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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

A look back at a few noteworthy items from the past week related to the COVID-19 global pandemic:

Netflix Party – This Chrome extension enables you to watch Netflix with your friends regardless of where they may be.  It does this by syncing up playback, allowing anyone to hit play/pause, and adding in a group chat feature.  A useful trick during these difficult times where “Netflix and Chill” has turned into “Netflix to not be ill”.

Netflix Party

VESper Ventilators – With hospitals across the country dealing with shortages of masks, ventilators, and other important medical supplies we’ve been hearing countless stories of DIY engineering hacks designed to make materials last longer and supplies stretch further.  Thankfully, there’s a better solution in the works.  One that could make it possible to share one ventilator with four patients.

Standing Six Feet Apart In Stores – CDC guidelines suggest that we stand six feet apart but that’s not something that most people were adhering to on their own.  Go somewhere crowded, like a grocery stores, and you’d still see people crowding each other on checkout lines.  That’s why I thought it would be a great idea if stores actually put markers on the floor to direct people where to stand and it looks like its finally happening.  Albertsons grocery stores are even implementing this policy as a matter of course across their entire nationwide network of stores.  As they state on their website:

“The company is installing designated waiting points through floor markers positioned throughout the store, especially at check stands and stations where people most often congregate, like the service deli, bakeries and pharmacy areas. Customers will also be asked to wait until the customer in front of them has finished collecting their groceries before unloading their groceries at the check stand. ”

six feet apart « MyConfinedSpace

Little Free Pantries – You may have seen Little Free Libraries pop up in your neighborhood.  You know, those cute little boxes, about the size of a microwave, filled with books and operating by the honor system.  See something you like? Feel free to take it.  Have something you don’t want anymore? You now have the perfect place to drop it off.  But thanks to COVID-19 those libraries have now been converted into pantries.  Filled with food items, cleaning supplies, and other necessities that may very well help your neighbors survive the weeks to come.  As the slogan goes, “Take what you need.  Bring what you can.”

You can find out more at: http://www.littlefreepantry.org/.

Little Free Pantries is a Food Bank on Your Lawn - Mothering

Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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Over the last few weeks I’ve done a good job of keeping to myself and social distancing but I still fear going outside.  Still fear opening doors, pumping gas, and doing any number of things that require me to touch shared surfaces in public places.  Thankfully, there’s now a way for me to avoid those scenarios going forward: The Hygiene Hand.

This tiny brass tool affixes to your key chain and enables you to interact with your environment i.e. opening doors, pushing elevator buttons, typing on ATM keyboards, etc. without ever having to come in direct contact with them.

As Laughing Squid puts it, “Concerned about the germs and viruses that can be spread through everyday life activities, emergency prep company StatGear Tools has created the “Hygiene Hand”. This EDC (everyday carry) tool is made of a naturally non-bacterial brass tool that’s small enough to fit on a keychain and strong enough to open doors. The tool is also cleverly designed to act as a substitute for those daily actions which would otherwise be performed by human hands.”

Suffice it to say, the Hygiene Hand is the perfect object for getting by in our new germ conscious times, for facing reality during this “new normal” that we’re living in.  Its the kind of thing that could have staying power even after things settle down.

Is the Hygiene Hand the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,608 – Dinner Bonds

Social distancing and mandatory shelter in place orders are a necessary evil as we try to combat COVID-19.  But these practices put a strain on small businesses such as restaurants that are getting shut out as people stay in.  Fortunately, there may be a way to keep these mom and pop shops afloat: dinner bonds.

The idea is relatively simple.  Pay now.  Eat later.  Spend $75 today in exchange for a gift certificate worth $100 when things return to normal.  The restaurants get an influx of cash to stay afloat during these troubling times and you get to make a positive contribution to society with a return on your investment on the back end. 

