This crowdfunded, low-speed, electric 2-seater is ‘the iPad of cars’

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This crowd-funded, low-speed, electric 2-seater is “the iPad of cars”

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The two-seater Eli Zero NEV is a low-speed electric vehicle.
The two-seater Eli Zero NEV is a low-speed electric vehicle.

Image: eli electric

Electric-vehicle manufacturer Eli Electric has created a futuristic but odd-looking electric car. You can pre-order it today on … Indiegogo? 

Yes, that’s right: A crowd-funded car. That’s not something you see every day. 

The Eli Zero, a two-seater electric vehicle that looks suspiciously like a go-kart with doors, has, in its first few days of crowdfunding, already surpassed its $20,000 goal

We’ll be the first to admit that this thing looks absurdly fun to drive. Its compact size makes it ideal for zipping around the city, or for quick jaunts to the grocery store or gym. But it has a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a starting range of 55 miles, so forget driving it on the highway — or anywhere of consequence, really. 

CEO Marcus Li, who has a background in architecture, was inspired to form his Long Beach, California, and Beijing-based company after he saw how cars have made communities congested, sprawling, and parking-obsessed. 

“We believe the world doesn’t need another car,” Li said in a phone call this week.

So he developed what he calls an “urban friendly,” environmentally friendly vehicle for short trips. “We have an unhealthy obsession with speed,” he said.

He wants the Eli Zero to replace families’ second cars, and believes that for urban city dwellers like himself, it could be a supplemental ride mixed with with car-sharing and ride-hailing.

“It’s like the iPad of conventional cars,” Li summed up.

The EV can't go on highways or roads faster than 25 mph.

The EV can’t go on highways or roads faster than 25 mph.

Crowdfunded vehicles aren’t unheard of, but they’re pretty rare, and historically unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for Kickstarter (birthplace of a number of major transportation projects, including the Boosted Board and the original hoverboard) couldn’t recall any projects seeking to fund cars on its platform, noting that the site caps all pledges at $10,000. 

The Eli Zero is in a federally designated class of car called a neighborhood electric vehicle, or NEV, so it’s not trying to fit into any traditional car molds, and that includes price. The vehicle is priced at $10,900, but its online campaign is offering discounted pre-orders starting at $7,699. 

Indiegogo declined to comment about cars on its platform, but a similarly tiny solar car called Sion did launch there in 2016. That car is still in the pre-order phase and not yet available for purchase. A few other electric car campaigns linger on the platform, but all appear to have closed without meeting their goals. 

Li plans to have the first Eli vehicles on the road by the start of 2019. To fend off anything like Tesla’s production woes for its affordable electric sedan, Eli is starting with just 100 vehicles. (Not surprisingly, his team has a background in golf cart manufacturing.)

If this thing makes it out of the pre-order stage alive, it might be the first of its kind to do so. Hey, there’s a first time for everything — including hopping into a glorified golf cart to pick up some milk.

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8 life lessons from Jeff Bezos, pulled from Amazon shareholder letters

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8 life lessons from Jeff Bezos, pulled from Amazon shareholder letters

Teach us, Bezos. Teach us.
Teach us, Bezos. Teach us.

Image: Yves Forestier/Sygma via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos is rich. Jeff Bezos is wise. Jeff Bezos is bald. 

Therefore, when Bezos drops pearls of wisdom, we shall string them together to form a necklace of nuance, the considerate capitalist’s manifesto, The Philosophy of Bezos.

From his most recent letters to shareholders, here are some of the tenets that Jeff Bezos lives and works by. (What’s the difference really, anyway?) Study and practice them as you track the package that is your life. 

All quotes taken from Jeff Bezos’ 2016 and 2017 letters to shareholders.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com (Photo by Chris Carroll/Corbis via Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com (Photo by Chris Carroll/Corbis via Getty Images)

Image: Corbis via Getty Images

“If you take me on your basketball team, you can teach me many things, but you can’t teach me to be taller.” 

Skeptical.

Skeptical.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps.”

Discerning.

Discerning.

