Link About It: This Week’s Picks

An "upcycled" skyscraper, a magnet for microplastics, a swimming dinosaur discovery and more

Paleontologists Discover a Swimming Dinosaur

In Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, scientists discovered the bones of a previously unknown dinosaur species, Natovenator polydontusthe first and only dinosaur found that had specific adaptions suited for swimming. Hailing from prehistoric Mongolia about 71 million years ago, the Natovenator was a “many-toothed hunting swimmer” that measured around a foot long. A relative of the Velociraptor and other sharp-toothed predators, the new species has distinct traits—like a long jaw with tiny teeth to snatch fish and swept-back ribs—that set it apart from other dinosaurs that were believed to be capable of swimming now and then, such as the SpinosaurusThese familiar yet adapted traits in the Natovenator suggest that there could be a whole family of non-avian swimming dinosaurs, which further study of the known species could help elucidate. Learn more about it at Smithsonian Magazine.

Image courtesy of Yusik Choi

Using Design to Restore Indigenous Sovereignty

Architecture across reservations reveals and renews present-day colonialism. More than half the structures throughout the Navajo Nation, for instance, are dilapidated or in need of large repairs, while 39% of houses remain overcrowded, according to a report from the Navajo Housing Authority. In working to further tribal sovereignty, Indigenous artists and architects are using design as a vehicle for decolonization. At creative practice Studio:indigenous, founder Chris Cornelius rethinks HUD Houses (aka housing provided by US Department of Housing and Urban Development) by incorporating the needs of Indigenous lifestyles: space for ceremony, a large porch, a view of the sky and a place to build a fire. Others, like Design Build Utah, a graduate program from the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning, focus on building affordable housing for Navajo Nation residents in a way that departs from the white saviorism embedded in the typical structures made on reservations. Learn more about how design is being used to empower Native communities at Architectural Digest.

Image courtesy of Timothy Hursley

Engineers Create Magnetic Powder That Captures Tiny Microplastics

At Melbourne, Australia’s RMIT University, researchers have developed a magnetic powder made from recycled waste that can capture the smallest invisible fragments of microplastic—including pieces that are 1,000 times finer than hair. This in itself sets the material apart from other filters that can only capture larger fragments, but the powder also acts quickly; it’s capable of working within an hour. The powder functions because it has a nano-sized structure that allows it to catch microscopic pieces. “It’s a porous material with a special surface that can react with microplastics,” explains Nicky Eshtiaghi, a chemical engineering professor who led the research team. Once the plastic is caught, it can then be recycled and the material can easily be removed from the water using magnets. Learn more about the innovative new filter at Fast Company.

Image courtesy of Lisa Schaetzle/Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

10-Foot-Long Fish Thriving Again in The Amazon River

Measuring up to 10 feet long and weighing 450 pounds, the pirarucu is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish and used to permeate the Amazon river before overfishing dwindled their population. Now, sustainable fishing programs have helped revive the species so that in some areas along the river the population has come back tenfold. At Brazil’s Mamirauá nature reserve, fishing is carefully monitored and tracked so that only 30% of the total population are allowed to be harvested and only adults can be caught. Noticing the success of these rules, locals have organized their own boat patrols to ensure no illegal fishing takes place. As exploitation and deforestation continues to threaten the Amazon, this news comes as not only a rare environmental victory but also a testament to how climate organizing can suceed. Learn more at NPR.

Image courtesy of Bruno Kelly/NPR

The World’s First “Upcycled” Skyscraper

In 2014, the AMP Centre—formerly the tallest building in Sydney, Australia—was slated for demolition. After realizing the environmental consequences and CO2 output this would cause, the owners opened an architectural competition to see how the building could be “upcycled” instead. This year, the renewed building, designed by 3XN, opened as an expanded 49-story skyscraper that has been named World Building of the Year 2022 by the World Architecture Festival. Now dubbed the Quay Quarter Tower, the building retained 95% of the original skyscraper’s core as well as over two-thirds of its structure. The architects’ method involved erecting a new structure directly beside the old one and “grafting” them together, forming a larger, contemporary building unified by a glass facade. When compared with removing and constructing a new structure, this approach has been more sustainable and cost-effective, saving 12,000 tons of CO2 and $150 million AUD. Read more about it at CNN.

Image courtesy of AdamMork/3XN

Digital Artist FVCKRENDER’s Otherworldly LVCIDIA Project

Self-taught, Vancouver-based artist FVCKRENDER (aka Frederic Duquette) created an immersive digital world called LVCIDIA, a project of “collective-based generative art, where people own planets others can visit.” While it’s free for anybody to access the virtual world, it’s also populated with NFTs that can be purchased and used by owners. FVCKRENDER, who suffered from anxiety when he was younger, wanted the dreamy world to be “anxiety-reducing,” he tells Highsnobiety. “I wanted to make this relaxing environment people can get lost in and see art in a different way that hasn’t been done before. As long as you innovate and do these things that haven’t been done before, that’s where you’re going to keep your integrity.” Float through LVCIDIA here, and read more of the interview at Highsnobiety.

Image courtesy of FVCKRENDER

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 Lisa Schaetzle/Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images