Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A Ndebele art-adorned BMW, "high" lobsters, NASA tech and more

Senate and Public Domain Pros Reach Compromise on Copyright Issues

Content companies (seeking stronger protections and arguably additional profit) and digital rights groups (vouching for access) haven’t been able to find common ground on copyright law for the past decade. Current law protects older songs—in some instances—for up to 140 years. Century-long protections for these songs, in the minds of many, is too long. And, currently a quilted-system of laws covers song copyright from state-to-state. Now, under a new bill passed by the Senate, the process—and most importantly the length of protection—is consistent across the country and across decades. Read more about the bill on Ars Technica.

South African Artist Esther Mahlangu Brings Ndebele Art to BMW Once More

The first woman commissioned to create a BMW art car (back in 1991), South African artist Esther Mahlangu, has seen her relationship with BMW reignite once more. The automaker recently tapped Mahlangu for interior paneling that would further employ her colorful motifs—drawn from the Ndebele tradition of message-laden house painting—something she learned from her grandmother. The result is astounding—a joyful punctuation to the vehicle. And as for what’s next for the prolific 82-year-old artist, she’ll get a studio upgrade thanks to BMW South Africa and feature at Burning in Water‘s booth during the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London this coming October. See the final product and a video detailing its creation at designboom.

NASA Technology Could End Food Waste

“Hyperspectral imaging”—technology that allows someone to scan foods for imperfections, ripeness and contamination—will drastically cut the amount of waste in the food industry. Because photographs of produce can be used to determine problems, physical probing or complete destruction won’t be necessary. Thus, contaminated, unripe or imperfect foods can be spotted without ruining consumable ones—hopefully cutting back on our waste rate, which is at about 33% of all food. This technology has long been used by NASA and other big-budget agencies, but it’s becoming more affordable and widespread. Read more about the technology on CNBC.

Call Me By Your Name Director Tries Interior Design

Call Me By Your Name garnered rave reviews for its acting, directorial qualities and, quite frankly, its completeness. But some of the loveliest moments in the film are anchored by beautiful backdrops and stunning corridors. Director Luca Guadagnino admits that he’d always dreamt of working in interior design—that his sets, with their layered details, were his expression of that dream. Now, he has. “Space is the most important thing that comes to my mind when I analyze things,” Guadagnino says to TThe New York Times Style Magazine. “In cinema, you are an impostor, in a way, because you can always edit afterward and change the story. You cannot do that with a house.” The permanence of it all—and the former uses of the building he worked on, as factories for various products—drew Guadagnino. He knew that with this property “everything important is inside” so his dreams came to fruition under pressure—but, like his films, the home is a layered beauty with  unique subtleties. Read more about the interior at The New York Times.

Maine Restaurant Gets Lobsters Stoned Before Cooking Them

Charlotte Gill, licensed marijuana caregiver and owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Maine, explains that she’s developed a humane way to cook lobster: steam them alive after hotboxing them with marijuana smoke. Gill first experimented on a lobster she named Roscoe, developing a system that would allow the lobster to rest in water while pulling in THC from smoke in the air. Read more about the process and the belief behind it at Mashable.

New Report Finds Four Distinct Personality Types

When one gets past the hurdle of whether or not defined personality types even exist, it becomes easier to embrace a brand new study in the scientific journal Nature Human Behavior. Here, scientists break down humans into four personality types based on “five different major character traits, including neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness,” according to Time.  Co-author Luis Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University, and postdoctoral fellow Martin Gerlach, sorted through 1.5 million answers to four different personality surveys. Participants were all ages and stretched across the globe. Head over to Time to learn more about what each personality type embodies.

Silversea World Cruise 2020 Will Hit All Seven Continents

Once the Silversea World Cruise experience kicks off on 5 January 2020 from Fort Lauderdale, it will stop at 62 ports across all seven continents over 140 days. Aboard the Silver Whisper, 382-people—each paying between $62,000 and $250,000—will touch 32 different countries along the way before concluding in Amsterdam. The experience actually isn’t the world’s longest cruise. That belong to Viking Cruises 245-day extravaganza. However, it’s the only one to touch the seven continents—as well as fold in so many other unique, location-based experiences (from tango in Buenos Aires to a traditional water dance festival in Vanuatu). Read more at Condé Nast Traveler.

