Ballet dancers make Mexico City their stage in stunning photo series

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At the start of his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump insisted that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”

Those words, along with many other comments about the people of Mexico and minorities around the world, have shocked many.

They’ve also inspired one man to set out and capture the beauty of Mexico and its people on camera.

New York-based photographer Omar Robles embarked on a 13-day excursion to Mexico City in October, inspired by Trump’s words and aiming to shine a more positive light on the country. Working in partnership with FujiFilm he connected with powerful and talented local dancers across the city, a follow up to his beautiful portraits in Cuba earlier this year.

As he reflected in his blog post, Robles had the chance to witness Mexico City “celebrate the joy of living by honoring those who walked with them” during their Day of the Dead celebrations. Amidst the vibrant colors of the city and bold personalities of the residents, he was struck by how gracious and genuine the people he encountered were. 

“The rhetoric that permeates our times is sadly about division and segregation,” he wrote. “The warmth with which the people of Mexico received me and the dancers as we shot along the streets truly inspired me.”

While he photographed dancers in the streets many onlookers offered ovations. “They clapped and cheered for the dancers after we were finished shooting,” he wrote, noting that he often receives much colder reactions while photographing in New York.

“People [in New York] often pass us by, perhaps softly shaking their heads producing a chuckle spiced with a slight hint of cynicism,” he wrote. In Mexico City, “I was not just creating photographs,” he said, “I was producing a privileged moment in time for those around us.”

The photographer told Mashable he feels art is extremely important in the world, especially during tough times when acceptance is challenged.

“Art inherently is a instrument of expression,” he said. “Thus, in times when voices are at risk of being silenced, it’s more important than ever to use every tool at our disposal to make ourselves heard.” 

“Art forms like photography and dance, due to their visual nature, easily transcend language barriers,” and help people communicate universally, he said. 

Robles visited Cuba last March, where he also met and photographed inspirational local dancers.

To get a deeper look at Robles’s time in Mexico City, check out his stunning behind-the-scenes footage.

BONUS: 11 unforgettable, award-winning space photos of 2015

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Snapchat’s Spectacles won’t make you look like a Glasshole

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You would have thought that after the spectacular failure of Google Glass and the virulent public rejection its users experienced, other companies would be wary of developing and marketing camera glasses. But 2016 has been that kind of year. Earlier this week, Snapchat, they of the wildly popular messaging app, began rolling out its first wearable, Spectacles, through a series of pop-up vending machines. The $130 glasses are already a hot commodity, fetching upward of $900 on eBay. I managed to get my hands on a pair (don’t ask how) and have some thoughts on the matter.

The Spectacles are sunglasses first and foremost, and they function well in that role. The plastic frames are lightweight with circular lenses and come in a variety of increasingly loud colors: black, aqua and fire-engine red. I personally prefer a nice wayfarer or aviator shape, but the Spectacles still performed an admirable job of shielding my eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

The camera itself is mounted on the tip of the left temple arm, where it meets the eye wire. The camera unit is entirely self-contained and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. And, like Apple’s wireless AirPods, the Spectacle’s case doubles as a charging station that can fully fill a dead battery in about 90 minutes. The camera, while not nearly as powerful as what you’d find on an iPhone 7 or Android Pixel, is good enough for what most people use Snapchat for.

And what they lack in image quality they make up for in ease of use. By not requiring you to have your phone in hand, the Spectacles can be used in a much wider range of situations. Suddenly, all of those action sports shots for which you previously had to break out the GoPro can be done in 10-second increments. Really, any two-handed activity would benefit from using these glasses. Take note, however: The glasses are not waterproof and are also susceptible to temperature extremes, so be sure to leave them back at the ski lodge this winter.

Pairing the Spectacles to the Snapchat app is super-simple. You simply put on the Spectacles, look at your snapcode and tap the "record" button on the glasses. Downloading data from the specs is straightforward, too. Just navigate to the Memories screen, pick the Specs tab from the top bar and select the correct Snap from the list. We’re not sure if there’s an upper limit to how many Snaps you can record on the device before syncing with the app, but we got north of 10.

I noticed that the app routinely failed to properly download video from the glasses to the phone, but usually did so on the second try. It’s a bit of a hassle, but an easily remedied one. Aside from being unable to actively monitor what I’m recording or reframe a shot, using Spectacles wasn’t all that different from using my phone. At least with the Specs, I never had to worry about my thumb covering the lens. Plus, if the worst happens, I’d rather drop a pair of $130 novelty camera-glasses than my $600 smartphone.

Now, whether I, as a 35-year-old attention-averse adult, would ever be caught dead wearing them in public is an entirely different question. See, I remember the dark days of the Google Glasshole. Even in techtopias like San Francisco, Glass wearers were publicly mocked. One lady was even physically assaulted at a bar in the Lower Haight. Many fine drinking establishments throughout the city still ban them outright. Granted, the Spectacles can capture only 10 seconds of video at a time, but I’d be very hesitant to show up to a place like Molotov’s or the Lucky 13 with these on my face.

