Beauty, Design, Smart Ideas.

Hobbiton Tours

Matamata, New Zealand is the location of the hobbit village that was built for the Lord of the Rings films. This pastoral, idyllic place now offers tours, something we’d definitely be up for, if we found ourselves in New Zealand’s countryside. We’d like a pair of Hobbit furry feet shoes while strolling around, however. Via LaughingSquid:

Hobbiton Tours

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Hobbiton Tours

Hobbiton Tours

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Most of us think of gas stations as pure utility. A shapeless and forgettable stop on your way to your next destination. Sure, some people may have their ‘brand’ that they go to, but the structures themselves rarely get any love. Luckily, design does matter to some people, and these standout stations are a great example of iconic landmarks from unexpected places. Via FastCo Design:
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No contest, these are some of the most mind-bending animated GIFs we’ve ever seen, without making you want to hurl. Dutch designer Florian de Looij is responsible for this wildly creative work. Great use of color and physics and speed.  Via Colossal:

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Italian artist Caterina Rossato has turned old postcards into mini dioramas of sorts, creating imaginary landscapes where mountains of all sorts join together. The small scenes brings the vintage postcards back to life, in new and fanciful ways. Via CreativeBoom:
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As a car design geek, it’s always fun to see what automakers have up their sleeves for the future. Often a company will release a concept car that is stylistically cutting-edge, but basically just a shiny paperweight, it doesn’t operate or move the conversation very much. When Mercedes released their vision for the car of 2030 earlier this year, they had some true vision, and some actual moving parts. The F 015 is a strangely named, and even stranger looking car. A shiny jellybean of a thing, the windows are made to blend with the rest of the body, giving it a uniformly sleek and ‘what’s inside there?’ appearance. The car is fully autonomous, so aware of its surroundings that it will stop for a pedestrian, project a crosswalk, and audibly tell someone it’s safe to walk. The Verge recently took a spin in the car and has an interesting report on it. Who knows if Mercedes’ will follow through on this vision of the future, but it’s cool to see an automaker do some deep thinking.

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Passengers sit facing one another, allowing for a level of interaction not achievable in today’s cars. The controls are able to be taken over manually, though this seems like a future-pod that most passengers would prefer being passive within.

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In their 12th Annual Photo Contest, the Smithsonian has a number of amazing pictures to share with the world. Here are a few of the finalists, from the more than 26,000 entries. Check out their site for the amazing stories behind the photos. Keep snapping, there are a lot of amazing moments to capture in our world…

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NYC’s Highline was an undisputed winner when it opened, giving people a great elevated perspective on the city. In the same manner, Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is making waves. Built just above tree canopy level, this beautifully winding walkway takes visitors through the enormous botanic garden in a truly stunning manner. Also allowing wheelchair access, the canopy walkway is a great addition to the park. Via TwistedSifter:

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One of our most popular posts of all time is of some lovely double-exposure photographs by Sarah Byrne. Here’s another collection of beautiful and rich double exposures, each one telling a story. Photographer Brandon Kidwell does an excellent job of titling his images, which make them that much fuller and complete.

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Mental spiral notebook

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Friends

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She blooms

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I am my past

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Love begins at home

 

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You’ve got to hand it to baby animals to get us all soft like Jello. But baby reptiles? Oh yes. Check out these incredible baby Chameleons, hatched at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia. Considered an Old World Lizard, these amazing animals are pretty fun to watch. Via BoredPanda:
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Sơn Đoòng Cave is the biggest cave on the planet, located deep in the jungles of Vietnam. It’s a place we’d love to visit, it’s a true once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Ryan Deboodt took a drone inside the cave on an expedition, and has some incredible footage from the journey. Set to a calm and serene soundtrack, the video will transport you to a lush and calm other-world, a cave unknown until recently, one of jaw dropping scale and scope.

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