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...

Earth Humans Are Awesome Inspiring Stories

Swedish Teen Sailed Across The Atlantic to Defend Mother Earth

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in her carbon-free yacht, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has already received recognition for her stance on protecting our planet from climate change.

Greta Thunberg

She sailed from England to New York to join a climate-change conference which took her 13 days to complete. She chose a solar-powered, carbon-free yacht to avoid potential damage from carbon-emissions that have already damaged our planet through air travel.

Her 13-day voyage has drawn the attention of skeptics and supporters alike. She strongly feels it’s her duty to be an activist to guarantee that our planet will be taken care of.

Even though she is only 16, Greta knows it’s critical that people understand how their actions are harming Earth. Nothing can stop her from finding new ways to take care of our planet while encouraging others to realize how they are impacting our environment and climate.

Even though she is not a scientist, she believes her vessel is a scientific testimonial to raise awareness about the long-term issues that are affecting the Earth.

Thunberg’s passion for climate-change is nothing new. When she was 15, she organized an environmentally-friendly strike outside the Swedish Parliament building during school hours to encourage others to take action to save the planet.

Although most adults did not condone her actions, she held firmly to her convictions for three solid weeks! She handed out information and encouragement to others who passed by her. Eventually, her strike was published online and her efforts touched many people across the world.

Her plea for help went absolutely viral. Since then, her face has become the symbol of advocacy surrounding climate change.

Science in Action:

Her actions have caught the attention of people across the world. She has decided to throw herself into her cause as a full-time activist. She has taken time off from school to make activism her life’s goal. She has attended universities, conferences, events about climate-change, scientific events, and various political assemblies to spread the word.

Greta Thunberg UN

To travel from one event to another, she has chosen to use transportation that reduces CO2 emissions including by train even though it takes longer to get to her destination.

Greta has made many sacrifices to get the word out about the impending doom facing us in the future if climate change is not taken seriously. She said that we live in a strange world where children are literally sacrificing their own education to protect the planet against ruination.

Her outspoken attitude has drawn criticism from many, mostly due to her age, who do not believe the planet is in harm’s way. Meanwhile, others have come to her defense claiming that those who are against her are just ignorant.

Thunberg has remained focused and motivated to keep her climate change actions before the entire world. She planned on attending the climate-change conference held in the United States on September 2019. She decided to sail across the Atlantic Ocean from Britain to New York in her yacht that left no carbon footprints.

Greta’s Latest Missions:

On August 14, 2019, Greta sailed from Plymouth on the first-of-its-kind carbon-free yacht named Malizia 2. She sailed with her father who is an experienced sailor along with two other people. The 6-foot solar-powered yacht has technology on board that measures carbon emissions.

During the trip, she was able to observe how beautiful the ocean is with its many inhabitants including dolphins. As she traveled, she came to realize the importance of a pollutant-free ocean.

Although her journey was admired, many people who are in denial of climate change took to Twitter to leave negative comments about the young activist. One Twitter user, Julia Hartley-Brewer, left a message “Hi Greta, I’ve just booked some flights for my family to enjoy the winter sun on a beach over Christmas. Level Of Guilt – Zero!”

While there were negative remarks left behind, there were many others who came to her defense. Paraphrasing author Philip Pullman who said that most people have never done nor ever will one-hundredth as valuable and important as what Greta has accomplished.

Many others stressed their concerns about people who have nothing better to say about this young women’s passion to address climate change.

There is no doubt that planes do take their toll on the environment causing those who are conscientious to choose alternative forms of transportation. Her supporters definitely outweigh her critics. She said that even though there are people who will remain in denial and not accept what’s going on, she will remain focused on the crisis of climate change and do what she has to do.

There will probably be a line drawn in the sand, separating believers and non-believers regarding climate change. Each individual will have to make their own decision about the health and well-being of our planet. In the meantime, there are countless wild animals being slaughtered for game or to sell their ivory or fur.

These animals are becoming extinct and, believe it or not, they play an important role in the protection of our climate. I wonder if anyone thinks about them?

