The triumph of culture is to overpower nationality.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Featured artist: Muhammed Sajid

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 161!

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After more than 260 days in hibernation mode across multiple lockdowns and curfews, last week people in Melbourne were finally given back some of their freedoms. Thanks to good vaccine pick-up, we’re now allowed to socialise and move around a little more freely.

During my first outdoor gathering with friends over the weekend, we noticed that we were all out of practice at socialising. What do people talk about these days? How do you answer the question ‘What have you been up to?’

As an introvert I certainly appreciated the time of zero social FOMO. Instagram was refreshingly boring and honest during lockdowns. Gone were the #bestlife shots. My feed was a beautiful collage of cats, kids and breads, mixed with the occasional ‘what life is this?’ 3pm exhausted parent cocktail selfie.

Gosh, I can’t wait to get out of this city for a camping trip! I’m desperate to leave the sanitised convenience of the modern world behind just long enough to appreciate my couch, hot water and the internet again. Give me some dirt to roll around in, just so I know this is real! – Kai

 

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Save Time, Work Smarter SPONSOR

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Ready to move around your phone like a pro? Check out the all-new Android Shortcut Supercourse – a free e-course about time-saving tricks and little-known features of your Android device. As one reader put it: “Most of these tricks are only known by the people who write the software.”

Sign up now for free – no cost, no catch.

 

Apps & Sites

Readerly →

Social book discovery

Readerly looks like a Twitter for book lovers, but it’s more of a friend-powered recommendation engine: “Every book you see is one that has been recommended by a like-minded reader, and every time you take an action on a book – save, hide, or mark it as read – we remove that book from your feed.” The app is currently waitlist-only. But Friends of DD get to jump the queue. Become a Friend to access specials like this.

Browse AI →

Monitor websites for changes

Browse AI lets you train little ‘bots’ that monitor a website for changes and, if/when they occur, extract data accordingly. This can be helpful if you’re anticipating updates that you want to be notified of or want to automate certain steps based on new content being published.

Forvo →

Pronunciation guide

Forvo is (according to them) the world’s biggest resource for learning pronunciations. You’ll find millions of words and phrases pronounced in their original languages. It’s more fun than I thought to look up words like Glenfiddich or pho. Don’t miss the kids section!

Homesick Sounds →

Ambient sound generator

COVID brought us a seemingly endless supply of ambient sound generators. (Do we really dislike the sound of our homes so much?) If you ever yearned for a mix of light orchestral music and the sound of a trapped fly, complemented by suburban traffic noise, this is app is for you!

 

Worthy Five: Alex Olshonsky

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Five recommendations by writer, somatic coach, and tea lover Alex Olshonsky

A word worth knowing:

Compersion is the sympathetic joy we feel when something good happens to someone else, even when their positive experience doesn’t benefit or involve us directly. The term was popularised by polyamorous communities in the context of feeling joy when one’s partner takes pleasure in another relationship – a radical concept that can be beneficially applied to many other aspects of life.

A concept worth understanding:

Metamodernism is the cultural philosophy of the digitalised, postindustrial, and global age. It describes the general vibe of millennials and Gen Z: deeply cynical, yet hopeful and yearning for a better world. It expands upon postmodernism by bringing back the art of dialogue, activism... and memes!

An Instagram account worth following:

Seerut K. Chawla is a London-based psychotherapist changing ‘pop psychology’ and New Age neo-spiritual Instagram content with nuanced, socially aware posts like this one.

A question worth asking:

Treat this question like a journaling prompt, answer it uninterrupted in a quiet, screen-free space, and it just might change your life, as it has mine: ‘If I had just one year left to live in good health, what would I do and who would I be?’

A quote worth repeating:

Practice stillness, because vibes are contagious: “We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.” by William Butler Yeats, The Celtic Twilight.

 

Books & Accessories

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Breaking Things at Work →

Challenging the way we think about work, technology and progress

A timely book with an updated perspective on ‘Luddism’ and what the movement has to offer in regards to the modern technologies of today. Breaking Things at Work is an innovative rethinking of labour and machines, leaping from textile mills to algorithms, from existentially threatened knife cutters of rural Germany to surveillance-evading truckers driving across the continental United States.”

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Power, for All →

Understanding and navigating power

Why identifying power dynamics are essential to influencing people, organisations and society – this new book offers “a timely, democratized vision of power. While hierarchies tend to stay in place because power is often sticky, by agitating, innovating, and orchestrating change, they show how those with less power can challenge established structures to make them more balanced.”

 

Overheard on Twitter

I love Twitter cause it’s like a scavenger hunt. Every day I get to follow the clues to find out why people are mad, and if I win, I get to be mad too!

@askaqueerchick

 

Food for Thought

On the Internet, We’re Always Famous →

Read

A powerful essay on the effects of celebrity and fame that the internet conditions us to crave. “This, perhaps, is the most obviously pernicious part of the expansion of celebrity: ever since there have been famous people, there have been people driven mad by fame. In the modern era, it’s a cliché: the rock star, comedian, or starlet who succumbs to addiction, alienation, depression, and self-destruction under the glare of the spotlight. Being known by strangers, and, even more dangerously, seeking their approval, is an existential trap. And right now, the condition of contemporary life is to shepherd entire generations into this spiritual quicksand.”

The Other Tech Bubble →

Read

This piece about how Silicon Valley is becoming the new Wall Street is now a few years old, yet it reads truer now than it ever has. Especially when you look at what’s happening in the crypto world. “In 2008, it was Wall Street bankers. In 2017, tech workers are the world’s villain. ‘It’s the exact same story of too many people with too much money. That breeds arrogance, bad behavior, and jealousy, and society just loves to take it down,’ the investor said. ... The royal treatment seems surreal at first, but most founders quickly acclimate to the free helicopter rides, the free concerts, the free gadgets, and the invites to rub elbows with one another at plush resorts on Montauk or Necker Island or Hawaii. They work hard, the justification goes. They’re changing the world. They deserve it.”

It’s Quitting Season →

Watch

Need some motivation to call it quits? “What you’re doing [by not quitting] is avoiding the harder thing, which is confronting the uncertainty of change. You’re protecting yourself of the fear of regret.” (Possible soft paywall)

The climate disaster is here →

Read

This interactive visualisation of modelled impacts of climate change is really well done, and nothing short of terrifying. “By the end of this year the world will have burned through 86% of the carbon ‘budget’ that would allow us just a coin flip’s chance of staying below 1.5C.”

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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Under her Instagram handle tinycactus, Korean artist KangHee Kim combines everyday photography with cloud formations or sunsets to create dreamy, surreal collages.

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Did you know that you can browse through 70 years worth of IKEA catalogues?

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The winners of the 2021 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award are – as you’d expect – pretty dazzlingly beautiful.

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With a geometrical structure at its core, Area is a variable font family of 88 fonts that includes a unique inktrap version and plenty of special alternates.

 

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The Week in a GIF

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Reply or tweet at DD with your favourite GIF and it might get featured here in a future issue.

 

Did You Know?

The colour seen by the human eye in perfect darkness is called Eigengrau.

If you open your eyes in a dark room that’s totally absent of light, you don’t see black, you see Eigengrau (German for ‘intrinsic grey’). It’s perceived as lighter than black because contrast is more important to the visual system than absolute brightness. For example, the night sky looks darker than Eigengrau because of the contrast provided by the stars.