Amazon to enforce social distancing in warehouses with AI surveillance software 'Distance Assistant'

Amazon says it will deploy an artificial intelligence surveillance system in warehouses that tells workers if they are too close to colleagues, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and workers are placed at risk. Read the rest

Fed-up cobbler fashions extra-long social-distancing shoes

Romanian Cobbler Grigore Lup noticed that people weren't following the rules of social distancing at his local market, so he decided to make long-nosed shoes as a response. His Euro size 75 shoes are specifically designed to keep people apart, "If two people wearing these shoes were facing each other, there would be almost one-and-a-half metres between them."


Lup, who said he adapted the long footwear from a model he made for actors, said he had so far received five orders for social distancing shoes.

It takes him two days to make a pair, which requires almost one square metre of leather. They cost 500 lei ($115) a pair.

Now 55, Lup first started making shoes when he was 16, learning from a cobbler who at 93 today still makes traditional ethnic Hungarian footwear.

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#NouaColectie pentru #DistantareSociala. STOC LIMITAT!!!.. 😀😂🤣 #socialdistancing #quarantine #carantina #pielenaturala #mensfashion #menstyle #stilmasculin . Persoana contact: Grigore Lup (intre orele 9 – 17) Telefon: 0740.046.732 #madebyGrigoreLup #SHOEMAKER #produsromanesc #făcutînromânia . #incaltaminte #incaltamintedinpiele #incaltamintelacomanda #incaltamintecustom #pantofi #pantofilacomanda #pantofibarbati #pantofidistantare #leathershoes #genuineleather #lacomanda #madeinromania #facutinromania #cluj #clujnapoca #grigorelup Fotograf:@dan.bodea

A post shared by Incaltaminte din piele Cluj (@incaltaminte.din.piele) on Jun 6, 2020 at 11:55pm PDT

image via Incaltaminte din piele


Thanks, Mark! Read the rest

Fashion designer's robotic "Proximity Dress" automatically poofs out for physical distancing from the wearer

Experimental fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht—most famous for her Robotic Spider Dress from a few years ago—has now created the Proximity Dress to help with physical distancing during the pandemic. The 3D-printed electromechanical dress poofs out when triggered by proximity and thermal sensors detecting someone getting too close to the wearer. From 3D Printing Media Network:

Each dress extends itself using a robotic 3D printed hip mechanism, built into the dress, and a resin 3D printed transparent collar with integrated sensors. The dress also works as a perfect application case study for 3D printing. The hip mechanisms that are holding the servos to the mechanic hip parts are 3D printed using SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) nylon PA-11 to endure more stresses. The 3D printed transparent collar, which has a more aesthetic use, is 3D printed using an Objet Connex 500 multimaterial polyjet 3D printer and the VeroClear material from Stratasys.

“I haven’t made dresses for myself in a long time,” Anouk posted, “and I got a bit fed up with people in public not considering the current distancing suggestions, so this one I’m keeping…”

Read the rest

Winning "Wear a Mask" PSA is a real love letter to NYC

Earlier this month, New Yorkers were challenged by their governor's office to create a public service announcement to "help communicate why it is so important to wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus." Over 600 submissions were received and were voted on by more than 200,000 people. The winning ad, Bunny Lake Films' "We Love NY" captures just the right vibe: it's positive, inclusive, and very "New York."

Gothamist reports:

While the "We Love NY" PSA by Bunny Lake Films (from directors Celine Danhier and Aliya Naumoff) received the most votes and became the official winner, the state will actually run two ads. "You Can Still Smile" by Blue Slate Films/Natalia Bougadellis came in second, just around 500 votes behind first place.

See a few more of the PSAs here. Read the rest

Southern restaurant fills empty seats with blow-up dolls

Yesterday, we learned that Michelin-starred restaurant The Inn in Washington, DC had seated elegantly-dressed mannequins at their tables to fill the void left by half-capacity restrictions. Turns out, the Open Hearth restaurant in Taylors, South Carolina hit on the same idea but their approach matches the eatery's more casual atmosphere. From UPI:

[Proprietor Paula Starr] Melehes said she ordered "the G-rated kind" of inflatable dolls from Amazon, dressed them up like customers and seated them at tables that would be off-limits to diners.

"My grandson told me they look kind of creepy," Melehes said. "But, I think, when people walk in, they're going to laugh."

Read the rest

Honk your horns in the air and wave your glow sticks like you just don't care -- it's a German car rave

You've likely heard of neighborhood car parades, drive-in concerts, and the drive-through strip club. Now, you can add the drive-in rave to the list of creative and kind of unsettling and sad pandemic entertainment solutions.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

In quarantine, Thomas Dolby's kids turn dad's hit "Europa..." into "Corona..."

A couple of days ago, Thomas Dolby posted this video to Twitter and YouTube of a track called "Corona and the Pirate Twins," a spoof of his 1982 hit, "Europa and the Pirate Twins." The song is credited to Dolby Kids. Thomas included the following note:

"This is what my mischievous offspring have been getting up to during the Lockdown."

Here is the original video for "Europa..."

