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Link About It: This Week's Picks

David Bowie Is, synesthesia, T Magazine's Patrick Li and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 23 March 2013

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1. DIY Google Glass

Don't have the cash or time to wait for Google Glass to drop at the end of 2013? Well, put on your tool belt and DIY hat and make your own Google Glass hack—a project you can complete in just a few hours for around $300, instead of Glass' expected $1,500 price tag.

2. "David Bowie Is" Opens At The V&A

London's V&A Museum plays host to a massive retrospective paying tribute to the legendary star and style icon, David Bowie. The show culls items from Bowie's personal archive to include never-before-seen displays spanning costumes, memorabilia, album art, set designs and more. Breaking records for advance ticket sales with 50,000 sold, the exhibition runs through August before heading to São Paulo's Museum of Image and Sound in January 2014.

3. Absolut Amber

We had the pleasure of previewing Absolut's latest experiment, an oak-aged vodka smartly dubbed Absolut Amber. Arguably unlike anything else on the market, the vodka is aged for at least six months in a variety of specially made wood barrels, which imparts a natural oaky spice. Drink Spirits gave their informed review this week, explaining how this new process just may be an industry game-changer.

4. Taxi Cab Confessions

Filmmaker, art and graveyard shift cab driver Daniel J. Wilson is fascinated by the variety of conversations and people that pass through his backseat between five at night and five in the morning. With no one to hear and share in the absurdity, Wilson decided to start recording his passengers as part of an ongoing project. After amassing hours of conversations, Wilson selected some highlights and compiled them into an audio show he calls "9Y40," which his passengers can now enjoy from the back of his cab, trying to pinpoint familiar voices.

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5. How Ink is Made

A beautiful concerto of colors, mechanics and hand manipulation, the process of making ink is nothing short of impressive. Gear Patrol's inquisitive video dives head first into this methodical process, documenting it all from CMYK pigment powders to a taffy-like substance, and finally a perfect blend of brilliant color canned and ready for distribution.

6. Modern Art Desserts

In collaboration with San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art and Blue Bottle coffee, pastry chef Caitlin Freeman has devised a cookbook of desserts inspired by works hanging on the museum's walls. Each baked good is a sugary ode to modern masters with recipes like Ellsworth Kelly Fudgsicles and Diekorn Trifles. Those in San Francisco can treat themselves to one (or several of) of her creations at the Blue Bottle Cafe inside SFMoMA.

7. Yoko Ono Supports Gun Control

Yoko Ono showed her support for gun control this week by tweeting an image of John Lennon's bloodied glasses from the day he was infamously shot and killed. The photo alone sends a powerful message about the urgency for stricter regulation, and coupled with some highly sobering statistics it becomes even more difficult to debate this controversial topic.

8. Mouth-Brooding Frog Revival

One of the world's most unusual species—the gastric-brooding frog, which went extinct in 1983—received a new chance at life as scientists successfully used cloning methods to create an embryo of the amphibian. While the embryos didn't survive long, the University of Newcastle researchers optimistically claim that "the hurdles ahead are technological and not biological."

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9. Taste the Rainbow

NPR's The Salt takes a closer look into the curious case of synetheisa, the neurological condition in which stimulation of one sense produces experiences in a different sense. Researcher Sean Day approximates one in 27 people have some form of synesthesia, such as sommelier Jaime Smith, who smells in colors and shapes. The rest of us will just have to stick to flavor-tripping off of miracle berries to experience the world of taste in new form.

10. The Vamp

Rather than toss his old wooden speakers in the trash, British designer Paul Cocksedge created the vamp, a gadget that transforms any speaker into a portable Bluetooth device. The clever little cube simply connects to the speaker's output nodes directly, transmitting sound with up to ten hours of battery life.

11. Planck's Map of the Universe

The European Space Agency has released a new map of the "oldest light" in the sky as observed by the Planck Surveyor satellite. The results of examining the cosmic microwave background indicate an older universe and one more full of matter than was previously thought.

12. Interview with Patrick Li

Creative director at the New York Times' cult-followed T Magazine and reigning go-to guy for a generation of young designers (Alexander Wang, Rodarte and Jason Wu) as well as more established institutions like the Guggenheim Museum and Dia Art Foundation, Patrick Li is at the top of his field. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Li speaks to his success and the nonlinear path he took as he transitioned from studying architecture at UC Berkley to being an industry guru.

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13. Eiffel Tower Spit Shine

Just in time to inspire some spring cleaning, mental_floss takes a look at how some of the world's most beloved landmarks keep their shiny exterior. From the annual scrubbing of the Eiffel Tower to the daring wash of Mount Rushmore, the intriguing list answers a question we may not have thought to ask, but nonetheless find quite interesting.

14. Stop Motion Paper Ballet

Rio de Janeiro-based motion graphics studio 18bis found inspiration in Pablo Neruda's poem "The Me Bird," and created a stop motion video of a dancing ballerina from nothing more than paper cutouts. Set to music, the video is a delightful if not ultra-clever use of materials.

15. Kickstarter for Designers

With the intent of creating a crowd-funding platform specifically for designers, Crowd Supply launched this week with nine potential and three ready-to-ship projects. The site distinguishes itself by providing creators with valuable mentoring advice as well as giving consumers the incentive to pre-order products rather than supply donations.

16. SpaceX's Grasshopper Leaps 24 Stories

The SpaceX Grasshopper rocket is touted as the most promising model for a reusable launch system around. This week, the four-legged rocket ascended 263 feet before returning to ground with a soft landing. A video produced by SpaceX edits the event to the tune of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," with a dummy of the late singer riding along during the test flight.

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