All bodies are worthy, regardless of what they look like and what narratives they have been forced to live inside of.

– Hannah Soyer

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Featured artist: Julia Tveritina

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 190!

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Here in southeastern Australia, we’re about to start our winter, which means cold nights but mellow days if the sun makes it through the clouds. It’s the time when Melburnians feel personally affronted by the drop in temperatures and will grumble about it daily as if winter was a design flaw never meant to happen.

As a European, I enjoy the seasonal change. In fact, I don’t think I could live in a place without distinct seasonality. My brain is wired for changes in light and temperature. Seasons are pacemakers – a kind of metronome that guides us through the year and naturally adjusts our cognitive outlook on life.

This weekend, I realised that for about half of my life, my birthday signalled the beginning of summer, when greenery starts to explode and an intense energy of renewal fills the air. Now that I live on the other side of the globe, my birthday precedes the first days of winter and the scarcity of light calls for slowness and introspection.

Fittingly, on my birthday, I went for a walk along the beach and enjoyed the crisp morning air of the Southern Ocean – a wonderful way to contemplate one’s age and mentally rug up for the season to come. – Kai

 

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Let’s Create a Product Together SPONSOR

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Pathfinder Studios →

A product studio like nothing on Earth

Building an app is complex. Sometimes getting there can feel like charting a course to Mars. So we reinvented the product studio. One where we exclusively build delightful interfaces, partner for the long haul, and share our economics with you because it’s the right thing to do.

 

Apps & Sites

EpubPress →

Create ebooks from websites

Open a series of tabs with articles/content you’d like to read later, then press the EpubPress browser plugin and it compiles all open tabs into an easily readable .epub booklet that you can download and read on your preferred device.

Shelter →

Archip0rn streaming service

If you’re into architecture, interior design and place-making, Shelter might be up your alley: a dedicated streaming service with a growing catalogue of documentaries, TV shows, project showcases and more – all about architecture. Friends of DD enjoy 20% off for the first 12 months. Become a Friend to access specials like this.

Mood →

Well-being tracker

I’m generally not a big fan of quantifying every little detail of my life, but this very basic mood tracker is something I could see myself using: simply tap on a colour representing a scale of well-being once a day and keep track of how your emotional state changes over time.

Ancient Earth →

Time travel Earth’s surface

A neat visualisation of Earth’s continental shifts over the past 750 million years. Use your arrow keys to see the changes over time. (The site is hosted on dinosaurpictures.org which is worth a visit in its own right: a huge database with dinosaur info and illustrations!)

 

Worthy Five: Dan Runcie

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Five recommendations by Trapital founder Dan Runcie

A video worth watching:

America’s Black upper class is an inspiring Deutsche Welle documentary on the successful Black community that’s not in sports or entertainment.

A book worth reading:

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman offers a thoughtful and fascinating analysis of the memorable decade by one of the best writers out there.

A podcast worth listening to:

Keep It is a great podcast about the latest in pop culture by Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel and Aida Osman. Each episode feels like a hangout with friends – smart and funny.

A quote or saying worth repeating:

‘Wealth is about time, not money.’ How you spend your time, and the desire to spend your time how you want, is the ultimate sign of wealth and achievement.

A piece of advice worth passing on:

If you’re making a decision and your answer isn’t ‘Hell yes!’, then say no. This has helped me make decisions and protect my time.

 

Books & Accessories

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Turn the Tide on Climate Anxiety →

Sustainable climate action

Climate anxiety comes up in more and more of my conversations with friends, especially those with kids. This new title may offer some consolation and hope: “Written by psychologists with extensive experience in treating people with eco-anxiety, this book shows you how to harness these emotions, validate them, and transform them into positive action. It enables you to assess and understand your psychological responses to the climate crisis and move away from unhealthy defence mechanisms, such as denial and avoidance.”

