Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Veggie kiosks, time warp photography, news from space and more in our look at the web this week


1. Chicago’s Fresh Food Vending Machine

Founder Luke Saunders prefers the term “kiosk,” but there’s no denying that his Chicago-based Farmer’s Fridge invention is actually a veggie vending machine. Built from recycled barn wood and sporting a touchscreen display, the machine dispenses farm-fresh salads in plastic containers, as well as a variety of healthy drink and snack options. The machine is restocked every 24 hours and by layering the ingredients within the containers, they manage to stay crisp. As an added social bonus, anything that doesn’t sell that day gets donated to a local homeless shelter.

2. Make Your Thing

If all goes well with their Kickstarter campaign, Jesse Thorn (NPR host and founder of Maximum Fun) plans to launch the next generation of conferences for independent creators. “Make Your Thing”—potentially taking place 17-19 October 2014—will provide guidance and inspiration from established artists and makers, and even host a creator’s bazaar. Conversation, parties and hands-on activities will take place at LA’s Park Plaza Hotel with the aim of helping people navigate the world of small-scale creation—together.

3. The Young Afghan Refugee

For the past 30 years, more people have fled Afghanistan than anywhere else in the world. There are 1.7 million registered in Pakistan alone, and that doesn’t include those who are undocumented. The Associated Press’ chief photographer for Pakistan, Islamabad-based Muhammed Muheisen, shot portraits of Afghan children who are living in a slum in the outskirts of the city. Through these photographs, Muheisen leaves no room for doubt regarding how the violence perpetuated by adults has affected each and every child—generations of Afghan children who were born and raised in Pakistan, knowing nothing of their home country.

4. Delta Flies to The ’80s

While a lot of airlines play the same old safety video passengers feel they’ve been seeing since the ’80s, Delta decided to have a look back at the glory years of big hair and bigger sweaters with their new in-flight safety video, created by Wieden + Kennedy New York. Featured appearances include fishnet gloves, leg warmers and a Rubik’s cube, not to mention Alf and the teased-out locks of other quintessential ’80s stars. More than entertaining, the video manages to slip in all that standard information we’ve come to know in a brand new(ish) way.


5. Fresh Frames for Google Glass

Google’s Glass project has seemingly received as much criticism about the sartorial merits (or demerits) of its groundbreaking piece of wearable tech as they have about the actual technology. This week marked the unveiling of four new frame styles for Glass, with the optional addition of prescription lenses. This marks the next step in mass-producing Glass and points to the future of how this technology will be used. While some thought the system might be modular—allowing for the Glass technology to be removed—the more stylish frames instead are permanently affixed with the device, causing mixed reactions across tech and fashion circles.

6. A Documentation of Slow Blindness

Writer and theologian John Hull lost light sensation in 1983 after years of slow, deteriorating vision. From that moment on, Hull kept a beautiful, deeply thoughtful and captivating audio cassette diary which the New York Times has turned into the narration of a short documentary film, “Notes on Blindess: Rainfall.” Having just screened at Sundance, the entire project is currently being developed into a feature film by London filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney. It’s equal part documentary and drama and perhaps the most mesmerizing insight into the world of being blind.

7. The Time Warp Photographer

Berlin-based, Hungarian-born Adam Magyar isn’t your usual photographer; he travels around the world with his industrial camera which has custom add-ons, like a scanner. His prototype shoots at 56 times the normal speed; 12 seconds of blurred motion can transform into 12 minutes of extremely slow motion. Time slows down to a halt at a subway station during rush hour, allowing the rare opportunity to look at each and every person closely, like a group portrait of sorts. He improves the quality of images shot in non-optimal conditions by writing complex software, for example, to reduce noise and distortion. Check out Medium’s in-depth profile of the tech-minded artist to learn how he creates a digital camera system based on his needs.

8. Pete Seeger’s Environmental Legacy

This week marks the loss of a great American folk hero and activist. New York-born Pete Seeger’s prolific music career is just one of the ways he will be remembered and according to this Guardian article, he may be best known for his lead role in saving the Hudson River. When Seeger set out to save the river—known to be so toxic, it was used by sailors to sterilize their boats—he promised residents they would one day be able to swim in the Hudson. Given the river’s current healthy state, Seeger’s legacy is secured along the banks of this historic waterway.


9. Red Bull on Apple TV

While they might be best known for their wing-bequething energy drinks, Red Bull also supports a wide variety of sports, music and cultural projects. This week saw the launch of Red Bull’s own channel on Apple TV, giving a home to the brand’s wide array of unique content and providing a platform for streaming future live events from concerts to sports. Apple TV users around the world can check out the channel with no upgrade or update necessary.

10. Karen Walker Visible

While many products tout the fact that they are made by marginalized artisans overseas, the harsh truth is that the customer will likely never see or interact with them. For her spring eyewear collection, prominent New Zealand fashion designer Karen Walker worked with the United Nations’ ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative (whose motto is “NOT CHARITY, JUST WORK”) to create a new campaign that acknowledges and spotlights the Kenyan artisans who have benefited from the organization’s initiative. Check out the lookbook images, which features artists, metal casters, beaders and more modeling Karen Walker eyewear.

11. Space News

Two new space discoveries are changing the way scientists, physicists, astronomers and other experts will come to perceive the universe. First, tiny pockets of water were found hiding in flakes of interplanetary dust particles—literal stardust—which increases the possibility that humans aren’t on our own. Second, dark matter—an invisible type that has only been hypothesized—may have been spotted for the first time. Like the lyric from the LCD Soundsystem hit “Pow Pow,” there is no end to discoveries.

12. Design-Minded Disaster Response Housing

Hurricane Katrina is among the most devastating natural disasters in American history. Inspired by the needs of those displaced by flooding and the US government’s inefficient, costly and poorly equipped housing solution, designer Michael McDaniel created a smarter housing solution for displaced persons. EXO costs a quarter of the current trailer-like housing, is recyclable and sets up in just two minutes. Each EXO comes equipped with a Nest-like censor that relays each structure’s location back to a centralized grid to help reunite families and distribute necessary services. Nearly funded, EXO hopes to enter full production, then reach those that need help most.

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