Your Friday Soothing 3D Letter Drawing Instruction


If you have been following the developments in electronic paper, you know that E Ink’s electrophoretic epaper has been available in color since early last year. Called Kaleido, the E Ink screens are limited to 4,096 colors—orders of magnitude less than what an LCD screen can display. However, researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden are working on a new epaper technology that can in fact display as many colors as LCD. Says the University:

Less than a micrometre thin, bendable and giving all the colours that a regular LED display does, it still needs ten times less energy than a Kindle tablet. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed the basis for a new electronic "paper". Their results were recently published in the high impact journal Advanced Materials

…“The ’paper’ is similar to the Kindle tablet", says Andreas Dahlin. "It isn’t lit up like a standard display, but rather reflects the external light which illuminates it. Therefore it works very well where there is bright light, such as out in the sun, in contrast to standard LED displays that work best in darkness. At the same time it needs only a tenth of the energy that a Kindle tablet uses, which itself uses much less energy than a tablet LED display”.


Signs of the Times, Part the Infinity: Hot-Blooded

Conditioning Athletes

Ralph Lauren unveiled Team USA’s Olympics opening ceremony parade uniform on Wednesday, featuring a new wearable technology it calls “RL Cooling”—essentially, wearable personal air conditioners for what is expected to be one of the hottest Games. Says CBS News:

According to the brand, the device monitors and optimizes the wearer's temperature, activating a system when the wearer is overheated that creates a "cooling sensation" that is long-lasting, regardless of the outside temperature. The battery-powered device is placed on the back of the jacket, blasting the wearer's neck with cold air in a similar way to how computers are kept cool.

Athletes will not be able to wear the uniforms during the events themselves, natch, because according to the rules of the IOC, athletes can neither be cooling nor, apparently, baking.


Lanza Ho!

LanzaTech is a pioneer in carbon capture, the process of capturing and recycling carbon before it is released in the atmosphere, and has worked with airlines and home care companies to help reduce carbon emissions, Now, they are working with textile producers—namely, lululemon athletica—to help develop the world’s first fabric made using recycled carbon emissions.

There’s Gold in Them There Graphene

Was it a good week for graphene news? It’s always a good week for graphene news! Indeed, the graphene industry seems to be flourishing, at least when looking at the valuations of public companies, which has now reached almost $2 billion.

The total market value of graphene companies now reaches $1.8 billion USD for the 13 leading graphene public companies we track. It is important to note that not all this value is directly related to graphene - some of the companies have other activities, mainly graphite mining and supply. But for all these companies, graphene is a major part of the business, and most of the companies are pure-play graphene companies.

…It is true that the global markets are enjoying a good period in general, but that is not the whole story. More and more companies report larger graphene orders and as graphene adoption is on the rise in meaningful graphene projects, we expect companies to report higher revenues and hopefully finally profits as well. We still think that there may be too many graphene companies out there, and some market consolidation will probably take place in the future.

The Great Motivator

Shadow Cabinets

Gizmodo wonders, “What You’ll Find Inside Medicine Cabinets in 2030.” Going by current trends, we’d be inclined to say medications that expired in 2022, five rolls of dental floss (bought after shaming dental visits, never used), and a box of miscellaneous size Band Aids but now only containing the sizes never used. We suppose that Gizmodo has something more high-tech in mind. This should be good.

By the 2030s, the drugs in our cabinets should be considerably more personalized than they are today. This development, says Olivier Elemento, a professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, will be driven by dramatically reduced costs associated with genome sequencing and an improved understanding of the interplay between medicines and genomes. As Elemento also pointed out, more treatment options will become available in the future, as new drugs are already getting approved at an accelerating rate.

…A surprising addition to the medicine cabinet of the 2030s will be bugs, or more precisely, living microorganisms.

And that differs from today, how?

Nguyen envisions fleets of engineered bacteria that function as programmable factories, producing the required drugs on demand directly inside our bodies.

What could possibly go wrong?

Flying the Coop

Secret Message

Before you mail your next letter, you may want to solve a cipher. The USPS this week introduced a new Forever Stamp design at a launch event at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Says the USPS:

The pane of 20 stamps is a visual riddle spelling out a difficult-to-discern message. Each colorful square contains a letter in an interesting pattern. Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, the seemingly random patterns were carefully placed so that when put all together, the message reads — spoiler alert 

Nope, sorry, we’ve leave it at that, although, to be honest, it’s not that tough.

Signs of the Times, Part the Infinity: Men at Work

Blast from the Past

This headline from The Register is such a throwback to 2020: “Radioactive hybrid terror pigs have made themselves a home in Fukushima's exclusion zone.”

