For two years, Nike has been testing a subscription plan for kids sneakers, without letting on that it was an in-house Nike project. Formerly known as Easy Kicks, the initiative is now being rebranded as Nike Adventure Club, a program Nike says is intended to make it easy for parents to keep up with their kids’ fast-growing feet and tendency to trash sneakers quickly.
Of course, it’s also a way for Nike to start building loyal customers as young as age two, and continue growing its increasingly important direct-to-consumer business.
The program already built a base of 10,000 members in its “burner brand” stage, according to Dave Cobban, who helped launch it as Easy Kicks and is now general manager of Nike Adventure Club. It offers parents three subscription tiers meant for kids ages two through 10. They can sign up to get four pairs of sneakers a year for $20 a month, six pairs for $30 a month, or 12 pairs for $50 a month. Parents are able to change their level at any time, and the kids will get about 100 different sneaker styles to choose from in sizes 4c-7Y.
That may seem like a lot of sneakers to be buying a child. Indeed it is, according to Alan Bass, a board-certified podiatrist in Manalapan, New Jersey, and spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association. “There’s no way that any kid needs six pairs of sneakers a year, from a functional standpoint,” he says. After age two, kids’ feet generally aren’t growing fast enough to warrant four or more new pairs of shoes a year, and as for wear and tear, Bass tells patients who are avid runners and athletes they need two to three pairs of new shoes a year.
Cobban says they developed the tiers through testing. Originally they thought one plan for up to four pairs a year would be sufficient, but while running their “burner brand,” as he calls it, they found parents wanted options with more shoes.
“Generally what we see in the acquisition behavior is people come in on the $20-a-month plan, but over the course of a few months after they join, they upgrade,” he says. Now Cobban estimates roughly a third of the participants are in each plan, an evolution he says was “not what we expected at all.”
The kids probably aren’t complaining. Dominique Shortell, director of retention and member experience for Nike Adventure Club, and her team created the experience to be fun for kids, from the printed box that shows up with their name on it—opened with a pull tab to dispense with scissors, and made to be drawn on—to the adventure guides that arrive with each delivery.
For Nike, the program offers a few benefits. “One is to build a deeper relationship with kids from a younger age,” Cobban says. “If we can serve kids with this delightful membership, they’re going to be loyal to us longer in the future, is our hypothesis.”
It also makes it easier for parents to buy their kids Nike sneakers. A large share of the families that signed up in the program’s incubation period were rural and suburban, and might not have had easy access to a wide selection of Nike shoes for kids.
This last point is particularly important as small retailers and mall-based stores have shuttered. One way Nike has responded to the struggles of these brick-and-mortar businesses has been to increase its own sales straight to shoppers. Adventure Club lets it do just that.
So how was Nike able to run the program for so long without parents realizing it was a Nike business? For one thing, it offered shoes by Nike and Converse, and many people still don’t associate the two as being the same company, Cobban says, even though Nike has owned Converse since 2003. Easy Kicks also advertised that it was working “in partnership” with Nike.
Nike had recently started to acknowledge that it was backing the business, but Cobban explains that it waited to reveal its full engagement because it wanted to know if there was a need and market for the service regardless of Nike’s involvement. It also wasn’t sure what the final version would look like.
The 10,000 members it signed up as Easy Kicks answered the first question. Now Nike Adventure Club has answered the second.
But neither men are content to talk about near-term goals. Both have laid out grandiose visions for space colonization, and have even sparred with each other in trying to assert that their own plan is the best.
In terms of settlement, Elon Musk’s gaze remains fixed on Mars, where he claims he wants to start building a human settlement by the 2050s and where he has said he would like to die (although, he noted, not on impact).
So how close are we to actual space colonization? Business Insider spoke to three experts to sift through the tech moguls’ bombastic rhetoric and uncover some of the real scientific challenges.
Low gravity thins our bones, weakens our muscles, and makes our hearts change shape
Being in space for long periods of time has a big impact on human bone density. A 2013 study of 35 astronauts found that on average they lost more than 10% of bone density after flying missions of between 120 to 180 days.
