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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Deborah Sussman's vibrant career, outlaw Instagrammers, the truth about yawning and more in our look at the web this week

by CH Editors in Link About It on 23 August 2014

Education, Instagram, Kanye, Link About It, Pit Bulls, Projection Mapping, Shinola, Spotify, Tumblr

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1. Pit Bulls and Florals

No dog has as poor of a stereotypical reputation than that of the pit bull. After volunteering with rescue groups and developing a deeper understanding of the breed, photographer Sophie Gamand created a series of images that casts the loyal dogs in a new light. "Flower Power, Pit Bulls of the Revolution" dreamily portrays the dogs adorned with wreathes of flowers. The three subjects were taken from different NYC shelters and photographed in image-defying scenes of beauty and peace. Gamand is selling the prints, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting pit bull rescue groups.

2. Rest in Peace Deborah Sussman

The creative community lost a veteran this week with the passing of Deborah Sussman, who lost her battle with breast cancer. A longtime environmental designer, talented colorist and supergraphics pioneer, Sussman graduated from Black Mountain College and began her career as an art director in the office of Charles and Ray Eames, before going on to design the 1984 Summer Olympics identity. In 2004 she received an AIGA award for her brilliant contextual approach to graphic design.

3. #OutlawsofInstagram

We've all seen #RichKidsofInstagram and #CatsofInstagram, but all other square images pale in comparison to the double-tap worthy work of those risking life, limb and the threat of the police for their shots. The so-called Outlaw Instagrammers scale bridges, skyscrapers and pretty much any space in NYC that's off limits, all for Insta-glory. A community has cropped up in New York where rivals vie for the most high-risk (not to mention beautiful) shots in the city. The results are nothing short of spectacular and the stories behind the images are equally compelling.

4. The Future of Higher Education

With a more selective admissions criteria than Harvard, higher education newcomer Minerva Project would already be positioned to make waves among the academic elite. But this university upstart isn't just challenging potential students. The school bucks the traditional college structure in favor of modern scholastic achievement, in which rigorous courses are interactive and taught online, so the students can move to a new part of the world each semester for a more well-rounded curriculum.

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5. Face-Off Projection Mapping

In a major development for the future of projection mapping, artist Nobumichi Asa and his team have created Omote, a system that tacks computer graphics to an object that is in motion—in real time. Their demonstration video shows a model gracefully moving her head around, while a real-time layer of animated light changes the image across her face.

6. Larger Than Life Beats

The Roland TR-909 (the iconic 808's lesser-known successor, as heard on Daft Punk's "Revolution 909" and tracks by Frankie Knuckles, Phil Collins, Moby and more) turns 30 this year and to celebrate, an Edinburgh-based collective by the name of Ray built a nine-foot-long version of the drum machine—and it can actually be played. Hear them jam out on the gigantic replica, which is actually connected to an Aira TR-8 (a newer "clone") instead of an original Roland TR-909, and expect to see it around local festivals.

7. The Science Behind Yawning

While they can be (at times) embarrassing, and spread like wildfire, a yawn is instinctual and carries practical applications which we are still beginning to learn about. Researchers have found that yawning is not just due to a lack of sleep or oxygen. The reasoning is far more complex, with different causes and functions—one of which is to keep the brain active and cooled. Even yawning contagion may have evolved over time as a way to keep groups of people or animals alert and aware.

8. Bruce Weber + Shinola Pet Accessories

Photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber has long involved his beautiful dogs in the creation of iconic images. It makes sense then that he's partnered with Shinola for a line of pet accessories and stationery. In true Shinola form, women from local Detroit shelters have been employed to produce the plush balls in the series, benefitting the community for the sake of a thoughtful item for man's best friend. There are also leashes, collars, pillow beds and even limited edition pet portraits—with products ranging from $15 to $225.

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9. Spotify's Untapped Data Goldmine

The London-based music streaming service Spotify is sitting on a wealth of user data, thanks to its 40 million active users. Financial reports indicate the need for such services to monetize beyond subscription fees and advertising, and designer Brett Goldstein has a few ideas for them. While internal strategies may be underway, these possible applications take advantage of classic early fan lament ("I knew them before they were big!") and listening analytics and tastemakers, who could be tracked by record companies to forecast future successful artists.

