Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Glassholes, Van Gogh's new ear, exoplanets and more in our weekly look at the web


1. World Cup Tours via Street View

In anticipation of next week’s World Cup opening, Google scoured the football-obsessed nation of Brazil for some of the most festive locales, from painted streets to stadiums. The virtual tour is an excellent use of Google’s immersive Street View product. Standing in the center of the pitch offers otherwise inaccessible insight on the scale of what’s to come, but the painted streets are arguably most captivating, and will surely be a center of the action when Brazil kicks off against Croatia on 12 June 2014.

2. History of Times New Roman Typeface

In an effort to sharpen the design of famed UK newspaper The
Times in 1931, Stanley Morison created the Times New Roman typeface. As what is
commonly understood to be the most sensible—if not formal—typeface,
TNR is used worldwide as a serious standard in powerful,
reader-friendly form. A short film by the founding paper explores
TNR’s origins and place in contemporary culture today.

3. The Carpet of Life

Amsterdam “co-creation studio” Butterfly Works develops projects with the mission of decreasing global poverty while increasing equality. Their recent Saharan effort, Carpet of Life, helps keep the creation of traditional Boucherouite rugs a viable craft through the donation of second-hand clothing and fabric scraps. Textiles are scarce and the women can no longer survive on the caravan trade, so Butterfly Works connects locals with raw materials and consumers with the fruits of their labor.

4. The 12 Greatest Missing Watches

In the iconic role of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando wore a bezel-less Rolex GMT-Master. Fidel Castro more than sported Rolex watches, he was a noted lifelong fan, as were Paul Newman and President Johnson. And while we have this information, no one knows where all of those watches went. The list—compiled by Hodinkee—goes on, from Pablo Picasso’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Triple Calendar to John Lennon’s purported Patek Philippe 2499. While there’s documentation that those individuals wore these watches, the timepieces themselves might just be lost to history. Even Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster, the first watch ever used on a lunar walk, is nowhere to be found.


5. Google Glass Jam Program

In what actually may be the first physical tool to fuel the backlash
against the invasive Google Glass, Berlin-based artist Julian Oliver has created, a program designed to detect Glass
devices and jam their WiFi connection. Using a USB network antenna and a program off Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone mini computers, the
technology impersonates the user’s network and sends an authorization
command, rendering the device unable to upload any videos and images it’s

6. Modern Day Gold Diggers

Fourteeners doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Forty-Niners, but the California tradition of prospecting for gold is alive and well in 2014. In her book, “The New Forty-Niners,” photographer Sarina Finkelstein captures the current-day subculture of gold-hunters with startling intimacy. The group of rough-and-tumble hopefuls, made up of outcasts, ex-cons and good old-fashioned renegades, operates in striking contrast to the landscape. Aside from the trailers, tattoos and modern clothes, the burly souls on display suggest little has changed in this all-or-nothing way of life since the first rush 165 years ago.

7. Godfather of Ecstasy Passes

From his home in Berkeley, CA, vanguard psychedelic pharmacologist and pioneer Alexander Shulgin synthesized over 200 drugs—including a milder form of LSD. After a stint working on psychedelics with The Dow Chemical Company, Shulgin struck out on his own and would go on to lead the field of psychedelic research, most notably by creating MDMA (the primary active ingredient in Ecstasy)—a drug that started out as a tool for therapists, but quickly infiltrated club culture around the world. Surrounded by friends and family, the innovative Shulgin passed away this week at age 88 after a battle with liver cancer.

8. Regrowing Van Gogh’s Ear

In “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear,” (1889) Vincent Van Gogh directly addresses his new visage after he personally severed the appendage from his head at a brothel. Thanks to the great-great-great-grandson of Van Gogh’s brother Theo, we have the ear back. Only, it has been regrown from genetic material by the artist Diemut Strebe. The ear is now on display in Germany and there are hopes to have a world tour. Deep symbolism resounded from the act of removing the ear and in documenting it in Van Gogh’s own work. Now, there’s an opportunity to see it again.


9. Louis Vuitton Logo Treatment

With the launch of The Icon and The Iconoclasts, Louis Vuitton’s Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière has invited six world-renowned artists and designers to re-envision the classic LV logo. The monogram was originally created in 1896 by Georges Vuitton as a tribute to his father, and although individuals have collaborated on temporary renditions, this is the first collective effort. The list of participants—which includes fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin and Rei Kawakubo, as well as architect Frank Gehry, artist Cindy Sherman and industrial designer Marc Newson—demonstrates the historic and continued legacy of the company’s iconic branding.

10. Sphere Sees Exoplanets

Capable of seeing past the light from nearby stars and suns, the new
“Sphere” (which stands for spectro-polarimetric high-contrast exoplanet research) instrument attached to Chile’s Very Large Telescope offers astronomers
the ability to explore exoplanets and the surrounding regions of
space. As recent images of a dust ring around a nearby star—which
looks disturbingly close to the Eye of Sauron—captured with the
device show, there is still so much for us to learn about the galaxy
around us.

11. Emojis as Data

If you thoughts emojis were just a fun way to add some spice to your texts and Instagram comments, think again. The cute pictorial icons are becoming useful bits of collectible data because it’s easier for machines to interpret than informal language. This piece from Vocativ explores how they’re being used and mined by sites such as Yelp and Facebook. Tools have been developed to track the use of emojis on Twitter in real-time, but it’s too early to say how they will be analyzed.

12. Who Pays Artists

The topic of money is one commonly considered taboo, but perhaps even more so for self-employed artists. Inspired by the crowd-sourced list “Who Pays Writers?” the new site “Who Pays Artists?” strives to bring clarity to the murky, undiscussed subject. Fill out the simple Mad Libs-style form to add to the growing conversation, or read the responses below. It’s eye-opening to see how many artists with years of experience have worked for nothing, with even creative coders chiming in.

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