Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A space elevator, Banksy's Dismaland and a missing piece of a mathematical puzzle in this week's look at the web

1. Apple’s Autonomous Car Prepares for Testing

Many have speculated that Apple has been working on its own autonomous car, dubbed Project Titan, and new information gathered by The Guardian shows that it may hit production sooner than expected. The tech company has recently inquired about usage of GoMentum Station—a military-guarded base that claims to be “the largest secure test facility in the world” for the “testing validation and commercialization of connected vehicle applications and autonomous vehicle technologies,” hinting that Titan could soon be ready for the road.

2. Scientists Discover a New Mathematical Tile

One of math’s more curious mysteries lies in the world of pentagons and patterns. While an infinite number of possibilities exist, only 14 convex pentagons are known to be able to “tile the plane”—meaning that when placed together, they fit together perfectly. Now, after 30 years since the last breakthrough, a team comprised of Jennifer McLoud-Mann, Casey Mann and David Von Derau of the University of Washington, Bothell have discovered the 15th piece to the pentagonal puzzle. And perhaps the most wonderful part of this discovery is not knowing whether it’s the last of its kind—until the next one is found.

3. The History of NASA’s Two Logos

NASA’s current logo, dubbed “The Meatball,” is an iconic starry blue sphere that instantly evokes feelings of adventure, exploration and wonder—and it was almost scrapped in a botched re-branding. After being adopted back in 1959, it was sneakily replaced with a simple, space-aged font now referred to as “The Worm”—which looks equally classic in our eyes—sparking an internal debate between young and old NASA workers on which to keep. Luckily, The Meatball made its return in the early ‘90s, while The Worm’s legacy has been preserved through nostalgic images.

4. ‘Most Muscular’ Captures the Reality of Bodybuilding

Leading up to the 2003 Mr Olympia competition—the world’s preeminent body building contest—photographer Brian Finke spent a year and a half traveling across America to photograph local and large-scale competitions in preparation for the main event. His collection of images, called “Most Muscular,” was then released in 2005 and depicts an earnest and emotional side of the often flashy, spray-tanned sport. Now, 10 years later, Finke will exhibit his images for all to see at New York’s SVA Chelsea Gallery beginning 22 August.

5. Yo! Home’s Stylish, Space-Saving Interior

The latest interior concept to come from the mind of Simon Woodroffe—the creator of the futuristic air travel-inspired Yotel Hotel chain—is a modular, space-saving apartment called the Yo! Home. Looking to serve the general public and not just the wealthy, Woodroffe designed the concept space to be both affordable and stylish, taking every living situation into mind. The Yo! Home makes the most of its tiny interior through a set of fold-away furniture, including a dining table that pops out from the ground and a bed that descends from the roof.

6. Julian Gander Captures Joy in GIF Form

A visit to animator and illustrator Julian Gander’s personal website provides a feast of goofy GIFs, but it’s his latest set of silly animations that really caught our eye. Commissioned by Canadian cellphone provider Koodo Mobile for its “Choose Happy” campaign, Gander created a small collection of playful scenes—including a drumming apple, a skateboarding banana and an extra-long wiener dog bouncing down a set of stairs—to capture lightheartedness and joy in its purest form. He even took the time to illustrate a behind-the-scenes image of an animation he made.

7. Banksy’s Massive New ‘Dismaland’ Exhibition

Banksy has just opened his largest art project to date—a 2.5 acre “family theme park unsuitable for small children” in England’s Weston-super-Mare seafront. The massive Disneyland-inspired exhibition, aptly titled “Dismaland,” features the works of 58 hand-picked artists including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty, plus 10 new pieces from Banksy himself. Until 27 September, visitors can enter the park (albeit through a cardboard TSA-style security checkpoint) for a £3 fee, gaining them access to a Cinderella pumpkin carriage crash site, black “I am an Imbecile” balloons and more.

8. An Inflatable “Space Elevator”

Thoth Technology has successfully patented an inflatable “space elevator” that is so tall, it will would reach into low Earth orbit. The proposed structure is planned to be 20-kilometers-high (compared to the world’s tallest building, the 830-meter-high Burj Khalifa) and will be used for both sight-seeing activities and for space cargo deliveries. By launching space crafts from the tip of the tower, rocket fuel consumption would be cut by a third, making reusable space ships more practical. If pursued, the tower could take up to 10 years to construct at a cost of $5 billion.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.