If you’re a fan of a particular place that you just can’t live without you may consider these dinner bonds to be a worthwhile risk.  A necessary expenditure to save the neighborhood haunt where you and your friends watch football games every Sunday or the cute, little Italian hole in the wall joint that you always bring your first dates to. 

Now this plan isn’t without risk.  If you invest in an establishment and it still goes out of business then you’ve lost your money entirely.  You’d have to take some solace in the fact that your contribution helped out initially.  At least that’s how they’re spinning it on supportrestaurants.org, one of a handful of organizations that have sprung up recently in hopes of helping out those in the food service industry.

There are other industries that are equally likely to suffer though if this pandemic lingers and I wonder if this idea has a chance to catch on elsewhere.  Could retailers try something similar?  Would you be willing to put down money now to have more capital at Macy’s or the Gap later?  Could hair stylists and personal trainers and everyone else with a service job, in essence the people most at risk of facing unemployment, could they figure out a way to think outside the box as well?  To get people to pay them in advance for future services?  What would you be willing to pay for?  Just how far would you be willing to take this bond idea?

Personally, I’m not sure how far I would take it but I would be willing to save a few of my favorite food establishments.  That’s for sure.  Being a picky eater I definitely feel it when one of my favorite places goes out of business.  I still haven’t recovered psychologically from losing my favorite bagel place a few months ago.  I couldn’t imagine losing some of my top remaining options and all at the same time.  With dinner bonds, hopefully I won’t have to.

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Are dinner bonds the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I have an overactive imagination.  A penchant for exaggeration.  A flair for the dramatic.  Some people love this about me.  My hiking club recaps featuring death defying encounters with packs of wild animals and herds of hang gliders have become the stuff of legend.  But others refuse to take me seriously for this very reason.  Throwing me into a group with Chicken Little, Internet conspiracy theorists, and the Boy Who Cried Wolf.  And that’s fair.  I don’t always take things seriously.  Quirkiness and silliness are often the Rule of Law in my world.

But this is different.  For even though it will sound like hyperbole, like an overreaction, like a sky is falling proclamation, it is far from it.  For when it comes to COVID-19 there is no need to exaggerate.  The facts are scary enough on their own. Tens of millions of deaths around the world if we do nothing.  Several million dead if we do half measures.  And best case scenario: nearly 18 months of isolation while we wait for a vaccine because if we stop isolating at any point before then an outbreak resulting in millions of deaths could still occur.  

The tendency is to compare this virus to the flu, to downplay it, but that’s not a fair comparison.  The flu has a death rate of .1%.  COVID-19 has a death rate of 1-3% making it at least ten times deadlier than the flu.  What makes it even more troubling is the fact that it’s slow moving (symptoms may take five days to show up) and can be spread by people who are asymptomatic.  And while 80% of cases may be “mild” that’s still a broad spectrum of severity with mild really just referring to anything that doesn’t require significant hospital care.  Not to mention the fact that the virus may do irreparable damage to a patient’s lungs even if they survive.

Suffice it to say this is not good.  Everywhere you look there is more and more bad news as the number of cases increases exponentially around the globe.  Everywhere you turn there is more and more existential dread as governments take ever more drastic action to try to stop the spread.  A gauntlet of seemingly insurmountable daunting challenges has been laid down before us.  That’s not hyperbole.  It’s really not.  That’s our new reality.  The new normal we’ve all been hearing about as we attempt to flatten the curve while sheltering in place.

That is some scary shit and that’s just focusing on the impact of the virus itself.  But what about all of the ripples that will reverberate throughout society?  Such as the impact on the totality of the healthcare system.  All those people who suffer from any number of regular, run of the mill ailments, illnesses, and injuries.  People who need elective surgeries.  Who get into car accidents.  Who suffer heart attacks. Who need what we would have considered as “normal” healthcare just a week ago?  What about them? Are we only going to treat coronavirus cases and ignore everyone else?  And if it comes down to it how do we do the impossible and decide who lives and who dies?  Those excruciating decisions that Italy is already making are coming our way whether we like it or not.

