The Rise of the Computer-Generated Celebrity

A new generation of celebrities is selling out concerts, starring in commercials, and amassing huge Instagram followings. But none of them exist—corporeally, anyway. In recent years, and starting in Japan, technology and social media have spawned a digital demimonde of computer-generated stars, ranging from fake musicians and models to company mascots who appear as holograms (like Betty Crocker, with AI). When they’re not entertaining you, they’re trying to convince you of their humanity, and even the more cartoonish among them have fleshed-out personalities. In a way, it’s the purest expression of celebrity, which has always been an elaborate illusion. CGI starlets, though, “are much easier to control,” says Ryan Detert, CEO of the branding firm Influential. Except when they misbehave.

The (Im)material Girl

She’s not really fooling anyone—Hatsune Miku is a schoolgirlish, turquoise-­haired anime mascot designed by a Japanese software company to sell a voice synthesizer. As consumers began using the product to compose original music, Miku became a sensation. For years now, she’s been performing at massive IRL concerts, where her hologram “sings” those fan-written songs.

The Virtual Unknown

In 2011, the Japanese girl group AKB48 announced its newest member, 16-year-old Aimi Eguchi. Nobody had ever heard of her. When Aimi started showing up in ads and commercials for a popular Japanese snack company, fans got suspicious. Finally, AKB48 had to admit that Eguchi didn’t exist: She was a publicity ploy, created through a digital mashup of other band members’ faces.

The Brandfluencer

In her two-plus years on Instagram, the selfie-­snapping 19-year-old Lil Miquela has racked up more than a million followers, partnered with Prada, and promoted causes like Black Lives Matter. Brud, a tech startup that has taken some credit for Miquela, calls her an artificially intelligent robot, though earlier this year Miquela went rogue and cut ties “with my managers.” Now she calls herself a free agent.

The Evil Twin

Meet Miquela’s nemesis: Earlier this year, a Trump supporter named Bermuda held Lil Miquela’s Instagram hostage until the latter posted a series of statements admitting that she wasn’t human. The two then “met” “IRL,” and Bermuda posted a picture of them “together.” The feud was lame, but it demonstrated that fake influencers can attract just as much attention as the real ones (whatever “real” means).

The Model Model

Billed as the “world’s first digital supermodel,” Shudu is the creation of fashion photographer Cameron-­James Wilson, who built her using 3-D modeling software. Some critics have side-eyed Wilson, who’s white, for making a virtual black model—couldn’t he pay a real black woman to pose for him? Wilson, meanwhile, says he wants Shudu to inspire more diversity in the fashion industry.


This article appears in the July issue. Subscribe now.

Hatsune Miku by iXima, Aimi Eguchi courtesy of Glico, Lil Miquela courtesy of @lilmiquela, Bermuda courtesy of @bermudaisbae, Shudu by Cameron-James Wilson

More Great WIRED Stories

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/computer-generated-celebrities/

Physicist Writes 270 Wikipedia Profiles In Less Than A Year So Female Scientists Get Noticed

British physicist Dr. Jess Wade has written 270 Wikipedia pages for trailblazing female scientists in an effort to get every woman “who has achieved something impressive in science to get the prominence and recognition they deserve.”

Completing the feat in less than a year, Wade, a postdoctoral researcher in the field of plastic electronics at Imperial College London’s Blackett Laboratory, said she needed to “change things from the inside” to encourage more girls to participate in science, according to The Guardian.

“Wikipedia is a really great way to engage people in this mission because the more you read about these sensational women, the more you get so motivated and inspired by their personal stories,” Wade told the publication.

Jess Wade
“You’re equally as good (if not better) than the boys around you. You may not feel it now, because growing up is super awkward, but you’ll realize how brilliant you are one day.”

Wade told HuffPost that she “decided at the beginning of this year” that she’d make one page an evening.

“In reality, I’ve made more than that, because sometimes there are just too many awesome people, and it would be too much of an injustice not to get their stories out, ASAP,” she told HuffPost.

As a female Ph.D. student, Wade realized she was a minority in her program ― a feeling that became the catalyst for her speaking out at school and encouraging younger women to get involved in science, technology, engineering or math. Wade became particularly fixated on revising the messaging surrounding women in science. 

For example, “9 percent is not enough” is a tagline of a 2016 campaign by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. “If I heard something was only 9 percent of girls when I was at school I would’ve been, ‘Like, no,’” Wade told The Guardian.

