The Watch That Doesn’t Tell The Time

wristband

The Durr watch, created by Oslo-based designers, Theo Tveterås and Lars Vedeler, gives the wearer timely notifications by vibrating every five minutes. The design features a colourful fabric circle with a simple brown leather strap and a small button to turn vibration on and off. The designers created the watch as an experiment to draw attention to the difference between time as it passes and how we perceive it passing.

To their surprise, the first batch of 50 £75 watches sold out in a just over six weeks.

The designeres wanted Durr to draw attention to the difference between time as it passes and how we perceive it passing.

The design features a colourful fabric circle with a simple brown leather strap and a small button to turn vibration on and off.

The Norwegian duo, who work together under the name Skrekkøgle, said that after wearing the watch for six months, it added a certain ‘rhythm’ to each day.

Others, however, have criticised it for being nothing more than an expensive ‘egg timer on a strap’.

Mr Tveterås said the feedback from other people was it acts a like a countdown to their death ‘which wasn’t the intention at all’.

‘But the memento mori aspect is very fascinating too.’

The original units were constructed on a small scale, pieced together and dyed by hand, but the designers are now planning a much larger production run.

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Concorde Returns: The Supersonic Jet Will Fly Again

concorde

Concorde might be gone but the dream could come alive again in the shape of the Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet.

Supersonic flight, as epitomised by the droop-snooted Concorde, is set to make a return to our skies if new plans by an American aeronautical firm get off the ground. Take a look at the Spike S-512, a luxurious new creation that could carry between 12 and eighteen people on transatlantic flights. Boston-based engineering firm Spike Aerospace has just unveiled comprehensive plans to produce this sleek new jet that can fly from London to New York in less than four hours.

Nokia’s Surprise Android Phone Leaks Online

nokia

Details of the upcoming Nokia X, the company’s first foray into Android, have leaked via Twitter ahead of its likely launch next month.

You could oil us up and chuck us in a vat of electric eels, and we’d still be less shocked than when we heard about the Nokia X. This upcoming smartphone is rumoured to rock Android OS, which would be a first for the Windows Phone-loving Nokia – surprising by itself, but truly eyebrow-lifting now that Nokia is owned by Microsoft.

More details have emerged on Twitter via evleaks, revealing that the four-inch Nokia X will pack a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor, backed up by just 512MB of RAM, as well as 4GB of built-in storage (expandable via microSD). You can also expect a five-megapixel rear-facing camera, although there’s no front-facing lens if the leaked photos are accurate. A 1500mAh battery and dual SIM support round off the specs.

As expected from our Finnish friends, the Nokia X will come in a range of Bobby Dazzler colours. Six different colours to be exact, although we’re not sure if the cases will be swappable, as they were on the likes of the Nokia Lumia 625.

Some of the Nokia X desktops have also leaked, and you’ll see that Nokia has adapted the standard Android interface to produce a tile-based desktop, similar to Windows Phone 8.

Nokia X Android phone desktops

Rumours have it that the Nokia X will launch at MWC 2014 on February 24th, and we’re eagerly awaiting the early morning press conference – expect our tired, grumpy, hungover coverage to begin at 7.30am UK time. We’re also expecting the Nokia X to only appear in developing markets, given the basic specs and dual SIM support.

Football Stadium Planned For Venezuela

venezuela

London firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has unveiled designs for a major new football stadium in Caracas, Venezuela.

First football stadium by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners plannned for Venezuela

The Estadio Nacional de Fútbol de Venezuela will be the first football stadium designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

Developed in collaboration with engineers Arup and Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, it will feature a brightly coloured circular roof that the architects refer to as a “bicycle wheel canopy”.

First football stadium by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners plannned for Venezuela

The building will be located at the top of a hill, overlooking the city centre to the north east.

“The hillside site created an unusual challenge and the design reflects this with terraces cut into the landscape giving way to a series of floating esplanades that provide access to the various levels of stadium,” said Simon Smithson, the lead architect on the project.

