The degree of one’s emotion varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts – the less you know the hotter you get.

– Bertrand Russell

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Featured artist: Ty Dale

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 80!

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Everyone everywhere is struggling to mentally land somewhere. Life feels heavy, congested, fast and slow at the same time. A feeling settles in that life behind the curve might be very different.

Imagining what lies ahead makes us anxious and scared. So German futurist Matthias Horx conducts an interesting exercise: instead of looking into the future (a prognosis), he looks from the future back to today (a regnosis).

Looking back, what will we be surprised about?

“Paradoxically, the physical distance that the virus forced upon us also created new closeness. We met people who we would never have met otherwise. We contacted old friends more often, strengthened ties that had become loose. Families, neighbours, friends, have become closer and sometimes even solved hidden conflicts. (...) Before the crisis, technology seemed to be the panacea, the bearer of all utopias. No one – or only a few hard-boiled people – still believe in the great digital redemption today. The big technology hype is over. We are again turning our attention to the humane questions: What is mankind? What do we mean to each other?”

It may all sound a bit too peachy, but he explains why we tend to be overly sceptical of positive outcomes: “When we look ‘into the future’, we typically only see the dangers and problems coming towards us that pile up onto insurmountable barriers. (...) That’s why horror futures are always the easiest to depict.”

“In the middle of civilisation’s shutdown, we run through forests or parks, or across almost empty spaces. This is not an apocalypse, but a new beginning. This is how it turns out: Change begins as a changed pattern of expectations, perceptions and world connections. Sometimes it is precisely the break with routines, the familiar, that releases our sense of the future again. The idea and certainty that everything could be completely different – and even better.”

It’s early to speak about new beginnings; there is a lot more loss to come. But Matthias’ idea of a regnosis might just be the right mindset to help us get through it. – Kai

(His essay is also available in German.)

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Apps & Sites

Affinity →

Creative suite

I always thought I knew all the major apps competing with Adobe’s Creative Suite, then I came across Affinity over the weekend. It’s a suite of three applications: Photo, Designer, and Publisher, covering a broad spectrum of use-cases for creatives. All apps are available for Mac and Windows and currently come with a 90-day free trial.

Lettucemeet →

Agree on a date

In the past, I used Doodle to agree on a date/time for meetings with different parties, but it’s becoming harder to navigate and cloaked in ads. Lettucemeet is clean and distraction-free.

Descript →

Audio transcriptions

I’m currently trialling different apps to help transcribe our interviews for Offscreen. Descript has a great interface that allows editing audio by editing text. A neat feature for podcasts, but not necessary for Offscreen. Our recordings are often of lower quality, so the transcription result by Descript wasn’t that great so far.

Netflix Party →

Watch together

A Chrome extension that lets you watch Netflix together with friends: “Netflix Party synchronises video playback and adds group chat to your favourite Netflix shows.”

 

Indie Mag of the Week

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Eighty Degrees →

Eighty Degrees is a premium magazine about the beautiful, rich culture of tea.

– Latest Issue: 3
– Frequency: 2 issues/year
– Formats: print
– Origin: Portugal

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!

 

Books & Accessories CONSUME RESPONSIBLY

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Utopia for Realists →

And how we can get there

I read this book a while back and found it to be an easy-to-read summary of promising, optimistic policies whose time has come: “In Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilisation – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a fifteen-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.”

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reMarkable 2 →

‘Paper’ tablet

reMarkable just announced a new version of its ‘digital paper’ tablet. It’s certainly a niche gadget, targeted mostly at writers and sketch artists, with a low-latency E ink-like screen that replicates paper in digital form. It lacks all the usual internet-enabled distractions, which is actually a selling point. I personally have no real use for this thing, but I love the sound/look of this screen!

 

Overheard on Twitter

Me and my dad are sharing the dining room table working from home today. He’s an aerospace engineer on a conference call ordering fuselage prototypes and I’m drawing a duck.

@lydiakahill

 

Food For Thought

The Coronavirus Crisis Is Showing Us How to Live Online →

Read

It’s probably too early to talk about silver linings of this chaos, but the internet sure feels different these days: “(...) the virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used – to connect with one another, share information and resources, and come up with collective solutions to urgent problems. It’s the healthy, humane version of digital culture we usually see only in schmaltzy TV commercials, where everyone is constantly using a smartphone to visit far-flung grandparents and read bedtime stories to kids.”

What is a Weird Internet Career? (Part 1) →

Read

Gretchen McCulloch, author of the book Because Internet, created an excellent blog series about ‘Weird Internet Careers’ which I can very much relate to: “Weird Internet Careers are the kinds of jobs that are impossible to explain to your parents, people who somehow make a living from the internet, generally involving a changing mix of revenue streams.”

How Does It Feel on Planet Earth? →

Read

Published in November last year, this article feels more relevant today than ever before: “We can treasure the intrinsic rewards of sharing instead of hoarding and possessing. We can replace distractions with relationships and build more sustainable social norms based on humane and inclusive values. We can set our intention to connect with others: to talk, to listen and understand each other. Only then can we act collectively to change the status quo.”

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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This beautiful, off-grid Passive House provides comfortable, no-frills accommodation on a working vineyard in Australia’s south east.

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I’m enjoying the atmosphere in the hand-drawn concept art by Maxim Steksov.

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Round.Boys is an Instagram account about round animals and the premium, non-edgy internet content we all need right now.

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Roquefort (the typeface) is a quirky expanded grotesque, “which, like Roquefort (the cheese), is pongy and full of flavour”.

 

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The Week in a GIF

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

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