Image: David Ryder/Getty Images

“Most people think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you should be able to do it in two weeks, you’re just going to end up quitting.”

Unrelenting.

Unrelenting.

Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images

“The standard is there, and it is real, even if it’s not easily describable.”

Searching.

Searching.

Image: Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“The football coach doesn’t need to be able to throw, and a film director doesn’t need to be able to act.”

Leading.

Leading.

Image: Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“Once you’ve tasted high standards, there’s no going back.”

Appreciating.

Appreciating.

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“Do we own the process or does the process own us?”

Contemplating.

Contemplating.

Image: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

“Experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings.”

Growing.

Growing.

Image: Yves Forestier/Sygma via Getty Images

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Oil spills can be sucked up by this ‘sponge’ that’s also made from oil

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Oil spills are disastrous for the environment, but a newly developed absorbent polymer could prove a novel cleaning solution.

Developed by Australian and European researchers, with details published in the journal Advanced Sustainable Systems, the material is actually a combination of used cooking oils and sulphur — the latter of which is a waste product of the petroleum industry.

Like a sponge, the polymer sucks up crude oil, which then can be squeezed and reused again. While there have been other sponge-like solutions to oil spills mooted in the past, this new polymer solution is created from waste products, which is of additional benefit to the environment.

“This application can consume excess waste sulfur that is stockpiled around the globe and may help mitigate the perennial problem of oil spills in aquatic environments,” Justin Chalker, the research’s lead and synthetic chemistry lecturer at Flinders University, said in a statement.

Sulphur and cooking oils are hydrophobic, which means they repel water, but they have an affinity for hydrocarbons like crude oil.

As per a laboratory demonstration, it takes less than one minute for the polymer to absorb the crude oil, forming a floating cluster that can be then removed with a net. 

In 2017 alone, there was approximately 7,000 tonnes of crude oil spilt by tankers into the ocean, according to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation.

Currently, there are several ways to clean up crude oil spills. If there is no risk of polluting coastal regions or marine industries, the oil can be left to break down naturally.

For heavier spills, the oil is contained with booms and skimmers that are deployed to remove the substance off the water’s surface. Biological agents or dispersants can be introduced to speed up the oil’s degradation.

When produced at scale, researchers anticipate the polymer to be an inexpensive solution to cleaning up oil spills, given the low cost of waste cooking oils and sulphur which forms the basis of the polymer. That low cost means it could be an effective solution for smaller, localised oil spills in countries where clean-up resources can be limited.

The world’s largest oil spill, BP’s Deepwater Horizon in 2010, released 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, costing $61.6 billion to clean up.  

“This is a new class of oil sorbents that is low-cost, scalable, and enables the efficient removal and recovery of oil from water,” Chalker added.

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Learn how to build a WordPress site that actually attracts visitors

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Learn how to build a WordPress site that actually attracts visitors

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Learn how to make your website pop.
Learn how to make your website pop.

Image: pexels

If you’re building your own website, or even just planning to, odds are you’ve considered WordPress as a foundation. After all, 29% of all sites are built with WordPress, and nearly 60% of all sites use WordPress as their CMS. There’s a reason that’s true, but you won’t fully understand it unless you master the format with the WordPress Essentials Lifetime Bundle, a series of online classes that are currently on sale for less than $20.

The four included courses have more than 20 hours of content and will teach you WordPress skills that go way beyond just setting up a blog. You’ll learn how to effectively write copy, use basic programming for marketers, and customize your site with web development techniques. 

Next, you’ll learn how to drive visitors to your site with SEO techniques and how to understand the traffic with web analytics. You’ll master the hard stuff (organizing, designing, and structuring your website, focusing on audience needs) and the fun stuff (masterminding your social media presence).

This is a lot of information — $880 worth — available in the Mashable Shop for just $19 — that’s 97% off. 