Bonus track:

And here is Thomas Dolby doing a touching home solo version of his achingly beautiful "Screen Kiss" from 1984's Flat Earth. He did it as a tribute to Matthew Seligman, the celebrated bassist who recently died of COVID-19. Seligman played bass on Dolby's recordings, including Flat Earth, and also played for Bowie, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Murphy, and countless others. He was also a member of the Soft Boys.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Restaurant deals with the rona by putting each table inside its own 'quarantine greenhouse'

During this awkward stage of the pandemic where some businesses are starting to reopen but no one knows how safe that really is, here's a restaurant in Amsterdam experimenting with a trial model. Mediamatic ETEN, a vegan restaurant, has added small greenhouses so that diners can eat while safely (supposedly) social distancing. The staff, who wear face guards, bring the food on long boards so that they don't have to enter the greenhouse while serving food and drinks. In this trial stage they are only inviting staff friends and family to dine, and all of their bookings are sold out.

Via CNN Read the rest

Man arrested on felony charges for pushing Texas park ranger into a lake

The gentleman in the mug shot above seems to be pleased with himself for allegedly pushing a Texas park ranger into a lake. Brandon Hicks, 25, was booked with on felony charge of attempted assault on a public servant and for destroying a park service radio, reports New York Post.

As shown on a video posted to Twitter, the park ranger can be seen standing at the edge of a pond explaining the social distancing rules for park visitors. As he's talking, a man suspected to be Brandon Hicks runs up to the ranger and pushes him in the water. Both the ranger and the assaulter fall into the water. The assaulter climbs out of the pond and runs away.

From KXAN:

“Brandon’s intentional and reckless action could have caused the Ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling, and render himself unconscious in at least 3 feet of water where he could have drowned to death,” the [arrest] affidavit said.

The person who took the cell phone video of the incident said they were glad the person got in trouble for pushing the park ranger.

“The park ranger was actually being really sweet and understanding before,” they said.

On March 16, 2020, a gentleman named Brandon Hicks, who looks remarkably like the Brandon Hicks accused of pushing the park ranger into the pond, was arrested on charges of public intoxication:

Read the rest

United Nations app to help socially distance for coronavirus 'does not work'

The United Nations announced its app 1point5 to help people social distance this week.

Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox took a close look at the app, and found that “doesn’t perform the most basic of tasks.” Read the rest

The social distancing of Wes Anderson

For anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a Wes Anderson film, social distancing goes a long way toward making that a reality. Luís Azevedo edited this montage from Anderson's movies. Read the rest

California city turns 74 miles of streets car-free to allow residents more space to social distance

My friend Matt Dibble works for Voice of America and put together this little report about some streets in Oakland neighborhoods being designated as "soft streets." Through-traffic is not allowed and resident drivers using are warned that their neighbors may be out playing in the streets.

I suspect we will see many more creative solutions like this as we move into the next phase of living with COVID-19 and figuring ways to be out of the house while maintaining social distance.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Land and sea creatures at Texas State Aquarium keep each other entertained

As the line goes "you don't know what you've got til it's gone." The land and sea critters at the Texas State Aquarium were wondering where all of the loud and annoying 2-leggeds went. Figuring they might be missing the limelight, the staff decided to let the sea animals meet some of the land animals.

The dolphins seemed to find Chico the sloth particularly amusing. Something tells me Chico may not have been super-excited to meet the inhabitants of the shark tank.

Read more and see a video of Chico touring the aquarium on Bored Panda.

The also let puppies from a local humane society have a day at the aquarium.

Image: Screengrab Read the rest

Here are the unambiguous rules for what to do in this pandemic

As Bruce Sterling says, "Impressive accuracy by whoever that is."

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash Read the rest

Why "reopening" the economy won't save the economy

A large majority of people surveyed say they are concerned that restrictions on social distancing will be lifted too soon. Even before cities and states issued stay at home orders, people were avoiding restaurants and other crowded places, according to Matthew Iglesias of Vox. There's no reason to think that "reopening" the economy is certainly going to make people think it's OK to mingle in crowds again.

This week, governors in states like Florida and Georgia are moving to reopen bowling alleys, nail salons, and dine-in restaurants in an effort to get economic life moving again. And an organized campaign by conservative economic interests is underway to lift restrictions faster in more places.

This will be an experiment, of course, but the best available evidence casts doubt on the idea that enough customers will return to make it possible for small businesses to stay viable without additional government assistance.

For example, we know customers began abandoning America’s restaurants before they were ordered closed, that the handful of states that have avoided broad lockdown orders are still feeling economic pain, and that huge swaths of the economy that have not been shut down are nonetheless experiencing a precipitous decline in sales.

It's also hard to imagine that a lot of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are going to get them back if the economy is "reopened." And it's unlikely people are going to get on planes, take vacations, stay in hotels, or buy cars and other expensive items. Read the rest

This gender reveal could benefit from some social distancing

Watching gender reveal videos makes me feel like a Darwinian super villain. Natural selection is real, and it has made its stance on self-important gender obsession very clear.

And if you're going to be an asshole gender-obsessed parent-to-be, at least keep 6 feet apart, for everyone's sake.

Read the rest

Crowd-sourced film 'A Social Distance' shows life in lockdown from people around the globe

Folks from countries most impacted by COVID-19 filmed themselves in isolation for this touching three-minute short. Ivan Cash and Jacob Jonas directed A Social Distance:

Spanning more than 30 countries, the film includes a breadth of perspectives, from a 93-year old Malayan grandmother to a 19-year old Slovenian man, and includes an original score that was remotely performed by musicians from around the world.

Thanks, Julian! Read the rest

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