Link About It: This Week’s Picks

NPR joins the internet, SFW adult coloring books, "Tatoueurs, Tatoués" in Paris and more in our weekly look at the web


1. The Electric Eel and Open-Source Sex Toys

You can never predict the wild and exciting results of a hackathon, and yet two UPenn students truly changed the game with “Electric Eel.” This Arduino microcontroller-powered sex toy zaps waves of low-voltage electricity through a man’s genitals. Reportedly it causes quite a pleasurable sensation—enough to stimulate, but not enough to burn. This isn’t the first transgressive design by co-creator Andrew Quitmeyer, whose background includes a “pee to check-in” Foursquare rival, and there’s guaranteed to be more. First, though, the “Electric Eel” is taking to Indiegogo to fund a full production run.

2. The Rubik’s Cube Turns 40

Back in 1974 Erno Rubik invented a colorful little cube that could be twisted into 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different combinations. And only one of them is the correct one. His toy, the Rubik’s Cube, boomed until the early ’80s before fading into history as a symbol of a particular type of intelligence, minus the occasional cameo appearance in pop culture. But 40 years later, the cube is seeing a resurgence. Gamers, engineers and programmers trade algorithms for cracking the challenge. Annual speed championships exist with global competitors battling robots and the clock. And now, a new exhibition has opened at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ—celebrating the wondrous creation and its continued impact on the world.

3. Wise Words from Anthony Burrill

Graphic artist Anthony Burrill’s bold, communicative style has found a permanent home in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and other galleries around the world. In this brief interview, Burrill breaks down why he got into design, his influences and what keeps him interested. The designer’s minimalist style is reflective of his ethos: stripped-down, no-nonsense yet completely engaging and memorable. Designers, creatives and anyone looking to make a strong point can glean a bit of wisdom from Burrill.

4. Mobile Guitar

FretPen is a tiny guitar the size of your hand that’s actually playable. Connecting to your iOS device through Bluetooth and using it as an “amp,” the guitar has steel frets, one real guitar string and four buttons that allow you to access six strings, 12 frets—or a three-octave range. The best feature, however, is that it’s also secretly a pen.


5. Building Faces

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Danielle Mastrion’s been making art across city streets for years and her work is unmistakable. Her large portrait murals range in subject, from Nelson Mandela to Biggie and Malala Yousafzai, and not only surprise the unaware but also draw traffic to their locations. In an insightful interview with Frank151, Mastrion addresses taking her work from the streets to the galleries, being an ArtBattles winner and what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated art scene.

6. Moiré Animals

The term moiré refers to a contrast effect created by overlapping identical patterns used in physics, mathematics and art to simulate depth and texture. To
demonstrate its effectiveness in drawing, Milan’s Andrea Minini
used a range of vector illustrations as her foundation for creating a collection of exotic animals in this style. The creative renditions see concentric circles and symmetric lines
create everything from a king cobra and an owl to a puma and gorilla. The effective simplicity is stunning.

7. Go Fucking Do It

Serious procrastinators now have a new solution that’s a little more accountable (and cutthroat) than writing out a checklist. Go Fucking Do It is a website that lets you set a motivation price for reaching your goals on time. Fail, and fork over your own money. The site’s owner hasn’t decided yet who the recipient of this money should be, but he has an interesting argument for why it shouldn’t go to a friend or to charity—donating to a good cause would actually make you feel less bad about losing the money, thus decreasing the incentive to fulfill your goal.

8. Tatoueurs, Tatoués

Set to open 6 May at Paris’ Quai Branly Museum, the upcoming exhibition “Tatoueurs,
Tatoués” will showcase some 300 works of historically significant tattoos and tattoo-related art. Curated by a range of well-known experts and outsider art magazine editors, the expansive show will focus mainly on the history of the tattoo from the 18th century to present
day. To build excitement, Yatzer posted an interesting interview with
journalist, film director and co-curator of this exciting exhibition, Pascal Bagot.


9. Radiation Art in Japan

As the second worst nuclear meltdown in history, perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Fukushima disaster is the invisible nature of the harmful radiation. To give the radiation contamination a visual identity, Japanese artist Masamichi Kagaya teamed up with nuclear research specialist Satoshi Mori to create a series of autoradiographs revealing color gradients of radiation in everyday items collected from the explosion zone around the power plant. The images tell the unseen story of the lasting effect the disaster will have on Japan (and the entire world), as well as the ability to convey technical information in an emotive, powerful way when science is combined with art.

10. The Internet Bandwagon

We bemoan our favorite websites or designers that have yet to make a Twitter account, but in the ultimate throwback, this week NPR reminded us of the time, way back in 1994, they first made the transition to internet. Read the full memo to learn how they explained the nuances of the internet (“a collection of computer networks that is connected around the world”) to their staffers 20 years ago.

11. Shinola’s Sister Willy

Detroit’s patron saint Shinola is expanding their reach with a new
concept store they’re calling Willys Detroit. A sister store to
the maker of leather goods, bicycles and watches, Willys Detroit will
peddle all the Bedrock (Shinola’s parent company) brands like Steven Alan,
Filson and Clare Vivier, as well as other menswear and homewares brands.

12. SFW Adult Coloring Books

The words “adult coloring book” surely conjure different images for everyone. Completely safe for work (assuming coloring at work is encouraged) these expert-level coloring books are a challenge even for those with the steadiest of hands. Intricate patterns and elaborate designs make for an effortful experience that has us feeling like kindergarteners again.

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