First football stadium by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners plannned for Venezuela

The stadium forms part of a wider masterplan by Richard Rogers’ firm for the area known as La Rinconada, located approximately eight kilometres south west of the capital.

The architects had originally been commissioned to design a bus station replacing an existing facility, but the project later evolved to encompass a new transport interchange between the bus station and the existing metro and train station, as well as the establishment of a metropolitan park to protect the surrounding hillsides from further development.

First football stadium by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners plannned for Venezuela

The football stadium will be located within the park alongside a new baseball stadium, while an existing racecourse designed by Californian architect Arthur Froehlich in the 1950s will be retained.

North Korea Opens New Luxury Ski Resort

NKOREA-POLITICS-TOURISM-LEISURE-SKI

A US-based tour company is launching special ski packages to North Korea.

Just weeks after a ski resort in North Korea opened to the public January 1, Uri Tours has launched five and seven-day ski holidays to the Masik Pass Skiing Grounds, billed as “the most exotic skiing destination on earth.”

ski grounds North Korea

So far, the tour operator has received bookings from six Americans, who will be among the first foreigners to hit the North Korean slopes this winter.

Nocturnal skiing North Korea

Originally scheduled to be unveiled in October, the resort experienced a series of setbacks, notably after being slapped with UN sanctions over the purchase of Swiss chair lifts. The ski lifts currently in place are from China.

Restaurant Masif Pass Ski resort

The ski packages, meanwhile, include access to the resort’s nine ski runs and four chairlifts. Getting to the top of the Masik Pass at 1,360 m (4,461 feet) requires taking three separate chair lifts and takes up to 40 minutes.

Indoor pool Masik Pass Ski resort

Here are a few other interesting resort specs:

-The total resort area is 1,412 hectares. -All slopes combined have a total length of 110,000 meters. -Slope widths vary from 40 – 120 meters. -The maximum slope is 39.8 degrees. -The resort has 120 rooms. -A day-long ski lift pass is 25 euros (included in the package). -Resort amenities include a lap pool, fitness center, massage, sauna, billiards and hair salon.

Hotel lobby Masik Pass Ski resort

Rates range between $1,895 for doubles and $2,850 for singles.

Masik Pass Ski resort bedroom

Europe Shivers Under Big Freeze

cold

A cold spell and snowstorms have swept across parts of central and eastern Europe, disrupting power supplies, travel and schools. Four people have died in Bulgaria over the past few days.

Heavy snow and strong winds have left dozens of villages in the eastern half of the country without electricity and water.

A 76-year-old man died after getting stuck in a snowdrift in the village of Povet, near the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Three other men have died in weather-related incidents in eastern villages in the last two days. Many roads are closed to traffic while rescuers try to bring food supplies to remote areas. Hundreds of schools remain closed, and the main Black Sea port of Varna was shut because of high winds.

Snow fell in the central Adriatic coast in Croatia, which is highly unusual because the region has a Mediterranean climate. The ice and snow in the seaside town of Sibenik prompted authorities to close down schools there. Heavy snow is also falling in neighboring Montenegro, causing traffic problems.

Temperatures dipped to -22 C in Moscow and -31 C in surrounding regions, making it the coldest day of the year in the Russian capital.

The temperature was 10 degrees below average for this time of year and expected to drop further. Many Muscovites, however, welcomed the sun and blues skies of a real Russian winter after the gray clouds that hung over the capital for much of December and January.

Big snowstorms have been hitting Romania in recent days, closing down schools and hitting road and rail traffic.

Romania declared a “red code” weather warning in six eastern counties, warning residents of blizzards and near zero visibility. Heavy snow and high winds were forecast for the capital.

A 33-year-old woman travelling by train in north-eastern Romania went into labour early and gave birth to boy aided by a female ticket collector.

Railway firms said more than 160 trains had been cancelled as snow blocked tracks in southern and eastern Romania. About 5,000 people experienced power cuts as the high winds disrupted electricity supplies in southern Romania.

