool City Hacks

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be adapted in order to grow.

Urban hacking is one of the most direct ways we have of shaping our city into what we want it to be, and these hacks often lead to permanent solutions. Urban hacks range from taking over disused public squares and installing seating for seniors to bringing humor and fun to everyday scenes.

What urban hacking does is turn public space and urban landscape into a huge playground where people can express their creativity and better their city. Here are 15 inexpensive and cool city hacks to be aware of!

  1. Shopping Cart Sports by Florian Riviére

Florian Riviére is a French artist and activist that has come up with many different city hacks. His project “Don’t Play, Play” encourages people to stay in the parking lot of shopping centers instead of going inside.

For this purpose, parking spots are modified with white tape to turn them into courts for sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball, etc., using shopping carts as nets or structural supports.

  1. Wanderest Chair for Seniors Attached to Light Poles

Light poles can easily become the backrest for seats with “Wanderest”, from designer Nichola Trudgen. This leaning stool can be easily attached to any octagonal or circular light pole and they’re installed in retirement areas where there’s no public seating available.

  1. Info Pillars

Info pillars can be found in Toronto and they often show advertisements instead of actually useful information for people who are exploring the city on foot.

They also block important sections of the sidewalk, making it difficult for pedestrians. That’s why the creative team known as cARTographyTO hacked 35 of these info pillars and replaced the ads with maps, sculptures, art, and chalkboards.

This got the public’s attention, of course, and it encouraged them to reconsider the use of these info pillars.

  1. Tram Track Skateboarding

In Bratislava, Slovakia, the width of the tram tracks match perfectly with the width of a standard European pallet.

When this pallet is modified with parts to keep it in place, it becomes a sort of skateboard that zooms across the city with minimum effort, guided by a map of the city.

This project from Slovakian artist Tomas Moravec is meant to serve as a new transport vehicle that changes spatial perspective of users and the life of the city as well.

  1. Urban Terrasse: Adaptive Furniture by Damien Gires

In France, designer Damien Gires takes octagonal cardboard boxes and places them in anti-parking posts on sidewalks, turning them into mini tables for adjacent cafes.

This project is known as Urban Terrasse, and it’s meant to make sidewalks more functional and to encourage cafe patrons to get more involved with their city environments because it shows them it’s in their best interest.

Urban planners learn a lot from the modifications citizens make on public spaces, whether that’s creating “goat trails” where there aren’t proper sidewalks or hacking infrastructure. These modifications tell urban planners how cities need to be...

City Life Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome

Top 7 Unusually Geeky Art Graffiti

When you read the words “unusually geeky art graffiti”, you must wonder what it takes to qualify as such. Well, sometimes it’s all about the content, but most of the times is about the methods the artists have chosen to create their graffiti.

Here are 7 unusually geeky graffiti that either comment on or use digital methods to either redefine the approach to street art or represent contemporary messages through new media.

  1. The GraffitiWriter

The GraffitiWriter is an electronic robotic graffiti writing machine that’s remote-control operated and it can write any programmed text message on the ground.

It travels at speeds of up to 8 miles per hour, so it means it reduces the problems of encountering authorities while you’re out making your graffiti, and it can use non-permanent, washable paint.

  1. The PixelRoller

The PixelRoller is a cross between manual and conventional printing methods. This intentional combination provides the ease of computer printing with the creativity and freedom of manual printing.

It can be programmed to print any patterns you want, making each creation unique and the way these patterns are rolled onto the surface is amazing to watch.

  1. The CCTV Reminder

The CCTV Reminder is put together with a few magnets, a laser cutter, cheap cardboard, and a few other things. This laser cut sculpture is awesome and the idea is to provide non-operational reminders of the CCTV surveillance we’re constantly exposed to in public places.

This sculpture has the silhouette of a camera and the battery-operated red light adds the final touch of realism making this sculpture jarring.

  1. The ElectroGraff Method

The ElectroGraff Method was developed by the Graffiti Research Lab, which is known for architectural light projection graffiti and other graffiti projects.

