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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Cardboard boombox, Ai Weiwei selfies, Greg Packer's ban and more in our look at the web this week

by CH Editors in Link About It on 07 September 2013

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1. Selfie Jackpot

While we laugh, cry and shake our heads in the midst of the selfie craze, a famed Instagram account featuring loads of ridiculous self-portraits is keeping the mania alive. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei—who is also active in the world of hairdressing, music videos, sculpture and general dissidence and protest—generously provides at least one ridiculous selfie a day for his 40,000 Instagram followers. His stream of grainy photos features innumerable shots capturing the bizarre and laughable life of the avant-garde artist—and none without wild hair-dos and a mighty beard. HuffPo compiled 20 of Weiwei's best, but be sure to follow @aiww to stay up-to-date with his daily dose of humorous selfies.

2. Camera Phone Facelift

The days of camera-phones being inferior to their full-sized predecessors are nearly behind us. While music videos and full-length ad campaigns have been shot on modern smartphone cameras, Sony's new DCS-X10 and DSC-QX100 lens-sensor modules are taking camera-phone performance to the next level. The modular lens and sensor attaches to any phone or tablet and connects via WiFi (and even boast Near-Field Communications capabilities). The specs and abilities are more comparable to a premium handheld camera than anything connected to a phone currently on the market. The new system allows photographers on the go to shoot top quality video and images with a device they already carry. Expect to see more third-party lenses attached to your favorite devices when these start shipping at the end of the month.

3. The Faces Behind the Science Fiction Masks

This week, io9 shared a true gem for the science fiction fandom. Meet the actors in full body costumes behind some of the most beloved classics including Star Wars, Godzilla and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. You've, no doubt, watched them more times than you can count, but probably never stopped to think about the person inside the ape costume from 2001: Space Odyssey, Godzilla from the 1954 Japanese classic, or R2D2 and Papplo the Ewok from the Star Wars series. Reminisce for awhile with pictures of the men mid-makeup and with their masks off, for a humorous look at your science fiction favorites.

4. A Return of NYC Etiquette

Illustrator Nathan Pyle has returned, with a follow up to his wildly successful New York City etiquette tips. The new GIF series gives tourists (and locals) much needed advice for navigating the streets and subways with respect and awareness. Each is conveyed in simple black and white drawings, and they're also all funny—not to mention necessary. Pyle has also landed a book deal for his rules for the city; it'll be interesting to see how the GIFs translate on paper.

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5. Pharrell Wiliams + Moncler

Pharrell has been the master of collaboration this summer, lending his voice to chart-topping hits with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke. He is now teaming up once again with French luxury fashion label Moncler, known for their high-end quilted ski jackets, to design a collection of three pairs of sunglasses, each made from a single piece of titanium. This is Pharrell's second collaboration with the clothing brand; he designed an outerwear collection for Moncler a couple of years back. The singer modeled a pair of sunglasses from the upcoming collection on Instagram—the unisex styles are futuristic steampunk and perhaps inspired by his French colleagues Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, for the sunglasses are oversized and worn conceptually like a mask.

6. Cardboard Boombox

"Old school meets new school" in a cardboard boombox that sports eye-catching graphic design and is lightweight but durable. Berlin-based designer Axel Pfaender funded his idea for the truly portable speaker through a successful Kickstarter last year that raised $20,000 and the "Berlin Boombox" is now available for purchase. The kit includes the cardboard (ready to be folded) and all electronic parts—and the artist assures you that no tools, glue or tech knowledge is required. For the sweet price of $80, this cardboard boombox is sure to cause a lot of spontaneous dancing in the streets.

7. The Most Quoted Man in News

It takes someone special to be banned from giving interviews by the Associated Press. Greg Packer did not gain this unusual yet remarkable honor by misconduct or heroism—he simply showed up. Packer, a former highway maintenance worker who now dedicates his time to being front and center at major events, has been quoted by almost 1,000 different news outlets. In addition to meeting four US Presidents and two Popes, Packer is also credited with buying the first iPhone. While it may seem odd, Packer's commitment to being involved with events from a personal—rather than digital—experiential standpoint is admirable in the 24-hour news cycle climate of the day. Plus, it proves anyone can get involved with major events if they're willing to show up early and wait.

8. Galaxy Gear Wearable Tech

At this year's IFA 2013 technology conference, Samsung unveiled the latest in smartwatch innovations. The Galaxy Gear isn't a standalone phone, but you can make calls from it. The beautifully designed accessory can pick up notifications, control music and has a camera, a speaker and two microphones. Connected by Bluetooth, the integration is quite impressive. Its ever-expanding array of onboard apps solidify the device's value and makes the point that Samsung is attempting to really own the lifestyle device market.

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

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