Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Night vision eyedrops, Earth's endangered soil and the science behind comfort food all in this week's picks


1. IKEA’s Shelters for Refugees

IKEA is providing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with 10,000 flat-pack Better Shelters as part of an ongoing collaboration through its Housing for All Foundation. After initially being tested by 40 refugee families, the Better Shelters were upgraded with a solar panel, lamp, windows, ventilation and a locking door—earning them praise as a “milestone in democratic design.” They are set to ship in the summer of 2015 to aid refugees and families affected by disasters.

2. Night Vision Eyedrops

Night vision eyedrops are now a real thing thanks to Science for the Masses, an independent biomedical research lab in California. After speculating that Chlorin e6—a chemical that naturally forms in algae and other green plants—could possibly improve vision in the dark, one of the team’s researchers offered up his own eyes to test it out. The drops allowed him to distinguish people from up to 50 meters away in extreme darkness, making the case for further investigation.

3. Why Comfort Food is Comforting

Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup have long been staples among American comfort foods, but what exactly makes them so comforting? New research is showing that the warmth associated with these archetypal meals don’t necessarily relate to their flavors, but rather the emotion attached to the people that once served them to you. If your mom, dad, grandpa or favorite aunt fed you chicken noodle soup when you were sick as a child, that care and comfort will resonate with you each time you reach for a bowl.

4. The World’s First BASE-Jumping Dog

Vimeo on Demand just released the trailer for “When Dogs Fly,” following the story of a mini cattle dog named Whisper as he becomes the world’s first BASE-jumping pooch—with help from his daredevil owner Dean Potter. The trailer captures Whisper as he soars back to Earth at 120 mph and whimpers with joy after landing safely. The film pushes people to question what’s right or wrong and if “this joy will lead to harm or death.”


5. Earth’s Endangered Soil

Though it may not seem like it, the Earth’s soil is a precious and magical material that we all depend on to sustain human life, yet we still treat it like, well, dirt. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the world has just 60 more years of growing crops if we continue to carelessly strip our soils of essential nutrients and destroy invaluable crop fields to turn a quick profit. Read more about the costly practices that are damaging our soils (and us) on The Guardian.

6. Berlin Alternative Fashion Week

Boundary-breaking creative talent gathered at this year’s Berlin Alternative Fashion Week (BAFW) to showcase the future of independent design through fashion, music and art in an atmosphere not bogged down by big brands. The collection of experimental events included runway shows by designers Field of Ponies, Phoebe Heess, Bas Kosters, Tzuji and more, culminating in the main event “Alchemy.”

7. Pac-Man on Google Maps

Stop what you’re doing and head over to Google Maps because, for a limited time, Google is turning your neighborhood streets into the 8-bit world of Pac-Man. Activate the new feature by clicking on the Pac-Man button in the lower left corner, which instantly turns your map into the classic arcade game—complete with Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. This hack is available for virtually anywhere on desktop but only select areas on mobile, which you’ll need to discover through clues on Google’s support page.

8. Digital Scrapbooking With Body Parts

A digital art project by Carnegie Mellon University student Miles Peyton lets you upload and interact with animated GIFs of human body parts. Titled “Parts, Parts, Parts,” the project is available on three different website pages and allows users to configure their own work of art using snippets of body parts from other users. Peyton describes the piece as an “anonymous, interactive alternative to sending nudes.” Try it out for yourself right now, but be warned that some of the images may be NSFW.

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