1. 28 Films for Black History Month
For the 28 days of Black History Month, the New York Times’ film critics have selected 28 films centered on African Americans’ experiences in 20th century USA. Beginning with “Within Our Gates” (1920), the list is in chronological order and includes some controversial, powerful and problematic issues. (For example, “Shadows” (1959) is about three black siblings, but two of the actors were white.) There’s plenty of comedy too, thanks to “House Party,” “Stir Crazy” and more. See the full list at the Times.
2. The Louvre Displays Nazi-Looted Art
296 unclaimed artworks from the Nazi occupation of France remain in the Louvre’s current collection. Some 31 of them have now found a place on the historic museum’s walls—for a reason. The Louvre hopes that relatives of the previous owners will come forward to claim the pieces. Acclaimed artists Eugène Delacroix, François Boucher and Théodore Rousseau are the hands behind some of these paintings, which will occupy two rooms permanently (or until rightful owners step forward). Read more at Dazed.
3. Farewell to Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA
Founder of IKEA Ingvar Kamprad has passed away at 91 years old. Kamprad started IKEA in 1943 when he was just 18 years old, naming it as an acronym of his own initials and the name of the farm he lived on (Elmtaryd) and the nearest village (Agunnaryd). Initially he sold products via mail order, but opened his first brick and mortar store in 1958. Now it’s one of the biggest names in retail, with stores in 49 countries. As Dezeen points out, the brand “could be misinterpreted as a low-price company doing cheap stuff,” but their Head of Design Marcus Engman made clear “we’re all about affordability. There’s a big difference.” Read more of Kamprad at Dezeen.
4. How UFO Reports Change Over Time
Since ancient times, there have been reports of mysterious, unidentifiable objects flying through the skies. Interestingly, those reports have changed over time—thanks to evolving flight technologies. From “phantom” Zeppelins in the early 1900s to “ghost rockets” in the 1940s and “flying saucers,” the commonality with all these sightings “raised a question: why were the extraterrestrials visiting us now?” Read more at the Smithsonian.
5. The World’s Biggest Underwater Cave
Researchers and professional divers have discovered that two caves—known as Sac Actun and Dos Ojos—off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula are actually connected by a long tunnel, making it the largest underwater cave known to us above-water creatures. The two caves measure 263km and 83km each, but now it’s known there is a 347km (216 mile) passage, meaning that Dos Ojos no longer exists, rather it’s now part of the solo cave: Sac Actun. Perhaps even more exciting, the researchers found artifacts from the first settlements in Mexico, plus the remains of now-extinct animals. Read more at Quartz.
6. 10,000-Year-Old Crayon Found in North Yorkshire
When on a dig along England’s eastern coastline (near Scarborough, North Yorkshire), a group of archaeologists came across a crayon that’s aged 10,000 years. This Stone Age “sharpened stick of red ochre” is likely to have been for making markings on various surfaces, though that’s not the only possibility. Measuring less than an inch, the crayon could have also been used to paint the body in a kind of sunscreen, as a disinfectant or “used ritualistically, as a part of burial ceremonies.” Read and see more at Artsy.
7. Amazon.com Opens a Rainforest-Filled Office
Equal parts greenhouse and office space, Amazon.com’s $4 billion downtown Seattle Spheres structure features verdant walkways and non-traditional, chair-laden meeting spaces. There also happens to be about 40,000 plants of 400 species, creating a rainforest-like environment (72 degrees, humidity at 60%, and a breeze throughout). It’s aimed to provide inspiration to employees. Jeff Bezos actually just opened the doors on the facility, by way of a voice command: “Alexa, open the Spheres.” It’s certainly an iconic structure—and arguably a gift to Seattle, as much as Amazon’s employees.
8. Philips Lighting Will Make Video Games More Immersive
Razer and Philips just announced a partnership that plans to make gaming experiences so immersive that the room in which they’re played come to life. Philips Hue globes will connect with all Razer Chroma-enabled devices, and reactive lighting will match up with games. Whether enabling several lights or just one, this clever system is bound to make at-home gaming feel a little more otherworldly. Read more at PSFK.