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In September 1954, we compared the kitchen to a wife’s workshop. This was the post-war era, after all. The 1950’s are commonly referred to as America’s favorite decade: a golden age of consumerism, economic prosperity, and conservative social mores. While engrossed in the Cold War, the media propagated how wholesome American housewives could enjoy superior household appliances as a reward for the country’s endorsement of capitalism. In the spirit of domesticity, Popular Science published several features geared toward making kitchens as efficient, snazzy and high-tech as possible.

Groceries were her raw materials, and meals were her craft–and in case you haven’t noticed, there have been a lot of exotically delicious wares on PopSci this week. Although you won’t find many lion steaks or endangered species hors d’oeuvres in our archives, you will encounter several instances where the so-called woman’s workshop overshadows her wares.

After studying the movements of housewives at work, engineers at Cornell University decided that people needed to redo their kitchens’ layouts before stocking them with the latest tech. Speed was key: the faster a wife could move about and make meals, the more time she would have to devote to her other responsibilities. Engineers proposed installing adjustable counters, dishwashers, and refrigerated taps.

While those adjustments sound like pretty standard kitchen upgrades, designs grew more fantastic as home developers sought better ways to promote efficiency. General Motors and Frigidaire contributed their visions of motion-activated kitchens and domed ovens that would bake and frost a birthday cake from a bowl of batter.

In what we’ll argue is a happy ending, Betty Friedan put out a book, and women’s household chores were eased up by husbands rather than by robotic ovens. With the exception of ice-dispensing refrigerators and electric burners, kitchens today function more or less like the ones built sixty years ago, but who what will happen during the next couple of decades? We’re still holding out for an oven that can assemble a pizza using an electro-recipe file card.

Affordable Dishwasher: January 1950

Prior to the 1950’s, dishwashers were found mostly in hotels or large restaurants. The public only really caught on after the use of electrical power became more commonplace, and after William Howard Livens invented a dishwasher small enough for the home in 1937. In 1950, Jerry La Raus developed a dishwasher not only priced at an affordable $169.50, but equipped with hydraulic, rotating jets that could clean the front and backs of dishes. At the time, most household dishwashers only sprayed dishes from the bottom up, which meant that housewives had to wash the dirtier, crustier plates all over again. In anticipation for how La Raus’ improved dishwasher would not only saved time, but would save frustrated couples from a few after-dinner fights, we wrote: “Let this be the story of the husband who got fed up with helping the wife do the dishes–or listening to her talk about the husbands who helped.” Read the full story in “Simplified Dishwasher Solves Husbands’ Problems”

Refrigerated Tap: May 1950

There’s nothing quite like a glass of cold water on a summer’s day. Nowadays, most refrigerators can dispense ice and water, but during the spring of 1950, refrigerated taps were more of a hobbyist’s project than a feature people expected to see in their kitchens in the near future. In this article, we provided two methods people could use to install a faucet on the outside of their refrigerators. The system pictured left draws water from house pipes, and then pumps it through coiled copper tubing inside a water tank in the refrigerator. Read the full story in “Want Ice Water on Tap This Summer?”

Kitchen Darkroom: July 1952

After the war, open-plan, 1 and 1/2 story houses become the norm for families moving out to the suburbs. For amateur photographers, this meant less space to indulge in his hobby. In response to the problem, the General Electric Home Bureau and F-R Corp designed a kitchen could also function as a darkroom. While the combination sounds unlikely, planners took carefully installed a number of “gimmicks” that would let the photographer do his work without interfering with dinner preparations. A heavy green fabric shade could darken the room in broad daylight, while hidden lights beneath the base of a wall cabinet could let photographers replace his wife’s regular light bulb with a safelight bulb. A tall cabinet could double as a broom closet and as a space for drying film. When the brooms are removed, a small electric fan heater at the bottom of the cabinet could work on the film. Read the full story in “Kitchen Doubles as a Photo Darkroom”

