Astronomical Watch Gorgeously Depicts the Real-Time Orbits of Planets

Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels

Most watches can tell time, but how many keep track of the planetary orbits? Luxury watch maker Van Cleef & Arpels created the Midnight Planétarium timepiece, which does just that. The wristwear is encased in 18-carat gold and sports a variety of different semi-precious gems. As the watchmakers explain on their website, the company has "achieved its dream of reducing the scale of the heavens to the dimensions of a wristwatch." Pretty fancy stuff.

Each planet is represented with a different colored stone: Earth is turquoise, Mercury is serpentine, Venus is chloromelanite, Mars is red jasper, Jupiter is blue agate, and Saturn is sugilite. Other celestial objects on the watch include a pink gold shooting star and sun.

This watch isn't just for looks: The planets actually move in time with their real-life depictions. A self-winding mechanism containing 396 separate parts moves each miniature planet in true time to its actual orbit length. That means it will take your tiny Saturn 29 years to make its way around the watch's dial, with Jupiter taking about 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, and Mercury 88 days. (Neptune and Uranus aren't included as their orbits are longer than most human lifetimes at 165 years and 84 years respectively.)

The back of the watch features an engraving of the starry night sky. You can set the date and view it through two apertures on the dial. You can also tell the time thanks to the shooting star which completes a revolution around the dial in 24 hours. Adorably, the owner can choose a specific day as their "lucky day" and on that date the Earth will move directly underneath the star engraved on sapphire crystal to symbolize good fortunes.

The watch retails for $225,000, which really isn't so much to have the entire solar system adorning your arm.

[h/t Lost at E Minor]

Disney's Most Magical Destinations Have Been Reimagined as Vintage Travel Posters

UpgradedPoints.com
UpgradedPoints.com

Many of the iconic settings of animated Disney movies were modeled after real places around the world. Ussé Castle in France’s Loire Valley, for example, is widely rumored to have been the inspiration behind the original Sleeping Beauty story. (Although the castle in the movie more closely resembles Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle.) Likewise, the fictional island in Moana was made to look like Samoa, and the Sultan’s palace in Aladdin shares some similarities with India's Taj Mahal.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Agrabah or Neverland, then you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in these Disney-inspired travel posters from the designers at UpgradedPoints.com, an online resource that helps individuals maximize their credit card travel rewards. Only one of the posters features a real destination ("Beautiful France"), but these illustrations let you get one step closer to scaling Pride Rock or plumbing the depths of Atlantica.

All of the images are rendered in a vintage style with enticing slogans attached—much like the exotic travel posters that were prevalent in the 1930s.

“A few of our designers wanted to capture that longing to experience the true locations of these fantastic films, and the inner child in all of us couldn’t resist seeing how they interpreted the locations of their favorite films,” UpgradedPoints.com writes. “The results are breathtaking and make us wish we could fall into our favorite Disney movies.”

Keep scrolling to see the posters, and for more travel inspiration, read up on eight real-life locations that inspired Disney places (plus one that didn't).

A Disney-inspired poster of France
UpgradedPoints.com

An Atlantica travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
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A Lion King travel poster
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A Neverland travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

Google Creates First AI Doodle for Bach’s Birthday

Google
Google

Although there’s some debate about Johann Sebastian Bach’s exact birth date, today is roughly the 334th anniversary of the famous composer’s birth. In celebration of Bach’s contributions to a genre that would later be called classical music, Google created a Doodle that lets users create a song in Bach’s signature style.

Google has created musical Doodles before, but what sets this one apart is that it’s the first-ever Doodle powered by artificial intelligence, according to Newsweek. In this case, users create a simple melody by choosing their preferred notes on a musical staff, then increasing or decreasing the pace (measured in beats per minute, or BPM) or changing the key, if desired. Once satisfied, all they have to do is hit the “harmonize” button and let AI create a more sophisticated tune.

Fortunately for Google, there was a lot of material to draw from. Bach was a busy man, creating more than 1100 compositions in his lifetime (while also finding time to father 20 children). However, for this Doodle, a machine-learning model called Coconet was fed a portion of his oeuvre—306 harmonies in total. In addition to being trained to recognize the musical patterns in Bach's work, the model is also capable of creating harmonies, smooth transitions, and compositions from scratch.

“So when you create a melody of your own on the model in the Doodle, it harmonizes that melody in Bach's specific style,” Google explained in a statement. And just for fun, there’s a feature that lets you hear what the harmony would sound like in a modern rock style.

For a behind-the-scenes look of how the Bach Doodle was made, from both an artistic and technical perspective, check out Google’s video below.

[h/t Newsweek]

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