“Mars has more gravity than the ISS [International Space Station] but not a lot, it’s still about a sixth of Earth’s. So you’ve got a serious issue there as to whether people can live there for any serious length of time at all. That doubles down if you want to try raising children and anything that approaches an actual colony,” said David Armstrong, an astrophysics professor at the University of Warwick.
“If trained astronauts, who are prime people, are losing significant amounts of bone density — enough that you’d normally lose by the time you’re 50 and 60 — how could someone live permanently in that environment?” he asked.
Another side-effect of microgravity is a drop in muscle mass. According to Prof. Kevin Moffat, who specialises in human physiology in extreme environments, there’s no proven way of counteracting it.
“There’s all sorts of debate over what happens with muscle conditioning. Tim Peake when he was up there you saw him conditioning himself on these running machines. The evidence is still pretty equivocal whether that really helps very much, but I suspect if I was up there I would do that as well just in case it worked,” he said.
British astronaut Tim Peake used a treadmill to run the London marathon in 3 hours and 35 minutes on the ISS in 2016.
However, one observed change Moffat noted is that the lack of gravity on the ISS causes the astronauts’ hearts to change shape. “In space your heart become rounder… because there’s no gravity to pump against,” he said. The shape-change is thought to lead to a higher risk of kidney stones, and so Moffat concludes is likely to affect other bodily processes in ways we don’t know yet.
Space changes our “natural killer cells” and the microbiome
Moffat said there are two more areas of human physiology in space which are too often overlooked. The first is the immune system— specifically a kind of cell called “natural killer cells” which help guard the body against cancer.
“We know that their levels drop massively in astronauts that live in the ISS. If you’re up there for six months, probably it won’t make much difference. But if you’re there for two years, five years, ten years, a lifetime, then there’s a set of worries I would suggest that your immune system may not be functioning to monitor your body for rogue cells,” he said.
While there’s still research to be done on exactly why astronauts’ immune systems dip, Moffat hypothesises it’s due to the change in bone density. Specifically, he thinks it has something to do with bone marrow, which is where blood cells are generated.
A second change astronauts undergo is to their microbiome. “There is as many cells in you, and on you, as of you. You’re made of just as many microbes and fungi and bacteria as you are of cells of yourself. So you’re just basically a machine for other stuff,” says Moffat. This collection of fungi and microbes makes up a healthy microbiome. A paper published in 2019 compared the microbiomes of two twins — one who went to the ISS and one who stayed on Earth.
“There does appear to be changes in the bacterial community in their gut at least. That’s a worry as well, because that will alter what you can eat,” said Moffat.
The Earth’s magnetosphere and ozone layer protect us from radiation thrown out by the sun. Astronauts visiting the moon or the ISS receive higher doses of radiation than they do on Earth, but not deadly amounts. But venturing any further (to Mars for example) means facing deep-space radiation.
This poses a big problem for Bezos’ O’Neill cylinders. “You need a huge amount of shielding material, way more than you need to build the actual structure, just to stop people getting essentially sterilized quite quickly… some of the estimates I’ve seen are for tens of millions of tonnes of shielding material essentially,” said Warwick University’s Armstrong. Getting that amount of material into space is “beyond economically feasible,” he added.
A Musk-style expedition to Mars would need to make provisions for sudden bursts of radiation. “If you happen to be out during a time of high solar activity, so some sort of solar storm or a flare… things like that, that’s particularly bad. There’s talk of having high-shielded areas on spacecraft which astronauts could retreat to when events like that were occurring,” Armstrong explained.
The problems with “terraforming” and the Biosphere 2 disaster
Musk has talked about terraforming the surface of Mars. The term is borrowed from science fiction, and means transforming the make-up of a planet to make it habitable for human life.
Armstrong doesn’t dismiss the idea of terraforming out of hand, simply because it’s so wild you would need to account for future technologies that don’t yet exist. “For these projects we’re talking thousands and tens of thousands of years really,” he said.
