Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Self-driving cars, Cuba's lung cancer vaccine, Einstein's handwriting as a font and more in our weekly look around the web


1. Cornell Renames Institute After Carl Sagan

Cornell University’s Institute for Pale Blue Dots is being renamed the Carl Sagan Institute: The Pale Blue Dot and Beyond in honor of the late astrophysicist and former Cornell faculty member. After Sagan’s wife and collaborator Ann Druyan visited the science center to give a speech, she was inspired by the innovative work being done and proposed the name change saying, “If Carl was alive, this is what he would love to do. Would you mind naming it after Carl Sagan?” Needless to say, the institute’s founding director Lisa Kaltenegger happily obliged.

2. 100% Renewable Energy for Hawaii

With a newly passed bill, Hawaii may soon become the first American state to generate all of its energy through renewable resources. Hawaii currently imports 93% of all of its energy through fossil fuels, making its utilities’ costs among the highest in the nation. The new bill projects 100% energy independence for the state by 2045, as it plans to produce clean energy through an array of sources including hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and solar sources—eliminating fossil fuels altogether.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road’s Incredible Cars

When production designer Colin Gibson was hired to design the cars for Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller told him, “Make it cool or I’ll kill you.” Instead of making them just look cool, Gibson made sure all of the machines were fully functional and completely bad-ass. To create each of the 88 mechanical monsters, Gibson and his crew scoured junkyards across Australia for iconic car parts that could be Frankenstein-ed together—and the results are glorious. See more of the extreme creations on Jalopnik.

4. How Nomophobic Are You?

Nomophobia—it’s a new term derived from “no mobile phone phobia” that describes the anxiety people experience when they’ve been separated from their cells. You can now measure your own levels of nomophobia through a 20-question survey from two Iowa State University social psychologists who are hoping to use the answers to inform nomophobia research. While the questionnaire is currently available on New York Magazine, you’ll have to wait for their analysis “Computers in Human Behavior” to figure out what it all means.


5. Einstein’s Handwriting is Now a Font

Albert Einstein’s genius manifested itself not only through his theories in modern physics, but his handwriting too. His signature penmanship blended elements of both Latin and Kurrent—an old form of cursive based off of medieval times—to form a unique style that was “very disciplined and extremely playful.” Now anyone can access the famous physicist’s handwriting thanks to a Kickstarter campaign by German typographer Harald Geisler that’s turning it into a font. Until 13 June 2015, a pledge of $25 will get you a fully digitized copy of the typeface—groundbreaking brilliance not included.

6. The US Wants Cuba’s Lung Cancer Vaccine

As US government regulated restrictions around Cuba slowly ease, a few things have come to light. One being that Cuba hosts some of the world’s leading biotech and medical research. Now, the US is looking to bring a promising lung cancer vaccine from the Caribbean nation stateside. Called Civamax, the vaccination spurs the body into releasing antibodies that can prevent lung tumors from metastasizing, making them more manageable. The US is hoping to further develop Civamax into a formidable defense in the battle against lung cancer.

7. The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis in Photos

For its latest In Focus photo series, The Atlantic uncovers the perilous trans-Mediterranean journey that thousands of migrants from Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia embark on in search of a better life. The United Nations approximates that—just this year—60,000 people have already made the crossing while 1,800 have fallen victim to capsize. The European Commission is now calling for nations to accept migrants based on a quota scheme while the European Union has proposed search-and-destroy missions.

8. Google’s Self-Driving Cars to Hit Public Roads

Over the past six years, Google’s self-driving cars have accrued an equivalent of 75 years of US adult driving experience through test runs, with just 11 minor fender-benders. Now, the driverless vehicles are set to take to the publics roads of Mountain View, California—Google’s home town—for further testing. Each car will be capped at a 25 miles-per-hour maximum and will be accompanied by a driver who can access the gas, brakes and steering wheel. By releasing them into the public, Google hopes to better understand conditions unique to self-driving vehicles. Look for them this summer.

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