Coca-Cola Looks to Marijuana-Derived CBD for its Drinks

The marijuana-derived cannabinoid CBD—already building quite the reputation as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-nausea and anti-seizure aid, in states where it’s being treated as legal—might find a home in Coca-Cola products. According to Bloomberg, “Coca-Cola is exploring the possibility of using CBD as an infusion in ‘wellness beverages.'” Plenty of studies and corroborated results address the benefits of CBD (from weed, not hemp)—and make note of the fact that it does not boast any of the psychoactive properties that THC does. All that’s left to address is national legality. Learn more at Bloomberg.

iRobot’s Latest Roomba Robot Vacuum Empties Itself

With the Roomba i7+, another hassle associated with cleaning has been handled thanks to robotic developments. iRobot’s newest robot vacuum iteration actually empties itself while docked. All detritus makes its way from the Roomba into a bag that’s reportedly good for 30 fillings—and easily lifts out of the dock when full. Another noteworthy change on the model: bristles have been replaced with rubber surfaces on the dual brush system. Learn more, and watch a feature announcement video, on Core77.

A Victory for TSA PreCheck Members

More than five million travelers have enrolled in TSA PreCheck since it launched in 2013. That, alone, hasn’t caused congestion—but TSA’s willingness to shift non-PreCheck travelers into the lane, to ease congestion elsewhere, has lead to longer wait times for those who’ve paid (in time and money) for the pre-screening. Last week, the US House of Representatives passed the PreCheck is PreCheck Act of 2018—which, if it passes the Senate, would mandate only members of the secure traveler program use the service’s lines. Read more about the act’s development at AFAR.

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Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The world's earliest drawing, talking trees, uncensored video games and more

Ise Gropius aka Mrs Bauhaus

Walter Gropius is the name most commonly attached to the wildly influential Bauhaus movement, but his wife Ise was an equally significant creative partner. Oftentimes remembered as a “widow, archivist, interpreter and promoter of his work,” Ise has her own powerful legacy beyond this. As Katy Kelleher writes for Artsy, “From her handmade headdresses to her carefully planted garden to her experiments with photography, Ise’s entire life was her art.” She collaborated with her husband on many projects, wrote essays on fashion and design, and (after Walter died) ran their house like a museum in order to share it with the public. Find out more about “Mrs Bauhaus,” Ise Gropius at Artsy.

The Aboriginal Artist Finally Being Shown in America

John Mawurndjul—an Aboriginal artist living in the remote community of Maningrida—is highly regarded in Australia and across Europe. While his art has garnered praise from critics proclaiming him as “one of our greatest artists of all time,” it (and other work by Indigenous Australians) is not commonly shown in the United States. To rectify that, two Miami-based collectors, Dennis and Debra Scholl, will be giving over 200 pieces from their private collection to three different US museums. “This, folks, is what contemporary art looks like. You might not recognize it. The worldview it comes out of might feel deeply, wondrously foreign. But that is part of what draws the eye to it,” Sebastian Smee of the Washington Post writes. Find out more at the WP.

Frieze Art Fair’s First-Ever Los Angeles Edition

The internationally renowned Frieze Art Fair will make its LA debut next year (14-17 February) and promises to feature a long and impressive list of exhibitors, hosts and a rich music program. The entirety of the event will take place in Paramount Studios, but organizers are working diligently to guarantee attendees know they’re in Los Angeles and not some staged set. “All Frieze fairs are international, but it’s also important that they reflect the city and country that they’re in, so Frieze wanted to ensure a focused and thoughtful selection of galleries,” Frieze LA’s representative tells artnet. With that in mind, 20 of the fair’s 70 galleries are LA-based. Read more on artnet.

It Seems Trees Actually Can “Talk”

“Hub trees”—a name for the oldest and tallest trees with the vastest root systems—have better access to sunlight than other trees and this leads them to create excess sugar. That sugar is distributed through their roots, underground, to fungi. These fungi, that need sugar to survive, spread their threads (known as Mycelium) through the root system of trees to absorb excess sugar. In return, the Mycelium enter the root’s innermost point and exchange water and nutrients for the stolen sugar. This connection, as it spreads just below the surface of the earth, becomes a symbiotic web—used for communication, exchange and crisis management. Dubbed mycorrhiza, this system lets trees “talk.” Learn more about their language on National Geographic.

North America’s Cabin Typology Explored

In the Cabin Fever exhibition, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, dozens of images, artifacts and paraphernalia trace the development of the North American cabin—from the 1600s to present day. Stepping beyond architecture and typology, the exhibit addresses the cabin’s changing role in culture—from simple shelter to idyllic lodging. Curated by California-based writer Jennifer M Volland, the gallery’s senior curator Bruce Grenville, and associate curator Stephanie Rebick, there’s even a full-size prepper’s cabin on site. Read more at Dezeen.

