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New York is turning useless pay phones into awesome information kiosks

City 24/7

This is a making-lemonade-out-of-lemons story, so prepare yourself to be inspired by this magical tale of innovation. No one ever uses pay phones anymore -- well, no one other than drug dealers in movies about the '90s. But they are still sitting around, taking up space, just begging to be useful in perhaps some other way. And it seems this call has been answered, via a company called City 24/7, which will be transforming 250 of Manhattan's phone booths into touch-screen information kiosks.

Read more: Cities

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Amazing new bike helmet reads your mind

Arlene Ducao

MIT student Arlene Ducao has invented a bike helmet that can read your mind. It can't come up with specific info like "oh, I can see you would like a turkey sandwich right now" or "wow, you think Anne Hathaway is really annoying," but it does have some sense of your mental state. And this sense comes from reading the brain’s electroencephalogram (EEG) feedback. This information is then transformed into an LED display on the back of the helmet that gives motorists, other riders, and pedestrians general information about the biker's current stress level. Green means calm, red means high stress, and blinking lights mean the rider is freaking the fuck out.

Read more: Living

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Now vegetarians don’t have to miss out on the madness that is turducken

Sporkful
My, that looks delicious yet labor-intensive.

Vegetarians are a pain. I mean, the word "vegetarian" has five whole syllables. Obviously these people are high-maintenance, even though they insist they're not. Oh well. You just gotta know how to deal with them. Which is why when they insist you don't need to go out of your way for them, you should still go out of your way. And what better way to go out of your way than to go way the hell out of your way with this absolutely amazing recipe for the Veggieducken.

Read more: Food

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Bubble-wrap bus stop installations make waiting for late transit a lot more fun

Myst-R

Who doesn't like bubble wrap? What kind of person would you have to be to not love that feeling of placing your thumb and forefinger on that little pod of air, that tiny suggestion of somethingness, and then, with the slightest application of pressure, popping it into nothingness? Italian artist Fra Biancoshock understands this, and presumably he also understands that waiting for the bus is a major site of modern ennui. Which is why his latest project involves hanging variously sized sheets of bubble wrap at bus stops in Milan.

Read more: Cities

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Cory Booker challenges hater to join him in living off food stamps for a week

Newark mayor and all-around mensch Cory Booker made the grand mistake of tweeting something about the disparity between the rich and the poor the other day. God forbid the mayor of a poor city should express empathy for the poor. At any rate, unsurprisingly, some person who thinks poor people are just potential rich people who don't feel like doing anything tweeted back that "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government." And then Cory was like, OK, dude, you think being poor is just like, this thing that people do for fun when they're too lazy to go out and run a hedge fund? Let's try to live off food stamps for a week. We will do it together. You will see how the fuck it goes and how you like it. But to the guy's credit, he was game.

Read more: Food, Politics

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Civet-poop coffee might be delicious, but at what cost to the poor little civets?

Denise Chan
Given the choice of being on this tree and pooping out coffee for jerks, I will take the tree.

Kopi Luwak, the world's most expensive coffee at $230 a pound, is probably really delicious. The problem is that while it may be just wonderful for the people drinking it, animal rights groups are discovering that it is not so wonderful for the Asian palm civet. This is not terribly shocking considering the way Kopi Luwak is created: The fruits of the coffee plant are ingested by civets, a feline creature native to Southeast Asia. The civet then poops out a bean which has been essentially chemically roasted by the civet's digestive enzymes, and therefore has a caramel smoothness that can't achieved by mere roasting. Supposedly.

Read more: Food

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A toilet theme park has opened in the Korean city of Suwon

Just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, there is something new under our butts. A South Korean man who had a lifelong interest in bathroom hygiene (is that something you're supposed to admit? I am not so sure) has opened a toilet theme park in the South Korean city of Suwon, which is Korean for "Place where people come to learn about poo-poo stuff."

Read more: Uncategorized

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This origami kayak folds to the size of a suitcase

I tried to think of a way to be snarky about this thing but it's just not going to work. I am so glad that Anton Willis made this 25-pound fold-up kayak because he got sick of being unable to fit his kayak in his apartment. This thing is seriously so cool, so innovative, and makes a previously sort of pain-in-the-ass sport so totally worth it. And -- best -- you can now order one of these for $800 on Kickstarter.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Former ‘Miss Subways’ beauty queens unite for Sandy relief

From the early '40s into the '70s, New York City had a Miss Subways campaign. It involved pretty young New York women having their photos on trains, so that their beauty and winning personalities could be appreciated by all New Yorkers. [Ed. note: My uncle can still recite the entire text for some of these posters, so they apparently hit their mark among adolescent boys.] This program is no longer alive, but former Miss Subways beauty queens have gone on to important lives, some in civil service -- and with New York's recent hurricane, they have decided to give back to the city that gave them so much.

Here's a video of the Misses Subways raising money for Sandy, featuring some amazing New York accents:

Read more: Cities

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They’ve made a car for women, and, surprise, it’s pink

Does it come with car tampons?

So Honda has come out with the Fit She's. It's for women, and it's pink. Let's see what else about it makes it "for women," other than the pinkness and the fact that it says it is. Oh, it has a UV protecting windshield. Because only women get skin cancer. Other than that, there's nothing else, no other defining feature on the Fit She's that makes it for women. That's all. It's pink, with sun protection. It's for women (so you keep saying). My interest was minimal, it is now gone.