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in her carbon-free yacht, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has already received recognition for her stance on protecting...

Cool Stories Tech News

Robotic Contact Lenses Allow You to Zoom In on Blink-Command

Everything robotic is on the rise!  As of late, researchers at the University of California San Diego have explored the idea of contact lenses that will zoom in on objects by blinking twice!  They are called “soft robots” which actually copies elements found in living organisms. They can be integrated with a human body and this is one of the projects that is taking center stage.

The researchers have actually created a prototype contact lens that’s controlled by the movement of your eye.  You can simply blink twice to zoom in and out from an object.  These biomimetic lenses are made from elastic polymer films designed to respond to the electric signals that are generated by eye movement.

The layers that expand or contract will change the thickness of the lenses which changes the amount of light that passes through. Actually, this technology is not new, it’s very much like eye-tracking technology that allows people to control their wheelchairs.

Soft Robots

Due to many unique features, soft robots have been extensively explored to work in collaboration with humans.  The latest development of soft robots can be either controlled manually or through a pre-written program.

The researchers explained that current developments have created a human/machine interface that uses electrooculographic signals that are generated by the movement of the eye to control motions and change the focal length of a biomimetic soft lens.

The motion and contortion of soft lenses are achieved by actuating areas of the dielectric polymer films which copies the mechanism of the eyes in people as well as in most mammals. In a recent study, the system has the potential to be used in visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and remotely operated robotic in the near future.

This is really an amazing breakthrough that could allow your eye to see things more clearly and even zoom in on very small objects that the human eye has difficulty seeing. From there, the sky’s the limit.

Everything robotic is on the rise!  As of late, researchers at the University of California San Diego have explored the idea of contact lenses that...

Category - Nature & Tech

Cool Stories Earth Humans Are Awesome Nature & Tech

Amazing Footage of Hurricane Dorian’s 40 Mile-Wide Eye

Footage by the hurricane hunters flying directly into the eye of hurricane Dorian was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane Dorian was 50 to 60 miles off the coast of South Carolina and footage of the storm was shot by Lt. Kevin Doremus from the cockpit of the NOAA aircraft, named Kermit. This aircraft is a four-engine Lockheed WP-3D Orion.

Along with cleverly naming one aircraft “Kermit” the other WP-3D aircraft that was involved was named “Miss Piggy”. The 2 NOAA aircraft have performed regular flights into Dorian to collect valuable data which helps forecasters to make better predictions and clearer understanding of the storm.

These planes are designed to measure pressure changes, wind speed, humidity, and other factors during this very long mission which lasted for more than 12 hours.

There is a shot of the planes going through the powerful winds and driving rain of the eyewall before entering into the eye of the storm which was very calm with amazing clear blue skies.

The eye of the storm varied in size from approximately 50 to 60 miles wide. Doremus told Newsweek the eye was a lot smaller than the previous fights into the storm, and in some cases was only 5 miles wide!

After that, the storm grew to more than 60 miles wide. The Washington Post reported the storm increased in size with hurricane-force winds and tropical storms that extended outward by 25 to 220 miles from the center.

During the following Thursday, Nick Underwood, hurricane hunter, posted a video of an NOAA plane flying into Dorian’s eye that showed an enormous “stadium” effect that can be clearly seen.

The eyes of hurricanes, as well as cyclones, usually have traits of “stadium” effects because the clouds of the eyewall are curved in a way that actually resembles an arena or stadium appearance.

Flying through the eyewall of a hurricane where the winds are at their strongest can be very dangerous. The NOAA planes are not normally harmed by the strong winds, which is absolutely incredible.

Flying Kermit and Miss Piggy

It’s quite common that airliners fly in jet streams with winds exceeding 150 miles an hour over the US during the winter months. It’s the shear or sudden change in horizontal or vertical winds that can harm an aircraft, causing the planes to lose control.

NOAA pilots and crew routinely, but never casually, fly in high-wind environments of hurricanes and are not worried about their planes being torn apart. NOAA aircraft do not fly through tornadoes. However, pilots and crews are constantly monitoring for any hot spots of severe weather and shear which they can pick up on with radar, especially to avoid really serious situations.

