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Links, News, and Observations from Small Planet

Small Planet

Small Planet

January 4, 2018


The Most Downloaded Apps On Christmas
A LOT of people got Fitbits and Echoes as presents. (


The Road Race For Smart Car Commerce
It’s time for your car to pay for its own gas at the pump. (


The Space Opera To End All Space Operas
In praise of ‘USS Callister,’ the Black Mirror episode we needed. (


Bitcoin Will Burst
Bitcoin is obscuring digital currencies that could help close the income inequality gap. (


2017’s Biggest Technology Fails
It’s like Keurig…for juice! $120 million dollars please. (


What to Expect When You’re Expecting CES
Get ready for a lot of TVs, cars, and blockchain talk. (


2018 Spotify Playlist: New Year, New You
Let’s get physical. (


Design Tools Survey
According to 1,979 participants, the most popular are… (


Updated: CES 2018 Restaurant Guide
Now with more tostadas. (




December 15, 2017


The Pinball Wizard Strikes Again
Thank you Heartbeat for making Small Planet and our Machine Learning Lab the focus of your Community Spotlight!


Do Jedi Carry Cash?
Serious question: how exactly does the economy work in Star Wars?


Retail Geofencing Primer
Here’s how geofencing helps brick-and-mortar compete in a digital world.


7 Things (Probably) Happening in 2018
HQ knockoffs, AR breakthroughs, VUIs, and more. (


The Nostalgia Economy
Quartz’s special series on nostalgia’s economic power, heightened during the holidays. (


How Green Is Your Artificial Christmas Tree?
With 13 million sold in 2017, maybe greener than you think. (


CES 2018 Alternative Restaurant Guide
Sometimes Vegas’ buffet options simply will not do. (


Joana’s Designer Gift List
The Neat List, for people who like things to be JUST so. (


2018 Hotel Tech Trends
First off, they’re going to start selling far more than just rooms. (


SP’s December Playlist
Many holiday songs, and a few that are not but remind us of the season. (spotify)



December 8, 2017


Please, Please Stop Using These Buzzwords
So long “pivot to video.” And take “growth-hacking” with you. (


Small Planet’s Holiday Gift Guide
This year we’re taking it easy on the gadgets. It’s time to tune out, turn off, write something down, raise a glass, go outside, and light up (the candles). Take a look… BK Award Winner
Last night we were recognized as Design/Dev Firm of the Year at the 2017 BK Awards! It was a wonderful ceremony, and an honor to be among so many of Brooklyn’s best and brightest. See the full list of winners here.


Bitcoin Basics
Everything you wanted to know about Bitcoin (but were afraid to ask). (


Our Favorite Design Books – 2017 Edition
We love buying books. We especially love buying books about typefaces, graphic design, architecture, illustration, design history, fashion, and anything else that celebrates the creative mind at work.


The A.V. Club’s Favorite Books of 2017
Paperbacks From Hell, Imaginary Cities + more. (


The Ten Best Video Games of 2017
Wait, The Economist plays video games? Yes! (


Page Not Found
A brief history of the 404 error, and the nature of pure disappointment. (


What Lurks Behind Rabid Sports Fandom?
Hero systems, transcending death, and the Philadelphia Eagles. (


Raising a Teenage Daughter*
*Written by the mother, annotated by her daughter. (




December 1, 2017


Mobile Interface Myths
The prevailing wisdom about mobile users is that they’re always in a rush… (


Coke Does Digital
How does the ultimate impulse buy adapt to the demands of ecommerce? (


Our Favorite Design Books – 2017 Edition
Here’s the good news: it’s only money. (


Game Alert: Burly Men At Sea
Who better to take on folklore creatures? (


Frequent Flier Miles Are Totally Dead
The old system is over, it’s all about credit cards now. (


Secrets of the Marvel Universe
Marvel’s Kevin Feige talks about life after Tony Stark. (


The Most Popular Font Types In America
Archivo Black is big in El Paso, and Nevada loves scripts. (


Why Medieval Cats Approved of the Plague
There were 2 very distinct attitudes to cats… (


What If Autonomous Cars Just Never Happen?
Let’s talk seriously, is this our generation’s flying car? (




November 22, 2017


Honey is a browser extension that automatically finds and applies the best coupon code at checkout. More at