Additionally, Wade noticed that many of the initiatives designed to boost women’s participation, at least in the U.K., have “little or no evaluation as to whether the projects had achieved their aims.”

“There’s so much energy, enthusiasm and money going into all these initiatives to get girls into science,” Wade told the publication. “Absolutely none of them is evidence-based and none of them work. It’s so unscientific, that’s what really surprises me.”

Wade came to Wikipedia after analyzing what was most effective by speaking to parents and teachers. Upon seeing how far-reaching the scientific stock images she uploaded on to Wikimedia Commons were, she began making pages specifically for female scientists.

She now shares what pages she’s made on Twitter with their bios and the hashtag, ”#WomenInSTEM.”

And Wade says she’s not the only one who has embarked on this Wikipedia project.

“There are wiki-editors all over the world working on this though! For one, there are WikiProjects which shares ideas and information between wiki-editors. The one I work with most is Wiki WomenInRed. Then there is also Wiki Project Women Scientists and I recently discovered a great one on African women,” she told HuffPost.

“There is an amazing global platform called 500 women scientists – a U.S. nonprofit with a database of more than 20,000 women scientists from more than 100 countries. They help journalists, conference organizers and activists connect to nearby scientists for information and inspiration. My great friend Maryam – (@webmz_) – runs Wikithons in D.C. and New York.”

All told, Wade said the response to her efforts “has been great” so far. She said there have certainly been “plenty of cyber trolls” but she doesn’t “really care.”

“It’s easy to try and bring people down on the internet, but it’s much more fun to elevate them,” she added.

When asked about what advice she has for young girls looking to enter into a STEM career, Wade said: “You’re equally as good (if not better) than the boys around you. You may not feel it now, because growing up is super awkward, but you’ll realize how brilliant you are one day. And when you do, it would help if you were a scientist or engineer, because then you’d be making the world a better place for everyone else in it.”

You can read more about Wade’s efforts here.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientist-pens-270-wikipedia-pages-in-a-year-so-female-scientists-get-noticed_us_5b574eeee4b0b15aba92c0d5

Allegedly adorable surveillance bot Kuri to be discontinued


Always watching.
Image: Howard cao/Mayfield Robotics

Kuri just wanted to watch your children play. 

The roving surveillance bot, unveiled last year at CES, was billed as the first home robot that could actually catch on with consumers around the country. What with its unassuming — even “cute” — design and ability to autonomously decide to film people and pets in your home, Kuri represented a stark departure from the blind robo-murder dogs we have all grown to regard with caution. 

Alas, nothing gold can stay: Mayfield Robotics, Kuri’s manufacturer and part of the Bosch Startup Platform, announced today that things weren’t looking so hot for the 14-pound robot. 

“Sadly, our Kuri manufacturing will cease, and the Kuri robots that have been made will not ship to customers,” the manufacturer said in a company press release. “All pre-order deposits will be refunded to our customers.”

This is a shocking turnabout for Kuri, which was initially hailed by a prominent tech blog as possibly one day “[replacing] your little brother as the cutest member of your family.” 

So what went wrong? Are people just not interested in having a camera equipped, four-microphone stocked, mini robot following them around their homes, recording their every move?

Goodbye.

Image: MAYFIELD ROBOTICS

Definitely not, insists Mayfield Robotics. You see, it’s not that people prefer jogging death-bots, it’s that there was a problem with, uh, “business fit.” Yeah, business fit, that sounds right. 

“From the beginning, we have been constantly looking for the best paths to achieve scale and continue to advance our innovative technology,” the press release continued. “Typically, startups in the Bosch Startup Platform are integrated into existing Bosch business units, but after extensive review, there was not a business fit within Bosch to support and scale our business.” 

So there you have it. In the end, Kuri’s stated cause of death wasn’t a lack of consumer interest or a failure to get the tech right. Instead, the ignoble end of a rather ignoble creature was the inability to figure out how to wrap the product into the larger business conglomerate that is Bosch. 

Maybe Kuri’s designers should have also made it combat-ready? There will alway be a market for that

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/25/kuri-robot-discontinued/

How Stormont crisis spawned a video game

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionStormont Deadlock Video Game

Politics is often seen as a game but rarely does a political crisis form the basis for an actual video game.

Northern Ireland hasn’t had a devolved government for 18 months, after a power-sharing deal between the two main parties – the DUP and Sinn Féin – collapsed.

Since then there have been two elections, lots of political rows and several deal-or-no-deal situations – with no sign of an end to the deadlock.

Now, the political parties are gearing up for a fight: albeit in the glorious eight-bit quality that only an arcade-style video game can provide.