Mars’ atmosphere poses a big problem, as it is so thin and Mars’ gravity is so weak, molecules easily escape off into space. “We think Mars’ atmosphere is so thin because it was bombarded by asteroids early on and with that low gravity that led to a lot of the atmosphere escaping,” said Armstrong.
“In any short, medium, or even somewhat long-term, we’re talking living in domes. On the surface is just not plausible,” he said.
But dome-living comes with its own dangers. Armstrong pointed to Biosphere 2, an experiment from the 1990s which was built to simulate a closed space-colony.
“The experiment crashed and burned in all kinds of ways, but one thing that came out of it was that there were just endless complexities people didn’t really expect. The concrete slowly decaying and polluting the air over long timescales, this sort of thing,” he said.
Quite apart from its atmosphere, Mars’ soil poses a big problem. The film “The Martian” popularized the idea of growing plant-life on the Red Planet, and according to Armstrong, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
“The Earth’s soil is a very complex thing that’s been built from millions of years of organic material growing and dying, and Martian soil does not have that. There are various experiments growing things in simulated martian soil and they do actually tend to come out with positive results. The problem is that those stimulants aren’t necessarily accurate,” he said.
“Some of the most damaging materials in the Martian soil is something called perchlorate, which we think are really quite bad,” he added. Chances are any Martian plants would take up these heavy minerals, which could ultimately kill people, depending on the level of exposure.
No room for democracy in space
Forgetting for a moment the considerable physical and engineering challenges that go with living in space, there’s another important element Musk and Bezos don’t tend to dwell on. Social structure.
Political philosopher Felix Pinkert of the University of Vienna believes that an off-world colony would not have room for democracy as we know it. The challenge as he sees it is that any mission to Mars, for example, would have to start with just sending a small handful of experts who specialise in particular areas, and could lead to a hierarchy of technocrats dictating people’s lives.
On top of this, if private companies are in charge of shipping people out to these colonies you could end up with effective dictatorships. “Companies are already governments in themselves. They function like governments, but they’re private governments in the sense that they are not governed by the people who are affected [by them]. They are governed by the shareholders or the CEO or whatever. So it’s like a dictatorship.”
Pinkert is surprised that the social structures of these futuristic colonies, as well as their relationship to Earth, isn’t talked about more by Musk and Bezos.
“As a species, we’ve got to do this”
Despite the endless complexities associated with space habitation, none of the experts we spoke to seemed in much doubt that it’s on the way — with varying degrees of trepidation.
“On the small scale it’s probably closer than you think,” said Armstrong. “And having four people on Mars in a terrible environment where they’re probably all going to die quite quickly but nonetheless they’re there. Given how many resources Elon Musk has, I wouldn’t want to put a bet against him. It’s alarmingly close on a small scale, it’s ludicrously far off on a big scale.”
He added in an email to Business Insider that the capacity of these colonies poses an ethical problem. “However successful these colonization programs are, it’s worth remembering that the vast majority of currently alive humans are going to stay on the Earth. Bezos optimistically talked about O’Neill cylinders hosting a million people, and a Martian colony is going to be some way under that.
“One motivation for these ideas is the sense that the Earth is dead, we’ve polluted it too much, and we need a backup plan. If this is our backup plan, we’re throwing away most of the human population. Choosing who goes is a hard ethical problem, and one which would functionally be led by a handful of US billionaires. It emphasises how much we need to look after the Earth,” he wrote. It should be noted, Bezos has echoed this sentiment.
Moffat’s approach is more fatalistic. “As a species, we’ve got to do this. We’re going to crucify this planet sooner or later. So you might as well die going to Mars,” he said.
All three experts agreed that just because the challenges are Herculean, that’s no reason not to try. “If the choice is between Elon Musk doing the space stuff and buying himself a lot of yachts, this is definitely better,” said Pinkert.
Marcel Baumann, Reto Giovanoli, Massimo Della Corte, Katrin Pfäffli, Diana Zenklusen
Text description provided by the architects. In Sargans, a Swiss town located in the Rhine Valley, near the border with Liechtenstein, a new sports center replaces a triple gymnasium that was no longer state of the art.
