Here, There And Everywhere: New Magnetic Elevators Can Go Sideways, Sky-High

The architecture of the future has already got some interesting plans in store for it, but how about for your average apartment or office dweller?  With cities getting larger in population but not in landmass, some serious planning has had to happen in recent years to make sure that space is maximized for everyone who wants a slice of the urban pie.  Now, thanks to new magnetic levitation technology, apartment and office buildings can take on different shapes with more human storage, as they are abetted by sideways elevators.

They're still on tracks though, no Wonka technology yet.
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For the last 160 years, cable-tethered elevators have had all the pull, but now thanks to the German company ThyssenKrupp, the cord is being cut and a whole new way to rise up is going down.  As Business Week reports, their MULTI elevator system uses the same sort of magnetic levitation system found in next-generation trains.  This cuts the weight of a giant elevator cable and allows buildings to stretch even higher into the sky.  The penthouse just got a little snootier from its perch in the clouds.

And height isn't the only advantage.  The MULTI system will allow elevators to travel sideways in "loop" systems inherent to future architecture.  Multiple cabins will reduce the waiting time (glory be), and thinner required shaft space will allow for more accessible living or working space for tenants.  While the MULTI systems are slower than conventional elevators, they allow more time for sensitive ears to adjust to heights, and aid in more frequent travel thanks to the numerous cabins.

Love in an elevator actually could include an entire date, at these heights.
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As explained by Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator, in a company press release, the standard elevator wait is a serious issue: “Per year, New York City office workers spend a cumulative amount of 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years in the elevators...This data provides how imperative it is to increase the availability of elevators.”

The MULTI will also increase the availability of artistic architecture, with mile- or two-mile buildings not out of the reach of accessibility if it is successful.  A 2016 test tower will give more complete results.  Until then, perhaps this innovation won't mind sitting to the side.

You could probably avoid getting back to the office all morning in one of these babies.
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If No Words Can Express Your Deepest Feelings...How About Emojis?

Alright look, this is the future, and you don't need to be bound by petty things like the proper use of language or even the construction of complete sentences anymore.  In fact, thanks to a new app, Emojiary, you can create a whole chronicle of your day without ever typing a single word.

These are your new ABCS, children.
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Based off of the current trend to express oneself in social media via nothing other than small, colorful, variously-mooded facial avatars, Emojiary is literally a diary created only from emojis.  This allows you to "remember your feelings", as their website says (they wrote that part in real words though.)

Except we don't remember feeling this weird...ever.
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Over time, one can chart the arcs of their malarkey and "learn the rhythm to your emotional ups and downs."  Because self-awareness is apparently now best served in facial cartoon form, they have invented and included new emojis for your chronicles.  Privacy is also paramount to the program, lest anyone else see your shocking secrets of frowny faces or blushy-kissy faces.

This is the emoji for people who have spent years perfecting their usage of language to express their ideas and emotions, as they now ponder the societal implications of Emojiary.
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If this seems jaw-droppingly inane and thoroughly counterproductive to thousands of years of humans attempting to artistically express themselves in thoughtfully written form, know that Emojiary has been created to help.  Their mission statement explains it all:
   "Emojiary is a product from All Tomorrows—a product studio working at the intersection of emotion and technology, focused on developing a constellation of products to support emotional well-being and help people unlock their potential. We’re on a mission to tap into the best that technology has to offer in service of supporting a kinder, more self-aware society. A brighter future starts with understanding what motivates you, what scares you, and where you’re being held back. We’re all about creating products that help you do that."

From another intersection of emotion and technology, we're saying this is kind of weird.  But if your self-awareness is best recognized through sending smileys, here is your new closest confidante.

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Space Station Sunday: All Of The Above

Good evening, space fans!  It's been an important week outside of the atmosphere...