The economic impact will be equally devastating.  Possibly even more so as it is likely to impact every walk of life from trust fund babies dependent on a healthy stock market to hourly workers dependent on their latest paycheck.  Logic would dictate that a recession is likely.  Probability would suggest that another Great Depression is possible.  Some estimates are predicting an unemployment rate of 20% or higher.  Homes will foreclose.  Bills will pile up.  There will inevitably be civil unrest.  Riots.  Food shortages.  Total anarchy.  Carnage.

Even if that’s not the case and this is a relatively short lived event there will still be untold changes to society.  Irrecoverable damage as millions of small businesses shutter their doors.  As bars and restaurants close.  As people lose their jobs.  Their life savings.  Their hopes and dreams.

The economic hardship facing the service class will be unimaginable to say the least.  Waitresses, stewardesses, bartenders, hair stylists, beauticians, maids, comedians, entertainers, event planners, travel agents, personal trainers, Uber drivers, AirBnB hosts, the list goes on and on.  Hard-working people from all walks of life looking for work.  But that’s not all.  Passion projects will also be put aside.  Promising new ideas will fizzle.  The creative class will crater as side hustles vanish.  Free time a foreign notion as people focus on the immediate task at hand: survival.

In fact, society itself could shift.  In profound ways.  Similar to what happened after 9/11.  Privacy gone.  Surprise, surprise.  Facial recognition software becoming ubiquitous, as governments track our every movement, constantly taking our temperature as we move throughout society, gauging whether or not we’re a risk to the general public.  It’s already happening in China which could help explain why they were able to eventually contain the outbreak in Wuhan.

But there will be other shifts.  Office culture gone.  Replaced by full-time telecommuting.  Movie theaters gone.  Only streaming options remaining.  Public meeting places gone.  All cultural delivered virtually and electronically as AR and VR technology proliferates.  Just like life in The Stacks in Ready Player One.  

More troubling is the idea that certain borders between countries may never re-open as this virus is used as an excuse to enforce racist policies.  Referring to it as the Chinese Flu or worse as the Kung Flu as Donald Trump has isn’t going to help matters.  Eventually, policies of isolation could become standard as countries turn inwards and lock out foreigners.  Accessible global travel could become a thing of the past.  The tourism industry damaged beyond repair.  The world becoming less interconnected as the spread of the virus gets blamed on globalization.

But that’s not all. Birth rates could increase as young couples in isolation kill the time the old-fashioned way.  Divorce rates could increase as well.  And what about all those people stuck in isolation with abusive partners?  They’re literally imprisoned with no where to go for weeks or months.  Same for parents who now find themselves simultaneously trying to work from home and home-school their children.

Perhaps people will finally realize just how hard educating young people is paving the way for teachers to earn higher salaries.  Grocery store personnel might even get classified as emergency workers as we realize how essential their roles are in keeping modern society humming along.  We could even see Universal Basic Income get implemented as governments pay civilians not to work, first to encourage a policy of isolation, but eventually on a permanent basis because of how impactful it winds up being.

All in all, it’s likely that a prolonged period of isolation could have an untold number of side effects and consequences.  Just look at the impact alone on the sports world.  The NBA season has been suspended.  Possibly indefinitely.  It’s easy to get upset about how easy it is for basketball players to get tested when the rest of Americans have no idea how to go about getting tested themselves but at the same time you could point to Rudy Gobert testing positive and the NBA shutting down as the turning point when the national conversation changed.  Because right after that every other major sporting event followed suit and people began to take this outbreak more seriously.

So much so that March Madness turned into March Sadness as all spring collegiate competitions were canceled.  Major League Baseball ended Spring Training and delayed the start of their season.  It may not even take place at all.  Everything from golf tournaments to tennis matches were postponed or canceled.  Even the UFC was put on hold and Wrestlemania moved to an empty performance center over two nights.  Unprecedented courses of action.  Which begs the question: what will ESPN even cover for the next several months? Corn hole? Axe throwing? Pie eating?