Future Mini-Fridge: April 1953

Your Wife’s Dream Come True: September 1953

To improve the efficiency of housework, engineers at Cornell University’s home economics department recorded slow-motion movies of women working in kitchens. By studying the subjects’ movements, researchers were able to adjust features of the kitchen to simplify the subjects’ work. For instance, in Cornell’s woman-friendly kitchen, range burners were staggered so that women could watch the cooking more easily. Adjustable counter tops eliminated the need for stepping stools, and cabinet locations were reorganized so that all equipment would be in easy reach. While the average kitchen was just a hodgepodge of appliances and machinery,Cornell’s kitchen was organized into five work centers: the oven-refrigerator section, mix, sink, range, and serving area. Read the full story in “New Kitchen Built to Fit Your Wife”

Motorama’s Future Kitchen: April 1954

Between 1949 and 1961, General Motors held an auto stage show called Motorama to promote national car sales. Among the Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs was, invariably, something for female audiences: the dream kitchen. GM predicted that in the future, kitchens would hold a ton of ultra-motorized features, including an electric mixers and food blenders that rise out of the counter and motorized cabinets that move up and down. Even a sink in the middle of the room, complete with a retractable oven, seemed a fantastic innovation. Read the full story in “What Would Grandma Say?…If Her Kitchen Had”

Kitchen Cabinets: September 1954

In the same vein as Cornell’s research, “modern kitchen studies” strove to speed up work in the kitchen via technology and inventive design. New range and built-in ovens were small enough to fit in tight spaces, while supply areas are clustered around work centers. Although nowadays we take it for granted that kitchens are filled with drawers and twin cabinets, back in the 1950’s, storage units designed to maximize workspace and minimize dashing around were a big deal. For our readers who happened to enjoy shop work, we provided instructions on building the cabinets pictured left. Read the full story in “How to Build Good Kitchen Cabinets”

Button-Operated Kitchen: July 1955

In the future, women won’t need to reach for the spice rack, crank up the oven, or remove the toaster from storage — the kitchen will do all the work for them. This model kitchen was completely button-operated: by punching a few buttons, you could summon the coffee maker beneath hidden panels, and you could make burners start cooking without having to manually light them up. Read the full story in “Buttons, Buttons”

Kitchen of Tomorrow: November 1955

In 1955, General Motors featured another Kitchen of Tomorrow at its Motorama show, and this model contains elements that have yet to become a part of today’s kitchens. Most notably, you can open the refrigerator or answer the phone simply by waving your hand around. A tray hanging from the ceiling transports heavy appliances and ingredients. To the far left is the housewife’s intercom center, which uses a rotating TV to let her know what’s going on in other parts of the house. Read the full story in “Dream Kitchen–No Bend, No Stretch–Almost Runs Itself”

Frigidaire’s Dream Kitchen: March 1956

Frigidaire and General Motors’ 1956 Kitchen of Tomorrow is the most iconic of its models, having been immortalized in a 10-minute musical film titled “Design For Dreaming.” In this kitchen, an IBM-manufactured card containing a recipe file would not only display the picture of your dish on a screen, but it would dispense the ingredients and start preparing the dish for you. The clear domed oven, which you can see atop the counter pictured left, could roast a turkey within 45 minutes. If you stuck a bowl of batter in there, a birthday cake would emerge — frosting, candles, and all. In the back corner, a rotating storage system would hold dry, refrigerated, and frozen goods. Electronically-controlled cabinets would use electric motors to rise and lower themselves. If all those appliances weren’t enough, a laundry machine would automatically start washing clothes when the load reached 8 lbs. Read the full story in “A Kitchen to Dream About and Maybe Get–Tomorrow”

One-Armed Faucets: November 1958

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Archive Gallery: A Century Of Progress In Renewable Energy

Although the issues of climate change and crude oil have received plenty of media coverage over the past decade, scientists have been working for over a century to develop technology capable of replacing conventional fuels with renewable energy.

You could even argue that society has attempted to harness renewable energy since ancient times. Over the past 138 years, Popular Science has seen engineers adapt Dutch windmills into wind turbines, water mills into commercial tidal power facilities, and Roman hot spring-powered underfloor heating systems into geothermal electric power plants.

Going by the illustrations in our archives, however, most early prototypes of those facilities only vaguely resemble today’s wind farms and solar power plants.