Deliveries: A Package Tracker on the App Store
Trying to track all of your packages? We recommend Deliveries, available at


Amazon Smile
Amazon donates a small percentage of your order to a charity of your choice if you shop using


The cashback % is hiked up thru Cyber Monday, then you get a check at month’s end with the cash back you saved –


Accurate and crowdsourced so people can add deals. Plus you can add keyword alerts and get notifications for deals –


Shopping Guide for Designers
The common denominator between every featured item? Good design. Check it out at



November 16, 2017


No Going Back Now

Apple, Google, and the constant chase for tech that can’t be reverse-engineered. (


Beat the House

Researchers made money on soccer legally from online bookies. Trouble ensued. (


The Future of Travel

Over 60% of U.S. travelers would make an impulse purchase based on a deal. (


Core77 Photos: Tokyo’s 2017 Motor Show

Spoiler alert: the future is going to be totally bananas. (


The Wing Is Going Wide

“Mindful of history, striving for diversity and sponsored by Chanel.” (


By Any Other Name

A hotel’s chatbot concierge named Rose created more problems than it solved. (


The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future

Second Life was supposed to to be the internet’s future. (


NPD Holiday Predictions

The lack of election noise will help retailers, and many consumers will wait til the last minute. (


Family Drama

Our new Spotify playlist celebrates family gatherings. Also, did you buy wine yet? (



November 10, 2017


Tesla’s Dangerous Sprint Into the Future

Can Tesla survive long enough to live in the world it creates? (


Goldblum Rises

GQ’s oral history acknowledges what we all know: he’s amazing. (


Machine Learning and App Marketing

AI can parse mountains of data for app marketers. (


Instagram is Loving Nature to Death

Lesser-known places are suffering from online fame. (


How to Tell If You’re a Supertaster

Are you among the 1%? Be warned: you won’t like IPAs. (


Are We Having Fun Yet?

It’s colorful and popular, but what’s really going on at The Museum of Ice Cream? (


Biased AI is Here

Copyright law makes artificial intelligence bias worse, but there’s hope. (


Luxury Travel Brands Need to Step It Up

They can’t afford to be so far behind in digital engagement. (


Making eCommerce Fun

An app we’ve been working on is making things simpler for new parents managing a registry. (




November Update


Unkindest Cuts

Certain items in a mobile project budget find themselves on the chopping block time and again, and that can be very, very bad. Cut these 5 things at your peril.


Interview: Now What’s Kyser Thompson

The “creative question company” president talked with us about knowing what you don’t know, creating strategy documents people will actually use, and Scottish rallying cries.


Culture + Arts Event

We do fun things and call it culture! December 8th and 9th we have 4 extra tickets to Bar Car Night at the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show. Let us know and they’re yours.


New Stuff

We recently made ecommerce look fun for Babies”R”Us®, and when it comes to creating animated sticker packs we go absolutely wild.


W3 Award Winners

We’re honored to win two Silver W3 Awards for our work with @PPFA (Spot On) and @girlswhocode (Loop). Thank you!


The Swift Developer’s Guide to Being Lazy

Join us and the Brooklyn Swift Developers at Peloton Cycling’s headquarters for a Meetup on the guilt-free pleasures of saving effort and time. RSVP



November 3, 2017


Get Scott Rogowsky!

Is viral trivia sensation HQ the future of both mobile gaming and live TV? (


Goop is Cashing In On It’s Insane Holiday Guide

“Ridiculous But Awesome” theme includes a blow-up yurt. (


Interview: Now What’s Kyser Thompson

How can creative questions help your brand? (


Shooting Strange

The techniques used to keep ‘Stranger Things’ lo-fi in a high-tech world. (


Spies Like Us

The CIA spent millions staging international science conferences. (


Predictions: When Black Friday Comes

Average consumer spend over the weekend: $743. (


Silk Road Stories

Video: Archaeologists find maximum weirdness on the ancient Silk Roads.



