Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Architectural Airbnb alternatives, the history of the ampersand, a museum of fake art and more

1. This Museum is Full of Fake Art

With forged versions of paintings by Rembrandt, Picasso and Renoir; fake diaries said to be written by Hitler; and more, this Vienna museum is full of phony pieces. Diane Grobe, co-owner and founder of the Museum of Art Fakes, was inspired to open the museum thanks to German artist Edgar Mrugalla who created over 3,500 forged artworks. “Three types of works exist inside the museum: copies, meaning it’s a legitimate copy of an existing artwork but does not claim that it’s by the original artist; a standard forgery, which is a piece done in the style of a certain painter and labeled with that artist’s name; or an identical forgery—a copy of an existing piece of artwork labeled with the original artist’s name.” A fascinating concept and surely a worthwhile place to visit. Read more at Smithsonian Mag.

2. Airbnb Alternative for Architecture Enthusiasts

An Airbnb alternative for design and architecture enthusiasts, PlansMatter allows customers to explore new cities and places while staying in stunning modernist homes. Founded by trained architects Connie Lindor and Scott Muellner, the company has listings on five continents. Some of their most beautiful residences include “Bjarne Mastenbroek and Christian Müller’s contemporary Dutch Villa Vals in Vals, Switzerland… and the Kinney House in Lancaster, Wisconsin, designed by esteemed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.” For those who want more than a crash-pad, these incredible homes will make any vacation all the more special. Read more at Artsy.

The Ampersand’s Storied Origin

Learning that the ampersand is a ligature of the letters E and T (“et” being the latin word for “and”) used by the Ancient Romans doesn’t even begin to touch upon its storied history. With Roman global expansion, the ampersand made its way around as well, oftentimes adopted by local languages. In the early 1700s, the ampersand was adopted into the English language as the 27th letter, spoken after Z when reciting the alphabet. It was the only letter not to represent a sound but was read “per se and,” meaning “by itself and.” Over time its usage decreased and its classification changed to that of punctuation. To learn about all that fell in between, head over to Medium.

4. 3D Renderings of Houses Drawn by Kids

When asked to draw the “home of the future,” a group of British children unleashed their imaginations, incorporating everything from sails to rope ladders and even pyramidal architecture. As Atlas Obscura points out, these homes represent more than whimsy and “also reflect what a child thinks of as a home and how they see the world they’re inheriting.” Many are almost unreachable and one contains extreme fortification, perhaps reflecting the times. British retailer then turned the drawings into 3D renderings, solidifying the magnificence. You can see more images over at Atlas Obscura.

5. Dinner and Drugs Via Drone in Australia

Stocked up with food and medicine, drones in Australia are delivering necessities right to people’s doors—or yards. Project Wing, (which is part of Alphabet’s X) is getting much needed supplies to remote communities across the country, but it’s not a charity, it’s simply for convenience. Partnering with a pharmacy and a Mexican food chain, Project Wing can get people’s orders to them much faster—connecting those in rural areas a little more.

6. The Most Funded App Campaign in Kickstarter History, Fluent Forever

Based on the bestselling 2014 book by Gabriel Wyner, the forthcoming Fluent Forever app (which amassed a record-setting $587,785 or more than double its goal,) approaches language lessons differently than everyone else. First, it trains users in proper pronunciation. Then it proceeds to teach vocabulary and grammar with pictures and example sentences, rather than with translations. It’s goal really is to get users to think in the language they’re learning through immersive experiences on their smartphone. Wyner is certainly an expert in the matter and testimonials on his previous ways of teaching number in the hundreds. That said, the viral nature of this campaign—and the fact that it’s the most funded app to date—reinforces a wonderful desire of many to learn another language.

7. A Tiny Tavern for Three: Brooklyn’s Threesome Tollbooth

Roughly the size of a tollbooth, Brooklyn’s aptly-named Threesome Tollbooth tavern has enough space for a bartender and two guests. It also happens to be tucked into the supply closet of a former Italian restaurant. The whole unmarked operation is legal and the latest project from artist N.D. Austin and his partner Jesse Sheidlower. The drinks within are born of “esoteric liquors and liqueurs” including a Vermont gin and an “‘Elixir Vegetal’ brewed by the monks of the Grande Chartreuse monastery in France” according to the New York Times. Bookings are all hourly, prepaid (about $120) and the experience thus far seems to change based upon who’s inside.

8. France Wants to Outlaw Catcalling

While potentially difficult to police, the French government wants to make catcalling illegal. The country’s women’s minister, Marlene Schiappa says that it’s important to do because at the moment, street harassment isn’t defined by law. But she says, “We know very well at what point we start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed in the street.” Politicians, police and magistrates will work together to figure out definitions for street harassment and are also considering lengthening the amount of time people have to report an incident. Read more at Dazed.

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