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Buyers Market

New online companies are serving as a virtual conduit between farmers and consumers, to the benefit of all parties. Farmigo recently opened up to New York and San Francisco markets, offering consumers the ability to go online and place orders for farm-fresh goods, to be picked up on a designated day at a nearby participating food community spot. And Good Eggs, currently operating out of the San Francisco area, works similarly – farmers and small-batch producers of local foods are featured online, where consumers can order and time pick-ups. Farmers get 80 cents on their dollar, compared with 20 cents wholesale, and customers get only the food they want.

Building Memory

Cramming all night before a test, and most old forms of studying may soon go by the wayside with new programs like Cerego. Its a new educational online tool, built on the premise that we can’t simultaneously learn loads of new information (studying Japanese, art history, and biology all at once), while keeping track of what we’re actually retaining and maintaining it. Cerego runs courses online, and based on learning algorithms, predicts when you need a refresher on a topic – thereby helping you keep and actually learn the information. Might be a great way to learn a new language – this video helps explain it all.

Quick 3D

MakerBots have given many, and continue to improve upon, the ability to 3D print at home. Now, the practice is leaping even further into the mainstream, with Staples stores providing 3D printing services. With the right skills and software, customers can now upload 3D printing files to Staples’ website, and pick up their finished object at the store, finished by layering tiny strips of glued paper together.

(Image of Stratigraphic Manufactury)

Start Anew

Our economic state has forced some to begin new careers whether they want to or not, but a new startup allows those who want to dip a toe in another industry to do just that. LifeSwap, started by a team of Stanford business students and developers, gives the job-curious a chance to shadow a professional for a few hours, illuminating what might be on the other side. Yoga instructors, bakers, software developers, and PR executives will show you what its like to live in their shoes for a day.

(Image by Owen Davey)

Clack Clack Ding

In the face of new technology, while vinyl records have made a comeback and record players continue to sell well, the fate of the typewriter  looks to be sealed. On November 20, Brother produced its last typewriter at a plant in England, marking the end of an era. AnOther Magazine features a nice tribute to the sentimental workhorse, noting its literary and film significance, and its imprint on history.

Good Global Move

Recognizing how troublesome it can be to move internationally, a new company is streamlining the process for both individuals and companies. MOVE Guides provides a centralized hub to help with everything from finding a new home and moving your stuff, to dealing with taxes and visas. They organize all the information you need, and keep tabs on where you are in the process, helping make the whole ordeal much easier.

(Image of Food Flags)

Giving Thanks

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, with plenty of food on our tables, we’re remembering that food waste goes far beyond not cleaning your plate. Finding that nearly half of edible crops harvested get tossed or go to animals because they aren’t visually appealing enough, a catering company in Germany based its mission on making delicious food from the discards. With delightful dishes like Crooked Parsnip and Twisted Cucumber Soup, Culinary Misfits embraces the not-so-pretty, yet perfectly yummy veggies, illuminating the possibilities in what is otherwise discarded.

(Image of Maria Schoettler Calendar)

Sleep in a Gehry

Sometimes an architect’s best work comes through in residential projects, but it can be tough for the general public to find these gems. Now a group of modern house curators are making it easier to locate, tour, and even sleep in some of the fabulous homes, via the website Iconic Houses. The site maps out architecturally significant homes around the world, most of which are open for tours. Some are also open as vacation rental homes, indicated by a blue icon with a bed. Air BnB also now curates groups of impressive homes for vacationing – including series of Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry homes.

(Image of Philip Johnson’s Glass House)

Street Smarts

Dutch design team Studio Roosegaarde is taking green tech to the streets with a concept for smart streets in the Netherlands that will be realized in mid-2013. The concept updates highways with innovative, but accessible, designs like glow-in-the-dark roads, interactive lights, electric car priority lanes, and adaptive road signs. Their solutions address a wide range of driving issues – from safety to sustainability.

Office Playgrounds

All work and no play? Get inspired by these amazing office spaces merging the two. Workers can sit amongst the flora at Thinkgarden in Italy, or get to meetings via slide at EMEA Engineering in Zurich. All have a great mix of individual, community, lounging, and meeting spaces, encouraging the best work from their employees, while also encouraging some play.

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