The new construction consists of a quadruple gymnasium with various Fitness rooms. Because the marshy site cannot bear large loads and the existing pile foundations were to be reused, a lightweight wood structure was the ideal response to the design problem.
The client, the canton of St. Gallen, wanted a sustainable building that employs local building materials and would only require a short construction phase; these stipulations only served to underscore the suitability of wood. Not only the building exterior, but also the interior, are characterized to a great extent by the use of this material.
The serial and dense structure goes through all parts of the building and emphasizes the architectural and spatial qualities of the main rooms: entrance foyer, gymnasium, fitness rooms. It is made out of spruce wood and is composed of 40 thin and close to one another glued-laminated timber frames. The floor slabs in the two-story part are made with a wood-concrete composite system and a combined ash/spruce glued-laminated load bearing beams.
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The animal kingdom abounds with creatures that grow hard shells, carapaces, and skeletons. But complex life was pretty squishy at the beginning. A new study clarifies how and when things changed.
Researchers discovered that when carbonate skeletons were first evolving more than 500 million years ago, diverse groups of animals all converged on a similar, counterintuitive process for biomineralization.
Today, many unrelated animals build their skeletons or shells out of calcium carbonate—including echinoderms, mollusks, and corals. Instead of building crystals ion-by-ion from the surrounding sea water, these animals use amorphous, or non-crystalline, nanoparticles as their building blocks of choice.
“In fact, crystallization by particle attachment actually seems to be the prevailing method of biomineralization as far as we can tell,” says Susannah Porter, a professor of earth science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Rather than building their skeletons at a molecular level, these animals first form nanoparticles of amorphous calcium carbonate. They then store these particles in vesicles that they can use to transport them to the site of crystallization.
This method of crystallization was first documented more than 20 years ago in the teeth of sea urchins. Since then, scientists have noticed the process throughout the animal kingdom, and involving different minerals. What’s more, the different groups of animals seem to have independently settled on this method of biomineralization, so it must have something going for it.
Given its ubiquity, Porter and her collaborators wanted to determine how far back they could find evidence of this process. Their findings appear in PNAS.
“We obviously can’t watch these Cambrian and Ediacaran organisms make their skeletons, so we need to have a proxy,” Porter says. First author Pupa Gilbert, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had previously found that crystallization by particle attachment leaves an irregular particulate texture in the shells and skeletons when they’re viewed under a scanning electron microscope.
The team saw this same telltale pattern upon imaging fossils more than 500 million years old. In fact, this signature preserved even in material that had subsequently converted into another mineral.
“It’s spectacular,” Porter says, “the fact that we can see this detail at the sub-micrometer level.”
Among the ancient material Porter and her collaborators examined were fossils of Cloudina, a genus that includes some of the earliest animals that formed a mineralized skeleton. The genus was named after Preston Cloud, a late professor of biogeology and preeminent researcher in the study of early life.
The team saw the same irregular nanoparticulate texture in Cloudina fossils as in other animals that form crystals by particle attachment. “This shows that, even when animals were first evolving mineralized skeletons, and were maybe not so good at biomineralizing, they were already choosing this mechanism,” Porter says.
The findings suggest that, even early on, there was selection for this particular mechanism across different lineages. “When you see something that is selected for over and over again, it suggests that it is the most advantageous one,” Porter says.
Although it’s counterintuitive that animals would use amorphous material to create the crystals that ultimately form their skeletons or shells, Porter says that this mechanism seems to permit greater control over mineralization than simply building ion by ion, as the traditional models suggested.
For one, these particles are incredibly stable when confined in vesicles: The material doesn’t immediately crystallize but remains amorphous. This allows the animal to keep ingredients around and available yet maintain flexibility regarding when and where the mineralized skeleton forms.
Additionally, compounds like calcium carbonate can take different structures—thereby forming different minerals—depending on environmental conditions. By storing the molecules in an amorphous state, the animal can better control what form, or polymorph, they become, Porter explains.
“It’s like having some frozen cookie dough around that you’re later going to bake into cookies,” she says.
Porter is interested in the large-scale patterns of when lineages first evolved skeletons and how environmental and ecological conditions of the time affected those skeletons.
