Finally, an Umbrella That Bends Without Breaking

Pluvi, Kickstarter
Pluvi, Kickstarter

Make 2019 the year you replace the collection of busted-up umbrellas at the bottom of your closet with a piece of gear that will stand up to whatever the weather throws at it. Instead of a metal stretcher that splinters apart on a windy day, the Pluvi umbrella is made from flexible polymer, so no matter how much abuse it endures, it will always snap back into its original shape.

Pluvi, which is raising funds on Kickstarter now through January 11, owes its strength to its innovative design. Rather than the 100-plus parts you'd find in a conventional metal umbrella, Pluvi's stretcher is made from just 24 plastic components that snap together. The material is meant to bend in any direction, so years of use or a few particularly windy days won't wear it out.

At just 265 grams (about a half-pound), Pluvi is also lighter than most umbrellas. The canvas canopy is made to repel water and block 95 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and the entire package is 100 percent recyclable.

One Pluvi umbrella costs $14 to $15—and if you're someone who tosses out several wind-damaged umbrellas a year, that price quickly pays for itself. You can reserve yours today with a pledge of $14 or more on Kickstarter, with delivery estimated for April of next year.

$1.6 Billion in $50 Bills in Australia Were Printed With a Typo

PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's $50 banknote is filled with details; there are so many of them that it's hard to spot the typo that slipped onto the face of the bill. But if you know where to look, you'll see the spelling error that the treasury failed to catch before printing it on millions of pieces of currency.

According to CNN, the $50 bill, worth about $34.90 in U.S money, debuted in October 2018. It features Edith Cowan, Australia's first female member of parliament, with her inaugural speech to the Western Australian Parliament typed out in microprint above her shoulder. The words are hard to read, but in the zoomed-in image below you can see the word that's supposed to read responsibility in the second line is mistakenly spelled responsibilty. The bill also features innovative security features, such as holographic design elements, but the typo snuck by unnoticed.

The misspelled word was printed on 400 million banknotes, 46 million of which are currently in circulation. Altogether, the misprinted currency in circulation totals A$2.3 billion, or US$1.6 billion.

Australia's treasury plans to keep the bills in circulation and correct the error when the next batch of $50 banknotes is printed sometime in the next few months. Other typos of this scale have resulted in major consequences: In 1962, a missing hyphen in some computer code caused a satellite to explode, costing NASA $80 million.

[h/t CNN]

3D ‘Zebra Crossing’ Crosswalk Is Making Pedestrians in North London Safer

iStock.com/olaser
iStock.com/olaser

Cities around the world are improving upon the classic crosswalk. In Ahmedabad, India and Medford, Massachusetts, drivers are now confronted with 3D crosswalks painted on the asphalt. As Londonist reports, North London—home to perhaps the most iconic zebra crossing of all time—is the latest place to experiment with the new design.

The innovative crosswalks use an optical illusion to make roads safer for pedestrians. Instead of showing conventional flat stripes, the blocks in these crossings are painted with additional, shaded shapes around them, giving them the appearance of 3D objects raised from the ground.

The change is meant to get drivers' attention and encourage them to slow down before they reach the pedestrian crossing. Installing 3D crosswalks is a cheap and simple improvement, and it can potentially save lives.

The new crosswalk outside Barrow Hill Junior School in North London's St. John's Wood neighborhood uses this same trick. It's located around the corner from the place where The Beatles's Abbey Road album cover was shot. That's one crosswalk that likely won't be redesigned anytime soon, but luckily the hordes of tourists taking pictures there makes it easy to spot.

The new crosswalk is the first of its kind in the UK. After a nine- to 12-month trial run, London will consider installing the safety feature throughout the borough of Westminster.

[h/t Londonist]

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