TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: December 9

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Foreign policy isn’t public relations. The value of releasing the torture report outweighs the risks.

By Daniel Larison in the American Conservative

2. Innovation in design — not technology — might be the key to disrupting industries.

By Todd Olson in Medium

3. The simple notion of community potlucks is working to rebuild the torn fabric of Ferguson.

By Shereen Marisol Meraji at National Public Radio

4. A new poverty alleviation strategy is built on feedback and direction from the actual beneficiaries — putting people at the center of policy.

By Molly M. Scott in RealClearPolicy

5. Women are uniquely positioned to understand the impact of climate change around the world. They must have a seat at the table to set global policy.

By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME beauty

There May Be 50 Shades of Red but Only Marsala is the Color of the Year

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal.”

A marsala shade of red will be the in color next year across fashion, makeup and interior design.

So says the design consultancy firm Pantone, which picked Marsala as the Color of the Year.

“Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness,” Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement. “This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

Pantone, which is owned by X-Rite, the maker of color-matching products, has named a Color of the Year since 2000. Last year it was radiant orchid, and the year before it was emerald.

TIME Innovation

These Carpets Map Out Different Countries’ Aerial Landscapes

USA, Bahamas and Netherlands—as seen from the sky

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Have you ever marveled at how flat, two-dimensional and generally neat landscapes look when you’re peering out the window of a plane at 30,000 feet? Florian Pulcher certainly has. Ever since he was little, he has been drawn to the segmentation of land and how neat and pleasing it is to view from above.

Based in Beijing, the Austrian architect always tries to secure himself a window seat on planes and even avoids flying at night so as to gaze down at as many landscapes as possible.

Motivated by this passion he has now created Landcarpet, a collection of rugs inspired by aerial shots of distant fields, hills, waterways and cities. Pulcher uses online mapping services to source his images, and has developed quite an eye for distinguishing aerial details.

“Some countries are very easily recognizable through their methods of farming and that has always intrigued me. Furthermore, as an architect and master planner, I constantly get to see and look through site surveys, aerial images and city plans which have further sharpened my eye for distinguishable patterns and different layers.”

The limited-edition handmade carpets are available for purchase here.

(via Colossal)

TIME Money

This is What Norway’s Money Will Look Like in 2017

Norges Bank held a nationwide design competition

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Nope, you are not seeing a pixelated image of Norway’s new currency. That is the real deal right there! Last spring, the central bank of Norway, Norges Bank, held a nationwide design competition to replace their look of their currency. Their theme: ‘The Sea.’

Instead of choosing just one winner, they chose two – one design for each side. The front side features a series of artworks from design studio The Metric System, called ‘Norwegian Living Space.’ Beautiful and timeless this front design might be, it doesn’t hold a candle to the attention the back design is getting. The back side features an abstract motif of pixels called ‘Ripple Effects’ by Enzo Finger.

“The obverses from The Metric System are very well suited to the incorporation of necessary security elements. The expression is open, light and typically Nordic,” says Norges Bank. “Using the pixel motifs from Snøhetta Design as the reverse will give the notes both a traditional and a modern expression.”

The bank notes are set to be released in 2017.

(via Visual News)

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 17

1. Islamic State’s sexual violence is a war crime and U.S. leaders should call it out, seek ways to track it, and hold the terrorists to account. Instead, policymakers are ignoring it.

By Aki Peritz and Tara Maller in Foreign Policy

2. When the rich get richer, states get poorer. Income inequality is eating away at state tax revenue.

By Gabriel J. Petek at Standard and Poor’s Ratings Service

3. Does big philanthropy have too much power over policy?

By Gara LaMarche in Democracy

4. An innovative program is connecting high-performing low-income students with scholarship dollars and guiding them through the daunting financial aid process.

By David Leonhardt in the Upshot

5. Can a major redesign transform Union Station into the commercial and cultural heart of Washington?

By Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Jobs

A Leafy Office is a Happier Office, Study Finds

Desk with Plants
Getty Images

Green begets green

The world’s first study of the “long-term impacts of plants in an office environment” suggests that a simple arrangement of a few plants around the office can pay huge dividends.

Researchers measured a 15% increase in productivity after “lean offices”—or workplaces with a desert-like aesthetic—were spruced up with leafy, green plant life. Over the course of several weeks, workers in three commercial spaces in the U.K. and the Netherlands reported higher levels of air quality, improved powers of concentration and a general increase in workplace satisfaction.

“It appears that in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare,” said study author Alex Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Queensland. “The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”

Researchers also noted the findings contradicted a movement among interior designers towards severely stripped down and unadorned workspaces. “Sometimes less is just less,” Haslam concluded.