She suspects that the earliest biomineralizers, like Cloudina, didn’t have particularly strong control over the process of building their skeletons.
“But by the time you get to the Cambrian, the carbonate mineralizers have shells that are complex and organized,” she says. “They have much greater control over their skeletons.”
If you’re looking for the best React Native app templates to help you develop your app idea, here are the nine best available at CodeCanyon for 2019.
Building a mobile app in React? Need a strong user interface to get you started? These UI kits, themes and templates will help get your project off on the…
Why Should I Use React Native?
The React library is a powerful collection of code on its own, but React Native takes it a step further.
When building native applications, for many years it was necessary to create entirely separate apps, with their own code bases and sometimes even different languages.
Getting started can be a bit rough, but there are plenty of apps, templates, and tutorials to help get you up to speed.
Here are nine React applications from Envato Market to boost your projects and your skills.
Developing a React UI for a restaurant may seem simple at first. But when you begin to think about the details and complications of a menu, you can easily see how a React application restaurant template is useful.
The Restaurant App Template handles all the nuances very well, and looks good too.
“Manage your menu, accept orders, send push notifications.”
Features you’ll find:
This React app pulls data from Google’s Firebase real-time database. This means you can manage your menu and make changes without needing to republish the app each time.
Nothing can be quite as difficult as organizing and presenting eCommerce. Taxonomies and collections are complex at best. Each item requires a high baseline of repetitive data depending on what is being sold. Variations can quickly get overwhelming, with data such as sizes, quality, inventory, color, versions, etc.
Now in its third version, MStore Pro (formerly called BeoStore) is a beautiful example of a React Native application for eCommerce.
“Your products will appear clear and can be zoomed without any format error.”
two product list modes
flexible product filter
On its lowest level, the UI presented here is top notch. When you consider the depth of data that is being sorted and presented—not to mention the fundamental feature set—this is a React application worth looking at closely.
What kind of list of React Native applications for you to use, study, and apply would this be without a good to-do application?
That’s why I’ve included the very beautiful Tudu.
“In this source code you have multiple useful features not only for a to-do list app, but for all kind of projects.”
Features you can use:
auto grow text input
This is a good example of a React application that makes good use of space. Everything is spaced well for mobile and is designed to feel good to the user. With its simple codebase, you can build out your own to-do application or use these design fundamentals to build something completely different.
If you’re just digging into React Native, Antiqueruby is one of the best tools you can have. With a collection of over 200+ screens, this kit gives you a ton of drop-in components for almost any scenario.
With direct access to the code behind the components, you can also use Antiqueruby to learn about each part of what goes into a React Native app, using small, self-contained components.
There are a ton of components to learn from, including:
logins, sign-ups, and registrations
advertising displays and handling
complex navigation handlers
third-party app integrations
If you’re looking to improve your skills when it comes to modular components and front-end development, this kit will help you close the gap!
As much as I like to get my hands dirty and learn how to build from the ground up, sometimes I find that it helps to use beginner-based tools. Once I can complete a project in “easy mode,” I can then dig deeper and learn the ins and outs more easily.
Sky Webview can help you get started with React applications without having to dig deep into code.
“No coding required.”
Features you’ll find:
online theme edit panel
unlimited color options
over 670 icons
I particularly like the “pull to refresh” feature.
Sky Webview is a wonderful aid for building your first React application.
Using, studying, and applying these React Native applications and strategies is one of the best ways to become a React pro. Digging into completed code, examining UI and UX choices, and using existing building blocks provides insight that’s difficult to come across when starting from scratch.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your React Native chops, check out:
Text description provided by the architects. The Palace of Culture was built in 1982, the standard project was developed by the Design Institute commissioned by the Tourism Council. The Palace of Culture is a striking example of the Brezhnev era architecture: the area of the building is about 12 thousand meters and since construction, it has never been renovated. The reconstruction lasted six months and amounted to approximately 300 million rubles.
