Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Stylish toking, coffee with Louis C.K., neuromorphic computer chips and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Tricycling to the South Pole

Three wheels, 400 miles, ice crevasses and Antarctic weather (meaning 50 mph winds)—these are the conditions that 35-year-old Maria Leijerstam of Great Britain will face as she pedals with two other traditional cyclists from Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to the South Pole, potentially setting a record for the first trike to ever reach the South Pole. Check out the recumbent trike’s specs in the accompanying video from Gizmodo.

2. A Truly Smarter Computer

As it stands, 2014 may become the year for one of computing technology’s greatest feats: Computer chips that learn from their mistakes. The new brain-like commercial chips offer the greatest advancement in areas of robotics, navigation, speech and facial recognition—all programming challenges that rely mainly on extensive human programming. While traditionally built with confined functions and clearly defined parameters, the new “neuromorphic processors” will call more on biological computing principles allowing them to learn from weighted experiences rather than pre-determined programming.

3. Antarctic Anemone

A new species of sea anemones has been discovered, establishing it as the only marine animal able to live while embedded in Antarctic ice sheets. Edwardsiella andrillae—as they’ve been named—burrow inside the Ross Ice Shelf, letting only their tentacles dangle freely in the water. It’s still unclear how they nestle in, reproduce and most importantly, how they do not freeze. That aside, the white anemones seem to look just like ones you’d find in any other body of water.

4. Crank-Driven Lego Writing

Composed entirely from Legos, Andrew Carol’s overwhelmingly elaborate automaton can write and draw by turning a single crank. While the construction of the device was much like cracking a puzzle, Carol—an Apple employee by day—explains that it isn’t overly complicated, but rather a way of taking the mechanical innovation of the 18th and 19th centuries and applying it to Legos. This isn’t Carol’s first machine, and with a Tic-Tac-Toe playing iteration floating around in his imagination, it certainly won’t be his last.


5. Paralyzed Teen to Kick Off World Cup

Duke University neurobiologists hope to equip a paralyzed teenager
with a mind-controlled exoskeleton capable of bringing movement back
to his or her legs. While the technology is still in development, the
plan is to debut the system at the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in
Brazil, where the teen will hopefully make history by providing the
tournament’s first ceremonial kick.

6. R29’s Tips for Improving Pot Culture in Colorado

As the new year arrived in Colorado, a new era for marijuana enthusiasts did too. To encourage a more mature pot culture, Refinery 29 compiled a short list of essentials. From a sleek vaporizer to Lou Reed-designed sunglasses, the smart selection is sure to elevate your inner vibes and outward appearance.

7. Coffee with Louis C.K.

Jerry Seinfeld’s web series “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” wholly lives up to its name, following the iconic comic as he meets up with colleagues in a variety of attention-grabbing whips for a cup of java. With two entertaining seasons completed, Season 3 kicks off with Louis C.K. and is perhaps the funniest and most insightful episode to date, covering topics like going to the movies stoned and making a fool of yourself in front of your kids the way only two seasoned comics can, while riding around NYC in a kitschy Fiat Jolly.

8. Hobo Nickel Art

Hobo nickel art refers to the medium of carving sculptures from small denomination coins. Art and culture blog This is Colossal recently stumbled upon Barcelona-based artist Paolo Curcio, whose coins show true mastery of the niche skill. See how he completely transforms the familiar faces of former presidents and other historical figures into multicolored skulls, E.T., Bozo the Clown and more. The detail in his work is remarkable, especially considering the tiny scale of his “canvas.”

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