Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Dinovember, cyclist soldiers, Christie's record-setting auction and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Ethiopia’s Burgeoning Skateboard Community

There’s something special about skateboarding’s ability to bring out the best in people. The skateboarding community in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa is raising funds and awareness for the country’s first public skatepark, as well as equipment donations for youth organizations around the city. Skate Ethiopia’s campaign features a beautiful juxtaposition between modern street skating and the city’s bustling markets and crumbling colonial Italian architecture. This video and the accompanying photos are just the beginning of a vibrant, globally minded skateboard scene in the Horn of Africa.

2. Jean Stories

If clothing could talk, few articles in your wardrobe would tell
the tales that a trusty pair of jeans could. Since they can’t, two aspiring writers
recently founded Jean Stories, a dedicated denim site
to speak for their favorite pair of pants. The site will be populated with
fashion roundups, plenty of shopping links and interviews
with editors, designers, models and other sartorially inclined

3. Travel Like a Millennial

As yesterday’s children of the digital age become today’s professionals, the world of business travel is changing. CNN Business Traveller caught up with a few experts in the travel world, including CH’s co-founder and Editor in Chief Josh Rubin, to look at how the industry is adapting to attract these savvy young consumers. While generalizing about an entire generation has its drawbacks, the clear conclusion is that this new group of road warriors knows what it wants and isn’t afraid to criticize when services fall short of their expectations. Expect airline and hospitality industries to begin adapting to these new demands using both social media and more integrated technology.

4. Dinovember

Every year writer Refe Tuma and his wife do their best to convince their young
children that their toy dinosaurs have come alive during the night. Each
morning the young ones awaken to find a perfectly staged mess in the
kitchen, bathroom or hall, created by none other than their
mischievous toy dinos. Seemingly a mashup of Movember and Shark Week, Dinovember is a brilliant way in which parents can bolster formative young minds and encourage
children to exercise their imaginations in the physical world.


5. Remembering Cyclist Soldiers

In honor of 11 November (Veterans Day in the US, Armistice and Remembrance Day elsewhere), we look to one of the more forgotten ranks of soldiers, the cycling regiments most common in World War I and II. Trevor Ward’s piece in the Guardian details the history of the bicycle’s role in war, from its first use in the second Boer War in South Africa to the disbandment of the last cycling regiment in the Swiss Army as recently as 10 years ago. Cyclist soldiers were used in reconnaissance missions and folding bikes were even used by some paratroopers upon touchdown. In contemporary drone warfare, the idea of a bicycle playing a role speaks to vast changes in technology since the World Wars and sheds light on a special class of veterans who are often overlooked.

6. Hillside Cemeteries of Hong Kong

In a breathtaking display of spatial ingenuity, Hong Kong—well known for its packed, ever-upward landscape—has been developing stadium seating-like hillside cemeteries. Captured in all of their eerie magnificence by photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro, each resting place is grim but grand. Diestro’s photos present the super-dense burial sites among the vertically surging architecture of the city, proving that as the city blooms with life, it must also accommodate death.

7. Nuji Holiday Wishlists

Toss aside that pencil and paper when writing this year’s holiday wishlist; instead, archive your favorite items for remembering later with Nuji. As a social wishlist platform, Nuji is like personalized window shopping. Find other users with similar or impressive taste and discover new products to add to your own list. For this holiday season, Nuji tapped some of their favorite design-minded peers—including our very own Features Editor, Karen Day—to share their wishlists and inspire others, with an added opportunity to win gifts. Check out both the women’s and men’s lists; we also highly recommend seeing what Another Something’s Joachim Baan and Burberry’s Ben Wykes want for the holidays.

8. Airline for the Mile High Club

Have you been looking for an opportunity to join the Mile High Club, but were generally afraid of getting caught—or worse, being interrupted? Ohio’s Flamingo Air has launched flights for getting sexy in the air. These private flights—complete with champagne, chocolate and the promise of a discreet pilot—are designed for just two passengers, and you can weigh in on the flight’s path. The only foreseeable issue, however, is that they’re only one hour long.