The rectangular shape of the building is made in the style of modernist architecture: it houses a cinema and concert and lecture halls, dance halls, recreation areas, educational spaces, exhibition spaces, a chess club, and a library. The main glass volume is recessed in the shape of the facade and envelops the open balcony and the structure of the horizontal suspended slats. There are mounted monumental copper panels (embossed) above the main entrances to the building. The structure of the building forms a central atrium, where the natural light enters through pyramidal skylights.
The restoration project of the Palace of Culture is a delicate invasion of the historical object and a meticulous approach to the material heritage. The main idea of the project is the maximum preservation of the building’s authentic elements and the reconstruction of the historical appearance. Thus, all the decorative facade panels, interior stairs, and floors made of Cuban marble, columns, and walls made of limestone tuff and the original wavy ceiling in the large auditorium were carefully polished and preserved.
All new interior shapes accurately reproduce the historical appearance laid down by the original authors of the project. Triangular skylights were recreated during the restoration, allowing natural light to enter freely into the atrium area, the rectangular ceiling caissons with reflected light and a facade system of sunscreen slats. The stained-glass facade of the building was completely replaced with a new one in strict accordance with the historical pilaster side elements and the color scheme. The corner segment of the building completes the media screen, which is the key information point in the city.
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Completing the Trans-Canada Kicking Horse Canyon project east of Golden will mean complete closure of the highway for periods of time during construction, B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said.
In a media announcement on Sept. 5, Trevena said the final and most challenging two-lane section of the Kicking Horse project is now being prepared for transformation into a four-lane highway. Three other sections have already been completed with more than 21 kilometers of roadway upgraded. The expected completion date for the fourth phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is 2023/24.
“This final phase is the most challenging,” Trevena said. “Realigning and widening this section of highway to four lanes is a must.”
Technical challenges include a narrow, constrained and heavily traveled corridor. Large quantities of material will need to be excavated from steep, high and unstable slopes, while protecting the safety of crews, the travelling public and the CP Rail railway tracks below.In addition to widening the highway to four-lanes, the project will also see improved avalanche and rock-fall projection, fencing and passage for wildlife and wider shoulders to accommodate cyclists.
Ministry of Transportation to work with community liaison committee, key stakeholders on highway closures.
Trevena said the Ministry of Transportation is still working with the town of Golden on the dates and duration of the closures, including avoiding closures during peak travel times.
The plan to redirect traffic via Highway 95 and then onto Highway 93 has some concerned, as this means more vehicles driving over the Kicking Horse River Bridge. In particular there is a concern about increased traffic flow over the aging bridge, which the previous provincial government had said it planned to upgrade. Trevena said annual bridge inspections are completed and that she is confident the bridge will be safe for the future.
“We continue to work with the community on how we can best make sure there will be safe access there, and I have met with the mayor,” said Trevena.
The ministry also said it plans to work closely with local indigenous group to look at ways to protect areas of significant value. The Kicking Horse Area is the traditional territory of the Pespesellkwe (Shuswap Indian Band, Splatsin, Neskonlith Indian Band, Adams Lake Indian Band and Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band) of the Secwépemc Nation and the Ktunaxa Nation.
Project cost increases due to significant technical work, application of Community Benefits Agreements
The project’s price tag has also increased considerably rising from $450 million in 2016 to $601 million. The cost is shared with the federal government contributing up to $215.2 million through the provincial-territorial infrastructure component of the New Building Canada Fund. The province is providing the remaining $385.8 million.
Advanced technical work completed since the original project estimate in 2016 has determined the need for significant changes, said Trevena. Most of the projects cost increase is due to technical changes in the project scope, higher prices of materials and additional costs related to CP Rail protection, utility relocation, traffic management, technical project management support archaeological investigation, consultation with Indigenous groups and higher contingency based on the risk and complexity of the project.
A Community Benefits Agreement, that will put an emphasis on hiring local workers for the project, will take up $35 million of the project cost. This includes worker accommodations, equal wages and benefits and BC Infrastructure Benefits (BCIB) administration costs. BCIB is the provincial Crown corporation that implements the CBA.
Trevena said it is estimated around 200 jobs will be available with a priority on hiring local workers with a focus on enhancing employment and training.
