POP-UP SHOPS: Need a real live shop for your startup business for one day to do market testing, promotional event, or sell merchandise? Welcome to the next stage of evolution after mobile food trucks. The “Clicks to Bricks” business model is innovative in a way, and that’s because you can now start a company on the Internet, and there’s this intermediate step between a brick-and-mortar where you pop up and have this tactile, real experience
Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that spring up in unused premises. Leases can last as short as a single day, when brands use the spaces for a promotional event instead of testing out a market.
The pop-up concept is proliferating in trendy, high-foot-traffic neighborhoods like SoHo. As long as you can change it back, you can do whatever you want with the space, says OpenHouse, a company that owns storefronts in the always fashion-forward SoHo neighborhood in New York.
Today, an old subway stop in SoHo is a place to get designer pants at 40% off. On other days, it’s a test kitchen and bar. Next week, it might host a press event. The one thing this place doesn’t do is anything permanent.
Customers can get a tactile experience trying on glasses at Warby Parker’s shop in New York City. (NPR)
NOTO LANGUAGE: Google is working on a font that aims to include “all the world’s languages” — every written language on Earth. “Tofu” is what the pros call those tiny, empty rectangles that show up when a script isn’t supported. This is where Google’s new font family, “Noto,” gets its name: “No Tofu.”
Right now, Noto includes a wide breadth of language scripts from all around the world — specifically, 100 scripts with 100,000 characters. That includes over 600 written languages.
This month, Google & Adobe has released a new set of Chinese-Japanese-Korean fonts — the latest in their effort to make the Internet more inclusive.
Even when more widely-spoken languages are supported, their scripts may not accurately reflect the culture within which they’re used. Urdu is one example. Nastaliq Urdu — ornate and calligraphic with distinctive hanging characters — is not supported
Google’s Noto font as it displays for Devanagari script, used to write Hindi. (Google)
KILLER WINE BY THE MAFIA: 18 miles off Tuscany’s coast, Gorgona is Italy’s last island prison – where its inmates serving 30-year sentences for murders and serious crimes make the region’s best wines.
“In other prisons I was locked up for 22 hours a day in a cell 2-by-3 yards wide. Here I’m outdoors from morning to night.” Prinzi, who’s 43, is serving a 25-year sentence for murder.
Gorgona Prison director Carlo Mazzerbo is a staunch environmentalist who says Gorgona is an ideal place to discuss issues such as organic farming, vegetarianism and animal rights. He believes inmates should be encouraged to take part in the dialogue.
Wine writers chatter and mingle with prison guards and inmates as long-stemmed glasses are filled with an amber-colored liquid. Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi is hosting a wine-tasting under a pergola on a terrace overlooking the sea.
Frescobaldi has signed a 15-year winemaking agreement with Gorgona. And he says he’s willing to hire some of these workers once they’re released.
Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi (right), of the winemaking dynasty, talks with prisoners Brian Baldissin (left) and Francesco Papa at his vineyard on Gorgona island (NPR)
CAMERA CUISINE: A side effect of the digital age in food photography, camera cuisine is any dish that was inspired by a picture or aspires to be one. “It’s become a visual medium. We’re eating with our eyes first.” Digital food photography is a cheap marketing tool as well. A snapshot of a new dish uploaded last night can cause a bump in reservations this afternoon.
SPEAKING IN A DEAD DIALECT: Growing up, I could feel the language of my parents wither and die like autumn leaves. They had immigrated to the United States from Calabria in the late 1950s and continued to speak the dialect of their poor southern Italian region, but it was a tongue frozen in time by exile and filled with words that no longer existed in their homeland.
He had only Calabrian words for the plants, procedures and tools. Each of his children had attained some form of higher education and, with it, freedom from the strife and poverty that had chased him from Italy. We now found his background primitive and remote.
I had so much to tell him but no way to say it, a reflection of our relationship during his lifetime. Without his words, I was losing a way to describe the world. Memories suddenly mattered more than ever before, and I didn’t know if I could find the language to keep them alive. Perhaps this Calabrian I now speak with my father is the truly dead dialect, the language that neither changes nor translates.
Social Media Dating (Lou Beach)
SOCIAL MEDIA DATING: 15% had used social media to ask someone out on a date. “Getting to know someone through social media could be much more appealing than using traditional dating sites because it was possible to get a more realistic impression of a person. While profiles on dating sites are often carefully contrived, people tend to let more of their individuality and personalities come through casual interactions on Twitter and Instagram.”
100 ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD WAR I: The war destroyed kings, kaisers, czars and sultans; it demolished empires; it introduced chemical weapons, tanks and airborne bombing; it brought millions of women into the work force, hastening their legal right to vote. It gave independence to nations like Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries and created new nations in the Middle East with often arbitrary borders; it brought about major cultural changes, including a new understanding of the psychology of war, of “shell shock” and post-traumatic stress.
Europe Before Word War I (NYTIMES)
1964 PICTUREPHONE: In 1964, from a booth set up in Grand Central Terminal, a person could talk to a friend in Chicago or Washington while also seeing them on a small video screen. The friend would also have to go to a special booth in those cities to take the call. The price for the novelty of a three-minute call was $16. That would be equivalent to $121 in today’s money.
In New York on Dec. 21, 1965, Keum Ja Kim, 15, a soloist with the World Vision Orphan Choir, used the Picturephone to audition for Robert Merrill, a star with the Metropolitan Opera, who was in Washington to sing at the White House. (Bettmann/Corbis)