May 2017

Will shoes made of algae fight pollution?

An interesting piece by Adele Peters of FastCompany describes shoes made partly from a funky kind of plastic derived from algae

The Ultra III shoes, made by a company called Vivobarefoot, are partly made with algae skimmed from freshwater lakes.  This algae is turned into a foam that is blended with a standard plastic, ethylene-vinyl acetate, to form the material for the shoes.

Guerilla apps from IranCubator

An NGO called United for Iran has undertaken a project called IranCubator.  The purpose of IranCubator is the development of apps that provide Iranians with relevant information that they may otherwise find hard to get given government censorship.

IranCubator takes the form of an ongoing contest in which app developers consider suggestions for app designs and implement the ones that they like best.  The effort has resulted in several recent app releases.

Political campaigning and culture

A piece by Mark Scott in the New York Times states that efforts by the American alt-right to support Marine Le Pen's campaign for President of France have fallen flat.  Tactics that worked in the American campaign for Donald Trump do not "translate."

One tactic has been to spread memes, that is, posters featuring a picture, often of Emmanuel Macron, Ms. Le Pen's rival, and a clever caption.  Such efforts have encountered two problems.

Emoji architecture :) or :(

In a Wired article, Sam Lubell describes a building that incorporates emojis into its exterior.  Dutch architect Changiz Tehrani decided to enliven the facade of an apartment building in Vathorst by having emojis molded in relief in intersections of its surface elements.

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