Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Grannies get high, Intel's high-tech bangle, Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Aura’s Wireless Christmas Lights

With just about everything going wireless these days, the team behind Aura thought it was time Christmas tree lights got the same treatment. After becoming fed up with untangling a never-ending mess of lights each year, Aura is introducing the first-ever wireless Christmas tree lights. Shaped like ornaments and offered in white or multicolor, the wireless bulbs will light up when they’re near a central “Power Ring,” allowing you to freely decorate your tree. Help fund them now on Kickstarter, and be sure to check out the more advanced WiFi option.

2. Director Mike Nichols Dies at 83

The much celebrated and beloved director Mike Nichols died on Wednesday 19 November 2014 at the age of 83. Nichols was an icon in the entertainment industry and was lauded by critics and audiences for his work in Hollywood and on Broadway. He was one of the few people to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy award. The New York Times remembers Nichols and chronicles his award-winning career as an actor, director, producer and comedian.

3. Norway’s New Passport

Norway’s new passport design is changing the way we view government documents. The Nordic country recently held a contest asking designers to submit their vision for a Norwegian passport that would be beautiful while also appropriate and functional. Oslo-based Neue Design Studio won with their concept titled “The Norwegian landscape,” featuring a simple yet thoughtful design with a focus on the natural beauty the country is known for. We can only hope other countries will follow suit.

4. Jamie xx Scores Wayne McGregor Ballet

For next year’s Manchester International Festival, celebrated contemporary choreographer Wayne McGregor has recruited the help of Jamie xx. To pair with McGregor’s fluid choreography, the British music producer has created a contemporary ballet score based off of Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, “The Tree of Codes.” Catch the culmination of their collaborative efforts next summer at the Manchester Opera House. Tickets are on sale now.


5. Weed-Smoking Grandmas

In what now seems like an obvious decision, Seattle-based film studio Cut leaves three grandmas in a room with pot, snacks and Cards Against Humanity. What ensues is raw comical genius as the three grannies, who had never smoked pot before, try to explain what they feel. While we’ll let you decide your favorite moment, we especially enjoyed when one grandma admits to loving ironing while another looks on, puzzled, before replying, “You’re kinda weird.” The video was filmed in the 420-friendly state of Washington.

6. 2014’s Word of the Year

On 18 November 2014, Oxford Dictionaries announced The Word of the Year. Joining the likes of past winners “GIF,” “selfie” and “unfriend” is “vape“—the term describing the use of electronic cigarettes. Other words in contention were “bae,” “normcore” and “budtender,” which is basically a bartender’s counterpart at a marijuana dispensary. In order to be considered for the title, words need to meet strict criteria and must attempt to capture the essence of the year; whatever that means. Keep in mind that The Word of the Year isn’t necessarily added to the dictionary.

7. The Origins of the Poop Emoji

Emojis are a staple in our digital vocabulary, but it wasn’t always this way. The tiny cartoons endured a tumultuous past before ever becoming a texting necessity. This is especially true for one of them: the poop emoji. Originating in Japan, emojis were used to add a certain emotional weight to otherwise dry messages, and the poop emoji was possibly the most popular of them all. Fast Company tells the story of the surprising effort it took to bring the brown, swirly caricature across the Pacific.

8. The MICA Smart Bracelet

A new entry into the wearable tech market by Intel and Opening Ceremony is a fashion-forward accessory for women that strips down functionality to focus on what’s really important. The MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) is a stylish bangle that needs no separate device to operate and comes with its own wireless plan and SIM card. The device will sync with Google Calendars, Facebook, and receive texts and emails from a specified list of contacts, making it perfect for situations where you can’t be glued to your phone.

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