Lt. Kevin Doremus, referring to Dorian, said the storm was actually pretty easy to fly through when he captured his video. The storm was slowly deteriorating from a Category 3 to a Category 2 and there were very little up and downdrafts that are normally found in a Category 4 and 5 or rapidly intensifying storms.

They had been watching Dorian from a tropical depression up to a Category 5 and said this was, without a doubt, the smoothest flight they had been on since previous flights that entered the storm a few days before.

On Friday, at 5 AM EDT, Dorian was 25 miles east of Cape Lookout in North Carolina with sustainable wind speeds of 90 miles per hour. It was moving northeast around 14 miles per hour and was expected to remain in motion through Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According to a statement, Dorian remained a powerful hurricane while it moved along the North Carolina coast over the next several hours. It was forecasted to become a tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds through Saturday night as it headed to Nova Scotia.

Footage by the hurricane hunters flying directly into the eye of hurricane Dorian was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane Dorian was 50 to 60 miles off the coast of South Carolina and footage of the storm was shot by Lt...

Earth Tech News

Arch Rao is Back With a New Company for Energy Management

If you don’t know who Arch Rao is, he was the former head of products, applications, and sales engineering at Tesla Energy.  He was behind the company’s successful Powerwall home energy system.  He is now back as founder and CEO of a new company, Span IO, promoting energy management and efficiency for homes.

Span IO is working to upgrade the electrical fuse box for homes with a digital system that integrates into the existing circuit breaker technology that has been the foundation of home energy over the last century.

Arch Rao and his team are focusing on integrating renewable power energy storage, and electric vehicles making it easier for people by redesigning the electric panel for modern energy requirements.

They packaged the metering controls that travel between the bus bar and the breaker.

Rao said energy flows through the panel through a breaker bar and the breaker bar has tabs that you slot your breakers into, the tab is normally a conductor.  They have designed a digital sub-assembly that packages current metering voltage measurement, and the ability to turn each circuit on and off.

The technology will be sold through various avenues such as solar energy or battery installers. They already have plans to integrate their power management devices with energy storage systems similar to those available from LG.

Span plans on selling their products in states like California and Hawaii where the demand for solar installation is very strong and homeowners understand the significant benefits from installing renewable energy and energy efficiency systems.

What Happens When There’s an Outage?

One of the great advantages, homeowners having this new power management system will give them control over what areas of their homes will be powered in case there is an outage.  The technology hooks up the entire home to a renewable system.

Rao said using existing technologies, installers can set up a separate breaker and just rewire certain areas of the home to receive the power generated by a renewable energy system.

The control is handled through a consumer app which is available for downloading on mobile devices.

Span IO is backed by many investors including Wireframe Ventures, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Ulu Ventures, Hardware Club, Consignment Ventures, I/O Capital, and Energy foundry.  They plan on raising new cash before the end of this year to push forward.

If you don’t know who Arch Rao is, he was the former head of products, applications, and sales engineering at Tesla Energy.  He was behind the company’s successful Powerwall home energy system.  He is now back as founder and CEO of a new...

Earth Inspiring Stories

Amazon Rainforest Fire:

How to spot the FAKE photos as Twitter reacts to the devastation

In the past year, Brazil has been hit over and over again with devastating forest fires, especially in the Amazon region, so Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts have been blowing up with posts and pictures with the hashtag #AmazonRainforest being the most popular among them.

According to satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in Brazil alone, there are 80 percent more fires in 2019 than there were last year. However, it seems like some of the pictures being shared in relation to the devastation are inaccurate.

More than half of the fires in Brazil are in its Amazon region, and staggering satellite images show just how many fires there are.

Satellite images from NASA and NOAA are giving an accurate portrayal of how far the destructive fire and smoke has spread across the country, but many photos being shared on social media are quite misleading, even if they were meant to be supportive. As a result, users are being asked to stop sharing inaccurate photos, most of which are from fires that happened 30 years ago.

