Just over two years ago, Rob Brown was transfixed by an eBay auction. He and colleagues Chad Brown (no relation) and James Hashmi were bidding on a record pressing machine. It was the only one the new entrepreneurs could find, and it was in the middle of nowhere—in Russia. No one knew if it worked, or could even be refurbished back into working order. Yet, the bidding was feverish: Brown's team walked away, but the press ultimately sold for some $60,000.
Smartphone cameras aren't very good at taking flattering selfies. The wide angle lenses introduce unpleasant distortion, and the small camera sensors can't produce those blurry backgrounds we see in higher-end portraits. Of course, that doesn't stop people from shooting tons of them. Roughly 24 billion selfies were added to the Google Photos service in 2016, according to the company. Most of them, we're not ashamed to say, were garbage.
Early on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed a specific “security enhancement,” which restricts “large electronic devices” in the cabins of flights into the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East. The fear is that they might be used to smuggle explosive devices—or at least crucial pieces of improvised bombs—onto commercial aircrafts. The U.K. has adopted a similar policy, and Canada is reportedly considering doing the same. The big question, however, is whether or not relegating these devices to the cargo hold actually makes passengers safer.
Katherine Schreiber and Leslie Sim are experts on exercise addiction who believe that tech advances encourage obsessive goal monitoring. Schreiber and Sim loathe wearable tech. “It's the worst,” Schreiber says. “The dumbest thing in the world,” says Sim. Schreiber has written extensively about exercise addiction, and Sim is a clinical child adolescent psychologist at the Mayo Clinic. Many of Sim's adolescent patients have twin exercise and eating disorders, which tend to go together.
Exercise is hard. That should go without saying, but it's worth acknowledging. It's difficult enough to instill a new habit without all the things that make exercise uniquely unpleasant at first. You generally have to go to a crowded place full of cranky strangers, share equipment in close quarters, and sweat and shower alongside them. But on top of that, oh yeah, it's hard. A lot of the movements are weird and awkward for newcomers. Maybe you have to stick your butt up in the air, or wiggle around like a wet noodle in overpriced, stretchy clothing. It's not surprising that so few people stick to a regular workout regimen, because to some degree, if it's not hard, you're not doing it right.
My job is to find cool stuff. Throughout the week I spend hours scouring the web for things that are useful or fun or ridiculously cheap. Often times, these choices coalesce into a guide of like items—for example, the best cases and covers for your phone, science kits for your children, or gifts for your very good dog. But I often stumble across some pretty awesome stuff that doesn't really fit into a list. So I made a list for those. The only thing they have in common is that I like them—and think you will too.