Coming Soon: An Ultra-Lightweight Backpack That "Floats" While You Carry It

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Sometimes the most strenuous part of hiking is not the distance or altitude covered, but the heavy load you’re hauling around all day. Now, one company wants to take the backache out of hiking—and commuting, too.

As spotted by New Atlas, the forthcoming HoverGlide backpack by Lightning Packs is being billed as the “world’s first floating backpack.” The bag part is attached to a sliding rail and pulley suspension system, which allows it to bounce up and down on your back while you move around. It purportedly reduces the impact and strain on your back by up to 90 percent, letting you walk or run with relative ease.

The design is based on a 2006 study from the University of Pennsylvania, which found that bouncing backpacks can make a 59.5-pound load feel 11 pounds lighter. That's because they move out of step with your gait, canceling out the movement and eliminating the need to constantly lift the load as you move. And less energy equals more endurance, according to the backpack’s creators.

A fundraising campaign for the HoverGlide will be launched on Kickstarter in September. Four varieties of the backpack will be available: a 55-pound “Trekker” backpack for hiking and camping, a smaller “Hiker” for shorter outdoor excursions, a 25-lb “Commuter” backpack for regular daily use, and a “Tactical” backpack with a tough shell and webbing “for the military types out there,” according to New Atlas.

[h/t New Atlas]

Interactive Version of a Classic Color Manual Used By Charles Darwin Is Now Available Online

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Scientists who study the natural world do more than tally numbers. Sometimes making an accurate scientific observation comes down to finding the perfect word to describe the shade of dried lavender flowers or the breast of a screech owl. In the 19th century, naturalists had Werner's Nomenclature of Colours to refer to—and now anyone looking to expand their color vocabulary can access the book's contents online, Fast Company reports.

Published in 1814, painter Patrick Syme designed the guide based on the work of geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. It features 110 distinct hues, each with a name, number, and a list of the animals, plants, and/or minerals that feature it in nature. Prussian blue, for example, naturally occurs in blue copper ore, the stamina of bluish purple anemone, and the spot on a mallard drake's wing, while wine yellow can be found in the saxon topaz, white currants, and the body of a silk moth. The book was used as a handy reference guide by researchers recording observations the field, including Charles Darwin.

Now, using free scans of the book from the Internet Archive, designer Nicholas Rougeux has transformed it into an interactive digital experience. The original color swatches and descriptions are included, as well as some modern additions. Click on a color and the entry will expand to show photographs of the plants, animals, and minerals mentioned. Rougeux has also made posters based on the manual available on the website.

Werner's Nomenclature of Colours may have been the color bible of its time, but it still covers just a fraction of all the shades that have been named. After exploring the digital guide online, continue to grow your knowledge with this color thesaurus.

[h/t Fast Company]

Writing a Term Paper? This Font Is a Sneaky Way to Meet Your Page Count

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iStock

Stretching the margins, widening line spaces, making your periods slightly larger than the rest of the text—these tricks should sound familiar to any past or current students who've ever struggled to meet the page requirements of a writing assignment. As more professors get wise to these shortcuts, students are forced to get even sneakier when stretching their essays—and the digital agency MSCHF is here to help them.

As Fast Company reports, MSCHF has released an updated version of Times New Roman, the only difference from the standard font being that theirs takes up more space per character. When developing Times Newer Roman, the designers manipulated one character at a time, stretching them just enough to make a difference in the final page count without making the changes look noticeable. The result is a typeface that covers about 5 to 10 percent more line space than Times New Roman text of the same size, saving writers nearly 1000 words in a 15-page, single-spaced paper in 12-point type.

Getting the look right wasn't the only challenge MSCHF faced when designing the font. Times New Roman is a licensed property, so Times Newer Roman is technically a twist on Nimbus Roman No.9 L (1)—an open-source font that's meant to look indistinguishable from Times New Roman.

If you'd like to test out the font for yourself (for curiosity's sake, of course; definitely not to use on your term paper), you can download Times Newer Roman for free.

[h/t Fast Company]

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