How Adidas, Nike and Under Armour Divvied Up College Basketball

Nike dominates, Under Armour thinks big. (


Couture Club

Ok, we should all go to the new Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech, right? (




October 27, 2017


Boarding Past

Let’s get serious: why do airlines still make passengers check in for flights? (


Unkindest Cuts

Cut these 5 things from your mobile project budget at your peril. (


Psychedelic Park

The 70-room immersive art installation in Santa Fe is waiting for you. (


Attack of the Zombie Websites

The digital fraud scheme that ripped off major brands. (


Wait, Why Are There So Many Monster Hybrids?

Great article on how category violation draws us in every time. (


Tech-Related Halloween Costume Ideas

Last-minute, fast, cheap, easy…inspired? (


What Streaming Music Services Pay (in 2017)

And the king of streaming payouts is, um, Napster. (


Fear of a Female Genius

One of the greatest living artists in popular music still isn’t properly recognized. (


Joyfully Deranged

It’s so nice to see Amy Sedaris running rampant through the hospitality show format. (



October 20, 2017


The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Prediction

Will we be distracted from thinking more productively? (


Mobile Ads: $45 Billion

“For advertisers, the internet is not mobile-first, it is mobile-dominated.” (


Just Released: This Book is a Planetarium

Artist filled it with interactive paper pop-up gadgets. (


Futura: The Most Ripped-Off Font in History

Endlessly reimagined, imitated, blatantly ripped off. (


Ikea’s New Pet Collection for Cats and Dogs

Dare to dream: it includes a bowl that encourages dogs to eat slowly. (


Martha and Snoop: Together Again

It’s not hype. Their chemistry is so, so real. (


Moon Shots

Google Maps now lets you explore more planets and their moons. (


St. Vincent’s Instagram Videos Are Pretty Great

The “Insert Question” segments are hilarious. (


What We’re Listening To: French Kiwi Juice

1) Amazing band name. 2) The album’s progression is lovely. (




October 13, 2017


The Underdogs Bidding on Amazon HQ2

Danbury, Frisco, and Virginia Beach: it’s your time to shine. (


Legends of the Fall

The media, on the whole, gave a pass to Weinstein for years. Make that decades. (


Please Enter Password

One is Apple asking you for your password, the other is a phishing popup that steals it. (


Mayo, Disrupted

A vegan-mayo company became a Silicon Valley darling. What is it really selling? (


Killer Songs

October is a little warmer than usual, but our new Halloween playlist? Ice cold. (


New Post: Building a Better Health App

Sometimes the simplest goals can be the hardest to achieve. (


Wired’s Best Instant Cameras of 2017

Analog cameras are back big time, and these are pretty cute too. (


Archie Lives

Article on how the subversive Riverdale plays to The CW’s sensibilities. (


Game Alert: Terroir

“We tried to incorporate as much of the actual processes of winemaking into it.” (




September 29, 2017


NYC’s Fancy Cornell Tech Campus Has Landed

Just when you thought Roosevelt Island couldn’t get weirder. (


And Now…Good News About US Advertising

Digital spending will grow 16% this year. Mobile? 22%. (


SP’s Octoberfest 2017 Beer List

This is the most important thing you’ll read all year. (


Fair Gotham

An interesting read on what fantasy cities say about the people who yearn for them. (


We’re Totally Post-Maps

There’s an entirely new way of mapping the world, and it is pretty awesome… (


Has Fall Arrived?

Did a temporary Halloween shop move into a vacant strip mall? (


Technology as Magic

We the people have always been helplessly drawn to the concept of magic. (


Let’s Destroy Myths About Generation Z

It’s incredibly diverse and holds $44 billion in buying power. (


AR Comes to Baseball

How Major League Baseball is using Apple’s ARKit to increase fan engagement. (




September 22, 2017


The Hot New Gossip App Is … Actually Nice?

The emphasis on positivity only seems to make the app more popular. (


The Magic iPod

It’s 2007 forever. If you’ve ever wanted to mix 50 Cent with Evanescence or Fall Out Boy, this is your time. (


The Wow Factor

Interview: MPOWERD’s John Salzinger talks portable lighting, climate change, and surfing. (


New Job Platform: Limbo

You can post anonymous profiles to explore different aspects of your expertise. (


PopTech 2017

This looks really interesting (and expensive). Still, maybe some $ left in the budget? (