But that’s the least of our worries.  As important as sports are to our culture, our identities, our civic pride, they are still at the end of the day, just sports, just games, just a mere form of entertainment.  There are bigger issues to be concerned with.

Such as the fact that profound psychological issues could emerge as this saga drags on; depression developing as loneliness creeps in.  Cabin fever emerging over time.  Friendships waning and potential romances fizzling as the weak bonds that hold loose social groups together break.

Generational resentment between Millennials and Boomers could set in as well as lifestyle choices gain scrutiny.  All in all, the full extent of the impact on society may not be known for years as tensions brew and bubble beneath the surface.  There’s even talk that the Internet may break! Bandwidth buckling under the strain of billions of people all trying to stream video at the same time.

Meanwhile, IRL restaurants that switch to take out only may survive but bars that are forced to close may never re-open.  Would entrepreneurs even want to open up new bars in the future if the risk of future pandemic driven shutdowns still exists?  Will public meeting places become a thing of the past?  What about live entertainment? Will Broadway survive? Will concerts, conferences, and events of all shapes and sizes?  I don’t drink, somewhat have social anxiety, and usually prefer to be alone than with others, and even I’m clamoring to go out to a bar right now after only socially distancing for less than a week.  I can’t imagine what social butterflys might be going through.  For people who crave social interaction this whole ordeal must feel like torture.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s the impact on loners, recluses and people who prefer to be alone.  For them there’s no where to run, no where to hide.  You can’t screen calls when everyone knows your sitting at home with nothing better to do.  You’re stuck.  Thanks to technological breakthroughs you’re now forced to engage in an endless stream of horrifying video chats featuring close ups of your unshaven face.  An introverts worse nightmare even if everyone thinks that a quarantine would actually be tailor made for them.  In actuality, that’s not the case at all.  Preferring to be alone from time to time is a lot different than being alone on a permanent basis.

Just ask single people.  An overlooked aspect of this drama is the effect on the dating scene.  Can you still go out on dates?  Is it even save to meet up with someone?  How do you know where they’ve been, who they’ve been in contact with, or if they’ve even been quarantining at all?  How can you trust someone you’ve never met?

People in relationships and people with families may be lamenting their circumstances as they are stuck in close quarters with people who may get on their nerves but single people don’t even have the option of getting annoyed with someone else.  For them there is no one else.  And it may be weeks or months or years before they can start dating again.  Before they can interact face to face with another human being.

I get the sense that people don’t realize or fully appreciate the full extent of shutting down society yet.  It’s still early days.  Reality hasn’t really set in.  People are still spreading memes about social distancing, still telling jokes, trying to make the most of a situation that they think will soon pass.  But the surreal will soon become real.  For the worse is yet to come.  It’s only been one week since this started.  One week out of what could be dozens of weeks.

Ultimately there may be unforeseen side effects of isolation that trend towards the positive though.  Consider the new idea of grocery stores having senior only hours before the store opens to the general public.  This is a great idea that ensures that seniors, the most at risk segment of the population during this outbreak, get the care and supplies that they need.  Even after this outbreak passes this practice should continue.

But we can think even bigger than that.  Think globally.  Such as considering the environmental impact of suddenly shutting down society.  By some estimates we only had about twelve years left before a catastrophic climate catastrophe.  So, while it sucks to potentially spend a year or two of that time stuck inside it may ultimately be what saves us with air quality improving and global warming subsiding as less emissions occur as modern civilization grinds to a halt.

But that’s not all. We’ve already seen animals, such as deer in Japan and monkeys in Thailand roam into new areas in search of food, usually provided to them by the tourists that no longer show up.  Will there be other examples of nature reclaiming land lost to industrialization?  Will our overheating oceans cool down?  Will coral reefs rebuild themselves?  Is this global timeout exactly what the doctor ordered for the long-term health of our planet?

