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Celebrate America’s Food

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Happy Fourth!
Small, artisinal food purveyors have popped up all over the country over the last few years, creating high-quality, delicious new takes on everything from pickles to candy. Mouth, a new e-commerce site, collects all of these goodies in one place, making Los Angeles’ best small-batch jams available to those in Maine. Browse by region – New York, the Midwest, Texas, and the Southeast are all included, or grab one of their great gift collections (Indie-pendence Day taster shown above). They also include great profiles on all the makers, with pictures and bios, so you know the full story behind your new Jalapeno peanut butter from Better off Spread in Brooklyn, or your McClure’s Spicy Pickles from Detroit.

Type City

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For typography-obsessed New Yorkers and visitors who wander the city distracted by the wondrous layers of old and new type on offer, you can share your finds and browse other’s at NYC_Type. A terrific aggregate of user-generated shots of hand-lettered, painted, imprinted, etc lettering that inhabits the city, the site is a great twist on exploring the city through it’s written words.

Going Deeper with Turrell

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Light artist James Turrell has three major exhibitions opening this summer – at LACMA, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and in New York he takes over the Guggenheim. As Turrell’s work is entirely experiential, the Guggenheim recently released a handy app to accompany its incredible installation. Via a biography, essays, and videos, the application allows users to delve deeper into understanding Turrell’s worlds, their conception and the  process involved in achieving their apparent simplicity. It includes interviews with the artist, the show’s curators, and the show’s installation team as well, revealing how Turrell transformed the museum’s rotunda into “an enormous volume of shifting artificial and natural light.”

In the Bag

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Take some of the stress out of traveling, and put it in your bag. Partnering with T-Mobile and Rimowa, Airbus announced a prototype of a “smart luggage” model, with sensors and an RFID chip. From the moment you are packing the bag, it can sync with your smartphone to tell you how much your bag weighs, and give lists of acceptable carry-on items. At the airport, it can communicate with airline check-in systems, indicating whether the bag has been re-opened once you retrieve it, and via GPS, showing where its located.

Kids Get Cooking

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A new app from Great British Chefs and British supermarket Tesco aims to help get kids more involved in cooking, with a playful interface and over 100 recipes that kids can get involved with. Illustrator Rebecca Sutherland created several animated characters based on standard ingredients – onions, mushrooms, etc. – which then take kids through the easy steps of recipes created by 21 top chefs. Instructional videos are also included on basic cooking techniques – like how to whisk cream, and how to sauce a pizza.

Play for Relief

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Respond & Rebuild, a wonderful grassroots volunteer group that formed in working with relief efforts in Haiti and New Orleans, is working with agency Mother New York on a new approach to disaster relief – using Farmville. They developed a simple campaign and site, “Repair the Rockaways,” allowing users to buy bricks to re-build houses that remain devastatingly damaged after Hurricane Sandy. With a goal of $250,000, the campaign is off to a good start with $2,600, but needs many more bricks – get 20 for $10. Players can meet Rockaways residents along the way in characters dotting the map, giving a full picture of the damage and repair needed.

All Lit Up

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For those who run into walls on the way to the bathroom at night, two Norwegian sisters have a solution in LED-embedded wallpapers. One a textile artist and the other a spatial designer, the two brought their skills together to create Meystyle, where they digitally print custom wallpapers, designing small LED’s and Swarovski crystals  into their prints. Their subtle inclusion of LED’s highlights the patterns, creating a shimmering and sparkling, not overpowering effect.

Draw Around

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Drawnimal, a new children’s app for the iPad thinks outside the screen – literally. The educational alphabet app uses the screen to begin a drawing of an animal – which kids have to finish around the device with paper and pencils, adding rabbits’ ears, bears’ legs and arms, and cats’ tails. In a wonderful, creative way, Drawnimal successfully teaches letters (B is for Bear, etc), while showing kids how the iPad can creatively interact with the physical world.

Robotic Sips

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The MIT Senseable City Lab recently unveiled a new app allowing users to create and order their own cocktail creations (alchoholic or non-) of choice, which is then mixed, poured and served by a bartender robot. Developed in collaboration with Coca-cola and Bacardi Rum, the Makr Shakr offers over 100 drink choices, allowing for co-creation of drinks between friends, and sharing of recipes, ingredients and photos via the app. The robot arms elegantly pour mixes, peel lemons, and shake drinks thanks to gestures based on ballet dancer Roberto Bolle’s movements, which were filmed and used to program the robot’s movement.

iPad Interiors

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One of our favorite blogs that lets us peer into the chic homes of stylish people all over the world, Freunde von Freunden, just released an iPad app.  Like the site, users can browse interviews with creative folks working across disciplines, along with beautiful imagery of their homes and work. Or, peruse the workspaces section, with British designers Raw Edges’ studio, or German fashion designer and artist Ayzit Bostan’s space in Munich. The in-depth, considered interviews, gorgeous photography and always-interesting subject matter gives a great look into the creative life inhabiting cities across the globe.

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