Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

– Susan Ertz

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Featured artist: Irina Kostyshina

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 193!

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After what feels like an eternity, the apartment I bought off the plan in 2019 is just about ready. I’m realising that working one’s way through a seemingly infinite amount of forms and contracts does not inspire creative thought. So over the next month, expect my intros to be a little shorter as I’m busy wrestling banks, lawyers and moving boxes.

Dealing with documents that outline loan repayments over decades feels so bizarrely detached from the time horizons I mentally work with. It’s clear that these rules assume an economic reality of a different generation. My loan application is assessed based on monthly income and expenses at a time when the price of food essentially doubled in the span of weeks, my retirement account took a nosedive of some 15% in a few days, and we keep adding new global crises to our list of existential threats as a species. What a time to be alive in debt!

Notwithstanding the moment of gloom, I’m extremely excited to move into my new place and participate in the placemaking experiment that is Nightingale. Since the project started a few years back, I got to meet many of my future neighbours during meetups and Zoom sessions. There is a lot of goodwill and excitement, but we still have to experience the collective reality of a living, breathing community to find out whether it leads to the comfortable, welcoming home we’re all looking for. More on that soon. – Kai

 

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Nice News →

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Nice News filters through 100+ sources to send you only positive news stories. Stay both informed and inspired with a two-minute email digest each morning. Join us for free and begin to re-envision your relationship with news.

 

Apps & Sites

Wondrium →

Educational video streaming

It’s interesting to see a range of new streaming services emerge, each specialising in a particular niche. Wondrium focuses on “engaging, educational content through short form videos, long form courses, tutorials, how-to lessons, travelogues, documentaries, and more”. Some of the content is also available for free on YouTube, but with cringe-worthy commercials interrupting every video now, the value proposition of these new streaming platforms isn’t all that bad.

Earth.fm →

Natural soundscapes

Listen to a growing archive of natural soundscapes from around the world. It’s a beautiful way to learn more about each location’s unique fauna. For example, listen to a group of singing Indri (a type of lemur) in Madagascar or a group of wolf pups howling across a lake in Sweden.

One Question A Day →

Daily provocations

I love the simplicity of this little project, injecting a thought-provoking question into the tool you’re already using. “This free calendar schedules one thought-provoking question per day to help in all areas of your life from your career to your own personal growth.”

Natural Reader →

Text to audio

I spent a bit of time today playing around with this tool that ‘reads out’ almost anything you throw at it (pdf ,doc, pages, even epub). You can choose from over 100 voices in 16 different languages that don’t sound bad at all.

 

Worthy Five: Sami Emory & Tessa Love

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Five recommendations by writers and Nobody magazine co-founders, Sami Emory & Tessa Love.

A Twitter account worth following:

T: The Twitter account People Selling Mirrors is exactly what it sounds like: a chronicle of classified ads for mirrors where the seller ‘can’t figure out how to get out of the way’. It’s a perfect example of someone capturing a small and very human habit that somehow says something much bigger about who we are.

A book worth reading:

S&T: Women in Clothes is an anthology of conversations with women about their relationship to getting dressed, put together by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. It combines so many things that interest us – everyday stories and actions, clothes, women – and elevates topics and conversations that are often seen as banal or silly.

A recipe worth trying:

S: Cross my heart, this banana bread is the loaf to rule all loaves. Carter Were’s food is always modest, fresh, and tasty – and her very simple, lovely cookbook is one of my favourite things.

A podcast worth listening to:

T: I recently became obsessed with the podcast My Dad Wrote a P0rno, which features three friends reading and reacting to a series of truly terrible erotic novels, written by the dad of one of the hosts. Both the story and their input are laugh-out-loud funny – so much so that I almost can’t listen to it in public.

An activity worth doing:

S: After more than two years of this pandemic, nothing – and I mean nothing! – feels better than dancing in a public setting surrounded by friends and strangers. My physique as well as my dancing style is probably best described as ‘inflatable tube man air dancing’ – but flailing is honestly part of the joy.

 

Books & Accessories

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Movement →

Taking back our public spaces

I’m convinced that the future of our cities lies in reclaiming public spaces by prioritising walking and cycling and discouraging private car use. This new title on urban mobility promises its readers a ‘red pill’ experience: a totally new way of seeing public spaces. “Making our communities safer, cleaner, and greener starts with asking the fundamental questions: who do our streets belong to, what do we use them for, and who gets to decide? Join journalist Thalia Verkade and urban mobility expert Marco te Broemmelstroet as they confront their own underlying beliefs and challenge us to rethink our way of life to put people at the centre of urban design. But be warned: you will never look at the street outside your front door in the same way again.”

