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Jordyn Taylor

Kickstart It

This Terrible-Looking ‘Air Umbrella’ Just Blew Through Its Kickstarter Goal

Air umbrella. (Kickstarter)

The Internet was abuzz yesterday with news of the Kickstarter campaign to create a bizarre “air umbrella,” a gadget that promises to ward raindrops away from your face by powerfully blowing out air in all directions.

While the prospects of the futuristic umbrella reaching its $10,000 funding goal weren’t looking so hot yesterday, a glance at the campaign page this afternoon revealed the product has now plowed through its original goal; it’s currently raised $16,825, with nine days still remaining in the fundraising period. Read More

Amazon

Publishing Professionals ‘Insulted’ By Amazon Brick-and-Mortar Store

7 W. 34th Street, the rumored location of Amazon's brick-and-mortar store. (Google Maps)

Tech fanatics might be excited about the brick-and-mortar Amazon store opening on Manhattan’s 34th Street, but if the store decides to stock best-selling novels alongside Fire phones and e-readers, we won’t be able to say the same for New York City’s publishing community.

“New York publishing, for better or for worse, is very cordial,” Tin House editor Rob Spillman told Betabeat. “Amazon is more, ‘We’re going to crush all of you.'” Read More

Amazon

Amazon Is Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Store in NYC [UPDATE]

7 W. 34th Street, where Amazon is rumored to be opening a retail store. (Sage Lazzaro/ New York Observer)

UPDATE, 10/10: Betabeat spoke to members of New York City’s publishing community, who feel “insulted” by Amazon’s decision to open a brick-and-mortar store.

UPDATE, 10/09: According to the Wall Street Journal‘s sources, Amazon’s brick-and-mortar store will be located at 7 W. 34th Street, across from the Empire State Building.

Betabeat reached out to Amazon requesting further details about the store. “We have made no announcements about a location in Manhattan,” a spokesperson responded.

So we made the voyage down to 7 W. 34th Street, where we spoke with a doorman inside the lobby. “I don’t know anything,” he said, when we asked if Amazon was opening a retail store in the building. The building currently contains offices, as well as Mango and Express retail stores on street level.

We popped into Mango, where a security guard said he’d noticed construction in the 7 W. 34th Street building. “Nobody knows what that’s about,” he said.

Betabeat also called the building manager of 7 W. 34th Street, but the person who answered the phone said the manager wasn’t available. When we asked if he knew anything about the Amazon store, he hung up on us mid-sentence.

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health alert

These Rare Australian Berries Might Contain Cancer Cure

The drug made from the berries had a 75 percent success rate. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Today in surprising medical news, scientists now believe some rare, unsuspecting berries found in the far northern corner of Australia might hold the key to curing cancer.

After an eight-year study, researchers have discovered that Blushwood berries — found in the rain forests of Far North Queensland — contain a compound that might be able to destroy head and neck tumors, as well as melanoma, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Read More

Tech Dirty to Me

‘LovePalz’ Social Network Lets You Control Strangers’ Sex Toys from Afar

Your next cybersex partner? (LovePalz)

I’ve written before about teledildonics, the fancy name for computer-controlled sex toys capable of being operated over large geographical distances. It was this past summer, when I tested out OhMiBod’s blueMotion, the bluetooth-enabled vibrator designed with long-distance couples in mind.

“For us, its about keeping a connection or making a connection with somebody who might be not physically standing next to you,” OhMiBod cofounder Suki Dunham said at the time.

But while OhMiBod is gearing their teledildonic products toward couples, another company, LovePalz, wants to help you have long-distance cybersex with total strangers. The Taiwan-based company is currently beta testing a new social network, called LovePalz Club, that’ll let users set up profiles, connect with new friends they find attractive, and then control those new friends’ sex toys. In other words, it’s a combination of Facebook, OkCupid, Tinder… and actual sex. Read More