Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The history of ghost stories, the tallest residential building in the world and more

The Man Behind Modern Ghost Stories

Born in 1862, Montague Rhodes James was an acclaimed intellectual who published a handful of stories (from short quips to long, academic papers) that are widely regarded as the basis upon which modern ghost stories are built. Not entirely for the narratives, but rather the topics: his stories are unpredictable and based on haunted objects, unfamiliar beings and odd circumstances. Cynthia Zarin, of The New Yorker, writes “Scholarly efforts have been made to unearth the early trauma that would account for James’ succession of wraiths, screeches, hairy faces, and skeletal hands creeping out from under the pillow. He reported his own childhood as happy.” Read more about the author at The New Yorker.

This Airline Wants to Calm Your Flying Nerves

Regardless of all the statistics about flying being the safest way to travel, the anxiety for many is unavoidable. Rather than drinking booze or taking a pill (or just enduring the nervous sweats), Virgin Australia wants its customers to start practicing mindfulness while flying. Starting next year, people can let the airline know they’re nervous travelers and they will be sent “calming communications before the flight and support them during the flight.” With guided meditation, the airline hopes to offer a stress-free trip. Read more at CNN.

NYC’s Central Park Tower to be the Tallest Residential Building in the World

Topping out at a 1,550 feet, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture‘s forthcoming Central Park Tower will set a new precedent for Billionaires’ Row, aka West 57th Street in NYC. 179 two-to-eight bedroom residences will start on floor 32. Designed by Rottet Studio, they’ll range from 1,435 square feet to over 17,500 square feet. It’s the ‘Central Park Club’ that may be most appealing however, as it offers amenities (such as a bar and swimming pool) on three of the building’s floors—including floor 100 (over 1,000 feet up). Read more at designboom.

Bringing Extinct Species Back From the Dead with Gene-Editing

American scientist Ben Novak has spent the past six years working on a process referred to as de-extinction—with the goal of bringing back the passenger pigeon species that died off in 1914. In Melbourne, Australia Novak has used gene-editing to weave the Cas9 gene into the reproductive organs of common pigeons. Cas9 enables the use of CRISPR, a tool that acts as molecular scissors and enables a cut-paste of DNA. Soon, perhaps, Novak will see to the passenger pigeon’s return. This could lead to the reemergence of the dodo or even the woolly mammoth—and that will bring up greater questions over what it means to bring an extinct species back, whether we should, and what happens if re-extinction occurs. Read more about the process at the Wall Street Journal.

Palm’s Minuscule New Mobile Phone Sidekick

In an effort to revive the Palm brand—one synonymous with the PalmPilot and Personal Digital Assistants and so many other widely-embraced developments in the ’90s and early aughts—a California company has released a new device under the name. It’s the first release with Palm branding since HP acquired and shuttered the brand—and it’s not what one would expect. The Palm smartphone is being touted as an Android-powered sidekick to your first phone. It has nothing to do with the original Palm tools, opting instead to be a Verizon-exclusive aluminum and Gorilla Glass phone for when you do not want to carry your primary phone. Read more about Palm’s vision and the device’s specs over at Endgadget.

Stephen Hawking’s Last Book Offers Brief Answers to Big Questions

In his collection of final thoughts, published 16 October, physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking addresses nothing less than the future of humanity. The book, called Brief Answers to the Big Questionsemphasizes the importance of regulating artificial intelligence, implementing clean nuclear fusion power and preparing for asteroid collision. He also predicted that gene editing tools will create an advanced race of superhumans—and so much more. In many ways, it’s a parting gift from the world-famous thinker and humanitarian. Read more about the book on Quartz.

Revolutionary Self-Lubricating Condoms

Other than gimmicky changes like colors, textures and flavors, condoms have remained relatively the same over the past 50 years—Lelo‘s efforts at a structural overhaul with HEX aside. However, a new self-lubricating condom, designed as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s competition, might just revolutionize the industry. Created to encourage safer sex, this condom remains lubricated for “1,000 cycles (scientific speak for thrusts), which works out as 16 minutes” unlike others whose “slipperiness” wears off quickly. With apparently just 1/3 of men in the US using condoms regularly, this invention might radically reduce STIs and keep countless people healthy. Read more at Dazed.

