Mercedes-Benz’s new mobility concept is autonomous, electric, modular, and ugly

On Monday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision Urbanetic, an all-electric, autonomous concept that the German auto giant thinks will redefine mobility. It’s a sign that smartphone makers aren’t the only ones that occasionally flirt with modular designs. Big automakers are increasingly interested in powertrain platforms — the undercarriage of a car or van — that can accommodate a bunch of different vehicle bodies on top.

The Urbanetic isn’t just one type of vehicle; it’s an oversized minivan that’s capable of seating 12 people for ride-hailing trips or used as a cargo van with two different levels for storage and a total volume of 353 cubic feet. Based on its function, the battery-electric “skateboard” chassis can detach and mate with a…

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Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro rumored to switch from Lightning to USB-C

Aside from slimming down its display bezels and adding Face ID, Apple’s next iPad Pro could be making a major I/O change. As noted by 9to5Mac, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the next high-end version of the tablet will switch over to USB Type-C.

Now, it seems pretty hard to believe that Apple would already start moving away from its own Lightning connector in 2018; my first instinct was that this report simply means they’ll be including a Lightning-to-USB-C cable and USB-C charger in the box. Frankly, that’s what I’d still bet on. We’re getting closer to this device’s announcement and this move to USB-C hasn’t been reported previously. But Kuo specifies that it’s the entire I/O that’s changing, and his reputation speaks for…

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Scientists find stable sea levels during last interglacial

The magnitude and trajectory of sea-level change during the Last Interglacial, more specifically Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e, is uncertain. To date the consensus view has been that sea-level may have been six to nine meters above present sea level. However, scientists are now questioning if those sea level fluctuations are accurate.

All-Out Sexy: Lingerie Steps Out of the Bedroom

Follow the Fashion Week catwalks or pick up any magazine right now, and you’ll notice the lingerie-as-daywear trend. Yep, it’s totally okay to leave the house baring your bra—thanks, Millennials!—if done right.

That tiny caveat is why we wanted to take a minute with Bare Necessities buyer Kelly Himes. She’s sharing her best styling advice, and taking trepidation out of the equation, so you can step out in confidence.

“Silky, lacy pieces used to never see the light of day, and that’s a shame. All that’s changing now. These separates are making their way out, and why not? What’s the point of saving your prettiest underthings for the dark?” says Kelly. “These pieces blur the line between innerwear and outerwear, doubling the use you can get out of them. Of course they’re perfect in the bedroom, but don’t be afraid to incorporate them in with the rest of your closet. It’s a cool, modern way to think about getting dressed.”

The key to not feeling overexposed: balance. Pair something frilly with deconstructed denim; a crop top with a high-waist bottom, fitted with flared.

“Find your own style within each category,” suggests Kelly. “You can go fully lined if you’re not a lingerie lover, or you can go sheer if you’re expert-level. Try it out, mix it up, see the reaction you get and have fun. It’s only fashion.”

This is the intersection of comfort and cutting-edge. The surprisingly versatile teddy is basically a fancy bodysuit that goes beautifully with a more casual contrast, like ripped jeans or a denim miniskirt. Choose color here so the look reads more bold, less strictly boudoir.

Loungewear and athleisure had a moment last year; this is kind of like a dressed-up take on loungewear,” explains Kelly, who suggests wearing an outfit along these lines for daytime—say, going out on the weekend with friends.

Kelly’s Picks:

From left: Frederick’s of Hollywood Dion Lace and Mesh TeddyLepel Charlie Bodysuit and Oh La La Cherie Real Lingerie Suzette Lace Bodysuit  


More structured and detailed than your everyday basic pullover bralette, the sexy bustier-inspired style is all kinds of talented: It can be layered under a sheer top, worn with a cardigan and paired with an of-the-moment high-waist skirt or pant.

“I would reserve this look for a night out,” says Kelly, who also finds it works for a music festival in warmer weather. “Or break it out on date night.”

Kelly’s Picks:

From left: Freya Soiree Lace Longline BraCamio Mio Longline Lace Bra and Frederick’s of Hollywood Luisa Lou Bralette  


Attire with attitude is sort of the opposite of the more touchable, approachable stuff. Think faux-leather, bondage-inspired straps and risqué cutouts. They’re more brazen and tough than delicate and pretty.

“Put these pieces with leggings, jeans—anything basic really,” says Kelly. “Just add a heel or boot to command control of any room.”

Kelly’s Picks:

From left: Ann Summers Gabriela Longline Bra Ann Summers Jazmin Bodysuit and Mapalé Back Detail Bodysuit

The post All-Out Sexy: Lingerie Steps Out of the Bedroom appeared first on Bare it All.

Bordeaux Scores Victories in Battle Against Counterfeit Wines in China (Wine Spectator)

The Chengdu Wine and Food Fair is one of China’s oldest wine-trade shows—more than 100,000 wine importers and buyers filled the exhibition halls at this year’s edition in March. And some were treated to an unusual sight: a phalanx of security guards escorting Bordeaux wine-trade officials to booths, looking for counterfeit wines. The Chengdu festival has been notorious for blatant trade in fake wine in recent years, but Bordeaux’s CIVB wine council had government permission to crack down on counterfeit Bordeaux this time.

