Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

– James Baldwin


Artwork by Ranganath Krishnamani

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 47!

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Using this week’s intro to blatantly self-promote: after three months in the making and after almost a year without a new release, I launched Offscreen Issue 21 yesterday. In case you don’t know, Offscreen is an independent (print only) magazine that examines how we shape technology and how technology shapes us. We tackle a lot of meaty, urgently-relevant issues within the tech world that I frequently touch on here in Dense Discovery.

As its publisher, editor, and designer, Offscreen is my main source of income. (More about the backstory here.) If you like my publishing work, the best way to help me make it sustainable is to subscribe to Offscreen or just buy a single copy if you want to give it a try first. You can do both here.

The new issue starts shipping from our Berlin warehouse later this week and will be available at our global stockists within the next 1–3 weeks, starting with shops in Europe.

Your support is, as always, hugely appreciated! 🙌 – Kai

Dense Discovery is currently read by over 36,000 subscribers. Support us by (1) Sponsoring an issue, (2) Booking a classified ad, or (3) Sharing this issue with friends and colleagues.


For a Safer Internet


Work at DuckDuckGo →

Let’s build products that respect their users

It’s time to take responsibility for the products we create. At DuckDuckGo, we’re setting the new standard of trust online, empowering people to take control of their information with our Private Search Engine, Apps, and Extensions. Come work with us to make the internet a safer place by designing and developing new products that are ethically sound.


Apps & Sites →

Minimalist, privacy-focused blogging

I love seeing all these new, easy-to-use, free or cheap alternatives to Medium emerge recently. is one of them: “We eliminate notifications, streams, likes, and commentary so you can focus on your words. Enjoy a clear mind and a beautifully simple space to write your thoughts.”

Unibox →

Emails grouped by sender

Unibox is a Mac email client that works a bit like the Messages app: it groups emails by sender rather than subject. “The contact list on the left is sorted by the date of the last email and each person is displayed only once.”

Matterwiki →

Simple open-source wiki

Matterwiki is a no-frills, free wiki for teams to store and collaborate on knowledge. You can download and install it on your own server. The power of a wiki: everything is transparent, who made what changes to which document and when.

Downie →

Download Youtube videos

Downie lets you download videos from Youtube and over 1000 other streaming sites, even in HD. Need your video in MP4 for iTunes? Or want just the audio track? No problem, Downie does it automatically.


The Internet is Beautiful


Weird and wonderful discoveries down the information superhighway

Bad News →

In Bad News, you take on the role of fake news-monger. Drop all pretence of ethics and choose a path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate.

Science Fiction Interfaces →

A huge collection of interface designs gathered from movies and other popculture.

Apollo 11 In Real Time →

A real-time journey through the first landing on the Moon, consisting entirely of original historical mission material.


Goods & Accessories


Humanium Metal Watch →

Made from illegal firearms

“This unique watch is made from Humanium Metal sourced from destructed illegal firearms to highlight the alarming global issue of gun-related violence. With its striking Swedish design and recycled strap, each watch sold helps support conflict-torn societies and its victims, in line with [the UN’s] Sustainable Development Goal 16.”


Offscreen →

Issue 21 now available

For our newest issue we talked to design leadership coach Kim Goodwin, artist and ‘tech-philosopher’ James Bridle, disinformation researcher Renée DiResta, and cooperative advocate Nathan Schneider. Order your copy today to be part of the first big shipment!


Overheard on Twitter

One of the best pieces of advice was from my Year Two teacher, on how to draw a bicycle: “Spend twice as much time _looking_ at it than drawing it.”

I apply that to so many areas. More time listening than talking. More observing than doing. The outcome will always be better.



Food For Thought

Living in the onlife: climate’s unseen battleground →


An important read about the how the fight for the planet is, to a large extent, won or lost online. The author calls on Big Tech to shore up global action: “With their enormous asymmetry of knowledge and power, big tech must take up the mantle as stewards of sustainability, create solutions, mitigate crises and employ their immense convening power to inspire collective action.” We all need to increase the pressure on them to act!

FaceApp Is the Future →


“[FaceApp’s] story, as easy as it is to dismiss, and as conspicuously frivolous as its subject is, is not excused, but rather given power by how well it rhymes with the much longer stories of Facebook and Google. It was Facebook to which we were uploading photos, for reasons silly and poignant, 15 years ago. And it was Facebook that started asking us to tag them, and then which started tagging them itself. It was Google that started as one thing and become many things, each bigger than the first, carrying with it whatever data we gave it, and whatever permissions we granted to its unrecognizable former selves.” [Possible paywall]

Fast Software, the Best Software →


As usual, Craig Mod manages to perfectly put into words my thoughts on slow/fast software: “To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book – makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.” Subscribe to his newsletter(s).


Aesthetically Pleasing

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Magnat is a new contrasting sans family, drawing inspiration from designs from the early twentieth century.

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Get ready for some mind-bending body art by Taiwanese artist Lin Yung Cheng.

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The branding for photography studio Sett skilfully combines photography with typography on black and white.

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I’m really enjoying these 3D illustrations of iconic products from the ’80s, by Muokkaa Studio.



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Encode is a two-day conference in London on data journeys in design, journalism, and education. September 19-20, 2019. Now 10% off with the code DENSE19. Book your ticket today.

I make limited edition art prints inspired by beautiful & sometimes quirky typographic details. Signed and numbered, giclée printed on the finest art paper. Now 10% OFF: “DD10%FREE”

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The Week in a GIF


Email us the URL to your favourite GIF and we might feature it here in a future issue.

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