Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Interactive porn, an emotional first aid kit, animals who love tech and more in our look around the web

1. Animals That Love Touchscreens

“Orangutans at the Miami Zoo are already using tablets to give their keepers dinner suggestions,” explains a new report by Atlas Obscura. We’ve long observed or heard about cats’ reactions to iPad games or penguins playing with tablets. But touchscreen use has grown beyond this and found value within scientific studies, rehabilitation efforts and plain old fun. Species ranging from tortoises to silverback gorillas and pigeons are using them for everything from spatial awareness testing to empathy exams. When the tablets freeze, the animals (much like humans) get frustrated, but when all is working as planned, these animals are having fun—and some even staving off boredom—a necessity with captive animals.

2. The Head of Design for Google Hardware Talks Hardware

Google’s Hardware division extends beyond the industrial design of their many products like the Pixel and Google Home, and into the realm of voice-activated assistants, user-experience design for phones and more. The division’s Head of Design, overseeing roughly 100 team members, happens to be Ivy Ross. Once a jewelry designer who shifted to fashion and then kids’ toys, Ross doesn’t believe that design (or even beauty) is subjective. She also explains to Cultured Mag that technology “should enable you to be more yourself,” and not the other way around. That tidbit and more can be found in the magazine’s profile of the designer, which is peppered with facts like “heavy phone-users swipe their finger across their phone over 5,000 times a day.”

3. Ayahuasca Quests in the Peruvian Jungle

Author Wells Tower delivers a compelling and honest recounting of his ayahuasca experience in Iquitos, Peru. Beginning with an understanding that ayahuasca “ceremonies” have cropped up all over the world but the truly adventurous head to its home in the Amazon jungles around Iquitos, Tower settles in at the camp of Shaman Percy. A curandero (healer), Percy conducts Tower’s night on the hallucinogenic “medicine.” It’s a fascinating long read (and video) over at AFAR that will appeal to anyone interested in the experience—because the lessons Tower learned might not be the ones people expect.

4. Oscar Mayer’s Healthier Hot Dog-Delivering WienerDrone

The newest member of Oscar Mayer’s WienerFleet, the WienerDrone will be making hot dog deliveries in Weiner, Arkansas for the Fourth of July. Joining the WienerMobile, WienerRover, WienerMini and a new WienerCycle, all vehicles in the fleet will be distributing a healthier variety of the product. The brand has removed all nitrates from its line of classic hot dogs. There will be no price change to products. You can follow all the exploits of the WienerFleet on Twitter at the @WienerMobile handle.

5. Rainbow-Colored Basketball Court in Paris

A basketball court in Paris’ 9th arrondissement has had a very colorful makeover—thanks to creative directors Ill-Studio and fashion label Pigalle. The last version of the painted court was red, white, yellow and blue, and this new take has a retro feel—thanks to neon pink, yellow and blue, painted with plenty of unexpected geometric shapes and color gradients on the ground and surrounding walls. The bright, bold ball court can be seen from the street now, nestled between traditional Parisian architecture.

6. Videos Synchronize With Connected Pleasure Objects

While interactive video isn’t new, PornHub has found a way to make it even more engaging. Partnering up with pleasure object brands Fleshlight and Kiiroo, the porn site is launching a new category of movies that will synchronize with your connected sex toy. According to The Verge, “Depending on what’s happening in the video, the toys will simulate the action with pulses—removing the need to perform your own manual labor.” The two devices that can be connected are both for men (Fleshlight Launch and Kiiroo’s Onyx) but the company has promised women-centric options are on the way. Read more at The Verge.

7. Emotional First Aid Kit

Central Saint Martins graduate designer Rui Sun has invented a fascinating emotional first aid kit, with five items that aim to physically help with psychological problems. Included is a Purple Breathing Mask—with soothing aromas (to help a person take deep breaths and calm down), Indigo Third Eyeglasses (to see the world in a different way) and more. The goal for Sun’s project was to have people see—and validate—emotional and mental pain the same way we view physical pain. Read more at PSFK.

8. Sony Resumes Vinyl Production After 28-Year Hiatus

This year global revenue from vinyl sales is expected to reach $1 billion. Renewed interest in the format—once thought dead—stems from nostalgia, a more tactile product and that old-fashioned retail experience. Sony Music, one of the three globe-dominating record companies, plans to relaunch their vinyl pressing by March 2018. This will commence in their Tokyo set-up, though it’s not clear whether they’ll be producing from the back catalogue or new releases.

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