1. Marvin Minsky, Artificial Intelligence Pioneer, Has Died
Marvin Minksy, a pioneer in artificial intelligence and one of the first people to begin imparting common-sense reasoning to computers, died on Sunday at the age of 88. A true innovator of the now-booming industry, he’s described as “one of the very few people in computing whose visions and perspectives liberated the computer from being a glorified adding machine to start to realize its destiny as one of the most powerful amplifiers for human endeavors in history” by Alan Kay, a computer scientist and a friend of Minsky’s. There’s no doubt his contributions to AI will be felt for decades to come.
2. Seven “Megatall” Skyscrapers Coming Soon
The era of “supertall” structures (buildings over 300 meters) seems to be coming to a close as “megatall” structures begin to take over. These behemoth buildings, which currently include just three skyscrapers—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the Shanghai Tower and Mecca’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower—are categorized as reaching upwards of 600 meters and are expected to more than double by 2020. When it’s completed in 2018, The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will become the first 1km-high building and the tallest in the world. Head to Dezeen to see the rest of the world’s upcoming “megatall” structures.
3. The True Meaning of “Australia Day” to Aboriginal People
Celebrated each year on 26 January, Australia Day marks the anniversary of British ships first landing at Port Jackson, New South Wales and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove. But ask aboriginal people of the land, and they’ll tell you that Australia Day is no occasion for cheering. In a video produced by BuzzFeed, they profess the immense heartache that comes with the date—which is oftentimes called “Survival Day” or “Invasion Day”—when their ancestors faced murder, rape and an attempt to destroy their culture. Head to YouTube to watch their reactions.
4. A New Museum Opens in Cambodia, Created in North Korea
In Siem Reap, Cambodia, a new museum, called the Angkor Panorama Museum recently opened. It features dizzying displays of grandiose artworks, including a 360-degree painted mural of a 12th-century Angkorian battle. But almost the entire museum—and the artwork inside—was conceived in North Korea and by one of their largest art studios, Mansudae. Head to the New York Times for look inside the new space, and to learn how the unlikely museum came to be.
5. How an Abandoned Rat Made it to Broadway
Last summer, a few abandoned albino rats (the kind people keep as pets) took up residence in a median strip on NYC’s West 57th street. They rapidly began to multiply, alarming both the city health department and a tight community of rat rescuers. One of those rats, named Rose, was adopted by Lydia DesRoche, who happened to be the animal trainer for the Broadway play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which also happened to be seeking a rat cast member. Head to the New York Times to read more about the unlikely story of Rose, the abandoned rat who made it to Broadway.
6. The History of Spite Houses, Homes Built on Contempt
Spite houses are homes built on anger and revenge. Though the motivations behind them vary—from blocking a neighbor’s view to stopping the construction of a road—they never seem to fit into their surroundings. Hyperallergic has rounded up some of the most well-known spite houses, including Edith Masefield’s Seattle home, which now sits encircled by commercial towers after she refused to sell to developers.
7. Questlove’s Wild Story About Prince
Questlove, the multi-talented member of The Roots, has seen a lot throughout his career. He recently shared the weirdest story about an experience he had with Prince, and it’s almost too good to be true. It begins with Questlove and his pals taking a stretch Hummer limo to a Prince concert, and ends somewhere entirely unexpected. The wild narrative has been animated by illustrator Hectah, and we strongly suggest you head to Okayplayer to watch it to find out the full tale.
8. Nine Instagram Accounts of Inspiring Design
Instagram is one of the best platforms to discover beautiful design from around the globe. However, that completely depends on who you’re following, and finding those individuals is half the battle. Luckily, Luxe Magazine has rounded up nine of the best US-based Instagrammers who are uncovering creativity in their hometowns and abroad. Head to Luxe Mag to see the full list and, for an extra dose of inspiring snaps, don’t forget to also follow @coolhunting.