A good programmer is someone who always looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.

– Doug Linder


Featured artist: Aleksandar Savić

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 77!

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My recent tweet about feeling guilty when getting on a plane led to a great conversation between me, my newsletter friend McKinley Valentine and science educator Tom Lang. Here’s a brief summary of how this exchange led to a shift in my attitude towards individual climate action:

Guilt about not ‘doing our part’ in the climate fight is exactly the feeling governments and corporations want to evoke in order to uphold a hugely profitable system. That may sound a bit conspiratorial, but there is plenty of evidence of industry efforts to put the burden on consumers, not unlike the anti-littering campaigns of the ’50s. McKinley’s victim shaming analogy really made me think about responsibility.

The idea that we, as individuals, can turn the climate crisis around by driving a little less or making our own toothpaste successfully distracts us from focussing our energy on the only thing that really moves the needle: systemic change. (This paper shows that offering a small, low-impact option actively reduces support for a large, effective one.)

So when we promote individual action as a meaningful method to combat climate change, we don’t just play right into the hands of the corporate propaganda machine, we also actively shift attention away from the real problem: the big polluters.

To be clear, I won’t suddenly stop all the individual steps I’ve taken to live more lightly on the planet. Being a more ethical human being and reducing our environmental footprint is not just about climate change, of course. Being more environmentally conscious and challenging my defaults has actually been hugely helpful in understanding the complexity of some of these issues. That said, I’m now a lot more careful about how I frame the conversation about individual action. Thanks to McKinley and Tom, I realise now that we need to focus on impacting systems, and not waste time arguing about the most climate-friendly type of milk.

I hear you ask: so what should I do? Think big. Focus on action that challenges the current system: divest away from fossil fuels, engage in workplace action, put regular pressure on politicians, engage in political campaigns, be an active advocate for systemic change – just like Tom and McKinley.


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Readability with Style SPONSOR


Adapter →

Variable type system that flexes to fit

Adapter packs a wide range of weights, italics, and optical sizes into a single lightweight font that supports an impressive range of languages and scripts (Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew & Latin). It is being developed collaboratively by designers from all over the world.


Apps & Sites

LifeWork Calendar →

Block out personal time

A little tool that synchronises personal commitments to your work calendar, blocking out unavailable time slots. Unfortunately, it seems to require a Google account.

Tettra →

Internal knowledge base

“Tettra helps you aggregate all your team’s existing information into a single source of truth.” A place to embed and connect files from Dropbox or Google Drive, insert open Github issues, and more. As with most of these tools it comes loaded with collaborative features to help a growing team.

Passbolt →

Open source password manager

The password manager app space surely is getting crowded, which can only be a good thing. Passbolt is a “free, open source, self-hosted, extensible, OpenPGP-based” app to store and share passwords.

Type.lol →

Type foundry directory

A growing list of type froundries from around the world, sortable by availability of trial fonts. A nice little project that wants “to make digital typography more accessible and exciting by showcasing foundries and designers that we love and respect.”


Indie Mag of the Week


Der Greif →

Der Greif promotes contemporary photography and with its print publication recontextualises the works of more than 100 artists in a holistic piece of art – each issue edited by another guest-editor.

– Latest Issue: 12
– Frequency: 1 issue/year
– Formats: digital & print
– Origin: Germany

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!




24/6 →

The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

This one comes recommended by a close friend: internet pioneer and renowned filmmaker Tiffany Shlain introduces a strategy for living in our 24/7 world: “turning off all screens for twenty-four hours each week. This practice, which she’s done for nearly a decade with her husband and kids (sixteen and ten), has completely changed their lives, giving them more time, productivity, connection, and presence. She and her family call it ‘Technology Shabbat’.”


Bellroy Recycled Range →

Bags made from bottles

This collection of Bellroy products, ranging from toiletry bags to totebags and backpacks, is made from recycled plastic bottles and comes in a variety of colours. It’s all part of the company’s ambitious upcycle program: “By 2021, we plan to save more than 7 million bottles from landfill, by making 90% of our woven products from natural or recycled fabrics.”


Overheard on Twitter

[I don’t know] who needs to hear this but you are significantly closer to being homeless than you will ever be to being a billionaire, have some class solidarity and stop glorifying your oppressors.



Food For Thought

The Cure for Hate →


“You can binge watch an ideology in a weekend,” says Tony McAleer. He’s a former white supremacist that embarked on a decades-long journey from hate to compassion. I found listening to him talk about how he got sucked into violent ideologies and how he managed to escape them really eye-opening, especially when seen in light of today’s digital breeding and gathering grounds for hate speech.

Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet →


It’s been a reliable constant in my online life and I’m so glad it’s still around, strong as ever: “Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto – the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web.”

Hit the Mute Button: Why Everyone Is Trying to Silence the Outside World →


This piece argues that we’re seeing a growing, tech-enabled trend for muting our environments – part of a pattern that makes it easier for us to avoid interactions with others: “‘The argument is that this is damaging to the quality of public space and to the social fabric – we all just become atomised individuals,’ says Rice. If we are listening to podcasts or music or white noise all the time, we are removing ourselves from society and the chance to interact, help, experience delight.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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Yes, please send me more tiny architecture recommendations! (Thanks Nick!) Japanese architect Hosaka Takeshi created this mini footprint house located in the heart of Tokyo, covering a floor area of 18 square meter. That’s a good chunk smaller than the average US American garage.

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There so much atmospheric energy in these renders titled ‘Somewhere in the World’.

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Impressive three-dimensional, hand-painted lettering art by James Lewis.

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Avenue Mono is a “monospaced typeface incorporating heavy-hitting ink traps, making readability clear in small sizes while holding big personality in larger sets”.



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The Week in a GIF


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