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When the brief says “design a recliner/rocking chair/hammock”

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Sitting on the Cocoon is a strangely comforting yet new experience. It looks a little revolutionary, no doubt… but sitting on it gives you an experience that’s difficult to actualize in words. Rest your body against it, and it feels like a hammock, with its woven fabric. However, it doesn’t consume you, like a hammock would. Lie down in a hammock, and the fabric gives in to the shape of your body… lie in the Cocoon, and it feels like you’ve still got some lumbar support. It feels more like a recliner than a hammock. And then there’s experience number three. Designed with a curved frame, the Cocoon swings to and fro, unlike a hammock that swings side by side. The Cocoon somehow manages to combine rocking, lounging, and relaxing all into one beautiful seating device perfect for a lazy afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa… as shown above!

The Cocoon is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2018.

Designer: Timmy Kwok

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Here’s How Much Potheads Spend On 4/20 Weed And How Many Actually Make It To Work

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marijuana joint

Shutterstock / MWesselPhoto

Today is 4/20, the beloved marijuana holiday for stoners everywhere. A very happy 4/20 to you and yours! This is a very special day for California since it is their first 4/20 since the state legalized marijuana on January 1, 2018. With all this green goodness on 4/20 are stoners going to actually make it to work today? Let’s find out.

A new survey has delved into the 4/20 spending habits of potheads as well as if they plan to ditch work on the day of cannabis jubilee. The website LendEDU surveyed 1,001 Americans ages 18 and up that were planning on lighting up on April 20, 2018. And it sounds like a lot of you aren’t going to work today.

The survey found that 35.66% of the burnouts said they planned on skipping work on 4/20. Surprising, I know. Slightly more stoners will make the effort to go to work (41.86%), but out of those dedicated employees making it to work, 20.05% said they are going to their job stoned. Can’t let a little thing like work slow your roll. Another 10.26% were unsure if they’d go to their job under the influence.

Then there was the decent amount of cannabis enthusiasts who didn’t need to worry about work ’cause it’s Friday, they ain’t got no job… and they ain’t got shit to do. The survey found that 22.48% of respondents said they are currently not employed. Keep in mind that the current unemployment rate is 4.1%.

So how do these weed fans spend their money on April 20th? Of the potoisseurs, 55.44% said they had already planned to include 4/20-related expenses into their monthly budget. And who said stoners aren’t fiscally responsible? The respondents said they spend an average of $146.12 on 4/20 and about half ($71.35) will be spent of the drug itself. You can’t talk about smoking up without talking about the munchies. Cannabis users said they would spend $40.34 on munchies. That’s a lot of f*cking White Castle. Weed lovers said they will spend $34.43 for new marijuana paraphernalia. Bongye West and Action Bongson, meet your new friend George W. Kush.

[Entrepreneur]

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Cannabis is having its ‘smartphone’ moment

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PAX / Quang Le

“It’s very similar to having a phone, you wouldn’t want just one or two apps on it. You’d want to be able to have a wide selection,” Bharat Vasan, CEO of PAX, told me in his company’s downtown San Francisco office. He’s referring to the range of “pods” available for the PAX Era weed vaporizer, likening fewer weed options to only having Instagram or Twitter on a phone.

PAX makes some of the best-known cannabis vaporizers in the industry. But during our interview, Vasan doesn’t mention the words “high,” “stoned,” “weed,” “doobie,” “blaze” or “dank” once. Instead, he talks about “platforms,” “apps,” “experience” and “updates.” PAX is one of a handful of technology companies making weed accessible to a generation that doesn’t want to roll their own. A generation that wants, even expects, to customize its experience via an app on their phone. A user that’s more likely to update their firmware than clean out a pipe.

Today is 4/20, the Christmas of cannabis, and PAX is using it to launch a limited edition Era vaporizer with a celebrity endorsement from weed-friendly electronic duo Thievery Corporation. The Era uses “pods” of cannabis oil, which snap into place on the pen-like device; the user only needs to inhale and enjoy. The launch also includes a new pod from Blue River called “Lebanese Blonde” (a meta reference to a Thievery Corporation track, itself named after a variety of cannabis) and a new album from the duo.