The Slowest Porsche Race Ever

Though Porsche technically never made tractors, Porsche-branded ones still exist—some designed by Ferdinand Porsche were produced under license by a number of different companies. This Porsche stamp is good enough to grant entry into the sixth Rennsport Reunion. Organizers claim this race will be the first of its kind, and the race’s format is rightfully unique, too. Drivers will have to run across the track to start their tractors en route to the finish line; an abbreviated version of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will host the race. This leg of the track will take most tractors 15 minutes to conquer. Read more about the Porsche tractor race at Popular Mechanics.

Moto Guzzi Teases V9 Bobber Variant

The V9 Bobber Sport from Moto Guzzi was previewed with a single image released last week. For 2019, the brand will give “the V9 Bobber the extra edge raining it with top-spec equipment and new color schemes,” as well as a bit of a body change. Vintage ’70s-era styling meets futurism in the Centro Stile Piaggio Group and Piaggio Advanced Design Centre-handled design. Visible upgrades include Ohlins shocks, fork gaiters and a chopped rear fender. The mechanics of the bike will apparently remain the same. Little more is known right now, but you can read more about the teaser on Top Speed.

Researchers May Have Found the Earliest Drawing

In South Africa’s Blombos Cave, researchers have discovered what is believed to be the world’s earliest drawing. The drawing—a crosshatch made on one rock using another—predates other uncovered art by a whopping 30,000 years. Researchers claim, though, that this by no means makes the Blombos Cave people artists, rather it identifies their interest in “graphical designs,” says Chantal Tribolo from Bordeaux Montaigne University. The team admits that what the drawer was trying to convey remains unknown (and it may forever), but this discovery widens our scope of knowledge on early-human communication. Read more about the discovery, and what this drawing could mean on The Atlantic.

The First “100% Uncensored” Game is Finally Playable

Steam, the widely popular and incredibly expansive catalog of PC video games, has approved its first “100% uncensored” game. This comes on the heels of years of turmoil between developers and Steam executives. Representatives for Steam admit that the discrepancy between “adult games” and pornography was halting the genre rollout—they didn’t want people to see explicit content if they didn’t intend to. But Negligee: Love Stories, one of a handful of games that was removed from Steam for content deemed explicit and lewd, will return to the catalog tomorrow, 14 September. Read more about the content conundrum on Ars Technica.

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Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Meditative cattle grazing sounds, a space elevator, the resurgence of silent film and more

Slow Yourself Down to the Sounds of Irish Cattle Grazing

From the sounds of cows being herded up a mountain to leaves crunching underfoot on a countryside walk, BBC’s Radio 3 will soon include programming aimed for meditative relaxation. At present, their (generally older) audience tunes in for jazz, opera and classical music. With the upcoming “slow radio,” the BBC is tapping into, more or less, the success of ASMR—quieter, soothing sounds. Radio 3 controller Alan Davey says it’s a chance “for quiet mindfulness.” Read more at QZ.

Japan’s Elevator From Earth to Low Orbit Space

“For over a century scientists and sci-fi writers alike have dreamed of creating a space elevator to ferry astronauts and payloads between the Earth and low orbit,” Jason Daley of Smithsonian Magazine notes. Now, Japanese scientists will make one small step toward such a futuristic development. Two satellites, roughly four cubic inches, will test elevator motion in space, as they launch with a 33-foot steel cable binding them, and a third cube traveling between. In monitoring the traveling satellite in orbit, researchers gain crucial insight on tethering from Earth into low orbit. Read more about the captivating science behind it all on Smithsonian Magazine.

Silent Films Find an Audience Again

Silent Films at NYC’s Film Forum has been offering newcomers and silent film enthusiasts the opportunity to view classics backdropped with live music for the past 40 years—and Steve Sterner, the program’s piano accompanist, has spearheaded the task for the last 35. But a large portion of the audience is comprised of viewers who have lived less than half that span: for example, “Shane Fleming, 14, of the East Village, is among the young fans driving the silent film renaissance. He started watching silent movies when he was seven,” Mengqi Sun, of the Wall Street Journal, writes. Read more about the renewed popularity of silent film at WSJ.

1,000 Singers in Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Mile-Long Opera on NYC’s High Line

Free tickets were released yesterday for Diller Scofidio + Renfro and David Lang’“The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock,” taking place on NYC’s High Line from 3-7 October. And while the first batch was claimed quickly, we’ve been informed to keep an eye on for other ticket releasesSet along a stretch of the revitalized, above-ground park and featuring 1,000 voices, the opera is meant to be experienced as guests walk along, stepping in and out of range of voices and their stories. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine wrote the libretto—inspired by answers they received when asking New Yorkers “What does 7PM mean to you?” It’s bound to be an experience unlike any other—and there are still opportunities to see it for yourself. While it’s taking place in a public space, tickets are mandatory for attendance.