Super Stormont Deadlock takes its inspiration from the popular fighting game, Street Fighter, except in this version it’s the assembly members putting up their fists.

The artist behind it is Andrew Pope, who is 23 years old and lives in Belfast.

He began working on the project last December, but only completed it in July.

“There were a few versions of the project before it became a game,” he told BBC News NI.

Image copyright Andrew Pope
Image caption Video game enthusiasts might see some similarities between these opening credits and those in the popular video game Street Fighter

“When I moved back home from university in Scotland, the whole idea of the deadlock and the systemic crisis was rattling around in my head and it was something I wanted to put on paper.”

But it went through several incarnations including a short animation and a comic book before Andrew settled on a video game, after playing Street Fighter 2 and drawing parallels between the impasse at Stormont and a virtual fight-em-up.

‘Silver lining’

“A big part of the problem with Stormont is that if you look at it like a zero-sum game where there are clear winners and losers, then you can’t get anywhere,” he said.

“That was the point I was trying to make – it’s not a way to solve the crisis but it seems to be the only way that’s being pursued by the two main parties.”

Image copyright Andrew Pope

Hand-crafting a video game from scratch and drawing politicians from all of Northern Ireland’s main parties, takes time and effort – luckily Andrew has some skills in that area.

“My father was an art teacher and I’ve been doodling since I was no age,” he said.

Andrew sketched every character and background by hand in pencil and ink before scanning them all into his computer to build the game.

He even roped in his girlfriend, Katherine McKnight, who made the eight-bit style music giving the game that authentic arcade sound.

“I was thinking the deadlock may well end before I finished it, which would have been good for Northern Ireland – but for me, the silver lining is that the deadlock didn’t end by the time I put the game out,” he added.

Image copyright Andrew Pope
Image caption Cast an eye across the backdrop to this virtual fight and there are some well-known politicians incarnated as video game characters

Once the two players have selected a character, battle can commence but there’s a further catch.

“You can only play as Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. It says you can unlock all the others but there’s no system for doing that,” Andrew said.

“It’s an extra joke because it says you have to win more seats, but there’s no method to call an election. It relates to how I think a lot of the smaller voices have been locked out of the debate at Stormont.

“Particularly in terms of how the crisis is represented in the rest of the UK, you don’t get to hear many parties outside of the DUP and Sinn Féin.”

Sequel?

But what about the fight itself: is it fisticuffs based on political point-scoring and can one player, for example, deploy a petition of concern to block their opponent from striking a blow?

“You can attack each other but you can’t score a hit, both characters block every attack,” said Andrew.

Image copyright Andrew Pope
Image caption It took Andrew Pope months to draw all of the characters before scanning them into his computer to build the animation

“With the petition of concern and how discourse in Stormont works, there’s no way for either of the parties to win. So in the game it doesn’t matter what attacks you’re landing, it’s pre-determined how it’s going to work and that’s why both characters block everything.

“It’s frustrating that we don’t have a government and haven’t had one for so long, and I stand by the point I’m making with the game.”

Not all of Northern Ireland’s political hitters make an appearance in the game but if things remain as they are for much longer, Andrew might have to go back to the drawing board.

Could “Super Stormont Deadlock 2: Direct Rule” be on the cards?

“I think (Northern Ireland Secretary) Karen Bradley might know better than I would about the chances of direct rule, but if that’s the way we’re heading, it would be a worthwhile sequel,” said Andrew.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-45010997

New innovation sucks water out of thin air

/ Seamus Bellamy/ Aug 25, 2018

New technology sucks water from thin air

Collecting water from the air is absolutely nothing brand-new. Fog webs– generally built using a sheet of plastic mesh hung in between a pair of poles– are frequently used in arid locations to record water vapor. The vapor condenses into a liquid on the mesh and is then drawn down into a collection receptacle. Boom: drinkable water. That stated, the amount of drinkable water that a fog web can yield does not total up to much and, as its name recommends, if it’s not a foggy day, there’s not likely to be much, if any, water collected at all.

