Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

– Dale Carnegie


Featured artist: Zach Hill

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 206!

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After four years, I’m lucky enough to finally get to hang out with my family in Germany again. My brother and I are kicking off my long-overdue visit with a week-long hike in the south-western forests of Germany; hence my very short intro this week. I’ll be sharing the occasional photo on Instagram. Back here with the usual format next week... – Kai


Become a Friend of DD →

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The Tiny MBA →

Save 10% on paperback and ebook options

This is a business book you’ll go back to over, and over, and over. This week only, DD readers can get their own copy (or gift one to a friend) for 10% off in pocket-sized paperback or ebook formats. Use code DISCOVER during checkout.


Apps & Sites

You Need a Wiki →

Wiki-like Google Docs

I love a good Google hack: this tool creates a Wiki-like interface for presenting a bunch of Google Docs in more elegant, connected way.

ZipMessage →

Async client comms

ZipMessage provides a space where you and your client can exchange video, audio, or screenshare messages asynchronously, making it easier to work collaboratively. The app integrates with email, too, so there is always a fallback to the old tech. (Thanks Herbert!)

Laundry Lens →

Laundry tag reader

Confused by the laundry labels in your clothes? “Just point your camera at a care label and you will be presented [with] the proper instructions on how to take care of your clothes and garments.” iOS only, as far as I can see.

Merlin Bird ID →

Global bird guide

The internet at its best: if you’re interested in birds, the Merlin Bird ID app helps you identify thousands of local birds – either through a mini questionnaire or by matching your photo with their database. Alternatively, use their cool ‘sound ID’ feature which “listens to the birds around you and shows real-time suggestions for who’s singing.”


A Guest Poem by Sam Anderson

I don’t have or want a car
My feet are my boss
I just want to cross the street
The street I want to cross

Streets I cross are crosses too
Memorial candles lit
White bikes at the corners
Where bikers have been hit

Now I walk my way to work
Looking at the light
It’s my turn to cross the street
But drivers beg to fight

They honk and they scream at me
Bumper at my hip
But I just keep on walk-a-ling
I don’t feed their fit

My shoes are my Subaru
My feet are my Ford
My tires are my Tesla
That I can afford

My legs are my Lexus
My spokes are my Saab
My knees are my Nissan
And they do the job

(Did you know? Friends of DD can respond to and engage with guest contributors like Sam Anderson in one click.)


Sam Anderson is a safe streets artist and activist in Brooklyn, NY. His work raises awareness on the rise of traffic violence.


Books & Accessories


Visualizing Complexity →

Modular information design handbook

The field of data visualisation is booming. From design to coding, journalism and research, more and more jobs involve visualising increasingly complex sets of data. Initially funded through Kickstarter, this brand-new handbook is an illustrated guide to visualising abstract data and offers a modular design system comprised of 80 elements. Available in both English and German.


The Lissome →

Regenerative (fashion) futures

Another small, independent title exploring and expanding the boundaries of an industry: ‘fashion futures’. The Lissome is an award-winning independent fashion magazine envisioning holistic (fashion) futures, by bringing forward a culture of regeneration, compassion and cooperation and placing human and non-human wellbeing first. The magazine provides a nourishing space for conversations and contemplation within the interdisciplinary framework of design (ranging from fashion, arts and crafts, architecture, farming, ecology and Indigenous wisdom).” Friends of DD enjoy a 20% discount. Become a Friend to access specials like this.


Overheard on Twitter

I need someone to explain to me why it’s always ‘if you can’t pay rent, buy fewer lattes and avocado toasts’ and not ‘if you can’t pay your employees a living wage, buy fewer yachts and real estate’. Explain it to me like I’m in kindergarten.



Food for Thought

When Cars Kill, It’s Not an ‘Accident’: A Conversation With Jessie Singer →


This brief interview with journalist and author Jessie Singer, whose best friend died when a drunk driver struck him on his bike, will make you re-examine the notion of ‘accidents’ as the media reports them – traffic-related or otherwise. Great perspective shift. “If accidents were random, then injury-related death would fall randomly across the country. It does not. Black people die in fires at twice the rate of white people. Indigenous people are struck by cars at twice the rate of white people. People in West Virginia die by accident at twice the rate of people in Virginia. Policy decisions, unregulated corporate power, and the differential distribution of resources lead to risk unequally distributed across the US. These are not accidents. These are predictable, preventable events – the results of how we allocate safety across the country.”

Unselfing Social →


Can we make our engagement with social media less self-centred? Maria Popova suggests: make at least one in every three things that you share about others instead of yourself. “Algorithms prioritizing selfies over sunflowers, algorithms amplifying the word I, algorithms doping us on the dopamine of being noticed, seducing us into forgetting the art and joy of noticing – that crowning glory of consciousness. And somewhere, in the quiet core of our being, this frantic hunt for likes is making us like ourselves less.” (via)

‘I feel my heart breaking today’ – a climate scientist’s path through grief towards hope →


Joelle Gergis is one of the more outspoken Australian IPCC climate scientists and I have a lot of time for her introspective writing. She’s got a brand new book coming out this month, too. In this edited extract, she talks about the pain and grief involved in her work and why we collectively need to use those emotions and turn them into action. “As more psychologists begin engaging with this topic, they are telling us that being willing to acknowledge our personal and collective grief might be our only way out of the planetary mess we are in. When we are finally willing to accept feelings of intense loss – for ourselves, the planet, and every child’s future – we can use the intensity of our emotional response to finally propel us into action. We must have the heart and the courage to be moved by what we see.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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What’s most impressive about this little house is not its aesthetic appeal (which is strong) but the facts that it is built on a challenging, narrow, oddly-shaped piece of land, right next to a train line, and that it is a certified, super-energy-efficient ‘Passive House Premium’. “Its thermal comfort [is] facilitated through insulation, airtightness, appropriate window and door design, ventilation systems with heat recovery, and the elimination of thermal bridges.”

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Wild forest sculptor Spencer Byles creates sculptures out of natural materials he collects while living in the forest. “Most of my works are made in wild forests when new life and decay are constant. After a short time nature weaves its way back onto the materials of my sculptures and it’s then I consider that the sculptures look more grounded in their environment once this action takes place.”

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And another sculptor! I’m usually not that into sculpture art, but I really like the work by Melbourne-based Lucas Wearne, who carves abstract shapes into natural limestone.

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Radion is a new interpretation of the timeless beauty of geometric sans typefaces.


Notable Numbers


A study of 3,000 kids found that in both the US and the UK, if choosing between a teacher, a professional athlete, a musician, an astronaut, or a YouTuber, nearly 30 percent ranked YouTuber as their top choice.


Nearly 40 million people worldwide work in jobs related to clean energy, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. That number represents 56% of total energy sector employment, meaning that, for the first time ever, clean energy jobs outnumber those involved in producing, transporting, and burning fossil fuels.


Based on modelling of lifetime emissions of vehicles, a Tesla Model 3 needs to be driven at least 21,725 km (13,500 miles) before it’s doing less harm to the environment than its older combustion engine alternative.



What makes writing so difficult? How do writers face a blank page? Read A Difficult Time Writing in Desk Notes.

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The Week in a GIF


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