Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Underwater sculptures, meteor material, uncovered demos from The Velvet Underground and more from around the internet

Remarkable Sea Creatures Discovered Thousands of Meters Deep

Deep below the surface of the Indian Ocean—thousands of meters down—several remarkable creatures have been discovered by biologists. There are animals “decked out in twinkling lights, with velvety black skin and mouths full of needle-sharp, glassy fangs.” These inhabitants represent a very remote part of the planet. Not only do they live deep down, within massive underwater mountains, but the part of the ocean they were found in, near the Cocos Islands, took six days to reach from Darwin, Australia. One of the creatures discovered is a blind eel “collected from 5,000m down, covered in jelly-like, transparent skin.” The expedition’s chief scientist, Dr Tim O’Hara, says, “There are blind eels and tripod fish, hatchetfish and dragonfish, with all of these bioluminescent organs on them and lures coming out of their heads. They’re just extraordinary.” Read and see more about these remarkable animals at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Benjamin Healley

David Hockney Immersive Show Slated to Open in London

Opening at London’s Lightroom in January 2023, the multi-sensory exhibition David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) will pair digital projection with immersive audio. This confluence of technology aims to bring several Hockney works to life, from iconic paintings to new pieces. Presented in six chapters, the show incorporates narration by Hockney and an original score by composer Nico Muhly. The experience runs for 50 minutes. Read more about the ambitious installation at Wallpaper*.

Image courtesy of David Hockney

Building Sustainable Computer Chips Out of Mushrooms

There are 50 million tons of electronic waste produced per year, including computer chips which are made from un-recyclable plastic. Within each chip, the substrate—an insulating and cooling layer that transmits data—is the most difficult to recycle, but scientists are trying to remedy that. Martin Kaltenbrunner at Austria’s Johannes Kepler University and his colleagues built a biodegradable electronic substrate using the skin of the ganoderma lucidum mushroom. Thin, flexible, insulated and capable of withstanding over 200 degrees Celsius, the mushroom’s skin functions just as well as the standard plastic. On top of being more sustainable, this skin is also highly durable, working even after it was bent more than 2,000 times. Learn more about this innovative engineering at New Scientist.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock/ukjent

An Underwater Art Gallery Protects Natural Climate Change Solutions

Meadows of seagrass once flourished alongside the shores of Talamone, Italy, but have since diminished in size due to bottom trawling, an illegal practice where chain-weighted nets scrape the seabed. This seagrass is crucial for fighting climate change as it captures more carbon dioxide than the Amazon rainforest. Further, a 2021 paper detailed that if seagrass is protected around the world, it could lower global carbon emissions each year by 1% by 2030—about half the output of the aviation industry. The lack of regulation to protect a potent, natural climate change solution led fisherman Paolo Fanciulli to found Casa dei Pesci, an underwater art gallery of 39 white carrara marble sculptures from leading artists including Emily Young. The sculptures are mesmerizing and also snag nets and trawlers to prevent them from destroying the seagrass, providing a habitat for plants and fish. Learn more about the project at Wired.

Image courtesy of Carlo Bonazza/Casa dei Pesci

A Material Only Found in Meteorites Has Been Made on Earth

An alloy called tetrataenite—a combination of nickel and iron typically created by being cooled “over millions of years as meteoroids and asteroids tumbled through space”—has been produced on Earth for the first time. Two teams of scientists (at Boston’s Northeastern University and England’s University of Cambridge) made the compound, which is “ideal for use in the high-end permanent magnets that are an essential component of a vast range of advanced machines, from electric vehicles to space shuttle turbines.” This could mean a reduced need to use rare-earth elements and, in turn, reduce the devastation from mining. Find out more about this material and its potential influence on the environment and trade at NPR.

Image courtesy of Pixbay

Rare Master Tapes of The Velvet Underground’s Debut Album Found

Rare, monophonic reel-to-reel master tapes of The Velvet Underground’s 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, have been uncovered by The Andy Warhol Museum. The tapes contain “alternative versions and mixes” of the nine songs from the record, and will be public in an exhibition at the Pittsburgh institution next year. Matt Gray, manager of archives at the museum, says, “You’re hearing the album as the band originally intended. The track listing alone is a retelling of the album. The quality of sound is remarkable; it gives you a new perspective.” Find out more at ARTnews.

Image of The Velvet Underground & Nico cover art 

Nike’s .SWOOSH Virtual Community Platform for Digital Drops and More

With the beta launch of .SWOOSH on 18 November, Nike will debut a community platform for collectors to co-create and engage with digital shoes, apparel and other objects. It’s a first for the brand and will ultimately act as a hub for special product drops, and will even welcome trading between community members. “For web3, the first thing we did was lock down our own domains: .nike will be the place and .SWOOSH will be the home for all of Nike’s virtual creations,” Ron Faris, the director of Nike Virtual Studios, explains to High Snobiety. That said, visitors to .SWOOSH won’t find the typical web3 vocabulary, rather it’s an “on-ramp” for non-crypto natives. Read more at High Snobiety.

Image courtesy of Nike

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 Carlo Bonazza/Casa dei Pesci