Continue reading “Link About It: This Week’s Picks”

Revolutionary Self-Lubricating Condoms

Other than gimmicky changes like colors, textures and flavors, condoms have remained relatively the same over the past 50 years—Lelo‘s efforts at a structural overhaul with HEX aside. However, a new self-lubricating condom, designed as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s competition, might just revolutionize the industry. Created to encourage safer sex, this condom remains lubricated for “1,000 cycles (scientific speak for thrusts), which …

“Resting Studios” Bank on Nap Breaks Being the New Lunch Breaks

Sleeping studios—like Nap York in NYC, where guests can power nap for $15—might be an answer to productivity slumps during the work day. “They provide an optimized environment for sleep, from cool temperatures to total darkness to quiet,” Christopher Winter, M.D., president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia, explains to the WSJ. The result is brief, high-quality sleep. Such resting locations have already popped …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A farewell to Mirka Mora, welcoming the common weed, Kusama-designed skateboards and more

Limited Edition Yayoi Kusama Skateboards are Coming to MoMA’s Online Store

This October, MoMA will release a limited run of skateboards (500 each of two styles) designed by the beloved Yayoi Kusama. The designs Yellow Trees (1994) and Dots Obsession (2018) are classic Kusama—all spots and bright colors. Though this isn’t a first for either party (MoMA has released similar pieces based on works by Warhol and Basquiat, and Kusama made a custom Infinity Mirror Skate Deck in 2017), it is an exciting, hand-painted (Kusama painted over the digital renderings because she felt they needed to be altered a bit) drop for collectors and skaters alike to covet. Read more about the upcoming release on It’s Nice That.

Farewell, Mirka Mora

Beloved French-born, Australia-based artist Mirka Mora has died at 90 years old. After surviving the Holocaust, Mora and her husband arrived in Melbourne in 1951 and helped to pioneer a thriving arts scene in the city and beyond—specifically through her public works and association with the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Her vibrant works can be seen at Flinders St Station, St Kilda Pier, and in her own former restaurant—the Melbourne icon Tolarno. Mora’s colorful and magical work spanned painting, illustration, ceramics and more. In a 2014 interview with the ABC, she said, “Other people like to paint when they’re unhappy, but I’m not because I’m depending on my brain and my brain must be clear and beautiful. I like to be on my own because you have to grab invisible things and make them visible.” Read more at the ABC.

Common Weeds Yield Unexpected Meals and Bouquets

“This is the era of the formerly unwanted plant,” Ligaya Mishan writes. The common weed holds no nutritional or aesthetic value in traditional settings, but adventurous chefs and florists are finding a place for weeds alongside traditionally more grand flowers and ingredients. The switch is being attributed to a broader cultural moment—that our perception of beauty is changing. Weeds are an intrusive species that finds its way into places it isn’t welcome. And their presence—in nature, in bouquets, in dishes—is synonymous with perseverance, diligence, and the adage of the underdog. Danish-born chef Esben Holmboe Bang says, “A wild dandelion is as coveted as a white truffle.” Read more about the common weed’s welcoming party at the New York Times.

Dover Street Market Thrives in Defiance

Dover Street Market, founded by couple, and heads of line Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe, has found success in the retail space by defying the setting, methods, and stocking practices of traditional stores. Their brand coexists in each of Dover Street Market’s six locations with competitors and upstarts alike; streetwear, luxury, and everyday items are placed throughout the store like a bazaar: “Dover Street Market groups most of its single-brand spaces, which make up the majority of the floor plan, by creator, giving each designer permission to dream up site-specific installations. As long as they put up panels to protect walls and conform to strict size requirements, almost anything goes,” Alexandra Marshall of the Wall Street Journal writes. But the idea has become more than just a retail space; the hospitality of Kawakubo and Joffe has helped launch brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Jacquemus, and their fluid business style has remained relentless through trends and market crashes alike. Read more in-depth analysis at the Wall Street Journal.