After Storm, Helicopters Search For Stranded Drivers

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US: Atlanta’s mayor says “a lot of people” are still stranded in their vehicles after a rare winter storm struck the south, freezing up roads and jamming traffic.

Helicopters took to the skies Wednesday to search for stranded drivers while authorities on the ground worked to deliver food, water and gas — or a ride home — to people who were stuck on highways after a winter storm walloped the Deep South.

Students spent the night on buses or at schools, commuters abandoned their cars or idled in them all night and the highways turned into parking lots when the roads iced over.

It wasn’t clear exactly how many people were still stranded on the roads a day after the storm paralyzed the region. And the timing of when things would clear and when the highways would thaw was also uncertain because temperatures were not expected to be above freezing.

“We literally would go 5 feet and sit for two hours,” said Jessica Troy, who along with a co-worker spent more than 16 hours in her car before finally getting home late Wednesday morning.

Southerners warned of icy mess in days ahead: Graphic explains how artic is bringing freezing temperatures, snow and ice to areas of the U.S.

Their total trip was about 12 miles.

“I slept for an hour and it was not comfortable,” Troy said. “Most people sat the entire night with no food, no water, no bathroom. We saw people who had children. It was a dire situation.”

The rare snowstorm deposited mere inches of snow in Georgia and Alabama, but there were more than 1,000 fender-benders. At least six people died in traffic accidents, including five in Alabama, and four people were killed early Tuesday in a Mississippi mobile home fire blamed on a faulty space heater.

Elsewhere in the South, Virginia’s coast had up to 10 inches of snow, North Carolina had up to 8 inches on parts of the Outer Banks, South Carolina had about 4 inches and highways were shut down in Louisiana.

In Atlanta and Birmingham, interstates were clogged by jackknifed 18-wheelers. Some commuters pleaded for help via cellphones while still holed up in their cars, while others trudged miles home, abandoning their vehicles outright.

Linda Moore spent 12 hours stuck in her car on Interstate 65 south of Birmingham before a firefighter used a ladder to help her cross the median wall and a shuttle bus took her to a hotel where about 20 other stranded motorists spent the night in a conference room.

“I boohooed a lot,” she said. “It was traumatic. I’m just glad I didn’t have to stay on that Interstate all night, but there are still people out there.”

Some employers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield in Alabama had hundreds of people sleeping in offices overnight. Workers watched movies on their laptops, and office cafeterias gave away food.

Winter storm: Traffic creeps along Interstate 55 in north Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Traffic creeps along Interstate 55 in north Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s office said rescuers and medics in helicopters were flying over Jefferson and Shelby counties conducting search and rescue missions.

Atlanta, hub to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport, once again found itself unprepared to deal with the chaos — despite assurances that city officials had learned their lessons from a 2011 ice storm that brought the city to its knees. Some residents were outraged that more precautions weren’t taken this time around and schools and other facilities weren’t closed ahead of time. But officials from schools and that state said weather forecasts indicated the area would not see more than a dusting of snow and that it didn’t become clear until late Tuesday morning that those were wrong.

Still, Georgia leaders were aware of public angst and tried to mitigate it.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took some of the blame for schools, businesses and government all letting out at the same time, and he said they should have staggered their closings.

“I’m not thinking about a grade right now,” Reed said when asked about the city’s response. “I’m thinking about getting people out of their cars.”

Ryan Willis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga., said temperature were still below freezing Wednesday and they were to dip back into the teens overnight. Thursday will offer much warmer weather, around the upper 30s to lower 40s.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta’s snarled freeways to get food and water to people. Deal, who faces re-election in November, fended off criticism about the government’s response to the storm. He said emergency officials prioritized to rescue stranded children on buses first and were aiming to make contact with all stranded motorists by Wednesday.

“Our goal today is that there will not be anybody stranded in a vehicle on our interstates that has not been offered the opportunity to go to a place of safety and security,” Deal told reporters at a Statehouse news conference.

Winter storm: Sevierville Primary School students load up as school is let out early due to snow in Sevierville, Tenn.

