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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Coolest place to work in the world: The office that is just like a giant playground



Just like a real life Willy Wonka factory this office could be the coolest place in the world to work.

With work spaces decorated with swirly lollipops, giant cupcakes, a treehouse, boot houses and even a flowing waterfall concealing a secret office, Inventionland has been designed to get big minds thinking.

The bizarre workspace in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is home to Davison, a product-development company whose inventions are sold in Wal-Mart, Target, FAO Schwartz, J.C. Penney and many other major brands.

Hull of an office: Workers use the deck of this ship while tackling projects

Hull of an office: Workers use the deck of this ship while tackling projects

Ship shape: Working life is plain sailing at Inventionland

Ship shape: Working life is plain sailing at Inventionland

Master inventor George M. Davison, the founder and CEO of Davison, has been described as the Henry Ford of inventions and after founding his company in 1989, moved his staff in 2006 to Inventionland hoping his staff would be inspired by their wacky surroundings.

    The company launches over 2,500 inventions each year. All are produced by its 250 staff working in the colourful 75,000 sq. feet seen in these pictures.

    ‘Creative use of space motivates and inspires creativity among employees,’ said Davison. ‘And I never want to get stale or to get bored looking at a computer screen.

    Wacky: Davison does have something of a chequered history

    Wacky: Davison does have something of a chequered history

    Barking: One of the offices can be found in a treehouse

    Barking: One of the offices can be found in a treehouse

    Water great place: This lagoon area is another way that the workers are kept in a creative frame of mind

    Water great place: This lagoon area is another way that the workers are kept in a creative frame of mind

    ‘Everyone gets ideas. But to say you're an inventor sounds like a narrow concept, as if you only dabble in chemistry sets.

    ‘Everyone has a creative side, and that's what I'm interested in, the creative arts.

    ‘Designers and dreamers here at Davison come up with 200-240 prototypes for new products each month, and we see approximately 3,000 to market each year.

    ‘Whether it's a one-room home office or an office park to rival the largest industries, finding the most creative way to structure space is fun and productive.’

    Want a job there? It'd probably be a shoe-in...

    Want a job there? It'd probably be a shoe-in...

    New solution can help 'permanently get rid of germs'


    The solution does not wash away even after multiple hot laundry cycles, according to its inventor Dr Jason Locklin.

    A new anti-microbial treatment that can make clothing - including smelly socks - permanently germ-free has been developed by US scientists.

    The spray-on solution can be applied to existing garments, according to the team from the University of Georgia.

    It is designed to offer low cost protection for healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.

    Chemical impregnated materials already exist, but have to be added during the manufacturing process.

    The new solution can be applied to natural and synthetic textiles including clothes, home carpets, shoes and even plastics.

    In a paper published in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, Dr Jason Locklin and his colleagues state that the treatment kills a wide range of dangerous pathogens, including staph, strep, E. coli, pseudomonas and acetinobacter.

    Jason Locklin
    The inventor (centre) says the product can be useful in the medical field

    Many of these can cause disease, break down fabrics, create stains and produce odours.

    When the scientists tested the product, they found that a single application was enough to stop all further bacterial growth at up to 37 degrees Celsius.

    And the solution did not degrade even after multiple hot water laundry cycles.

    Medical field

    Although it could potentially be used in a number of fields, its primary application is expected to be in healthcare.

    Start Quote

    Similar technologies are limited by cost of materials, use of noxious chemicals in the application or loss of effectiveness after a few washings”

    End Quote Gennaro Gama University of Georgia

    According to the US federal agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 20 hospitalised patients contracts a healthcare-associated infection.

    Lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens are all known to be breeding grounds for harmful microbes.

    "The spread of pathogens on textiles and plastics is a growing concern, especially in healthcare facilities and hotels, which are ideal environments for the proliferation and spread of very harmful micro-organisms," said Dr Locklin.

    People are also trying to get rid of dangerous microbes at home, especially when it comes to food packaging, plastic furniture and their children's bath toys.