Autonomous Air-Taxis May Only Be a Few Years Away

SkyRyse, a start-up founded by 28-year-old Mark Groden, is set on bringing an autonomous air-taxi to the market within the next decade. Other, larger companies (like Uber and Volocopter) share the same goal, but SkyRyse is expediting the process by installing autonomous technology into pre-existing aircrafts. Skipping the exhausting process of building out an expensive fleet, their to-market goal is much more attainable—meaning we may see pilot-less planes offering rides like Uber or Lyft in the air sooner than expected. And, the idea is in good hands: former employees from NASA, Space-X, and Boeing have jumped on board to helm the project. Read more at CNBC.

NBA Loosens Rules on Sneakers

In another move in the NBA’s efforts toward being the most player-oriented professional sports league, the association will adopt a free-for-all policy in regard to sneakers. This move will allow players to wear any colored sneakers, whenever they please—moving on from the 51% rule which required the sneaker to be 51% white if the team were home and 51% black if the team were away. Since Nike took the helm on jersey design last year, they have made it a goal to broaden team’s looks and color palettes. So, no longer does a team have to have a white home or a black away jersey—it can be green, or blue, or red, or cream (and the sneakers players wear no longer have to match). Read more about the change on ESPN.

An Onslaught of New Beverages That Defy Existing Categorization

Beyond soda, “a proliferation of beverages that don’t fit within traditional drink categories is creating tough choices for retailers, confusion for shoppers and a challenge for manufacturers,” Jennifer Maloney and Julie Jargon of the Wall Street Journal explain. From Pepsi’s offer to buy SodaStream to drinks like cold-brew coffee and kombucha defying  shopping aisle organization, consumer tastes are changing. The market has a tidal wave of new drinks as beverage giants jostle outside of their comfort zones to embrace a wane in regular sugar drinks and an interest in more experimental flavors and combinations. Read more about the industry’s fluctuations at the Wall Street Journal.

Father Turns Son’s Illustrations Into Crazy, Lifelike Animals

As children seek to replicate what inspires them in the outside world, they seem to capture it through the distortion of imagination—and developing skills. Since 2016, an artist (known only as Tom) has been turning his son’s doodles into lifelike but (obviously) anatomically-incorrect images, much to the delight of others. They’ve been posted to Instagram under Things I Have Drawn and even become a book. See more of these absurd and wonderful creatures, and learn more about the family, at designboom.

The Digital Future of Music Festivals

As new music festivals are announced and older ones fold, one thing remains consistent: attendance numbers are lower and ticket prices are higher than ever. Larger festivals don’t necessarily translate to digital content well: stages are lit for immediate impact, aren’t designed with secondary audiences in mind, and render livestreams and ripped videos almost unwatchable. Pickathon—a 3,500-ticket festival on an 80-acre farm just south of Portland, Oregon—is catering to its in-person and internet audience. The festival is adorned with installations and extraordinary stages built to let the festival’s 500-person production team, led by founder Zale Schoenborn, capture video and images to create a year’s worth of content that they hope to monetize on YouTube and Netflix to balance out their costs and hopefully break even. Read more about Schoenborn’s efforts on The Ringer.

Augmented Reality Camera Systems Give Tank Crews 360-Degree Visibility

From inside the belly of Ukrainian military tanks, VR headsets are granting operational crews real-time views of everything on the outside—no longer limiting pilots to small vision ports. Through multiple infrared cameras, this “Distributed Aperture System,” adds a “See-Through” technology to the notoriously clunky, armored vehicles. As Popular Mechanic notes, the key here is actually consumer electronics, specifically Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality device. And it just so happens to make the outfitting process quite inexpensive. Learn more about how it all works at Popular Mechanics.

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Travel-Sized Essentials for All Genders

Carry-on allowed, these products will nourish, hydrate and refresh on all your travels

Travel—whether by land, sky or sea—effects your body in countless ways, from stress and anxiety, to blood-flow, oxygen levels and hydration. For this reason—and for carry-on and space restrictions—our grooming and beauty routines change a little when we’re on the go. Whether you’re looking to take control of your emotions, scent profile or cleanliness, the following selections offer a wide range of benefits—and they’re all …