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.

TIME Design

WATCH: The Science Behind the World’s Biggest Wooden Roller Coaster

Whether you can't get enough of them or can't go near them, roller coasters rely on some pretty nifty tricks of physics and design.

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Your brain wants nothing to do with roller coasters—and for a wonderfully simple reason: your brain would very much like you to stay alive. So anything that’s designed to haul you up to the top of a very steep incline, drop you straight down, very fast, and repeat that process over and over again for a minute or two is something that elicits a simple, highly adaptive response in you—which pretty much involves running away.

That, at least, is how it’s supposed to work, but your entire brain isn’t in on the game. There are also thrill-seeking parts, adventurous parts, parts that like the adrenaline and serotonin and endorphin kicks that come from roller coasters. So while millions of people avoid the things, at least as many millions swarm to them, looking for ever bigger, scarier rides and ever bigger, better thrills. This summer they’ll get their wish, thanks to the opening of the appropriately named Goliath roller coaster, the biggest and fastest wooden coaster ever built, which just took its inaugural runs at the Six Flags Great America amusement park in Gurnee, Ill., about 50 miles north of Chicago.

Goliath is destined to be a tourist magnet, a cultural icon—at least until another, even bigger one comes along—and a lot of fun for a lot of people. But it’s also a feat of engineering and basic physics. And if you’re the kind of person who enjoys that sort of thing while hating the idea of actually ever riding on roller coasters—the kind of person I’ll describe as “me,” for example—there’s a lot to like about Goliath.

Modern roller coasters typically come in two varieties, wooden ones and steel ones—known unimaginatively if unavoidably as “woodies” and “steelies”—and coaster lovers debate their merits the way fans of the National and American Leagues debate the designated hitter rule.

Steelie partisans like the corkscrews and loop-the-loops made possible by the coasters’ bent-pipe architecture. Woodie fans prefer the old school clack-clack and the aesthetics of the entire structure. What’s more, plunging into and soaring through all the wooden bracing and strutwork necessary to keep the thing standing increases the sensation of speed because stationary objects that are close to you when you’re moving at high speed seem to whiz past so fast they blur. Steelies leave you more or less moving through open space, and that eliminates the illusion.

Goliath moves at a top speed of 72 mph, achieving that prodigious feat with the aid of a very simple fuel: gravity. As in all roller coasters, its biggest, steepest drop is the first one, because that’s the only way to generate enough energy to propel you through the rest of the ride—which is made up of steadily shallower hills. In the case of Goliath, that first hill is 180′ tall (55m), or about the equivalent of an 18-story building. The drop is an almost-vertical 85 degrees.

As test pilots and astronauts could tell you, such rising, falling, corkscrewing movement creates all manner of g-force effects. Most of the time we live in a familiar one-g environment. Climb to 2 g’s in a moving vehicle of some kind and you feel a force equivalent to twice your body weight. The maximum g’s Goliath achieves is 3.5. Get on the ride weighing 150 lbs., and for at least a few seconds, you’ll experience what it’s like to weigh 525 lbs.

But g forces can go in the other direction, too. With many roller coasters, the forces bottom out at about 0.2 g’s during downward plunges, meaning your 150 lb. one-g weight plummets to 30 lbs. That can give you a feeling of near-weightlessness. It’s also possible to achieve 0 g in a dive, which is how NASA’s famed “vomit comet” aircraft allow astronauts to practice weightlessness. On the Goliath, things go even further, with riders experiencing a force of minus 1 g.

“That means you’d be coming out of your seat,” says Jake Kilcup, a roller coaster designer and the chief operating officer of Rocky Mountain Construction, which designed and built Goliath. To ensure that that doesn’t happen, the Goliath cars are equipped with both lap bars and seat belts.

Though Goliath is made of wood, it does feature two so-called inversions—or half loops that take you to the top of a climb, then deliberately stall and plunge back down the same way. One includes a “raven turn,” or a twist in the track that turns the cars briefly upside down.

Even this much wouldn’t be possible on a wooden coaster if not for what Rocky Mountain calls its “Topper” track technology—a sort of hybrid of wood and metal. Most of the beams in the Goliath superstructure are made of nine laminated layers of southern yellow pine, steam-bent in stretches that call for curves and then kiln-dried. But the track itself also includes hollow metal rails running the entire 3,100 feet (or nearly a full kilometer) of the ride. The cars all have main wheels that sit on the rails as well smaller upstop and guide wheels that lock the cars to the tracks and keep them going where they’re supposed to.

“The Topper track gives a smoother ride than you get on an all-metal track,” says Kilcip, “and makes the overall roller coaster stronger than an all-wooden one.”

All that technology provides a relatively brief ride—just 87 seconds long, which is not atypical for roller coasters. For plenty of people, that’s way too short—which is what Six Flags is banking on to keep the turnstiles spinning. For plenty of other people, it’s precisely 87 seconds too long. And you know what? I’m not—um, I mean, those people aren’t—the slightest bit ashamed to admit that.