    But not all anti-bacterial products are cheap or effective.

    "Similar technologies are limited by cost of materials, use of noxious chemicals in the application or loss of effectiveness after a few washings," said Gennaro Gama from the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF).

    "Locklin's technology uses ingeniously simple, inexpensive and scalable chemistry."

    Summer Bikini Smackdown Round One: 5 vs. 12 Seeds

    by Brett Smiley


    There's no better excuse than summer to have a 64-babe, single-elimination bikini bracket. We'll be rolling out the match-ups for the entire month of July. Voting on Round One contests will remain open until Sunday, July 10 at 10 p.m. ET.


    (5) Brunette bombshell Eliza Dushku vs. (12) Olive-skinned Eva Mendes

    Summer Bikini Smackdown Round One: Hollywood Region

    The Studio

    (5) Hip-hop princess Rihanna vs. (12) "That 70s" babe Laura Prepon

    Summer Bikini Smackdown Round One: The Studio Region



    (5) Former Victoria's Secret Angel Gisele Bündchen vs. (12) Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria

    Summer Bikini Smackdown Round One: Classics Region


    (5) Model and professional girlfriend Amber Rose vs. (12) Legally challenged Lindsay Lohan

    Summer Bikini Smackdown Round One: Reality Region



    Introducing Clutch's 64 Babe Summer Bikini Smackdown Bracket

    Dell Sets Stage to Take On Apple's iCloud


    With a new release of its Stage software, Dell has quietly created a cloud-based service offering that could offer consumers a compelling reason to keep investing in Dell devices.

    The new release, which began shipping last week, allows users who snap a picture with a Dell Streak or other Dell mobile device to automatically upload it to a pool of free, shared cloud storage. The new software also allows devices to remotely control and play back shared audio and video, plus other services.

    For consumers, Dell's Stage release is probably more important than the new "More You" ads that began playing this week. One of the results that emerged as Dell began the market research behind the "More You" campaign is that customers, unsurprisingly, have begun to use PCs and mobile devices to store their digital memories.

    "We asked them, what is so important about that computer... and whether [the respondent] was Chinese, Japanese, or Indian, ultimately it was because 'my life is on that thing,'" said Paul-Henri Ferrand, the chief marketing officer of Dell's global consumer business and SMB, and also president of Dell's Asia-Pacific/Japan business.

    Stage is an attempt to take that digital content and allow users to control and manage it effortlessly, said Tim Peters, a vice president responsible for platform strategy within Dell. Within the PC, it cuts across Dell's XPS, Inspiron, and Alienware brands, and can be controlled from Dell's mobile devices. "It's a critical part of the Dell experience," Peters said.

    What's new: remote cloud storage, photo uploads, and more

    The Stage software, which Dell began shipping last year, appears as a set of square tiles on a user's PC, with various categories like "Books," "Photos," and "Apps". The new release makes each tile 3D, versus the two-dimensional images that appeared in the older version of Stage.

    Any time a user snaps a digital photo with a Stage-enabled device, the new Stage software automatically uploads it to a free 2-Gbyte pool of storage. (Any content can be stored there, according to a Dell spokesman, including movies, pictures, and music.) Users can purchase additional capacity, including 5 Gbytes for $19.99/year, 25 Gbytes for $49.99/yr, and 100 Gbytes for $149.99/yr.

    Automatic photo uploads is a feature reserved for just a few services at this point, among them Google's Google's latest Google+. Storing music in the cloud has also been the domain of other services, most notably Apple's iCloud.

    Audio and video can be remotely controlled via Stage devices, Dell executives said. Dell has also added support for podcasts; an integrated Noisey application, which showcases music from all over the world; and an enhanced Napster home page.

    Dell began life as a hyper-efficient box builder, known for its "just in time" strategy of managing inventory efficiently than anything else. If buyers wanted the latest Intel microprocessor, they bought it from Dell. Years later, however, leadership in the PC space has evolved into a competition whose products are differentiated using design, services, and price as metrics. Ferrand described his business as a "brand war," where Dell is aspiring to become something like an Audi of the PC world, where the quality of its fit and finish is complemented by a faith in its superior engineering.

