I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’

– Toni Morrison


Featured illustrator: Yukai Du

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 54!

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Here’s your weekly doomsday reminder. Just kidding. After this week I will ease off a little with the climate crisis talk, but a few responses to last week’s issue showed that some still don’t appreciate just how far down the spiral we really are.

Being a tech-focused newsletter, techno-solutionism – the belief that technology alone can solve the biggest societal problems – runs deep in many readers, especially those in the US, it seems. Clean energy, de-carbonising machines, electric vehicles, lab-grown meat... those are exciting inventions for a less carbon-dependent future. The problem is that we continue to put unsustainable amounts of resources into finding new ways that allow us to consume more, instead of focusing on implementing the obvious (and only real) solution: to consume less.

Techno-solutionists often think personal sacrifice is pointless or that effective government action is not achievable or even necessary. And so those who can afford it buy solar panels and electric cars believing that they’re doing their part. All the while, people living in the Majority World bear the brunt of the don’t-change-my-lifestyle passivism of the rich.

Look, I don’t have the solutions either but I’m pretty sure of this: a liveable future requires radical behaviour change. Technology alone will not rectify established corporate and political power structures that see the environment as an economic free-for-all. What we can do beyond examining our own behaviour is to publicly take a stand and send a clear signal to people in positions of power. Join us this Friday!


Dense Discovery is currently read by over 35,000 subscribers. Support us by (1) Sponsoring an issue, (2) Booking a classified ad, or (3) Sharing this issue with friends and colleagues.


From Zero to One SPONSOR


We are Z1 →

We transform ideas into incredible products

As one of the world’s top product design agencies, we partner with both startup founders and experienced enterprises to help them take their product ideas to the next level. With empathy, we listen to real users’ needs and encourage collaborative teamwork. Find out how we helped LoftSmart become a desirable digital product for both investors and the public.


Apps & Sites

Inviited →

Schedule meetings like a pro

With Inviited you can organise meetings with multiple people across teams and companies using features such as date/time polling or a publicly available booking page.

OffScreen →

Screentime revisited

This (familiar sounding) app gives the built-in Screentime feature of iOS a fresh polish and extends some of its features with, for example, Focus Mode: “Place your phone face down to keep focused on what matters.”

IconSVG →

Generate common icons

A growing collection of common icons that you can customise. Then copy-paste the SVG code right into your website.

Lorem →

Pre-vetted freelancers

Ever found yourself in a situation where you could use a skilled freelancer to help out with a small web project but hesitated because you didn’t trust just anyone with the job? Lorem fills that gap by providing access to a vetted pool of quality specialists for those small projects you can’t do on your own.


Indie Mag of the Week


Four&Sons →

Four&Sons is a publication where dogs and culture collide. Chronicling the work of interesting people and their interesting dogs, Four&Sons is a guided tour through the worlds of art, photography, music, design, literature – even maths – as inspired by man’s best friend.

– Latest Issue: 10 (Cover A, Cover B)
– Frequency: two issues/year
– Formats: print only
– Origin: Australia

We’re giving away five copies to randomly selected DD readers. Keep an eye on your inbox to find out if you’re among them!




Light Phone II →

The ‘use-less’ phone

Designed to be used as little as possible, the Light Phone II features an e-Ink screen and a simple set of tools that you can easily add or remove (i.e. directions, calculator, music player). The Light Phone II will never have feeds, social media, advertisements, news or email.


Nimble →

35W USB-A and C travel adapter

This is the first travel adapter I’ve come across that really does cover most of your power outlet needs in one simple product: standard power plug, three USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports. Importantly, the Nimble utilises two independent circuit boards to power the main plug, the USB-C PD/QC and the 3x USB-A/1x USB-C output – resulting in dedicated power supply through the USB-C port for fast charging.


Overheard on Twitter

If you told someone 15 years ago that in the future their computer would have something called ‘airplane mode’, they would be incredibly disappointed by what that actually did.



Food For Thought

Spoils of #nature on Instagram →


Fascinating, amusing, depressing: how the hunt for the perfect Instagram shot is ruining the outdoors. “‘I was slowly starting to feel like an underpaid babysitter for a very disobedient parade of children’, says Charlie [a former park warden]. ‘I felt like nothing I could do would save this park. No matter how fast I hiked, how much garbage I packed out, or how many times I scraped feces off the walls and ceilings of the outhouse. This was our new normal.’” Read this article on your desktop to really experience the imagery.

Being basic as a virtue →


I can relate to this: “I’m not sure it’s that I want to disappear from the internet, but just to get some distance between me and the existential ‘publish or perish’ treadmill of mining each others’ brains for pithy insights that fit into 280 characters.” Nadia suggests that as a result of creative fatigue we might revert to a state of ‘being basic‘ that celebrates intellectual innocence and simplicity.

The Technology of Kindness →


A great summary of the psychological damage social media has done and why we must ask for more restorative technology in the future. “Each of us is becoming more confident about our own world just as it drifts farther from the worlds of others. Empathy requires us to understand that even people who disagree with us have a lived experience as deep as our own. But in the fractured landscape of social media, we have little choice but to see the other side as obtuse, dishonest or both.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

A photo series of Indian wedding chariots by Sameer Raichur.

❏ ❏

The colourful, playful branding for Dimple contact lenses showcases the vast number of combinations of individual prescriptions.

❏ ❏

Agrandir is a contemporary serifless type family that celebrates the beauty of being imperfect and comes in seven weights and five widths.

❏ ❏

Witenry is an artist that gets a kick out of precisely arranging objects.



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The Week in a GIF


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