Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Real-time holograms, new multicolored fish, an infinity train, a remote restaurant and more from around the web

This Real-Time Hologram App Aims to Improve Remote Video Meetings

As an alternative to Zoom or other (empowering yet exhausting) remote video meeting services, the startup Matsuko—a finalist in SXSW Pitch 2022’s Extended Reality & Immersive Technology category—is developing real-time hologram-meeting capabilities. All one needs is an iPhone and the free Matsuko app. “Our brain is wired for the third dimension, and we need a sensation of people physically being there,” Maria Vircikova, cofounder and CEO of Matsuko, has explained. According to Fast Company, Vircikova, an AI researcher, partnered with Matus Kirchmayer, a former programmer on the Assassin’s Creed video game, to start developing Matsuko in 2017. Read more about their secret progress—and how XR goggles may be involved soon—at Fast Company.

Image courtesy of Matsuko

Scientists Declare a New Species of Multicolored Fish

A Maldivian scientist has officially announced a new fish species: the mesmerizing Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa, or rose-veiled fairy wrasse, named after the Dhivehi word for rose (finifenmaa). The rainbow-colored fish was first spotted in the 1990s but researchers believed it came from an already-known species. Now, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, the University of Sydney, the Maldives Marine Research Institute and the Field Museum have amended that belief after careful study, concluding that the rose-veiled fairy wrasse is a unique species. Beyond its dazzling color, the fish is important as it represents the first time a new fish species has been scientifically described in a study by a Maldivian scientist, and its announcement contributes to conservation, taxonomy and the overall quest to understand the ocean. As co-author of the study Luiz Rocha says, “It speaks to how much biodiversity there is still left to be described from coral reef ecosystems.” Learn more about this stunning fish at CNET.

Image courtesy of Yi-Kai Tea

Landmark Australian Exhibit “Queer” Dispels The Practice Of Presuming Art as Heterosexual

Open now through 21 August at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria, Queer is a triumphant exhibit, showcasing over 400 artworks that dispel the notion that art should be presumed heterosexual until proven otherwise. Expansive and full of camp, the exhibition’s contents span from ancient Egyptian amulets to Kylie Minogue and Indigenous works made today. In conjunction with each other, the artworks celebrate queerness—whether it appears overtly or not. Further, the art reveals connections between seemingly disparate pieces and gestures toward the queer experience of reading between the lines to create new meaning. Including LGBTQ+ icons like David Wojnarowicz and Yasumasa Morimura, the exhibit comprises different themes—shame and discrimination, real and imagined queer royalty, activism and more—to create Australia’s largest exploration of this kind. Learn more about this landmark show and how it was brilliantly curated at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Peter Bennetts

New York Plans To Open First Marijuana Dispensaries With Licenses Reserved for People With Drug Convictions

New York State’s first outlets for retail marijuana are slated to open by the end of the year with officials planning on providing those with early licenses access to stock from local farmers as well as storefronts leased by the state. The first 100 to 200 of these licenses, however, will be reserved for people who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses, or their relatives. This policy is an important step forward in creating equity for those who are disproportionately targeted and imprisoned over drugs, namely Black and Brown individuals. To bolster this economic opportunity, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed (and is likely to pass) a $200 million budget to help early business owners find and secure storefronts. Plans will kick off next week when the state opens applications for cultivators. Read more about this critical, unprecedented policy at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of Sara Naomi Lewkowicz/The New York Times

Non-Profit SkatePal Empowers Young Palestinians Through Skateboarding

Launched in 2013, SkatePal—a non-profit organization founded by Edinburgh-based Charlie Davis—seeks to support youth in occupied Palestine by fostering skateboard culture. The idea was sparked in 2006, when Davis skated down the streets in Palestine (where he was teaching) and found that his peers were intrigued. Realizing the physical and mental benefits that outdoor activities have on adolescents, Davis set out to build some of Palestine’s best skateparks, while also providing equipment and hosting lessons and summer camps for local youth. “These things transpose boundaries and political situations to create a sense of community and self-confidence,” he says. “Building concrete parks in Palestine means a lot more than it does over here because of the lack of space and the occupation.” For the community, particularly besieged by political strife and violence, skate culture provides a meaningful outlet to focus on. Learn more about it at The Face.

Image courtesy of The Face

The World’s Most Remote Michelin-Starred Restaurant Will Soon Be Even More Remote

The restaurant KOKS has brought culinary-curious tourists to the Faroe Islands, a remote and otherworldly North Atlantic archipelago, since it won its first Michelin star in 2017. Now, head chef Poul Andrias Ziska will transport the acclaimed establishment to Greenland’s Ilimanaq Lodge, some 200 miles above the Arctic Circle, for the next two summers (as they seek to find their next permanent location in the Faroes). This will be the first time a Michelin-anointed chef will set up shop in Greenland (which, like the Faroe Islands, is a semi-autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark). “As a Faroese person, I’ve always felt like there’s a connection there,” the chef explains to Bloomberg about the shift to Greenland. “It’s a place we identify ourselves with, at least when it comes to the raw materials.” Read more about the inspired transition at Bloomberg.

Image courtesy of Beinta á Torkilsheyggi

Decoding Pig Emotions With AI

A team of scientists—co-led by Elodie Briefer of the University of Copenhagen—has used an AI algorithm to translate acoustic characteristics within a pig’s grunts to determine how the animal is feeling. The aim of decoding these “oinks, snuffles, grunts and squeals” is to improve animal, and particularly livestock, wellbeing. As Briefer explains, “We have trained the algorithm to decode pig grunts. Now we need someone who wants to develop the algorithm into an app that farmers can use to improve the welfare of their animals.” Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Geoffrey Swaine/Rex/Shutterstock

Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s Eiffel Tower Landscape Plan Approved

With a 35% increase in green space, the addition of 200 new trees and the incorporation of pedestrian access across the Iena Bridge, Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s landscape plan for the Eiffel Tower site has now received final approval from the Paris City Council. The verdant, future-forward plan won the 2019 international competition surrounding the two-kilometer area’s redevelopment. “The first phase will transform the roundabout at Trocadero into lawn terraces with fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower, increase the amount of planting around the Varsovie fountain, green the entire Quai Branly and enhance the gardens around the Eiffel Tower,” Mary Bowman explains. Read more about the ambitious vision (which will commence this summer)—and see several stunning renderings—at Arch Daily.

Image courtesy of Lotoarchilab

Electric “Infinity Train” Charges Itself With Gravity

UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering has been acquired by Australian company Fortescue, which is transitioning toward green renewables and resources, and together they have announced the world first zero-emission Infinity Train. It’s electrically-powered and can move loads of iron ore without needing to be charged by an external source. Because the train travels downhill, there’s enough momentum and braking opportunities to regenerate power in the battery without ever needing an external source. Then, when the train travels uphill, it does so after being unloaded and is thus lighter, which supports the whole system. “The Infinity Train has the capacity to be the world’s most efficient battery electric locomotive,” says Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines. “The regeneration of electricity on the downhill loaded sections will remove the need for the installation of renewable energy generation and recharging infrastructure, making it a capital efficient solution for eliminating diesel and emissions from our rail operations.” Learn more about it at New Atlas.

Image courtesy of Fortescue Metals Group

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 MIR