They get extra points for mentioning the “boar war.”

Code Comfort

Here’s one for Heidi Tolliver-Walker. What if you could attach a QR code to every surface or item in your home or office? Well, you can! BitRip is a roll of adhesive tape—like duct tape in a way, but called “digital tape”—that has a scannable code printed on it. OK, it’s not technically QR, but it’s the same principle. When you attach a bit of tape to a surface, you can program what the code will do when scanned with a smartphone. Basically it’s a digital PostIt Note.

You could attach BitRip tape to the various items in your medicine cabinet so that when you come across them in 2030, you know what they are.

That’ll Show ’Em

Really Long Players

If you’re ever in Reno, Nev., be sure to visit Record Street Brewing Company. Not for the obvious reason, but to check out the handiwork of Reno artist Erik Burke, who painted a giant mural featuring 20 of his favorite vinyl albums on an exterior wall of the bar/live music venue. Says Laughing Squid:

The idea for the mural was first hatched when Jesse Corletto, co-founder of Record Street, brought some vinyl albums over to Burke. The two got to talking and the idea was born. After seeking advice from the outside world, Burke made his choices and painted the album covers with a bit of fading and tearing – in other words, very realistic.

Signs of the Times, Part the—Oh My God!!!

The Sumer State

The term prosumer has been around since it was coined by Alvin Toffler in his 1980 book The Third Wave to describe consumers’ active role in the commercialization of goods, its etymology stemming from the words “producer” and “consumer.” This article posits that we are now in the third wave (some of our WhatTheyThink contributors agree), and the term prosumer has evolved from meaning “professional consumer” to meaning “product and brand advocate or co-creator.” Prosumers are having an outsized impact on fashion and other industrial segments, enabling new and innovative products to come to market and with less interest in well-known brands and more interest in being the first to use—and promote—a new and innovative product.

No. Period.

Cover Your Eyes

Despite what publishers’ art directors would wasn’t you to believe, you indeed cannot (or should not) judge a book by its cover, as r/badscificovers amply demonstrates:

Here you can post cheesy, bizarre, ugly, shitty, or just downright awful science fiction book covers. Then we all make fun of them in the comments. Everyone's a winner! (Fantasy and horror also welcome!)


Actually, adjusted for inflation (the series premiered in 1974), in 2021, Steve Austin would have been The Thirty-Two Million Dollar Man. Still a downgrade for Bezos.

On Comet

Some folks in Finland are taking a bold stand against car–reindeer interactions (aka crashes) and has hit upon a novel idea to prevent the estimated 4,000 reindeer-deaths at the hands of Finnish drivers, not to mention the €15 million of damage. Says Smithsonian magazine, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association is using reflective paint to help prevent collisions.

The idea is to spray the antlers of reindeer with reflective paint that reflects motorists’ headlights. "The aim is to prevent traffic accidents. The spray is being tested on fur at the moment, but it may be even more effective on the antlers, because they are seen from every side," Anne Ollila, chairwoman of the Reindeer Herders Associationtold the Finnish news source YLE 

We’re not sure this would be helpful in preventing, say, deer collisions in the US, since they’re usually quite visible as they dart out into the highway.

If nothing else, at least there’s a horror movie to be made.

Happy Habitrails

Via Laughing Squid, an engineer with The Q YouTube channel built a working treadmill for his three pet hamsters, for some reason. “While the treadmill doesn’t boast the bells and whistles on the ones found in a gym, it is fairly easy to make, requires very little in terms of supplies, and is absolutely adorable when put in use.”

They probably don’t need an iFIT subscription—although maybe there is a fitness trainer who specializes in hamster workouts, shouting encouragement while the video shows scurrying through a Habitrail, running on those wheel things, or fleeing from a pet cat.

At any rate, enjoy:

Trip Advisor

I Scream

Although Eater insists its delicious, we remain skeptical about this macaroni and cheese-flavored ice cream, the spawn of upscale New York creamery Van Leeuwen in partnership with Kraft, maker of what every college student eventually vows to never eat again.

In collaboration with Kraft, the makers of the famed blue box that fueled many of our childhoods, the upscale ice cream shop, known for decadent French ice creams like Royal Wedding (elderflower and lemon) and its most famous Earl Grey, will debut a new flavor made with the cheese powder that gives Kraft’s macaroni and cheese its signature neon-orange color on July 13. And however skeptical you may be about the pairing of macaroni and cheese and ice cream, I regret to inform you that this unhinged mashup is actually delicious.