One of these pictures was retweeted over 15,000 times with the caption: “For three weeks, the Amazon RAINFOREST has been burning.

“Fire frequency in Brazil has increased +82% due to droughts, increased heat, and land-use change (logging, industry, & agriculture).”

The following image is actually an Alamy Stock Photo from a climate website called ALERT back in February of this year.

Amazon rainforest fires: All four of these are inaccurate, the top left being California in 2013 (Image: TWITTER)

This second post that included four photos was uploaded to Twitter with a caption bemoaning Brazil’s tragedy, but actually none of the photos have anything to do with the August 2019 Amazonian fires.

The top left photo was liked on Twitter over 4,500 times but was taken during a forest fire in California and uploaded to the US Department of Agriculture’s Flickr account back in 2013. The second is from a 1989 Amazon forest fire, according to The Guardian.

The third picture is from the same 1989 fire, and the fourth image is a heat map from InfoAmazonia showing the extent of forest fires in the Amazon from 2000-2014.

Kendell Jenner retweeted another viral post to her more than 28 million followers, but neither of the two photos are actually related to the recent forest fires.

The image on the right is a picture of fire in Serbia, while the left was taken by photographer Daniel Beltrá in 2014 for articles on fires in Sweden.

Yet another image captured for Getty by Lauro Alves posted on Wednesday shows a fire at Brazil’s Taim Ecological Station in 2013.

Lastly, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio shared an image of fires burning against a wall of green forest, but this photo is originally from February 2018 in the article, “Carbon emissions from Amazon wildfires could ‘counteract’ deforestation decline”.

So, beware of the misleading pictures and check the sources before you believe what you see!

How to spot the FAKE photos as Twitter reacts to the devastation
In the past year, Brazil has been hit over and over again with devastating forest fires, especially in the Amazon region, so Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts have been blowing up with...

Health Lifestyle

What Can I Do If I Can’t Sleep?

Experts believe that if you or your kids can’t sleep, trying to force it will actually make things worse. If you wake up too early and think that staying in bed will force you to go back to sleep, you’d be wrong.

Trying to make yourself sleep when you can’t, will lead to stress and tension making the situation even worse. On top of that, if this goes on for any length of time, it could lead to serious insomnia.

According to studies performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine getting out of bed when you can’t sleep will decease 70 to 80% of acute insomnia and will not turn into chronic insomnia.

During the study, researchers observed the time in bed and the sleeping habits of 416 people over the course of a year.  Many of these participants were good sleepers before the study.  Once the study started, 20% experienced acute insomnia, having problems falling asleep or staying asleep 3 or more times in a week, expanding to 2 weeks and some cases 3 months.

45% of the participants eventually returned to good sleepers but 7% who suffered from insomnia ended up with chronic insomnia for approximately as long as 3 months.  Those who chose to restrict their time in bed were more likely to get back into good sleeping habits.  Others that chose to stay in bed were likely to suffer from insomnia and eventually become chronic.

Experts believe that if you cannot sleep, spend the time reading, writing what you have put off, or some other activity.   Chances are, you will probably go back to sleep faster and have a better night’s sleep than if you chose to stay in bed and become stressed.

What You Should Not Do:

Michael Perlis, Ph.D., director and author of the study at the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program there are stumbling blocks of prolonged sleep opportunity, which can lead to your misalignment with your actual sleeping abilities.

People with insomnia usually extend their sleep opportunities by going to bed earlier, getting out of bed late, and then taking naps.   Unfortunately, this is a short-term fix because the problem over the long-term will create an imbalance between your current sleep ability and your current sleep opportunities which can lead to insomnia.

People will often overcompensate loss of sleep by changing the sleep schedule.  Choosing to stay awake instead of forcing sleep is a better strategy for the treatment of insomnia in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been announced by the American College f Physicians and is a better treatment.

Sticking by a better sleep and wake-up schedule will help regulate your sleep within a matter of 3 to 5 days.

Your bed should be reserved for sleep or sex, not for reading, writing or watching television. According to Michael Grander, another author & director of Sleep and Health Research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, believes you should limit your time awake in bed to half an hour a week.