This is what I find most interesting about this entire outbreak.  The irony of it all.  That exactly what we needed to do to halt Climate Change we’re doing, not because we want to, not because we chose to, but rather, because the choice was made for us, out of necessity, thanks to something naturally occurring, a virus.  Is this Mother Nature’s way of course correcting?  Does it imply that nature is actually intelligent and not just driven by benign biological processes and the laws of physics? 

On the other hand, it isn’t enough to just consider this a natural disaster.  There was, as there often is, human nature that muddied the waters.  For this virus may in fact be man made.  Possibly produced in a laboratory and possibly released on purpose.  At the very least its existence was covered up by China preventing the rest of the world from being able to stop its spread.  Could that gross negligence be what starts World War III?

Instead of playing the blame game one could instead choose to look at this as a glass half full situation.  As an opportunity.  Because with our backs to the wall humanity will have to pull together like never before.  Philanthropic and altruistic efforts will emerge.  3-D printers could finally come to the forefront as they produce much needed ventilator parts.  Similar to how car racing has produced untold automobile innovations as the desire to go faster and faster necessitated further aerodynamic and engineering breakthroughs so too could the race to cure this virus lead to untold medical innovations and healthcare breakthroughs.

Could our understanding of virology increase ten fold as a result?  Could we create therapies that cure other illnesses?  Put in place new policies and procedures that improve hygiene and save lives?  Perhaps we could even continue with the practice of fast tracking treatments, skipping over animal testing and going straight to human volunteers so that inhumane animal testing becomes a thing of the past.  At the very least we’re washing our hands more often and for longer amounts of time than ever before.  If nothing else this crisis has improved our ability to prevent other illnesses from spreading.  And given us the impetus to do away with that awkward social custom of shaking hands.

Speaking of unnecessary customs this pandemic has also pointed out several flaws within society.  Proven that a lot of meetings could have been emails.  Proven that working from home is possible.  Proven that the size limitation on liquids that can be brought on a plane was an arbitrary decision in the first place as the FDA suddenly allows for larger hand sanitizer bottles to make it through security checkpoints.

Handshakes and toiletries aside at the end of the day the important question that we really should all be asking ourselves is what this does to our risk tolerance.  Going forward will we take drastic action to stop the flu or other run of the mill infectious diseases from spreading on an annual basis?  Will seasonal quarantines become a part of modern life?  Will we hibernate during flu season the way a bear hibernates through the winter?  Or will we go back to the way things were.  Accepting a death rate of .1% (tens of thousands of deaths) even though a single death should never be acceptable.

An even more pressing question might be how much risk are we willing to accept to get back our lives in the short term?  If this saga drags on for several months we will collectively decide to go back about our business at a certain point?  And at what point is that?  As soon as we flatten the curve?  As soon as there are treatments in place that make recovery possible in just a few days?  Essentially, if we can’t outright contain the virus do we just accept it and take our chances with it popping up as simply a part of modern life?

That seems to be the case in Japan where they haven’t really seemed to be that affected by the virus.  Are they truly not affected or simply hiding the true extent of the virus’ impact so that they can put on a brave face to host the Olympics?  In other countries it has so far seemed to take about 6-8 weeks to get the virus under control.  But for other countries that weren’t prepared and who didn’t take immediate action the process could be a slower burn.  Perhaps as long as 18 months even.  Which may be the case here in America.

If this does play out over the course of the next two years it raises some interesting logistical questions.  How often we would have to go through painful nose swabbing testing?  Would you need to get tested weekly?  Daily even?  And once you get sick can you get the virus a second time or do you develop immunity? If you do develop immunity will we get to a point where half of society has gotten over it and the other half hasn’t gotten it yet and has to remain in quarantine?