On Friday, the ISS crew watched the test flight of NASA's Orion rocket, which was the first spacecraft since the Apollo missions to leave low earth orbit and return home.  The Orion, which was an unmanned mission, was being tested as a possible means to propel astronauts into deeper-space targets such as an asteroid, or Mars.  NASA has stated that it hopes to put a manned mission on Mars by the mid-2030s, but for now, our intrepid ISS astronauts remain humanity's sole spacefaring outpost.

And they're great at it...Astronaut Cristoforetti, aboard for two weeks now, has already got the hang of micro-gravity.
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Orion's program manager, Mark Geyer, lauded the ISS as an integral element of the Orion mission, telling, "Without what we’ve learned from having a continuous human presence in space for more than a decade, we wouldn’t be able to think about sending people into deep space onboard Orion...We’re testing out technologies and concepts on the space station right now that are necessary for the kind of long-duration trips Orion enables.”

One major experiment released from the ISS this week was the Cyclops mini-satellite.  Clocking in at only 22 inches in diameter, the Cyclops propels itself using controlled "micro-thrusters" to position itself.  It is busily documenting different facets of space weather (in particular, the atmospheric drag that applies itself to orbiting entities), which is important for the overall assessment of satellite placement and other issues regarding orbital travel.

Fly ball!  The Cyclops "SpinSat" ventures out to orbit.
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Another major facet of long-term spaceflight are closed-loop environmental systems, which the space station excels at sustaining.  Progress on the ISS this week included important maintenance work on the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly, which converts the carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts into rebreathable oxygen.  It also converts naturally-occurring humidity back into oxygen.  NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Terry Virts replaced filters and checked for leaks in the assembly.

Basically it serves the functions that a forest would...but needs a lot more upkeep.
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The 3D printer hummed along as planned, with ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti printing more test parts that could someday be crucial elements for maintaining various functions of the ISS.  NASA has even pondered a means to eventually 3D print foods like pizza in space.

"Si, it's making stuff.  No, unfortunately, not pasta.  Yet."
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Cosmonaut Yelena Serova worked a host of different jobs in the arts and sciences this week, including installing antivirus programs on ISS computers, working on assessments of blood circulation in micro-gravity, and studying advanced space photography techniques.

Speaking of experiments on the ISS, if you've ever wondered about the array of interesting science that's underway up there, has recently created a Space Station Research Explorer app for earthlings to follow the fascination.  Prospective space monkeys can search through four major sections (Facilities, Benefits, Media, and Links.)

The Facilities section provides an interior view of the Columbus, Kibo, and Destiny ISS modules, featuring clickable experiment racks that offer details of the science therein.  The Benefits section expounds on the topics of how ISS science affects and implements Human Health, Earth Benefits, and Global Education.  The Media section offers videos, podcasts, and games, while the Links section offers more ISS analysis sites and connections to other NASA apps.  It's a little bit of space, right on your smartphone!

The scientific discoveries of tomorrow are floating aboard the ISS today!
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And, just because it's awesome, here's the Orion launch, one more time.  We may not be able to live on the ISS, but with projects like this afoot (overhead?), it inspires dreams of dwelling even further out in the galactic frontier.

See you next week!  Watch this space!

Homebrew With No Hassle: Meet The All-Automated "Brewie" Machine

Beer.  If you're an enthusiast, you know the sky is the limit for the variety of flavors that can be brewed up in your favorite cold barley soup.  But what about trying to create a brew that's entirely yours?  Now, you can get crafty in the comfort of your own home, thanks to Brewie.

Brewie, according to, is the world's first automated homebrewing setup.  Just pop in some hops, malt, yeast, water, and whatever else you feel your drinkable masterpiece will taste good containing.  Swipe your specialized ID card (because you don't want random people fiddling with your brew), tweak the settings to your desired attempt at alcohol greatness, and some time later, a smartphone alarm tells you it's time to tap.

Brew it yourself with Brewie!
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Recipes are included but can be modified, and 23 different flavor characteristic parameters serve as options for the alcoholically adventurous inventors.