The cannabis oil in these pods requires a high-tech, convoluted extraction process. JJ O’Brien, VP of the Era product line, told me “the [new] pod is really incorporating as close to a traditional Lebanese hash-making as possible. So there’s no CO2, there’s no ethanol, no butane.” In technology terms, it’s an attempt at authenticity, reminiscent of when iOS apps tried hard to look like the analog items they replaced.

It’s not just PAX that is bringing cannabis into the mobile age. Bloom Farm’s range of “Highlighter” vape pens come in rose gold and space gray-esque colorways. The pens include a capacitive tip on one end so you can navigate your work email while you casually stick it to the man by supping on the other end. Just this week I received a product release announcement from another company that espoused a new vaporizer’s spec sheet, complete with 64Kb of memory and pass-through charging. No wireless charging or contactless payments yet, but I am sure they’re coming.

It’s a cliche, but PAX is often likened to “the Apple of vaporizers.” Its products are slick, with soft glowing lights, seamless Bluetooth connectivity and strong cosmetic design. They also come at a premium (the Era is only $30, but the pods are pricey compared to the same weight in “flower”). The flagship PAX 3, which works with any flower or concentrate, costs $250.

The Era’s pod system is a proprietary format, something Apple is also very fond of using. On the other side, companies like Bloom Farms or ABX use generic connections, meaning you can often pick and choose which hardware to use with which cartridge of oil. PAX’s closed system is going for the “it just works” approach, but it also locks you into its products.

Showtime

“Originally, we had some Afghan Black, and were going to call the song that.” Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation told me backstage at the launch event. Apparently someone else that day was from Lebanon, and said that they had a type of hash called Lebanese Blonde. The group decided that sounded better, and the title of their song was born. In turn, kicking off a chain of events that would, years later, find that name etched onto the side of a vape cartridge. Which beats an iPod with U2’s signatures on the back in my opinion.

The new strain is made by Blue River. PAX does not make any cannabis-based product, only a means to enjoy them. Tony Verzura, Blue River’s CTO (yes, cannabis manufacturers have CTOs too), was enthusiastic in explaining the process. But mostly he talks in metaphors about the importance of layers, comparing weed making to music and its “transition from analog to digital.”

In a transition that Samsung would have been proud of, Verzura and Garza later took to the stage while O’Brien introduced them. Like a well-groomed PR machine, they repeated the exact two anecdotes they told me in an interview moments prior. When the presentation finishes, the music takes over and the atmosphere lifts gently upward with every subtle wisp of Lebanese Blonde exhaled in the room.

If PAX is the Apple, and everyone else is the Android, then there’s another challenge in store for weed’s digital update: copycats and clones. Much like there are endless wannabe iPhones, connected cannabis could end up saturated with inferior “me too” devices before too long, and the audience for cannabis might not be large enough to support them. The e-cigarette and nicotine vape market is already plagued by cheap devices with ridiculous features that are endlessly iterated. Weed vapes could end up going the same way.

Since cannabis culture started embracing technology, there has been the natural split between purists and progressives. It’s vinyl versus digital all over again. But, like MP3s and ebooks caused their respective industries a headache, they also democratized their enjoyment. Now, there’s a new wave of consumer that thinks digital is best, apps are better and sure, throw in some fancy LEDs for good measure. That is to say, that much like some people only know a phone with apps and a camera, soon a whole generation of weed consumers won’t know what to do with a grinder and papers.

Modern weed is for a modern user though. Vaporizing is discreet and (almost) smell free, devices like the PAX 3 or PAX Era have Bluetooth, mobile apps and child locks. The PAX 3 even has games on board. I asked Verzura if vapes with features like this have somehow legitimized cannabis to a new generation, and he told me about how he was now able to consume it at a baseball game. “People might smell it for a second” he said, “but no one really notices.”

And that, perhaps, is the important change that smarter weed devices can offer. A way to consume that’s much easier for everyone, much more convenient and much more culturally acceptable.