Buffalo Dreams

Video: One man’s quixotic quest to bring American bison to Scotland. (


Our October Webinar: Games People Play

Shouldn’t game-making experience be a part of every app you make? (


Braun Design Pt. 1: Electric Shavers

Delightful photo essay on devices that were part magic, part genius design. (


End of the Line

Is the “High Line” era of high-profile, billionaire-backed public spaces really over? (



September 15, 2017


Eliminating the Human ― We love this David Byrne essay on tech and meaningful interaction. (


The “About Us” Page of Every Digital Agency ― Growth Snobs, Dream Fluffers, Content Doulas… (


Our New Logo ― We started with a simple question: how can we make our brand better? (


The Meadows Music and Arts Festival ― We’re going to this, are you? If not, why not!? (


Jason Wu’s Grey ― It’s fashion week, and we’re very keen on this monochrome wonderland. (


2017 Catskills Conf ― This looks pretty great: tech talks PLUS blacksmithing and cider making classes? (


How Astrology Took Over the Internet ― “We don’t know why it works, I’ll put it right out there right now.” (


Animal House ― Interesting piece on the increasingly antiseptic nature of university culture and the death of MIT’s Senior House. (


Games People Play ― Our October Webinar: Shouldn’t game-making experience be a part of every app you make (




September 8, 2017


A Complete Taxonomy of NYC Ice Cream Styles ― An exploration of the most important issue of our time. (


At the End of All Things ― The geography of fantasy worlds, from Middle Earth to Westeros. (


Changing Television Forever…Again ― Twin Peaks: The Return truly experimented with artistic form. (


SP’s Back to Cool Playlist ― We went back to school this week, and what’s cooler than learning while listening to music? Nothing! (spotify)


The NY Art Book Fair ― It’s almost here: Sept. 22-24 at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, and it is FREE! (


Photoville in DUMBO ― An immersive photography village populated by 55+ shipping containers repurposed into galleries. (


Beyond the Beach ― Photographer Jeanette Hägglund takes on a classic seaside town marked by the explosion of mass tourism in the 1970s. (



September 1, 2017

Board Games Make You a Better Person ― And they help you build better relationships! (


How to Design a Bottle ― Why are most bottles round? Plus: the evolution of “sqround.” (


Tech and the Food Truck ― Helping customers find your truck might be as important as the location. (


This is Not A Test ― “Before Hurricane Harvey, carriers lobbied against upgrades to a national emergency alert system” (


All the Top Tier Soccer Logos from Europe ― We like logos, so here’s a fun chart of soccer teams in top-tier leagues in Europe. (


What That Scorsese Joker Movie Means for DC Movies ― What’s the artistic incentive for Scorsese again? (



August 25, 2017


Forest of the Gods ― “The Japanese technology + art collective will be projecting visuals, giving park visitors the feeling of being on an alien planet…” (


Typeset in the Future ― “The very presence of Eurostile Bold Extended in an opening title card says FUTURE far more effectively than any…” (


English Is Not Normal ―“There is no other language, for example, that is close enough to English that we can get about half of what people are saying without training…” (


Citroën: The Man, The Marque, The Mystique ― “Now through March 2018, the comprehensive exhibit of the most revered automakers in history…” (


Power Jam ― “Nouran Elkabbany’s family wasn’t thrilled about the idea of her joining a roller derby team. In Egypt’s patriarchal society…” (


The Ill-Fated Experiment of MTV News ― “With a celebrated new staff departed or laid off, an experiment in the power of longform journalism is dead.” (


We Are In The Future ― “Podcast: This American Life examines Afrofuturism…a way of looking at black culture that’s fantastic, creative, + oddly hopeful.” (


The Digital Trends 2017 Outdoor Awards ― “Do you NEED BioLite’s CampStove 2 Cooking Bundle, or the Thermacell Mosquito Repeller? do.” (


How That $10 Movie Theater Pass Will Work ― “With a new price-point designed to attract as many subscribers as possible, MoviePass is hoping to…” (




August 18, 2017

Music Americans Like: 50 Detailed Fan Maps ― “With the help of YouTube’s geocoded streaming data, we set out to map the contours of music fandom and culture in the United States.” (

Tech Has the Tools to Fight Hate, It Just Needs to Use Them ― “Now it’s up to those same tech companies to adjust their approaches to online hate by shutting down…” (

