Google X Is About to Test Kites That Will Generate Renewable Energy

In 2013, Google X bought the groundbreaking and innovative company Makani Power, which developed high flying kites that were able to generate clean renewable energy through wind power. The kites, which are a new type of wind turbine altogether, are comprised of lightweight electronics, advanced materials, and smart software that generate energy at a lower cost than the common windmill turbines. Now, Google X has announced that it will be finally testing the innovative kites this month in various parts of the Bay Area.

Photographer Captures Life on a Bench for a Year in Barcelona

Spanish photographer Gabor Erdely came up with a simple idea for capturing some of the life in the beautiful city of Barcelona: photograph a seaside bench for a year. In the Barceloneta area of the city, Erdely faithfully took photos from a bird’s-eye view to capture the many ways the locals use the bench.

This Boy’s Best Friend Is a Magpie, and It’s Adorable

A few years ago we covered a sweet story about the friendship between a Japanese Grandma and her cat. Now, we have another touching story about a young boy from Australia and his best friend—a magpie. The bird’s name is Penguin, and she was rescued as a baby by her owner, 10-year-old Noah Bloom. Cameron Bloom, Noah’s mother, is a professional photographer who has been capturing the relationship as it blossoms.

Cool “USB Mixtapes” Bring Back the Way People Used to Gift Mixes

Back in the day, we’d make mixes on cassettes and CDs for lovers (or people we wanted to be lovers), friends, and for ourselves. But with smartphones and streaming music, that tradition has gone by the wayside. Good news for those nostalgic souls who miss the mixtape: You can now have the best of both worlds. Meet the USB Mixtape designed by Tiffany Roddis.

The House of a Master Vertical Garden Designer

Vertical gardens have become more popular in recent years, with more and more people installing them in their homes and businesses. But one of the masters of vertical garden design, Patrick Blanc, has one of the most impressive gardens you’re likely to see. His French home is covered floor to ceiling with foliage that has grown into a veritable vertical jungle over the last 25 years.

A Single Day on the London Tube Condensed Into a 2-minute Visualization

Everyday an average of 3.5 million people ride the London tube. Where is everyone going, and when are the busiest times? Developer Will Gallia was curious to see it visualized, so he gathered a day’s worth of data and created a timelapse visualization. 

Is This the Most Amazing “Save The Date” Video Ever?

Some people call Tyler MacNiven the most interesting young man living in San Francisco. He has walked the length of Japan in search of the birthplace of his father, wrestled 100 worthy opponents in Mongolia, run across the country of Iran for peace, and even won the Amazing Race. Yet through all the adventures, the grandest of all might be his love for Kelly Hennigan, his bride to be.

Could You Live in an Internet Cafe? Japan’s “Cyber Homeless” Do

The cities in Japan can be challenging to live in. If you are not making a full-time salary, which typically involves long hours and high stress, then you are a temporary worker, which basically means you are on a short-term contract and making half as much as a “salary man.” With such low wages and rising rental costs, it’s tough to make rent.

News from Japan: Robot Dogs Are Getting Funerals

Aibo was a robotic dog developed by Sony a while back. Launched in 1999 and discontinued in 2006, about 150,000 dogs were sold in total. The toy was much beloved by owners, thanks to a built-in microphone and camera that helped each dog develop a unique personality.

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But this emotional attachment has triggered a surprising phenomenon. With a lack of repair technicians available, the little robot dogs are now “dying,” so loving Aibo owners in Japan are having ceremonies to honor their passing.

This New Printing Process Lets Blind People “See” Art Masterpieces

In Spain’s Museo Del Prado, new technology lets blind people—and everyone—touch art masterpieces. Think of it as braille for paintings. They aren’t the original paintings themselves, of course, but rather detailed high-resolution replicas. Thanks to a new 3D-printing process called Didú, which creates physical objects the way a 3D printer would but applies particular chemicals that allow for more sensory detail when touched, viewers can experience the paintings in a new way.

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Developed by printing studio Estudios Durero, the process begins with a super high-resolution of the painting itself. According to the studio’s homepage: