Link About It: This Week’s Picks

What makes a summer jam, how lava lamps fight hackers, AI for newsrooms and more

Ada Chen’s Stereotype-Fighting Jewelry

Calling out fetishization, objectification and ingrained racism, jewelry designer Ada Chen combines style and sharp humor to create pieces that are super-smart and super-creative. Chen (who is Chinese American) oftentimes uses her own experiences as inspiration, and the results are sometimes jarring and uncomfortable—which is, of course, important to spark discussion and awareness. On her brilliant “Text Message” earrings, Chen tells Wonderland, “I’d posted the screenshot of the green text messages on Twitter a while ago because it was both funny and ridiculous. I’d heard too many comments that non-Asian men have said to me about me being Asian within an hour of meeting me, so I wanted to point out these conversations to address the plague of Asian fetishes.” Read more at Wonderland.

Perseid Meteor Shower Promises 75 Shooting Stars an Hour

On Sunday and Monday night, the Perseid Meteor shower will peak, and during these peak nights, there will be an upward of 75 shooting stars an hour. Conditions like clouds or urban light or pollution may prohibit your view, but scientists suggest setting up early and avoiding phones—your eyes can take an upwards of 20 minutes to adjust to the dark sky. The show, as explained by the Washington Post’s Matthew Cappucci, is happening because: “Debris left behind from the long-gone Swift-Tuttle comet will burn up in the atmosphere when the Earth runs into it—much like bugs spattering off a windshield when traveling down a highway.” Peak hours, forecasters predict, are between midnight and 3AM. Find out more tips for viewing at Washington Post.

Summer Songs Find Popularity in Diversity

There are endless “Summer Hits” playlists and oftentimes their decade—or specific year—of release can be pinned down without even checking the title. As with the Backstreet Boys and Britney—there is a similar, or familiar, sound. But, in a new interactive guide from the New York Times, hope for diversity in popular hits returns. Songs like Drake’s “Nice For What” or Cardi B’s “I Like It,” are summer hits of today and they couldn’t, in theory, sound more different. In the guide, technical aspects like loudness, valence, energy, “acoustic-ness,” and danceability map out charts for popular songs. See how each year’s array of charts differ at the New York Times.

How Lava Lamps Are Helping in the Fight Against Hackers

One timestamped relic is now helping a web security firm fend off the most skilled hackers: lava lamps. Believe it or not, the shapeshifting novelty invented in 1963 is experiencing another renaissance. Cloudflare is filming a lava lamp, along with a pendulum in London and a Geiger counter in Singapore, and then using the shots to randomly generate pixels for a “super-powered cryptographic key.” The reason for this is that lava lamps cannot be “cracked” because they follow no loop—nor are they susceptible to human pattern. Read more about the system at Wired.

Getty Images Develops AI to Help Newsrooms

As newsrooms churn out stories quicker than ever, photo editors are tasked with putting in the final touches without much hesitation. To meet the content standards of modern audiences, and the pace of the content creators, Getty Images is developing an Artificial Intelligence that will present the most applicable images by simply scanning the textno longer are strenuous searches required. When the AI finishes its search, it will present the images that match with the articles most weighted or repeated words (ie: names, places, etc). Though robotizing this process sounds a bit dystopian, Getty says they aren’t trying to replace the human element of photo-editing: “We’re leaving the editor to tell that story. Were by no means picking the best image or saying, ‘This is the image you have to use,” says Andrew Hamilton, SVP of Data and Insights at Getty.

Two Galleries Chart the Development of Painting as Art

As figuration finds its relevancy again in painted art, two galleriesthat have been stalwarts in exhibiting the medium since 1998are demonstrating that its re-found popularity is, in part, due to younger generations’ iterations of the style. The exhibit, “Painting: Now and Forever, Part III,” is “museum-scale,” according to The New York Times’ Roberta Smith, but “this show is organized with a minimum of what could be called institutional oversight.” There are 100 paintings by 46 artists at three exhibition spaces, and the view of figurative resurgence stretches across established and younger artists, with an emphasis on those who exemplify skill in narrative and process. Read the full review.

The Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film

Unless you’re a cinephile or recovering film student, it’s unlikely that going into Oscar season you’re able to catch all of the nominated films. One category, however, may make the entire program more accessible: Popular Film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will introduce the category in advance of next year’s airing. And the rules and eligibility regulations are still forthcoming. It’s understandable that this announcement aims to increase viewership—and relatability.  But one must immediately wonder where popular Best Picture contenders will now fit. And is this just a tactic to award fans for breaking box-office records or to celebrate filmmakers who leverage the zeitgeist? Read more at io9.

Link About It includes stories from around the web that we think you should read, rounded up and published every Saturday.

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