1. The Erosion of Easter Island
One of the most remote inhabited locations, Easter Island captivates because of the remnants of the ancient civilization it once housed: moai statues and “ahu” platforms, found predominantly along the island’s coast. Many of these iconic relics are actually tombs for the dead. Because of their placement, these artifacts are jeopardized by rising sea levels. More than just the loss of monuments, it may lead to the damaging of bones and disruption of burial plots. Nicholas Casey and Josh Hane have chronicled the island and its concerns in an interactive story for the New York Times, where you can read more.
2. Farewell, Stephen Hawking
Perhaps the world’s most celebrated icon of contemporary science, physicist and author Stephen Hawking has died. At 76 years old, Hawking was an anomaly himself—expected to live just a few years after being diagnosed with ALS when he was 21 (while studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge) he went on to have a luminous career that spanned decades. Among his many discoveries, in 1970 he and Roger Penrose applied “the mathematics of black holes to the universe and showed that a singularity, a region of infinite curvature in spacetime, lay in our distant past: the point from which came the big bang”—just one of a succession of insights into black holes. Not only was he a great mind, he made these complicated concepts accessible—in books such as “A Brief History of Time” and the even more user-friendly “The Universe in a Nutshell.” His influence and inspiration are immense legacies not many leave behind. (And if you have never watched his delight experiencing zero gravity on his 65th birthday, you’re missing out.) Read more at The Guardian.
3. A Wave of “Airbnb for Luggage” Services
There are plenty of scenarios in which, before a plane or after a hotel check out or vice versa, there’s time to explore but no place for luggage. Hotels do help but many other types of accommodation might not. A slew of new services aim to find a location for luggage while travelers make use of that time, in essence “Airbnb for bags.” Apps and websites like LuggageHero and nannybag connect travelers with delis and other local businesses. And prices start at $2 an hour. Read about more of these services of at the Times.
4. Pritzker Winner Balkrishna Doshi’s Work for the People
Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, the 2018 Pritzker Prize winner, certainly has a roster of showpiece commissions that demonstrate imagination. His greatest architectural development, however, might be Aranya—the low-cost housing projects he established in Indore, India. These structures have received substantial acclaim because, as Bloomberg notes, they actually work. And rather than erase the nature of dense areas, they replicate some of what people appreciate about them. Doshi spoke about the necessity of architects being “invested in the dignity of those they house” and his work reinforces this. Read more at Bloomberg.
5. Living Moss in Goodyear’s Sustainable Tire Concept
A tire concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, Oxygene from Goodyear, proposes a ring of moss growing inside its sidewalls. Further, the entire tire will be 3D-printed from recycled tires. The goal here is to improve air quality for vehicles on the move, as the moss absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. Learn more, and watch a video, over at PSFK.
6. Farewell Matt Dike, Producer and Co-Founder of Delicious Vinyl
Producer, DJ and co-founder of Delicious Vinyl, Matt Dike has passed away at 55 years old. Behind the scenes, Dike produced the Beastie Boys’ 1989 record Paul’s Boutique (along with the Dust Brothers), as well as frat rap including Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina,” and Young MC’s “Bust A Move.” Delicious Vinyl (founded in 1987) was respected for signing left-of-center artists like The Pharcyde and The Brand New Heavies, and exploring hip-hop’s crossover potential. The seminal Paul’s Boutique—which tanked on release, but is now regarded as a landmark hip-hop record—was famously recorded in Dike’s apartment, and he is credited with bringing to the table many of the layered samples that distinguished the album’s wild sound. Read more at Variety.
7. New Mind-Uploading Start-Up Can Only Preserve “Fresh” Brains
Y Combinator start-up Nectome believes they’re capable of backing up the mind for future digitization. Their process involves preserving every microscopic detail of the brain with a new, advanced embalming process paired with cryonics. It’s the ability to keep the connectome intact, or the web of synapses that connect neurons, that sets them apart from others pursuing similar preservation. As Technology Review points out though, what is “lacking is evidence that memories can be found in dead tissue.” Nectome has also received a large grant from the US government and 25 people have put a deposit down for the service—which is a fatal one, requiring the preservation of a fresh brain.
8. Farewell to Legendary Fashion Designer Hubert de Givenchy
Founder and designer of the French luxury fashion and perfume house, Givenchy, Hubert de Givenchy has passed away at 91 years old. Famous for (among other things) the little black dress his muse and close friend Audrey Hepburn wears at the start of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the dress Jacqueline Kennedy wore at her husband’s funeral, Givenchy’s designs were hailed at the time as alternatives to Dior’s. The house of Givenchy paid tribute to their founder in a statement, saying he was “a major personality of the world of French haute couture and a gentleman who symbolized Parisian chic and elegance for more than half a century.” Read more at the Guardian.