 

Experts believe that if you or your kids can’t sleep, trying to force it will actually make things worse. If you wake up too early and think that staying in bed will force you to go back to sleep, you’d be wrong.

Trying to make yourself sleep...

Lifestyle Tech News Vacation

Virgin Galactic Unveils its Spaceport

The countdown for Virgin Galactic’s “Gateway to Space” has truly begun as it edges closer to being the first publicly-traded space tourism company to successfully take customers into space.

A week ago, the company showed off its new New Mexico spaceport to the public, and it looks like those first $250,000-ticket tourists are in for the ride of their life. The facility is part of the state-run Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which also hosts facilities for SpaceX, EXOS Aerospace, and other companies

The interior is reminiscent of a retro, 1960s vibe, but the technology is nothing but modern. You’ll find a barista where you can get a latte for your flight and an interactive walkway to enjoy, as well. The social hub is located on the first floor, called Gaia. Cirrus, the second floor, is where the operations center and mission control is located.

Though the third floor is yet to be revealed, the company has stated that it will be a lounge for their space-flying customers. “Each floor developed has a nice story connecting it back to social activity on Earth,” says designer Jeremy Brown. “Then moving through the mission control part of the building with lighter material references there.”

The Future is Now

Virgin Galactic’s CEO George Whitesides says, “We’re on the home stretch now.” In just a matter of weeks, the aircraft carrier will head to Mojave, where the company’s test facilities are located. There, it will pick up Virgin’s spacecraft, the VMS Unity, and transport it back to New Mexico where test flights will ensue.

Once all the kinks have been worked out and Virgin Galactic is satisfied with their finished product, they’ll be ready to take on their first commercial flight. Currently, 603 reservations have been made for spaceflight, totaling about $80 million in deposits.

They haven’t marketed for tickets since 2014, but once commercial space flights have commenced, Virgin Galactic will be offering new tickets for at least $250,000.

Back in July, the company announced that they would be merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, which will invest $800 million for a 49% stake in the company. In addition, they’ll trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

You may be thinking, “Who even has enough money sitting around to afford one of these flights?” But you’d be surprised to discover that the company received over 2,500 inquiries for reservations for the first flight in December 2018, and more are clamoring since last week’s unveiling.

When everything is set for that first commercial flight, customers will board the Unity, which will be attached to the underside of the aircraft Eve, and once the airplane flies to around 50,000 feet, the rocket will detach and launch into space where passengers will get a stunning view of both space and Earth.

For a few minutes, they’ll be free from the restraints of their seats to experience the weightlessness until it’s time to head back home. In total, the duration of the flight is going to be around 3-4 hours from take-off to landing.

The countdown for Virgin Galactic’s “Gateway to Space” has truly begun as it edges closer to being the first publicly-traded space tourism company to successfully take customers into space.

A week ago, the company showed off its new New Mexico...

Cool Stories Science

Hubble Spots a Big, Weird Blob of Star Gas

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see that they’re no longer just diamonds in the sky.

Take NGC 2022, for example, which can be found in the Orion constellation. When you see what it looks like through a telescope, it’s fantastic. It’s a star approaching the end of its life.

Different stars do different things when they age, depending on their size and makeup. When thinking about stars and the effect they have on us, the most crucial one to keep tabs on is our very own Sun. Eventually, it will become a red giant, just as NGC 2022 has done.

A Planetary Nebula

NASA explains in a new blog post:

“When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red. These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space. More than half of such a star’s mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas. At the same time, the star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.”

What is left is planet-like in appearance, which is why it’s called a planetary nebula. This all may sound fascinating and exciting, but the effect of our Sun becoming a red giant will be devastating for our planet. Planets that closely orbit stars headed toward the end of their life are swallowed up completely. Others are stripped of their atmosphere.

In our case, most likely Mercury and Venus will be swallowed up, but Earth won’t. However, all life on earth is sure to be eradicated because of the intense heat of the star.

