Spooky Underground Bunker Mimics Above-Ground Life in the 1960s

Back in the '60s and '70s, bunkers weren't just for the overly paranoid or doomsday obsessed. According to The Washington Times, "by 1960, nearly 70 percent of American adults thought that nuclear war was imminent. By 1965, an estimated 200,000 shelters were built—but that’s just an estimate. It’s hard to know exactly, because people didn’t talk." 

Since bunkers were so popular, it makes sense that they ranged in extravagance. To make these underground prisons more appealing, people like Girard B. "Jerry" Henderson fluffed them up with every amenity possible. His company, which was called Underground World Home Inc., created over-the-top bunkers that offered features like artificial sunlight, working bathrooms, and fake trees. Henderson's underground suburbia promised to be almost as good as the real thing—plus the appeal of no pollen, intruders, or radiation.

You can see one of these relics, which went on the market after foreclosing in 2012. The eerie shelter, at 3970 Spencer Street in Las Vegas, looks just like a regular home in the 1960s. It has a working kitchen, a Jacuzzi, a pool, two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and even a dance floor. The 5000-square-foot space is located below another home, which is traditionally above-ground. Thanks to the manually operated sky and artificial trees, it almost looks like it's really outside (but not quite). The spooky bunker looks completely untouched by time. 

In March of 2014, the home was purchased by a shadowy non-profit called Society for the Preservation of Near Extinct Species for a cool $1.15 million. There is little to no information about this Nevada-based operation and it's not clear if the organization's name is just a joke, considering their purchase. The sellers, Seaway Bank and Trust Co. in Chicago, were also a little flummoxed on the details. "I have no knowledge about who the buyers are. I just signed the deed," William Bates Jr., general counsel for Seaway, told VEGAS INC

[h/t So Bad So Good]

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Courtesy Umbrellium
These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]


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