Is There a Relationship Between Coffee Shops and High Rent? ― “D.C. and San Francisco have the greatest number of coffee shops per capita. L.A. has the fewest.” (

Netflix Will Be Fine ― “Netflix is especially good at one thing: planning ahead. Remember, they started planning five years ago for studios like Disney and Fox to split off.” (

Lonely Planet’s Trips App Is Instagram for Travel Junkies ― “Instead of just posting pictures, Trips lets you build a full-fledged travel guide.” (

The Emotional Labour of Female Emails ― “In emails, women use exclamation marks significantly more often than men. Why?” (

After the Flame ― “The 2016 Games were supposed to bring Rio and Brazil to new heights. What’s left behind? Corruption, debt…” (

The Doctor Will Analyze You Now ― “A health center for native Alaskans brought mental and physical care under one roof, with impressive results.” (

Burning Man is a Testbed for Extreme Architecture ― “His lens focuses on the festival’s sustainable ideals, paired with the harsh Nevada climate…” (


August 10, 2017

The Golden Age of UX Won’t Last ― “Users don’t blame themselves anymore when they get stuck, they blame you. How will UX designers continue to prove value?” (

The New Iowa State Fair Foods for 2017 ― “What’s an Apple Taco? It is a deep-fat-fried tortilla, filled with granny smith apples, topped with whip cream, caramel, sugar…” (

Why Nature Prefers Hexagons ― “If you want to pack together cells that are identical in shape and size to fill all of a flat plane, only three regular shapes will work.” (

If SoundCloud Disappears, What Happens to Its Music? ― “They are part of music cultures that largely do not exist anywhere else online.” (

To Catch a Counterfeiter ― “Nearly all the world’s fake products come from China. Pinkerton, America’s oldest private detective agency, is on the case….” (

What If NYC Commuters… ― “Could access a real-time subway app? Received directions via AR? Relied on a digital parking assistant?” (

Classical Archaeologists Found A Lot Of Amazing Things This Summer ― “Revealing the wealthy world of…trade, education and art in the Roman provinces.” (

Bittersweet Symphony ― “35 pop-culture windows into 1997: DVDs went on sale, we land on Spice World, Ellen comes out, the first Harry Potter book is published…” (

SP’s New Spotify Playlist: Cover Me ― “Cover songs present an odd dynamic…listening to the song often means actively thinking about the original.”  (


August 3, 2017

Tomorrow’s Brands Might Be Impossible to Trademark ― “Amazon is attempting to trademark the glowing blue ring of its Echo devices…” (

Not Fade Away ― “‘Millennial pink’ is on clothes, food, automobiles…the hue has been mentioned over 32,000 times online this year.” (

Ready Player One ― “We talk to esports commentator Austin Nolte about the cultural and economic changes coming to competitive gaming.” (

Patagonia’s Big Business of #Resist ― “The company is going to war over protections for public land in a bid to become a political player…” (

Central Park to Wall Street in 5 Minutes ― “Loop NYC envisions swapping existing cross streets and highways for driverless expressways…” (

E-residency: Citizenship of the Future? ― “Estonia’s program of ‘e-residency’ allows you to be a citizen of the country no matter where you live…” (

Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why It Matters ― “Think of it like toll road. Right now, the roads are open to anyone, regardless of where they’re coming from or going.” (

The Space Junk Problem is About to Get a Whole Lot Gnarlier ― “Bad for Sandra Bullock: Thousands and thousands of satellites are set to launch to low-Earth orbit before 2025.” (

3 Supernatural Noir Tales That Reflect The Inhuman Condition ― “Ridler toys with the idea that L.A. thrives on illusions, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for magic…” (


July 28, 2017

Inside Cuba’s D.I.Y. Internet Revolution ― “It’s time for the cast and crew of Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica” reboot to get back together.” (

In Search of…The Best Design Bookstores ― “From ramshackle, historic zine shops to luxe, modern, and spacious art book temples, here’s our list…” (

Disney’s Once-Futuristic Epcot Is Getting a Modern Overhaul ― “The Guardians of the Galaxy coaster will replace Ellen’s Energy Adventure…” (

Busting the Tree Ring ― “How a landmark investigation unraveled a Washington timber-poaching gang…natural resource crime is rampant in the west.” (

