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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Astronaut Chris Hadfield at TED, Casey Neistat surfs in J. Crew, the origins of Matthew Dear and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 22 March 2014

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1. Casey Neistat's Stylish Travels

With effortless style and a comedic adventurous spirit, filmmaker Casey Neistat documents 17 travel tips—while wearing J. Crew's Ludlow Traveler suit—in a three-minute, action-packed YouTube video. The suit holds up amid snowboarding, surfing and motorcycle riding, as Neistat travels the globe. The primary message is to dress for the occasion, but tips like make friends, be patient and fix the flat make it far more fun than most other style guides out there.

2. Developer Trays as Portraits

There's a certain beauty to the battered trays used by photographers when developing images, as each happens to be a window into the world of the artist who used them. Photographer John Cyr has called this to everyone's attention with his new book, "Developer Trays" and the coinciding exhibition at Brooklyn's powerHouse Arena gallery. Cyr photographed the trays of over 80 influential artists—from Ansel Adams to Sally Mann—with each photo serving as a genuine fingerprint for the artist whose tray sits within the frame.

3. Wes Anderson, Centered

If you haven't recognized that Wes Anderson really, really likes centered shots, you will after watching this video montage. Filmmaker and video essayist Kogonada poignantly comments—using no words, just a dotted line—on the auteur's affinity, or perhaps obsession, for balance. We also recommend checking out Kogonada's other work—many being Vimeo staff picks—which point out certain aspects of famed filmmakers that may have also gone unnoticed by an untrained eye, such as the passageways in Yasujirō Ozu films, Stanley Kubrick's frequent use of one-point perspective and Terrence Malick's duality with fire and water.

4. Google Encrypts Gmail

If you look closely at the URL while accessing your Gmail account, you'll now notice an "S" after the HTTP. To help deter the NSA from intercepting email messages as they move between data centers and servers, Google recently made all Gmail connections more secure with HTTPS encryption. While it certainly won't stop surveillance attempts entirely, it will slow it down by adding an extra obstacle, which when compounded with other barriers may just be the straw that breaks the Orwellian agency's back.

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5. Facebook's Hack

This week, Facebook publicly revealed a new language, called Hack, which three of its engineers have been building for the past few years to improve the efficiency of their fellow developers—and that Facebook has been already using to run its website. While many suggest Hack is simply an updated version of PHP, its importance lies in the fact that it allows coders to use both dynamic as well as static typing (known as gradual typing), meaning they can be more precise while also working quickly. Hack is available as open-source software, so the entire world can take their turn at improving it.

6. Bearer of Good News

When someone showed up at Russian physicist and Stanford University professor Andrei Linde's doorstep with good news, it wasn't Publisher's Clearing House. Colleague and assistant professor Chao-Lin Kuo surprised Linde with the results of his team's BICEP2 experiment—new evidence that supports Linde's cosmic inflation theory of how the universe began, work that he proposed 30 years ago. The video capturing Linde and his wife's (a fellow scientist) reactions to the news has gone viral, garnering more than 2.5 million views.

7. 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

Zoo vibes and urban jungle energy make Berlin's latest hotel, the 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin a new must-visit. Centrally located in the City West district, the venue encourages guests to chill out in their comfy seats and sofas, or in the jungle sauna—all with a DJ playing music in the background of course. In addition to the 149 well-priced rooms, there's a bakery, a restaurant and some fantastic views to boot.

8. The Origins of Matthew Dear

Taking it back to Kingsville, Texas, the fourth installment of Resident Advisor's ORIGINS film series, in collaboration with SONOS, charts the path of Ghostly International co-founder Matthew Dear. The electronic artist, who rose up in the Detroit techno scene beginning in the late '90s, has substantially changed the music industry for the better. In this documentary, Dear revisits his childhood and offers a beautiful glimpse into his foundation, motivations and happiness.

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9. Universal Fear

Known around the world for his floating rendition of Bowie's "Space Oddity," retired astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield took the stage at TED this week to discuss the connection between fear and danger, and the importance of changing perceptions in order to accomplish your dreams. From his vivid description of a rocket ship's intense liftoff to going blind in space, the Canadian astronaut relayed some of the scariest moments in his life, but acknowledged for some it's the same as encountering a spiderweb. No matter the scale, Hadfield explains you can live out your dreams—to go places, to see and accomplish things—through the practice of reprograming your primal fears.

10. Google's Android Wear

As the hype around wearable technology and smartwatches continues to build, Google announced a new version of their operating system designed specifically to work with wearables. Aptly titled Android Wear, the OS will run on recently announced Motorola and LG models, with undoubtedly more to come. Get directions, control smart home devices and send texts—all from your wrist.

11. Urban Water Slide

While double-decker busses come to mind when considering the UK, the Slip 'N Slide does not. Though this may change soon, as Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram recently unveiled a 90-meter water slide as a temporary architectural intervention, and a nostalgic and playful juxtaposition in the city's somewhat stark landscape. Participants can glide down Park Street without a worry in the world, taking in the view from a brand new perspective.

12. PS4 Meets Virtual Reality

The PS4 continues to sell like crazy, and Sony gives yet another reason to buy it. At the Game Developers Conference in SF this week, they unveiled Project Morpheus, a virtual reality headset the company has been developing for the past three years. The prototype features 1080p resolution and a 90-degree field of view. There's still no hint of what the price will be, but it's safe to say that Sony (as a consumer electronics company) will aim for affordability—making it a strong competitor to the Oculus Rift VR headset.

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

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