Smartphones may offer consumers a vast array of benefits, but they could be killing the atmosphere in restaurants. So much so that the Abu Ghosh restaurant in Jerusalem is encouraging diners to turn off their devices in return for a generous 50 percent discount.
Run by Arab-Israeli millionaire Jawdat Ibrahim, the restaurant is situated in the village it takes its name from and is popular with the locals. However, Ibrahim has gradually seen customers talk to each other less and less during meals since the introduction of smartphones. According to reports, he has even had diners ask to reheat their meals because they’ve been too distracted by their phones. Now, any customer can benefit from 50 percent off their bill if they agree to switch off their phone while they eat. Almost every customer has taken Ibrahim up on his offer, and he believes that while the price cut has meant the restaurant has taken a financial hit, it will make the venue more popular in the long run.
While Abu Ghosh has offered one option to improve the experience of eating a meal, we have seen other projects such as Feedie actually encourage smartphone use by raising money for starving children when users post a food photo. Are there other alternatives that ensure mealtimes remain a social activity?
Spotted by Tracy Chong, written by Springwise
R. Kelly drops his Black Panties album next week (12/10) and has been a flurry activity, stopping by late night talk shows this week for some very weird, very R. Kelly moments. His appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday (12/4) featured him singing a medley of songs while he literally played a woman like a violin with an appearance from 2 Chainz, then British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock or Khan) gave a dramatic reading of the lyrics to "Genius."
Then last night (12/5) on Arsenio, he performed his Nelson Mandela tribute, "Soldier's Heart," and then performed "Shut Up" and made up songs based on the audience questions. You can watch the Arsenio and Kimmel performances below.
Meanwhile, the news we've all been waiting for. There will be more episodes of "Trapped in the Closet" coming in 2014 that will air on IFC. No specifics on those yet, but you can play catch-up on his labyrinthine musical soap opera on Saturday (12/7) as IFC will air all 33 episodes starting at 5:15 PM, or you can watch them all online now.
A seed extract from the Moringa Oleifera tree could provide a natural and inexpensive solution for water purification. Through a collaborative research project between Uppsala University, Institut Laue-Langevin in France and the NIST Center for Neutron Research in the USA has optimized the process to make the seed extract even better at removing particulates from water. The new research gives improved insight and could now be advanced for use in larger-scale water treatment plants.
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Post tags: drumstick tree, horseradish tree, Institut Laue-Langevin, moringa, moringa oleifere tree, moringa tree, natural water filtration methods, NIST Center for Neutron Research, seed extract, uppsalla university, water filter, water filtration, water issues, water purification
Portland has held my heart for so many years now. It’s a place I spent some very healing and formative months rebuilding my personal life and it’s been an inspiration for me, creatively and professionally, ever since. I’m constantly overwhelmed by the wealth of talent in Portland, and to have been involved in the creation of the Portland Bazaar has been one of my greatest work and life moments. Sadly this year I was too buried in book and site work to take part, but I was thrilled to see my favorite guys, Matt Pierce and Greg Hennes, carry on this year and arrange what is sure to be a fantastic holiday experience. This year the guys are offering a special early-bird night where you can get earlier and closer access to all of the artists selling their work this year. If you want to beat the crowds and get an earlier start on shopping some fantastic handmade work you can visit tonight from 5pm- 9pm for $10 (which includes a drink ticket). But for everyone else looking to shop on the weekend and support the incredible creative community in Oregon, you can visit and shop (free) Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm. I’m so bummed to miss this year’s show, but SO happy to hear all about it from friends who will be shopping and taking part. Click here for more info on the show and to attend. Give Portland a huge hug for me, Matt and Greg- xo, grace
Below is a summary of this week’s highlights:
Shaquille O'Neal's signature Shaq Attaq gets a Dickensian update for Holiday 2013 with the release of a special "Ghost of Christmas Present" take on the early '90s silhouette. Inspired by the Father Christmas-like spirit from A Christmas Carol, the shoe comes lined in red with an upper of neon green patent leather and deep green suede while red-tipped white laces and a matching midsole provide a bit of contrast to the look. Retailing for $160 USD, the "Ghost of Christmas Present" Shaq Attaq can be pre-ordered now via Politics and is set for a December 13 release.
Has mobile technology really made our world better? Fay Arjomandi, president of Vodafone Americas Foundation gives just a peek into how mobile technology has revolutionized our quality of life, and the amazing, positive changes we can expect for that of future generations.