Happily, for individuals residing in areas that are clothes dryer than a popcorn fart, a group from the University of Akron have actually devised a way to spin nanoscale fibers that will supply a big upgrade over the conventional fog internet in use today.They utilized electrospun polymers– a technique which enabled them to create nanoscale fibers. These are twisted around fragments of broadened graphite, like spaghetti around meatballs. The fibers supply a large area for droplets to condense onto, and the graphite encourages the water to drip out of the material when it is squeezed or heated.According to the team’s leader, Shing-Chung Josh Wong, fog nets used these new nanoscale fibers could harvest as much as 180 liters of water per square meter of material released, every day. Fog webs made using plastic and other standard materials? They’re fortunate to snag 30 liters of water during the same amount of time with the same square video footage of material released. Exactly what’s more, there may not be any need for fog. According to Wong, to use the group’s new vapor collection hardware, the equipment

would just have to be 10 ° Celcius cooler than the air around it– something that’s quickly attainable through making use of a little refrigeration tech and rechargeable batteries.< a href="https://boingboing.net/2018/08/13/watch-this-coagulant-make-dirt.html?utm_source=moreatbb&utm_medium=nextpost&utm_campaign=nextpostthumbnails"> Watch this coagulant make filthy water drinkable PolyGlu is used by aid employees to force pollutants in water to settle at the bottom of a container, making the water much safer for drinking in locations where water is limited or contaminated

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endangered by environment change, even as SoCal’s cycle of long droughts and devastating, downpours gets more severe thanks to climate modification.< a href="https://boingboing.net/2018/08/26/this-photography-bundle-will-h.html?utm_source=moreatbb&utm_medium=nextpost&utm_campaign=nextpostthumbnails"> This photography package will assist you take much better images Anybody can trigger the shutter on a cam, however calling that device to simply the ideal settings for a picture-perfect shot takes skill. Whether you wish to take better

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US threatens raising tariffs to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods

(CNN)The Trump administration is considering increasing the rate of proposed tariffs to 25% on an additional $200 billion worth of goods from China.

Talks between the world’s two largest economies are at an impasse in the trade spat, with both sides continuing to threaten new tariffs.
The United States has already slapped 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion to punish Beijing for what it says are its unfair trade practices, such as forcing American companies to hand over valuable technology. China immediately responded withequal measures.
    In the latest step, President Donald Trump has directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider increasing the proposed tariff level on fruit and vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, and more. The trade office has extended its previous deadline of Aug. 30 to allow the public more time to comment on the new plan. Those comments are now due on Sept. 5.
    “The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens,” Lighthizer said in a statement.
    The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents major IT users like Google, Facebook and Microsoft (MSFT), immediately called the move by the administration “irresponsible, counterproductive,” and said it would “only do more harm to Americans across the country.”
    “American consumers and businesses are now feeling the pinch of increased costs,” said Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for the council, in a statement. “Instead of escalating this trade war, the president should have serious negotiations with the Chinese to create lasting change.”
    China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, when asked about the possible rate increase earlier on Wednesday, said China was standing its ground in the trade dispute.
    “China’s position is firm and clear cut,” Shuang told media at a regular press briefing in Beijing. “It remains unchanged. The blackmailing and pressure by the US will never work on China if the US take measures to further escalate the situation we will surely take countermeasures to firmly uphold our legitimate rights and interests.”
    Conversations between the two sides have stalled in recent weeks but a senior administration official told reporters on a call about the tariff rate hike that the United States “remains open to further discussions” with China.
    At the G-20 last month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he “chit chatted” with the Chinese delegation on the sidelines of the finance chief summit.
    Phil Levy, senior fellow on the global economy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said the rate hike is in keeping with the president’s strategy of continuously increasing pressure on China.
    There’s a sense among some in the administration that if you “keep hitting China hard enough, they’re going to buckle,” Levy said. “There has been no evidence of this.”
    The more Trump pushes China, the more Beijing will feel like it can’t back down at the risk of appearing weak domestically, he added.
    The Trump administration is also expected to slap tariffs on an additional $16 billion of goods soon, but officials on Wednesday didn’t provide any further details on timing.
    The Chinese yuan has fallen sharply against the dollar since the tariffs were first proposed.
    That has made Chinese goods less expensive and could take some of the bite out of any tariffs the United States imposes.
    Senior administration officials said there was no specific catalyst for raising the tariff other than a desire to stop what they believe are China’s unfair trade practices.
    “From a broad standpoint, it’s important that countries refrain from devaluing their currencies for trade purposes,” said an official.
    –CNN’s Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/01/politics/us-china-trade-tariff-war/index.html

    A Student-Led Team Just Set A Ridiculous New Hyperloop Record

    A team of German students have won the third annual SpaceX Hyperloop competition – their third win in a row – and set a new Hyperloop record in the process.

    WARR Hyperloop from the Technical University of Munich beat two other finalists with a top speed of 457 kilometers (284 miles) per hour, about half the speed of a jumbo jet. They were testing their pods in a tube 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) long at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California on Sunday, July 22.

