Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Presidential cocktails, tripping dinosaurs and how smoking is making you dumb in our weekly look at the web


1. Past Presidents’ Go-To Drinks

Our Founding Fathers really knew their way around booze, and thanks to Brian Abram’s new book “Party Like a President,” you can now make the same concoctions George Washington and Ulysses S Grant were sipping. Vanity Fair took the recipes to Leo Robitschek, the bar director of the Nomad and Eleven Madison Park, to whip up some of the past presidential favorites like FDR’s controversial “Haitian Libation,” Eisenhower’s Eggnog and Truman’s take on the Old Fashioned—which is pretty much just bourbon on the rocks.

2. Mattel’s View-Master Turns Virtual Reality

Mattel is updating its iconic View-Master toy for future generations. They’ve teamed up with Google’s Cardboard VR viewer to turn the slideshow goggles into an immersive virtual reality experience that allows kids to learn about the world in a completely different way. The headset will pair with Android devices and Mattel-made “reels” that feature various 3D scenes including San Francisco, the Solar System and even computer-generated dinosaurs. The new View-Masters are set to hit shelves sometime in October.

3. Introji: Emoji for Introverts

All introverts know how solo Netflix time can relax and recharge a person. To illustrate some of the joys (and woes) of being a little introverted, designer Rebecca Evie Lynch created Introji—a series of Emoji—after she and her boyfriend broke up because he needed more time on his own. Not just cute pictures, Introji (which is in the prototype phase) is “designed to help introverts express their intrinsic need to recharge in solitude.”

4. Designing Fast Food

With so many fast food franchises popping up on nearly every block, a successful chain needs eye-catching graphics and a unique personality to capture (and keep) attention. Owners understanding the significance of a compelling brand identity have pegged it as a top priority, along with the quality of the food they serve. From In-n-Out’s palm tree patterns to Shake Shack’s super-simple doodles, It’s Nice That rounds up some of the most memorable food design synergy out there right now.


5. Dinosaurs Were Tripping

Researchers from Oregon State University working in Myanmar have discovered grass trapped in 100-million-year-old amber; attached to it was a growth which they found to be “quite similar to the modern-day ergot fungus.” Evidently, this ergot fungus is known to cause hallucinations (and a few less fun symptoms like gangrene, convulsions and psychosis) which means sauropod dinosaurs were potentially tripping all the time—though “it is unclear whether massive sauropods could have consumed enough of the fungus to trip major balls.”

6. Smoking is Making You Dumber

Another reason to quit: apart from polluting your lungs and introducing chemical toxins to your system, cigarette smoking is now linked to damaging your brain. A new study from scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry explains that smoking cigarettes actually diminishes the outer layer of the brain, called the cortex, over time. The cortex is a key player in understanding mathematics, different languages and even drives attentiveness. Since noticeable effects don’t kick in until later, it unfortunately warrants smokers to “smoke now, worry later.”

7. Björk’s Retrospective at MoMA

Ahead of her eponymous retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Björk has released a teaser trailer hinting at one of her exhibition’s centerpieces. The clip sees the Icelandic singer on a dark mossy structure as she hauntingly sings a snippet from her new song “Black Lake” while a blue goo oozes from her body. The exhibition opens on 8 March 2015 and runs through 7 June, coinciding with live performances throughout NYC.

8. A Chronicle of Molten Chocolate Cake

A staple of dessert menus across America, the molten chocolate cake—a warm confection served with an oozing fudge center—has a deep and rich history within the culinary world. Depending on when you were born, though, the decadent dessert may evoke a different set of sentiments. Lucky Peach Magazine chronicles the cake’s journey from its birth at a Texan bake-off in the ‘60s to fine dining menus and finally to supermarket freezer aisles.

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