In that scenario what do all the people who have recovered do? Stay in isolation even though they are now perfectly healthy?  Go back to living normal lives while the rest of us stay hidden?  Could this create a society of haves and have nots?  Those that have the virus and those that don’t.  Or do we go a different route and just quarantine seniors and other high risk individuals with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients, diabetics, and those with high blood pressure? Do we start segregating large swaths of the population so that the rest of us can get back to work?  What if new data comes out that shows that the virus is actually only affecting people with the same commonality such as people who all share the same blood type?  Do we start hunting down people with Type A blood before they can get infected and become super spreaders?

It’s an interesting dynamic to say the least.  As are the choices that humanity makes in times of need.  The run on toilet paper.  The hoarding of perishable goods.  The desire to still go on Spring Break and out to bars and restaurants in spite of the risk.  The foolish mentality that I am invincible.  That it won’t happen to me.  Or even if it does I’m young so I’ll be fine.

Future sociologists will have a field day studying human behavior during this time.  Were we our own worst enemies?  Did we exacerbate the situation?  Or in the long run did we make the most of it? Emerge on the other side with a new found appreciation for the little things in life?  Become more tolerant of different cultures, put aside all of our differences – having learned the very valuable lesson that a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing?  Absence making the heart grow fonder and all that.

Which brings me to the most pressing question of all: where do we go from here? What do we do with our new found “free time.”  Do we panic?  Hoard supplies.  Wait for the world to end while filled with despair? Or do we buckle down and rise to the occasion? Tackle our To Do lists? Attack life with a renewed vigor and sense of purpose?

Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined during the plague.  Perhaps modern day creatives can use this as an opportunity to follow their dreams.  To put pen to paper.  To dust off an old canvas.  To see where their creative juices can take them when there aren’t any time constraints, deadlines, or pressure.

That’s what I intend to do at least.  Catch up on my writing.  Start a hiking blog.  See if maybe I’m really not as bad of a painter as I first thought.  I may even look to start a business.  Why not? After all, time is of the essence.  It’s now or never.  The world may be ending.  Might as well make the most of the time we have left.  Might as well embrace the new normal.

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How will the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Joshua Seth understands the importance of creativity.  As a best-selling author, accomplished public speaker, world famous illusionist, and the voice of nearly one hundred different animated characters he has made a career out of acting and thinking creatively.  A skill that is suddenly in high demand thanks to the new Era of Creativity that we suddenly find ourselves in.

As Scott Belsky writes on Medium, “While productivity is about squeezing all the value out of existing resources, creativity and creative thinking are about discovering new resources: creative problem-solving that turns an obstacle into an advantage, inspiration that leads to a new product, creative reinvention that changes the course of your career.  The transition to the Era of Creativity will undoubtedly be difficult for some people, as all economic shifts are. But in the end, it’s a positive change for humankind. Being more productive can be satisfying, but ultimately it just makes you a more efficient cog in a faster machine. Being more creative, on the other hand, brings very different forms of fulfillment: joy, self-discovery, creative expression, new ways of doing old things, connection to others. In economic terms, GDP in this era will measure more than just raw economic output. It will measure happiness.”

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang would seem to agree with that view with his recent calls for a new way of measuring GDP.  One that adds a human element to the equation.

As The Hill recently reported, “Yang cited what he called human-centered capitalism as an important metric for measuring the economy.

‘I’d like to talk about my wife, who is home with our two children, one of whom is autistic,’ he said. ‘GDP would include her work at zero when we know it’s the opposite of the truth. So we need to start measuring things that actually indicate how we’re doing — things like health, mental health and freedom from substance abuse, childhood success rates, clean air and clean water, and other social indicators.’”

So if all this is true, if we’ve really entered into a new Era of Creativity, one in which GDP gets updated to measure our happiness, one in which creative jobs spring up to replace those lost to AI and automation, how will we adjust to our new reality? How will we survive?  By thinking more creatively of course.  And that’s where Joshua Seth comes in.  His newly created creativity card game could become a key resource for individuals and corporations alike, an invaluable resource for unlocking the creativity that lies inside every single one of us.

