Link About It: This Week’s Picks

NASA's long-lost spacecraft reappears, ice that's solid and liquid, diamond phone screens and more

1. Silent for 13 Years, a NASA Spacecraft Makes Communication

The IMAGE spacecraft, an acronym of Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, launched back in March 2000 to observe activity in the Earth’s magnetosphere. It ceased communication with NASA in December 2005. Entirely unexpected and sudden, after years of successful data-gathering, the disappearance was considered quite mysterious. IMAGE was believed to be damaged beyond repair and the mission ended. That is until amateur astronomer Scott Tilley picked up its signal very recently—which Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab has confirmed to be true. Now, with the original NASA team informed, dialogue has begun regarding if and how many resources should be dedicated to figuring out what happened and what data it may have within. Read more at The Atlantic.

2. Diamond Phone Screens Coming in 2019

In development now, Miraj Diamond Glass might be the answer to cracked phone screens. The vision of Akhan Semiconductor, this lab-grown diamond product employs nanocrystal patterning. This lines up crystals randomly, rather than along a plane—something that contributes to shattering when a phone is dropped. It may still need to be utilized with other glass, such as the prevalent (and scratch-dodging) Gorilla Glass. Issues like glare will also need to be addressed, but Akhan CEO Adam Khan says the product is being actively tested with device-makers—and we can expect it to appear in 2019. Read more at CNET.

3. Feminist Comic Books That Changed the Industry

“The history of comics—like all popular art forms—is littered with chauvinism,” explains Artsy, but as the Women’s Liberation movement began to swell in the USA during the 1970s all-women underground comic books began popping up. Countering the misogyny in the industry (both in the pages and off) titles like It Ain’t Me Babe were about, and created by, women. While some of the themes covered were serious (exploring topics including abortion) others were wildly humorous, but the commonality throughout was to increase women’s visibility in the comic realm—appearing as more than just sidekicks or love interests. Read more at Artsy.

4. Superionic Ice, or Water Simultaneously Solid and Liquid, Exists

A theoretical discovery dating back to 1935 by Percy W Bridgman, superionic ice—a state of water that’s both liquid and solid under extremely high pressure and temperatures—couldn’t be proven by scientists. That is, until now. Through a process involving diamond anvils and intense bursts of laser, a super-dense form of ice transforms into superionic ice. Here H2O severs, causing crystalline oxygen to harden with hydrogen ions flowing through it as a liquid. Why is this important? It’s possible that the water on Neptune and Uranus exists in this form. Read more at Quartz.

5. Chile Kills Cute Mascots to Fight Obesity

In a move that nutrition experts are calling “the world’s most ambitious attempt to remake a country’s food culture,” the Chilean government is banning cute marketing ploys to sell junk food. They’ve killed Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger, Cheetos’ Chester Cheetah and various other cartoon mascots. This same law prohibits the sale of junk food (ice cream, potato chips, etc) in schools, and resulted in drinks with high levels of sugar having an extra 18 percent tax. All these moves are in an effort to fight an obesity epidemic that is sweeping the Western world. Read much more at the NY Times.

6. “The Darkest Building on Earth,” Asif Khan’s Winter Olympics Pavilion

Anyone obsessed with Vantablack VBx2, a color which absorbs 99.9% of light, should make their way to PyeongChang for a glimpse at architect Asif Khan’s new pavilion. The astonishingly dark facade has been populated with thousands of tiny white light rods, lending it a cosmos-like experience. As part of Hyundai’s global mobility initiative, the interior of the space exists in stark contrast: a brightly lit, almost entirely white “water room,” where 25,000 single water droplets appear every minute. Read more at Arch Daily where you can see more stunning images by Luke Hayes.

7. Chinese Police Equipped With Facial Recognition Sunglasses

Police can’t recognize every face from the vast database of criminals, but facial recognition sunglasses can—much like the ones Chinese police in Zhengzhou have been employing recently. The glasses connect to an offline 10,000-person database on a connected tablet. According to Quartz (where you can read more) a more basic version (retailing for $630 each) has been sold to the US, Japan and other countries. It’s presently not known if or when they’ll go into use.

8. Lauren Ko’s Pie Art

Baking and mathematics collide with Lauren Ko’s incredible pies and tarts. Seattle-based Ko has no professional pastry training nor experience, but her creations are mesmerizing. She assembles intricate geometric patterns from and with pastry and fruits—and has even recreated Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with nuts. See more images at Colossal.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.