The move is part of an encouraging trend in China: Over the past nine months, Bordeaux has scored two major victories in China and, coupled with an anticipated change in e-commerce legislation, there’s a potential turning point in the long, complex war on counterfeiting in this lucrative market.

Last December, the CIVB won the first known criminal conviction defending a Geographical Indication (an appellation rather than a specific brand) in China. In July, the CIVB won another case defending Bordeaux appellations. In both cases—two different cities, two different courts—the culprits received hefty fines and stiff prison sentences.

This is not the first time wine counterfeiters have landed in Chinese prisons, but previous guilty verdicts were handed down for counterfeiting privately-owned trademarked brands, explained CIVB China representative Thomas Jullien.

“Geographical Indications are registered as collective trademarks,” Jullien told Wine Spectator via email. “Prior to CIVB’s two wins, no criminal conviction was ever pronounced in China based on a collective trademark-rights violation—Chinese or foreign [Geographical Indication], wine nor any other category.”

This is big news for wine regions around the world which have suffered the frustration of having little recourse against Chinese counterfeiters usurping their appellation names, and denying them possible sales in the rapidly growing wine market. “It’s really very encouraging for us, as we’ve been working at this for six or seven years—not just these cases but the whole setup,” CIVB president Allan Sichel told Wine Spectator.

China is Bordeaux’s biggest foreign market: Of the 24.2 million cases exported last year, 7 million cases went to mainland China and nearly 1 million cases went to Hong Kong, worth a combined $824.5 million. Quantifying counterfeiting is difficult, but a 2015 government report estimated that there is at least one fake bottle of French wine for every real bottle of French wine sold in China.

Fighting the counterfeits has required the CIVB to develop a strategy, one that is both pragmatic and market-specific. Officials have had to learn Chinese laws and determine what is and isn’t legal, rather than try to change the Chinese judicial system. Second, they have pushed wine producers to register their trademarks in China. Third, as a collective organization, they have worked to protect Geographical Indications, such as Bordeaux and Médoc, under Chinese law.

But it doesn’t stop there. When there’s evidence of counterfeiting, the wine council, or in the case of a private trademark, the importer or grower, must undertake a costly investigation to track down the illicit supply chain, collecting evidence of the crimes to provide to Chinese authorities, often the Administration of Commerce and Industry.

It’s important to demonstrate that the crimes involve more than RMB 150,000 (about $22,000), the threshold for a criminal charge and prison sentence. Below this amount is considered an administrative penalty and the guilty party receives a fine.

Other China-savvy wine professionals have used this method as well. At Shanghai-based Torres China, managing director Alberto Fernandez told Wine Spectator that they rely on intellectual property lawyers and a team of investigators to build the dossiers. Fernandez reports that counterfeiters have shifted from faking wine to legitimately importing foreign wine, then packaging in such a way as to imitate other well-known brands. “The wines are legally imported but they misuse or misappropriate the intellectual property,” said Fernandez. “It takes a lot of work to chase them.”

Fighting counterfeiters is a cat-and-mouse game. A winery or importer must trace the supply chain to find the original seller. But the information on the back label, including the company’s contact details, is usually false. If they do manage to track down the suppliers, the companies—facing fines and forfeiture of their assets as punishment for their crimes—declare bankruptcy. “Then they start under a new company,” said Fernandez. “It’s hide and seek.”

Chinese inspectors have long relied on foreign experts to help them identify fake goods. The CIVB, as well as importers like ASC Fine Wines and Torres China, have invested time in training customs officials and other inspectors to spot fakes.

The CIVB’s victories come in a wider context of Chinese authorities clamping down on economic crimes that deprive the government of tax revenue, and in the case of wine (or food or pharmaceuticals), pose the additional threat of a health risk. “You don’t know what they put in it,” said Fernandez.

Regulation has increased in China under President Xi Jinping. “The big change in the last five years is the amount of regulation in every single thing—everything—restaurants, electronic money, tax controls: This is on a national level,” said Fernandez, who arrived in China in 2000.

Under Xi, the Chinese have upped their regulation of the Internet, and next spring a new law targeting fake goods sold on China’s e-commerce sites is scheduled to go into effect. “As a consumer you will be able to hold the online operator responsible for selling you a fake, so the platform will be responsible,” said Fernandez. “Companies like and will have to work very closely with foreign brands.”

While a great deal of wine is sold directly by the importer to consumers and corporate clients, approximately half of all retail sales are estimated to be online. “Online sales will be one of the main drivers for wine sales,” said Fernandez.

But he remained doubtful that the fake wine trade would dry up. “There are more controls on the exhibitions. You won’t find them there, but you will find them in ballrooms at nearby hotels, some selling fakes, some selling imitations,” he said. “It’s not possible to eradicate fake wine in China. It’s so big and there’s always someone who will try it.”

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