There were plenty of things engineers got wrong, of course: for instance, windmills atop the Empire State Building would not meet Manhattan’s power demands, and marine kelp farms would not immediately be recognized as a profitable source of clean fuel. But if there’s one thing everyone did right, it was acknowledging that the transition from conventional fuels to renewable energy would require an extraordinary amount of vision and risk-taking. Experimental projects would be expensive — the Putnam-Smith wind turbine, for example, cost its manufacturer more than US$1.25 million dollars, and the structure was dismantled after operating for only four years.

Despite the setbacks, engineers have only developed more efficient ways to harness our natural resources. The Putnam-Smith wind turbine might have closed, but just last month, the world’s largest offshore wind farm opened in Great Britain.

Artificial Sun: October 1925

Long before people began debating whether conventional fission power counted as a form of sustainable energy, scientists eagerly anticipated the abundance of usable energy the process would generate once they achieved it. From his study of cathode rays and particle theory, French physicist and future Nobel prize winner Jean Baptiste Perrin grew interested in crafting a machine that would use atomic disintegration to deliver 10 million volts of direct current. Theoretically, his “sun-producing plant of the future” would produce a permanent energy source that would replace coal and oil. We speculated that atomic disintegration, once achieved, would usher in an era of cheap power, “of power concentrated into such a small space that the contests of a medicine vial would drive the airship Los Angeles over the North Pole and back to her hangar.”

Giant Steam Turbine: October 1928

By the late 1920’s, scientists had begun considering the ocean as a viable power source. French engineer Georges Claude, inventor of the neon lamp, was also the first person to build prototype ocean thermal energy conversion facilities. Like today’s machines, his turbines worked by drawing power from temperature differences between deep and shallow waters. In 1928, he reportedly generated forty kilowatts of electric power from the Meuse River’s natural heat. Following his success at that location, Claude proposed building larger stations and commercial plants in tropical waters. The image featured here shows an artist’s conception for Claude’s giant steam turbine, which would not only supply electricity, but would pipe cold water to surrounding areas. Between 1930 and 1935, Claude constructed two plants in Cuba and Brazil, but both were destroyed by storms before they could be used profitably.

Solar Power Plant: November 1929

Although American physicist Robert H. Goddard, who built the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket, is well-known for his contributions to spaceflight, he also patented a motor that could convert sunlight into usable energy. A large aluminum mirror would reflect the sun and focus its heat on a steam-generating unit.

Skyscraper Windmills: June 1932

For decades, we’ve been trying to figure out the most efficient way to extract energy from high winds. Hermann Honnef, a German structural engineer, proposed using giant windmills atop skyscrapers to provide cities with cheap electric power. Using the Empire State Building as an example, Honnef designed a two-wheeled, 12-story tower equipped with electric dynamos in the hubs to generate a current. Wheels would have a diameter spanning two city blocks and would rotate seven and a half times per minute, or at 142 miles per hour. According to his calculations, a three-wheeled skyscraper windmill could provide electricity to a city with a population of 100,000.

Polar Windmills: March 1936

Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine: July 1941

In the late 1930’s, engineer Palmer Putman teamed up with General Electric and the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation to develop an experimental turbine. The S. Morgan Smith Company agreed to manufacture the machine, which ended up becoming the world’s first megawatt-sized wind turbine. While the final version of the Smith-Putnam wind turbine looked nothing like the one pictured left, artists couldn’t help drawing inspiration from the war to imagine this torpedo-like structure towering over rustic Vermont. The actual turbine used a synchronous generator provided by General Electric, which produced 2,400 volts per 60 cycles. After its construction in late 1941, the Smith Putnam wind turbine ran for 1100 hours before one of its blades failed. The turbine was dismantled in 1946 after the S. Morgan Smith company decided that the project with not profitable.

Tidal Power: June 1965

For the past few decades, engineers have struggled to develop technology that can efficiently convert tidal power in electricity. After 40 years of planning, the Rance Tidal Power Station, located in France, opened in 1966 as the world’s first tidal power facility. We reported that the Rance power plant would conquer the typical issues, such as tides’ reliance on lunar rhythms, by creating artificial tides running at 24-hour intervals. This required creating two dams and draining the are around the power station. Today, the Rance plant generates 240 megawatts from its 24 turbines, thus satisfying 0.012 percent of power needs in France. Read the full story in “Tides to Drive Mammoth Power Plant”

Sea Water Energy: March 1971

Building a tidal power plant is often easier said than done. Dr. O.A. Roels and Robert Gerard, researchers at Columbia Univesity’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, devised a machine that would use warm wind and water to heat a boiler filled with fluorocarbon refrigerant, which boils at around room temperature. The vapor rising from the refrigerant would turn the turbine generator, while cold water pumped from below 2,500 feet would turn the steam back into a liquid. The process would generate enough power to service a small community. Although Roels and Gerard wanted to build their plant off the coast of St. Croix, the project never quite moved beyond the planning stage.

