New Website and App Helps Set Up Homeless People With Housing

iStock.com/Lana2011
iStock.com/Lana2011

Transitioning from homelessness to affordable housing is rarely a smooth process, but a new platform aims to make it a little easier. As Fast Company reports, Lease Up is an app and website designed to connect landlords to caseworkers looking to place people without homes in apartments in Los Angeles.

Lease Up, a project from the nonprofit People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), resembles a regular real estate search app. Case managers can narrow down results based on factors like bedroom size and proximity to spots like health clinics and grocery stores. On the other end, landlords can list an available apartment, and after it's been inspected, they're paid a holding fee of up to $1100 as an incentive to set it aside for a homeless client. The payment comes from a Los Angeles sales tax recently passed to help fund services for the homeless.

The platform offers a few advantages over the conventional way of doing things. Instead of juggling calls from multiple caseworkers before finding a tenant, Lease Up streamlines the process for landlords, and they can use the website and app as a customer service resource if they have any questions. In addition, listings are updated in real time, which can save time and frustration for case managers looking to find homes for their clients as quickly as possible.

By making it more convenient to list apartments, the team behind Lease Up hopes to get more landlords involved in programs that provide housing to homeless people. They aim to get at least 2000 listings uploaded to their database in 2019.

[h/t Fast Company]

These ASMR-Ready Headphones Promise to Lull You to Sleep

AcousticSheep
AcousticSheep

What do hushed whispers, gently tapping fingernails, and Bob Ross’s voice have in common? They’re all examples of triggers that may cause what’s known as an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), or, as Dictionary.com succinctly explains it, a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation” that can be triggered by soothing stimuli. ASMR has recently been recognized as an effective relaxation technique for those looking to calm their nerves; now, ASMR enthusiasts and novices alike can experience it in the form of a sleep-ready headband.

Upon first glance, SleepPhones: ASMR Edition may look like just a fabric headband, but the device actually features flat speakers tucked into soft, stretchy, eco-friendly material. Unlike regular headphones, SleepPhones can be worn comfortably to bed, even if you sleep on your side, and they come preloaded with content designed to help you relax. They feature eight hours of built-in ASMR content by 16 different ASMR artists (or ASMRtists), including but not limited to tracks with rhythmic tapping and "peaceful Italian whisperings."

A close-up of the SleepPhones speaker technology
AcousticSheep

The speaker components of SleepPhones
AcousticSheep

Using SleepPhones is designed to be a stress-free experience. The speakers have the ability to play for 20 ad-free hours with a mere three-hour charging time in between. There are also zero cords involved, meaning you won’t get all tangled up as you lie down or if you have a tendency to toss and turn at night. The small button located in the back of the headband allows you to start, pause, or skip tracks and control the volume.

For people looking for ways to relax beyond yoga and meditation, ASMR may be the way to go. One study observed that subjects watching ASMR videos not only reported feeling that aforementioned pleasant tingling, but were also found to have reduced heart rates.

You can get a pair of your own SleepPhones on Kickstarter with a pledge of $75 or more. They come in three different sizes with seven colors from which to choose.

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The UK Wants to Use 'Noise Cameras' to Crack Down on Loud Cars and Bikes

iStock/Ales-A
iStock/Ales-A

Snarled traffic creates more than air pollution. Thanks to modified engines, mufflers, and exhaust systems on cars and motorcycles, congested roadways can become symphonies of belching and rattling. Now, the UK government is looking to do something about it.

According to the BBC, the Department for Transport is currently testing “acoustic cameras” that will measure the decibel levels of vehicles on public roads. If a microphone detects a vehicle producing an excessive amount of noise, a camera will photograph the source and the owner will be fined.

What defines excessive? That remains to be seen. The UK enacted a law in 2016 limiting new cars to no more than 74 decibels. It's primarily older cars and modified motorbikes that create noise disturbances and prompt complaints from people living nearby.

The trial equipment will also need to prove it can identify one vehicle's noise emissions from another's and single out cars from other possible sources of sound. If the trial results are promising, it's likely the "acoustic cameras" will be policing UK roads in the near future.

[h/t Jalopnik]

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