Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

– Mahatma Gandhi


Featured illustrator: Murat Kalkavan

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 75!

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My last week in New Zealand, writing to you from the library in Timaru. I’ve stayed in a tent on camping grounds almost every night for more than two weeks now and it’s impossible not to notice how omnipresent technology has become, even in the more remote places.

As the sun sets, the campground usually turns into a field of glowing faces illuminated by mobile devices. In kitchens and bathrooms, stacks of power banks are hooked up to the few available outlets. One of the biggest gripes in online reviews of camping grounds is slow wifi or lack of phone coverage.

This is not a Luddite complaint; I’m using my phone to take photos and stay in touch with friends, too. (I even brought my laptop to write this newsletter!)

During a hike a few days ago, when I finally reached the top of a mountain after a pretty challenging climb, I accidentally videobombed a couple’s Facetime call. For me, that was a moment when technology had trespassed a certain boundary. Somehow it felt disrespectful, not just to others but to the place itself.

That made me think: maybe it’s time we need some rules around connectedness in nature. Just like we are told not to litter or to keep our dog on the leash out of consideration for others, maybe there should be a sign asking us to keep our phones on silent and on airplane mode when ‘in the wild’. Most of us accept common courtesy rules for places of worship. Given nature’s spiritual importance to many of us, I can’t see why we shouldn’t extend those rules to the natural world.


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Our Planet Needs You SPONSOR


Like so many places around the world, Australia is experiencing shifting weather patterns which have contributed to the recent devastating bushfires. To counter the inaction of our government, I encourage you to donate to the Climate Council, a community-funded organisation focused on providing independent, facts-based information to the Australian public. Alternatively, use Kai’s document to find and donate to a climate action organisation in your country. (Message sponsored by an anonymous DD reader.)


Apps & Sites

Docket →

Meeting-focused workspace

Collaboratively create an agenda pre-meeting and then share minutes and relevant documents post-meeting. There are a bunch of other handy features, such as assigning action items directly to people that attended the meeting.

Vecta →

Powerful online SVG editor

An online vector drawing app made more powerful by a solid SVG compressor and the ability to use your own JS plugins to automate tasks.

Brandpad →

Brand asset manager

A shared space to manage your brand assets: “Bring assets and guides on how to use them together in one dedicated place – easily shared and automatically synced for all.”

Passwork →

Password manager for teams

Passwork helps manage passwords in a team setting, provides various levels of user rights, and tracks all changes. Importantly, it offers a self-hosted option in case you can’t or don’t want to rely on third party cloud services.


Indie Mag of the Week


Profane →

Profane is a bi-annual newspaper that values amateurs: enthusiasts who create, collect, and appreciate all kinds of art in their spare time.

– Latest Issue: 9
– Frequency: 2 issues/year
– Formats: print
– Origin: France

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!




Mindf*ck →

Cambridge Analytica and the plot to break America

“For the first time, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower tells the inside story of the data mining and psychological manipulation behind the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, connecting Facebook, WikiLeaks, Russian intelligence, and international hackers.”


Ethics Litmus Test →

Provocations for practicing our moral intuition

Through a serious of questions and provocations the Ethics Litmus Test (also available for free as a PDF download) aims to help you make more ethically sound decisions at work. I like this: “I believe that ethical behaviour and decision-making are the outcome of practice as opposed to an innate characteristic. I think it’s a capability we can encourage and nurture in ourselves and in our teams, like any other. Much like learning to code, it might feel uncomfortable or foreign at first, but may also become second-nature more quickly than we might think.”


Overheard on Twitter

1% of the population is estimated to be sociopathic (and overrepresented in business, positions of power). So it’s worth building in a ‘check’ in your hiring process to take a closer look at seemingly ‘perfect’ candidates that [have] won everyone over a little too easily.



Food For Thought

What We Lose by Hiring Someone to Pick Up Our Avocados for Us →


The gig economy is making us increasingly isolated, shielding us from essential and important interactions with others: “Sociologists (...) have analyzed the importance of the ‘third place’ in the urban world. Home is the first place, and work is the second place. But it is this additional realm (...) of informal sociality, that is so crucial to the maintenance of civic engagement and just civility. Cafes, butcher shops, bakeries, gyms, bookstores and churches are all third places.”

Yuval Noah Harari & Tristan Harris: ‘Truth Decay and the Technology Threat’ →


The author of Sapiens and the co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology (I’m a big fan of both) in a chat about misinformation and other urgent challenges in tech. I think Tristan Harris has a way of articulating these issues like few others. I’m very grateful for his giving testimony at congress and the many interviews he does with the media.

40 powerful concepts for understanding the world →


Instead of a longread, here’s a list of tweets with 40 concepts that shape our behaviour and thinking. E.g. “Woozle Effect: An article makes a claim without evidence, is then cited by another, which is cited by another, and so on, until the range of citations creates the impression that the claim has evidence, when really all articles are citing the same uncorroborated source.” Also called the Twitter Effect. 😉


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

Every piece of art by nineteen-year-old Toronto artist SAU transports you into a unique little world, rich with detail and atmosphere.

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An Instagram account “aiming to showcase 100 vintage/old doors all around Qatar”.

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Marvin Visions is a modern and consistent reinterpretation of Marvin, a typeface originally designed by Michael Chave in 1969. A great micro-site showcasing the power of variable fonts.

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Lovely branding for legendary record studio Air Studios by Spin, hinting at the joy of motion and transition afforded by the digital interfaces of today.



Design Calendar – Women in Design: Our community-led print edition explores the themes designers care about. This month we share stories and advice from women around the world.

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The Week in a GIF


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