Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Neuroscience breakthrough, next-level watch news, a celebration of Mexican craft and more from around the web

Neuroscientists Observe The Formation of a Memory in a Living Brain

A team of scientists from the University of Southern California watched zebra fish forming “fearful” brain memories, an observation that revealed a complex system of synaptic rewiring. The neuroscientists witnessed this overhaul of connections through imaging under a microscope, where memories blossomed in a fluorescent green color. This breakthrough, which, according to Wired, supports the idea that a “type of memory may be critical to how the brain chooses to encode it,” was outlined in a recent study published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more about the processing of memories as reported in the study at Wired.

Image of the brain of a zebra fish larva courtesy of Andrey Andreev/Thai Truong/Scott Fraser; Translation Imaging Center/USG

V&A’s “Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear” Exhibit Confronts Gender Constructs

On view now until 6 November in London, Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear is the V&A’s first major menswear exhibition. From a Victorian codpiece and Vivienne Westwood’s 1980s fig leaf-printed underwear to Kim Jones’ 2021 Fendi 3D flower dress inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Christian Siriano’s tuxedo gown worn by Billy Porter, the show traces the history of men’s apparel and highlights how femininity and gender fluidity have always existed within the masculine. The exhibit comprises three parts: Undress, which focuses on the West’s idolization of the male body; Overdress, a study on the role of flamboyance in menswear; and Redress, a look at 19th century menswear that marked the rise of dark, somber suits. These outfits (from the Edwardian era to the present day) show that “the sinister power of this highly segregated gendered style must have arrived with the might of capitalism and the industrial revolution,” writes Sarah Mower. At a time when ideals of masculinity still champion violence and toxicity, the exhibit is a critical examination that undermines common stereotypes. Read more about the thought-provoking exhibit—that helps to prove how “gender has always been a construct”—at Vogue.

Image by Peter Kelleher, courtesy of V&A

Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Ultra Sets Record for World’s Thinnest Watch

Since its debut in 2014, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo collection has been a leader in ultra-thin watchmaking, setting records with the “world’s thinnest tourbillon, minute repeater, self-winding watch, self-winding tourbillon, chronograph (which was also self-winding with second time zone), tourbillon chronograph and perpetual calendar,” according to Hodinkee’s Jack Forster. Now, they have unveiled a wristwatch that takes the title of the world’s thinnest watch altogether. Bulgari’s new 40mm sandblasted titanium Octo Finissimo Ultra measures only 1.80mm thick—and it does so by compressing most components onto the same plane in a staggering feat of engineering (with eight patents pending). Further, the Bulgari team laser-etched a decorative QR code onto the mainspring barrel’s ratchet wheel; scanning the code brings one to a video about the watch, as well as to an attached NFT. Read more about this milestone timepiece and the decisions behind it at Hodinkee.

Image courtesy of Bulgari

The Link Between Nostalgia and Pain Relief

Scientists behind research outlined in a new paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience believe there’s a connection between nostalgia and pain relief. The study (helmed by a team at University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and titled Thalamocortical mechanisms for nostalgia-induced analgesia) involved an experiment in which participants had slight heat applied to their skin, they then rated their pain levels, which changed depending on if they were simultaneously shown images from their past. These “nostalgia-inducing images, such as candy, cartoons, and toys from the era of their childhood… seemed to change activity levels in regions of the brain that scientists think are important to pain perception.” While this alludes to nostalgia as a means to offset pain, “the brain mechanism underlying the analgesic effect of nostalgia remains elusive,” says the researcher team. Find out more about the study and their use of the MRI headsets at INVERSE.