Coming soon from Nike Sportswear is a feminine Air Max 1 with decidedly '70s leanings. Crafted to resemble a disco ball, the premium edition of the retro runner sports a Metallic Silver/Glacier Ice colorway - thus giving the shiny upper a blueish hue - while black accents hit both the lining and rubber outsole. Due to be joined by a matching Blazer and Dunk Sky Hi, the QuickStrike "Disco Ball" Air Max 1 will hit Tokyo's atmos on December 14.
Google is launching an initiative to let organizations share their map data with the public, via Google’s Maps product and cloud-based infrastructure, and today partner National Geographic announced their participation in the project and shared some info via the official Google Maps blog. The partnership will mean that more than 500 reference and historic maps will now be available to browse as an additional layer on Google’s digital Maps engine.
This will let National Geographic explore interactive models complete with annotations that should help the archives come to life more effectively, and really animate issues of environmental change or provide education on important events throughout history. At a very basic level, this also makes available to many what was once hidden away in archival storage, visible only to those few historians who sought it out.
It’s not just about making things available free, however: National Geographic’s Frank Biasi, Director of Digital Development for NatGeo’s Maps, says there’s an added opportunity in that they can license or sell high-res and print editions of any map they make available through Google’s public data initiative, driving revenue back to the organization to support their nonprofit efforts.
Cartography may seem like fairly well-covered territory at this point, but combining the old and the new like this could be generative of very interesting comparative studies. Plus, putting them in front of more eyeballs means more potential for discovery by a wider pool of researchers, amateur and pro alike. After all, it never hurts to double check.
by Wyatt Marshall
Carcass at Gramercy Theatre in September (more by Greg Cristman)
Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem are teaming up for the Third Annual Decibel Magazine Tour, which is already making a case for one of 2014's best lineups and showcases both the worthy veterans and up-and-coming. Old school death metal pioneers Carcass put out one of the year's top metal albums in Surgical Steel--a triumphant comeback that earned Decibel Mag's top album of the year on their Top 40 Albums of 2013 list--and it was just a few months ago that the band leveled Saint Vitus and played Gramercy Theatre. The same accolades apply to Gorguts, whose Colored Sands, the band's first album in seven years, landed at number three on Decibel's list. Youngsters Noisem, who scored number nine on the Decibel list, have been wowing everyone wherever they go with their chaotic, shot-in-the-arm thrash. They just wrapped up a tour with melodic death metal vets Black Dahlia Murder, who will provide direct support to Carcass.
Carcass frontman Jeff Walker seems pretty amped for the show:This is possibly the unsexiest Decibel Tour lineup yet," he quips. "We're all bringing the 'girth' back to the U.S., along with gray hair and sensible footwear. But it's the music that matters, right? Just close your eyes and think of England. If that fails, think of Tampa.The tour stops in NYC at the Best Buy Theater on Friday, April 11. Ticket info is forthcoming at the Decibel tour website. Check out the tour dates below...
The promotion of Sony's PlayStation 4 next-generation console continues in 2013, this time fittingly pairing with BAPE's next-generation imprint: AAPE by A Bathing Ape. Here we find the two parties collaborating to celebrate the PS4 with a range of custom shirts, accessories, and even a limited-release Playstation VITA – all released just in time for the holiday. The shirts pay homage to the PS4 through graphics that combine BAPE's hallmark camouflage into shapes taken from the console controller. Alongside the apparel, 100 pieces of a limited-production Playstation VITA will be made available. Look for this special capsule to release first in Hong Kong at the AAPE by A Bathing Ape Store in Causeway Bay on December 14, then on December 17th at the Sony Computer Entertainment Store.
When teams from around the world battle it out on the field for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, spectators and athletes alike will also have to contend with the specter of dengue fever. The most severe form of the illness, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, can cause death in one out of four that are infected. As the host cities of Natal, Fortaleza, and Salvador prepare to welcome visitors, they will have to keep a careful watch on insects that spread the deadly virus.
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Post tags: aedes aegypti, Brazil, California, Climate Change, dengue fever, FIFA World Cup, florida, fortaleza, global warming, mmosquito abatement, mosquito, natal, public health, salvador, south america, stagnant water, Summer Olympics, texas, united states
The iPhone and iPod touch do come with above average camera sensors where a smartphone or smart mobile device is concerned, and we have seen some pretty stunning image compositions captured in the hands of a skilled photographer. The thing is, what would happen if you had additional tools to help you out so that you can increase the quality of your shots even further? This is where the olloclip Macro 3-in-1 photo lens solution comes in handy, where you can now shoot great looking close up shots with the iPhone 5s as well as 5th generation iPod touch, all for $69.99 a pop.