“BC is facing a major skilled worker shortage. This program seeks to address at very least this industry’s challenge,” she said.
A start date on the final phase of the Kicking Horse project has not been announced. An invitation for bidders to submit their qualifications to design and build the project was released Sept. 5.
organic design architecture studio has taken up one corner of the vacant first floor of a 33-year-old rental office building in tokyo to create rebar, a 150 sqm free space to be used for lectures, discussions and meetings between co-workers. the project takes its name from the material that encloses the space, reinforcing bar (rebar), which are the steel bars or mesh typically used to strengthen reinforced concrete. though usually not visible on the surface, the material here takes center stage, serving both a functional and design purpose.all images by y. okamura
commissioned to create a space that would bring new life and new tenants to the vacant floor of the 33-year-old building, organic design architecture studio has responded by designing this free space with the aim of positively impacting the everyday lives of the office workers on the rest of the floor. the choice of material serves a functional purpose, since the building has central air conditioning and it was necessary to maintain airflow throughout, and a design purpose, which is to create a ‘transparent’ atmosphere that connects the various parts of the space into a whole.
against a calming blue background, the translucent white steel bars compose a deformed inorganic structure that serves as an interactive partition across which the lively intellectual discussions taking place inside can pass.‘the functional role of the rebar is to allow the energy generated by people lecturing and engaging in discussions in the free space to overflow the translucent steel mesh walls through which people can be both seen and heard,’ explains organic design architecture studio. ‘our hope is that this inspires and positively impacts the office workers on the rest of the floor. the mesh walls also let air and light pass through unobstructed.’
I’ve invested a healthy chunk of my time with the game reading every single scattered document, listening to every audio clip, and watching every video strewn about the game’s arcane office complex. Doing so made me realize that Control’s broader story, tucked away in these optional files, is where the game really shines.
This is why you shouldn’t ignore them, even if you don’t normally care about collectibles in single-player games. The experience becomes much richer when you experience every piece of it.
A house of secrets
The game’s setting, The Oldest House, is a serpentine, constantly shifting office building. It’s occupied by the Federal Bureau of Control, a shadowy government agency that’s more Men in Black than FBI.
As intriguing as that sounds, the employees who work there treat their work like it’s just another banal office job, complete with memos, notes about budgets, reports, and video briefings.
Control developer Remedy Entertainment has scattered those text, audio, and video files around the office for you to collect, and they’re easy to find; the game places a prominent white dot on every collectible within a certain range.
The writing in these heavily redacted memos introduces just as many mysteries as it illuminates, while giving more detail about what’s going on in this world and why. The documents also provide clues about where to go next, and how to get there. If you ever get stuck, make sure you’ve picked up all the files and have looked them over.
The supplemental material gives hints about what’s coming next, too. When I learn about how objects of power, the game’s term for “paranatural” items, can be given power through groupthink, I’m quickly introduced to what may be a semi-sentient, telekinetic floppy disk to illustrate that point. When I learn about the astral plane, it’s not a fun concept to help flesh out the story, but an actual place I explore multiple times throughout the game. A terrifying puppet show that sometimes plays on the televisions scattered around the office gives me hints about what happened to my missing in-game brother.
The little breadcrumbs I read about mundane items like a refrigerator or a quarantined mirror become narrative heavy hitters once all the pieces fall into place. Giving detailed and evocative backstories to even the simplest pieces of decoration makes me feel like I’m roaming through a museum of the unknown, with each object getting a detailed backstory, even if I can’t see all the details.
Then there are the Easter eggs, which are far too good to spoil here.
I love running across notes about objects of power, secret cover-ups, and even office gossip for the small, well-written glimpses of life in the Bureau. But several notes blindsided me, the first of which I had to read twice to make sure I understood it right. There are plenty of story and even gameplay rewards for those who take the time to read every note, and I can’t wait for more people to play to have a conversation about the implication of all these details.
This is the first game I’ve played in a while where I get excited to catch up on reading, listening to, and watching all the various collectibles. Control’s main story is a trip, and these supplemental materials add even more wrinkles to an already mind-bending plot.