Image courtesy of SayaPhotos/Pixabay

The Tarot Reader and Activist Who Created DC Comics’ First Transgender Superhero

Created in the 1960s by DC Comics, Doom Patrol is an eccentric superhero team comprised of complex characters like Danny the Street, a sentient neighborhood that identifies as genderqueer. It’s fitting then, that this team would also boast DC Comics’ first transgender superhero, Kate Godwin, written by their first out trans writer: Rachel Pollack. Hailing from Brooklyn, Pollack led a stereotypical straight cisgender male life until she turned 26, when she came out to the world as a trans woman and lesbian (and also became immersed in tarot). Pollack continued studying tarot (and would eventually become one of the foremost authorities on the practice) while becoming an activist for the UK Gay Liberation Front, where she faced discrimination from cis members. These frustrations eventually culminated in Kate Godwin, a trans woman (who debuted in 1993’s Doom Patrol #70) with the powers of coagulation and dissolution. “Kate Godwin uses the power of her own transgender lived experience to save the world from immolation,” writes Samantha Riedel for Them. “For Pollack, this was the ultimate expression of the true spirituality of trans identity.” Learn more about this historic character and an upcoming Doom Patrol omnibus edition at Them.

Image courtesy of PM Press/Rachel Pollack

40 Artists Illustrate The Concept of Anxiety for EYEYAH! Kids’ Magazine

For its sixth issue, Singapore-based kids’ magazine EYEYAH! asked an international array of digital artists and designers to illustrate what they believe the word “anxiety” looks and feels like, as well as ways to overcome it. The resulting 40 images offer numerous perspectives: some hopeful, others overwhelming, all colorful. EYEYAH! co-founders Tanya Wilson and Steve Lawler created the award-winning publication to help children cope with the demands of the present day, and to grow into socially and environmentally conscious adults. “The topic of anxiety could not be more relevant and there is a need to approach it from a new perspective,” they say in a statement. “Visuals speak directly to the sub-consciousness and trigger readers to slow down, observe, analyze and interpret each image to see how it might relate to their own lives.” See more of the powerful artworks at designboom.

Image courtesy of EYEYAH!

Swatch’s $260 MoonSwatch Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Collaboration

Omega’s Speedmaster (which retails for around $6,400) has long been a watch design icon and a highly coveted timepiece. On 26 March, Swatch will debut an official collaboration with Omega called the MoonSwatch (for only $260), which replicates the design of the Speedmaster’s legendary Moonwatch model in its exact proportions. An automatic movement has been swapped for quartz—and the case will be composed of Bioceramic. The collection will include 11 different models, each based on a cosmic component to our solar system (including one inspired by Mars, that’s based on an Omega prototype produced for NASA in 1972). Read more about the details of the compelling collaboration at Gear Patrol.

Image courtesy of Swatch

The Organic Source of Spring’s Distinct Scent

The unmistakable (and hopeful) scent that emerges around springtime has long been traced to an organic source: the soil-based compound geosmin. Scientists from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the John Innes Centre and Lund University have attributed the familiar yet often unplaceable smell—much like a rainy day or freshly turned earth—to a “symbiotic relationship between a six-legged worm, known as the springtail, and Streptomyces, a type of bacteria commonly found in soil,” according to Popular Mechanics. Moreover, the earthy odor of geosmin acts as a chemical signal guiding springtails toward Streptomyces, which is its necessary food source. Read more about the much appreciated annual scent and the process behind it at Popular Mechanics.

Image courtesy of The Spruce

Residencia PATRÓN Invites Guests To Celebrate Mexican Craft Culture

Curated by Fabiola Zamora and Danaé Salazar, founders of the Mexico City-based independent fashion magazine Revista 192, Residencia PATRÓN is a two-day immersive pop-up in NYC that celebrates the convergence of Mexican craft culture and modern luxury. Within the enchanting ticketed event, five installations—from the likes of ceramics designer Perla Valtierra to handcrafted accessory brand Aurelia’s founders, Andrea, Paula and Magdalena de la Torre Suárez—epitomize artisanal elegance today. All of this comes paired with signature PATRÓN cocktails. Read more about the event and the talent involved on PATRÓN’s site now, where anyone interested can sign up for the waitlist to attend.

Image courtesy of PATRÓN

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 EYEYAH!