Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The importance of doodles, the smell of old books, the power of Prince and more in our look around the web

1. Scent Detectives Define the Smell of Old Books

You know the sensation of pressing your nose into an antique book or walking through a historic library. But we’ve long struggled with the exact adjectives to describe these scents. Thankfully, two University of London researchers have developed guidelines for describing these characteristics through chemical analysis of volatile organic compounds. To translate this academic approach to the sensory world, the team partnered with visitors of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. They formed a panel of “library smellers” and tackled St Paul’s Cathedral’s iconic Wren Library, selecting scents like “woody” and “earthy” from a list to describe their experience. These notes now populate the first ever Historic Book Odor Wheel. Learn more over at Smithsonian magazine.

2. Lauren Greenfield’s Photos of Extreme Wealth

From the USA to Russia, Dubai and China, photographer Lauren Greenfield has traveled the world photographing wealth for some 25 years. Greenfield (who made the 2012 documentary “The Queen of Versailles”) is now releasing a book of her portraits documenting wildly rich people, but it’s more than flashing cash—there is an underlying theme questioning morality and consumption. Greenfield herself says, “It’s not about Birkin bags or the Kardashians, it’s about the culture that gave rise to them.” The book, “Generation Wealth,” will be out 15 May. See more from it at the Times.

3. Redesigning Sausages

With the concept of sausage as her vessel, ECAL alum and designer Carolien Niebling presented reduced meat creations during the recent Milan Design Week, in an effort to draw attention to the dangers of vast meat consumption. Niebling refers to sausage as the oldest designed food, and explains that all materials involved have been selected for form and function. Using traditional sausage-making techniques, the designer reconstructed recipes and sausage assembling in ways that involve protein replacement and striking aesthetic presentation. The results do not just feature a meat reduction, they support a more omnivore-focused diet—all while looking familiar but improved. Niebling has taken her project to Kickstarter as a next step.

4. TLC Wants Fans to Name Their New Album

Their first record in 15 years (and the first without Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes), TLC’s new album still doesn’t have a name. The iconic ’90s R&B group has decided to ask fans for help. After funding the LP on Kickstarter (and reaching a whopping $430K), Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionna “T-Boz” Watkins have now suggested fans use the comments section to suggest titles. There are plenty of ideas already, but we’re excited to see which one is chosen and who gets the claim to fame.

5. The Forgotten History of Women Pirates

The author of “Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas,” Laura Sook Duncombe came up with the concept of this new book quite simply. A fan of the movie “Hook,” Duncombe simply wondered where all the female pirates were. Her book explores the history of several women—including Moroccan pirate queen Sayyida al-Hurra and ancient Norse princess Alfhild. “But Duncombe’s book does more than revel in the mystery and infamy of lady pirates,” The Smithsonian’s Lorraine Boissoneault says, “It contextualizes them, providing history and background on the societies they came from.”

6. Artist Jon Burgerman’s Nicer Tuesdays Talk

As part of It’s Nice That’s “Nicer Tuesdays” design talks, CH favorite Jon Burgerman headed to London to discuss his Instagram account, animation experiments, the power of doodles and more. He explains that doodles can be almost anything, not just scribbles on paper—he says it’s “thinking and making at the same time.” Watch the full talk over at It’s Nice That.

7. Sony’s Ultra-Thin, Paper-Imitating Tablet

Sony isn’t the only tech company out there trying to replicate the sensations people get when taking a pen to paper. They have, perhaps, come closer than anyone else with the DPT-RP1 e-paper tablet. It’s large, and presently stands as the world’s lightest and thinnest (just over half a centimeter) digital device. The high resolution electronic paper screen, however, sports a non-slip panel, offering resistance to implements and yielding a more tangible experience. This device holds up to 10,000 PDFs and connects to a digital paper app by way of wifi, Bluetooth or micro USB. And even the back of it has received a matte finish that feels just like paper. Sony will release the DPT-RP1 this June, in Japan only.

8. A Writer on Loving Prince

Almost a year after the legendary Prince passed away, writer Ben Greenman has written an article on his love of the artist, his feelings about fandom, and his decision to write a book about the iconic man. Part essay and part personal memoir, the piece is both analytical and emotional—conjuring up that strange version of sorrow we feel when somebody we didn’t know, but loved, is lost. “There’s an early Prince song, ‘Private Joy,’ in which he jealously keeps a lover to himself: ‘Ain’t gonna tell nobody nobody ‘bout my little pretty toy.’ I knew what he meant,” he writes. Read the piece at the New Yorker.

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