    "With Stage, we're building to the experiences of people, rather than building to specs," Ferrand said.

    For more from Mark, follow him on Twitter @MarkHachman.

    Spotify Coming to the US, Get Invited


    Today the music streaming application Spotify announced that it will be available to U.S. users soon.

    When Spotify launched their first beta in the fall of 2008, we branded it “an alternative to music piracy.”

    Having the option to stream millions of tracks supported by an occasional ad, or free of ads for a small monthly fee, Spotify appeared to be serious competitor to music piracy.

    In the two years that followed Spotify rapidly won the hearts and minds of many music fans, but the more than 10 million users come from a few European countries only.

    This is about to change according to Spotify.

    If you’re from the U.S. and interested in giving Spotify a try, get in line now.

    Spotify Coming to the US


    Movie Geeks Mobilize to Save the Iconic Bottle Rocket Motel


    When fans of Wes Anderson’s 1996 debut feature Bottle Rocket heard that the iconic motel used in the film was in danger of going under, they sprung into action to save it. So this July 9, devotees will gather en masse in Hillsboro, Texas for the ultimate event, hosted by the Alamo Drafthouse: a special screening of Bottle Rocket, with co-star Robert Musgrave in attendance, held at the very same motel off of I-5 where aimless crooks Dignan, Anthony, and Bob hide out in the film.

    Rooms at the motel (now a Days Inn suffering from poor sales and greater competition) are on sale for now, though tickets are currently sold out for the screening. It’s the rare chance to celebrate a film while staying at the very same location where it was filmed, and could become a recurring event. And if you can’t make it to Hillsboro for the big day, Mondo enlisted artist Rich Kelly to design these limited edition posters, the sales of which will partially go to support the cause.


    [via Reservoir Geeks, Alamo Drafthouse]

    The New Thundercats: Watch 9 Minutes of Purrfect Leaked Footage

    There's a good chance this will be pulled down by the powers that be pretty soon, so enjoy it while it lasts. More than nine minutes of footage from Cartoon Network's Thundercats reboot has made its way online, our first lengthy look at the new version of one of the best afterschool cartoons of the late 1980s. (Video via MovieWeb.)

    The video doesn't appear to be the first nine minutes, but rather 604 seconds' worth of chunks from the first episode(s). But who's worried about following story right now? We just want to take a look at the revamped 'Cats (WilyKat and WilyKit look even more adorable!), critique the animation (works for me), and get a sense of the new tone (belching and awkward teen voice-cracking? Check x 2!).

    The Cartoon Network version is set before the events of the original series, when the planet Thundera was still unexploded and Cheetara was hot enough to wear a two-piece, midriff-exposing hottie outfit instead of a relatively modest, already-had-three-kittens one-piece. If she'd looked like this during my teen years, I'd probably be a Furrie right now. But the recipient of the biggest change may be Snarf, who's gone from looking like someone out of the 1977 The Hobbit movie to something much more suitable for including in a Happy Meal (he appears at the end of the first promo that concludes the video).

    All in all, though, the reboot it looks like a pretty sweet update that stays true to the spirit of the original.

    ThunderCats premieres on Cartoon Network on July 29, 2011.

    Catle & mansion Hotels

    Get away for a weekend, and live like a King

    Castle Hill Resort - Ludlow, VT

    Castle Hill Resort and Spa

    Cavendish, VT - More Details

    Royal Treatment

    Magic in the Green Mountains, near Okemo ski trails. Each room is a unique escape of period pieces, hardwood floors, carved ceilings and Tiffany lamps. Rejuvenate with the heated outdoor pool, yoga and pilates classes and tennis courts in this quaint, antique-happy land.