Another question is: Where do you actually use them? They’re clearly geared for people who are out and about in the daylight hours (hence the sunglasses the camera’s built into). But what of Snaps taken indoors or at night? The camera is subtle enough that you won’t attract attention, but the bright-ring LED that flickers on to indicate that you’re recording — not to mention that you’re wearing electric-blue sunglasses in a bar at 11PM — is likely enough to draw quizzical looks from other patrons and questions from management.

Overall, though, these are a clever, relatively inexpensive wearable. They’re a tenth of the price of Google Glass, they actually function beyond serving as a way to strap a camera to your face and, depending on your age bracket, they could even be considered stylish. Getting your hands on a pair is going to be a challenge in the immediate future, but for those of us with active Snapchat followings, these Specs will prove invaluable.

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The best 2016 supermoon photo we’ve seen yet took several years of planning

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The largest moon of the year, called the supermoon, shined its
biggest and brightest
in nearly 70 years
early Monday morning.

Supermoons happen when the moon’s wonky elliptical orbit lines up
perfectly with those of the Earth and the sun. On November 14,
this dance of orbital physics brought the moon to within 222,000
miles of Earth — 30,000 miles closer than its most distant point
— during its full moon phase. That made our celestial neighbor
appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal,
according to NASA
.

Photographers all over the world have published
fantastic images
of the event. However, one photo in
particular, which we first saw at NASA’s
Astronomy Picture of the Day site, stuck out above the rest:


supermoon space station transit kris smith

The
International Space Station transiting the fullest supermoon in
nearly 70 years.


Kris
Smith



Did you miss that?

Take a closer look at the black shadows:


supermoon space station transit kris smith labeled

The
International Space Station transiting the fullest supermoon in
nearly 70 years.

Kris Smith; Business
Insider


No, those aren’t galactic empire tie fighters from “Star
Wars
.”

That’s the International Space Station (ISS) zooming in front of
the supermoon.


international space station iss nasa
NASA

Kris Smith, the man who took the image, told Business
Insider in an email that he’d been researching the
possibility of taking this shot “for several years using
Calsky.com,” a site dedicated to
calculating unique chances to observe objects in space.

“[One] week before the ISS crossing I received an email alert and
approximate path. The path was only about 2 miles from my house,”
Smith said. “As the day grew closer I picked a location, the
local high school, and [set up] my telescope on the practice
field.”

He used an 11-inch telescope attached to a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR
camera. Because the telescope’s field of view was narrow and
couldn’t fit the full moon in a single frame, however, Smith had
to track the ISS as it moved in front of the moon at the
blistering pace of 17,500 mph.

“My great grandfather and my grandfather were early professional
photographers in Fort Worth,” Smith said. “[T]his is definitely
where my passion came from.”

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Reframe “Negative” Emotions as “Difficult” Emotions

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Nobody likes being sad, angry, or heartbroken. If you want to give yourself a leg up on getting through troubling times, a simple mental reframe can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ethan Nichtern, author of The Road Home and senior teacher in Shambhala Buddhism, recommends a method conceptualized by the Dalai Lama. Instead of calling anger or sadness “negative” emotions, you identify them as something you can overcome: a “difficult” emotion. As Nichtern explains, you still point to there being an emotion present, but you don’t create any bias toward or away from the experience.

This can dramatically change your perspective for the better. It may not lower the intensity of what you’re feeling—it’s important to feel what you need to feel—but it does transform it into a challenge you can overcome, not a fate you must suffer through.

How to (Kind of) Master Your Neuroticism | Science of Us

Photo by Eneas De Troya.

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The R.Pi IoT Shield adds IoT connectivity to your DIY project

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Of all the things in this great green world which we desire the most important is connection. That’s why the R.Pi IoT family is pretty cool. Built by the team that brought us Tinylab, these clever GPRS, GPS, XBee, and LTE shields allow tinkerers to add wireless connectivity to their projects.

The shields – what the Raspberry Pi world calls add-on cards – start at $19 and go up to $99 for LTE/4G connectivity. The system has a unified IDE and user interface and you can start programming with the boards as soon as you connect them to your Raspberry Pi. A $19 GPRS shield adds simple connectivity – think Kindle-like – to your projects.

The company was created by Todd Lydig, Taha Arvas, and CTO Sait Borlak. The company originally built the Tinylab in Turkey but moved to New York for this new project.

“The Raspberry Pi IoT Shield Family we designed is much less expensive than comparable LTE shields and more importantly is much easier to use. There is no experience required to enter the world of IoT since we provide a computer interface, sample applications, and open source codes of the entire project design,” said Arvas. “So, our shields are super easy-to-use. We’ve done our best for you to get connected, right out of the box.”

These shields do a require a little tinkering to get working but I can imagine them as part of a drone, a rocketry project, or a security system designed to keep your brother from stealing your bike. I, for one, intend to create a coffee maker that can talk to the Internet from space. I dare to dream.