    The pod traveled 50 percent faster than the previous top speed set by WARR in the last competition in August 2017. Their winning speed in the inaugural competition in January 2017 was just 93 km/h (58 mph), so they’ve achieved a pretty impressive increase in a year and a half.

    Hundreds of students from around the world gathered to see the event. WARR were up against Delft University from the Netherlands and EPF Loop from Switzerland, both of whom struggled to get anywhere near WARR’s speed. Delft University set a speed of just 142 km/h (88 mph) before stalling, while EPF Loop was only able to reach speeds of 89 km/h (55 mph).

    To win the competition, the pods must be self-propelled and accelerate from a standstill. The pods are magnetically levitated on a rail, with maximum speed down the tunnel the ultimate goal.

    While WARR now holds the worldwide Hyperloop record, their pod is just 30 centimeters (12 inches) high and 2 meters (7 feet) long. In December 2017, a full-sized pod from Virgin Hyperloop One hit a speed of 387 km/h (240 mph). New Atlas described the two as “apples and oranges”.

    But WARR sees its pod as a demonstration of what could be possible. In a press release prior to the event, they said they had been hoping to reach 600 km/h (370 mph), but their final speed of 457 km/h is still impressive considering the challenges.


    Elon Musk was at the event to cheer on the teams. WARR Hyperloop

    “[T]he pod has to accelerate to full speed and then brake again within this distance,” they said. “This is a gigantic challenge: Our pod accelerates five times faster than an airplane during take-off.”

    The ultimate goal of Hyperloop, as first proposed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2013, is to send pods in vacuum-sucked tubes at speeds of up to 1,200 km/h (745 mph), enabling travel between cities in minutes rather than hours.

    Multiple efforts, including SpaceX’s competition, Virgin Hyperloop One, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, are now being made to achieve this goal. This latest record is another tentative step towards making Hyperloop a reality.

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/a-studentled-team-just-set-a-ridiculous-new-hyperloop-record/

    Nigerian Photographer Takes Stunning Portraits Of Diverse African People

    Perhaps you remember 5-year-old rising star Jare, ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’? Well, the photographer behind her hauntingly beautiful portraits has blown up on the internet since then, with her other portraitures being hailed for their unique aesthetic.

    Her name is Bisola Mofeoluwa Bamuyiwa, owner of her own photography company BMB studio in Lagos, Nigeria. With a talent like hers you would think she had studied photography all her life, but in fact, her only degree is in Project Management Technology from the Lagos State University. Bamuyiwa said she was self-taught with the help of YouTube and photography mentors. In high-school she bought her first camera, documenting school parties, and began her professional career in 2012.

    What Bamuyiwa’s talent shows is that it takes a lot more than lessons to be an artist, you have to have a creative eye and boy she does. The photographer travels across Nigeria and Africa capturing the faces of the most exquisitely diverse people you’ve ever seen. She told Bored Panda she is very selective when choosing her models and picks them based on the theme she wants to create: “Most times I look for the weakness and make it strong and inspirational.”

    While her work traditionally falls under the ‘lifestyle, portrait and wedding” categories, she has found another name for what she is – a beauty photographer. “I realized everyone is beautiful, I haven’t seen anything ugly unless some I have seen I ask God “why” lol But then I take the ugly and I make the world see the beauty in it,” she writes on her website. This perspective is something she hopes is passed on to her viewers, “I want people to see how I envision life in everything I photograph and give someone hope,” she said.

    As for Bamuyiwa’s newfound fame, she told us she has been pleasantly shocked at the positive responses: “I am very surprised because I have handled a camera for many years and I never saw this coming too soon to me and I’m eternally grateful and willing to do more and better.” We can’t wait to see more of what this impressive photographer comes out with, scroll down below to see some of her dazzling portraits! and don’t forget to upvote your favs.

    More Info: Instagram

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    Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/beautiful-african-models-nigerian-photographer-mofebamuyiwa/

    20+ Failed Products That Made These Companies Regret Creating Them

    It’s not an easy task to introduce a brand new product to the market. Sometimes consumers aren’t ready for the product, sometimes they fail to make a use of it. And if that happens even an enormous marketing budget can’t make people buy it.

    Here at Bored Panda we gathered some products that are notorious for being so unsuccessful that some of them even managed to drive companies out of business. From re-branding and product extension fails, such as Colgate lasagna, to startup companies, like Juicero, these products made people scratch their heads with confusion.
    Scroll below to delve into the world of the biggest product flops ever.