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Misfits →

A call for honesty, empathy and inclusion

I loved watching actress Michaela Coel in Black Earth Rising and was delighted to see that she recently published a book that sounds as potent as her performance on screen: “With inspiring insight and wit, she tells of her reckoning with trauma and metamorphosis into a champion for herself, inclusivity and radical honesty, and in telling her journey invites us to reflect on our own. By embracing our differences, she says, we can transform our lives. An artist to her core, Coel holds up the path of the creative as an emblem of our need to regard one another with care and respect – and transparency.”

 

Overheard on Twitter

I have two modes:
1. Can we schedule something in 2023?
2. I’m around the next hour if you’re free!

@davidhoang

 

Food for Thought

Oil is the new data →

Read

This personal account of a Microsoft engineer flying to Kazakhstan in order to bring Chevron’s oil production facilities into the Cloud is the perfect example of Big Tech pretending to care about the climate emergency. “The company runs various recycling programs, encourages employees to ‘skip the straw’ to reduce plastic consumption, and funds sustainability hackathons. (One hackathon project involved using AI/ML to detect trash in the ocean.) More broadly, Microsoft works hard to present an environmentally friendly public face. ... But in reality, these companies are doing just enough to keep their critics distracted while teaming up with the industry that is at the root of the climate crisis. Why go through the effort of using clean energy to power your data centers when those same data centers are being used by companies like Chevron to produce more oil?”

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control: Inside Shein’s Sudden Rise →

Read

An in-depth piece on a phenomenon in ultrafast fashion that was completely off my radar: Shein (pronounced shee-in) is an online-only, discount fashion retailer from China with nearly 10,000 employees and offices in China, Singapore, and the US. The numbers (and associated environmental impacts) are truly staggering: “In recent years, many of the largest fashion companies have felt pressure to make small moves toward reform. Now, though, an emerging generation of ‘ultrafast-fashion’ companies has come along, and many are doing little, if anything, to adopt better practices. Among them, Shein is by far the biggest. ... in a recent 12-month period, the Gap listed roughly 12,000 different items on its website, H&M had about 25,000, and Zara had some 35,000. Shein, in that period, had 1.3 million.” (Possible soft paywall)

Solitude is not loneliness. Here’s the key philosophical difference. →

Read

A short piece on the different ‘alone’ states we experience. Finding space for enough solitude without experiencing loneliness is one of the great challenges of leading an introspective, creative life. “We are taught from a young age that sociability is good, that the crowd is happiness, and that belonging and fulfillment comes from relationships. There is, of course, a lot of truth to this. But what being in company gives us in one area, it deprives us in another. When we take time to ourselves, we give ourselves space to imagine. When our mind is not constantly bombarded with content, it can create.”

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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Erik Johansson is a Swedish photographer and visual artist whose work explores surreal worlds, created by combining and editing photos.

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Oh my! This collection of ‘spite buildings’ is just great. “Feuding brothers, thwarted lovers, and a lot of spoiled views: ‘spite buildings’ are our smallest human pettiness made manifest in bricks and mortar. Here are some of the best/worst.”

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I’m enthralled by the work of Brazilian sculpture artist Henrique Oliveira which explores the relationship between the built environment and the power of nature. (via)

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I love the look of Lenora and Lenora Grade – an expressive type family with flamboyant lower case letters and other characters. It comes in eleven stylistic sets with gorgeous decorative glifs.

 

Notable Numbers

103

The 12 biggest oil companies are on track to spend $103 million a day for the rest of the decade, exploiting new fields of oil and gas that cannot be burned if global heating is to be limited to well under 2C.

100

Researchers found that among 9,751 residents of the German city of Leipzig, those who lived within 100 meters of street trees were taking fewer antidepressants.

42,915

In 2021, road fatalities in the US have increased by 10.5 percent over the year before, showing the highest number in over 15 years with 42,915 deaths. Researchers say that one key reason is growing vehicle size.

 

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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.