Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Outdoor adventures, poisonous cronuts, the First Lady of hip-hop and everyone's favorite amateur painter in our weekly look at the web


1. Iconic Music Logos, Explained

Back in March, Red Bull Music Academy compiled an impressive list of iconic music logos from bands, record labels and even clubs, with the story behind each emblem’s inception. DFA Records rediscovered this gem: Tweeting their surprise for being considered “iconic” when the disco-punk label turns only 12 this year. Although the origin of the logo dates back to a doodle from 2000, it was only recently in 2010 that James Murphy finally ‘fessed up to being the one responsible.

2. America Votes on the Important Stuff

Which state has the hottest residents? Which the best food? Everyone wants to know. Check out Business Insider‘s countrywide superlatives poll to see what the rest of the country thinks of your state. Even the neglected states like Oregon are getting some well-deserved love and if you’re Texas, you better keep your eyes peeled—the rest of America appears to be very down to “mess with Texas” by way of anonymous surveys.

3. The 50 States in Folklore

American artist and activist William Gropper’s mid-century map of American folklore depicts the rich literary and mythological diversity of the 50 states. The map offers a gateway to the past; revealing both household name legends like Paul Bunyan as well as some of the more obscure unsung heroes of American lore—Death Valley Scotty, anyone? Gopper’s map was commissioned by the US Department of State for display in overseas offices to provide insight into America’s cultural landscape. Today, it provides both a cultural snapshot of mid-century American folk and a great artistic piece of vintage Americana.

4. First Lady of Hip Hop

Michelle Obama will be releasing a 19-track rap album, in collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Hip Hop Public Health. Songs for a Healthier America will feature many famed names in the R&B, pop and rap game, including Reverend Run of Run DMC, Ashanti and Blink-182’s Travis Barker. The First Lady organized the album and will also appear in a few music videos, with health awareness and betterment the ultimate goal for the project.


5. Skateable Architecture

The perfect spot—a non-designated yet nonetheless ideal skate venue, born out of public architecture—is the stuff dreams are made of for skateboarders. From the famous Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco to the now-closed Brooklyn Banks in New York, these spaces become iconic fixtures in skate culture. To address some of lesser-known, and unfortunately un-skateable spots, Architizer put their encyclopedic knowledge to work with a list of the world’s most skate-friendly designed spaces. From the half-pipe-inspired living rooms of Malibu, to the Scandinavian style-wood plazas of Denmark, it’ll get skaters itching to grab their boards and hit the road pushing.

6. Cardboard Church for Earthquakes

Made to withstand 1.2 Gs of lateral force, a replacement cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand has been built from cardboard. The $6 million church replaces one destroyed in a 2011 earthquake. The designer of the project, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, used 98 giant cardboard tubes coated with three layers of waterproof polyurethane, a few wood planks and a polycarbonate roof as components. The roof is translucent, allowing for a nighttime glow. Most important, however, is that it is earthquake-proof, fireproof and won’t even get soggy in the rain.

7. Bacterial Buildings

While 3D printing is often touted as the future of manufacturing, bacteria may be the future of building. Architect and professor David Benjamin is leading the biological building charge, which relies on a sort of collaboration between humans, computers and biology. Computational models allow architects to direct biological processes, which then work their natural magic to create brick-like blocks ready for building. While the technology is still far from market-use, it reveals a promising new direction in building and material innovation.

8. Printing Without the Paper Tray

Despite the shift towards online everything, printers are still very much a part of daily life, and Japanese designer Mugi Yamamoto bets they’re here to stay. His new inkjet printer, called the Stack, eliminates the need for a paper tray, thus eliminating the need for some of the bulkiest parts of the printing process. Instead, the small device sits atop a stack of printer paper, which it “swallows” as it prints. Yamamoto’s concept allows for a much lighter look and avoids frequent paper reloading.


