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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Nick Cave's Grand Central horses, tracking Chinese censorship, mosh pit math and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 30 March 2013

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1. Basquiat's Unseen Work

After a year of record breaking sales at Gagosian Gallery, the public's voracious appetite for the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is undeniable. In the wake of this recent rush, his former girlfriend Alexis Alder has come forward with a treasure trove of unseen works that she amassed over their year-long relationship. The collection includes the walls of her apartment, which Basquiat decorated in his signature style, as well as notebooks, painted clothing and personal postcards.

2. The Mystical Designs of Siggi Odds

While recently in Iceland for DesignMarch, our friend Bobby Soloman of The Fox is Black introduced us to artist and graphic designer Siggi Odds. The Reykjavik local and his Native American-inspired art are fast becoming well known in Iceland and, with the help of Soloman, well beyond the confines of Odd's mystical homeland.

3. National Geographic's Found

Like flipping through a timeless issue of National Geographic, the illustrious magazine's recently launched Tumblr—which they've appropriately dubbed "Found"—offers viewers a truly unique experience. Archival images in beautiful definition span hundreds of years and countless continents, bringing to life some lost or forgotten content gracing its pages many decades ago.

4. Nick Cave's Wild Horses

Rarely a place for wild animals, aside from a few pigeons perhaps, New York's Grand Central Terminal is currently home to a herd of 30 colorful life-size horses. Randomly "grazing" and occasionally "crossing" into choreographed movements to live music, Nick Cave's artistic undertaking is presented as part of series of events celebrating the centennial of the iconic station.

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5. Buzz Bissinger's Gucci Addiction

"I wasn't mainlining heroin, just impossibly gorgeous leather jackets and coats and boots and gloves and evening jackets." In the April 2013 issue of GQ, "Friday Night Lights" author Buzz Bissinger opens up about his compulsive shopping addiction and the shocking realization of having spent $587,412.97 in two years on all things Gucci. Following the confession, Bissinger checked into an inpatient rehab facility for treatment.

6. Recalling 1993

In collaboration with the creative agency Droga5, the New Museum has launched an ambitious city-wide pay phone installation intended to transport people back to the year 1993. The pay phone takeover, called "Recalling 1993," is a an extension of the current exhibition on view at the museum, "NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star." Simply pick up one of these ubiquitous relics and dial the designated toll free number to receive a site-specific glimpse into NYC's gritty past.

7. Residual Whisky Photography

You may think you know about the complexity of good Scotch, but photographer Ernie Button takes whisky appreciation to new heights in a photo series on the residue of dried drams. The colorful leftovers resemble celestial phenomena, moonscapes and microscopic worlds, as well as show the chemical variance in the different brands of whiskies consumed.

8. The Legend Grows

On top of the game for 20 years now, Eric Koston is without a doubt one of skateboarding's most influential and well known names. To coincide with the launch of the Koston 2, his second pro-model shoe with Nike, the powerhouse brand launched an interactive site with archival footage and infographics to catalog his achievements, tricks invented, style transformations and even the number of boards skated throughout his career—a sizable 1,004.

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9. Mosh Pit Math

Cornell University graduate students, physicists and metal-heads Matt Bierbaum and Jesse Silverberg became intrigued by the randomness of collisions in mosh pits after sitting out a show and observing instead. Noticing similarities in the movement of the pit and the way molecules react in a gas, they set to work collecting data from live concerts and Youtube videos. The duo presented their project at the March meeting of the American Physical Society, along with a simulator that indicates how moshers and general concert goers behave based on controls like noise level, room size and crowd density.

10. World's Smallest Cell Phone Charger

Shaped like a diminutive gas can, Fuel Micro Charger promises to deliver a flash of emergency juice to dying mobile devices despite its size, which measures 1.3 x 0.9 x 0.5 inches. The Kickstarter campaign has already doubled its $20,000 goal, so don't be surprised to see the tiny device landing on keyrings this summer.

11. The Speed of Chinese Censorship

In an effort to understand how quickly the Chinese government can detect unsuitable online content, computer scientists Jed Crandall and Dan Wallach monitored the country's largest microblogging site, Sina Weibo, for 30 days last year. Using a small sample pool of 12% of the site's 300 million users, the scientists were able to track censorship in real time through qualitative and quantitative analysis. Through this they realized several things about China's "sophisticated operation," from the speed of deletion (5% in the first eight minutes) to camouflage posts (the post appears successfully uploaded but only to the user).

12. Building a Better Condom

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has offered a $100,000 startup grant to the person who designs the next-generation condom. Citing the need for a condom that promotes "regular use," the foundation hopes that a more pleasurable experience will increase safe sex practices around the world.

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