Link About It: This Week’s Picks

BMX biking in another dimension, explaining Earth to aliens and cooking bacon with lasers in this week's look at the web

1. Nigeria’s New Malaria Test Will Save Thousands of Lives

The world’s first urine malaria test will soon be available in Nigeria, marking a major advancement in the battle against the disease. Like pregnancy tests, the malaria test uses a dipstick to detect the Plasmodium parasite inside a sample of urine. Because of its ease of use and quick diagnosis time (just 20 minutes), the test could be a huge boost in the fight against malaria, which runs rampant in many sub-Saharan African countries—accounting for 90% of the world’s 580,000 annual malaria deaths. It’s set to hit pharmacy shelves in Nigeria by the end of the year.

2. An Unstable Playground Set That Challenges Kids to Find Balance

Unlike the typical seesaws, swing sets and monkey bars seen on playgrounds, Capucine Diancourt’s set of Loose Play structures remain unfixed from the ground, challenging youngsters to find their balance. The French designer created the playground set as an exploration into the way shapes and colors can bend the way we interact with the physical world, relying on instability and uncommon colors to provide children with more freedom and spontaneity. Speaking to Dezeen, she explains: “Sometimes it’s not realistic, but that’s also how you can picture new shapes and new interactions and that’s what I was interested in.”

3. Images Selected by NASA to Explain Earth to Aliens

Over 35 years ago, NASA launched Voyager 1 into space, which would later become the first human-made object to exit the solar system. In case it ever fell into the hands (or tentacles) of aliens, NASA scientists loaded the space probe with a copper phonograph LP called the “Golden Record” to explain life on Earth. Embedded in the record lies a trove of 116 images—depicting math equations, animals, buildings and more—as well as spoken greetings in 50 different languages, a compilation of sounds from around the planet and nearly 90 minutes of music. Head to Vox to see all the images.

4. The Objects That Inspire Facebook’s Director of Product Design

Facebook’s director of product design, Margaret Gould Stewart, often turns to physical products when looking for inspiration. In an interview with Fast Company, Stewart reveals how some of her favorite items—including her grandfather’s old drill, a set of plates designed by Eva Zeisel and an ancient Inuit fish hook—have influenced her work. As she explains it, “Part of the creative process is looking for analogies either in other industries, or in the past. I think in tech, we tend to believe every challenge we’re facing is new. But I think at their core, many challenges are timeless.”

5. Practical DIY Designs From ’70s Book Nomadic Furniture

Long before build-it-yourself furniture behemoths like IKEA came along, thrifty homeowners turned to DIY projects to furnish their spaces. Many of these people looked to the pages of Nomadic Furniture—a book published in 1973 by designers Victor Papanek and James Hennessey—for advice on “How to build and where to buy lightweight furniture that folds, inflates, knocks down, stacks, or is disposable and can be recycled.” The clever diagrams that fill Nomadic Furniture are still relevant today, and Core77 has rounded-up some of its most practical designs.

6. Red Bull’s Wild “Kaleidoscope” Video

BMX rider Kriss Kyle’s ability to execute complex and creative tricks is enough to garner the attention of any BMX fan but, when combined with Red Bull’s masterful visual storytelling, even the least action sports-inclined will be hooked. In a hypnotizing new video, called “Kaleidoscope,” Kyle maneuvers between, above and around moving platforms, bouncing from one ramp to another in what looks like another dimension. Watch the full mesmerizing video on BOOOOOOOM!

7. Why Psychopaths Can’t Catch a Yawn

Catching someone else’s yawn is no simple coincidence. Researchers have proven that yawns are contagious because of empathy and, now, they’ve linked psychopaths to the inability to catch one. Researchers at Baylor University conducted the experiment by giving participants a Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised test and then subjected them to a Contagious-Yawn Experiment, resulting in a large portion of the people who displayed coldheartedness on paper also having difficulty catching a yawn. So the next time you meet a blind date, it may be smart to greet them with a yawn. Read more on Psychology Today.

8. Cooking Bacon with Lasers

From precision fabrication to denim distressing, laser-cutting has seen its fair share of applications. Now, Tokyo-based professor and tinkerer Kentaro Fukuchi is turning to laser technology to alter the way we prepare (and experience) food. Using a laser-cutting machine, he’s able to accurately cook only the fatty sections of a piece of bacon, leaving the rest of the meat raw—creating two contrasting flavors. Watch Fukuchi execute the entire process on Munchies’ latest episode of Food Hacking.

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