If this sounds like your cup of tea (well, glass of beer), Brewie is still collecting on Indiegogo to reach a $100,000 goal.  Brewie will sell for $999 but when you really break it down, that's only like ten craft beer benders at a bar, right?  Brewie might be the home-base wingman you've always wanted.  Cheers to self-empowerment!

Maybe, just maybe, the art of homebrewing will get you to consume beer in a respectable manner.
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Tech And Good Taste: Could An "E-Tongue" Be Used To Lick Pollution?

We have devices that mimic all of our major senses...cameras can capture things we see, microphones listen to us, tablets and other gadgets respond to touch, and bomb detectors "sniff" out explosive devices by detecting their particles in the air.  But what about taste?  Now, a new invention serves to recreate that popular sense...and for some good reasons.

It's complicated, trying to replicate human physiology.
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According to, an electronic tongue is in development by scientists from the American Chemical Society.  Its uses could range from sampling food that may have gone disastrously bad to testing for water pollution or blood disease (stuff you wouldn't want your real tongue to have to endure.)  Sensors in the silicone-based "e-tongue" pick up traces of different "flavors" of things, much as tastebuds would, and the data is sent to a computer for assessment.

The e-tongue has already been critically tested on a very important distinction:  the difference between Armagnac, cognac, whiskey and water.  Proving successful at identifying the various "signatures" for each, the e-tongue can now undergo further tests to assess its adeptness at more nuanced (if gross) "flavors" of pollutants and bio-contaminants.  For a safe and smart means of testing a spectrum of such signatures, the e-tongue just makes sense.

Their prototype setup regarding testing for bio-contaminants is a little weird, though.
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Be A Street-Art Snob With New "Public Art" Locator App

In the course of your adventures, it can be fun to see what rogue street artwork pops up along the way.  However, if you have trouble identifying artists' names from their purposefully-abstract spraypainted tags, or if you'd like to stroll to where more of their work can be found, there's now a way to appreciate more of their art - even if it never makes it into a museum.

Truth and beauty.
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The new Public Art app (available on the iTunes store) was created by art enthusiast Leonard Bogdonoff of New York City.  According to their description, the app "pulls geotagged grafitti and street art images from around the world" into a large collection which is updated daily.

It's worth walking an extra few blocks for things like this.
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Art adventurers can plot a stroll by determining works in their zip code, or by searching city names and addresses.  As the images are organized by location, the app can conveniently plot walking directions for you via Google Maps.  It's like a gallery in your own alley!

Check out Public Art app here and feast your eyes on some unauthorized surprises!

It may be a crime to create it, but it's not a crime to enjoy it.
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We See What You Did There: Edward Snowden Given Human Rights Award By Sweden

While the United States remains steadfast in putting Edward Snowden in the "whistleblower spy" archive of history, other nations consider his efforts a laudable fight against the subtle tyranny of the surveillance state.  This week in Sweden, Snowden was awarded the Right Livelihood award, a humanitarian recognition of his work to free Americans (and others) from the zoo of Big Brother's surveillance amusement.

And we, in good conscience, shouldn't let them.
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According to the Guardian UK, Snowden was not physically able to attend the ceremony, as he considered it a threat to his safety (he is wanted on charges under the Espionage Act in the United States, whose notorious record of "renditions" would have rightly worried Snowden.)  However, he spoke with the committee via teleconference from Moscow, where he is currently living in exile.  In a show of solidarity for Mr. Snowden's deplorably alienated circumstances, none of his family members would accept the award in his absence, noting only that someday Snowden himself should be able to do so.

Informed and angry.  He's not wrong.
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The award jury noted that Snowden was being commended “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights."

No one cares you have nothing to hide.  Something can be used against you.
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President Barack Obama, who did not comment on Snowden's award, had previously campaigned with a strong intent to protect American whistleblowers.

They spelled Obama's name wrong, but everything else about this is sadly correct.
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