Starbucks' Splatter-Hiding Countertops

This is the countertop for the drink-fixing station at my local Starbucks - and without doing any research or substantiating this claim in any way, I think it's pretty obvious and clever why they chose it. Look at all those tiny spots in the pattern: coffee-colored brown and creamer-colored white. Exactly the kind of camouflage that would hide the many real drips of stray liquids, and make the constant mess there invisible to customers. Well played, Starbucks, well played indeed.

Foolproof Rolling Pin

Rolling out dough, despite being a favorite activity of toddlers, can be surprisingly challenging for adults just trying to make a pie that won't fall apart. For those who don't trust their kitchen skills, Josesph Joseph has an innovative "Adjustable Rolling Pin": select side disks to set the thickness, then roll away worry-free. Normally I'd say something a little snarky here to wrap it up, but... darn it, this one seems pretty solid! Nice work, JJ.
[via Kinja]

Olympic Matching Luggage Folly

For all the things that could have gone wrong at the Rio Olympics, here's one that nobody expected: the patriotic efforts of Team Great Britain to provide its athletes with dapper matching luggage was perhaps a bit misguided. Windsurfer Nick Dempsey's photo - and expression - nicely sum up the problem. It's another instance of a design tradeoff I've mentioned before: uniformity is aesthetically pleasing, but differentiation is more usable!
[via Deadspin]

Get your beer out of the way of your TV!

It's football season, and that means beer and TV. Unfortunately, you never know what amazing play you'll miss during those few seconds when your glass blocks your view, so you'd better play it safe with the TV Beer Mug. Of course it's ridiculous and you shouldn't buy it (what else would you expect from a site called Perpetual Kid?), but it's still clever enough for a laugh. Cheers!
[via Gizmodo]

Irregular Mr Potato Head fights food waste

Fruits and vegetables often sell based on aesthetic appearance, leaving strange-looking but otherwise fine produce to go unsold. This is a part of the food waste problem, my favorite explanation of which (as usual) comes from John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. Unlikely hero Hasbro has stepped in with an asymmetric version of the classic Mr Potato Head, in a bid to win hearts and minds toward produce with a little wabi-sabi. I'm all for it, and believe that it's possible to appreciate aesthetic beauty where it's appropriate, but be wise enough to set it aside when it's not.
[via Gizmodo]

Swipe the spacebar to move the cursor

Mobile devices have limited touchscreen space, so many interface elements do double duty (or triple, or more): the same button reacts differently when tapped, swiped, long-pressed, or hard-pressed. The trouble is that many of these aren't intuitive: you won't find them unless you're told about them. And so, with a useful feature like Google Keyboard's spacebar which can be swiped for cursor movement, it comes as an "oooh!" moment when someone reveals it. (Just look at the elated comments on that post - and these are tech-savvy people!) The feature is mentioned in the brief novella that is the app description, but who actually reads those? And who knows what other gems might be hiding there...?
[via Lifehacker]

Design & engineering during an active shooting...

In a recent active-shooter crisis at UCLA, many students found themselves in rooms without door locks. It's a grim and terrible situation, but one that can still benefit from quick design and engineering. Pranasha Shrestha shows one example of the lengths some went to keep the doors closed - copied above, complete with hashtags - and Gizmodo cataloged many more. Locks are basic tools, whose presence or absence can be used for good or bad; the ability to improvise a change to the lock situation can be, literally, a lifesaver.