1. Earth’s First-Ever Hydrogen Metal
With pressure greater than the force within Earth’s core, two diamonds pressed upon liquid hydrogen and something happened for the first time ever on our planet: the lightest element in the periodic table turned into a small bit of metal. After years of research and experiments, this alchemical creation occurred under the direction of two Harvard physicists—whose paper was published in the journal Science. The experiments are still being considered—and debated—by other physicists, but if metal hydrogen proves to be stable, it could revolutionize everything from computer speed to space travel.
2. A Biologist Explains How Animals Feel Pain
We, of course, cannot read animals’ minds (even our pets) but that doesn’t mean we can’t intuit some of the ways they feel pain. According to evolutionary biologist Robyn J. Crook in a recent TED-Ed video, humans have two kinds of reaction to pain. First, nerves sense pain, communicate it and cause a jerking reaction. Second, there is conscious recognition—this is what we associate with emotions, including fear. Through observation, it can be deduced that some animals experience pain the exact same way. This is certain for most vertebrates, but appears to apply to some invertebrates as well. Read more at VOX or watch the video at TED-Ed.
3. Why We Owe Mary Tyler Moore
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” debuted in September 1970 and was the USA’s first-ever show that focused on a single, independent, working woman. With all kinds of timely issues (which, sadly are still relevant today) addressed in the show—from equal pay to sex and sex work, homophobia and more—it was a hugely important show. As Willa Paskin says on Slate, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s influence is just as great as the influence of Moore herself—and Moore was not just its star, she was also one of its producers.” Paving the way for more female-led and -produced shows, Moore was much more than an actor and comedian.
4. India’s Cocktail Bars Revive Ingredients from Generations Past
Traditional Indian ingredients, used in cooking and drink-making by older generations, have reappeared in trendy cocktail bars. In a nation known for its wide array of traditional spices and fruits, components like aam panna (a juice from green mangoes), kaanji (a juice from black or fermented carrots) and kala khatta syrup (made from Indian blackberry) can now be found in the burgeoning craft cocktail scene. Some of these ingredients have transformed western classics like the gimlet, and some have led to brand new drinks one won’t find anywhere else.
5. Next-Level Female Adventure Photographers
Adventure photography has long been a male-dominated creative industry. Of late, however, more attention has been granted to women hustling under the same extreme conditions. From wingsuit jumping to ’round the world sails and deep-sea diving, National Geographic has chronicled some of the best. Now, they’ve brought light to nine exemplary female photographers capturing the magic of chaos. Read the profiles and see more images over at Nat Geo.
6. Design Impact on 2017’s Forthcoming Products
While much of the headline-grabbing announcements at CES focused on software, Fast Co’s team dedicated time to discover the best of hardware design. From major names like Sony (who revealed speakers, screens, projectors and more) to smaller organizations like Argodesign and car manufacturer Denso, industrial design—and the minds behind it—left a resounding impact. 3D scanning devices also stunned with their advancement. For a comprehensive overview head to Fast Co.
7. Iconic Sampler, Akai MPC, Gets 2017 Makeover
Hip-hop music wouldn’t be what it is today without Akai’s iconic MPC machines (aka Music Production Controllers) and now the sampler is getting a 2017 reboot. The Japanese company has two new MPCs coming out this year: the MPC Live and the MPC X. Upgrades include much more storage space for various sounds as well as a touchscreen, a built-in battery (making the Live genuinely portable) and more. These standalone machines are continuing the legacy of the MPC and hopefully even more magical music will come from them.
8. National Library of France Reopens After a Decade
After a decade of renovations by architects Bruno Gaudin and Virginie Brégal, the National Library of France is reopening and the new renovations are as varied as they are spectacular. The library (located at Rue de Richelieu in Paris) houses everything from the “collections and reading rooms of the manuscripts department, the maps and plans branch, the coins, medals and antiques bureau, and the performing arts office.” Now, the interior blends traditional, original design with decidedly modern flourishes and still pays utmost respect to the history housed there. See more on designboom.