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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Hitting metals with a laser to make the metals turn black doesn't sound very sexy. But for Dr. Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester, it's normal research. The ability to turn something dead black, which will thus absorb all light, is of optical interest.

However, Guo discovered something else could be done with these tools. By using a laser to etch microscopic patterns into the surface of the metal, he found that water was super-attracted to the surface—it just gets sucked onto it, as you'll see in the video below. Curious to see if he could create an opposite effect, Guo then managed to laser-etch the metal such that water could not stick to it. "The material is so strongly water-repellent, the water actually gets bounced off. Then it lands on the surface again, gets bounced off again, and then it will just roll off from the surface," Guo explains.

Unlike a Teflon coating, Guo's technique means the metal itself is actually rendered super-hydrophobic, no coating required. This means Guo's treatment cannot be rubbed or worn off. And while dust and dirt can still stick to the surface, a droplet of water rolling across it will pick it all up, like the ball in Katamari Damacy. The result is super-easy-to-clean surfaces.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Holy COW this is cool, or at least, looks it. A California-based company called WayTools has developed the TextBlade, a diminutive, minimalist keyboard that nevertheless provides the same key spacing (19mm on center) as you'd get on a desktop or laptop, and 2mm of travel, which they claim "outperform[s] a Macbook Pro." And check out how this thing breaks down for storage and comes together for usage:

What you can't see in the video is that the TextBlade components apparently have some type of material or texture on the bottom that provides "rock-solid grip that hugs the table closer than a MacBook Air." It seems that that, in concert with the magnets, is enough to keep the thing from sliding around and/or disassembling, but to be fair I haven't actually touched one IRL.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Jan 2015  |  Comments (2)

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As my Auto Shop teacher explained to us in high school, cars from the 1950s had powerful motors for two reasons: Highways and people socializing. A 1955 Chevy Bel Air might hold three couples on an outing, six adults—three across the bench in the front, three in the back—and when merging onto a highway, had to be able to quickly get all that weight up to 55 miles per hour.

To a 1950s engineer, that kind of torque required lots of iron: V-8 engines, four-barrel carburetors and tons of gas. And back then a 13-second 0-60 time was reckoned respectable. But nowadays a Tesla with an electric engine—or say, two electric engines—has cut the acceleration time by some 75%.

Yes, folks, Tesla's Model S P85D ("D" for "dual engine") can do 0-60 in a blistering 3.2 seconds, subjecting the occupants to 1G in the process. It's called "Insane Mode" and here are unsuspecting passengers' reactions (Warning, NSFW):

Here's what veteran auto journalist Damon Lavrinc wrote on Jalopnik after receiving a ride in one:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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Luxury suites in sports stadiums are not the sole domain of America. The Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, home base of the Jokerit hockey team, has a rather special one. Guests in Skybox 408 can order drinks from the bar or food off of the menu, and the maximum capacity is 72 people.

The thing is, they can do all of these things naked.

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That's because Skybox 408 has within it a fully-enclosed, 20-person-capacity sauna where guests can strip down and watch the game while drenched in their own sweat. One-way glass protects their privacy, and it's one-sex-at-a-time, women first.

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Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |  27 Jan 2015

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Every once in a while at Hand-Eye we decide to make a really kickass deal - a deal WE'RE excited about. To celebrate the latest addition to the Hand-Eye line, we're bringing back the Spectacular Apron Combo. Through Feb. 5th you can pick up one of our brand new USA Made Work Aprons and a pair of classy retro Aviator Safety Specs (a HES NOS exclusive) for just $42. These are some of the most basic and badass workshop staples you can find, and we're super excited to share. Grab it while you can!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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If you hear voices in your head, that's bad. If you hear piano music in your head, that's not so bad, particularly if you're a professional pianist. Yet Gergely Bogányi still found it disturbing, because the sonorous quality of the music in his brain exceeded the sound a piano can actually produce. "[I] was intrigued to find out how I could make a difference," Bogányi writes. "How could I bridge the gap between the 'miraculous' sound in my head and that of the sound I was hearing?"

