The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.

– Anaïs Nin


Featured artist: Bryndon Díaz

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 139!

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As I’m reaching the forty-year mark later this week, these words by author and activist Alice Walker are cause for reflection:

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognise that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before.”

Overall, the past decade has been wonderful to me. There are so many moments I can look back on with joy and contentment. But it was the difficult times that first challenged and eventually changed my default attitude towards a lot of things. Friendships, relationships, work, money, health, privilege, consumption, ownership – the way I assign meaning and priority to all those things is vastly different now than it was just a few years ago. And I don’t think it’s just part of ‘getting older’.

Intellectually and emotionally, I spent large chunks of my thirties coming to terms with the ecological crisis we inherited: trying to grasp the scale of the problem and the uniqueness of the moment, acknowledging the anxieties it triggers, and turning that discomfort into something manageable and useful. For me, Australia’s recent fires were a particularly traumatic event that provoked lots of mental reorganising.

Despite (or because of) these dark clouds, there is a growing sense of awakening. A feeling that we are – willingly or not – inching closer to the cusp of something new, something different. If you squint hard enough it looks like hope (some call it the Great Turning), although the German in me remains sceptical. As I’m looking ahead to the next decade of being me, I know one thing is certain: the internal remodelling will continue. As Alice Walker writes:

“Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realise that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

Sticking with the theme, to celebrate my 40th I’m kindly asking you to help me offset 40 tons of carbon by planting some trees right here in Australia. Thanks so much! 🎉🌳 – Kai


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Apps & Sites

Branch →

Internet justice and sustainability

A new digital publication on how to make the internet more just and sustainable: “We believe that the internet must serve our collective liberation and ecological sustainability. We want the internet to dismantle the power structures that delay climate action and for the internet itself to become a sustainable and positive force for climate justice.” You’ll find essays such as “If I am a Techie, How Can I Help Solve Climate Change?

AdGuard →

Privacy shield

Instead of blocking ads and tracking scripts in the browser, AdGuard blocks privacy-invading content a step earlier through the use of native apps. The network filter also stops phishing and malware attempts and offers more parental control.

mmm →

A different kind of website builder

I love it when people come up with playful, whimsical takes on business-focused tools. mmm lets you create website ‘collages’ through a fun drag and drop interface.

LoFi Cafe →

Ambient music for work

The LoFi Cafe has been running in an open tab on my computer for over a week now. A collection of Japanese-inspired “chill beats”, ideal as ambient music for work/study. Don’t miss the different channels by clicking on the title in the bottom left corner.


Worthy Five: Paris Marx


Five recommendations by socialist tech critic Paris Marx

A concept worth understanding:

Elite projection is “the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole.” When you hear someone talking about their big business idea or grand vision for the future, consider who it actually serves and whether there’d be a better way of approaching the problem.

A quote worth repeating:

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.” Ursula K. Le Guin had a special way of helping people see that the structures of society are more fluid than they appear. She also had a great rant about ‘technology’.

A Twitter account worth following:

Think Silicon Valley is making our world a better place? From the latest AI product to smart gadget, Chris Gilliard considers the perspectives you won’t hear from the corporate PR department, or often from the mainstream tech media.

A newsletter worth subscribing to:

There’s no sustainable future if supply chains are harming communities and environments that are out of sight and mind. Ian Morse provides an unvarnished take on all the mining required for the green future in Green Rocks.

A book worth reading:

We were told automation was destroying jobs; the reality is quite different. In Automation and the Future of Work, economic historian Aaron Benanav investigates what automation is really doing to work and challenges us to imagine a better society that isn’t reliant on mass automation.




The Backyard Adventurer →

Adventures close to home

Some of you may know that I have a bit of a crush on self-described oddball Beau Miles, one of my favourite (local) YouTube storytellers. (Favs include his A Mile an Hour and Junk Cabin videos.) His new book is about “conscious experimentation with adventure, making meaning and inspiration out of tins of beans, bits of rubbish and elbow grease.”


You’re Not Listening →

When everybody is talking

A great title for a book that addresses a core issue of our age. “At work, we’re taught to lead the conversation. On social media, we shape our personal narratives. At parties, we talk over one another. So do our politicians. We’re not listening. And no one is listening to us.”


Overheard on Twitter

I hate PENDING payments. Just take that shit so I can start my HEALING PROCESS. 😭😒



Food for Thought

Searching for sanity in a world hell-bent on destruction →


This piece can be summarised by a quote I shared in DD135: ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’ A hard-hitting essay about the insanity of a society that sabotages itself. “If an individual knowingly destroyed the conditions of his or her own existence, we’d question their sanity. If a mother only fed her children if she could make a profit, we’d doubt the soundness of her mind. If a father took all the household wealth and left the rest of the family in destitution while building bombs in the basement that could destroy the neighbourhood, we’d call him psychopathic. And yet these are characteristics of our society as a whole.”

No Floor, No Ceiling →


They call it the ‘Creator Economy’: everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame and their shot at becoming a millionaire. But, as Dror Poleg argues, the internet has not just shattered the ceiling: “We are individuals, at the whims of forces we do not understand, trying to convince ourselves that our old institutions have the power to save us. There is no longer a ceiling above us to restrict our earning potential. But there is also no floor underneath.”

Against car supremacy →


A US-centric piece on the supreme reign of cars over our cities with some staggering numbers and comparisons. “Car commercials always show gleaming machines whizzing through beautiful landscapes or empty cities, and never their actual most common use – namely, frustrated idling in traffic, sucking down the exhaust of the guy in front of you. If we want to make America a decent place to live, dethroning the car from its policy throne is a good place to start.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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The incredible sculpture art by Wang Ruilin uses copper and paint among other materials to show animals in a state of repose.

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It really beggars belief that what you see here are images drawn with a pencil. The work of genius Arinze Stanley Egbengwu.

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Gastro Obscura is an Instagram account that serves up “the world’s culinary curiosities” – weird and wonderful photos of food and drinks, and their ingredients.

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Lenora has an expressive style that shows most in its flamboyant use of curves in some of the lower case characters.



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