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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Viral urban legends, David O'Reilly's Mountain Game, the moon's two faces and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 05 July 2014

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1. Wilderness Collective Explores Alaska

This week, adventure purveyor Wilderness Collective released "Alaska on Snow Machines," a short film from their recent trip. Surreal scenic shots of stunning ice caves and barren, snow-covered landscapes are accompanied by the narrative of a local Alaskan who gave up his busy life in Washington to move his family off the grid and run a remote fishing lodge. While all WC adventures encourage existential growth, the feeling captured in this short film is nothing short of inspiring.

2. Table Topography

Pulling logs from the river that runs behind his studio in northern Washington, furniture-maker and designer Greg Klassen's latest collection draws on the natural lines of rot and decomposition to create topographic map-like representations of rivers. With a piece of hand-cut glass inlaid atop the joined pieces of wood and the texture from the wood's grain, there is both depth and a sense of calm brought by Klassen's functional art that will bring any room a sophisticated touch of the great outdoors.

3. Investigating Urban Legends

A recent paper in the British Journal of Psychology takes a scientific look at why urban legends are so culturally successful. In short, findings suggest the stories are so easily perpetuated due to the way human intelligence and memory has evolved over time—our brains have grown to learn, remember and transmit valuable (mis)information that may be useful for survival within a given environment. Seems reasonable enough.

4. How High Can Low Art Go

Musician and artist Brian Eno once said it best: "high art" is, by definition, exclusionary. That understanding, coupled with his diverse body of artistic work—which is often deemed "low art" despite being shown at some of the most prestigious galleries around the world—led MoMA's curator Kirk Varnedoe to invite Eno as the keynote speaker for "High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture" back in 1991. His speech is now available online, delivering a thoughtful, informed testament to the way art and music were perceived a decade and half ago.

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5. Box-Sized Death (Metal)

Every Wednesday through Friday, from now until 1 August 2014, death metal band Unfathomable Ruination will perform in an air-tight cube outside of London's Gherkin until all the oxygen runs out. The cube also happens to be soundproof, so the real performance is the physical, near-death feat by the five-piece band. Onlookers can spy on the musicians' entrances and exits, as well as the sound wave vibrations. All of the hoopla serves a purpose—it's part of a public art installation by Portugese artist João Onofre.

6. The Two-Faced Moon

The moon may be Earth's closest neighbor and the only other celestial body that humans have set foot upon—but it's still shrouded in mystery. For example, why do the near side and the far side of the moon look so different? There are two competing hypotheses, but in this piece for Slate, astronomer Phil Plait explains why he finds the more recently put forth reason (the one that doesn't involve two proto-moons) more compelling.

7. NY's Absence of Organ Donors

Startling statistics came to light this week regarding the Empire State's staggeringly low percentage of organ donors, with just 22% of New Yorkers registered as organ donors (the third lowest in the country). The low number is at odds with 80% of the state's residents who support organ donation. While the reasons behind this pressing issue remain murky, one thing's for sure: organs are in high demand. According to the New York Organ Donor Network, someone dies every 15 hours waiting for an organ. Check out Hate the Wait to learn more about how to donate.

8. Mountain Game

David O'Reilly, the animator known for his deconstructed, artistic use of 3D software (as seen in the video game sequences for the Spike Jonze film, "Her"), released an app this week for iOS, Mac and PC called "Mountain Game." An antithesis to attention-draining mobile apps in general, "Mountain" is a zen experience in which you raise your own unique, living mountain (that also floats). How it evolves day by day is a surprise that's not necessarily meant to be understood.

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

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