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Star Wars: The High Republic

Disney/Lucasfilm has unveiled the creation of a new Star Wars universe. Oh, it's still in a galaxy far, far away, but a new series of books called The High Republic is set even longer ago, specifically 200 years before the events we know from the movies. We'll see the first of these publications in August.

Phase one of The High Republic debuts in August at the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim convention, and will feature five releases: young adult novel Into the Dark, middle grade novel A Test of Courage, comic book series The High Republic Adventures, another comic book series (this one from Marvel) called simply The High Republic, and finally a novel called The Light of the Jedi.

In 2016, Disney de-canonized the "expanded universe," the hundreds of novels, comics, and games set in the Star Wars universe, in order to exert more control over the narrative. With the creation of the High Republic series, the universe will expand once again. It will be an "incubator" of sorts: the stories from the High Republic that prove the most popular among Star Wars fans will be the ones ripe for investing with a movie budget. You can pre-order books through the links at Star Wars.


'Just Add Water’ Soap

A new mix-it-yourself hand soap has been launched by FORGO, a brand that avoids plastic and minimises carbon emissions. True to its aim, the hand soap comes only in concentrated powder, along with a refillable glass bottle. The powder contains the essential ingredients needed to turn regular tap water into a full bottle of foaming hand wash. Designboom has the details: 

form us with love worked with a lab specialized in natural cosmetics to develop the powder, which includes six core ingredients that have been around since the eighties. the FORGO handwash comes in three scents — neutral, citrus and wood — all packaged in the studio’s signature minimal aesthetic.
we have defined our mission as design real change, our guide to influence everything we do here at form us with love. this ambition is very time-consuming,’ says jonas pettersson, CEO at form us with love. ‘it means we have to dig deep to influence entire industries, and make better products in terms of innovation, sustainability, quality production to make things long-lasting solutions.’

image via Designboom


Google Translated Fire Emblem 8

What happens when you run a script of an untranslated game through multiple rounds of Google Translate? This video, apparently. Watch the product of a Google-translated Fire Emblem Sacred Stones, and see for yourself if Google Translate is a reliable translator. Don’t worry, the battle maps aren’t included, only the conversations in the game. 


When An Algorithm Determines Your Schedule

Establishments such as retailers and restaurant chains use software that determines their employees’ work schedule. The software uses a variety of data to fine-tune and automate their employee’s schedules, and is designed to track employees’ time and activity to cut labor costs and maximize profit. While these systems do help ease the management costs, it may put the companies’ employees at risk, as Vice details: 

Many large retailers and restaurant chains in the U.S. and abroad have deployed software that uses a variety of data to fine-tune and automate their employee’s schedules, according to press releases, public statements, and employees interviewed by Motherboard. These systems are designed to track employees’ time and activity to cut labor costs and maximize profitability for shareholders.
"Because there isn't a way to guarantee week-to-week that I [could have] certain days off depending on what the system dictates, it makes it really hard to plan anything outside of work,” Kyle, a former full-time worker at Target, told Motherboard. Motherboard granted Kyle and other sources in this story anonymity because they feared retaliation from their employers. “As far as a social life is concerned, all of my activities became spontaneous. Planning anything for me became months and months in advance.”
“I felt like my life source was being tapped out of my body. I felt like I should just suck it up and be better,” Callen, a student and Starbucks worker, told Motherboard.
They said that management used Starbucks’ scheduling software to prevent shorter shifts during the week in favor of longer weekend shifts.
“I live three hours away from [my family] and I can only return home on weekends. Last semester, I only saw them three times,” Callen said.
This illustrates how these systems rely on forcing workers to have a 7-day “open availability,” a common aspect of at-will employment contracts used in the service industry.

image via wikimedia commons


Japanese Smartphone AI Keeps Its Users From Taking Nudes

Japanese mobile company Tone Mobile has released a phone that keeps its users from taking inappropriate photos. The Tone e20 has an AI-powered feature that prevents its users from taking or saving nude photos. This feature is aimed at parents who would want to keep their kids away from porn, or prevent them from posting (or taking) nude photos of themselves. Petapixel has the details: 

The system is powered by what Tone Mobile calls “TONE Security AI,” which is implemented into the phone’s TONE Camera to “prevent self-portrait damage caused by children under the age of 18 being deceived or threatened to photograph their own nudity.” If the AI recognizes that the subject of a photo is “inappropriate,” the camera will lock up; and if you somehow manage to snap a photo before the AI kicks in, the phone won’t let you save or share it.
Additionally, a feature called “TONE Family” can be set to send an alert to parents whenever an inappropriate image is detected.

image via Petapixel


History Of The Hard Hat

Edward Bullard invented the ‘Hard Boiled Hat’ after coming back from World War 1. The hard hat was inspired from the helmet used by soldiers during the war. Bullard saw the effectiveness of the helmet as it protected soldiers from harm, so he created a version that would be used outside the war. Bullard’s Hard Boiled Hat revolutionized the safety-product industry, as Smithsonian Magazine detailed: 

“Bullard’s invention came at an important time,” says Peter Liebhold, curator in the Division of Work & Industry at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which has three examples of the Bullard hard hat in its Mining Lights and Hats collection. “Mines were one of the first regulated work places in America. His hard hat protected employees and limited the liability against employers.”
Started in 1898, the E.D. Bullard Co. was founded by the inventor’s father Edward D. Bullard. The manufacturer produced carbide lamps and other equipment for miners in California, Nevada and Arizona. After returning from the war, the son began developing ideas for affordable safety headgear that would protect miners.
“He realized miners wouldn’t be able to afford a metal helmet,” says Wells Bullard, the inventor’s great-granddaughter, who now runs the family business. “He came up with the idea of a canvas hat, which was shellacked to give it durability and strength. He also invented an inner suspension system that distributed the force of an impact.”
Edward W. Bullard actually began working on a concept for protective headgear in 1915. But it wasn’t until after his experiences in World War I that his design finally took shape. He opted to use a heavy duck canvas, which was then formed to fit the human head with steam, hence the name Hard Boiled Hat. He attached leather brims to it, painted it black and then coated it with shellac so it would hold up to everyday wear in dirty, dangerous mines. In 1919, Bullard also developed a protective cap for the U.S. Navy, which wanted to keep shipyard workers safe.

image via wikimedia commons


The Lazy Goth

2 days left to vote

Besides FANGS, Pixie and Brutus, and other alternate media comic strips, I also frequent The Lazy Goth, found on both Facebook and Instagram (see illustration).

The Lazy Goth chronicles the misadventures of a lazy and unmotivated lady goth as she contends with ordinary things and events from the goth point of view. The artist's real life experiences are often represented, as we see her husband (not a goth) and learn that she recently broke her leg. The episodes appear regularly and have a certain charm even if they are not excruciatingly funny. Goths are all the rage these days, as seen in a mainstream comic strip, On the Fastrack, executed by the same cartoonist who does Kevin and Kell.

The Lazy Goth may be found at Facebook and Instagram.


Bookmark Alignment Chart

A couple of weeks ago, we found there are two ways to regard books, which determines how you treat them. Now it appears there are many ways to save your place in a book that range from methods that border on idolatry to downright crimes. I suppose most of us  are somewhere in the middle -except for chaotic neutral, what's up with that? This alignment chart was found at Laughing Squid.

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