Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Japan's 1,000-year-old cherry tree, Shel Silverstein's houseboat, NASA's remote teams and more from around the web

Japan’s 1,000-Year-Old Cherry Tree Blossoms Again

In Japan’s Miharu (a town in the Fukushima Prefecture), a 1,000-year-old cherry tree continues to blossom. While there are no tourists flocking to see it this year, the tree—known as the Takizakura—is as glorious and mesmerizing as ever for those who live nearby. One such individual is Sidafumi Hirata, who has visited the tree since his childhood and is now at the helm of a team protecting it and the rest of the town’s cultural heritage. The Takizakura (aka “waterfall cherry tree”) has survived wars, earthquakes, plagues, and a nuclear disaster. Hirata checks it often. “Whenever I went out, I worried. I had to see if she’s OK or not,” Hirata tells NPR. “But every time I saw that she’s still standing, unchanged, it was always a relief. No matter what, the cherry blossoms are still there.” A timely reminder that nature forges on, the uplifting interview is available to read or listen to at NPR.

Joel Meyerowitz’s All-Encompassing Interview With LensCulture

Pioneering street and portrait photographer Joel Meyerowitz (who shot in color during the ’60s, when most were capturing images in black and white) recently sat down with LensCulture’s Jim Casper for a delightful and insightful interview. Meyerowitz talks about the vibrance of city streets, how a beginner photographer can find their signature style, the ways technology  has impacted the art form and more. What’s truly revealed is that the 82-year-old artist loves his medium. “I said right at the beginning, photography has taught me everything I know basically all this time. And I think it comes to me in a kind of slowly dawning consciousness again and again,” he says. “I tend to just love human nature and nature itself and the opportunity to pass along the experience through the camera’s eye.” Read or listen to the lengthy interview at LensCulture, where there are also plenty of Meyerowitz’s vibrant photographs to admire.

This Glove-Like Device Encourages Lucid Dreaming

Though still in development trials, the new “Dormio” device invented by MIT researchers shows potential for aiding lucid dreaming—or more specifically, hypnagogic microdreams. Using the “steel ball technique” (popularized a century ago and used by Salvador Dalí and Thomas Edison) as a starting point, the team built a biometric glove-like device that identifies the onset of sleep, and subsequently attempts influencing oncoming dreams based on preset parameters. When the wearer enters hypnagogia—”a semi-lucid sleep state where we all begin dreaming before we fall fully unconscious”—prerecorded auditory stimuli trigger responses, essentially testing the capacity for retaining information we find in dreams after we wake. Read more at Business Insider.

Scientist-Invented Carbon Nanostructure That’s Stronger Than Diamonds

Scientists from several institutions (including the University of California, Irvine) have conceptualized and fabricated a new class of plate-nanolattices (nanometer-sized carbon structures) that happens to be stronger than diamonds. They’ve done so through a complex 3D laser printing process referred to as “two-photon polymerization direct laser writing.” Scientists begin by focusing a laser on a drop of ultraviolet-light-sensitive liquid resin. It’s in the final material’s tightly woven close-cell plates that remarkable strength resides. Read more about the construction process at Slash Gear.

An Interview With The New Yorker’s Ed Steed

For an interview several years in the making, Lucy Bourton at It’s Nice That finally got in contact with one of her favorite cartoonists for The New Yorker, Ed Steed. Formerly an architect, Steed became a professional cartoonist after sending several ideas to the publication—a process which remains essentially the same, even as a regular contributor. Blending politics, humor and art into something accessible and timely, cartoonists have a difficult job, but as Steed explains, “I’m not really trying to be funny, I’m trying to come up with good jokes, which is a bit different.” But once that punchline is crafted, he says, “The feeling is relief. Relief that you’ve found a joke, that you did your job, so you’re still a cartoonist. If you can’t think of any more jokes, you have to find a different job.” Read the full interview at It’s Nice That.

Inside NASA’s Mars Rover Remote Control Rooms

Given the universal directive to practice social distancing, even NASA’s teams work remotely. That means those in command of the current Mars Curiosity Rover mission control it from their homes. The predicament forced NASA to accommodate less-capable hardware systems, deal with slower coding sequences, and ultimately send fewer commands to the Rover each day. But, as social media posts from the agency suggest, NASA is getting along just fine. “It’s classic, textbook NASA. We’re presented with a problem and we figure out how to make things work,” science operations team chief Carrie Bridge tells SlashGear. Read more there.

Touring Shel Silverstein’s Fanciful Former Houseboat

In Sausalito, California’s picturesque Richardson Bay, children’s book author Shel Silverstein’s former houseboat floats on the waters like a ramshackle wonderland that only his imagination could dream up. Inside the 1,200-square-foot WWII-era balloon barge, old meets new as reclaimed architectural features and colorful stained-glass windows jostle with contemporary upgrades. See more photos at Apartment Therapy.

Stockholm’s Art-Filled Subway Captured by Photographer David Altrath

From Lars Arrhenius’ 8-bit-inspired tiles at Thorildsplan station to Ulrik Samuelson’s “ghost garden” at Kungsträdgården, and Björk and Åberg’s mural at Solna Centrum Station, artwork saturates Stockholm’s subway system. German photographer David Altrath explored the underground (or tunnelbana in Swedish) over several late nights last year, capturing images at a time that, “it seemed like I was the only person there,” he tells Wired. Altrath abandoned sightseeing in the city and instead traipsed the 94 stations that over 250 artists have decorated. The resulting images show off the varied pieces, as well as the architectural delights of the subterranean wonderland. See more at Wired.

Studio Precht’s Fingerprint-Shaped Parc de la Distance Design

A monument to solitude and quiet adventures, Studio Precht’s design for their Parc de la Distance concept curls about like a vegetal fingerprint. Each of the parallel hedgerows comes with a gateway at both the entrance and exit that serves as an indicator of whether or not the pathway is occupied. Red granite gravel contrasts the green of the bushes and the sound produced with each step alerts others. Studio Precht planned each journey to be about 600 meters long—or about 20 minutes to complete. Read more at designboom.

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