There will be a trio of different macro lenses available – 21x, 14x, and 7x macro magnification, so that you will end up with the right kind of detail level that you have always wanted. After all, looking at things from a different perspective will more often than not open up your mind to something new and fresh. With the olloclip Marco, you will be able to examine small objects such as coins, stamps, rocks, relics, insects, plants, gems, circuit boards, and even your own skin, looking at those with a renewed sense of wonder. It is also tiny enough to be stashed into your pocket or palm of your hand, and will play nice with a host of popular apps where among them include Instagram, Facebook and iPhone’s Camera, iPhoto and iMovie built-in apps.
The trio of high-powered macro lenses found in the olloclip Macro happen to be engineered with a grand total of half a dozen elements, allowing it to deliver additional edge-to-edge clarity, greater depth of field, nicely diffused light on the image, less pincushion distortion and a higher degree of bokeh, which is also better described as aesthetic blur in out-of-focus areas. The extremely high magnification will be able to let you focus in on details and textures which are not seen with the naked eye easily. Any takers?
Years ago, Y Combinator helped popularize the convertible note as a way for startups that go through its accelerator to easily raise seed money. That gave companies the flexibility to get cash quickly without having to worry about hiring lawyers and pricing early funding rounds. Now the accelerator is moving to a new convertible equity model with an investment instrument that it’s calling “Safe,” which stands for “simple agreement for future equity.”
The headline, of course, is that Y Combinator is moving off convertible notes, but the truth is a little more nuanced than that. Yes, Safe does away with some of the hassles that come with using debt as an investment instrument.* But at the end of the day, “Safe” investments operate in basically the same way that convertible notes do.
That’s actually by design. From an investment perspective, not much has changed, according to Y Combinator partner (and lawyer) Carolynn Levy. The accelerator wanted to provide all of the upside that convertible notes offer — mostly the ability to raise money quickly without having to hire a lawyer and spend weeks negotiating terms — but while steering clear of the less attractive issues associated with them.
“People are slow to adopt change, and you don’t want to throw something too crazy at them,” Levy said. “Once they get past the name, they’ll see the same thing is going to happen with convertible notes.”
The two main problems that Safe seeks to solve are the issues of dealing with accrued interest and maturity dates. On the latter end, maturity dates on convertible notes tend to be one year, since they’re issued as short-term debt. But a year comes up fast, and that can be a distraction and a hassle for startups.
The other issue Safe seeks to do away with is accrued interest on the convertible debt they issue. While it’s mostly just a hassle for startups to figure out how much interest they have due upon conversion, Levy says occasionally there are investors who ask for a high interest rate. Instead of treating their investment like a short-term loan, moving to Safe will ensure that all investors are really in it for the equity upon conversion.
“In the securities world, there’s debt and there’s equity,” Y Combinator partner Carolynn Levy told me. “But if everyone wants to own equity in a company, why would you use debt as an investment instrument?”
While Levy joined Y Combinator about a year and a half ago, she was part of the team at Wilson Sonsini that helped draft Y Combinator’s standard series AA equity financing documents back in 2008, and also helped with the standard convertible note documents that the company offered to its startups three years ago.
Now, the folks at Y Combinator are hoping to offer Safe in the same way, with a set of standard, open source documents that anyone can use.
Y Combinator isn’t the first group to suggest a new convertible equity as an alternative to convertible debt. Adeo Ressi’s TheFunded and Founders Institute, in conjunction with Wilson Sonsini, issued a group of standard convertible equity documents back in the summer of 2012.
But having the backing of Y Combinator might help popularize the investment instrument, in part because all companies that go through the accelerator will begin using Safe, starting with the upcoming Winter 2014 class.
by Doug Moore
Brooklyn jazz/prog/rock unit Zevious are fresh off of a month-long tour with Dysrhythmia, with whom they share talented drummer Jeff Eber. They'll be showing off their road-tested chops for their last hometown show of the year at Union Pool on Sunday (12/8). Joining them will be equally out-there Ohio band Hyrrokkin, who will be celebrating the release of their "new" (released in September) album Pristine Origin. We premiered some material from that album over at Invisible Oranges around the time of its release, and if you missed it, you can stream it below.
Rounding out the lineup will be the hilariously-named Pants Exploder, which features Jason LaFarge of Seizures Palace Studios, and a joint improv set from musicians Matt Schulz (Holy Fuck, Enon) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof).
No advance tickets, but admission is $10, and doors are at 8 PM. Stream some Hyrrokkin and Pants Exploder below...