Link About It: This Week’s Picks

An obituary for the Great Barrier Reef, vintage Nike ads, life as a professional line-sitter and more in our weekly look at the web


1. The Modern Day Pantheon

One of the most memorable talks from this year’s TED conference in Vancouver was from Bran Ferren who spoke about combining art and engineering to create a modern-day Pantheon. The former Head of Research and Development at Walt Disney Imagineering and founder of Applied Minds, Ferren describes the brilliance behind the Roman temple built over 2000 years ago while citing the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin—inventors who didn’t consider art, design and science to be separate, as they’re so often taught in schools today. The central question Ferren poses is: What will today’s Pantheon be, a combination of creative design and technical advances so profound that it will still inspire thousands of years from now? (His suggestion: autonomous cars.)

2. Racially Diverse Emoji

In 2012, Miley Cyrus tweeted about the lack of diversity within the pre-installed Emoji on Apple devices. Last week, actor Tahj Mowry did the same. Then MTV Act blogger Joey Parker emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook about the issue. Katie Cotton (Vice President of Worldwide Communications at the tech giant) responded, assuring Parker that an update—representing more races and cultures—is on its way. While some have argued it’s “just” Emoji, we think it’s another way that the standard has been, and should always be, questioned.

3. The Great Barrier Reef, An Obituary

One of the undisputed wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef is taking its last breaths, according to experts. This expansive, multi-media scroll-through feature from the Guardian outlines the 133,000 square mile spectacle’s biological history; from tectonic activity millions of years ago to recent human ruin caused by irresponsible tourism and fishing. While the story of the reef alone is captivating, the way it’s told is stunning and points to the opportunity major publications have to capitalize on the web. Beautifully composed photos and videos seamlessly replace text as the reader scrolls through the four chapters.

4. The Photobook: A History Volume III

By Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, Phaidon’s highly anticipated third (and final) edition in the Photobook series promises to be as aesthetically stunning as it is fascinating. The tome not only focuses on the relatively recent trend of photographers directing “the documentary approach towards more personal ends,” but also how this has affected viewers’ perceptions, relatability and even globalization. The authors highlight Pieter Hugo, whose “The Hyena & Other Men” project offered beautiful and neutral portraits, “giving his subjects a textual voice that describes their social invisibility in their own country.” A thought-provoking look at modern photo books for anybody interested in the medium and, indeed, themes of connectedness and universality.


5. Wieden + Kennedy’s First Advertisement

The relationship between Portland-based advertising darlings Wieden + Kennedy and crosstown sports giant Nike is the stuff of legend, having led to some of the most iconic campaigns ever. This look at the agency’s recently unearthed first advertisement displays the promise and creativity of the then-young firm, highlighting their ability to captivate an audience from the first seconds of a spot. The ad also happened to be Nike’s first nationally broadcast commercial, which screened during the 1982 NYC marathon. One of the most fruitful branding partnerships of the modern ad age was off and running.

6. Birds of Plight

London-based street artist ATM is painting rare and endangered British birds across the capital city in order to raise environmental awareness. Inspired by the work of 19th-century illustrators like John James Audubon and John Gould, ATM paints with great and scientific detail, but chooses a bright monochrome background as a way to attract attention not only to the unfamiliar birds, but also to their plight.

7. Nuji’s Lively Mobile App

A go-to for discerning shoppers since its inception, London-based Nuji is taking its web platform to the small screen with their new mobile app that allows users to create social wishlists and follow the world’s most beloved brands and top fashion editors for the best in clothing, accessories and homewares. An intuitive menu system is supported by seamless social integration, yet what really sets Nuji’s app apart is its personality. Using all of the sensors mobile technology has to offer, Nuji’s personal shopper (described as Siri with a face) reacts to the user’s movements and style picks in real time.

8. The Professional Line-Sitter

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the long lines in NYC—whether you’re attempting to taste a Cronut for the first time or to see popular art installations like the “Rain Room” at MoMA—have bred a new type of startup: line-sitting. Chelsea resident Robert Samuel started his business Same Ole Line Dudes (or SOLD Inc) after losing his job. Now, he endures 19-hour waits and freezing temperatures (for $25 an hour) in his new one. He shares his line-sitting experiences with Racked NY; from the unspoken bathroom code to NYC’s case of FOMO.

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