    In 1982 Colgate came up with the weirdest brand extension idea. They decided to sell frozen dinners. This plan backfired, probably because consumers couldn’t help but think that the Colgate food tasted just like their toothpaste. No company launches a product thinking that it will decrease sales of their other products, but Colgate should’ve seen it coming. Their toothpaste sales plummeted after the launch of the kitchen entrees line.

    Clippy is described by some as one of the worst user interfaces ever developed. Clippy was designed to pop up whenever the software thought that the user needed help and managed to annoy quite a few people. After Microsoft acknowledged it’s unpopularity they decided to remove the feature.

    In 2000 Heinz decided to add an unexpected twist to their ketchup to catch children’s attention. They came up with Ez Squirt colored ketchup which came in three main colors: teal, green, and purple. The idea wasn’t meant to last on the market. After 6 years it was discontinued.

    In 2012 Bic released a product for women they didn’t even know they needed – “lady pens”. These pointlessly gendered pens were mocked and failed to gain a consumer base

    In 2011 Google launched its new social network Google+. However, it never lived up to their expectations of becoming a Facebook competitor. It was a huge disappointment

    In 1998 Frito-Lay introduced new fat-free potato chips. People got caught up in the hype of this “miracle food” and within the first year sales reached $400 million. Sales plummeted soon after, however, when it was revealed that the chips contain Olestra, a fat substitute that causes abdominal cramping and loose stools.

    Donald Trump kicked off his “world’s greatest” line of premium steaks in 2007. However, consumers didn’t agree with the description ‘great’. The product was discontinued after just two months for sales failures.

    In 2005 someone at Frito-Lay decided it would be a great idea to launch a Cheetos’ flavored lip balm. Even those of us who have never tried Cheetos can understand why this idea flopped.

    In 1999 the nightmarish Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask was launched. This creepy mask was intended to tighten facial muscles with… shock therapy. Consumers revealed that it feels as bad as it sounds.

    In 1992 Pepsi introduced a new product called “Crystal Pepsi”. The product died a year later. David C. Novak, who is credited with introducing the concept, admitted: “It would have been nice if I’d made sure the product tasted good.”

    In 1994 a bottled water made for cats and dogs was launched. The beverage was carbonated, vitamin enriched and flavored. The product flopped after consumers realized it was completely unnecessary to give their pets, what was essentially soda.

    Launched in 2009, TwitterPeek was the first and the last Twitter-only mobile device. The product was created to do only one thing – send and receive tweets, but managed to fail at this simple function. The device gave only a 20-character preview of the tweets. It was no surprise that consumers made a hard pass on this device.

    In 1985 Coca-Cola Co. decided to reformulate Coke. The company invested $4 million into a nationwide taste test. And despite the New Coke doing well in taste tests, after the launch, people’s reactions were extremely negative. Within three months of the New Coke’s release, the company had to reintroduce the original formula and rebrand it as Coca-Cola Classic.

    In 2015 hoverboards turned out to be one of the biggest tech flops. Why? Because they could potentially catch fire and burn your house down.

    Google Glass, launched in 2013, was a very flawed attempt to create smart glasses. The device retailed for $1,500 and failed to carry out any of its intended functions well. These high-tech glasses also reportedly raised some very serious safety and privacy concerns.

    In 2013 Juicero introduced a juicer called the Juicero Press. This device was sold with packets of pre-juiced fruits and vegetables sold exclusively by the company. They were humiliated when consumers realized that the packets could be squeezed by hand just as efficiently as with the juicer. Later, Juicero announced that it was suspending their juicer sales and repurchasing the products from customers.

    In 2017 everyone was talking about this explosive failure – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It lasted less than a year in the market after Samsung had to recall around 2.5million phones, due to complaints of overheating and exploding batteries.

    This energy drink was pulled from shelves in the US because of its suggestive name. The FDA decided that Cocaine was “was illegally marketing the drink as both a street drug alternative and a dietary supplement”. The drink is still sold in Europe under its original name.

    Amazon decided to enter the smartphone market with the Fire Phone in 2014. However, it was very unsuccessful and was discontinued a year later. The company’s CEO Tom Szkutak indicated that the pricing strategy was to blame for this product fail.

    Atari spent $20 million to secure the box office hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial thinking they had found a profitable source for video game development. The company produced 4 million cartridges however 2.5 million were left unsold and were dumped in a landfill

    In 1988 RJ Reynolds Tobacco decided to develop a smokeless cigarette. The company invested $325 million into manufacturing their new Premier line which, according to the CEO of the company “tasted like sh*t”. It’s no surprise people didn’t buy them.