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Todoist uses AI to suggest deadlines for your tasks

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The folks at Doist, the company behind the popular productivity app Todoist, regularly add features to help boost its users’ workflows. After tasking Alexa with the ability to add items to lists last month, the company has an update for its stable of apps that will help you stay on top of your obligations with the help of AI. The latest version of Todoist includes Smart Schedule, a feature that analyzes factors like task urgency, how you’ve completed items in the past and your upcoming workload before suggesting a due date for an item.

Doist says it researched how users postpone tasks in what it calls a "snowball," constantly pushing things to the next day or week until their to-do list is packed with dozens of items. This editor is certainly guilty of that. Once you hit a certain point, that list becomes much less effective in helping you prioritize your day or ensuring that you’re completing tasks in a timely fashion.

To help keep the amount of things in your Todoist at a manageable sum, Smart Schedule uses AI to help plan your day and week. What’s more, it can help you reschedule those items you don’t get around to finishing on time. With Smart Schedule any overdue tasks can be rescheduled as a group and all the stuff that hasn’t been given a due date can be slotted in where it fits best. And yes, you’ll always have the option of accepting, editing or rejecting the timeline the app suggests.

In addition to your work habits, task urgency and upcoming schedule, Todoist Smart Schedule also factors in things like minor items you might be able to take care of over the weekend. Based on how you cross off items in the app, the new tool estimates when you stop completing tasks and will no longer suggest that day as a due date. Last but not least, Todoist will let you set and track goals in terms of how many things you want to get done in a day. The app can suggest due dates to help you meet that mark.

The new Smart Schedule feature is available inside Todoist for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and the web starting today. If your device hasn’t alerted you to the update yet, head over to your respective app store to nab the latest version.

Source: Todoist

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Night Surfing Under The Brightest Super Moon In 69 Years Looks As Cool As It Sounds

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We all saw the Super Moon this week. I actually even convinced my better half to eat dinner in the back yard on Monday night while staring up at the moon. She lasted roughly 20-seconds before realizing that eating pasta under the moonlight is only cool in cartoons, and in real-life you actually end up with pasta all over your lap. So we abandoned that quickly and went back inside to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning completely dismantle the New York Islanders.

I thought that eating food underneath the Super Moon was the best activity you could involving the largest moon in 69 years (appearing 15% larger than normal) and that’s because I’m a slob who loves to eat. But I was wrong, surfing underneath the Super Moon is the best/coolest possible way to enjoy the monumental occasion.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good night surfing clip, and am easily blown away by how cool those LED surfboards look at night. But this is some next level footage right here.

If you’re looking for more night surfing footage, this clip from Morocco (jump ahead to around the 2min mark) is my favorite:

[h/t TheInertia]

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Spotify’s Playlist Potluck is a collaborative playlist for your parties

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Spotify’s streaming music service has been at the forefront of figuring out new ways to spark music discovery, in terms of personalized playlists and other recommendations. Now the company is taking its collaborative playlist feature and pushing it for use at parties. The “Playlist Potluck,” as this experience is called, allows a Spotify user to invite friends to an event by sharing their playlist, then allowing their guests to add their own favorite tunes.

Collaborative playlists are an older Spotify feature, but one that’s sometimes a bit underhyped. In reality, playlist programming at parties is often handled on the fly – the host simply hands over their phone and says, “here, play what you want.”

With Playlist Potluck, the idea is to instead create the playlist in advance of the event, by making it part of the invitation process itself.

 

The feature is being launched in partnership with Sonos as part of a promotional campaign where you can win Sonos speakers and a chance to have a top chef, like Danny Bowien or Inaki Aizipitarte, come cook for your party.

Because it’s a joint effort between the two, you’ll visit a dedicated page on Sonos’ website (playlistpotluck.sonos.com) in order to set up your playlist. Here, you’ll need to authorize the Sonos Playlist Potluck to access your Spotify account data, agree to the terms, and register for the promo by sharing personal info like your location, phone number and age. When that’s done, you can then create your playlist.

Unfortunately, you can only add five of your own tracks to the list, before you have to turn it over to your guests. After doing so, you’ll be given a unique URL that you can share via email, Facebook, Twitter, or as a link that you can copy and paste anywhere you choose. That way, you can incorporate playlist programming as part of the party invite.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-10-26-32-am

When clicked, guests are taken to a landing page that shows the host’s playlist and invites them to join in. The page doesn’t make it super obvious how to participate, but the idea is that guests can create or login to their Spotify account, where they can then follow the collaborative playlist and add tunes.

A section at the bottom of the page shows recommended songs to add, based on the current playlist’s contents. You can also search for, then add, other songs from across Spotify’s catalog.

It would be nice if Spotify further developed this idea of connecting its collaborative playlists to events after this promo wraps, by making its own party invite landing pages that weren’t quite as bare bones as the one which the guests land on when using this feature today. In the meantime, it seems there’s not a huge advantage to using the Playlist Potluck option over using the collaborative playlists built into Spotify already, beyond participation in the contest.

 

 

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