TIME

5 Coolest iWatch Mockups That Show What Apple’s Next Big Thing Might Look Like

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco
Stephen Lam—Reuters

Nobody really knows what it will look like (outside of Apple), but plenty of designers have dreamed about it

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference concluded with hardly any new updates about it’s mysterious “wearable” device which should debut in the fall, and perhaps will be shaped like watch, and just maybe will include a curved touchscreen 1.3 to 1.5 inches across — all of which is conjecture, really. The iWatch is still a riddle wrapped in a mystery.

Fortunately, a growing number of designers have drawn up their own fantasy designs, some of which are smart, eye-catching and a lot more interesting than the latest gossip from an anonymous parts manufacturer in China. Here are five designs that may help fill that little iWatch-shaped hole in your heart.

Classic – Netherlands-based designer Nermin Hasanovic kept all of the classic features, right down to the little turn-dial for mechanical hands, while revamping the watch face with clean, solid colors that are immediately recognizable as Facebook blue, iMessage green and iCalendar white.

iwatch3
Source: Nermin Hasanovic – Behance

Really Classic - Steampunks, your prayers have been answered with this pocket iWatch on a gold chain, compliments of designer Leonardo Zakour in Germany.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 4.29.56 PM
Source: Leonardo Zakour — Behance

Blindingly Cute – From Texas-based designer Edgar Rios, a watch that you could practically eat.

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Source: Edgar Rios — Behance

 

Seamless - Credit goes to Berlin-based designer Thomas Bogner for eliminating the watch face entirely and embedding the screen in a seamless wristband. Just one problem: the text scrolled vertically. Todd Hamilton in San Francisco right-sided the text and debuted his design, one of the slickest ones to date, in an animated video that nearly brings the iWatch fantasy to life.

iWatch Concept from Todd Hamilton on Vimeo.

Boxy But Good – Designer Martin Hajek‘s incarnation of the iWatch and iWatch C mimic the design cues of the current iPhone range (metal on the high end, plastic on the low).

Martin Hajek
TIME technology

This Interactive App Lets You Play With the Words of Classic Books 

It brings word games to a whole new level

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Israeli designer Ariel Malka has created an entirely new way to read books: by untangling them. Malka’s app, He Liked Thick Word Soup, turns the text of classic books like Ulysses into strands of sentences that have to be reassembled as the reader makes their way through the novel.

The game “forces you to read with your fingers,” as the new media blog Creative Applications notes. To play, straighten out each sentence and match sections of it to the words that appear at the top of the screen. It necessitates a different kind of attention than just scrolling through an article or flipping a page—a kind of attentiveness that’s very useful when reading something like Ulysses, James Joyce’s intricate, dense book that appears in the app’s video.

TIME housing

Tiny Houses With Big Ambitions

Is the tiny-houses movement a viable solution for American homeowners?

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Anyone who’s been to the suburbs in the past half-century knows that American homes have been getting larger and more elaborate year after year. The average size of new homes has swelled by 50 percent since 1970, despite that the average family size decreased during the same period. And it’s not just here; similar trends have held sway in other prosperous, mostly Western countries.

As with most things, a countertrend, focused on homes that are smaller and simpler than the norm, emerged in recent decades. Sometimes referred to as the “tiny house movement,” the concept describes efforts by architects, activists and frugal home owners to craft beautiful, highly functional houses of 1,000 square feet or less (some as small as 80 square feet). It’s both a practical response to soaring housing costs and shrinking incomes, and an idealistic expression of good design and sensible resource use.

The most ardent advocates and early adopters of the concept were often looking to downsize and simplify their lives, create an affordable second home or find innovative ways to live outside the mainstream. Some small homes are on wheels and therefore resemble RVs, but they are built to last as long as traditional homes. Others represent clever architectural solutions to odd building lots or special design challenges. Aging baby-boomers see them as an efficient way to adapt to their changing needs. Most tiny houses are tailored for middle-class and wealthy families who made a conscious decision to “build better, not bigger.”

But natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and economic catastrophes like the Great Recession inspired many people to wonder if the movement might offer solutions to pressing housing crises, whether temporary or long-term. Cheaper to build and maintain, built mostly of ecologically friendly materials, requiring no building permits and taking up far less real estate than traditional houses, the appeal of “living small” is obvious to many people. Some imagine entire villages built of tiny homes as solutions to homelessness.

The movement itself remains small, however promising. Only about one percent of home buyers today go for houses of 1,000 square feet or less. That may be changing as more people become familiar with the ideas that animate the movement and as middle-class finances remain precarious.

Watch the video above and make up your own mind: Would you opt to live small if you could?

TIME Design

Interactive Map: Explore America’s Most Innovative Spaces

From Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, get off the beaten path to visit these 24 works of inspired design this summer. See an interactive map of these incredible locations here.

 

 

TIME Starbucks

These Are the Most Beautiful, Hand-Drawn Starbucks Cups You’ll Ever See

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte

Artist and barista Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte spends some 40 hours creating each one

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte is an artist and barista who works at the Starbucks across from the British Museum in London. He takes the chain’s “name on a cup” policy to the extreme with custom, hand-drawn line art. Some are so intricate they take as long at 40 hours to complete. Starbucks tells Metro U.K. “it’s fantastic how he takes our iconic cup design and makes it his own.” Here are some favorites; there’s full gallery on his Facebook page.

Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte
Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte

[Metro U.K.]

TIME Design

Modern Architect Aims to Save an Ancient Craft—and Two Villages

adjaye varanasi
A Varanasi man checks the design proposed by David Adjaye. Neil Davenport

David Adjaye works with luxury retailer to help poor weavers in India

It seems like a counterintuitive idea: help a desperately poor community by enabling it to enter the luxury market. But that’s what has brought David Adjaye, an architect known for his celebrity homes, libraries and important musems, and the high end-but-humanitarian fashion retailer Maiyet together with two villages of desperately poor weavers in India.

Varanasi, in India’s northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh has been famous for its silk-weaving artisans for hundreds of years. Or at least, that’s what it used to be famous for. As machine looming has become more sophisticated and globalization has opened up other suppliers, especially in China, the Varanasi weavers have found the market for their goods shrinking, and many have fallen into poverty.

One solution might be to find new markets for these high end silks among well-heeled consumers with a conscience in the West. But for the silks to be attractive to really wealthy customers the quality has to be consistently skyscaper high, and as the weavers fall further into poverty, their product becomes less and less luxurious. Many of them work out of their homes and when roofs leak or structural damage goes unfixed, the silks can be ruined. They also have children at home, and one mishap can ruin many hours of work.

So Nest, a foundation that supports craft as a method out of poverty hired Adjaye to create a workshop for the weavers. Maiyet, a luxury brand that gets all its goods from artisans in emerging economies believes it can find buyers for the silks. “This wasn’t just about making a building,” says Adjaye. “It was about using architecture to create mobility and to create philanthropy within a craft that was disappearing.”

Work began on the Varanasi workshop in April. When completed it will have a workspace big enough for 120 weavers, a separate wing for women who do jobs that are ancillary to the weaving process, a child care center and rooms that can be used for the community as other needs arise, such as a medical clinic or a town hall. Most of the weavers are men and most of the finishers are women, so the workshop needs to accommodate both sexes, but the Muslim women cannot work in the same space as the men, so Adjaye planned his design around a separation of the genders.

The team has vertiginously high hopes for the project. Since it will bring Muslim and Hindu workers together into one space, they hope the two groups will find they have much in common as they ply their craft. They also have high commercial ambitions. “The idea is to create a distinction between handmade silk and a machine-made silk,” says Adjaye, who compares the silks to handmade Italian leather goods or an Hermés Kelly bag. He designed an exhibition space/showroom with them in mind. “If a brand like Hermés or Yves St. Laurent wants to come, they can see the collection and look at the the skill base.”

Adjye’s trademark, if he has one, is to metabolize the traditions and culture of his clients or end-users in his designs. The workshop is inspired by the Buddhist-Moghul-Hindu architecture of the region. And it’s in the same red clay color as the local buildings. “I’m trying to bring in this idea of weaving to the way the layers of the building are working,” says Adjaye. “And in certain details, like ventilation for the façade. I’m trying to speak about region and also about the idea of the craft. “

In the meantime the architect has been learning a lot about high end silk. “I’ve bought loads for my wife,” he says. “I’ve probably overdone it. “

TIME Airlines

This Is the One Innovation That Might Make Flying Less of a Pain

Designboom

Flying next to a chatterbox? This stretch curtain has got you covered

When a simple shushing sound won’t suffice, flyers can now send chatty Cathy’s a more pointed message with the B-Tourist, a portable curtain that silently screams “do not disturb.” The elastic curtain, designed by Idan Noyberg and Gal Bulka, can be stretched between headrests to the back and the front of the passenger, thereby creating a cocoon of privacy around the passenger’s head.

Pouches sown into the curtain offer extra storage space for personal items, like pepper spray, and the flexible fabric can serve double-duty as a headrest, putting an end to that awkward moment when you wake up with your head resting on your neighbor’s shoulder, and vice versa. And if the user gets into a more sociable mood, plastic rings can scrunch the curtain into a taut little line, signaling a willingness to engage in eye contact and perhaps even a smidge of small talk about the weather.

TIME Apple

Watch: Video Goes Inside Apple’s Stunning New Headquarters

A new video shows an up-close view of Apple's new home

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A video released Monday and posted on Gizmodo shows the most detailed view yet of Apple’s new corporate campus.

It’s pretty astonishing. Shaped like a perfectly rolled bagel slathered in shiny solar panels, the verdant campus will run on 100% renewable energy, according to Apple vice president Lisa Jackson. The goal is to build a campus that has no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And it certainly looks like it descended from a distant future: 80% of the campus will be green space, and with large glass walls, open workspaces, and leafy swaths of forest outside.

The project’s legendary architect, Lord Norman Foster, claims in the video that the campus will ultimately redefine how people socialize and work. The 176-acre campus will house as many as 14,200 employees, Bloomberg reported in 2012, and the main circular building will total 2.8 million square feet.

The video is the first extensive look at the building since Steve Jobs presented the plan to the city of Cupertino in 2011. (That presentation, no surprise, is also pretty incredible.)

[Gizmodo]

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