The cheese powder — with a little help from turmeric, according to the ingredient list — makes a scoop of the ice cream look near-identical to the sauce that coats the noodles in a classic Kraft dinner, with a bright orange color that is sort of reminiscent of sherbert left by a nuclear testing site for too long.

Well, we’re sold, although a culinary site that refers to “sherbet” as “sherbert” may not be entirely trustworthy.

Hat Trick

Taco TuesPayday

Are you looking for a change of career? Are you crazy for tacos? If you said yes to both of those, good news! McCormick—the food products company, probably best known for spices—is hiring its first ever “Director of Taco Relations.” (No, not the guy who had a hit with the 1983 cover of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”) The foodstuff. Really:

As the Director of Taco Relations, you will be McCormick’s resident consulting taco expert. You will be our official eyes and ears for all things tacos. You’ll have the opportunity to work with the McCormick Kitchens team to develop innovative and delish taco recipes, travel across the country in search of the latest taco trends, dialogue with other like-minded taco connoisseurs across social media, and be in on the latest Street Taco seasoning mixes developed by the McCormick innovation lab.

You’ll advise and collaborate with the McCormick Creative and Social teams on how to creatively celebrate taco-themed moments, such as National Taco Day, National Margarita Day, and make sure nobody ever misses a Taco Tuesday. You’ll additionally develop engaging taco content for social media to help taco lovers across the country answer hard-hitting taco questions, such as, ‘Which are better, hard shell or soft shell?’, ‘Is there a way to turn any dish into a taco?’, ‘How taco spice flavors can be used to outside of a taco?” and ‘What does the future of tacos look like?’

In other words, we guess, predict what will tacos look like in 2030? Hmmm… “By the 2030s, the [tacos] in our [kitchens] should be considerably more personalized than they are today. This development…will be driven by dramatically reduced costs associated with [ground beef] sequencing and an improved understanding of the interplay between [onions] and [peppers]. A surprising addition to the [taco] of the 2030s will be bugs, or more precisely, living microorganisms. Envision fleets of engineered [taco shells] that function as programmable factories, producing the required [tacos] on demand directly inside our bodies.”

Now that’s a future worth considering.

Sign Off

This Week in Printing, Publishing, and Media History

July 12

1493: Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle, one of the best-documented early printed books, is published.

1580: The Ostrog Bible, one of the early printed Bibles in a Slavic language, is published.

1804: American general, economist, and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton dies (b. 1755).

1817: American essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau born.

1854: George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, born.

July 13

1793: Journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.

1956: The Dartmouth workshop is the first conference on artificial intelligence.

1985: The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Moscow and Sydney.

July 14

1798: The Sedition Act becomes law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.

1853: Opening of the first major US world’s fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City.

1910: American animator, director, producer, actor, and co-founder of Hanna-Barbera William Hanna born.

1912: American singer-songwriter and guitarist Woody Guthrie born.

1965: The Mariner 4 flyby of Mars takes the first close-up photos of another planet.

1974: British comedian David Mitchell born.

2015: NASA’s New Horizons probe performs the first flyby of Pluto, and thus completes the initial survey of the Solar System.

July 15

1606: Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt van Rijn born.

1779: American author, poet, and educator Clement Clarke Moore born.

1799: The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign.

1930: Algerian-French philosopher and academic Jacques Derrida born.

1947: American singer-songwriter and musician Roky Erickson born.

1956: English singer-songwriter and guitarist Ian Curtis born.

2003: AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape. The Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day.

2006: Twitter is launched.

July 16

1661: The first banknotes in Europe are issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco.

1862: American journalist and activist Ida B. Wells born.

1907: American farmer and businessman Orville Redenbacher popped out.

1935: The world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

1956: American playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner born.

1969: Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Fla.

July 17

1717: King George I of Great Britain sails down the River Thames with a barge of 50 musicians, where George Frideric Handel’s Water Music is premiered.

1889: American lawyer, author, and creator of Perry Mason Erle Stanley Gardner born.

1902: Willis Carrier creates the first air conditioner in Buffalo, N.Y.

1954: American author, screenwriter, and producer J. Michael Straczynski born.

1955: Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, Calif.

2001: American publisher Katharine Graham dies (b. 1917).

2006: American crime novelist Mickey Spillane dies (b. 1918).

July 18

1811: English author and poet William Makepeace Thackeray born.

1817: English novelist Jane Austen dies (b. 1775).

1906: American director, playwright, and screenwriter Clifford Odets born.

1937: American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson born.

1968: Intel is founded in Mountain View, Calif.

1992: A picture of Les Horribles Cernettes was taken, which became the first ever photo posted to the World Wide Web.