As Joshua recently told me, “We tend to think that creativity comes from a spark of inspiration but in reality for it to be sustainable you need a process.”

In theory, his card game is that process.  But there’s more to being creative than just playing a game that harnesses your creative juices and helps you collaborate with others.  You also need to be present in the moment.  As he puts it, “the key to creativity is finding focus and being present in the moment.  Do it with your whole heart and being.  Not perfectly.  Just better than the last time.”

Which is probably good life advice in general.  Just stay focused, live in the moment, and let your creative juices flow.  The rest will take care of its self.  One idea at a time.

Creativity Cards Brainstorming Made Easy.png

Is a creativity card game the Greatest Idea Ever?

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People living a hundred years ago never could have predicted the invention of the microwave and the rise of the TV dinner.  Nor could people living twenty years ago have predicted the Impossible Burger and other lab grown meats that are currently hitting supermarket shelves.  When it comes to predicting the future of food there’s only thing that we can be certain of: it’s going to be vastly different than it is now and we’re probably going to think it’s weird.

Which brings me to hyper-personalized food.  Meals that are specifically catered towards each individual person’s biochemistry and their corresponding nutritional needs.  An approach that is even weirder than growing food in a laboratory.

As Futurism puts it, “You’ll need more than a reservation to dine at Sushi Singularity — you’ll also need to be willing to share samples of your bodily fluids.

The futuristic restaurant, which is set to open in Tokyo in 2020, collects samples of reservation-holders’ saliva, feces, and urine two weeks prior to their visits. Then it analyzes the samples to determine each diner’s unique nutritional requirements, tailoring their meal to meet those needs.”

To make this an even more futuristic sounding idea the tailored meals are also going to be 3D printed.  Because of course they are.  Personally, I’m not sure that I would want to eat in an establishment that I know is also housing thousands of samples of saliva, feces, and urine.  That doesn’t exactly sound all that sanitary.  But then again eating raw fish in the first place doesn’t all that sanitary to me either.  So what do I know?

But for people who take their health seriously, who count calories and watch everything they eat, I can certainly understand the appeal in wanting to eat a highly personalized nutritional meal. Even if that meal is 3D printed sushi.

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Is personalized sushi the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,554 – Zucklight

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has already invented something that has changed the world.  Now, he’s hoping to do it again by creating a device that would help people fall asleep.  Or at least fall back to sleep.

As Zuckerberg himself describes on Instagram:

“Being a mom is hard, and since we’ve had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night. She’ll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can’t fall back asleep. So I worked on building her what I call the ‘sleep box’. It sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6-7 am it emits a very faint light — visible enough that if she sees it she’ll know it’s an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won’t wake her up if she’s still sleeping. And since it doesn’t show the time, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she knows to just go back to sleep without having to worry about what time it is. So far this has worked better than I expected and she can now sleep through the night.”

Similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept Zuckerberg gave the idea away for free in hopes that someone would build it for him.  Which is exactly what happened in the form of a product known as the Zucklight that has launched on Kickstarter.  And to be honest it actually sounds like a very desirable product, coming chock full of additional bells and whistles including:

  • Wireless Charging
  • Temperature, Humidity and CO2 Sensors
  • Sound Audio System
  • 2 Extra charging coils for wearables

Personally, I’m not sure if a sleep box would work for me.  Wouldn’t wondering what time it was stress you out just as much as knowing?  And can’t you tell what time it is from other clues in your surroundings such as whether or not it’s light outside? But at the same time I could see how a sleep box could be helpful, if for no other reason than it would make people pick up their phones less, which would lower the chances that they get sucked into checking their messages and emails when checking the time.  Meaning that Zuckerberg may have invented something that makes people use Facebook less.  Ironic? Yes. Worth losing sleep over? Not anymore.  

 

Is Zucklight the Greatest Idea Ever?

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