Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.

– Isaac Asimov


Featured illustrator: Tiago Galo

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 69!

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“How bad is it really?” The news about the catastrophic bushfires ravaging Australia in the last few months have finally reached friends and family overseas. But the extent of what’s really happening here does not come across in a thirty-second news segment. So I took some time on Sunday to compile an article with some facts and footage to show the real scale of these fires and the impact they had so far on people and the natural world. (Hundreds of fires are still burning, many out of control.)

If you can cope with more bad climate news, please take some time to read this and share it with friends. There is a list of actions you can take at the bottom of that article too.

Speaking of help, I’d like to compile a list of climate change action groups and environmental charities that welcome tax-deductible donations in each country around the world. I’ve started a shared document here. Please help me add organisations active in your own country!

I wish I could start the first DD issue of 2020 with more positive news, but it’s been a really difficult few weeks here in Australia – unprecedented, really. While this may not be the most appropriate place to share this sombre call for help, it is the platform I have and so I will make use of it. Thank you for your support! – 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.


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Apps & Sites

Anchor →

Lightweight blogging

Anchor is a simple, themeable blogging platform you can install on your own server. It supports Markdown and HTML to write posts and the whole system comes in at less than 250kb.

Twizzle →

Twitter without the timeline

Twizzle is a ‘light’ Twitter app for macOS, Windows, and Linux that focuses on messages and tweeting only. You won’t get sucked into the timeline because there is none.

Slapdash →

File & task manager

Based on the limited amount of info on their website, it’s hard to say what exactly Slapdash is/does. It looks like a tool to manage files (from places like Dropbox and G Drive) and combine them with tasks on other platforms (like Asana, Github, Slack, etc). You’ll have to sign up for an account to find out more...

Timing →

Track your screen time

Timing observes how you use your Mac. It categorises your activities to see how you spent your time. It even automatically recognises blocks of time that belong together.


Indie Mag of the Week


Chickpea →

Chickpea is an ad-free, low-waste vegan food and lifestyle quarterly that is centred around anti-consumerism and community.

– Latest Issue: 31
– Frequency: 4 issues/year
– Formats: digital & print
– Origin: USA

Every week 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!




Winners Take All →

The Elite Charade of Changing the World

I first heard of Anand Giridharadas on a podcast and instantly became interested in what he had to say. I still haven’t read his book but I watched dozens of his speeches online. Ever since the book launched, he’s been on countless talk shows, spoken at global conferences, and even made a case against the existence of billionaires at the Dutch parliament (Watch the first 10 minutes – an incredible speech that he opens with: “It is an honour to be here in The Hague, the past home of my wife and the future home of President Donald Trump.”) He’s an incredibly smart, funny, and articulate thinker and I can’t wait to finally dig into his book. Read a review of the book here or watch this illustrated summary of its thesis.


Bolt Action Pen →

Machined pen

Texas-made, machined, refillable pens that last a lifetime, with a unique feature: “The main piece that makes these pens interesting is the unique bolt action. It’s one fluid motion to advance or retract and, because the surfaces of both the interior part and the inside surface have been carefully machined to be extra smooth, the action feels amazingly satisfying.”


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

Learning About Work Ethic From My High School Driving Instructor →


I really enjoyed this essay about finding fulfilment and pursuing excellence in one’s job: “The car in front of us had slowed down, signaled, pulled over toward the shoulder, and made a smooth right turn into a shopping complex. Bob [the driving instructor] was impressed. ‘See how nicely he positioned that car?’ He explained to the girl that that was exactly how it was done. And then a while later, long after the moment had passed, he said quietly, more to himself than to either of us, ’I really liked the way he did that.’”

Global Apathy Toward the Fires in Australia Is a Scary Portent for the Future →


David Wallace-Wells with a sombre, disturbing assessment on how the catastrophic, ongoing fires here in Australia already have a normalising effect on us and how easily we disconnect the suffering of people elsewhere (specifically in poorer countries) from our own lives – largely due to “the desire to look away, to avoid contemplating the scariest aspects of contemporary life or what they portend for our future, the shortsightedness of the media, reluctant to cover climate disasters, at least as climate disasters, and the forces of denial now seemingly embodied as much by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison as they are by Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro.”

The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate →


I struggle with developing a broader set of interests and hobbies. This article came as a good reminder to make a greater effort this year: “By becoming well-rounded we also become sharper – and not just sharper but stronger, and able to put more force behind the arrow. Wisdom is fungible. The more you have of it – regardless of where you got it – the more places you can apply it. (...) Mastery, and the specialization it requires, is exhausting. Many talented or promising people burn out before their time.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

What an impressive and colourful portfolio by Swiss design shop Studio Feixen.

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UK artist Lisa Lloyd creates intricate animal sculptures from nothing but glue and paper.

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Marlet is a beautiful and inspiring set of typographic elements based on a minimal and simplistic approach to elegance.

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One of them isn’t real: illusion artist Howard Lee draws photorealistic objects to trick the eye.



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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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