Geothermal Energy: November 1971

The Earth may contain abundant geothermal resources, but the process of obtaining them and converting them into electricity is challenging and expensive. In the early 1970’s, scientists studied hot water and hot dry-rock deposits as sources of geothermal power. Unfortunately, the high salt concentration of many reservoirs can easily corrode machinery, rendering it useless. We talked to researchers at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory about a possible method for producing electricity from even the most concentrated brines. A mechanism called the “total-flow impulse turbine” would spray a mixture of brine and vapor against the turbine vanes to power the generator.

Marine Farms: July 1975

When it comes to sustainable energy, the ocean isn’t just a source of tidal power. According to Dr. Richard Bogan, from the National Science Foundation, the sea could also use giant kelp farms to convert energy from solar photons into clean fuel. Of course, there were a couple of problems: first, the ocean is so deep that kelp can’t grow all the way from the bottom to the top, and secondly, an open ocean kelp farms needs to float on the ocean’s surface to absorb solar photons, but that surface is largely devoid of nutrients. Dr. Harold Wllcox, from the Naval Undersea Center in San Diego, proposed anchoring the kelp onto a nutrient-distributing raft. A wave-actuated pump would also transport nutrient-rich cold water to the plants, which would ideally produce methane and petroleum-like chemicals.

Tornado Turbine: January 1977

Remember Hermann Honnef’s skyscraper windmills? In 1977, James Yen, a fluid-dynamics engineer at Grumman Aerospace Corp., began researching turbine towers located in the heart of major metropolises. Theoretically, his design would convert regular winds into mini tornadoes capable of generating electricity. Here’s how it would work: incoming wind would enter the turbine through adjustable vertical vanes. As the wind spirals inward, its velocity increases, creating a low-pressure vortex. Meanwhile, a turbine within the tower would would move air arriving through additional inlets at the tower’s base. The pressure difference between the air at the tower’s bottom and in the vortex created at its top would allow the turbine to generate electricity.

Amazon Prime Day Starts Tomorrow: How Do You Make The Most Of It?

What is Amazon Prime Day?

In 2024, Amazon decided to launch its own special sales event for members of its Amazon Prime subscription service to help celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary. It called the event, not surprisingly, Amazon Prime Day. During the event, the online retailer slashed prices on tons of items. It was a huge success, and every year since that time, the retailer has held the event on a yearly basis.

Amazon Prime Day is officially set for Jully 11 and July 12, 2023. Deals will start at 3 AM EST and run for 48 hours. 

Although we have no official information, it’s likely Amazon Prime Day 2023 will be offered in the same regions as last year:

Austria

Australia

Belgium

Brazil

Canada

China

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

Luxembourg

Mexico

The Netherlands

Portugal

Singapore

Spain

UK

Poland

Sweden

United States

What kinds of deals can we expect from Amazon Prime Day 2023?

The retailer has yet to announce its Prime Day 2023 discounts. That said, history makes it easy for us to make some guesses. You can likely expect special discounts on products from companies like Beats, iRobot, Sony, Bose, and SharkNinja. 

Amazon will also be selling a lot of its own products with big price cuts during the event. That will almost certainly include many popular electronic devices, including its Kindle e-readers,  its Echo smart speakers, its Fire tablets, and its Fire TV sticks and smart televisions. You can expect discounts of 50% or more during the time period.

In addition, other third-party sellers will likely have huge discounts on many of their products as well. That means you can likely save big on purchases like smart TVs, smartphones, clothes, cameras, laptops, desktop PCs, game consoles, and much more. Also, look for discounted digital prices on movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime Video, along with price cuts on Prime Video channel subscriptions.

In addition to the deals that will be available throughout the event, you can also expect to see special time-sensitive discounts as part of the Amazon Prime Day deals. That includes Gold Box deals that last 24 hours or Lightning Deals that usually last just a few hours.

Will other online retailers try to compete during Amazon Prime Day 2023?

You bet they will. In the past, retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others have either matched or beaten the discounts for many major products offered by Amazon during the event. We expect that to happen this year as well. In other words, even if you don’t have a Prime membership, there will still be ways to save big on many products during Amazon Prime Day 2023.

You can access Alexa-supported devices to add Amazon products to your Wish List, Cart, or Save for Later. You can then set up Alexa so you can be notified if they get a Prime Day discount.

Prime members can get a 20% discount on select everyday essentials at Amazon Fresh stores across the US starting June 29.

Yes. July 1 through July 29, Prime members who get approved for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card will get a $200 Amazon Gift Card instantly.

That’s all you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2023. Again, we will update this article when we have more information. When the event actually does launch, we will be spotlighting the best discounts and deals that will be available during Prime Day 2023.

Mad Men Director Comes To Com Tomorrow

Mad Men Director Comes to COM Tomorrow Jennifer Getzinger (COM’90) to speak at Cinematheque

Jennifer Getzinger (COM’90) will screen an episode of Mad Men and speak at COM’s Cinematheque tomorrow night. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Getzinger

Fans of AMC’s critically acclaimed series Mad Men may well recall an episode from 2010 titled “The Suitcase.” In the episode, Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) ditches her birthday dinner with her family and boyfriend to help her boss, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), put together a last-minute ad campaign for a suitcase company. After pulling an all-nighter, the two find they have a newfound respect for each other. Hamm and Moss both submitted “The Suitcase” to the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for consideration for a 2011 Emmy Award, and both were nominated for the episode. Time magazine called the episode a “knockout,” and CNN said it had some of “the most powerful scenes” of the entire series.

“The Suitcase” also earned director Jennifer Getzinger her second Directors Guild of America nomination.

“It was funny how it came along, because oftentimes you don’t plan for something like that, and you don’t know what type of attention it’s going to get,” says Getzinger (COM’90). “When I read the script, I knew it was getting to the heart of things that were going on for a couple of seasons. But everyone on the show was shocked by the amount of attention it got and the response to it, because it is a small, intimate, really emotional episode. I felt lucky to be part of an amazing script, and it was definitely a joy to do.”

After studying broadcasting and film at BU, Getzinger began her career as a script supervisor on films, among them Requiem for a Dream and The Devil Wears Prada, and television series, including Strangers with Candy, Sex & the City, and The Sopranos. She first started working at Mad Men as a script supervisor, but has gone on to direct seven episodes. In addition to being nominated for “The Suitcase,” the DGA nominated her for direction of a 2009 episode titled “The Gypsy and the Hobo.” She has also directed episodes of AMC’s The Killing, TNT’s Men of a Certain Age, starring Ray Romano, Showtime’s The Big C, starring Laura Linney, HBO’s Hung, and ABC’s long-running series Desperate Housewives. Getzinger was selected to participate in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, an experience she says helped her earn a chance at directing Mad Men.

Getzinger is this week’s guest at the BU Cinematheque series, a College of Communication program that brings accomplished filmmakers to campus to screen and discuss their work.

BU Today: What does a script supervisor do?

Getzinger: A script supervisor is a continuity person. Back in the old days, the position was called a script girl, because for some reason it’s often women who do this job. It’s basically the person who sits right by the director and is in charge of tracking the script. That person makes sure that the actors say all of their lines correctly, keeps track of what scenes are being shot, writes notes for the directors and the editors. You’re also making sure that the actors are matching their continuity: that is, if they pick up a glass with their left hand, they do that same thing in all of the following shots, to help with editing.

How did you transition from supervising scripts to directing?

As an aspiring director, what I found really helpful about being a script supervisor was learning about what all of the shots are, how you put these scenes together. You discuss the shot list with the director and how you get all of the pieces you need. That was always very helpful to me and really interesting, because, of course, it is not a science and every director has a different approach to how to shoot a scene. It’s a good way to learn different styles of directing.

Some people shadow a director, following them around through the entire process to learn how they do things. Being a script supervisor, I got to shadow directors my entire career. I got to really learn how they approach scenes. Even though it’s not officially a part of your job, you end up discussing an actor’s performance.

Who are some of your favorite female directors?

Kathryn Bigelow, who directed The Hurt Locker, is a really amazing director. She does tough, gritty films, which I really admire, and Mimi Leder [Emmy award winning director of ER and the films Deep Impact and The Peacemaker], but I also admire directors who will do things a little more simply. I always admired Nancy Savoca [television movie If These Walls Could Talk], who did much smaller, independent films, Nicole Holofcener [Sex & the City, Six Feet Under, Parks & Recreation], and Jane Campion [Academy Award winner for best screenplay for The Piano]. Filmmakers like that are incredibly thoughtful, and in a way, uniquely female, directors. They make films that men couldn’t have made.

How did you get involved with Mad Men?

I script supervised the pilot, and it was really a perfect storm of things happening, because it was right after I had done the directing workshop for women at AFI. I literally had in my bag DVDs of the short film I had made, so I could talk about how I had just done this amazing directing program, and I gave my DVDs to people on the show and the AMC executives.

When you first get a script to direct a show, how do you get ready? What’s your process?

The process can be a little different on every show, just because there are different requirements. You often get the script in different stages. Part of the reality of doing this is that it is a very intense process and everyone’s working very hard, but it doesn’t always come out as smoothly as you want it to. Sometimes you have a very rough draft, sometimes a draft that’s very far along. A lot of it is really familiarizing yourself with the show in general: the tone, the style—the camera style and acting style. When I first get a script, I read it to get a general sense of the plot, decide where I think things are working, where they might have trouble, because if there are parts you’re worried about, you want to mention them right away. Then it’s a process of going through and slowly breaking the script down to see what the different dramatic beats are, the different character arcs. Oftentimes I’ll read it through a couple of times from all of the different characters’ points of view to see what happens to them in that episode.

Then you have the stages where you are visualizing it, when you go to the sets to walk around and look at the reality of the physical space. That’s when you start putting it up on its feet. One of the trickier things about TV is that you don’t get a rehearsal. A lot of the prep you’re doing is kind of guessing what the actors might do or thinking of notes and ideas and the blocking you can give them to make sense of the scene and plan your shots around that. You’re not able to figure it out in a really concrete way with the actors. You have to be ready to think on your feet if something isn’t working.

How did BU prepare you for your career?

Before I went to BU, I was interested in writing. In college it became clearer that I was leaning towards directing. I realized that through watching films, and being exposed to films I had never seen before, films by John Cassavetes, for instance. I was in complete awe of these films that I had known nothing about. It made me realize that there is so much that can be done by a director in storytelling, like how you reveal certain things or how you develop a character. I still write a bit, but that was when I felt I wanted my focus to be on directing. Being able to do the hands-on stuff, like super-8 classes and a 16-millimeter class—having that hands-on experience was good and made how you make a film and put it together more of a reality.

What’s it like to direct so subtle and understated a show as Mad Men?

A lot of the subtlety is in the performances. Obviously it’s there in the writing as well. The way things are done on Mad Men would be different on other shows. Even in the camera work, we just never hit anything too hard. We want to let things play out in a little more natural way, in a little more subtle way. It’s hard to describe, but there’s that line of making sure something lands and plays and that it’s not too over the top. That’s the style on Mad Men, and it’s the style I’ve always been drawn to. It’s a great place for me to start as a director because it helps inform a lot of things, even other shows that I do. It’s always better to be able to read the subtleties, even if it’s a comedy, or something that’s going to go a bit bigger. It still has to be grounded in reality. Working with the actors and material on Mad Men has really trained me to pay attention to that.

Can you give any teasers about the season premiere, airing March 25?

I am definitely sworn to secrecy about the season premiere. Just last week they announced that it’s a two-hour premiere, which I directed, and even that was something I couldn’t tell anyone until it was officially announced. It’s great, amazing, exciting—I think hopefully it’s going to be all everyone has been waiting for and more. I think that having a two-hour season premiere is a great way to come back after being away for so long.

