Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Algorithm-assisted art, a serendipitous travel guide, barrel-aged beer and more from the web this week

Astronomers Detect an Unprecedented Glow from the Center of Our Galaxy

At the center of our galaxy is the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*. Though it has a history of flickering, it has never glowed like it did in April and May, new research tells us. Twice, both times over the course of four nights, the light around its core glowed at “unprecedented” levels—so much that some astronomers believed they’d discovered a star. Minutes later, the bright light disappeared. According to astronomers, the incidents can be attributed to “an eruption of the black hole unleashing bright radiation.” Though this conclusion is largely irrefutable, there’s no explanation for why it occurred in the first place or what it could mean to our galaxy’s existence. Read more at CNN.

Spend the Night in an Edward Hopper Painting

Coinciding with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’s Edward Hopper and the American Hotel exhibition, the institution will allows guests to walk through—and even spend the night—in a three-dimensional recreation of the artist’s painting, “Western Motel.” An exemplary study on isolation (a persistent theme in Hoppers work), the “Western Motel” experience will happen on the museum grounds. The exhibition will also feature more than 60 works by Hopper (and 35 by other artists) that address hotels and motels. It will run from 26 October 2019 through 23 February 2020. Read more at artnet.

Inside Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport Terminal

Founded in 2004 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is an airline that offers trips to the outer rim of our atmosphere—taking off from a strip of dusty land in New Mexico. Tickets start at $200,000 and will afford passengers the opportunity to enter space—a claim typically reserved for NASA-trained astronauts. The trip lasts 90 minutes, courtesy of a supersonic plane, but hours more could soon be spent lounging in the company’s newly-built Spaceport Terminal. Within the modern hub there will be food and drink options, an expansive cafe and panoramic views of the surrounding area. The debut flights are scheduled to take place in the first half of 2020. Read, and see, more at CNN.

SpaceX’s New Astronaut Suits

NASA released images of a training event for astronauts who will be aboard next year’s SpaceX Crew Dragon—and they offer a glimpse at sleek new spacesuits. While similar to those we’re accustomed to seeing, these new iterations are undeniably more refined. Activities on this training day in Hawthorne, California, involved astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley suiting up and navigating various scenarios, from launch countdown to several emergencies. Take a look at NASA’s site for more.

Algorithm-Assisted Thread Art

Ani Abakumova employs an algorithm to develop a pattern for portraits that she then strings together by hand. The algorithm, developed by Abakumova’s husband Andrey, configures the layers, colors and specific depiction. When Abakumova assembles it all, she follows the math’s lead and trusts that it has accounted for shadowing, shape and depth. For each portrait—she’s replicated the “Mona Lisa,” “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and more—there are 8,000+ lines of thread, or roughly 4+ kilometers. Learn more at designboom.

Artfinder is the Art World’s First B Corp

Online marketplace Artfinder (which sells original works from independent artists located all over the world) has become the art world’s first B Corp. As such, they are legally bound to uphold the highest of standards when it comes to their employees, customers, community and the environment. In a press release about the announcement, CEO Michal Szczesny says, “Our mission is to make art accessible, affordable and a viable career for artists, and we’re committed to operating in the right way in order to achieve that. Our community of artists and customers can now be independently reassured that we’re here for the right reasons, and will do whatever it takes to push the art world into a more sustainable future. One, where benefits are distributed fairly and our community’s work leaves a positive impact on the environment.” Read more at Artfinder.

Random Access Go’s Mobile Travel Guide

Currently available for five cities (Berlin, Ljubljana, Munich, Tel Aviv and Zurich) and one island (Mallorca), Raaago (by Random Access Studios) is a smart phone-accessible travel guide that promotes serendipity. By selecting one of the six destinations and then goal (from eating and drinking to escaping), users are presented with an option. For lunch in Mallorca, for instance, Raaago suggests Nuru, “a modern and all white Asian restaurant with very good sushi.” Further information includes advice for drinks nearby afterward and how to get in. The site is well designed and also offers real-time weather updates. See more, and plan your next trip, at their site.

Goose Island’s 2019 Bourbon County Stout Variants

Over 20 years ago, then brewmaster Greg Hall executed an idea that he believed would render his brewery, Goose Island, and its 1,000th batch, a household name. He had met Jim Beam’s Booker Noe earlier that year and, through him, acquired a few barrels that he planned to bourbon barrel age beer in. It was an overwhelming success. Today, as Goose Island announces eight variants of its 2019 Bourbon County Stout, an extension of that original idea, the brand is renowned for not only being a shining example of sustained success but also an innovator in a category that contributed to craft beer’s exponential growth. They’ll all be available the day after Thanksgiving—a new Vertical Collection package, which features Bourbon County Stouts from previous years, will be too. Read more about this year’s variants, which were aged in barrels from Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey Knob Creek and more, at their site.

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