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Help Save More Out Of Print Sci-Fi Like This

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You might recall a few years ago when we talked about a beyond genius idea that the organization Singularity & Co. had where they started up a Kickstarter campaign to help save science fiction, in a sense, by bringing out-of-print books back into circulation, among other things. The success that campaign brought has inspired Singularity (not that one) to try it all over again. So if you missed out the first time, you have no excuses now.

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It’s Hip To Be Square—If You’re This New Water Bottle

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squareSince GFR first covered the Coolest Cooler, the invention that won Kickstarter, as well as an environmentally friendly water bottle redesign, it makes sense that we round out the trifecta with another cool crowd funded idea: the square water bottle.

Sure, it looks cool, but what’s wrong with the conventional round shape of a water bottle? If you’re wondering that, you’ve probably never brought a bottle of water on an airplane (purchased or filled up in the airport, rather than brought through security, of course). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my water bottle because I left it in my bag and it rolled out, disappearing under the feet of the folks behind me. The square design solves that problem. If they’d only invent square chapstick for the same reason, I’d be seriously impressed and delighted. And in case you’re wondering, the square design doesn’t impede shoving the water bottle into a cup holder.

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Smart Deodorant—Because We Can’t Be Trusted With Our Own Hygiene

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clickstickSeriously, when will the smart trend end? Pretty soon we’ll have smart forks to help us eat…oh wait. Okay, so pretty soon someone will come up with a smart bra…no, that won’t work either. Damn. Well, if there’s anything out that there hasn’t been turned into a smart gadget, your time is coming. Proof? We now have smart deodorant.

I’ve always really struggled with deodorant. That twisting you have to do to get the deodorant stick up over the plastic container, the remembering to put it on every day. It’s been on the top of my list of concerns for a while, and finally, someone’s figured out a way to simplify the process. Meet the ClickStick, an eco-friendly deodorant with a “magic button.” Hey, it was designed by a couple of aerospace engineering grad students at Princeton — this is rocket science deodorant!

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Clarkesworld Kickstarter Aims To Translate And Publish Chinese Sci-Fi

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clarkesworldHow much science fiction have you seen or read that comes from places outside of North America or Britain? Well, there’s other European sci-fi such as Karel Capek, who gave us the word “robot” in his play RUR. There’s Stanislaw Lem from Poland. There’s a glut of Australian and Kiwi sci-fi writers, and Russia seems to be covered too (Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We inspired some of the ideas in Brave New World). But apparently, science fiction is skyrocketing (no pun intended) in China. It makes perfect sense given the influence technology has on China’s culture. What surprises me, though, is that I can’t think of a single work of science fiction by a Chinese author — in fact, it seems I haven’t read any. For someone who reads, writes about, and teaches sci-fi, this seems like a major oversight. The editors of ClarkesWorld magazine agree, which is why they’ve launched a Kickstarter to raise money to translate and publish them.

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Kickstart This 3D-Printed Electric Skateboard

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skateboardsWhat’s lightweight, fast, and 3-D printed in a variety of bubblegum colors? Your next skateboard. That is, provided the Kickstarter is a success.

“Electric Bubblegum” is the name of this electric skateboard that can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour (at least, the engine can keep up that pace for about 10 miles, but who skateboards farther than that?) It’s pretty small for a board — 27 inches long, and just over 12 pounds. Freelance inventor and skateboarding enthusiast Andrew James came up with the idea, especially after using an electric skateboard to get around his home base of Atlanta. His transportation system generated enough comments and interest among passersby that he decided to create his own model.

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The Best Cooler Ever Breaks Kickstarter Record

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coolestIt seems that everyone and everything these days has a Kickstarter. Some are awesome and some aren’t, some are super practical and others completely esoteric. Yet these distinctions don’t always determine which projects steal the hearts of the public (and the investors) and get funded. We can learn a little bit about crowdfunding campaigns and about what moves the masses by looking at the new king of Kickstarter: the Coolest Cooler.

Yep, a cooler. Surprised? Me too. It’s less of an invention and more of a DIY combination of existing inventions. This cooler has more features than a Ferrari: a Bluetooth-powered speaker, USB port, wheels that can handle the beach, a blender, a bottle opener, LEDs, and a divided internal compartment that holds up to 60 quarts of beer. It manages to be both practical and luxurious, and folks pledged more money than they did for the Veronica Mars movie, Reading Rainbow, and the previous Kickstarter champ, the Pebble smart watch. Those three projects are the types of projects I’d expect to see make history at Kickstarter. Veronica Mars has a huge fan following and had generated movie-related buzz for years, Reading Rainbow has LeVar Burton and the power of nostalgia, and Pebble features cutting-edge smart technology. But the Coolest reigns supreme.