    Orbitz drink which resembles a lava lamp caught consumers attention in 1988. However, according to reviews, its taste wasn’t worth the hype. People began comparing the beverage to cough syrup and the gel balls were only making the taste worse.

    You probably know this car for its appearance in the movie Back to the Future movie. Notable for its gull-wing doors, the car was plagued by performance and safety issues. It was on the market only for three years before production was stopped.

    In 2016 Jimmy Dean introduced a strange combination – sausage links wrapped in chocolate chip pancakes on a stick. The saying “it might be crazy enough to work” did not apply to this product.

    Operating system Windows Vista, released in 2007, turned out to be a huge failure. It flopped due to issues with new security features, performance, driver support and product activation.

    In 2006 Coca-Cola combined Cola with coffee to create Coca-Cola Blak. The drink was shelved a couple years later when people began to complain about the poor taste and excess caffeine.

    In 2002 Pepsi launched their Pepsi Blue drink, to compete with Vanilla Coke. Despite being heavily promoted this new beverage flopped. It was supposed to taste like berries, however, consumers said it tasted more like cotton candy with a berry-like aftertaste.

    In 1989 Pepsi introduced Pepsi A.M. This new formula contained more caffeine than regular Pepsi and was marketed as a morning drink. However, consumers were not fond of the idea of drinking Pepsi for breakfast. As a result, Persi A.M. was discontinued a year later

    In 1989 Bic decided to launch a completely unrelated product to its brand – perfume. People were not impressed. Bic removed the fragrance off shelves the following year, swallowing an estimated $11 million loss.

    In 1999 Cosmopolitan magazine decided to get into the food game. They came up with the idea of Cosmopolitan yogurt. While yogurt itself seemed to appeal to their target demographic, Cosmopolitan was unable to sell their brand. It was discontinued after only 18 months.

    Back in 2003 before everyone was playing games on their smartphones, Nokia decided to combine phones and gaming. The company expected a better reception to their Nokia N-gage, but it ended up being a total fail. This ‘taco phone’, as some people began referring to it, only managed to reach one-third of its 6 million units in sales.

    In 2011 Time magazine listed this game among “Top 10 Donald Trump Failures”. This game was released in 1989 with only 800,000 copies sold out of an expected two million.

    Sony Betamax was released in 1975 and it was a huge mistake because its rivals started selling VHS machines. The Betamax format was crushed in the “videotape format war” by the VHS. Consumers preferred it mainly because VHS recording time was 2 hours, and it allowed most feature films to be recorded without a tape change.

    In 1974 the baby-food giant, Gerber, came up with the idea to create a ‘baby food’ for adults. Gerber believed that there’s a market for ready to eat food in a jar, but oh how wrong they were. Consumers didn’t find jars of meat mush very appetizing and Gerber Singles failed badly.

    Hot Wheels and Barbie computers came with so many manufacturing issues that it drove the company out of business, with thousands of unfilled orders.

    Segway was launched in 2001 with very high expectations. However, this two-wheeled expensive vehicle failed to live up to the hype. It came with a price tag of $5,000 and despite being quite innovative it just wasn’t that appealing or necessary to consumers.

    In 2006 Microsoft came up with the Zune, a product that was supposed to rival the iPod. However, Zune failed to convince consumers that it was on par with the iPod. In 2011 Zune players were discontinued.

    Burger King’s attempt to make french fries a little more healthy backfired.They introduced Satisfries in 2013 as an alternative to regular fried, except with less fat and fewer calories. Consumers weren’t fond of these revamped fries, and Burger Kind had to go back to their original recipe.

    Introduced in 2009, Vio a beverage by The Coca-cola company, failed to win consumer’s hearts. Why? Probably because flavored milk mixed with carbonated water is a very odd and unappealing combination.

    In 1996 McDonald decided to broaden its target demographic by introducing a burger Arch Deluxe. Mustard-mayonnaise sauce was supposed to appeal to adult tastes, however, even a $100 million advertising campaign couldn’t convince grown-ups to eat the burger. The Arch Deluxe was soon discontinued and its marketing campaign now is considered to be one of the most expensive flops of all time.