Fantastical Body Modifications at Simon Huck’s “A. Human” Exhibit

Body modification abounds. In fact, if you live in a bustling metropolis, you don’t have to pay to see lip fillers or botox or any of it. You’re simply bound to cross it. But that’s not what Simon Huck calls to attention in A. Human, an immersive exhibition taking place at 48 Mercer in NYC. Huck’s theatrical production company, Society of Spectacle (SOS), presents a futuristic version of body manipulation—from conch shells embedded in the human heel to a stole of thick human fingers. “We didn’t want to root any of our modifications on the idea of existing insecurities or discomforts,” he explains to Vogue. Rather, he explores the future of fashion—and self-expression. Read more about the experience at Vogue, or pop into the event which runs through 30 September.

One Design Student’s Tear Gun Represents More Than Talent

“The difficulties living as a foreigner in another country lead to high pressures in the study environment. Those pressures had been building for 18 months before finally reaching a crisis point during one of my midterm presentations,” Yi-Fei Chen says in an interview with Dezeen, regarding her time as a graduate student at Design Academy Eindhoven. Chen translated these pent-up emotions into a brass tear gun—a powerful, functional metaphor. The gun mounts a cup below the eye, collects tears, freezes them and then fires them at the pull of a trigger. It represents far more than just stunning design capability—Chen channels her emotion into a display of vulnerability. Read more about her experience on Dezeen.

“Resting Studios” Bank on Nap Breaks Being the New Lunch Breaks

Sleeping studios—like Nap York in NYC, where guests can power nap for $15—might be an answer to productivity slumps during the work day. “They provide an optimized environment for sleep, from cool temperatures to total darkness to quiet,” Christopher Winter MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, explains to the WSJ. The result is brief, high-quality sleep. Such resting locations have already popped up in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Dallas, London and Madrid. They offer everything from ergonomic cocoons to eye masks. Learn more about these centers at the WSJ.

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Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A farewell to Mirka Mora, welcoming the common weed, Kusama-designed skateboards and more

Limited Edition Yayoi Kusama Skateboards are Coming to MoMA’s Online Store

This October, MoMA will release a limited run of skateboards (500 each of two styles) designed by the beloved Yayoi Kusama. The designs Yellow Trees (1994) and Dots Obsession (2018) are classic Kusama—all spots and bright colors. Though this isn’t a first for either party (MoMA has released similar pieces based on works by Warhol and Basquiat, and Kusama made a custom Infinity Mirror Skate Deck in 2017), it is an exciting, hand-painted (Kusama painted over the digital renderings because she felt they needed to be altered a bit) drop for collectors and skaters alike to covet. Read more about the upcoming release on It’s Nice That.

Farewell, Mirka Mora

Beloved French-born, Australia-based artist Mirka Mora has died at 90 years old. After surviving the Holocaust, Mora and her husband arrived in Melbourne in 1951 and helped to pioneer a thriving arts scene in the city and beyond—specifically through her public works and association with the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Her vibrant works can be seen at Flinders St Station, St Kilda Pier, and in her own former restaurant—the Melbourne icon Tolarno. Mora’s colorful and magical work spanned painting, illustration, ceramics and more. In a 2014 interview with the ABC, she said, “Other people like to paint when they’re unhappy, but I’m not because I’m depending on my brain and my brain must be clear and beautiful. I like to be on my own because you have to grab invisible things and make them visible.” Read more at the ABC.

Common Weeds Yield Unexpected Meals and Bouquets

“This is the era of the formerly unwanted plant,” Ligaya Mishan writes. The common weed holds no nutritional or aesthetic value in traditional settings, but adventurous chefs and florists are finding a place for weeds alongside traditionally more grand flowers and ingredients. The switch is being attributed to a broader cultural moment—that our perception of beauty is changing. Weeds are an intrusive species that finds its way into places it isn’t welcome. And their presence—in nature, in bouquets, in dishes—is synonymous with perseverance, diligence, and the adage of the underdog. Danish-born chef Esben Holmboe Bang says, “A wild dandelion is as coveted as a white truffle.” Read more about the common weed’s welcoming party at the New York Times.