9. New York, I Love You But…

Twitter has proven itself to be more than just a social network service by influencing political revolutions, becoming a source for breaking news and now: Being used to collect data for scientific research. In a study that attempts to measure the emotional state of New York City, researchers gathered every tweet during two weeks in April 2012 that was geographically tagged to the city, and taught a computer to organize these tweets into positive, negative and neutral emotions—starting with tweets accompanied by happy or sad face emoticons. There were clear connections between mood, location and time: Public sentiment was highest around parks such as Central Park and lowest around transportation hubs like Penn Station, JFK airport and tunnel entrances. The saddest area turned out to be Hunter College High School, which made perfect sense because the data was collected when students had just returned from vacation.

10. Data on Data on Data

Socrata’s Data Solutions Architect Chris Whong visualized the more than 1,100 open datasets made available by New York City—from noise complaints in 2012, to state math tests results by gender, to top 10 elevator offenders—to give you a comprehensive look at all of these sets in one place. Organized by major categories like transportation, city government and recreation, this “dataset of datasets” looks like something out of a molecular biology textbook and shows the diversity of available information, complete with click-through access to the actual data. The visualization is so complex that it takes at least 15 seconds to load—a decade in internet time—but it’s worth the wait.

11. Hangover-Free Beer

Researchers in the pint-loving country of Australia claim to have created a solution to the age-old problem of having a few too many. The hangover-free beer is supercharged with electrolytes and works by rehydrating to prevent hangover symptoms, which are brought on by dehydration. Researchers hope the hydrating beer will minimize the negative effects of alcohol consumption. Best of all, the added electrolytes have no noticeable impact of the thirst-quenching libation’s taste. Cheers.

12. From Ecce to Riches

Cecilia Giménez is the 82-year-old Spanish woman who—on her own accord—touched up a century-old fresco that had been flaking off inside her church in Borja, Spain. Despite her best intentions, her amateur restoration resulted in a cartoonish portrait of Jesus that lead to one of the most remarkable memes the internet has ever known—but also caused a surprising number of people to visit the church and photograph the now infamous painting. After enduring a year of global mockery, Giménez will potentially become a wealthy lady after signing a deal to sell the rights to the popular image. Which goes to show you, there’s money to be made from memes.


13. Poler Stuff + Girl Skateboards

To celebrate legendary Girl Skateboards’ 20th year in existence, the California-based company teamed up with everyone’s favorite outdoor outfitter, Poler Stuff, for a few collab board graphics and two co-branded camo camping tents. To launch the modest collection long-time Girl pro Rick McCrank joined photographer and founder Benji Wagner on a little outing. The result is a fun photo series simply dubbed “Poler Adventure #59.” Camp vibes abound.

14. Google Easter Eggs Unveiled

Who doesn’t love those Google tricks that allow you to play a game over your YouTube video? Thanks to Google, there’s plenty more where that came from. Check out Mental Floss‘ list of 11 of these hidden gems. Take a stroll with Google Street View past Google’s headquarters, or head to Google Hangouts for endless ponies. There’s even a trick for the limited number of Google users with Google Glass—just tap the touchpad nine times while looking at the device’s licensing agreement.

15. Canadian “Cronut” Poisoning

Canada appears to be feeling a little unloved in the midst of the NYC Cronut craze, so they decided to take a stab at their own. The Canadian “cronut” burger is exactly what it sounds like, but upon tasting this burger-bakery collaboration, local Canadian news teams reported that a least a dozen people had suffered stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. In the majestic words of Gawker, “Cronuts™ are filled with cream and topped with glaze; “cronuts” are dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with bullshit because it is a FAKE, OFF-BRAND CANADIAN KNOCK-OFF.”

16. Google Glass Mercedes Integration

“Door-to-Door Navigation” marks a new exploration of Google Glass technology within Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Mercedes has a research center in Silicon Valley and has been continuing down the path of tech innovation and integration for years now. Glass felt like a natural, hands-free fit. This first app transfers information from your Glass to your car, and its in-dash navigation system. A few snags do exist: Mercedes “Digital DriveStyle App” won’t support Android technology until 2014. Thus, cloud-computing is being used for communication between all the devices, which could be quite handy down the line.