Don’t run off and start panicking, though. We’ve still got about 5.4 billion years till this all goes down, and till then, the sun will very gradually get brighter and hotter.

Stargazing has always been thought of as a romantic or peaceful pastime, but when you really think about what’s up there and the consequences it has on our world, it’s anything but. When you’re looking through NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, you see...

Animals Funny Stories

Lazy Cat Sleeps on Busy Thai Restaurant Floor, Refuses to Move for Waitresses

This lazy cat was in no mood to move – and she simply sprawled out on the floor of a restaurant. The tabby named Thongdang was filmed sleeping coåmfortably on her back on the wooden floor in Chachoengsao, central Thailand on July 27.

When waitresses had to pass by carrying plates, Thongdang would not move and the staff had to step over the cat.

The restaurant boss said: ”She’s the kind of cat that does what she wants and everybody else has to accommodate her.

”But we still love her, even when she lays on the ground and won’t move.”

This lazy cat was in no mood to move – and she simply sprawled out on the floor of a restaurant. The tabby named Thongdang was filmed sleeping coåmfortably on her back on the wooden floor in Chachoengsao, central Thailand on July 27.

When waitresses...

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...

Earth Vacation

Nature Lovers Now Have 270,000 Acres of Land Open in California

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a great time.

Nature lovers now have a new area in California to view breathtaking mountains, an abundance of wildlife, ancient old oak trees, fields and streams, along with so many hiking trails.  You might just discover your next excellent vacation spot without ever having to leave the country!

Tejon Ranch has donated a great deal of land so visitors can enjoy nature in the most wonderful way.  Tejon Ranch has been around since 1843 and the owner, Fitzgerald Beale, has partnered with an online travel company, Explore Ranches, to allow their members access to 270,000 acres of private land.

About Tejon Ranch:

The ranch is located 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 south of Bakersfield.  It is the largest, continual expansion in California offering 422 square miles of land. Tejon Ranch has joined other natural environments in the state, Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and Coastal Range.  The spans of land is larger than New York City.

There are hundreds of miles of trails and roads to hike along, fields of grass, coniferous forests, ancient oak and Joshua trees, a huge diversity of wildlife, and many reservoirs and streams.

Their partnership with Explore Ranches allows visitors to choose their accommodation from 4 separate lodges that will hold 4 to 12 people at three different locations, including the Venado Cabin.

Located at the foot of the mountains, Venado Cabin offers incredible, endless views from the porch of the cabin.  You can see red-tailed hawks, an occasional condor, eagles, and deer roaming freely along the hillsides.

You can also enjoy a game of horseshoes with their private horseshoe pit.  For those who want to explore the ranch, there are miles of trails for hiking, going on driving tours, or biking.  Just below the cabin, there is an incredible fishing pond loaded with bass and bluegill and a massive meadow with huge oak trees.

If you want a really wonderful vacation away from your hectic lifestyle, visiting this property will give you access to so many activities including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and the incredible opportunity to take photos of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. What an idyllic way to totally unwind!

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a great time.

Nature lovers now have a new area in California to view breathtaking mountains, an abundance of...

Cool Stories Funny Stories Tech News

Have You Ever Wondered Where The Smiley Face Emoji Came From?

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or scowling.

Whether you want to end your message on a high note, add a smile in the middle of your text, or wishing someone a happy birthday, there’s an emoji for you.  We use them in messages on social media, in our emails to one another, or in other ways to convey an emotion or sentiment.

What you might not know, where did the original smiley come from?  This concept actually started back in the 60s when Harvey Ball created the very first smiley face drawing.  Over the years, the image began to change and develop into smiley emoji drawings that we all love and enjoy to use.

How It All Began:

Graphic artists, Harvey Ross Ball created the first smiley face without giving it much thought, let along turning it into an international icon!  Possibly, he was just doodling while coming up with ideas in his head for his next project.

He was originally hired by State Mutual Life Insurance Company as a graphic artist to produce an image that would encourage their employees to smile more often during their time at the workplace.

It took him less than 10 minutes to draw this cute smiley face and was only paid $45 for his artwork.  While the image probably did nothing to ramp up morale in the workplace, this smiley face caught on like wildfire!

