Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Genetically engineered plants, computer-generated children and artistic prosthetics in this week's look at the web


1. Raymond Loewy Google Doodle

If there really is a father of industrial design, it’s Raymond Loewy. And Google Doodle celebrated his would-be 120th birthday this past week. Inventor and streamliner of objects ranging from locomotives and buses to vending machines and refrigerators, Loewy hit all facets of everyday life—even for President Kennedy as the interior designer of his Air Force One. Though his work in the industry is ubiquitous, the man was an enigma; said to seem like a design himself. Read on with Time, who put him on their cover in 1949, as to why Loewy is so deserving of the Google honor.

2. M.I.A. at Soho House Satellite Nights

With their first NYC foray into offsite events, members-only club Soho House launched M.I.A.’s new album Matangi this week. And they did so in Bushwick, Brooklyn. With a rapturous performance including many of her hits, the new work tantalized with the lyrical power listeners have come to expect. Soho House has made a name for their in-house events and their top cultural class attendees and this time—with partners Swatch, SPIN Magazine and Opening Ceremony—they demonstrated they know how to throw a party even if it’s not at home.

3. Surf The Earth

It’s no secret snowboarding evolved from surfing (albeit with at least one significant step between), and few films have ever captured this not-so-distant connection quite like “Into The Mind.” In famed snowboarder DCP’s memorable part, the riding, editing and music come together in such a beautifully perfect way it’s at times difficult to tell which sport you’re watching. While the blending of board sports in one film is an avenue few have ever successfully walked, this hypnotic, high-def video truly breaks ground.

4. Wilderness Collective Concurs Mt. Baker

Wilderness Collective believes courage can be defined as the ability to do something that is frightening and, unfortunately, many of us lack opportunities to tackle such situations in daily life. Enter the experience-based company; offering the chance to ride motorcycles amongst redwoods, or horse-riding in the Sierras and snowmobiling in Alaska. See the expedition film for trip number three—climbing Washington’s Mt. Baker—for a taste, and stay tuned to CH for more soon.


5. Joss Whedon on the F-Word

Screenwriter, producer, director, comic book author and everything between, Joss Whedon has earned a cult following and admiration for his kick-ass female characters. The man most famous for the TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer recently spoke at an Equality Now dinner where his speech centered around the word “feminist.” Whedon mentioned Katy Perry, The Lord of the Rings and put forward a pitch for the greater community to insert the term “genderist” into common language with the end goal of growing it to the power of “racist.” Thoughtful, and playful at times, Whedon made clear his ideas surrounding language and how “we will never not be fighting” for gender equality.

6. Computer-Generated “Sweetie” Helps Catch Pedophiles

Terre des Hommes (a network of organizations that fights for children’s rights) has created a “digital decoy” to help track down pedophiles online. The computer-generated model is a Filipino girl named “Sweetie” and she—operated by an adult—chats with webcam child sex tourists. Because these crimes are often not reported and are difficult to prove, Terre des Hommes found that the best way was to catch the criminals in the act. So far—in just over two months—”Sweetie” has helped identify over 1,000 men attempting to pay her to perform sex acts online. Little do the predators know, she isn’t real.

7. Artistic Limbs

With a background in art and special effects makeup, Sophie de Oliveira has brought her creative skills to the world of prosthetics. Her legs, feet and fingers are beyond bespoke limbs—they’re actual art. She designs alternative limbs oriented at representing the essence of the person in need of one. From legs with embedded stereos to the best in 3-D and animatronics, she aims to empower—whether it be through realistic matches or something purely from the imagination. She makes clear that prosthetics do not need to be representations of limbs, they can be anything anyone wants.

8. China Dolls

Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll—with her long blond hair and impossible body proportions—isn’t the popular kid in China. In a country where educational success is one of the most highly prized values, a Barbie doll would only cause distractions for children and take precious time away from studying. In an attempt to woo over this important international market, Mattel—as well as other major toy manufacturers like Lego—are trying to make their products more educational, which has resulted in the “Violin Soloist” Barbie. Available at an even lower price.


9. Grow Your Own…

As unsettling as it is interesting, “Grow Your Own…” is celebrating the ultra-designed life of the future. The exhibition—on display until 19 January 2014 at Trinity College, Dublin—explores the art and science behind “synthetic biology,” an emerging approach to genetic engineering. To give you a sense of the new field, one project investigates life-saving organs that combine human, leech, eel and snake tissue, and another features a “transgenic-cloned mouse” with Elvis Presley’s DNA. Check out all the projects as well as the events running alongside the exhibition, including talks with experts in science, art and synthetic biology.

10. Tokyo Designers Week Highlights

As usual, the projects at this year’s celebration in Aoyama upstaged all preconceived definitions of art and design. From giant cosmic babies to fantastic metallic origami cases, expertly refurbished shipping containers, haunting sculptors and ghostly projections, The Verge has dozens of great photos that offer a peek into what the TDW experience was like this year. The Japan-based designers mastered all matter of ultra-practical, pristinely attractive and nonsensically amazing design, and the photo essay covers it all.

11. Best Microscope Photos of the Year

No matter how many microscopic images of everyday things we see, they are always incredible. The 39th annual Nikon Small World contest is no exception. Selected from over 2,000 images from 80 countries, the finalist images are truly spectacular; resembling scenes from science fiction movies that have to be seen to be believed.

12. Harley Viera-Newton + Diane von Furstenberg

At the crossroads of music, style and cats, New York-based DJ Harley Viera-Newtown has released a capsule collection with designer Diane von Furstenburg. Its inspiration? Her cat Marmite. There’s a headphone set/play-button combo and a Cat Fetish Clutch purse in the line, all of which adorably reference the DJ’s cat. The clutch’s crystal-studded eyes really do bring out that ocular cat entrancement.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.