Best of CH 2015: Link About It

From weird-tasting water to the origins of the "Jazz" paper cup design, the headlines that caught our eye in 2015

If there’s anything more fleeting than a real-time occurrence, it’s an event that takes place on internet time. This year, thousands on thousands of headlines streamed through our digital feeds—some so bizarre, enlightening or innovative that we were compelled to share them through Link About It, our daily look at the web. In 2015, our readers were curious to dig deeper into familiar phenomena, from discovering the science behind stale-tasting water to finding new ways to tie shoes, why dogs can’t recognize you on FaceTime and the origins of that scribbly paper cup design from the ‘90s. So if you were outpaced by the internet, catch up on the past year’s most-read Link About It posts below.

1. Australian Model Reveals the Ugly Side of Instagram Fame

Australian model Essena O’Neill built a massive social media following with her seemingly effortless selfies, but after accruing over half a million Instagram followers, the 16-year-old called it quits, revealing to her fans the ugly cost of Instagram fame—including calorie-counting, endless exercising and obsessing over body image. She’s deleted or re-captioned many of her photos, explaining what’s really going on behind the shot. Under one of her photos she explains, “NOT REAL LIFE—I didn’t pay for the dress, took countless photos trying to look hot for Instagram, the formal made me feel incredibly alone.”

2. Why Water Tastes Weird After Leaving It Out

If you’ve ever left a glass of water out overnight, you’ve probably noticed the weird way it tastes in the morning. According to Discovery News, there’s a scientific explanation for the new flavor. As water interacts with the air, it absorbs small amounts of carbon dioxide and forms minuscule portions of carbonic acid. This newly formed acid lowers the water’s pH, making it more acidic and slightly changing the way it tastes. While Discovery does not recommend leaving water out for too long—as it can host mosquito larvae and grow algae—one night won’t hurt.

3. You’re Using Emoji All Wrong

According to Unicode—the people that set the standards for emoticons around the world—we’ve been using many of our favorite Emoji all wrong. In a new proposal, Unicode suggests a few changes that may help people better understand what exactly each Emoji is trying to represent. For example, if you’re an avid user of the face blowing steam from its nostrils to illustrate your anger, you’re doing it wrong. That face is actually called the “Face With Look of Triumph” and is meant to convey pride and winning. Another is the “Weary Cat Face” that many mistake for a look of shock and horror. Read more about the proposed changes on Wired.

4. A Look at the World’s Most Expensive Mansion

The world’s most expensive mansion is currently being built in Bel Air. When completed in 2017, the 100,000-square-foot home will require a cool $500 million to call it home, but, as Details points out, that price might actually be a bargain. Aside from all the other amenities that luxurious giga-mansions offer, the new home will come equipped with five swimming pools, a moat, sky deck, casino, nightclub and jellyfish-tank walls. Head to Details to see photos of the under-construction space and to find out how you can get your hands on it.

5. Data Reveals the Most Timeless Songs

Polygraph, a publication that prides itself upon “thoughtful, data-driven storytelling” has complied a remarkable investigative report on which songs, through the decades, are truly timeless. By tracking data from hit songs’ release years to their current play counts on Spotify, Polygraph was able to show that Biggie beats Tupac when it comes to rap, Nirvana’s ’Smells Like Teen Spirit’ has only gained more popularity over the years and that, without a doubt, ‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet is a timeless classic. Visit Polygraph for the full report.

6. New Photos of Studio 54

During the disco craze of the ‘70s, photographer Hasse Persson spent many of his nights capturing the debauchery taking place at NYC hotspot Studio 54—a nightclub whose guest list regularly included Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Tina Turner and more. And though the images he captured there have become legendary, they’ve yet to see publication—until recently. Thanks to publisher Max Ström, you’ll now be able to experience the glorious golden age of NYC disco in Persson’s new book “Studio 54.”

7. The Right Way to Tie and Lace Different Shoes

Most people don’t think about alternative shoe-lacing and knotting techniques once they master the typical bow knot. But growing up sometimes requires different shoes for different occasions, and lacing systems that are more advanced than bunny ears. In an easy-to-follow tutorial, Bloomberg explains the best ways to lace formal shoes, casual shoes and sneakers—with a video on how to tie the perfect windsor knot to boot.

8. Why Dogs Can’t Recognize You on FaceTime

Every dog owner has experienced it: that empty feeling that sets in when your beloved pooch won’t acknowledge you on FaceTime. But don’t fret, they aren’t mad at you for abandoning them. National Geographic revealed that a phone’s small screen makes it difficult for dogs to recreate a human image in their minds and, without your scent, an image alone may not be enough to warrant a tail-wag. A larger screen and a bright, positive voice may help, but it largely depends on the dog. As for cats, well, they just might not miss you.

9. The Iconic TWA Terminal Will Become a Jet Blue Hotel

After 14 years of vacancy, the iconic TWA terminal—designed by Eero Saarinen in the ’60s—at New York’s JFK Airport will be transformed into the lobby area of an upcoming hotel destination. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey selected the project bid by JetBlue and MCR Development, who were among a groups of others vying for the architectural monument. The concept lodging project will become JFK’s only hotel and will include 505 rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, eight restaurants and an observation deck.

10. The Life and Style of Iris Apfel

After showing her extensive collection of costume jewelry at a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition in 2005, then-83-year-old Iris Apfel became something of a fashion icon and a New York City “geriatric starlet.” Now, 10 years later, the incredible dresser and accessories enthusiast will truly be a star—in her own documentary titled “Iris,” which documents her trend-defying personal style and the influence she holds in a city where younger often means better.

11. Honey-Coated Nude Portraits

Portrait photographer Blake Little’s newest photo series is sweet and sticky. Titled “Preservation,” Little’s new project involves dousing his nude subjects in gallons of honey before capturing them on film. The result is a striking image—all shimmering and sculptural as the honey encases the models in a thick layer of tacky goo. Though the exhibition of the photo series at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles has ended, the full set of candy-coated nude images can be found in Little’s book, also titled “Preservation.”

12. The Origins of the “Jazz” Paper Cup Design

Any American who lived through the ‘90s has undoubtedly encountered it: the scribbled blue and purple “Jazz” design on the side of Sweetheart paper cups. But like a true design phenomena, the pattern wasn’t created by a giant marketing firm, but a Sweetheart employee working out of their Springfield office as part of a contest. While the illustration itself has transcended its humble grocery store origins to symbolize an entire decade, its creator has been noticeably absent—until recently. Thanks to a national manhunt that originated on Reddit, Gina Ekiss was identified as the brains behind the pattern. She sat down with News-Leader to discuss her legendary design.