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Empowericons 1

SMILE! WINK! KISS! Let us introduce you to the world’s first Afro Emoticons, courtesy of Oju Africa. In fact, the actual word ‘Oju’ means ‘faces’ in the Yoruba language from Nigeria.

Designed from a dream of digitally uniting Africa, the Afro Emoticons are addressing the need for techno-diversity (#EmojiEthnicityUpdate) – while sharing African funk, soul and smiles with the world.

They’re ready to use on Android platforms, as well as IOS any day. And let’s face it. With celebrities like Miley Cyrus becoming increasing vocal about the need for a more diverse range, why wouldn’t you?



Music to your beers

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Is it a boombox? Is it a crate of beers? Happily, it’s both. This is the latest packaging from Beck’s, designed to hold a six-pack of beers and look uber cool at the same time. (Bottoms up, Damo.)

Along with the beer, the box also contains other music-y items, like hip hop inspired pop-out glasses, coasters, retro cassette tapes and a USB with sponsored Beck’s track lists to listen to while you drink.

The mash-up between beer and tunes isn’t new to the brand, which has been featuring music-inspired labels on its bottles for the last few years.

It also has an ongoing initiative called The Green Box Project, a global fund that supports independent talent in art, design, music, and fashion. Through the project, Beck’s will fund and showcase 1,000 projects over the next three years. Thirsty work.

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Drink inside the box

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When is a box not a box? When it’s a table, of course. To help Nikka Whisky stand out on European shelves, international distributor La Maison du Whisky has given it some snazzy new packaging that can be configured into a variety of shapes.

Inspired by origami and himitsu-bako – puzzle boxes used by samurai to carry secret messages – the foldable limited-edition box holds six bottles of Nikka Whisky, as well as a couple of glasses.

It can be opened, closed, fanned and stretched, forming all sorts of different shapes – including a handy table-top. (Especially useful if you’re picking your booze up at the airport ahead of a long haul flight. Obviously.)

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The anti-social network

Earlier this year (April to be precise) a story hit the UK’s headlines of a 4-year-old girl who was ‘addicted’ to her iPad. Whilst many of us may have scoffed and thought ‘I’d never let that happen to my child’, it turns out that in Japan they’re taking the problem incredibly seriously.

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The Japanese Ministry of Education is proposing an ‘Internet Fasting Camp’ to help cure some of the estimated 500,000 adolescents who are believed to suffer from internet addiction. The condition is being held responsible for a number of sleeping and eating disorders, and even cases of depression and deep-vein thrombosis (normally associated with long-haul flights).

It’s a problem that’s not just unique to Japan – it’s a global issue that’s most likely to get worse before the rest of the world start to take notice. (Don’t worry, the irony of us sharing a Poke about the dangers of social media isn’t lost on us.)


From ironic to iconic

There was a time, not so long ago, when receiving a winter-pattern sweater on Christmas day would be greeted with insincere smiles and thanks. But in this world of ironic cool that we live in the Christmas sweater has been elevated to a must-have status, and Coke Zero’s Sweater Generator has just added a competitive edge to it.
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 allows you to decorate your own personal Christmas kitschwear with a variety of festive icons – from narwhals and ninjas to T-Rexs and turkeys. Once you’re happy with your creation you can upload it and bombard your friends with requests to vote for it through all the usual networks.

The 100 with the most votes will be ‘carefully handcrafted by loving machines and shipped to their loving creators, just in time for the tacky sweater loving season’. Somewhat surprisingly, at the time of writing this was the sweater with the most votes:
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Get your tweets out for the Greeks

You’d be well within your rights to question the value of a high-tech bra that tweets every time it’s taken off. Fortunately it’s not the latest gadgetry for people suspicious of their partner’s fidelity; it’s a new breast cancer awareness campaign from Nestlé in Greece.

Worn by TV personality Maria Bakodimou the bra is powered by a low-energy Bluetooth unit that sends out a message every time it’s unclasped, reminding followers to check their breasts for lumps.


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Seeing as the campaign is currently only running in Greece there’s not much to read on the @tweetingbra feed (it’s genuinely all Greek to us) but it’s another positive example of the boundaries blurring between the online and offline world. Interestingly, at the time of writing the username @tweetingpants is still available.


Wrap up warm for Christmas

It’s Christmas Day (not today – we’re just imagining here). Aunty’s asleep in the chair next to a glass of sherry; Dad’s considering tackling the mountain of washing up; the kids have lost interest in their toys and are being brain-washed by Mary Poppins; and (if you’ve got around to it) next to the front door will be two or three bin bags of ripped up wrapping paper.

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The UK alone is responsible for 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every year – enough to stretch around the earth 9 times – which makes Lush’s new Vivienne Westwood Knot Wraps/ neckerchiefs/ headscarves such a beautiful alternative: the wrapping is as much of a gift as the present inside it. (And you can reuse it next year if you want, just make sure you wash it first.)


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The Knot Wraps are made with 100% organic cotton and cost £15, with all profits going directly to Climate Revolution Fund.


A cut above barbers

It’s November. The month of falling leaves, fireworks, and farcical facial hair. So as men up and down the country trim their ‘taches for charity it seems only fitting to feature Harry’s, a new online/ offline barbers that sells premium grooming products without the premium prices. (Apologies for the over-alliteration in the previous two sentences.)

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Harry’s was originally founded by entrepreneur Jeff Raider as an online razor retailer earlier in the year, but now the brand has opened an offline Corner Shop in New York’s SoHo district. Appointments with one of five barbers can be made via their website, and once you’re freshly trimmed and shaved the finished article is uploaded via iPad onto their archive for future reference.


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The flagship online store allows you to purchase their German engineered blades for a fraction of the price of normal razors – cheap enough for any Tom, Dick or Harry (Disclaimer: joke nicked from their website.)


Just bling it

Ever wondered how much energy you’re using sat at your desk? Or making a sandwich? Or filling the car with petrol? Then Nike’s FuelBand is for you. The original version was sold out within hours when it launched last year, but the recently released FuelBand SE adds a little luxury to the whole experience.

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The overall design is much sleeker than its predecessor, and it’s available in a range of bright colours, but it’s the Rose Gold version that’s caught the eye of the fashionistas. Available in limited quantities worldwide, the clasp, bezel and screws are all made with hand-polished 316 series stainless steel.


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The bands will set you back to the tune of £139 ($227, but it’s retailing at $169 in the US) but if bling’s your thing then just do it, as they say.


The postman always brings rice

It started with books. Then came films. And games. And toys and toiletries and clothes and pretty-much-everything-you-can-think-of-except-groceries. Until now. In Seattle and LA, at least. Yes, online giants Amazon have taken a second bite at the cherry by launching their grocery service in Los Angeles. (Hats tipped towards Em.)

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Admittedly, it’s been available in the company’s hometown of Seattle for a few years now, offering a range of fresh dairy, meat, fruit and veg direct to people’s doors in one or three-hour slots (depending on your own personal time vs money priorities).

It’s already a crowded marketplace and with margins notoriously low it will be interesting to see how long they stick it out for. But if you fancy some salad to go with your Fried Green Tomatoes (at the Whistlestop Café) then it’ll be right up your street.


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