The Best T-Shirt For Traveling

I have definitely found the next item on my wishlist: the IconSpeak, an ingenious T-shirt featuring 40 universal icons for communicating across language barriers.

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As the inventors recount in Bored Panda:

“Many times we were confronted with a language barrier that was only to be overcome by drawing signs, symbols or icons on a piece of paper, map, or into the dirt”, explain George, Steven, and Florian. “We thought it would be great to have an essential set of icons with you, permanently, so that you could just point on whatever you need – and people would understand. Soon the notepad was pulled out again and we started listing more or less essential icons that would have been of great help during not just ours, but basically anyone’s trip”.

Here are some nifty demo photos of the shirt in action:

Germany’s Anti-Amazon Startup

For all its indisputable convenience and cost-saving Amazon’s business model has contributed to the shuttering of small businesses and a massive carbon footprint via its vast delivery network. One would think that this is the price we pay for hyper-efficiency, but one German company is hoping to challenge that formula.

As FastCoexist.com reports, a startup company is offering the same sort of online shop as Amazon, only instead its wares come from local stores, and are delivered the same day by bike, usually ridden by senior citizens (a large demographic in fast-aging Germany that can benefit from the extra income and exercise). Continue reading

Our Crazy English Language

The following has been making the rounds on Tumblr, and I wish I could determine the source to give due credit. It’s been shared so many times that it’s essentially a part of the web now.

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.