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Allison Crank
Allison Crank

With Virtual Reality, You Can Go Shopping With Giraffes

Allison Crank
Allison Crank

Trips to the mall can be excruciating, especially during the busy holiday season. Now, with virtual reality, fed-up consumers can get the experience of walking through the mall, but without the crowds—and with a lot more zoo animals. 

For her masters thesis, British designer Allison Crank created a digital mall that users can stroll through at their leisure. Called The Reality Theatre, the experience immerses the user in a completely different kind of shopping center.

"[With] the rise of online shopping and cyberspace, shops and malls are facing rapid obsolescence. To counter this, I propose that stores should be transformed into playgrounds for experiences, where consumers become actors with the ability to perform, spectate, play and indulge themselves in the environment," Crank explains on her website.

By putting on an Oculus Rift headset, users are transported to a technicolor shopping center with futuristic floating signs and free-roaming virtual zebras and giraffes (because why not?). They'll also encounter other shoppers, all wearing wild, colorful dresses.

However, shopping is not the main objective at this kaleidoscopic playground, according to the artist. "Shopping is a public performance. Stores are theatres where you can be both performer and spectator," Crank says.

"You assume the role of Ms. Smith, who is shopping for a chair in the Reality Theatre, from the moment she enters, to her interactions with the designer, to when she leaves. I leave it up to the viewers to immerse themselves in the virtual stage and performance."

The new spin on shopping was shown at the Design Academy Eindhoven as part of Dutch Design Week 2015.

[h/t Dezeen]

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History
When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.

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Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0
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Space
8 Facts About the Accomplished Female Astronomer Caroline Herschel
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Caroline Herschel (1750–1848) was a German woman who made great contributions to science and astronomy. 

1. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO DISCOVER A COMET.

Herschel spotted the comet (called 35P/Herschel-Rigollet) in December of 1788. Because its orbital period is 155 years, 35P/Herschel-Rigollet will next be visible to humans in the year 2092.

2. SHE INITIALLY WORKED AS A HOUSEKEEPER.

In her early twenties, Herschel moved from Germany to England to be a singer. Her brother William (the astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus and infrared radiation) gave her singing lessons, and she was his housekeeper. She later became his assistant, grinding and polishing the mirrors for his telescopes.

3. BUT SHE LATER TURNED HER REAL PASSION INTO A PAYING GIG.

Herschel was the first female scientist to ever be paid for her work. Starting in 1787, King George III paid her £50 per year to reward her for her scientific discoveries.

4. SHE WAS TECHNICALLY A LITTLE PERSON.

Herschel was only 4 feet 3 inches tall—her growth was stunted due to typhus when she was 10 years old.

5. SHE BROKE BARRIERS, EARNING RESPECT FROM THE HERETOFORE MALE-ONLY SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.

Herschel was the first woman to receive a Gold Medal from London’s Royal Astronomical Society, in 1828. The second woman to receive one was well over 150 years later, in 1996.

6. SHE CHEATED AT MATH … KIND OF.

Because Herschel was female and thus wasn’t allowed to learn math as a child, she used a cheat sheet with the multiplication tables on it when she was working.

7. EARTH'S MOON HONORS HER LEGACY.


NASA/LRO_LROC_TEAM, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A crater on the moon is named in honor of Herschel—it’s called C. Herschel. The small crater is located on the west side of Mare Imbrium, one of the moon's large rocky plains.

8. SHE GARNERED AWARDS WELL INTO HER NINETIES.

For her 96th birthday, Prussian King Frederick William IV authorized that Herschel receive an award: the Gold Medal for Science.

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