    Despite being able to offer higher quality video and audio than its rivals, Laserdisc failed to gain traction

    Four Loko used to be an alcoholic beverage combined with caffeine. The drink was the subject of ethical, legal and health concerns. In 2011 FDA declared alcoholic energy drinks a public health concern

    Microsoft introduced a software called Bob in 1995. The Bob was supposed to make windows more user-friendly by transforming the desktop screen into an image of a room to help users find and understand programs better. However, it was a huge unworkable mess and Bob was discontinued a year later.

    Starbucks and Pepsi partnered to make this carbonated coffee-soda. People couldn’t decide whether they liked or hated the drink. Nevertheless, it was discontinued after failing to appeal to a broad audience.

    Back in 1957, Ford Motor Company manufactured a car called the Edsel. The company invested $400 million in the development, manufacturing, and marketing with the belief that Edsel was the “car of the future”. However, once it was unveiled to the public, it failed so badly to appeal to the consumers, that Ford ended up losing $250 million. Edsel was taken off the market in 1960 and became an example…

    Back in 1957, Ford Motor Company manufactured a car called the Edsel. The company invested $400 million in the development, manufacturing, and marketing with the belief that Edsel was the “car of the future”. However, once it was unveiled to the public, it failed so badly to appeal to the consumers, that Ford ended up losing $250 million. Edsel was taken off the market in 1960 and became an example of how not to market a product.

    When Starbucks launched Unicorn Frappuccino it made people freak out of how good it looked on their Instagram feeds. However, the taste didn’t live up to the hype and left many people disappointed.

    Mars Needs Moms was an utter disappointment for Disney. The animated film cost $150 million to produce and probably $50 million more went to marketing. The saddest part is that the movie only made only $6.9 million in its debut at the domestic box office. It is considered the worst flop of 2011.

    In 1996 General Motors introduced EV1 as the first mass-produced electric car. It was a big hit with consumers and environmentalist. However, six years after the release, General Motors recalled the model claiming liability and spare parts problems, making quite a few people angry.

    It is estimated that Apple produced 100,000 units of Pippin console and only 42,000 were sold. As it turns out the console which supposed to be a gaming, web browsing and educational device wasn’t that appealing to the consumers

    In 1995 Nintendo introduced a huge mess called the Virtual Boy which was marketed as the first virtual reality console. In reality, it was far from it. The console actually used a parallax effect to create an illusion of depth. The reviews were mainly negative, and as the sales plummeted Virtual Boy was considered a huge failure.The reviews were mainly negative, and as the sales plummeted Virtual Boy was considered…

    In 1995 Nintendo introduced a huge mess called the Virtual Boy which was marketed as the first virtual reality console. In reality, it was far from it. The console actually used a parallax effect to create an illusion of depth. The reviews were mainly negative, and as the sales plummeted Virtual Boy was considered a huge failure.The reviews were mainly negative, and as the sales plummeted Virtual Boy was considered a huge failure.

    http://www.boredpanda.com/failed-products-innovations-technology/

    Earth has ‘minimoons,’ and they may solve asteroid mysteries

    Earth has a habit of picking up, and later discarding, small companions called “minimoons,” and these tiny objects could help scientists solve the mysteries of asteroids.

    That’s the conclusion of a recent paper, which looked at these minimoons as potential science targets for research over the next couple of decades. Scientists have spotted only one minimoon to date, but they think there are many more that are simply too small for instruments to have identified — some just 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) in diameter.

    “Minimoons can provide interesting science and technology testbeds in near-Earth space,” lead study author Robert Jedicke, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, said in a statement released by the publisher of the new research. “The challenge lies in finding these small objects, despite their close proximity.”

    But that could change soon, thanks to an instrument already being built. Called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), it’s designed to excel at tracking temporary events in the sky. “The LSST is the dream instrument for discovering tiny, fast-moving asteroids, and we expect it will regularly discover temporarily captured objects within the next five years,” Jedicke said.

    So he and his colleagues wanted to start brainstorming what to do with this wealth of observations. In particular, the team suggested that the minimoons could be more accessible targets for spacecraft missions attempting to identify what asteroids are made of.

    “We don’t know whether small asteroids are monolithic blocks of rock, fragile sand piles, or something in between,” co-author Mikael Granvik, a planetary scientist at the Luleå University of Technology, in Sweden, and the University of Helsinki, said in the statement. “Minimoons are perfect targets for bringing back significant chunks of asteroid material, shielded by a spacecraft, which could then be studied in detail back on Earth.”

    The research was described in a paper published May 24 in the journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences.

    Original article on Space.com.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/08/16/earth-has-minimoons-and-may-solve-asteroid-mysteries.html