 

TIME sustainability

Giant Floating Duck Proposed to Bring Green Energy to Copenhagen

Energy Duck: A submission to the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative Copenhagen design competition by artists Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger and Patrick Fryer. Courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative

The unique structure could theoretically provide the environmentally conscious city with solar energy and hydropower

Here’s an idea for energy sustainability that’s not mere quackery: A team of British designers and artists have proposed a floating tourist attraction that would gather solar energy in Copenhagen Harbor as the Danish city works to become carbon-neutral by the year 2025.

The 12-story-high structure just happens to also be in the shape of a giant sea duck.

Built from lightweight steel and covered in solar panels, the “energy duck” would by day collect the sun’s rays and by night bask the harbor in LED lights that change color in rhythm with the hydro turbines inside it, according to blog designboom.

Visitors wouldn’t just be able to admire the light show from a distance, they’d be able to board the energy duck and see the inner workings for themselves.

The supersized bird was developed by artists and designers Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger, and Patrick Fryer as part of a competition run by the Land Art Generator Initiative, a project that aims to integrate art with sustainable design to come up with alternative energy solutions.

It’s just a concept, of course, but let’s hope this plan doesn’t go a-fowl.

 

TIME technology

This Dozing Desk Means Never Getting Out of Bed Again

Hanko

Lazy? Me?

Some incredible—or incredibly useless—inventions have come out of Japan, like the ramen face shield. But this “Super Upward-Looking Dozing Desk,” discovered by Kotaku, is something every lazy technology user would love to own. The contraption brings us one step closer to becoming the pod people from Wall-E.

The Dozing Desk forms a kind of armature over your prone body in bed. It holds a laptop precariously above your face with the help of elastic ties (hopefully secure enough to keep it from falling on you, which it looks poised to do). Your eyes now have a straight line to the screen even while laying down, and your keyboard is perfectly aligned to your hands. The only problem might be a lack of circulation to your arms, but you don’t type that much anyway, do you?

The desk apparatus looks funny, but there’s a burgeoning line of products for those who don’t want to do their computing while sitting—which, after all, kills you slowly. The Zero Gravity Desk kind of looks like a dentist’s chair, with its various arms and levers. But it’s designed to keep your body perfectly balanced and unstressed while working, and who wouldn’t want that?

These devices are the closest thing we have to becoming floating brains in tanks, controlling our digital lives through the power of our thoughts. Before we achieve that singularity, there’s always the bed-desk. Or at least these prism-spectacles that let you read while laying down.

TIME Art

This Furniture Looks, Feels and Smells Like It’s Made Out of Human Skin

Courtesy Gigi Barker

Strangely, not part of the Buffalo Bill Home Collection

A set of furniture designed by Gigi Barker looks a lot like what Hannibal Lecter might use to decorate his family room.

The British designer and founder of design studio 9191 has crafted a material that has the look, feel and — thanks to the addition of after shave to the mix – smell of human flesh. Barker used the pheromone-impregnated silicone base to craft a collection of chairs and footstools, which were modeled after the Rubenesque folds of a man’s stomach. No word on whether you need to moisturize the chairs with lotion to help them keep their luster.

While the chair may make your skin crawl, Barker isn’t just trying to creep out her audience. She believes that the unique material lets people form a physical connection to the piece and allows them the opportunity to examine their relationship to their own skin and other people’s. Plus, the material reacts to bodies and according to Barker, speaking to Wired UK, matches a human’s body temperature, which is “perfect for soothing a crying baby”.

If the concept doesn’t scare you, the price tag might – the combined cost of the chair and stool is over $4,000 (£2,380). That said, Barker’s show at Central Saint Martin’s sold out last month, according to Wired UK, and she’s already in talks with retailers.

Courtesy Gigi Barker

MORE: Sweden’s ‘Hannibal Lecter’ is Set Free

MORE: Ikea’s Chinese Stores Invite Customers to Take a Snooze

TIME Social Media

Manipulate Your Own Mood, Before Facebook Does

Lauren McCarthy

But how do you mute engagement photos?

The uproar following the news that Facebook had manipulated the emotions of some of its users by curating the posts they saw in their newsfeed according to specific emotions was understandable. We like to believe that our social networks are indifferent platforms that don’t play with our feelings the way our friends can. In reality, Facebook strictly controls every factor of its website’s experience—it’s far from impartial.

So why not take control into our own hands? Artist Lauren McCarthy’s Facebook Mood Manipulator gives you access to the same technology that the study used to control its subjects emotions. A sliding scale on the website allows users to select what kinds of posts they want, with factors including positive, emotional, aggressive, and open. Turn the positive slide all the way up, and all that appears are happy posts. Turn it down, and negativity replaces all the good vibes.

McCarthy’s app suggests a kind of self-censoring. If you’re feeling down, then maybe you don’t want to see anything sad in your feed. Sure, the app performs a neat trick by scanning posts for emotive keywords and filtering them based on that vocabulary, but it also has a deeper meaning. It shows just how much our lives are contingent on what we experience online—we’re not communicating on social networks so much as living through them.

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