Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Space tacos, electrified classic cars, a skatepark for "non-traditional skaters" and more from around the internet

NYC’s New Monument “The Girl Puzzle” Honors Journalist Nellie Bly

Currently being installed on Roosevelt Island, “The Girl Puzzle” is a new bronze monument depicting the faces of five women. By Amanda Matthews, the installation honors one of the location’s most famed residents, journalist Nellie Bly, who, in 1887, acted her way into being committed to the island’s insane asylum in order to report on the abusive treatment of women patients. When Matthews read Bly’s reports (the first of which inspired the title for the monument), she was taken with the journalist’s empathy. She decided to sculpt Bly, as well as four statues that depict family and friends who remind her of the journalist and who bring much-needed visibility to Black, Asian American and queer women. These large statues surround Bly’s, while the back of the monument features excerpts from her writing and an optical facial illusion that pays homage to the women who suffered in the asylum. An audio app is also included to share the story behind each face. Read more about it at The Lily.

Image courtesy of Jeenah Moon/The Washington Post

A24 “For Promotional Use Only” Book + Auction

Independent media company A24 has released a book celebrating some of the most engaging, ingenious, off-kilter and absurd movie merch: For Promotional Use Only: A Catalogue of Hollywood Movie Swag and Promo Merch from 1975-2005. From a Matryoshka doll promoting Being John Malkovich to a Stepford Wives frisbee, Jaws stockings, a Parent Trap fanny pack and more, there are 160+ products included in the book. As part of the release, A24 will be auctioning much of the paraphernalia, with proceeds going to LA’s Vidiots Foundation, a non-profit community video library (and soon-to-be cinema) that hosts workshops, screenings and more. See more at A24.

Image courtesy of A24

New Treatment EBT-101 Could Provide a Breakthrough Cure for HIV

Excision Biotherapeutics’ groundbreaking HIV treatment, EBT-101, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to begin testing for its first phase of human trials. This new treatment relies on the Nobel Prize-winning, gene-editing technology CRISPR to successfully remove HIV proviral DNA from human cells. Scientists believe that this one-time treatment will “functionally cure” people from the virus, meaning only small traces of the HIV genome could be leftover—a quantity so small, it wouldn’t cause someone to test positive. In contrast to antiretroviral therapies (a current life-long treatment that doesn’t provide a functional cure), EBT-101 could be a milestone toward curing the virus and ending the epidemic. Learn more about the innovative treatment at Them.

Image courtesy of Javier Zayas/Getty Images/Them

OnWord’s New Park for “Non-Traditional Skaters” in Chicago

Like many places, Chicago’s skate scene is dominated by straight, white cis men, oftentimes leaving women, people of color, gender-nonconforming and queer individuals feeling unwelcome or intimidated in skateparks. OnWord, a collective on a mission to empower “non-traditional skaters,” seeks to change that. For their most recent project, the group built their own pop-up park, called OnSite, where all people can feel safe and welcome. Situated in the parking lot of another Chicago skatepark, OnSite is more than an accessible park—it’s also a symbolic gesture. “There’s power in irony, right?” says one of the founders of the collective, T Smith. “We’re in the parking lot of a skatepark where many of these people felt uncomfortable. And we’re making our own.” By encouraging and empowering each other, OnWord increasingly fosters accessibility within the skateboarding community. Learn more about them at The Lily.

Image of Lia Madrid, courtesy of Jamie Kelter Davis/The Washington Post/The Lily

First-Ever US Passport Issued With “X” Gender Designation

In order to respect and reflect the “lived reality” for many, the first-ever US passport marked with “X” as the gender has been issued. The new gender designation option will hopefully give non-binary, intersex and gender-nonconforming individuals the opportunity to “live with greater dignity and respect,” says Jessica Stern, US special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights. Colorado navy veteran Dana Zzyym—who has been campaigning for a passport that doesn’t designate them as male or female since 2015—was the recipient of the passport. Zzyym says, “I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex.’ I’m also ecstatic that other intersex and non-binary US citizens will soon be able to apply for passports with the correct gender marker. It took six years, but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognizes I am neither, is liberating.” Read more at Pink News.

Image courtesy of Lambda Legal

Companies are Converting Classic Cars into Electric Vehicles

Over the years, as electric cars have increased in popularity, companies around the world have begun converting classic automobiles (which are notorious for being bad for the planet) into their eco-friendlier counterparts. In the UK, Lunaz and London Electric Cars are two such companies who give iconic motors modern upgrades, converting cars like the Jaguar XK120 and 1953 Morris Minor, respectively. In the US, EV West is on a mission to prove the power behind electric cars, packing a double-cab Volkswagen minivan with an 18 Tesla Smart Module battery pack amongst other re-designs. And in Japan, Oz Motors has converted about 80 cars since 2010, including a 1955 BMW Isetta microcar, which can viewed—along with the aforementioned cars and more—at CNN.

Image courtesy of Lunaz

Scientists Discover Female Condors Can Reproduce Without Males

Scientists in California have found that the female California condor (the largest flying bird in North America) can reproduce without males. This discovery is a culmination of work that dates back to the 1980s, when the San Diego Zoo began developing a test to determine the sex of condors. In 2021, that same test was instrumental in researchers finding a lack of male genetic material in chicks, proving their female-only reproduction. Scientists are particularly excited about this new information as it suggests a high likelihood that other animals reproduce asexually too. It also lends researchers further information for studying condors to save them from the threat of extinction that they currently face. Learn more about this impactful revelation at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Mike Blake/Reuters/The Guardian

Astronauts Make the “Best Space Tacos” With Peppers Grown in Orbit

A NASA crew in space has successfully grown green chile peppers for the first time. To celebrate, they used their new produce to make what astronaut Megan McArthur calls the “best space tacos yet” with fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes and artichokes. The Hatch chiles are a part of NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 investigation, which has “been victorious in getting other veggies, such as radishes, Chinese cabbage, mizuna mustard, red Russian kale and three types of lettuce, to grow on the ISS.” However, peppers are of particular importance, as they are much more difficult to grow in microgravity. Harvesting them will help scientists understand how to best sustain astronauts during challenging and lengthy missions. Learn more about this accomplishment at HuffPost.

Image courtesy of Megan McArthur

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of Patrick Stevenson/EV West