Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

– Edward Abbey


Featured artist: Ranga Krishnamani

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 88!

View/share online

Instead of my usual ruminations here, I only have a small announcement this week:

I really enjoy the many email conversations with you, but I think many of the links and viewpoints you share with me in private could also be useful to other readers of this newsletter. So starting this week, I’m adding a comment section to the bottom of the online version of each issue.

If you have any thoughts or feedback on the newsletter – whether in regard to my introductions or any of the links shared – you can now add your comments for others to see and respond to. Of course, you can still reply to the newsletter in private if you prefer.

This is very much a trial. I’d love to see a lively and thoughtful discussion between DD readers, but if that doesn’t happen I might remove it after a few weeks.

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments! – Kai

You receive this email because you subscribed to Dense Discovery, a weekly newsletter at the intersection of tech, design, and culture read by over 43,000 subscribers. Support us by sponsoring an issue, booking a classified ad, or sharing this issue with friends.


Upgrade Your Barista Game SPONSOR


Yes Plz Coffee →

Coffee bar calibre brews at home

The best cup of coffee is the one you make in your own kitchen – and it begins with great beans. Every week YES PLZ sends you a new blend or single-origin beans. Sourced from the finest farms and mills around the world and roasted in LA. Get $5 off your first shipment.


Apps & Sites

Miro →

Collaborative whiteboard

Miro creates an infinitely zoomable canvas for real-time or asynchronous teamwork. It’s like a whiteboard but with a ton of creative and collaborative features built in.

ShareBox →

Slack-based help desk

This little app moves your help desk into Slack: “Twitter mentions, DMs and incoming emails to your connected email get delivered to your preferred Slack channel. Review with your team and reply once ready.”

Hawkeye Access →

Navigate iOS or Mac with your eyes

Fascinating and a bit wild to think that this is possible with any iPhone: Hawkeye Access for iOS or MacOS lets you navigate your mobile device or computer with just your eyes and some simple facial expressions. Watch the demo.

LibraryThing →

Goodreads alternative

Although it’s been around since 2005, up until last week I had never heard of LibraryThing, a free community for book lovers. A welcome alternative if you’re tired of Goodreads or just want to get away from Amazon’s ever-expanding tentacles.


Indie Mag of the Week


Drift →

Drift is a travel magazine that uses coffee as the tool to navigate and get to know a city.

– Latest Issue: 9 (Bali)
– Frequency: 2 issues/year
– Formats: 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!




How Design Makes the World →

Good design for everyone

A new book by Scott Berkun, released just a couple of weeks ago: “Everything we use, from our homes to our smartphones, from highways to hammers, was designed by someone. How did they decide what was good for the rest of us? What did they get right and where have they let us down? And what can we learn from the way these experts think that can help us make decisions in our own lives?”


Terraplanter →

Soilless planter

If it works as promised, this is a wonderful low-tech product that’s just beautiful to look at: through a porous material the terraplanter diffuses water to the roots of the plant on the outside, requiring no soil. All you need to do (according to the Kickstarter page) is to rub spores on it, cover it in seeds or attach an existing plant, then fill it with water and watch it grow.


Overheard on Twitter

When wealthy people call the pandemic a ‘great equalizer’, they mean that things are happening to them that they believe should happen only to poor people.



Food For Thought

How big tech plans to profit from the pandemic →


The pandemic has been a boon for Big Tech and they’re now lobbying harder than ever to replace essential public services. “Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent – and highly profitable – no-touch future.”

Passive income for the soul →


I like Thom Wong’s idea of ‘passive income for the soul’ from his newsletter (which is worth subscribing to): “Soul-based passive income is when something you do requires little to no effort but delivers a lot of satisfaction.”

The Pandemic Has Revealed the Weakness of Strongmen →


Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon – it’s tempting to reach the conclusion that women must be better at dealing with this crisis because of their gender but there simply isn’t a big enough sample group to make that assumption. Helen Lewis writes for The Atlantic: “Let’s not flip the old sexist script. After centuries of dogma that men are naturally better suited to leadership, the opposite is not suddenly true. Women leaders aren’t the cause of better government. They are a symptom of it.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

Health app Huma gets a fresh look with a soothing colour palette that “was inspired by the weather”.

❏ ❏

Albert Chamillard proves that you only need a ballpoint pen and a notebook to create beautiful art.

❏ ❏

The Little House has everything I could ever want from a (luxurious) house in the woods.

❏ ❏

Orion is a distinctive and idiosyncratic grotesque which will captivate with its sturdy drawing.



Listen to At a Distance, a new podcast offering a whole-earth, long-view perspective. Featuring leading minds in science, philosophy, psychology, economics, the arts, and beyond.

Emailancer are your fast and friendly experts in email template design and development. We can deliver a custom design or convert yours into code that works across all devices.

The most delicious cup of coffee you’ve ever had should come from your own kitchen. Get YES PLZ coffee beans delivered fresh to your mailbox.

read receipt dives deep into the how and why of brand-building, from blueprints to launch day, customers as community and the detours in between. Big lessons, easy listening.

Classifieds are paid ads that support DD and are seen by our 43,000 subscribers each week.

Book yours →


The Week in a GIF


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