This method is used for embedding movable LED display electronics using magnetic paint and conductive spray-paint to attach display elements and power them without having to use more traditional and visible methods.

  1. Hello Nametag

The Hello Nametag device is meant to replicate the Hello Nametag that’s often used in contexts where you’re exposed to many strangers, such as business conferences and other events.

The name tags, in this case, are attached to public objects and unlike the ones we use, they are programmed to speak the name of said object. The Hello Nametag can be stuck on any surface and it invites the public to interact with these things.

  1. ASCII Graffiti

The ASCII Graffiti is one of the first computer geeky graffiti and even though it doesn’t actually leave the digital realm, it does compositional and stylistic conventions from traditional graffiti and it reinterprets them for computer display.

  1. Tagging in Motion

Tagging in Motion is a type of 3D street graffiti that’s created by using a virtual reality interface combined with digital rendering.

What this does is record the graffiti artist with several cameras that capture his motions in 3D, thus generating street art that doesn’t need a physical surface to exist. Plus, it leaves no evidence, unlike traditional graffiti.

When you read the words “unusually geeky art graffiti”, you must wonder what it takes to qualify as such. Well, sometimes it’s all about the content, but most of the times is about the methods the artists have chosen to create their graffiti.

Here are...

City Life Inspiring Stories Vacation

Sleep in a Legend: Bauhaus School Opens to Guests

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a school in Germany that combined an arts-and-crafts ethos with an industrial aesthetic. The institution attracted potential artists and architects from all over Europe, molding and influencing their minds.

Teachers like Vassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee taught around 200 students creative ways to form ideas from all sorts of disciplines, such as construction, advertising, manufacturing, and, of course, art. The building feels like some of today’s Modernist designs, but, at the time, it was the beginning of a movement, especially its innovative curtain wall system.

Form Follows Function

While the institution moved from Weimar to Dessau and Berlin then back again, it has been renovated in Dessau to look and feel the way it did in 1926. The school is complete with student rooms available to rent that are small and minimally appointed with private balconies.

The rooms were designed to be spaces not only for sleeping and hanging one’s clothes, but also to be a workspace with a chair and desk. They’re formed, mainly, to draw people into collaborative studio spaces.

Studios and sleeping spaces are now open to the public for around $50 a night, so now both fans and designers have the ability to revel in this iconic space designed by both teachers and students and enjoy the proto-Modernist architecture that so influenced what we have today.

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a...

Animals City Life

St James’s Park Gets Three New Pelicans

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All three pelicans came all the way from the Prague Zoo and will soon be joined up with permanent residents Isla, Tiffany, and Gargi.

Actually, all three arrived here toward the end of May but have been kept out of public sight so they can settle into their new surroundings.

Hugh Smith, the Senor Wildlife Officer for The Royal Parks, believes it will take a few weeks for the two flocks to come together. There will be little interaction between the new pelicans and the established pelicans.

They will need a period of adjustment for bringing together three relatively tame birds with three semi-wild birds.  They do not see any disagreements just a little apprehension or suspicion while they get to know each other.

It will not take very long for these birds to start using the Pelican Rock because it’s natural for them.

A Gift For a King

Pelicans first arrived at St James’s Park in 1664 when the Russian Ambassador sent a gift to King Charles II.  This is the third time the Czech capital has sent pelicans to live in this very famous park which is located next to Buckingham Palace.

The Prague Zoo sent four in 1995 and another three in 2013.

Miroslav Bobek, Zoo Director, said he was honored to help St James’s Park to keep this 350-year tradition alive.  We believe that Sun, Moon, and Star will have a very happy life along with the other pelicans.

You can visit the park every day between 5 AM and Midnight and say hello to the Pelicans.  You can go to Duck Island Cottage between 2:30 PM and 3 PM to watch them being fed fresh fish.

Wonderful News! There are three brand new arrivals to St James’s Park in London.  Their names are Sun, Moon, and Star.

James’s Park is famous for their pelicans who are able to roam freely but they seem to prefer staying close by the lake.  All...