Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Role-reversing frogs sing, comfortable trips to Mars, a museum of failures and more in our look around the web

1. Art Basel’s Best Instagram Moments

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from art fair attendance, it’s the unending opportunity for unique Instagram images one simply won’t find elsewhere. With industry-leading Art Basel’s 2017 Switzerland iteration wrapped, the best way to look back might just be through what people captured on social media and the Observer has compiled a strong list. While no Anish Kapoor selfies made the cut, artist Subodh Gupta’s canopy of pots and pans certainly catches the eye—as does the colorful “Bruno & Yoyo” (2015) sculptures by Urs Fischer (a regular art fair Instagram winner). From octopuses to phallic symbols, there’s a lot to see—head over to the Observer for more.

2. Fun and Games on the SpaceX Interplanetary Travel System

As SpaceX works toward launching humans into space—first with astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years, under contract with NASA which will yield incredibly valuable information in return—founder Elon Musk’s vision extends beyond cost-saving, reusable rockets. In his master plan to take people to Mars, he’s recently shared with the New Science journal that he hopes for a very comfortable, engaging flight on the months-long experience. “The crew compartment or the occupant compartment is set up so that you can do zero-gravity games—you can float around,” Musk wrote, observed by Mashable. Further. “There will be movies, lecture halls, cabins, and a restaurant. It will be really fun to go.”

3. Storing the World’s Rarest Colors

When one thinks of valuable entities, commonly we lean toward precious stones, gold, or maybe even water. The Harvard pigment library, however, houses another priceless thing: rare colors, colors that people used to search the world to find. Narayan Khandekar, the collection’s custodian (and the director of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums), says the work is approached similarly to that of a forensic scientist, “We examine and find out what we can about the key compounds that will tell us the material’s origin.” Khandekar discussed the stories behind 10 hues—Mummy Brown, Dragon’s Blood and more—with FastCo.

4. India’s Dr Seuss, Anushka Ravishankar

Today marks the last day of Children’s Literature Week and while we can easily recall the milestone books of our own developmental years, authors continue to produce prose of exceptional merit. Anushka Ravishankar, commonly referred to as India’s Dr Seuss, has long been a master of silliness—from her debut “Tiger on a Tree,” which was translated into eight languages and sold 50,000 copies globally to her recently released collection of nonsense in verse “Hic!” Ravishankar has produced over 25 books with international independent Indian publisher Tara Books over the last 20 years. There’s nothing like discovering an author, especially one that masterfully makes the magical more real. And rather than let Children’s Literature Week pass unnoticed, perhaps pick up a new book, reconnect with an old one or go grab one for a child in your life.

5. Industrial Design’s Museum of Failures

From a rejuvenation mask that shocked the face with electric current to rental DVDs that stopped working after 48 hours and dozens of poorly conceived mobile phones, Dr Samuel West has curated quite the collection at Sweden’s Museum of Failures. His goal, however, isn’t to make a mockery of anyone. Rather, it’s to convey lessons learned through failed product design. Big names (such as Apple and Ford) as well as many smaller design firms have stumbled and their mistakes deliver valid design information. The museum’s exhibitions are presented in Swedish, English and German (soon) and West plans on hosting programs associated with failure in the near future, as well.

6. Urine Converted to Electricity at Glastonbury Festival

Thanks to electro-active micro-organisms that feed on elements in urine and then produce electrons, bio-engineers at Bristol Robotics Lab have found a way to turn pee into electricity. A fuel cell pack developed by the scientists currently feeds on two liters of urine and, in turn, produces 30 to 40 milliwatts of power. This energy has been used to power smartphones (slowly), LCD displays and even lights. The system will be trialled at the upcoming Glastonbury Music Festival so that attendees can transform their pee to power.

7. Photography App Predicts Where and When Natural Light Will Occur

An update to the much loved Photographer’s Ephemeris sun-tracking app allows users, in essence, to watch a sunrise or sunset from the future—anywhere in the world. Known as the Photographer’s Ephemeris 3D, the photographic assistance tool predicts where light will land on the ground—including shadows and other nuances—helping anyone looking to plan and prepare for a landscape photo shoot. The app breaks tracking down by the second and casts sunlight, moonlight and even starlight atop a 3D map with striking accuracy. It’s currently available in the iOS app store for $20 in most nations, rolling out everywhere on 27 June. An upgrade pricing plan is also in development.

8. Role-Reversal in Frog Mating Results in Singing

Documented for the first time ever, the Bornean frog (scientifically known as Limnonectes palavanensis, but more commonly called the singing frog) has made a serious evolutionary change. Usually, male frogs serenade a female and she chooses the suitor of her liking to mate with, but a recent study has shown a complete role-reversal. Now, a single frog surrounded by singers is most likely to be a male being courted by females. Researchers are currently studying further to see if this is indicative of an entire sex-reversal, but say “judging by the high rate of female serenading, males may be the picky ones.” Read more at Science magazine.

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