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Arborea, Stanley Moss’s new novel written during the pandemic in Italy, out now

Filed by Lucire staff/September 27, 2020/19.28

Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss has penned a new novel, this one written during the COVID-19 pandemic as he braved the dire situation in his base in northern Italy, at one point Europe’s “ground zero” for the virus. Arborea, out now, once again brings together a cast of international characters in an intriguing and entertaining tale, this time set at an exclusive luxury resort in northern California where the rich gather and, as it so happens, a group of eco-warriors. As with The Hacker, which we serialized in Lucire, and its sequel Hack Is Back, which is coming up, Stanley’s story engrosses the reader and could easily become a screenplay, such is the richness and diversity of the characters and the characterizations. Like these earlier works, Arborea is very much of our times.
   From the synopsis: ‘Imagine an ultra-modern luxury resort located among the old-growth redwoods on an isolated stretch of California coastline. Imagine what happens when a famous tech billionaire and his wife arrive for a romantic weekend at exactly the same moment as a dedicated army of eco-warriors descend on the site to conduct a stealth operation. But the storm of the century is on its way to dampen everyone’s plans. Find out what happens in this comedy of errors, when nature interferes with the best made plans of well intentioned humans.’
   Arborea is published by Second Guess Press and available from Amazon at US$16·99.

 


Innovative biodegradable shoes win James Dyson Award’s New Zealand competition

Filed by Lucire staff/September 17, 2020/0.44


Lucire is the first fashion partner of UN Environment.

The New Zealand winner of the James Dyson Award is in the fashion sector: Rik Oithuis, a Massey University student, conceived his Voronui Runners, shoes that can be composted at the end of their life.
   Despite many labels trying to do the right thing by the environment—many of which have been profiled by this magazine, a UN Environment partner since 2003—92 million tonnes of textile waste is created each year. As detailed in Lucire, Abigail Beall at the BBC points out that this is ‘equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes’ arriving at a landfill every second. Only 12 per cent of the material for clothing is recycled, says Beall. Footwear is one of the culprits in the sector, with the James Dyson Foundation noting that since 1950, the amount of footwear globally has increased from 7,000 million to 23,000 million, with most shoes ending up in landfill. The average pair takes over 50 years to decompose, with footwear representing 1·4 per cent of global climate impacts. The footwear industry’s waste is increasing tenfold, note Theodoros Staikos and Shahin Rahimifard in their research.
   This makes Oithuis’s concept of a biodegradable shoe all the more important to our planet. He says, ‘Currently, footwear materials focus on performance, which is important, especially in runners. However, what isn’t being considered is what happens to the product once it’s no longer of use. The use of adhesives prevents the separation and treatment of materials at the end of the product’s life cycle. I was inspired to design a sneaker using only biodegradable materials with no adhesives—leading the future of sustainable footwear.’
   Oithuis developed a gelatine- and glycerine-based recipe for biodegradable foam, adding natural ingredients to strengthen the material, compress it, and make it more water-resistant. He then 3-D-printed a Voronoi structure using a biodegradable filament to form the skeleton of the sole and mid-sole. The upper was made from a merino wool fabric with 3-D-printed details. The heel and toe caps were inserted with a plant fibre reinforcement, then sewn shut and stitched.
   Runners-up included Massey University students Lisa Newman and Samantha Hughes, who created a hand tool to maintain clean cattle tails and a pædiatric urine sample collection device respectively.
   Rachel Brown, ONZM, founder and CEO of the Sustainable Business Network, Dr Michelle Dickinson, and engineer Sina Cotter Tait judged the national competition.
   Oithuis will receive a £2,000 award to develop his design. He, Newman and Hughes will go on to the international stage, where a top 20 will be selected by Dyson engineers. Sir James Dyson will select the international and sustainability winners from that group. The former will get a £30,000 prize and £5,000 going to their university, and the latter will receive £30,000. Winners will be announced on November 19.

 


Breitling launches Endurance Pro at Geneva Watch Days

Filed by Lucire staff/August 27, 2020/10.36




Harold Cunningham

With the start of Geneva Watch Days on Wednesday, CEOs from Breitling (Georges Kern), Bulgari (Jean-Christophe Babin), Ulysse–Nardin (Patrick Pruniaux), H. Moser & Cie. (Edouard Meylan), MB&F (Maximilian Büsser) along with the Conseil d’État de Genève’s Mauro Poggia and other VIPs joined together to open the event. Breitling launched its Endurance Pro sports’ watch at the event, and brought in its spokespeople—Ronnie Schildknecht, Daniela Ryf and Jan van Berkel—to the Hotel Four Seasons for it.
   The Breitling Endurance Pro is described as ‘the ultimate athleisure watch’ with a COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 82, with a SuperQuartz movement (said to be 10 times more precise than regular quartz), and far brighter colours than we’ve come to expect from the Grenchen-based firm.
   The case measures 44 mm, and despite the size, the watch is particularly light, with the company’s Breitlight material, which is 3·3 times lighter than titanium and 5·8 times lighter than stainless steel. Breitlight is non-magnetic, thermally stable, hypoallergenic, highly scratch- and corrosion-resistant, and feels warmer to the touch than metal. Hour and minute hands are coated with fluorescent SuperLumiNova. Price-wise, it is expected to be lower, bringing in new customers.
   The Endurance Pro features a pulsometer scale and a rubber strap that matches the inner bezel ring. Customers have the option of adding Outerknown Econyl yarn NATO straps. The watch is water-resistant to 100 m and comes with a two-year warranty.
   Inspiration comes from the 1970s’ Breitling Sprint, which incorporated a pulsometer, and which also came in a series of bright colours.