Designers Warith Zaki and Amir Amzar have imagined a project that seeks to find alternatives to traditional construction material in order to build the first settlements on Mars. In fact, they opted for a natural earthy element that competes with wood, brick and concrete, and drafted a project that uses bamboo.
The project entitled Martian S.O.L- Seed of Life, started by questioning what kind of material can be light enough to be transported to the red planet and grow to a greater mass once it arrived. In fact, the bamboo plant can withstand the harsh Martian conditions, and extreme instabilities in temperature, without requiring any pollination circuit to reproduce. Moreover, a plant is very likely to grow at an increased rate on Mars because of the abundance of Carbon Dioxide in the composition of its atmosphere. Also efficient as a food source, Bamboo was ideal as an alternative for construction materials on Mars.
The idea of transporting construction materials to Mars is a gruesome thought, conventional building materials would be too heavy to be lifted off out of our atmosphere with rocket engines, even the lighter materials would be too costly as it might compensate to higher volumes for it to be enough to build a shelter for a colony of 50. In 2017 Elon Musk quoted a cost of USD140,000 per tonne to Mars. There is an idea of completely 3D printing houses out of Martian regolith, although that seems to be the better solution among other proposals, there is no knowing what are the unknown challenges that might occur in transforming the regolith that is filled with hazardous Perchlorate into a reliable construction material. This project seeks for an alternative on construction material on Mars. — Warith Zaki and Amir Amzar.
This reasoning led the architects to develop the vision for a first colony on Mars, on a site “located at the southern part of Elysium Planitia where satellite studies have indicated pack ice found on the ground surface, a possibility of frozen water underneath.” Read on to discover the timeline of the installation of the project, provided by the designers.
1.The first small team of explorers arrive at the southern part of Elysium Planitia to find underground frozen ice. Once confirmed, the team sends a signal back to earth to begin colonization process.
2.Via Hohmann Transfer Orbit(HTO), a few self-deploying habitat capsules containing bamboo shoots arrive 2 years later and connect themselves to the existing power grid of NASA’s Kilopower Nuclear Reactor brought by the first explorers.
3. The capsule deploys floor plates and inflates ETFE to create pressurized environment.
4. Walls are autonomously unfolded and put into place by robotics. Mini-magnetosphere at the core provides shield for the bamboo from cosmic radiation. Ground drill is used to retrieve frozen ice from below grade to feed the fast-growing bamboo.
5. Bamboo grows to full height and are taken out from the growth chamber. Using earth’s traditional technique, drone robots weave the cut bamboo around ETFE membrane.
6. Liquid water is pumped into bamboo, water freezes under Mars’ outside extreme temperature, creating a natural structural reinforcement. The frozen ice inside bamboo provides a second layer of protection against cosmic and solar radiation. Ground robotics sinter Mars regolith around bamboo footing to create subgrade base that could withstand Mars-quake. A research conducted by NASA indicates that the density of the Mars atmosphere can allow solar transmission up to 30º above the horizon. Therefore, few windows are placed in the lower facade area that opens up to the Mars’ vista and the greenhouse.
7. Multiplication of the habitat allows the shaded volume underneath to be transformed into a pressurized greenhouse via sealing with ETFE membrane. Ground robotics excavate the floor soil to be treated in a nearby facility to eliminate the hazardous Perchlorate content found in Martian soil, while drone robotics 3D print HDPE(High-density Polyethylene) for air-tight sealing at junctures. HDPE can be made from in-situ materials of CO2 and water.
8. After 4 years since its inception with the monitoring help from the first explorers, the hybrid habitats are ready for their first colonists to arrive. These 50 persons are comprised of scientists, builders and miners to help lay foundation into the Martian society and economy. Pressurized greenhouse made of ETFE allows for separate climate control. Some sections could be used for growing food such as potatoes, the other sections could be used for botanical experimentation especially growing the high-altitude trees that are found in Pico de Orizaba mountain in Mexico that are believed to be able to survive Mars atmosphere.
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Cite: Christele Harrouk. “Designers Imagine Bamboo Colony on Mars” 30 Aug 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .