The 'Diverging Diamond' Could Be Improving Traffic on a Road Near You Soon

iStock
iStock

No driver loves a left turn against traffic. They’re just a pain, especially if you’re trying to get on a highway and have no other options but to wait around hoping for a break in the stream of cars. But the left turn to a highway on-ramp may soon be a thing of the past, according to CityLab. More and more areas are embracing divergent diamond interchanges, an odd-looking road configuration that makes funneling traffic onto expressways far safer.

The diverging diamond interchange involves criss-crossing lanes that mean no more turns against traffic. Instead, traffic flows around medians and merges together in ribbons that allow you to navigate in any direction, peeling off to merge onto the on-ramp rather than making left-hand turns at a right angle. As a result, traffic doesn’t have to stop as often—sort of like with a roundabout design. Pedestrians and bikes flow the same way, separated from traffic, meaning they, too, have to stop less often. Like so:

The idea was first proposed in the early 2000s by a transportation graduate student, but it's only now beginning to catch on in North America. There are almost 90 locations throughout the U.S. where they’re either in use or in the works. The city of Calgary just opened one, as did Sarasota, Florida, and Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Though it takes some getting used to, the design has real safety impacts. In the first five years of the first one of these interchanges in the U.S.—in Springfield, Missouri—left turn-related crashes were totally eliminated, and total car crashes were reduced by 46 percent. The Department of Transportation also found that these road designs significantly reduce the cost of interchanges, since they require fewer lanes to handle heavy flows of traffic.

Cheap and safe? Sounds like you’ll be seeing a lot more diverging diamonds on your road trips.

[h/t CityLab]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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