10. Listen to Kanye's Audible Sampling History

Love it or leave it, Kanye West's music is undeniably captivating and influential. The artist's talent for sampling obscure and well-known artists alike is something of a calling card for his production work. Now the expansive catalogue of his samples along with the resulting track are brought together in a listenable history of each of West's solo albums. Sometimes pulling just a few notes and other times lifting full bridges, West has largely made a career from seeing opportunities in existing music and remaking it into something wholly unique—and listening to the originals only solidifies this talent.

11. Brand Clues on Tumblr

In a very clever sleuthing move, Tumblr has teamed up with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm Ditto Labs to investigate their users' brand affiliations by trawling through the countless images on the platform for clues. Essentially they will be analyzing some of the 130 million photos posted daily on Tumblr for brand-related data. T.R. Newcomb (head of business development at Tumblr) says, "If Coke wants to understand the nature of the conversation [about them on Tumblr] Ditto can sift through and deliver it to Coke." While apparently not all about advertising at this point, the ways in which that information is used remains to be seen.

12. Collapsible Hot Tub

A backyard hot tub is one thing, but imagine if you could have one waiting at your campsite after a long day on the trail. This fantasy is now a reality thanks to the Nomad Collapsible Hot Tub. All you need is a water heater coil, a portable water pump and this tub—which fits into a carryall—to provide an outdoor party that takes glamping to a whole new level.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.

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Truck-A-Float, a Hotel in Rockaway

Set adrift in this delightful and inventive accommodation made from automobile parts in Queens, NY

by CH Contributor in Travel on 22 August 2014

Accommodation, Beach, Outdoors, Travel, Hotels, NYC, Rockaway Beach, Water

by Jenny Miller

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While the end of summer is nearing in the Northern Hemisphere, there's still time to squeeze in a few more beach weekends. For a delightful overnight in Rockaway, Queens, there is a brand new kind of hotel called Truck-A-Float—a collection of four sleeping pods, each topped with the windowed cap of a truck cab. In all, the experience is akin to camping on the water.

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The pods share a communal wooden platform, and each is outfitted with a full-size cot that sleeps two (or three if people are willing to squeeze), a fan, mosquito netting, a cooler, and a wooden flip-down table with coffee provisions stowed inside. Also like camping, bathrooms are a short walk away inside Jamaica Bay's Marina 59. Guests must bring their own bedding and towels, but pillows are provided. Truck-A-Float is just a few blocks from the A train, and a short drive, subway trip, or bike ride from the food kiosk smorgasbord that is the Rockaway boardwalk.

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Founders Matteo Pinto and Carolina Cisneros, Venezuelan architects who run design company ComboColab, envision the hotel as a sort of art installation, which the pods' whimsical names suggest: guests can choose from Horseshoe, Diamondback, Swan or Barnacle.

Rates begin at $60 during the week and $90 each for Fridays and Saturdays (with a discount for reserving entire weeks or weekends). There's still some availability in August and September. Crew member Maribel Araujo tells CH she's booking October now and that "as long as the demand is there, we will let people stay." Visit Truck-A-Float online for more information or to book a pod.

Images courtesy of ComboColab

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Côte&Ciel's Isar Rucksack

A first look at the architectural backpack's textured FW '14 edition

by Hans Aschim in Travel on 22 August 2014

Backpacks, Bags, Conceptual Design, Côte&Ciel, Paris, Bag Design, Canvas

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Once thought to be suitable just for kids and hikers, the backpack is now a respectable option for travel or everyday use—that is, if you've got the right one. Go too technical and you'll end looking like an ill-equipped mountaineer; too bright and basic and you might appear to be late for class. Parisian accessory specialists Côte&Ciel's answer is the Isar. As what is perhaps the most sophisticated, aesthetically driven pack on the market, Isar also delivers big in the functionality department. Interior compression straps ensure that even a full pack maintains a sleek silhouette, while two internal zippered compartments keep precious contents like passports, chargers, keys and cash in place.

The full Fall 2014 drop from Côte&Ciel goes live in October, with a focus on muted grays, blues and greens with textured canvas and herringbones. Made from raw canvas, the Anthracite Blue Isar is available now for $289.

Images courtesy of Côte&Ciel

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