Link About It: This Week’s Picks

From forest art in Japan to flight suits for space tourists, a brainless blob and more

This Brainless Blob Can Solve Puzzles, Sleep and More

Officially on display at the Paris Zoo from 19 October, this unicellular organism will be the first-ever “brainless blob” to be showcased in a zoo. Despite not having a brain, the mass can complete a bevy of tasks from improvising music to maneuvering through a maze, remembering which food it likes best, and crossing a bridge covered in a hazardous chemical. While it’s new for visitors to marvel at the blob, scientists have been studying the Physarum polycephalum—particularly how it grows (sometimes to multiple feet wide)—since the ’60s. Read more at Vice.

Toshihiko Shibuya’s Tiny Art Resembles Blossoming Life

Displayed at a random location within the woods of Tomakomai in Japan, Toshihiko Shibuya’s most recent installation mirrors the emergence of biological life using 1,500 individual, pastel-colored pushpins meant to look like spores. These woods in particular serve as a surreal setting for the work as the trees here cannot root deep enough to sustain growing to great heights. Thus, they fall once they’ve grown too tall, forming a log-made maze on the forest floor. The installation (which ran in late September) is part of the Generation 6 Origin-Birth series. See more at designboom.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Suits for Space Tourism Flights

A departure from the uniforms that NASA astronauts require for trips beyond Earth’s atmosphere, the spacesuits ticketed passengers will wear on Virgin Galactic’s flights are comfy, blood-flow-regulating, and designed by Under Armour. “The big difference between suits of the past and this suit is that those suits were to perform a task, and this suit is to enjoy and savor space on your own terms, in a bespoke way,” Beth Moses, of Virgin Galactic, told Quartz at the unveiling. These suits are also a part of history, and a souvenir that’s included with the price of admission—which is $250K. See more at Quartz.

Analogue Announces its Game Boy-like Device, Pocket

Made as a tribute to portable gaming, Analogue’s just-announced Pocket is, as Wired says, “not-a-Game-Boy-but-kind-of-a-Game-Boy.” The company’s first-ever handheld device, the Pocket works with all Game Boy cartridges (including those made for the Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance), which is a good 2,700+ games. Of course, this contemporary device offers plenty of updates including a high-definition screen, longer battery life and stereo speakers. Pocket will also include an extra FPGA chip for developing games, and an audio app for creating music. “Analogue hopes the included developer kit will make Pocket into a platform for indie developers to code their own FPGA-compatible games for Pocket or port over their existing games from other systems for preservation,” Jess Grey writes for Wired. Read more there.

New Typeface Based on Greta Thunberg’s Handwriting

Greta Grotesk is designer Tal Shub’s typographic ode to Greta Thunberg and references the climate change activist’s handwriting. Shub (co-founder of Uno, an NYC-based company that aims to offer alternatives to single-use plastics), was impressed by the boldness and clarity of Thunberg’s message and its parallels with the lettering on two of her handwritten signs. The typeset Shub developed acts as an additional reminder of Thunberg’s work and the importance of her mission. Read more at It’s Nice That.

Space-Ready Rockets Made by AI-Powered Robots

Within LA-based rocket-maker Relativity’s factory space you’ll find a handful of the largest metal 3D printers in the world working around the clock—as they’re commanded by AI. One 30-foot-tall machine, equipped with two massive robotic arms, is in charge of building rockets up to 95% completion—with wiring, rubber finishing parts and a few other assets to be handled manually. But this isn’t merely an instance of incredible printing innovation: Relativity’s design team had to reimagine how rockets are made and put together. Ultimately, the entire construction process needed to simplified and streamlined to allow for it all to be finished in under 60 days. The first of these rockets is set to fly in 2021. Read more at Wired.

California Bans The Sale of Fur Products

California has officially banned the sale of animal fur products—with a few exceptions—making it the first US state to do so. The new legislation means that it will be “illegal to sell, donate or manufacture new fur products in the state,” but leather, cowhide, shearling, religious pieces and items used by Native American tribes are exempt. Additionally, the state passed a circus performance bill, which prohibits the use of animals like tigers, elephants and others in circuses. PETA’s Executive Vice President, Tracy Reiman says, “Today is a historic day for animals in California, including those who have been whipped into performing in circuses, or skinned alive for their fur or skin.” Read more at CNN.

Behind Eliud Kipchoge’s Record Run

Though Eliud Kipchoge’s record-breaking marathon run in Vienna will not count as an official world record, his feat is proof that a sub-two-hour marathon is possible—under almost perfect conditions. In a video for Wired, sport psychologist Michael Joyner explains just how Kipchoge did it. From the way he followed in his pacers’ draft and ran a course with minimal hills, to the carbon plate-imbedded sneakers he wore (which some claim are “technological doping”) it turns out that Kipchoge was not only perfectly on pace, but he also had some help. That doesn’t discredit his accomplishment, it merely poses the question of how traditional marathons could better foster faster finishes—especially interesting considering Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei also just broke the women’s world record at Chicago Marathon. See more at Wired.

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