Link About It: This Week’s Picks

From gigantic "sea dragons" to unbaking the planet, news from the worlds of science, design and beyond

Open Call For Upcoming “The Uncook Book”

Upcoming publication The Uncook Book from Given (a London-based agency that works with purpose-driven brands) aims to communicate climate solutions in artistic ways, because “where science and logic can’t reach, creativity and imagination can.” Artists of all disciplines have been invited to contribute to the book via an open call for submissions that closes 31 January. The three concepts in the brief are: unbake how we consume, unbake how we live and unbake what we value. Artists and designers are invited to respond using their preferred creative medium. Becks Williams (Given’s creative director) tells It’s Nice That, “When it comes to the climate emergency, many of us are experiencing fatigue, thanks to the weight of what needs to be done and its daily presence on the news agenda. We wanted to launch a project that would help tackle any sense of hopelessness around the issue by raising awareness of the scientifically-backed solutions which will start to make a real impact.” All profits from sales of the publication will go to Friends of the Earth. Find out more at It’s Nice That.

Image courtesy of Given

DESI Constructs The Most Comprehensive Map of the Universe Yet

Despite being only 10% into its five-year mission, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (known as DESI) has already mapped more than 7.5 million galaxies as it looks up to 10 billion light-years away. Ultimately, DESI intends to scan 40 million galaxies across a third of the sky. DESI “measures the precise distances of galaxies from Earth and their emitted light at a range of wavelengths, achieving quantity and quality at the same time,” according to Wired. Thus far, scientists have used this data to learn about the way the universe is expanding and how quickly, as well as how it all pertains to the mysteries of dark energy. Read more about the astronomical instrument and how it can inform our understanding of the universe at Wired.

Image courtesy of Berkeley Lab using data from DESI

Massive Prehistoric “Sea Dragon” Fossil Discovered

Excavated in August and September 2021, the largest and most intact skeleton of an ichthyosaurs found in the UK measures 10 meters long and includes a massive 10-ton skull. These rare fossils of the marine dinosaur (known as a “sea dragon”) were uncovered in the landlocked Midlands, where two smaller, incomplete skeletons were dug up in the ’70s—others, however, have been unearthed in North America. An apex predator, the ichthyosaur “first appeared about 250 million years ago and went extinct 90 million years ago” and this one is believed to date back around 180 million years (placing it in the Jurassic Period). Read more about the mega-find at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Anglian Water/PA

The Free Black Women’s Library To Open in Brooklyn

Founded by multi-hyphenate artist and organizer OlaRonke Akinmowo, The Free Black Women’s Library has been a roaming art project, interactive installation and book collection that features 4,000 books all written exclusively by Black women. Now, the non-profit is settling down in a brick-and-mortar space, The Reading Room, in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy. “Getting a physical space means being able to provide a safe place for the Bed-Stuy community to rest, gather, learn and create together,” says the founder, who not only grew up in the neighborhood but also recognizes the gentrification currently underway there. Slated to open in spring 2022, The Reading Room will help reclaim real estate, allow others to engage more deeply with the works and operate as an inclusive space for film screenings, talks, free workshops and more. Learn more about this important new library (and how to support it) at the BK Reader.

Image of a reader at The Free Black Women’s Library pop-up, courtesy of OlaRonke Akinmowo

First-Ever Footage of Lightning Being Triggered

Low Frequency Array (LOFAR)—a state-of-the-art network of thousands of radio telescopes primarily used for astronomy—tunes its antennas to thunderclouds when storms roll in and impede its normal work. This allows the tool to document the “million or so radio pulses that emanate from each lightning flash,” according to Wired, “on a meter-by-meter scale in three dimensions, and with a frame rate 200 times faster than previous instruments could achieve.” In August 2018, one momentous flash was captured with such clarity that it’s providing insight on the trigger point of lightning—something that’s long evaded scientists, despite several theories. Documentation now supports that violent collisions of ice-crystal clusters shave off electrons from one another, causing an imbalance that leads to a chain reaction among air molecules. Read the detailed scientific process at Wired, where they’ve embedded an animation of the LOFAR data.

Image courtesy of Brian Hare

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 Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab