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Link About It: This Week's Picks

A million lines of code, an air pollution vacuum, NIGO for Uniqlo UT and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 02 November 2013

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1. The First Pedal Cycle, on Steroids

The largest chemical company in the world, BASF SE, partnered with design studio DING3000 to answer the hypothetical question, what would the first pedal cycle have looked like if its historic inventors had today's advanced materials available to them? Their answer is the electric-drive powered e-velocipede called the "Concept 1865," which could easily blend into the background of a science fiction film. Check out the video to see a smartwatch-powered lock, a removable seat and more.

2. Olafur Eliasson Wins MIT Award

Generally reserved for up-and-coming artists, MIT's annual Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts was recently granted to veteran artist Olafur Eliasson for 2014. Known for his 2003 Tate Turbine Hall Installation and 2008 New York City Waterfalls, the Danish-Icelandic artist excels in large-scale public works. Phaidon digs deeper into how Eliasson will use his creativity to collaborate with the renowned academic institution during his brief residency next March.

3. Open Source T-Shirts

to.be, the online creative platform, has partnered with the continually ahead-of-the-curve DIS Magazine to offer a range of open-source T-shirts. With a collection of images chosen by the creatives at DIS, users can modify, alter and create one of a kind shirts for just $40 or a large print for $45. The internet-inspired aesthetic along with the user-guided designs speak to the undercurrents of the contemporary creative scene. Plus, chances are you won't run into someone with the same shirt.

4. Designer Pumpkin Carving

When some of the best Brooklyn-based architects and design teams were asked to compete in pumpkin carving, everyone expected undeniably remarkable results. That said, the host—online publication Sight Unseen—and their judging partner, acclaimed design firm Snarkitecture, couldn't have predicted masterful typography, Japanese machetes, dry wall and plenty more imaginative materials. Visionary sculpting, embedded LEDS and even a "banana" factored in to a spirited challenge perfect for the season and a bunch of top tier creatives.

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5. Context Mock-Ups

A new application launched by LiveSurface designer Joshua Distler, Context allows creators an opportunity to see renderings on new or in-development concepts—in real time. Design a pattern and see it immediately applied to an object of your choice, from cups to buttons and banners. This technology accounts for shadows, angles and reflections, while clipping out the process of exporting a flat design first, and ultimately printing out mock-ups, bringing designers closer to a final product much faster.

6. Bliss Lau: Rising & Falling

"Pearl represents purity and perfection," Hawaii-born jewelry designer Bliss Lau explains in The Avant/Garde Diaries' video, in which she addresses her inspiration and the significance of her source material for her latest 13-piece collection. The video itself is strikingly beautiful, as Lau explores mythic outdoor locations, set to a thoughtful voiceover. Invoking the elements and their historic associations, she provides insight into her equally expressive designs. It's not a fashion video, it's a character study on a talented designer.

7. A Million Lines of Code

To help the non-code-savvy perceive the size (and potential) of a million lines of code, "Information is Beautiful" author David McCandless designed a simple infographic that includes software programs, print books, history and even organisms to compare relative total lines of code. A million lines of code is equivalent to "War and Peace" 14 times over; Facebook has more code than the Large Hadron collider and the average iPhone app requires very little. McCandless gives a small jab at the end, placing the "Apparent Size of Healthcare.gov website" at the large end of the spectrum—implying that more code isn't always better, and might be an efficiency issue.

8. The Pixelstick

Light painting—the art of capturing a moving light source via long exposure photography—has a surprisingly extensive history. For over 100 years, artists have been cranking down camera shutter speeds and getting creative with light, but the greatest advancement in the field may be in the Pixelstick. Developed by Brooklyn-based tech design house Bitbanger Labs, the Pixelstick allows light painters to import images onto the stick that are then portrayed pixel by pixel (the name is quite literal). The results are remarkable and, with the successful funding of the project on Kickstarter, expect to see more light painters hitting the streets and pushing creative limits.

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9. Air Pollution Vacuum

Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde has developed a "vacuum cleaner" which uses copper coils to generate an electromagnetic field which would pull airborne particles in smog down to earth for cleaning and disposal. The device is not a cure-all answer however, as Roosegaarde says he designed the tool to help draw attention to air pollution in general, and to encourage others to think creatively about how to solve the worldwide problem.

10. Google + Pixar

Can your smartphone draw you into a story? The technology inside our phones rivals high-end game consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and yet even though we are increasingly dependent on our phones, our relationship with them is restricted and almost primitive. Google's Motorola division hired a team from Pixar (including the co-director of "Ratatouille") to create the interactive narrative "Windy Day" that appears on the new Moto X phones—a 360° adventure which Wired Magazine gives a rave review. This sets a new benchmark in tapping the creative potential of smartphone technology, and we can't wait to see what's next.

11. Inmate Coders

Two convicted felons at an Oklahoma prison (a murderer and a sex offender) have written a software program that could save the prison—and entire state of Oklahoma—millions of dollars by increasing efficiency in the food system. By tracking prisoners as they move through dining halls along with incoming shipments of food, the software records and looks for patterns in dietary habits and pricing data. Already the software has found pricing discrepancies from the prison's main food contractor Sysco, making some sort of action on behalf of the state almost inevitable.

12. NIGO For Uniqlo

Japanese designer and streetwear pioneer NIGO recently called it quits with his beloved brainchild A Bathing Ape (BAPE), and now he's leading the charge with another Japanese outlet. The cutting-edge entrepreneur has been appointed Creative Director of Uniqlo UT, the clothier's limited edition line. With NIGO's decades of experience and such a unique artistic vision, the possibilities for upcoming offerings are endless and highly anticipated.

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

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