Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.

– Roy T. Bennett


Featured artist: Quentin Monge

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 116!

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Miami Beach could be mostly underwater within eighty years, yet construction of new beachfront properties is booming. The writer Sarah Miller posed as a high-end buyer and met with real estate agents across Miami to see how they reason away this little nugget of scientific actuality. (I’m getting strong Aquaman vibes.)

The essay is part of a new book but you can listen to it – read out by no other than actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus – in the latest episode of How to Safe a Planet.

There are so many industries that have yet to accept the realities of the climate crisis, but few are as openly in denial as the real estate world. Big surprise, I know.

Here in Australia, we seem to break new temperature records every month, and yet developers continue to build giant greenhouses with killer views – quite literally, one may argue. Typical Australian houses still prioritise marble bench tops and the amount of ensuite bathrooms over good design that ensures thermal comfort and energy efficiency.

We’re made to believe that an abundance of air conditioning units is a luxury, instead of it being the result of poor design choices. Or to quote the piece above: “We’re using electricity to solve design problems.”

As with most climate-related issues, we shouldn’t wait for the industry to develop a conscience but demand stronger regulation from our governments. In the meantime, if you’re thinking about building, buying or renovating a home, I highly recommend you learn more about passive building design.

While our government is helpless with regulating the building industry, it has done a good job at compiling this extensive, free resource. The design and material choices will differ depending on your location, but no matter where you’re based, following the basic principles of passive design will make your home more comfortable, more environmentally sustainable and cheaper to run. – Kai

Dense Discovery is a weekly newsletter at the intersection of tech, design, sustainability, and culture read by over 36,000 subscribers. Do you have a product or service to promote? Sponsor an issue or book a classified.


Less Email. More Focus. SPONSOR


Tempo →

The minimalist email client for Mac

Tempo is reimagining the email client as a place to help you focus and build better routines. Designed around minimalist ideals – a calming interface sets the tone for a set of unique features to help remove email anxiety and let you feel in control.


Apps & Sites

Listory →

Content curation app

Listory monitors a range of publications in the tech and business field and then curates the ‘top reads’ depending on your preferences. The app uses some gamification features to make you come back for more. It also has a built-in ‘read it later’ function for creating a reading list over time.

Crowdcast →

Video platform for creators

From interactive Q&A sessions to live courses and large-scale events, Crowdcast is a platform for hosting live video events. There’s nothing to install on the audience side – just open a URL and join. The platform includes a ticketing system, in-app analytics and features to share the broadcast to other platforms, such as YouTube.

Bubbles →

On-screen commenting & collaboration

This Chrome plug-in lets you click on any section of a website or app to leave comments in audio and/or text. Other people can comment without installing an app or creating an account.

Currency in Colour →

A visual guide to banknotes

I loved this deep analysis of the colours and symbols used on the world’s banknotes. Birds, castles and greens take the lead. Don’t miss the interactive world map to explore the most popular banknotes from countries around the globe.


Worthy Five: Rohan Gunatillake


Five recommendations by NHS worker and podcast host Rohan Gunatillake

A book worth reading:

Amateur by Thomas Page McBee is a reflection on modern masculinity told by the first trans man to fight at Madison Square Garden. Thomas was one of the first storytellers we had on our podcast Meditative Story and his is maybe my favourite episode.

A recipe worth trying:

Yu Xiang Qie Zi or ‘fish-fragrant aubergine’ is an amazing Szechuan dish I’ve made every Wednesday since UK lockdown began and now perfected, thanks largely to this brilliant Berlin-based food Youtuber.

An activity worth doing:

Not watching one more episode and getting some sleep.

A podcast worth listening to:

It has to be Strong Songs. Ex-video games writer Kirk Hamilton breaks down your favourite songs and why they are good. An all-time great show.

A question worth asking:

The question ‘How much is enough?’ has helped me make career decisions and guided me in my meditation practice.




The 99% Invisible City →

The hidden world of everyday design

I had no idea that the popular design podcast 99% Invisible has a new book out. Host Roman Mars and co-author Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs.


Where the Leaves Fall →

Humankind’s interaction with nature

Where the Leaves Fall is an independent magazine that explores humankind’s push-pull relationship with the natural world, trying to deepen our understanding of the interconnected roles we play. The latest, fourth issue focuses on the themes of mutualism, interconnectedness, and pandemic, alongside a series of dialogues.


Overheard on Twitter

I just got kicked out of a flat earth Facebook group because I asked if the 6 foot social distancing guideline had pushed anyone over the edge yet.



Food For Thought

Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth →


For a brief period of time (when US election results started to come in) Facebook prioritised quality over engagement. While it lasted, it had a calming, positive effect – who would have thought?! “The change was part of the ‘break glass’ plans Facebook had spent months developing for the aftermath of a contested election. It resulted in a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR, while posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats, became less visible, the employees said.” [soft paywall]

Coded Bias (Trailer) →


An interesting new documentary on the bias coded into algorithms launched earlier this month. You can find a list of screening locations here. If you run a company in the tech space, consider hosting a virtual screening event for your team. You can request a quote here.

Working on a suicide helpline changed how I talk to everyone →


Some great take-aways here that we could all benefit from when trying to help a friend who’s going through a difficult time. “Often there is no external problem to solve at all – but rather, a person wants to change their mental state to be different. There are many problems where more information is helpful, but sometimes it’s better to meet a person where they are and to simply imagine – together – a better future. You’re not holding that person to what you know about them or even what they think they know about themselves. Instead, you’re letting a person imagine who they could be.”

Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives →


A great long-read about how we ended up with all the productivity BS that fills app stores and book shelves and makes us all feel like we’re never doing enough. “One of the sneakier pitfalls of an efficiency-based attitude to time is that we start to feel pressured to use our leisure time ‘productively’, too – an attitude which implies that enjoying leisure for its own sake, which you might have assumed was the whole point of leisure, is somehow not quite enough.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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I’m really enjoying the psychedelic vibe of the patterns, shapes and colours used in the work by Peruvian design studio Posters BluMoo.

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Salman Khoshroo is an Iranian artist creating abstract busts and portraits from oil, concrete and various other materials.

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More stunning aerial photography, this time by Belgian photographer Sebastian Nagy.

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Cosi Azure is an eccentric display font that “blends harmonic and erratic undertones in its form”.



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The Week in a GIF


Email or tweet us the URL to your favourite GIF and we might feature it here in a future issue.