How Pantone Colors Your World ― “Since 1963, Pantone has created more than 10,000 standard color chips, which designers use to…” (

The Oral History of Mad Men’s Pilot Episode ― “We really didn’t think anybody would care. I thought, what kind of life does this have?” (

The Life, Death, and Legacy of Jailbreaking ― “The jailbreaking community is fractured, with many of its former members having joined private security firms or Apple itself.” (

Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp? ― “We started to hear from camp directors a number of years ago that parents were the most problematic areas of a camp experience.” (

The Palaces of Apple, Facebook and Google ― “They create calibrated lands of fun, wherein staff offer their lives, body and soul, in return for Olympic-sized swimming pools…” (


July 21, 2017

21 Things You Have to See at Comic-Con 2017 “It’s time for the cast and crew of Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica” reboot to get back together.” (

What Exactly is a Four-Quadrant Movie? “Once a studio is spending $100m, it wants to be hitting as many of those quadrants as possible.” (

Time Capsule “How it’s handled on the show will allow Doctor Who to deal directly with sexism as we experience it in the real world. That’s what sci-fi does…” (

Masculinity, Rage, and Racism: Some Thoughts on War for the Planet… “Look at all the Vietnam war imagery we’re so meaningfully replicating!” (

The Secret History of Harley Quinn “Her real-world path to icon status is bizarre and unprecedented in the superhero ecosystem.” (

Hollywood’s Dude Director Problem “Average festivals admitted 18 narrative films directed by men compared to only six with at least one female director.” (

Vintage Scifi Mag Galaxy Available For Free Online “Jan. 1955 features a woman talking on a videophone and the Jan. 1956 cover featuring a futuristic Santa Claus.” (

Game of Thrones’ Composer Charts Westeros Journey “I took her theme and the dragon theme and rearranged it in a way we hadn’t heard it before.” (

Pirates, Drugs, and Time Travel: The Best New Science Fiction “A rapid-fire tale of South Africa in 2064, where a handful of individuals are suddenly plagued by godhood.” (


July 14, 2017

Who’s Standing Up to Gov’t Surveillance of Your Data? “Want to know which companies stand up for privacy and which ones don’t?” (

Major League Baseball’s Blueprint for 2037 “Pitchers will be required to wear helmets or specially designed caps with protective liners in them…” (

The Many Lives of Satoshi Nakamoto “Facing bankruptcy and jail, Craig Wright fled Australia knowing that he would soon be outed as the mysterious Bitcoin founder.” (

Photo Essay: NightGardeners “Belgian illustrator Jan Pypers captures nighttime scenes by turns engaging, dreamy, and isolating.” (

Emerging Technology to Durable Technology “Keeping emerging tech away from the immediate bottom line makes it easier to create innovative solutions.” (

How Independence Day Defined Modern Summer Movies “The devastation of major American landmarks was one of the chief selling points.” (

LEGO’s Logo Evolution “The red, white, yellow, and black LEGO logo is synonymous with one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers, but it didn’t always look so familiar.” (

How Amazon Is Cornering Fashion Brands Into Wholesale “Amazon is keen on building out its Amazon Fashion platform…hoping to woo brands to join the wholesale side.” (

Intro to GenKit “Written using Swift Package Manager, GenKit offers a reliable way to automate code generation in cross-platform projects and ensure parity…” (


July 7, 2017

Get Caught Up on Game of Thrones With This Shrewd Chatbot “GoTBot can be used for basic catchup, like figuring out whether someone is still alive.” (

Ideas for Fixing NYC’s Busted Subway System “The subway system is handling 50% more passengers than it did in the 1990s, but added just 30 cars since…” (

Is Streaming TV Killing Off Title Sequences? “At a time when television titles have never been so good, what purpose do they actually still serve?” (

17 Camping Hacks to Kickstart Your Summer “Little-known fact: Doritos are flammable. Doritos 3Ds’ expanded surface area makes for ideal kindling…” (

How to Restart an Ecosystem “When I flew over Gorongosa I saw an Eden-like landscape. I couldn’t pick out a single animal.” (

A Mobile Supermarket That Comes To You “Like a 7-11 crossed with a driverless tractor-trailer, the Moby Mart is an unstaffed, autonomous mobile retail space…” (

