Link About It: This Week’s Picks

5,700-year-old chewing gum, pertinent plant discoveries, 2019's biggest innovations and more inspiration from the web

2019 Plant Discoveries Include a Cancer-Fighting Fungus and More

102 plants and eight fungi were officially named by experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2019 (roughly 2,000 new species are named worldwide every year). Among the roster of the recently identified are a few additions with remarkable attributes, including a bamboo fungus from Yunnan that can fight cancer; a “miracle” berry, from the Chimanimani Mountains, that tricks tastebuds; and a rubbery shrub, found along a single waterfall at the Bafing River, that oozes a type of superglue. This year’s rarest find was a zonozono tree, in the ylang-ylang family—only seven of these trees are known to exist. Plants account for 82% of all life on Earth and their importance cannot be diminished. The new discoveries are exciting but as with all other flora, they must be protected. Read more at The Guardian.

Rei Kawakubo’s Costumes for Vienna State Opera’s Production of Orlando

As sublime as the story that inspires them, Rei Kawakubo’s costumes for the Vienna State Opera’s production of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando channel themes of time travel, gender exploration and poetry. Be it the white dress covered entirely in bows or the red damask dress with a polka-dotted skirt and black appliqué flowers, each creation embodies the artistry associated with the Comme des Garçons designer. Kawakubo’s process for the opera began in May and involved a presentation of ideas informed by the tale earlier this year at Paris Fashion Week and then a related CDG collection in September. It’s Kawakubo’s first time designing costumes and, as the production is directed by Olga Neuwirth, it’s the first time the Vienna Opera House stages a show helmed by a woman. Read more at Dezeen.

Genetic Sequencing Human DNA from 5,700-Year-Old Chewing Gum

From a one inch wad of birch pitch, chewed and spat out by a hunter-gatherer referred to as Lola around the year 3,700 BC, scientists were able to piece together an entire genetic snapshot—which goes so far as to include the meal she ate that day. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications and represent the first time researchers “have been able to reconstruct a complete human genome [and oral microbiome] from the deep past via ‘non-human material’ rather than from physical remains,” according to National Geographic. Excavated at the Syltholm site, on the Danish island of Lolland, the Stone Age “chewing gum” acts as a reminder that even unremarkable artifacts should be preserved for the seemingly invisible records they keep. Read more at National Geographic.

Important Innovations From 2019

Parsing through the year’s most pertinent innovations proves especially difficult in 2019 as advancements were aplenty. From toothpaste that uses a new type of fluoride for the reversal of early onset tooth decay to a gaming platform that exists entirely in the cloud, the innovations on Popular Science’s list—which they’ve carefully formed through research and testing—permeate everyday life and signal the promise of a brighter future. Scroll through their list to see products you can purchase now and ones that are making a difference in both scientific research and in national security.

Strokes Dummer Fabrizio Moretti Collaborates With Art Dealer Fabrizio Moretti On Sotheby’s Auction

For today’s live, no-reserve Sotheby’s auction, Fabrizio Moretti x Fabrizio Moretti: In Passing, two collaborators with the same name have brought together an extraordinary, unexpected exhibition of “Old Masters,” installed in NYC as a maze-like experience. The Strokes’ drummer, who goes by “Fab,” worked with the acclaimed Italian art dealer and collector to tell the auction’s narrative and lay out its immersive structure. Painting and sculptures by the likes of Taddeo di Bartolo, René Frémi and Battistello Caracciolo speak from corners and nooks and toy with the idea of perspective. It’s a clever move from Sotheby’s—with a charitable component, as a portion of the proceeds will go to organizations chosen by the Morettis: the International Rescue Committee and the Fabrizio Moretti Foundation. Learn more on YouTube.

A Nuclear Reactor For The Future

As current nuclear plants grow outdated, researchers, founders, and developers eye the energy source’s inevitable evolution. Most notably, the next generation of nuclear reactors will be smaller—almost 1/100th the size of current models. One specific advancement, named the NuScale reactor, could be grouped in clusters and sealed within some sort of protective container to prevent the spread of nuclear waste should an accident occur. Perhaps best of all, these smaller reactors can be positioned better to prevent inefficiency and loss of energy during storage, transportation and delivery. Rather than relying on our nation’s current roster of 100 plants, the population could turn to thousands of smaller, more local reactors that deliver energy directly to their surrounding citizens. Read more at Popular Mechanics.

Sneakersnstuff Enlists NBA Rising Star Rui Hachimura For Collaborative Campaign

Sneakersnstuff uses three Jordan Brand silhouettes to represent their 20-year history, as well as the story of Rui Hachimura, the first Japan-born player drafted into the NBA. Though the 21-year-old Washington Wizards power forward doesn’t have a signature shoe of his own, he inked a deal with the sneaker giant just before the start of his rookie season. With nods to Japan’s red rising sun, references to the interior of the first Sneakersnstuff brick and mortar store in Stockholm, and a coincidental alignment with the Wizards’ color scheme, each of the three sneakers—the Air Jordan 1 Mid, Jordan Mars 270 and Jordan Proto-Max 720—deviates from other new releases and reissues to form their own distinct style. For anyone that missed out on buying a pair, an augmented reality experience is set to roll out, offering users the ability to watch NBA games (both past and present) with additional features. Read more on their site.

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