The Mad Men episode “The Suitcase” will be screened tomorrow night, Friday, February 3, at 7 p.m., followed by a talk by Jennifer Getzinger, in COM 101, 640 Commonwealth Ave. The event, part of the BU Cinematheque series, is free and open to the public.

Season five of Mad Men will premiere on Sunday, March 25 on AMC.

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The Weekly Authority Edition #169

🎮 This week I’ve mostly been ooh-ing and aah-ing at just how gorgeous Kena: Bridge of Spirits is on PS5. It’s difficult, too, or maybe my reactions aren’t fast enough!

Popular news this week

Supplied by MediaTek

MediaTek:

MediaTek revealed the Dimensity 9000 chip, taking aim at the Snapdragon 800 series, the first announced chip to be produced on TSMC’s 4nm process — It runs 5G without mmWave, with Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. Also, it’s the first Armv9 SoC with Cortex-X2, A710, and A510 CPUs, there’s a new Mali-G710 GPU, and it has LPDDR5X compatibility.

Reviews

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Weekly Wonder

Move over Uber and DoorDash: there are new delivery kids on the block. The latest ultrafast delivery services promise groceries on your doorstep in 15 minutes or less, and they’re expanding fast. Companies like Jokr, Gorillas, Buyk, GoPuff, and Getir are beating the delivery services at their own game, with Uber rising to the challenge and promising superfast delivery services, starting in France.

But which companies are leading the pack, how are they fulfilling their promises, and what does this mean for the future of neighborhood stores and bodegas?

Store to door in under 15 minutes

Here are just a few of the hottest ultrafast delivery services around, coming soon to (or already in) a city near you:

GoPuff

This Philly-based ultrafast delivery startup is the brainchild of Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, who dreamt up the business idea while studying at Drexel University in Philadephia. They started small, delivering snacks and essential items from the back of their van around campus. Eight years later and they’re one of the biggest ultrafast delivery companies around, with over 500 micro-fulfillment centers delivering to over 1,000 cities.

Gorillas

Debuting in Brooklyn in May 2023, Gorillas bagged almost $1 million in funding in October, and promises to deliver from a selection of over 2,000 essential items in ten minutes or less by bike. There’s no minimum order and delivery costs just $1.80. The company has its roots in Europe though, operating in Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands before hitting New York.

Jokr

Launched in June 2023 in select areas of New York City, Jokr has raised $170 million in investment to date. Their launch came hot on the heels of May’s Gorillas debut, and they promise delivery in 15 minutes or less via bicycle — great news for the environment — with no minimum spend and free delivery. As for profitability? The company says it will worry about that later, but had lost $73.6 million on just $1.7 million in revenue as at the end of July.

Buyk

Buyk (pronounced “bike”) launched in Manhattan in the Fall, delivering online and mobile orders in 15 minutes or less, with no delivery fee and no minimum spend. Founders Rodion Shishkov and Slava Bocharov previously started Samokat, a European ultrafast delivery service. Buyk plans to expand across all New York boroughs by the end of the year, expanding to larger metro areas across the US in 2023.

Getir

Turkish grocery delivery business Getir debuted in Chicago in November 2023, offering delivery of around 2,000 popular items in ten minutes or less on scooters. The company’s opening a storefront in Andersonville and will operate seven “dark stores” that act as fulfillment centers in the city. Getir was actually founded in 2024 in Istanbul, later expanding to nine countries, the USA being the most recent. By the end of 2023, the company aims to be live in New York City and Boston.

Go Grocer

Go Grocer went live in Chicago around the same time as Getir, differing from some of the other apps on this list by having 16 brick and mortar stores that serve walk-in customers. These stores also act as micro-fulfillment centers, promising delivery of over 4,000 popular products in 15 minutes or less.

How does ultrafast delivery work?

In order to keep their promises, these companies don’t get their products from traditional stores. Instead, they run “dark stores” or micro-fulfillment centers in key delivery areas. Picking and packing are automated by robots, taking place in a space too small for human workers. This isn’t new: companies like Walmart already use these centers in some locations.

Typically these micro-fulfillment centers stock between 1,500 to 5,000 products, far fewer than the typical 35,000 products in your average grocery store.

Most of these companies — but not all — hire full-time workers rather than relying on the gig economy (more on that shortly). This costs them more but means employees get hourly wages, benefits, and tips — and when the company expands, they’ll have enough staff on hand to cover shifts.

