Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Reimagined classic paintings, a cure for the common cold, portraits of Jamaica's Gully Queens and more

1. Japanese Robots Capable of Building a Moon Colony

Japanese start-up ispace has a lunar rover in flight-ready form. It’s an 8.3-pound machine composed of a durable carbon-fiber body, dynamic wheels and multiple cameras. The machine has been designed to stow equipment, with the end game being development of civilization on the moon. ispace believes they can populate the planet, and build a parallel society where people in spacesuits can live. They refer to it as “Moon Valley.” Read more about the machine’s wild development and plans for the future at Wired.

2. National Geographic’s Iceberg of Plastic

“16 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” reads the June 2018 cover of National Geographic. The text is set upon Mexican artist Jorge Gamboa’s clever, captivating image (titled “Iceberg Plástico,” and winner of Bolivia’s Biennial of Poster in 2017) of an iceberg-resembling plastic bag. Aside from the fact that it’s a magazine cover worth discussing—in an age when print’s place is ever under question—the cover draws further attention to the dangers of plastic and the damage upon our oceans. Radical action is required—and Nat Geo’s “Planet or Plastic?” initiative is just the tip of an iceberg of activity necessary for change.

3. Photographer Tim Walker’s Gully Queens Series for LGBTQ Charity

Since finding out about the prejudice against gay people in Jamaica, Tim Walker decided to photograph the country’s Gully Queens for a good cause. In a 2015 survey, Jamaica’s J-FLAG found that 93% of the population believed the statement “homosexuality is a sin,” and because of this belief LGBTQ+ people are subject to all kinds of bad treatment. While many women suffer “corrective rape,” members of the queer community in general are “disowned by family, threatened, stoned, attacked, and even shot, the Gully Queens are repeatedly evicted from spaces where they have sought refuge, and arsonists frequently set fire to their possessions.” Walker has photographed portraits of Gully Queens in a way that is undeniably tender—and 30 signed prints will be available for purchase, with proceeds going to the Larry Chang Foundation which offers housing and support to homeless and at-risk members of the LGBTQ+ community in Jamaica.

4. A Cheaper, Faster and More Effective Solar Water Purifier

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created what they believe could be a faster, cheaper and more efficient solar-powered water purifier. With some 850 million people without access to clean water, a product like this is a necessity. A reinvention, or modernization of ancient technology, the product “involves draping a sheet of carbon-dipped paper in an upside-down V. The paper’s bottom edges soak up water, while the carbon coating absorbs solar energy and transforms it into heat for evaporation,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. It can remove 100% of bacteria and viruses harmful to those in areas in which clean water isn’t accessible. Read more at Smithsonian.

5. A Real Common Cold Cure, Perhaps

Hundreds of different viruses can trigger a cold. This has meant, for as long as we can remember, there’s been nothing truly effective at reducing its duration. Now, however, researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new chemical compound that approaches cold viruses differently. Their molecule makes the human cells inhospitable for viruses, by targeting them rather than the virus. There’s no timeline for the duration of trialling—but as Futurism notes, we’ve already waited 3,000 years for something like this. Read more there.

6. Famous Paintings Reimagined Without Their Characters

If you’ve ever wonder what the cafe in Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” would look like without the customers, or “American Gothic” without the family, Ymage Works Creative Studio has reimagined many famous paintings without their characters. From “Paris Street; Rainy Day” to “Christina’s World,” these digital recreations play with light and texture while attempting to capture the true landscape or interior essence. It’s a fascinating, well-executed study. See all of the images at designboom.

7. Robot Chefs at Boston’s Spyce Restaurant

Billed as the world’s first restaurant featuring a robotic kitchen that cooks complex, customizable meals, Boston’s Spyce utilizes seven automated cooking pots in place of chefs. These devices can deliver complicated, primarily vegetarian, meals in roughly three minutes. The system was developed by MIT robotics engineers, including restaurant co-founder Michael Farid. His partner happens to be Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. It’s worth noting that Spyce also employs multiple humans. Learn more about the restaurant’s development at the Washington Post.

8. Project Trumpmore Iceberg Sculpture

To draw attention to climate change—and tongue-in-cheek recognition of President Trump’s suggestion that he should be on Mount Rushmore—Finnish activist group Melting Ice is attempting to raise money for a 35 meter-high sculpture of the president on an Arctic glacier. If they achieve the €400,000 goal, several ice carvings by artists like Anssi Kousa will unite to form the project in an as-yet-announced location. The process will be live-streamed. Read more at It’s Nice That.

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