Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Tiny robots cultivating deserts, DJ sets from Fire Island's LGBTQ+ history, the spacecraft that touched the sun and more

World’s First Injectable HIV Preventative is Approved by FDA

The latest milestone in the fight to end the HIV epidemic, the first injectable medication for preventing HIV has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Until now, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medications for mitigating the virus, which include Truvada and Descovy, are required to be taken oral and daily, leaving a larger margin of error as people can forget or can’t realistically take something every day. Injectable drugs provide a more sustainable and discreet alternative. The newly approved HIV injectable, Apretude, will only require two shots one month apart and then one every two months. After trials proved Apretude to be more effective than oral medication, they were approved for use in at-risk adults. Learn more about the drug, which is expected to be available for distribution early next year, at the Washington Post.

Image courtesy of Jacquelyn Martin/AP

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe “Touched” The Sun

In an astronomical milestone for NASA, their Parker Solar Probe—which launched in 2018—flew into the Sun’s corona (where the temperature is roughly two million degrees Fahrenheit) becoming the first spacecraft ever to do so. “Touching” the sun in this way will provide tremendous insight for solar science, as the probe was able to gather substantial data. “The goal of this entire mission is to learn how the Sun works. We can accomplish this by flying into the solar atmosphere,” Michael Stevens, an CfA astrophysicist, says in a statement, as reported by Smithsonian Magazine. Read more about the spacecraft, its orbit and mission, and the environs of the sun, there.

Image courtey of NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Five Ice-Age Mammoths Found in the Cotswolds

Archaeologists and paleontologists have unearthed five 200,000-year-old, ice-age mammoths—two adults, two juveniles and one infant—in the Cotswolds region of England. These rare, incredibly preserved remains were found at a site that scientists agree is rich with history; tools from Neanderthals, elks that are twice the size of their contemporary descendants and more fossils have been found in the area. “This is one of the most important discoveries in British paleontology,” says evolutionary biologist Professor Ben Garrod. “We have evidence of what the landscape was like. We know what plants were growing there. The little things are really revealing the context of these big, iconic giants. It’s a glimpse back in time. That’s incredibly important in terms of us understanding how climate change especially impacts environments.” The discoveries are so exceptional that they will be featured in an upcoming BBC One documentary, Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard (out 30 December), in which Garrod and Sir David Attenborough explore the implications of this enlightening excavation. Learn more about it at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Julian Schwanitz/BBC/Windfall Films

Amangiri’s Sustainable “The Tree of Life” Installation by Verdi

Handcrafted from sustainable fibers, as well as straw and copper, Colombian textile design studio Verdi’s “The Tree of Life” sculpture—currently residing in the lounge of Canyon Point, Utah’s all-suite luxury resort Amangiri—isn’t like other seasonal installations. Verdi co-founder and creative director Tomás Vera first got the idea in 2013, from the Tree of Life concept he observed in Mexico and found across numerous global mythologies. Vera brought his vision for the flowing tree to life in 2019, and it now makes its North American debut at Amangiri, where it faces the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.⁠ Read more about the origin of the installation, which will be on view until mid-January, at Verdi’s site.

Image courtesy of Amangiri

Listen To Free Fire Island DJ Sets From 1981 to 1999

Referred to as “The Pine Walk Collection,” over 200 tapes of DJ sets from 1981 through 1999 were discovered in a recently purchased Pine Walk home on the queer safe haven and LGBTQ+ summer vacation destination Fire Island. Right now, the sets—which feature DJs including Michael Jorba, Teri Beaudoin and Giancarlo—can be listened to for free through Mixcloud. As Matt Moen says at Paper, “Filled with countless hours of vintage house and disco, this archive of DJ sets from Fire Island’s heyday is not only an amazing glimpse of that nightlife, but also just a solid collection of mixes that still hold up today.” Read more about the discovery there.

Image courtesy of Getty/ Hiroyuki Ito

This Tiny Autonomous Robot Concept Cultivates Desert Sands

Imagined by designer Mazyar Etehadi at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, the nocturnal “A’seedbot” autonomous robot charges through solar panels during the day and crawls around on seal-like propeller legs at night. Through a series of sensors, the little robot can detect areas in arid desert sands with enough moisture to plant seeds. It then deposits them and moves forward with enough distance for a seedling to sprout. The aim of the rather cute robot is to address desertification. Read more about the project at designboom.

Image courtesy of Global Grad Show

Artist Glenn Kaino’s Pioneering “Pass The Baton” NFT Project for Civil Rights

Amidst all the staggering figures that have been associated with crypto and NFTs in 2021, the 86.40 ETH or $347,355 (at the time of publish) that has been raised for non-profit partners and civil rights initiatives, by artist Glenn Kaino and Olympian and activist Tommie Smith, might arguably be the most pioneering use of the technology. For their “Pass The Baton” blockchain campaign—which can be tracked through a dedicated gallery on baton.art—Kaino produced 7,872 digitally-rendered baton NFTs that reference Smith’s iconic, defiant act of protest against racism and injustice, when he raised his fist on the podium during the medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympic Games. 24 human rights organizations will receive the funds accrued. Over at Medium, Kaino explains his motivations and the inspiration behind this campaign. Read more there.

Image courtesy of Glenn Kaino

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 Verdi and Amangiri