Dover Street Market Thrives in Defiance

Dover Street Market, founded by couple, and heads of line Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe, has found success in the retail space by defying the setting, methods, and stocking practices of traditional stores. Their brand coexists in each of Dover Street Market’s six locations with competitors and upstarts alike; streetwear, luxury, and everyday items are placed throughout the store like a bazaar: “Dover Street Market groups most of its single-brand spaces, which make up the majority of the floor plan, by creator, giving each designer permission to dream up site-specific installations. As long as they put up panels to protect walls and conform to strict size requirements, almost anything goes,” Alexandra Marshall of the Wall Street Journal writes. But the idea has become more than just a retail space; the hospitality of Kawakubo and Joffe has helped launch brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Jacquemus, and their fluid business style has remained relentless through trends and market crashes alike. Read more in-depth analysis at the Wall Street Journal.

Autonomous Air-Taxis May Only Be a Few Years Away

SkyRyse, a start-up founded by 28-year-old Mark Groden, is set on bringing an autonomous air-taxi to the market within the next decade. Other, larger companies (like Uber and Volocopter) share the same goal, but SkyRyse is expediting the process by installing autonomous technology into pre-existing aircrafts. Skipping the exhausting process of building out an expensive fleet, their to-market goal is much more attainable—meaning we may see pilot-less planes offering rides like Uber or Lyft in the air sooner than expected. And, the idea is in good hands: former employees from NASA, Space-X, and Boeing have jumped on board to helm the project. Read more at CNBC.

NBA Loosens Rules on Sneakers

In another move in the NBA’s efforts toward being the most player-oriented professional sports league, the association will adopt a free-for-all policy in regard to sneakers. This move will allow players to wear any colored sneakers, whenever they please—moving on from the 51% rule which required the sneaker to be 51% white if the team were home and 51% black if the team were away. Since Nike took the helm on jersey design last year, they have made it a goal to broaden team’s looks and color palettes. So, no longer does a team have to have a white home or a black away jersey—it can be green, or blue, or red, or cream (and the sneakers players wear no longer have to match). Read more about the change on ESPN.

An Onslaught of New Beverages That Defy Existing Categorization

Beyond soda, “a proliferation of beverages that don’t fit within traditional drink categories is creating tough choices for retailers, confusion for shoppers and a challenge for manufacturers,” Jennifer Maloney and Julie Jargon of the Wall Street Journal explain. From Pepsi’s offer to buy SodaStream to drinks like cold-brew coffee and kombucha defying  shopping aisle organization, consumer tastes are changing. The market has a tidal wave of new drinks as beverage giants jostle outside of their comfort zones to embrace a wane in regular sugar drinks and an interest in more experimental flavors and combinations. Read more about the industry’s fluctuations at the Wall Street Journal.

Father Turns Son’s Illustrations Into Crazy, Lifelike Animals

As children seek to replicate what inspires them in the outside world, they seem to capture it through the distortion of imagination—and developing skills. Since 2016, an artist (known only as Tom) has been turning his son’s doodles into lifelike but (obviously) anatomically-incorrect images, much to the delight of others. They’ve been posted to Instagram under Things I Have Drawn and even become a book. See more of these absurd and wonderful creatures, and learn more about the family, at designboom.

The Digital Future of Music Festivals

As new music festivals are announced and older ones fold, one thing remains consistent: attendance numbers are lower and ticket prices are higher than ever. Larger festivals don’t necessarily translate to digital content well: stages are lit for immediate impact, aren’t designed with secondary audiences in mind, and render livestreams and ripped videos almost unwatchable. Pickathon—a 3,500-ticket festival on an 80-acre farm just south of Portland, Oregon—is catering to its in-person and internet audience. The festival is adorned with installations and extraordinary stages built to let the festival’s 500-person production team, led by founder Zale Schoenborn, capture video and images to create a year’s worth of content that they hope to monetize on YouTube and Netflix to balance out their costs and hopefully break even. Read more about Schoenborn’s efforts on The Ringer.

Augmented Reality Camera Systems Give Tank Crews 360-Degree Visibility

From inside the belly of Ukrainian military tanks, VR headsets are granting operational crews real-time views of everything on the outside—no longer limiting pilots to small vision ports. Through multiple infrared cameras, this “Distributed Aperture System,” adds a “See-Through” technology to the notoriously clunky, armored vehicles. As Popular Mechanic notes, the key here is actually consumer electronics, specifically Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality device. And it just so happens to make the outfitting process quite inexpensive. Learn more about how it all works at Popular Mechanics.

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Link About It: This Week’s Picks

An electric E-Type, budget art investing, early species interbreeding and more in our look around the internet

Buy Shares in Masterpieces For $20 For those of us who could never afford a Warhol or Monet for ourselves, there is another option: purchasing a stake in newly acquired, soon-to-be-resold art. On Masterworks, a new platform aimed at opening art up to a broader investing audience, shares begin at $20, with a number of investors entering in with investments in the thousands. Investment value …