Virtual Reality’s Missing Element: Other People “VR can be the basis of a new communications industry if the technology becomes less insular and isolating…” (

What Theme Park Visitors Expect from Their Technology “76% of US visitors want apps to give them updates, such as notifications when rooms are ready…” (

The Electric State “From acclaimed artist Simon Stålenhag comes a new narrative artbook about a girl and her robot traveling west in an alternate 90s USA.” (



June 23, 2017

The Unaffordable Urban Paradise

“Tech startups helped turn a handful of metro areas into megastars. Now they’re tearing those cities apart…”


Japan Has the Robo-Toilets of the Future

“They offer a dizzying menu of options…heated seats, automatic odor-neutralizers and lids that rise when you approach.” (

Cats: extreme outliers among domestic animals

“Then researchers saw weird data points…an Egyptian cat at a Viking sea port in the Middle Ages.”


Why We Should Look for Alien Megastructures Around Pulsars

“Our descendants will wrap the sun in a massive solar-collecting shell…a Dyson Sphere.” (

Don’t Call It A Comeback

“DC power lines are being used again thanks to their ability to outperform AC lines over long distances and directly connect with renewable power sources.” (

Google’s “Grand Central of the West”

“Google’s plan to build a massive transit-centered village in downtown San Jose could provide a new model for the design…”


Hanging on the Telephone

Our new Spotify playlist celebrates the fading art of telephone conversation, and attempts to answer the eternal question: ‘”Hello…is it me you’re looking for?”



June 16, 2017

How Lego Clicked

“Indeed, it has been called the Apple of toys: a profit-generating, design-driven miracle built around…” (

A Techie Made Apps To Randomize His Life

“He built a Facebook app that would randomly choose which event Max would attend.” (

Death by Hamburger

“The hamburger menu is one of those trends that designers don’t question often enough; they just do it without further ideation…”


Small Planet Goes to 99U

“Turns out we don’t want to think too hard when using a product—we engage with it more when it makes us look or feel good…” (

Bible Study at the Bachelor Mansion

“They would have weekly gatherings to study the Bible or discuss their beliefs…no magazines though.” (

Specific Tactics Social Media Uses to Hook You

“That’s why Netflix and YouTube auto-play the next video…instead of waiting for you to make a conscious choice.” (

Quick Hits from Northside 2017

“Disrupt is a great verb, we had good times together…but the sense of outsider rebellion is gone” (

Mapping the Shadows of New York City

“You’re looking at a map of all of the shadows produced by thousands of buildings in New York City over the course of one day.” (

New Drone Ideas from Ex-Googler and Machine Learning Engineers

“There’s probably one place you might not expect to see drones: hovering above America’s farmlands.” (

How Food Tastes to Me is Totally Different From How it Tastes to You

“A podcast on how factors such as smell and mouthfeel influence how we perceive what food tastes like.” (


June 9, 2017

Are Pop Lyrics Getting More Repetitive?

“I know a repetitive song when I hear one, but translating that intuition into a number isn’t easy.” (

Inside Hasbro’s Digital Transformation Into a Modern Toymaker

“The company hit $5 billion in 2016 for the first time in its 93-year history…” (

Small Planet Goes to the Movies

“Our new playlist celebrates the season of spandex, icebergs, asteroids, and dinosaurs. We spared no expense.” (

Are Chatbots Just Another Fad?

“The most exciting part was that chatbots were going to understand the nuances in human language, i.e., context, tonality…” (

How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love eSports

“Newzon, a research firm, estimates that the multi-million dollar business known as eSports will generate $1.1 billion by 2019…” (

Amazon’s Bookstores Are Not Built for People Who Actually Read

“The books…exist far less to serve the desires of the reader than to serve the needs of Amazon.”


The ‘Vending Machine’ Skyscraper That Creates 3D-Printed Homes

“The printer receives materials that are pumped up by hydraulics on the sides of the building.” (

How New York Is Turning Food Waste Into Compost and Gas

“The project could change how all New Yorkers deal with refuse…on a scale never seen in the United States.” (

My Friend Jibo

“Does Jibo still have the chance to be as groundbreaking as originally promised? We won’t know until after Jibo finally releases its family robot…” (