If it was a question of tuning, we can assume his long-suffering piano tuner might've found the solution. "[I] spent countless hours with my professional piano tuner, who travelled the world with me. Trying to find that consistent, quality sound in every piano. It was always so difficult with each concert hall having such different conditions that affected the piano. Dryness, dust, humidity were always a factor. Could we find a way to keep this quality consistent?"

Bogányi decided he'd have to custom design a piano, both inside and out, to get the sound he wanted. He assembled a team of designers, engineers, craftsmen and music technicians, and ten years and 8,000 team-hours later, they'd produced the Bogányi Piano you see here, which the pianist claims can produce "the clearest, boldest, [most] premium sound quality possible."

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While it contains the wood and iron you'd find in an ordinary piano, the Bogányi has a proprietary carbon fiber soundboard design that is reportedly weatherproof, i.e. remains unaffected by humidity or dryness. The exterior is unusual in that it stands on just two legs, "to allow an additional bottom passage for the sound to reach the audience." (I'm not much of a classical music lover, but to you concerto-goers, does that third leg in the back really muck up the sound that much?

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Met Life Stadium

America is crazy about at least two things: Sports, and segregating the rich and the poor. When you combine these two passions inside of a sports stadium, you get luxury boxes.

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Great American Ballpark

Luxury boxes, a/k/a skyboxes, executive suites or hospitality suites, are the earthbound, sports-watching version of First Class. Well beyond the financial reach of your average American family, they are the domain of the rich and the corporate, requiring leasing that can run into the millions of dollars. Wealthy folks use them to entertain and corporations lend them out to certain individuals as perks of corporate friendship. This can sometimes lead to resentment from the masses.

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"Bad news, Brian, someone keyed your Lamborghini in the parking lot again."

Luxury box denizens get designated parking spots and private entrances away from the huddled masses. They can often reach their suites via private elevators or private staircases:

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Posted by Coroflot  |  27 Jan 2015

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Since 1980, the Industrial Designers Society of America has set out every year to find designers and designs that epitomize quality across design mediums and platforms. The annual International Design Excellence Awards competition is underway so don't miss your chance to enter!

The regular deadline is February 16th, but your last chance to enter is February 23rd. Winners of this award enjoy immediate benefits including pride, self-satisfaction and bragging rights, as well as some longer-term perks, like a stronger professional reputation and increased career opportunities. Find more information about how and when to enter here. Good luck!

Posted by Sam Dunne  |  27 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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'The Wrist Report' is the semi-serious, bi-somethingly bulletin from the frontier of forearm fashion and functionality.

Even earlier this month at CES it was clear that the wearables frenzy had lost some of its vigor since last year (presumedly as manufacturers try to make good on some of their overblown concept promises). Of the news that there was, it seemed that technology on the wrist was being met with much more modesty by manufacturers—Withings going simpler and cheaper with their brand activity tracker in traditional timepiece form and Swiss watchmaker Montblanc making tentative steps into the world of wearable tech by strapping a tiny OLED screen to the underside of the wrist (yeh, it looked as good as it sounds).

Fast-forward only a couple of weeks and it seems that some new entrants into the forearm function/fashion fanfare are doing away with the tech altogether. In remarkable concurrence with Debbie Chachra's article in The Atlantic critiquing the hero worship of 'makers', Portland multi-tool manufacturer and Core77 fav Leatherman is gearing up to launch a multi-tool that straps (rather proudly) around the wrist. Introducing Tread.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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Those that live in blackout-prone areas don't keep their flashlights in the back of a drawer. Instead it's in some easily-accessible place, so they don't have to fumble around looking for it when the lights go out.

UK-based lighting manufacturer iViTi reckons they've solved this with their LED iViTi ON, a lightbulb they'll begin manufacturing next month. It's simple and clever: It's got your standard Edison screw base and roughly the same form factor as a standard lightbulb, along with an internal battery that stores juice. So when the power goes out and the bulb stops receiving wired electricity, it switches over to the battery to provide an extra three hours of light.

Another consumer they should target: Deadbeats who don't pay their electricity bills on time.

 

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