Sevierville Primary School students load up as school is let out early due to snow in Sevierville, Tenn.

If there was a bright spot in the epic gridlock, it was the Southern-style graciousness. Strangers opened up their homes and volunteers served coffee and snacks to the traffic-bound.

Debbie Hartwig, a waitress at an Atlanta-area Waffle House, said she managed to keep her cool thanks in part to the kindness of strangers after 10 hours on the road.

“I’m calm,” she said. “That’s all you can be. People are helping each other out, people are moving cars that have spun out or had become disabled. It’s been really nice. I even saw people passing out hot coffee and granola bars.”

Stephanie Reynolds, a second-grade teacher, spent the night with about 10 students and two dozen co-workers at Meadow View Elementary School in Alabaster, Ala. Many of the children’s parents were stuck in cars in roadways and unable to pick up their kids, she said.

Reynolds comforted crying children, played games and did lesson plans for two weeks. A dance party helped fill up a few minutes, and the children ate pizza for dinner and biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

“The students have been here so long: all day yesterday, overnight and now,” Reynolds said. “I’m going on no sleep right now. I didn’t even try. I figured since I was here I might as well be productive.”

At the non-denominational Action Church in Canton, Ga., church member Tommy Simmons said there were about 20 people there getting warm. His guests included a family that got stuck en route to Texas, several motorists, and two homeless men.

“Everyone is sitting around chitchatting like they’ve known each other for years,” he said. And in true Southern style, they were served pork barbecue.

Heroes also had their day. Police in suburban Atlanta say one of their own helped assist the safe delivery of a baby girl on a gridlocked interstate Tuesday afternoon after snow and ice brought traffic to a crawl.

Meanwhile, people took to social media such as Facebook to appeal for overnight shelter — or to offer guest rooms, fire stations, churches and park gymnasiums to those needing a warm place to stay after spending hours in their cars. People on one page, SnowedOutAtlanta, offered guest bedrooms, fire stations, shelters and just about any other warm building to stay. Even a supermarket offered lodging.

Associated Press writers Kate Brumback, Ray Henry, Phillip Lucas, Bill Cormier, Bill Barrow and Don Schanche in Atlanta; Mike Graczyk in Houston; Bruce Smith in Charleston, S.C.; Kevin McGill and Stacey Plaisance in New Orleans; Jay Reeves in Montgomery, Ala.; Brock Vergakis in Norfolk, Va.; and Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans contributed to this report. Bynum reported from Savannah.

Winter storm: Jesse Hatcher limps away from his crash.

Jesse Hatcher limps away from his crash after he says another motorist caused him to lose control of his car and spin out off I-20 West near Conyers on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in Conyers, Georgia.

Winter storm: A beer delivery truck that slid off the road in Wilsonville, Ala.

Vehicles make their way around a beer delivery truck that slid off the road during a snowstorm in Wilsonville, Ala., on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

London’s Garden Bridge

garden bridge

Joanna Lumley with a model of Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge — a living bridge across the Thames has been her obsession since 1998.

Sometimes, this job doesn’t feel like work. Who wouldn’t want to sit in designer Thomas Heatherwick’s magical King’s Cross Studio, talking to Joanna Lumley about the new Garden Bridge that will span the Thames from Temple to the South Bank by 2018?

The shapely, two-pier, £150 million structure will be designed by Heatherwick, the man behind the 2012 Olympic cauldron and the new Routemaster bus, while the wild and variegated vegetation will be chosen by gardener Dan Pearson.

Shard Developer Plans Residential Tower In London

shard

The developers behind The Shard in London are planning to build a 27-storey, luxury residential tower next to the iconic skyscraper. It will house 150 high-end apartments.

The new apartment building will be designed by Shard architect Renzo Piano. It will include a total of 160,000 square feet of residential space and will also feature retail space.

The latest planned addition to the capital’s increasingly high-reaching skyline, the new building is set to be located just west of the Shard and south of the Place, on London’s Fielden House site.

The Shard skyscraper was awarded the title of 2013 Best Tall Building Europe by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat this week.