Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Pleasure toys, foldable phones, Basquiat's personal style and more in our look around the web

1. Places to Have a Timeout From Helsinki Design Week

Helsinki Design Week is on now, and Dezeen asked local interior designer Joanna Laajisto for her list of favorite spots when a little time out from the event is necessary. Laajisto’s picks are—as expected—beautifully designed and very photogenic. From the Helsinki Design Museum to the restaurant Atelje Finne and sleek Jackie bar, the list is full of local knowhow and impeccable style. “What makes Helsinki different from other Scandinavian cities is the surrounding nature that can be accessed by only few minutes walk or ferry ride from the city centre—it makes the city very special,” she tells Dezeen—where you can read the full list.

2. Marriage Equality Pioneer Edith Windsor Dies at 88

In a landmark Supreme Court ruling, Edie Windsor had 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act dismantled in 13 states and the District of Columbia—a crucial step toward nationwide marriage equality. Windsor spent 40 years living with partner Thea Spyer (and the two were married in Canada). When Spyer passed, Windsor inherited her estate but was denied unlimited spousal exemption. She sued for federal recognition as a spouses, regardless of gender in marriage. Her win helped push the bar toward 2015’s Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriages are recognized by the federal government. From that time forward, Windsor has been accepted as a gay-rights matriarch.

3. Samsung’s Foldable Phones

Just hours before Apple’s big announcements yesterday, Samsung had one of its own. Next year, in 2018, the tech giant plans to release a foldable cellphone. “The Korean electronics conglomerate is aggressively seeking new ways to stand out in an increasingly congested consumer tech marketplace” and a bendable phone is certainly the opposite of the iPhone. Read more at Mashable.

4. Translating Human Languages into Elephant Gestures

Thanks to the “Hello in Elephant” website, launched back in August, it’s very easy to translate human words—and emotions—to elephant gestures. A project developed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and ElephantVoices, the site also contains a service that allows visitors to send these gesture videos to loved ones. It’s altogether remarkable, educational and beautiful. The real goal, however, is to raise awareness of elephant poaching and human conflict—with a decline from 400,000 today to 190,000 in 2025 predicted.

5. Unreleased Kurt Vonnegut Stories to be Published

Beloved writer Kurt Vonnegut (who passed away 10 years ago) will have five never-before-seen (by the general public) stories published later this month. Edited by Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield (who discovered the stories) and with a foreword by Dave Eggers, “Complete Stories” will include all Vonnegut’s published short stories, plus the five newly unearthed ones. Read more at DazedDigital.

6. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Unconventional Personal Style

The incredibly talented Jean-Michel Basquiat has been studied for his art for decades, but in a new Guardian article, his sense of style nabs the attention. An important part of his life, fashion was central to Basquiat—in fact, his mother designed clothes and he spent time painting apparel for Patricia Field. “Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognizable in his paint-splattered Armani suits.” Read more at The Guardian.

7. The Lightest Form Of Water Yet Discovered: Gel-like Ice

It may come as a surprise to most that there’s not just one type of ice. In fact, there are 17—varying substantially in structure and weight—and an 18th “in development.” Only two types appear naturally on Earth, the common hexagonal version and upper-atmosphere cubic ice, but scientists have been able to produce “a type of porous, lightweight ‘aeroice'” according to New Scientist. Pressure causes variations as water freezes in a more dense fashion under intense conditions. But Masakazu Matsumoto, at Okayama University in Japan, recently found two lightweight versions, one of which is gel-like and at an ultralow-density. And they did so by playing “molecular Jenga” to make it happen.

8. The Women Who Helped Make Vibrators Mainstream

In her new book “Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stories Changed the Business of Pleasure,” Lynn Comella explains how—in the ’70s—a small group of feminist retailers helped make vibrators and sex positivity mainstream. Opening stores specifically for women, these shop owners not only sold pleasure objects, but also helped to educate and empower women. In the book, Comella interviews “Dell Williams of Eve’s Garden in New York (which opened in 1974), Joani Blank of Good Vibrations in San Francisco (1977), and Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning of Seattle’s Babeland (1993)” and more. Read more at The Atlantic.