It was printed on buttons, posters, shirts, etc.  Even though Ball never copyrighted the design, saying he was not a man of means or money, his smiley face continued to gain in popularity in our culture.  Before he knew it, even the company workers stood up and took notice of his simple cute drawing.

How The Smiley Face Evolved:

Through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the little yellow smiley face started to evolve and soon became an image of happiness and peace within pop art and started appearing on tee-shirts and posters.

As mentioned earlier, Ball never claimed the copyright but someone else stepped up to the plate to promote and commercialize this little yellow face.  Franklin Loufrani, a French journalist, was a driven man and he decided to attached this smiley drawing to all his positive newspaper stories and received a lot of attraction from readers.

At one point, he copyrighted the image and made a lot of money selling just about anything he could with the image printed on it.  He named the image simply “Smiley” and started the Smiley Company selling tee-shirt transfers to anyone who wanted to show off this positive image.

Even though the image was created long before the cell phone, this French journalist’s company played an enormous role in the production of the 21st-Century Emoji!

The Birth Of The Emoji:

If you’ve ever wondered how this little smiley face ended up on the internet, we’ve got you covered!  Scott E. Fahlman was a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon. He is the man who got the idea that would eventually lead to becoming known as an Emoji.

He decided it would be a great idea to have some visual way to express emotions that are funny to text messages, especially at the closing of a message with either a happy or sad face.

Then, Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese interface designer started sending out cartoons in his company messages that were emoji-like faces.  So in some ways, he is the one who created the emoji!  He used a 12 x 12 grid to produce the pixel images such as laughing faces, hearts, and of course, the original smiley face.

This new concept remained only in Japan for almost 10 years.  Meanwhile, Loufrani’s son Nicolas was working on the smiley replication of emojis.  He created an amazing 470 emojis during 1999 and licensed them out to phone companies for a price.  Finally, in 2010, emojis hit the public internationally with 722 emojis being released on iPhone and Android devices.

Now in the age of cell phones, there are approximately 3,000 emojis available for our devices. It’s almost impossible for any of us to imagine not having these emojis for our messages.  Though I must look back and say it’s a shame that Ball only received a total of $45 for a design that was formed in his head alone.

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or scowling.

Whether you want to end your message on a high note, add a smile in the middle of your text, or wishing...

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Giant Telescope the Focus of Hawaii Protest

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.

Colette has more:

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.
Colette has more:

Animals Cool Stories Science

A Pocket Shark That Glows in the Dark!

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been identified, according to a study published in the  Zootaxa journal.

Named the American Pocket Shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis) was identified as a new species based on an analysis performed on a single 5½-inch-long male that was caught in the Gulf in 2010.

In Louisiana, researchers from Tulane University applied several different techniques including X-ray imaging and high-resolution CT scans to examine the specimen.  It was determined it was a different species of the pocket shark  (Mollisquama parini)  that was ever reported.  In 1979, a pocket shark was captured in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Only two ever captured

Director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute, Henry Bart, said in the history of science, these are the only two pocket sharks ever captured or reported.  He said that both sharks are separate species and from different oceans.

They are both extremely rare and the fact that only one pocket shark was reported from the Gulf of Mexico, this new species emphasizes how very little scientists know about the Gulf, especially in deeper waters. This has led scientists to question how many new species might be in the Gulf, yet to be discovered.

Both M. mississippiensis and M. parini have similar characteristics, they both have two rather large “pockets” near their front fins and gills. In a paper, the latest pocket shark has a fluid that glows and then attracts prey.

Even though both species have similarities, they also have notable differences, according to the Tulane scientists.  The M. mississippiensis has fewer vertebrae than the shark found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.  Also, the species found in the Gulf has many light-producing organs known as photophores which have been found all over the body.

A new species of the pocket shark was found in the Gulf of Mexico.  It secretes a liquid that glows in the dark,  attracting its prey.

This is a very significant find because it’s the only other member of the  Mollisquama genus that has been...