 


Samsung reveals five powerful Galaxy devices for work and play

Filed by Lucire staff/August 5, 2020/22.22




Korean giant Samsung has announced five new devices: two Galaxy smartphones (the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra), two tablets (Tab S7 and S7+), the Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Buds Live (wireless earbuds), and a next-generation foldable smartphone (Galaxy Z Fold 2).
   The new entrants emphasize power and innovation, making Samsung a technophile’s dream. The Note 20s are made for work and play, coming with an enhanced S Pen, said to be more lifelike and accurate for those wanting to jot down ideas on their phones. The Note 20 phones are also designed to work more seamlessly with Windows 10, including syncing with various Microsoft programs.
   The phones have ultra-low latency 5G, wifi 6 optimization, 120 Hz displays, and an aspect ratio of 21:9. The cameras can film in 8K at 24 fps, and the pro mode can take shooting to 120 fps in full high-def. The Note 20s can connect wirelessly to smart TVs using Samsung DeX.
   Batteries are designed to last all day, and 50 per cent charge can be obtained in half an hour.
   The Ultra’s Infinity-O screen measures 6·9 inches, using Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED, with a resolution of 3,088 by 1,440 pixels, for a pixel depth of 496 ppi. The regular Note 20 comes close, with 6·7 inches and a Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O display with a 2,400 by 1,080 resolution (393 ppi).
   The tablets also refresh at 120 Hz, with the Tab S7+ featuring a 12·4-inch Super AMOLED display. The regular Tab S7 measures 11 inches. They also have an improved S Pen and can be used to extend a PC’s display.
   The Watch 3 is slimmed-down and has enhanced health information, with Samsung promising a blood oxygen feature, where one can measure and track oxygen saturation. There is a running analysis program, and VO2 Max follows one’s cardio progress.
   The Galaxy Buds Live are wireless and comfortable earbuds, and feature 12 mm speakers. Samsung says they will play deeper, richer sounds thanks to their bass ducts. They also feature active noise cancellation.
   Finally, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the best of both a smartphone and a tablet. It features two nearly bezel-less Infinity-O displays, with the cover screen measuring 6·2 inches and the main screen 7·6 inches.

 


Asus launches ROG Phone 3, first gaming phone to pass TÜV Rheinland eye care certification

Filed by Lucire staff/August 4, 2020/12.50


We have long been critical of the tech industry for not creating more gadgets that reduce blue light, instead expecting people to adapt to technology by donning blue-light glasses. In this context, it’s a welcome sight to see Asus launch its ROG Phone 3 gaming phone, the first of its type to pass the TÜV Rheinland Group’s certification on eye care.
   The phone has a 144 Hz AMOLED display, measuring 6·59 inches. It has an industry-leading 270 Hz touch-sampling rate, decreasing the touch latency to a mere 25 ms.
   The ROG Phone 3 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 856 Plus 5G mobile platform, which Asus says is the world’s fastest. The CPU is clocked at 3·1 GHz. It can handle up to 16 Gbyte LPDDRS RAM, and 512 Gbyte UFS 3·1 ROM.
   Adherence to TÜV Rheinland’s standards can reduce the harmful blue light emitted by screens. The new phone’s blue-light reduction is handled by hardware, using the latest 2020 standard that avoids a yellowish distortion of the image. Asus has improved the LCD panel, further reducing blue-light emission. There is also low screen flicker, helping to reduce eye fatigue and suppress blue-light emissions.
   TÜV Rheinland’s Taiwanese office said it looked forward to working with Asus on future eye-friendly products.

 


Blenders goes beyond sunglasses and snow goggles as it launches blue light-filtering eyewear

Filed by Lucire staff/July 8, 2020/20.59




Nick Ramsey; Blenders

Blue light glasses are definitely a sign of our times, and that we may be spending far too much time in front of our screens. There are still many cellphones that don’t have blue light filters, and television manufacturers are obsessed about how bright their sets can go—just head into any retailer—and not about the long-term effects of living with their screens for years.
   So, instead of creating technology to serve and adapt to us, in comes another business to help us adapt to technology. Blenders Eyewear is the latest to get into the blue light glasses’ game, with two designs in four colour combinations as part of its introductory line.
   To Blenders’ credit, and in line with their existing sunglasses and snow goggles for those pursuing an active life, the designs are very stylish. The L Series features a square, lightweight frame, with bright colours. The Coastal has a rounder frame, with subtle splashes of colours on the arms. All are priced under US$50.
   Blenders began as a backpack business on the beach in 2012, and grew quickly to become a global brand. Find out more at www.blenderseyewear.com.


 


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