    Price Tag

    $225+ per night

    Glen Cove Mansion - Glen Cove, NY

    Glen Cove Mansion

    Glen Cove, NY - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Once called "The Manor," the 1910 estate is part of Long Island's illustrious Gold Coast, lined with the English country houses and gothic Tudors of the wealthy. "North by Northwest" and "Sabrina" were filmed at the inn, now endowed with bourgeois pools and multitudinous sports courts.

    Price Tag

    $159-$399 per night

    Mansion on Forsyth Park - Savannah, GA

    Mansion on Forsyth Park

    Savannah, GA - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Play Savannah socialite in this restored Victorian in the heart of the Historic District. Gush over 400 pieces of original artwork, luxuriate at Poseidon Spa, stroll lush, legendary streets. Perfect your mise en place with chef-led classes at the Mansion's glowy-gorgeous 700 Drayton (left).

    Price Tag

    $199-$389 per night

    Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek - Dallas, TX

    Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

    Dallas, TX - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Originally built by a cotton magnate in 1925, this 16th-century Italian Renaissance mansion-turned-hotel oozes ritzy with hand-painted Chinese silk wallpaper, hand-carved fireplaces and stained glass windows. Luminaries the likes of FDR and Tennessee Williams have basked here.

    Price Tag:

    $300-$1,000 per night

    Oheka Castle Hotel and Estate - Huntington, NY

    Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate

    Huntington, NY - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Financier/philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn built this French chateau in the '20s for $11 million ($110 million today!) Once Kahn's summer pad, it became a retreat for sanitation workers, then a military academy. Now it's a hotel resplendent with library and gardens. Day tours available.

    Price Tag

    $395-$1,095 per night

    The Cloister at Sea Island - Simons Island, GA

    The Cloister at Sea Island

    Simons Island, GA - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    You can imagine Rockefeller himself pulling up to this secluded retreat along the Georgia coast. "Basic" accommodations here start with 700-sq. ft. rooms with river views all the way up to suites and villas with fireplaces and their own libraries.

    Price Tag

    $349+ per night

    Manor on Golden Pond - Holderness, NH

    Manor on Golden Pond

    Holderness, NH - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Indeed, it is that "On Golden Pond." The manor, originally the dream home of a debutante and a wealthy Englishman, looks over Squam Lake, where the Oscar-winning "On Golden Pond" was filmed. Most rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and sweeping vista views.

    Price Tag

    $220-$540 per night

    Castle on the Hudson - Tarrytown, NY

    Castle on the Hudson

    Tarrytown, NY - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Carrollcliffe was its first name, built from 1897-1910 just outside of Manhattan. Much of the castle's original woodwork and furnishings remain, and a cave-like bar is made of stone quarried on site. Fireplaces, shadowy alcoves, and bocce by the waterfall make this a place out of time.

    Price Tag

    $220-$650 per night

    Wentworth Mansion - Charleston, SC

    Wentworth Mansion

    Charleston, SC - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Not much has changed since Wentworth house debuted in the 1800s in Second Empire style. The mansard roof tops crystal chandeliers, marble mantels and Tiffany stained glass windows. Pore over tomes in the library, swirl cordials in the parlor ... if you can abandon the Grand Suite (left).

    Price Tag

    $279-$750 per night

    Blantyre - Lenox, MA


    Lenox, MA - More Details

    The Royal Treatment

    Dare we say the Queen Mum herself would approve. Built as a family getaway in 1901, the English manor exudes regal posh, with leaded glass windows and in-room fireplaces. Idle like aristocracy playing bocce, snow-shoeing across the 117 acres, or delighting in a jolly sleigh ride.

    Price Tag

    $675-$2,000 per night

    Villa By Barton G - Miami Beach, FL

    The Villa By Barton G

    Miami Beach, FL - More Details

    Fab Factor

    Live like a lavish mogul at late designer Gianni Versace's 19,000-square-foot estate. Ornate floors of Italian marble, the outrageously opulent Thousand Mosaic Pool, a rooftop lounge where you can thank your lucky stars ... They've even got Kindle e-readers for you.

    Price Tag

    $795-$1,950 per night