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It's Friday and I'm waaaaay behind schedule on my second "monthly" newsletter but here goes nothing. In case you were wondering what the picture above is all about, it's something called a Fidget Cube. It is shaped like a die, but larger, with several buttons and contraptions. The inventors claim that this desk-toy will help you deal with your fidgeting, be less annoying to your work colleagues and increase productivity. Are you sold on that? Well, Fidget Cube is on Kickstarter and guess what? It's been backed by over 140k people, with a sum of money nearly 400 times the initial pledge amount of $15000. I'd order this as well if only international shipping to India wasn't a dicey deal. Fuck you, Indian customs. You can watch their promo video at this Kickstarter link. For what it's worth, it's certainly better than owning a Pet Rock

Who needs VR when you can lucid dream?!

Here's another (more outrageous) Kickstarter project called iBand+. The device is a headband which monitors your brainwaves and detects your eyelid movements. It then in turn induces lucid dreams via audio/visual cues. If you watch the video linked here, you might be a little skeptical like I am. The claims seem astounding because, well, I have never had lucid dreams. While I'm not thoroughly well versed with the benefits (or myths) of lucid dreaming but one can only imagine the power it can unlock if even half the things what the video claims are to be true. Who needs virtual reality when you can lucid dream without any constraints? This project too, has been successfully backed by at least 9 times its initial pledge amount of €50,000 and there are still 13 more days to go. Outrageous or not, I can't help but feel we're inching towards a sci-fi future with devices such as these. iBand+ will be shipped by June 2017 and its success/failure can only be gauged then. So, keep your eyes peeled for any news on this. Heh.

Airbnb & Rio 2016.

I really appreciate companies who blog about their design philosophies, engineering, analytics, industry trends, what have you. It not only is good PR but it also gives you a good insight on the culture of the company. Airbnb is one of the few companies who do it really well. The engineering team at Airbnb maintain a Medium account where they post articles on machine learning, security, payments, data science and more. One such article which caught my attention was on the Rio 2016 Olympics. Airbnb captured data on how its platform was used by world travelers who made it to Rio. It's a short infographic on search trends leading up to the Olympics, countries making last-minute bookings, top neighbourhoods and top countries searching on mobile. Some of the results are surprising and interesting. Check out the full infographic here

3D Print Guy.

As the name suggests, it's about a guy who 3D-prints things. Unless you're living under a rock, you'd know how mainstream 3D printing has become in the past few years. While 3D printers are becoming more affordable, the jury is still out on the 3D printing material. I'm sure with time, there will be more economical options. Anyway, 3D Print Guy has a fairly popular YouTube channel where he showcases his 3D prints of animated characters from Rick & Morty, League of Legends and other franchises. You'll be amazed by the amount of detailing that goes into each print. You can follow this anonymous 3D Print Guy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram


Music recommendation time! Over the past month and a half since the last newsletter, I feel I have consumed an inordinate amount of new music. While I'll be talking about only a few releases right now, I'm slowly narrowing down on my top ten metal albums of 2016. I've been making annual lists since 2014, so watch out for one later this year (that is if you dig heavy music). Anyway, on to this newsletter's pan-genre music recommendations:

Horseback - Dead Ringers
Genre: Ambient / Psychedelic Rock / Drone
This album is probably one of my favorite background scores when I'm reading or doing mundane house chores. Horseback is a one-man band who blends the aforementioned genres really well while creating a hypnotic atmosphere. Also, do keep an ear out for some tasty sitar-esque solos. Full album stream right here
Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Genre: Indie Folk
While I'm not a big Bon Iver fan, it is tough to ignore the hype his latest album has generated. Bon Iver's new songs have progressed into the electronic realm of things. If you can get past Justin's auto-tuned vocals and the oddly written song titles, you'll find something very pleasant in '22, A Million'. Stream three tracks here.
Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
Genre: Heavy Metal
ICYMI, Metallica's new album comes out this November. I was on the fence when I heard the first song ('Hardwired') that was released. It showed signs of a band lacking new ideas. However, when the next song, 'Moth Into Flame', was released, I felt I could get behind that; Maybe because expectations had been set so low but also I felt it had a melodic 'Ride The Lightning' sound, the band's "good" thrash era. Stream 'Moth Into Flame' here.
Mare Cognitum - Luminiferous Aether
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Mare Cognitum is the brainchild of Jacob Buczarski, who has been unrelenting with his project's releases year after year. This latest album carries on in the same vein - dripping in cosmic themes, lots of tremolo-picked riffery and creating that warm characteristic black metal atmosphere. This will probably top my year-end metal album list. Check out the full album stream here
Tycho - Epoch
Genre: Electronica / Ambient
'Epoch' can be best described as an experimental electronic album. The songs are laced with lovely melodies, odd tempo changes and breathtaking soundscapes. At times, you may feel a song has a conventional 120 BPM beat but before you know it, Tycho will surprise you. The tracks also have a very positive and upbeat vibe to them. It's worth checking out even if you aren't into electronic music. Full album stream here.
I find it challenging to showcase my music recommendations to a wide audience, so any feedback or requests on specific genres/styles would be great. Also, if you have any thoughts on the other sections of this newsletter, hit that reply button right now! 

On a personal note, I have made travel plans to Pondicherry and Shillong in the coming month. If all goes well, I should be able to film or photograph something worthy of sharing. *fingers crossed*

Until, the next newsletter.

Missed the earlier newsletters? Check out the archive here.

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Vincent's Personal Website · Indiranagar · Bangalore 560043 · India

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