9. Ticket Price: 30 Squats

Russia is running full steam ahead with preparations for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which is less than three months away from its 7 February opening date. To promote the Games and physical fitness, a special machine popped up at the Vystavochaya subway station in Moscow. Instead of paying the standard price of 30 rubles (or 92 cents), passengers can earn a metro ride by performing 30 squats or lunges. Keep an eye out for more of these unique challenges as the Russian Olympic Committee promises more upcoming ways to “add elements of sport into daily life.”

10. inFORM

MIT Design Lab, responsible for the creation of gestural interaction programs now used in Xbox Kinect and Wii, is moving forward with an even greater physical interface, the inFORM. Tangible Media Group has broken away from the screen with programmable matter—matter that is capable of transforming itself physically to be whatever you want it to be, like a reinvented version of the Pinscreen desktop toy. What’s so groundbreaking is that two people can interact physically from two remote locations, and it can bring 3D models to life, allowing real-time transformations—just check out the video. If it follows in the footsteps of gestural interaction, we can expect to see the advanced programming behind inForm to hit consumer products over the next decade.

11. Subway Sounds

LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy revealed on air this week that he has been trying for 14 years to create a sound installation in every subway station in NYC, which would blend the sound of walking feet with harmonious intervals. Hearing that Murphy is currently stuck in creative limbo with this plan, the Creators Project came up with a list of five innovative artists and designers who would make great potential collaborators for a large-scale subway work—from the artist behind this past summer’s Park Avenue Voice Tunnel to another who made seven circles of light correspond with a musical piece.

12. A Record-Setting $782,368,375 Auction

With their Post-War and Contemporary Art auction, Christie’s set a staggeringly high new sales record. Over $780 million were fetched across two nights of bidding in NYC. The prestigious auction house also broke two other records; the $142.4 million sale of Francis Bacon’s triptych of Lucian Freud became the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction (knocking off Edward Munch’s “The Scream”) and Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog” went for $58.4 million, achieving the highest grossing sales for a piece of art ever sold by a living artist at auction. Christie’s isn’t done yet, as they have an online-only auction accompanying the evening sales, which will run until 19 November 2013.


13. A Throwable, Panoramic Ball-Camera

A brand new 36-lens compound camera is capable of snapping 360 degree by 360 degree panoramic images. It also happens to be in the shape of a toy ball. The Panono takes photos at the height of a throw, whether between two people or straight upward, while carrying 72 megapixel image quality, all of which are viewable on the ball’s accompanying mobile app. This highly tossable creation will be selling for $600. If you’re scared of throwing the camera around, it’s also mountable for more accurate, planned imagery.

14. Sono

Reclaim the silence in your apartment or office with an active noise-canceling system—blocking out noisy neighbors, sirens, construction and the like—with the new creation Sono. The small device that suctions right onto the windowpane eliminates noise which would otherwise pass through the glass, and it can even filter out some noises while allowing others to remain active. Having Sono is essentially like putting a volume knob on a window or glass door, and like a radio knob in that you can click through the channels you want to hear. For now, Sono remains a prototype, but it’s sure to hit production lines soon enough.

15. Invisibility Cloak Development

Though they’re yet to reach Harry Potter level, physicist Andrea Alu and his team are certainly making some headway in their study of invisibility. By scattering and bending light, they’ve totally changed the way you see what lies behind the materials they’re using, but nothing is invisible just yet. Here’s the trouble: The spectrum of light, both visible and invisible, is so vast that it’s nearly impossible to account for all of it at once. Though their studies have diminished Harry Potter hopes for the near future, check out everything else they’re discovering courtesy of the BBC.

16. Ken Block Gymkhana 6

DC shoes founder Ken Block is a natural when it comes to
charging a rally car. His precision and control are remarkable,
and few videos really show off his talent as effectively as the recent Gymkhana 6, which we found from the
car-crazed team at Top Gear. Here Block whips his 650-horsepower Ford
Fiesta—capable of doing 0-60mph in just 1.8 seconds—around the custom
course; weaving under shipping containers, doing donuts around Lambos
and even circling a spiked wrecking ball.

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