Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Raving to create renewable energy, designing for people with color blindness, understanding each human's baseline smell and more from around the internet

Insect-Based Pet Food Could Help Curb Climate Change

The way we eat undoubtedly needs to be transformed in order to curb climate change, but one area of the food system that’s often overlooked pertains to the “carbon pawprint”—aka pet food. A 2020 study by researchers based in the UK and Germany discovered that the pet food industry emits “as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the total emissions of the Philippines or Mozambique.” A remedy to this could be bug-based pet food. Various companies are already looking to the insect world to redesign pet food, with particular focus on the Black Soldier Fly. Not only are these flies packed with protein and calcium, they also reproduce quickly. As Tansha Vohra writes in MOLD, “If insects really are the future of food, and we open our minds to alternative proteins and solutions, it is entirely possible that we might be able to curb climate change, even if it is one pawprint at a time.” Read more at MOLD.

Image courtesy of MOLD

Re-Entry Rocks + Just Soul Catering Use Food To Empower Formerly Incarcerated Women

When Sharon Richardson returned home and rejoined the outside world after a 20-year sentence for the murder of her abuser, she realized being formerly incarcerated was a lifetime label. These re-entry barriers—along with the cooking skills she learned in prison as a response to undernourishing cafeteria food—inspired her to create Just Soul Catering, a business that employs formerly incarcerated people, and Re-Entry Rocks, a non-profit organization that provides job training, counseling and other resources for formerly incarcerated women with histories of domestic violence. By sharing how to make food with others, Richardson empowers women and nonbinary individuals to lead better lives after prison. As the New York-based entrepreneur says, her mission is “to change the way the world sees formerly incarcerated individuals, sees women, sees mothers, daughters, friends—all that we are.” Read more about her critical work at Bon Appétit.

Image courtesy of Isa Zapata/Bon Appétit

New Exhibit “Mode Brut” Champions Accessibility in Fashion

On display at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design, Mode Brut redefines fashion through accessibility. Led by Victor Molina, the exhibit features over 50 artists from Creativity Explored, a studio and gallery for people with developmental disabilities in San Francisco, along with community art collective Bonanza, queer advocate and model Yanni Brumfield and fashion label Tokyo Gamine. Together, artists and designers intertwined their work so each exhibit piece is author-less, having been made with the fabrics, designs or illustration of several others. The show itself includes audio tours, tactile areas, jargon-less wall texts and translations in three different languages. “This is the most broadly accessible show we’ve ever mounted,” curator Ariel Zaccheo says. “The artists were thinking about accessibility. Often for people with different body types, their access to fashion is limited. These artists aren’t necessarily making clothes that are out there and crazy and wacky. They want things that are wearable and make sense to the artists who helped create them.” Read more about Mode Brut (open now through 23 January) at Hyperallergic.

Image of group weave handbag created in collaboration with SAORI Arts and painted shoes by Jesus Huezo, courtesy of Graham Holoch/Creativity Explored

People’s Bodily Smell Conveys Their Health, Emotions + More

Through three smell layers that waft from the skin, human bodies constantly convey information associated with their own health, age, emotional state and more. Underneath sweat odors and dietary influences, each person emanates a unique baseline smell that’s much like a signature or fingerprint which is defined by our major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genome. This is often pivotal in attraction. Further, fluctuations in one’s baseline smell can indicate a great deal—including the shift of emotions and the onset illness. The latter is why certain diseases (including Covid-19) can be diagnosed through smell by a trained doctor or with the assistance of a dog. Read more about the way scent molecules work and how we interpret them at the Wall Street Journal.

Image by Brian Gill

Nightclub To Convert Dancers’ Body Heat Into Renewable Energy

Glasgow’s SWG3—a nightclub meets arts and performance space—has launched an initiative with geothermal energy consultancy TownRock Energy wherein the latter’s technology converts heat generated by dancers’ bodies at SWG3 into renewable energy. The energy will be used to heat and cool the venue, and promises to save up to 70 tonnes of CO2 each year. TownRock Energy founder David Townsend tells the BBC that a pump will “move hot air from the club into a series of boreholes, which charge up as a thermal battery.” The company is keen to take the technology to other venues around the world, explaining, “The clubbing generation right now are very enlightened with regards to climate change, and it will make a big different for clubs to be able to say they’re net zero.” Read more at Dazed.

Image of BODYHEAT launch event, photo by Michael Hunter

Kukka’s “Chromarama” Tapestries For People Who See Color Differently

Rotterdam-based design studio Kukka’s “Chromarama” collection is a set of woven tapestries designed with specific types of color blindness in mind. Inspired by German artist and Bauhaus educator Josef Albers, Kukka founder Laura Luchtman based the designs on the Ishihara color-perception test and also worked with a group of people with color vision deficiency in order to better understand the way it works. The resulting tapestries are bright and bold, but have been carefully designed so they will be viewed by people differently—depending on the way they distinguish color. For example, “‘Chromarama I’ is tailored to red-green color weakness, which is a ‘light form’ of CVD and also the most common,” Natashah Hitti writes for Dezeen. “‘Chromarama II,’ meanwhile, is made for both red-green and blue-yellow blindness… [and] for viewers without color blindness, the tapestries aim to convey what it may be like to have the vision deficiency.” Find out more at Dezeen.

Images courtesy of Kukka

First-Ever Biodesign Sprint Winners Announced

Biodesign Challenge and Google Hardware Design Studio partnered for the first-ever Biodesign Sprint—a competition where individuals or teams (of up to six people) reimagine how biotechnology can work within the consumer category in more eco-friendly, sustainable ways. Those taking part aren’t just professionals, applications are open to everybody from hobbyists to industry experts. Some 40 teams (20 student, 20 professional) and 170 individuals from 15 countries took part. This week, the winners were announced. Among them, non-student team LOKUS.FOUND impressed with their prototyped resins crafted from seafood waste and pine trees. Find out more about this, other winning projects and how to enter next year’s event at the Biodesign Sprint website.

Image courtesy of Biodesign Challenge

Giorgia Lupi’s Entire Life as Data in a Moleskine Notebook

Data-obsessed designer and artist Giorgia Lupi has reimagined journaling in her glorious Book of Life—three deconstructed and then reconstructed Moleskine notebooks with colorful stitches, notes and numbers documenting her existence since her birth. White stitches represent days (a total of 14,496) while green stitches represent the first day of each year. But special events and emotions are also noted here—from professional successes to heartbreak. As Dalia Al-Dujaili writes for It’s Nice That, “A yellow stitch marks a life achievement, a dark blue stitch represents travel, a red stitch is love and fittingly, two red stitches forming a cross is a break up, whilst a black cross symbolizes a loss.” The remarkable book is now part of the Moleskine Foundation’s collection of artist’s notebooks, which now comprises 1,300 donated books and is free to access online. Find out more at It’s Nice That.

Image courtesy of Giorgia Lupi

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 “Chromarama II” courtesy of Kukka