I asked Vasan: If the current PAX devices do their job well, then why don’t they just leave it at that, and retire on a beach? “You know, I’d love that. That’s not how the consumer space works. I feel like there’s a lot more that PAX can do to make the experience like other mainstream experiences in your life” he responded. “There are other mainstream products like Rings and Dropcams and August locks in your life. This experience should parallel the best of those.”

Better make sure you keep your vape’s software up-to-date.

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Car-Friendly Camp Trailer Triples in Size

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Meet the modular, mobile, lightweight pod that goes from tow mode to camp mode at the push of a button.

Tipoon trailer camper

Whether you like simple camping or luxury glamping, somewhere out there is a pull-behind that meets your needs. We’ve seen inflatable trailers, super light tiny trailers – even massive $80,000 trailers you can pull through a river.

Tipoon expandable modes

And now there’s an expandable pod you can perch on its own or tow on a trailer. The Tipoon, launched commercially in March, transitions between three modes and has a modular interior you can tailor to your space needs.

Plus, its polyester-composite construction means you don’t need a truck to tow it.

Tipoon: Modular Expandable Trailer

While its primary use is as a mobile unit, the Tipoon doesn’t move on its own. It’s a stationary pod with stabilizing “crutches,” so you’ll need to pop it on a trailer. The manufacturer recommends a trailer with a gross weight rating of 2,425–2,866 pounds.

Tipoon prototype sleeping area

But whether you’re taking it into the wilds or leaving it in your backyard, the Tipoon’s features remain the same. It comes with a remote control that allows you to switch between three configurations: closed, half open, and full open. According to Tipoon, transformation happens in seconds.

Tipoon dining setup

Closed, the Tipoon measures about 5.5 feet high by 5.5 feet wide. Depending on the length of the drawbar for the trailer, it will sit 13.5–14.7 feet long. Use this configuration for towing or stowing Tipoon for the winter.

On the road, the half-open position is meant for pitstops. Here, the Tipoon rises to its full 8.3-foot height (6 feet 2 inches inside), while one wing bumps out to 8.2 feet. According to the brand, the Tipoon will still fit in a standard-width parking spot.

Tipoon trailer with gera

Once you get to camp, push the button to activate full mode. The Tipoon will self-stabilize and expand to its full 10.5-foot width.

Tipoon Camper: Modular Interior

Tipoon full size sleeper

Inside, the Tipoon undergoes similar transformations. The brand advertises four layouts: single sleeper, two-bed sleeper, king-size sleeper, and dining area, in addition to a bathroom with shower.

Tipoon dining area

Similar to tiny home designs, the Tipoon possesses various stowaway cushions and pullout platforms. As a single sleeper, you can rest on an elevated full-size mattress. Pull out the cubby below the bed and access a second full-size bed.

Remove the lower bed’s center cushions, pull out a tabletop, and you have the dining area. Or, raise up the second bed to turn the top bunk into a king-size sleeping area.

Tipoon king sleeper

The Tipoon runs off of a rechargeable battery the brand says will be compatible with solar panels in the future (but not yet). It comes with options like a chemical or dry toilet, 50-liter compressor or thermoelectric fridge, Wi-Fi reverse camera, and LED lighting.

Plus, if you drop the remote in a lake, the Tipoon can be crank-operated to adjust between all modes. The base price for the Tipoon is $29,472, and you can reserve one now for delivery beginning in June.

The post Car-Friendly Camp Trailer Triples in Size appeared first on GearJunkie.

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High Tech. High Life.

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After months spent meticulously adjusting technical parameters, testing and selecting materials, the X-Series workstation was brought to life. It carries a form that is inspired by cybernetics and science fiction, this is a truly visually exciting and modular place to work.

As well as having a highly ergonomic working position for when the user is sat down, it also offers the option of being a standing workstation in order to reduce the burden on the spine from a long stay in one position. Svyatoslav Zbroy, X Series’ designer, recognized that we all love a tidy and uniform desk, so integrated into the design is an electrification system that is hidden on the underside of the table to ensure efficient cable management.

The geometric, utilitarian and aggressive aesthetic creates a bold statement and makes this workstation a truly great feature in any room.

Designer: Svyatoslav Zbroy

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