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Creative Doing →

Practical exercises to unblock creativity

Herbert Lui is curious about how creative work gets done. He spent a decade researching and in conversation with practicing artists and creatives of all kinds and then published his findings in a new digital compendium titled Creative Doing. “This collection of exercises, mental models, and true stories from prominent artists will guide you through your blocks and find the unique creative process that works for you.” Friends of DD enjoy a $10 discount. Become a Friend to access specials like this.

 

Overheard on Twitter

For me the festering issue is how our collective imaginary has been captured by a small group of techno-capitalists. We yearn for driverless cars, yet fail to imagine what a world without cars might look like. We starve our artists while we build machines to create art.

@antmandan

 

Food for Thought

What would a flying-free world look like? →

Read

I love reading pieces like this because asking bold, ‘out there’ questions about the future not only offers great insights into the status quo (which this piece does in droves), it really helps broaden our horizon to imagine better alternatives. “What would happen if people across the world suddenly stopped flying completely? A world of no flights would present some serious logistical challenges, but could also open up the door to huge changes to other, lower-carbon forms of transport. We are unlikely to ever cut out aviation completely, and we likely wouldn’t want to. But posing this hypothetical question opens up the door to what we could be doing far more of to reduce aviation’s heavy impact on the climate.”

How Websites Die →

Read

Clicking on a link that leads to a no-longer-existing website can be frustrating and is, sadly, part of the everyday web experience. I appreciated this piece on thinking and caring about longevity when we build things for the web. “When buildings are torn down and rebuilt, the ghost of the old building is often visible in the new one – strangely angled walls and rooms, which make sense only in the context of the space as a living organism. On the web, there are no such restrictions: when a website dies, it leaves no sign of its past self behind. ... People switch platforms and providers and break links without a second thought. It pains me to see people build websites with no feeling of obligation to them – when you put something out into the world, it is your responsibility to care for it.”

Cryptonomicon →

Read

Writer Will Stephenson gives in to the FOMO and puts some money in Bitcoin. Then he travels to Miami to attend one of America’s biggest Bitcoin conventions to see what the fuss is really about... “The most hypnotic thing about Saylor is his unwavering confidence in Bitcoin’s supremacy in every imaginable respect, something he emphasizes by never blinking as he makes ever-grander claims on its behalf. Underlying his arguments is the sense that you’d have to be, on some level, ridiculous or self-sabotaging to disagree. ‘Bitcoin fixes everything’, he said. It ‘fixes governments’ and ‘synchronizes the world’. It returns freedom and property rights to the human race. It is hope itself – a moral imperative. Defining it, he often reverted to curious figurative language. ‘You can think of it as a plant life’, he said. ‘I put my monetary energy, my life force into it, and I let it live for the next thousand years.’ The full implication of this seemed to strike him. ‘What’s wrong with being rich forever?’ he asked.”

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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If you’re into interior design, you might enjoy following Brave New Eco, an Australian design studio specialising in renovation projects that usually feature a lot of natural, earthy tones and materials.

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This was a random find: a giant list titled ‘The most powerful and inspirational photos ever taken’. It’s clickbaity, for sure, but it also doesn’t disappoint.

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By carving shapes from the hulks of trees found in the local countryside of Kent, artist Oliver Chalk creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind wooden vessels. (via)

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Aguzzo (‘pointed’ in Italian) is ­a typeface that combines geometry with ­tran­sitional traits in pure elegance and beauty.

 

Notable Numbers

40,000

China is the undisputed leader in high-speed rail, with well over half the world’s lines – some 40,000km (25,000 miles) of high-speed rail lines, with plans to raise this to 70,000km (43,000 miles) by 2035. China’s longest route is almost 2,300km (1,400 miles), stretching between Beijing and Guangzhou, a similar distance to that between New York and Miami, or Paris and Tallinn, with a travel time of just eight hours.

95

The NY Times analysed ~8000 books published in recent decades by major publishing houses and found that of the 7,124 books for which they could identify the author’s race, 95 percent were written by white people.

4.5

19-year-old Angel Alvarado from Colombia has broken the record for the fastest time to solve three rotating Rubik’s cubes whilst juggling in just over four and a half minutes.

 

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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.