Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The origin story of Monopoly, an advanced map of Mars and a new reason to avoid going out in our weekly look at the web

1. How Income Inequality Led to the Creation of Monopoly

While Monopoly may be the world’s best-known board game, the story behind its creation has long been shrouded in mystery—until now. A man named Charles Darrow is usually the one credited as the game’s inventor, but as it turns out, a typist named Lizzie Magie originally came up with Monopoly as a way to teach the public about income inequality and its disastrous nature. The game’s educational origins soon faded away once Darrow stole the concept, and the rest is history.

2. A Compelling Photo Essay of Cuban Optimism

After 50 years of isolation, Cuba is experiencing a wave of new opportunity. American travel restrictions have lifted and eager visitors—including President Obama—have set their eyes upon Old Havana. Documenting the mounting optimism spreading across the country, the New York Times has published a powerful photo essay displaying the evident openness of the Cuban people and their willingness to wait just a bit longer for change.

3. Apple Unveils Liam: iPhone Destroyer

Alongside a new four-inch iPhone model, a smaller iPad Pro and an affordable Apple Watch, Apple took to the stage today to announce its latest creation: Liam, a robot specifically built to disassemble iPhones. Liam is part of Apple’s ongoing commitment to eco-friendly practices and helps part-out recycled iPhones after they’ve run their course.

4. How Google Maps Affects Geopolitics

Google Maps is one of the most universally used and accepted forms of cartography today, but for those living in—or next to—regions affected by border disputes, it’s a completely different story. Historically, Google has patched this issue by displaying differing map borders depending who’s viewing the map. But according to a new paper published in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, this strategy might actually encourage further conflict.

5. NASA’s New Gravity Map of Mars

A new gravity map of Mars created by NASA provides the most detailed look at the Red Planet thus far. By analyzing gravitational anomalies across the planet’s surface (due to mountains, valleys and other topographic variations), researchers now have a better idea of the crustal thickness of Mars, and they were able to confirm that it contains a molten outer-core. The new gravity map is sure to be invaluable to future Mars exploration.

6. Audi’s Snarky WiFi Networks at the New York Auto Show

Good WiFi is often hard to come by at auto shows, so for this year’s New York event, Audi found a sneaky way to provide everyone with a strong signal while simultaneously marketing the latest A4. The company set up a bunch of free WiFi networks and named each of them with a reason the new A4 outshines the BMW 328i. Show-goers looking to connect were presented with witty network options named “A4 more horsepower than 328i” or “A4 more torque than 328i.”

7. An Elegant, Inverted Treehouse for Adults

Kazakh architect Aibek Almassov has designed a treehouse unlike any other—and it may soon become a reality. Called the “Tree in the House,” the cylindrical glass structure encircles a soaring fir rather than building within its branches, giving its residents unparalleled views of the forest surrounding it. Guests can climb their way to the top on a long, winding staircase which passes through each of the four, ring-shaped floors.

8. The Paleo-Happiness Theory

If eating what cavemen ate can make you healthier, then is it possible to be happier by partaking in activities that brought joy to our ancestors? According to a new theory, called the “savanna theory of happiness” (aka paleo-happiness), it should—but there’s a slight catch. The theory explains that extremely intelligent and ambitious people don’t find happiness by hanging out with friends or seeing family. Instead, they find comfort in pursuing personal and professional projects solo.

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