Delivery fees are kept low, or in the case of some companies like Jokr, free, and many have no minimum order. Many also operate 24/7, so if you have a late-night ice cream craving, you know who to call…

Is ultrafast delivery really so great?

This speedy delivery is changing the way we shop — less planning ahead, more “get it now” mentality, but could it have consequences for our neighborhoods?

Skeptics worry that micro-fulfillment centers could eventually displace neighborhood bodegas and grocery stores.

And these companies may never reach your neighborhood if you don’t live in a densely populated major city — they’re likely to be hard to implement in smaller cities or rural areas, as most deliveries are by bike or scooter.

Back in July, JP Morgan warned that ultra-fast delivery startups were “a major threat to the grocery landscape,” putting pressure on other online delivery services and with the power to “potentially change significantly” our grocery shopping behavior.

Vice asked what the point of 15-minute grocery delivery was, particularly when most start-ups operate in dense urban neighborhoods where the nearest grocery store is never more than a ten-minute walk away.

What about environmental impact?

Despite the negatives, it seems there could be environmental benefits to ultrafast delivery services:

According to the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College, 40% of food in the US is wasted.

Jokr founder Ralf Wenzel says the company aims to use “proprietary data and machine-learning algorithms” to only order and stock what customers want, when they want it. Of course, that’s not so different from the analytics used by most major grocery stores.

Jokr also tries to use local brands as much as possible, reducing the distance goods have to travel, as well as cutting out wholesalers and middlemen, producing food from farms and small businesses directly wherever possible, reducing its carbon footprint. These supply chain changes could have a significant impact.

Whatever your thoughts on ultrafast delivery services, and whether you use them or not, retail analysts say they could struggle to survive financially if they continue delivering for free or at low cost on smaller orders. We guess time will tell if they catch on everywhere or fizzle out completely.

Tech Calendar

November 24-30: Steam Autumn Sale

November 26-29: Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend

November 30-December 2: Snapdragon Tech Summit (Snapdragon 888 successor?)

December 6-8: RSC-V Summit

December 14: Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion (December 3 for pre-orders)

Tech Tweet of the Week

Someone discovered this snail and chose to name it so chúng tôi

— Rob N Roll (@thegallowboob) November 17, 2023

Something else we learned this week from The Hustle: Did you know Betty Crocker was never a real person?

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Tesla Motors Releases Teaser Shots Of Model S Sedan

Top speed of the Tesla Model S, formerly code-named White Star, will be limited to 120 mph. Three battery pack options will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles on a charge, which can be handled in 3 to 5 hours by 120V or 240V outlets, or in 45 minutes by way of a 480V supply. Of course, Tesla points out, you could just swap out the battery in 5 minutes. Tesla Motors

Tesla’s new teaser photos may be the first ones showing the new Model S sedan in mid-flog, but don’t expect to catch one along the coast highway just yet. Tesla says the first deliveries of the $57,400 all-electric sedan (with a $7,500 government rebate check in hand, the price will drop just below 50 large) will commence in 2011. The company says they’ve already taken more than 1,000 pre-orders, along with deposits of $5,000 a pop. Here’s to you, early adopters.

[via egmCarTech]

Tesla Model S, Driving

Silicon Valley’s Tesla Motors released new photos this week of its upcoming Model S all-electric sedan. Tesla’s chief designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, is behind the wheel.

Tesla Model S, Full Frontal

Tesla Model S, Side View

Top speed of the Tesla Model S, formerly code-named White Star, will be limited to 120 mph. Three battery pack options will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles on a charge, which can be handled in 3 to 5 hours by 120V or 240V outlets, or in 45 minutes by way of a 480V supply. Of course, Tesla points out, you could just swap out the battery in 5 minutes.

Tesla Model S, Low Angle

Tesla officials said earlier this year the Model S will arrive in 2011 at a base price of $57,400, or $49,900 after $7,500 in government rebates.

Tesla Model S, Front

Tesla unveiled the Model S prototype this past March at the company’s design studio inside the SpaceX rocket factory, a space-exploration start-up founded by Tesla (and PayPal) founder Elon Musk, in Hawthorne, Calif.

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