I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you, except yourself.

– Rita Mae Brown

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Featured artist: Estudio Santa Rita

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery
 

Welcome to Issue 86!

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Earlier this year, in pre-pandemic times, I wrote at length about how some internet friends convinced me that when it comes to climate action collective rather than individual efforts are key. A lot of individual action is motivated by guilt – that feeling that you and I and that SUV-driving neighbour are not doing enough. I know because I still experience it frequently myself.

With current pictures of wildlife returning and skies clearing, it’s easy to follow the humans-are-the-virus narrative, which is part of the ‘individual choices are to blame’ playbook. Mad climate scientist Kate Marvel has the following to say to those making that argument. (I highly recommend you read the whole piece.)

“More than anything else, I’m angry at the implication that ‘we’ are at fault. There is a bad but persistent narrative that climate change and pandemics are caused not by greenhouse gases and viruses, but by human nature. We are greedy for food, shelter, adventure, self-fulfillment, human contact and – says this narrative – we must be punished for our sins. But the current situation – death, poverty, loneliness – is an ineffective blueprint for climate solutions. We were never going to be able to sacrifice our way out of climate change, (...) There is an entrenched system that extracts CO2 from the ground and pumps it into the atmosphere, one that results not from inherent human badness but from the choices of a few humans with power.”

It’s difficult to not feel a certain amount of resentment towards those who seem to care little about climate change. But to blame them (or ourselves) for the status quo is not just misguided; it is a demoralising distraction from challenging a political and economic system that’s no longer fit for purpose, being upheld by a greedy few.

You and I are not a virus. – Kai

Dense Discovery is a weekly newsletter read by more than 39,000 subscribers. Support us by sponsoring an issue, booking a classified ad, or sharing this issue with friends. Feedback or recommendations? Just reply, but keep it short please.

 

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Apps & Sites

Marco Polo →

Video-based ‘walkie-talkie’ for friends

What a lovely idea: Marco Polo is a very simple messaging app for friends (or groups of friends), but instead of using text you communicate with short, recorded videos.

Highlighted →

Organise your reading notes

Want to save important snippets from the book you’re reading? With this iOS app, you can take a photo of a page, highlight the sentence or paragraph you'd like to save, and the app’s text recognition software will store your highlights in editable plain text.

Timemator →

App-based time-tracking

A nice-looking monitoring app for tracking the time you spend on your Mac: “Timemator automatically captures everything you do on your Mac. You can go back to review what you were working on and with just a few clicks, assign the time to your projects.”

Anti-Jargon Prompts →

Poster prompts to avoid design-isms

I really like this and would love to see more of it for all the different silos of the tech world: three free, downloadable posters that prompt and remind you to avoid jargon and catch-all phrases in your design practice.

 

Indie Mag of the Week

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Good Trouble →

Good Trouble is an annual independent publication about protest and activism through the lens of arts and culture, in broadsheet newspaper format.

– Latest Issue: 21
– Frequency: 1 issue/year
– Formats: print
– Origin: US/UK

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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The Making of Prince of Persia →

The journals behind a legendary game

Stripe Press books hardly ever get me excited, but this one looks like a real gem: “Before Prince of Persia was a best-selling video game franchise and a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, it was an Apple II computer game created and programmed by one person, Jordan Mechner. Mechner’s candid and revealing journals from the time capture his journey from his parents’ basement to the forefront of the fast-growing 1980s video game industry... and the creative, technical and personal struggles that brought the prince into being and ultimately into the homes of millions of people worldwide.” Get a taste in this short video.

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The Earth →

1000-piece puzzle

From the folks behind The Moon puzzle: launched for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this 1000-piece, 26.5” (67cm) circular puzzle features a portion of the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific Ocean in incredible detail. (Unfortunately currently sold out)

 

Overheard on Twitter

The longer this pandemic drags on, the better the technology decisions companies make. This is entirely due to the lack of executive exposure to enterprise software ads in airports.

@QuinnyPig

 

Food For Thought

How Silicon Valley is not like Wall Street →

Read

This is absolute gold: “On Wall Street, everyone was not only okay with being the douchebag, they often troublingly wanted to be the douchebag. In Silicon Valley, no one yet seems to want to admit they’re the new douchebags. And this more an observation than a value judgment. Power and money beget douchebags. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Personal Renewal →

Read

I’m rereading and resharing this piece at least once a year. “You come to understand your impact on others. It’s interesting that even in the first year of life you learn the impact that a variety of others have on you, but as late as middle age many people have a very imperfect understanding of the impact they themselves have on others. The hostile person keeps asking ‘Why are people so hard to get along with?’ In some measure we create our own environment. You may not yet grasp the power of that truth to change your life.”

Earth Day 50 →

Read

A collection of photos marking the Earth Day anniversary: “On April 22, 2020, we observe the 50th Earth Day, and though many improvements have been made, environmental challenges remain. In the past five decades, the population of the Earth has more than doubled – more than 75 percent of the people alive today were born after 1970 – and the increased demand on our limited resources makes sustainable solutions even more important.”

 

Aesthetically Pleasing

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This unusual smiley face bag comes in sheets of biodegradable bamboo fibre.

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These geometric flat lays by artist Kristen Meyer are extremely satisfying to look at for control freaks like myself.

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I love the textures and material warmth of this home near Melbourne.

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Acid Grotesk, a new typeface by Folch Studio, leans on classic grotesk styles and adds a unique, curvey twist.

 

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The Week in a GIF

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