Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Vale Zaha Hadid, a new high-speed train in Japan, Siberian unicorns and more in this week's look around the web

1. Architect Zaha Hadid Dies at 65

Dame Zaha Hadid, widely considered one of the world’s greatest living architects, died at the age of 65 from a heart attack. Her sudden and shocking passing ends an award-winning career in which she produced some of the world’s most ground-breaking works, including the MAXXI Museum, Spain’s Bridge Pavilion, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Museum and the London Olympic Aquatic Centre—to name a few. “She was so distinct that there isn’t anybody like her. She didn’t fit in and I don’t mean that meanly. She was in a world of her own and she was extraordinary,” says fellow architect Graham Morrison.

2. Create a Personalized Font Based on Your Voice

To announce this year’s list of nominees, The Webby Awards has launched a program that creates personalized typefaces based on people’s voices. Called “TypeVoice,” the web application takes into account volume, pitch and other audio parameters to spit out a unique font for everyone. To try it out, head to The Webbys’ website, where you’ll also be able to view award nominees and vote for the People’s Voice Award beginning 5 April.

3. Paleontologists Discover a Fossilized Skull of the Siberian Unicorn

While they might not look exactly like we had imagined, unicorns actually did exist—and more recently than previously believed. Paleontologists in Kazakstan have uncovered a well-preserved skull of the Elasmotherium sibiricum (aka the “Siberian Unicorn”) that lived just 29,000 years ago—shattering the previous estimation of 350,000 years. The Siberian Unicorn looks more like a furry, slimmed-down version of a rhino than a horse, but it does feature that single horn protruding from its head.

4. Japan’s New Bullet Train Will Blend Into the Environment

Award-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima is designing a new high-speed express train for Japan that will blend into the environment. The proposed design is a stark contrast to previous Japanese trains, whose bold, retro-striping was once the norm. The new design will adapt to its surroundings as it travels through the city and countryside. A rendering of the concept shows it cloaked in a matte reflective surface allowing it to nearly disappear into a grassy landscape.

5. Words Come to Life in These Surreal Installations

Trevor Wheatley’s typographic installations breathe life into words and one-liners. Words like “squad”, “sus”, and “real talk” are extracted from their digital existences and planted into exotic environments around the world. Their almost-too-perfect set-ups make them seem Photoshopped, but Wheatley and his team actually build and install the pieces by hand—sometimes venturing into harsh weather conditions to do so.

6. Glowee Bioluminescent Light Shells

A French start-up called Glowee has created an alternative light source that could possibly change the way we illuminate the night. Using bioluminescent bacteria found inside the Hawaiian bobtail squid, the company creates transparent, glowing shells that can be placed virtually anywhere that needs light. According to Glowee, it would reduce damaging environmental effects by introducing more natural and sustainable light—and since it does not require electricity, it’s completely independent of outside energy sources.

7. What It’s Like Riding in the New Tesla Model 3

Tesla recently unveiled its highly anticipated Model 3, quickly racking up over 130,000 pre-orders in just a couple hours. The new electric vehicle is the brand’s most affordable model to date, costing just $35,000 while providing the same sleek lines, tech-forward interior and impressive acceleration Tesla cars have become known for. Mashable was on site for the unveiling and was lucky enough to take it for a spin.

8. The Future of Sex Beyond VR Porn

With the long-awaited consumer version of Oculus Rift finally shipping, virtual reality is in the midst of an industry boom. One major market already shifting to take advantage of the new tech is sex, and Fast Company has a few ideas of how its future might map out beyond just virtual reality porn—including teledildonics, DIY 3D-printed genitals and cyber relationships. For a better idea of what sex in 2030 might look, feel and sound like, head to Fast Company.

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