Hello! It’s Victor! Happy Sunday! Here are links that kept me busy this month.
(allelujah). Short of a looming “newsletter fatigue” mentioned by the article which hasn’t happened yet, the engagement in readership and feedback feels really different than social media. Chatting with friends after they’ve read my newsletter sometimes feels like the resurgence of an Internet Club, the link-sharing equivalent of a book club. It may be time to
bring webrings back
Sexualisation is in the eye of the beholder
: Amber Thomas made an
excellent analysis of dress codes
in US school handbooks. To the surprise of no one, they are disproportionately targeted at girls rather than boys, put the onus on them at the detriment of their education, and are truly the ones that sexualise students before most think of it.
The CIA have developed a template list of
questions to think about a problem
from new angles. It’s been turned into a generic brainstorming techniques sheet, which is actually very versatile and worth printing next to your desk for helping you think about
kind of problem. It’s varied, and sometimes more efficient than to
keep asking why
One of the perks for full-time employees at my other job is
. In results-oriented workplaces, the reasoning is that “if we don’t track the time you spend working, then why would we track the time you don’t?”. It’s a common perk for tech startups, but also at larger companies (chiefly Netflix, Evernote and Virgin America). And it's not just by charity to attract hires, but also to encourage creativity and prevent burnout:
“By the time you need a vacation, it’s too late,”
says the CEO of Buffer
“In the western world, we go to the doctor when we’re ill. Eastern medicine promotes the idea of going to the doctor when you’re healthy, to talk about preventative care, things we can keep improving. That’s the method I’ve started to think about for vacation. I want to plan ahead so I don’t ever want to fully deplete myself.”
But does it work? Buffer in fact found out that this holiday policy (or rather, the lack of one) meant that people
took less time off
than they would have otherwise. The complete lack of guidance meant people were afraid to take more holidays and be perceived as slacking off more than peers, and there is an untold expectation behind “unlimited”. Nobody thinks taking 75% of your year off would be reasonable, but what is actually reasonable and expected is actually a range which varies by person and culturally (Americans take significantly less holidays than in France or Sweden for example, which can be an issue in remote global teams).
They ended up solving this by replacing it with a
minimum holidays policy
, and after a year worked out
the numbers and how to make it work
FullContact even ran the experiment of actually
paying employees $7,500
once a year to go on holidays somewhere, under the condition you actually go on holiday and log off from work. One of the benefits, they claim, is an incentive to reduce the “hero syndrome” from constant presence and encourage constant documentation.
Gaze at this sentence for just about sixty seconds and then explain what makes it quite different from the average sentence.
hint: watch Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek's fun TV quiz game.
The YouTube series
by Johnny Harris/Vox is excellent, covering displacement, cultures, fences, heartbreaks, odd stories from different places.
Venezuelians entering Columbia
, the division between
Haiti and the Dominican Republic
bubble of North Korean culture within Japan
, and why does Japan they have
so many vending machines
. The whole season about Hong Kong is great too.
It’s Brexit month
! With opinions over how to reach the optimum “satisfied populists/low fuckup” ratio dividing parties a little bit more every day, now is a good time to remake
the case against “sensible” politics
Wikipedia is the best website
list of redundant place names
, with favourites like Mississippi River (big river river), Soviet Union (union union), River Avon (river river), Sahara desert (desert desert). Scottish readers will know the Dundee Law Hill (hill hill) and Eas Fors Waterfall (waterfall waterfall waterfall).
See also: naan bread, chai tea, queso cheese.
like “a free gift” leave most people indifferent, nothing truly annoys pedantic people more than using things like “PIN number”, “ATM machine”, “DC comics” or “LCD display”. I’ve learned that this is, very aptly, named
the RAS syndrome
Talking of names,
has perhaps one of the best short “Naming” sections in Wikipedia history.
claims to be the
world’s narrowest street
, varying between 31 and 50 centimetres. The “See Also” section has many contenders however.
La Avenida 9 de Julio
, in Buenos Aires, claims to be the widest — with 16 car lanes and over 3 minutes to cross, which sounds like hell.
bobsleigh is over everyone, we’re watching
I have heard before of
F. D. C. Willard
, a Siamese cat known for being the
co-author of a physics paper
in 1973. Last week I was delighted to find out that Wikipedia also has a very well furnished
list of animal with fraudulent diplomas
Talking about animals, we may soon have a
in biology textbooks, a newly discovered but soon-to-be-extinct amphibian species that sees the world in black and white. EnviroBuild, a company that won the auction to name the new species, chose the name in protest of Trump’s environmental policies and views that deny climate change.
Hold on, you think it’s absurd that we name a species after political things? According to the
list of things named after Donald Trump
(!), it’s actually the
species named after him. It notably follows
, a species of micro-moth “with small genitalia and distinctive yellowish-white scales covering the head”. No, it won’t stop Trump, but yes, the scientific community is
The story of
is one hell of a read. The man was found unconscious in 2004 behind a Burger King dumpster, sunburnt, naked and beaten out; having left no identity documents behind, the emergency services named him as “Burger King Doe” on documnts. He woke up with dissociative amnesia, initially unable to remember his name until recalling his first name is Benjaman (two ‘a’s), and picked a last name based on the placeholder initials. He, the authorities and media spent the next 11 years in search of his identity and past, leaving him partially homeless and unable to work without a social security number.
The New Republic published
an excellent longread article
about the case in 2016, a year after his real identity was found again using DNA matching.
Architecture and signs
Developers are building
a neighbourhood of
luxury homes that look like tiny Disney castles
in Turkey and, especially in its current abandoned state following the economic collapse of the project, it looks Extremely Dystopian™ and surrealist.
refers to “fake” villages built of mounted façades and one-sided buildings and houses, designed to deceive monarchs passing through it into thinking the town was modern and thriving (when the beautiful houses never existed, or were decaying). Although the original story is
likely to be a myth
, the term has remained to describe similar concepts of illusory architecture to hide reality from high-ranking political figures, from
photographs in storefronts
at G8 summits to
redoing an entire region
for the Olympic Games.
The demilitarised zone separating North and South Korea has two “peace villages”, each one belonging to each country.
, belonging to North Korea, is
largely thought to be actually uninhabited
. Built in the 1950s as a propaganda space to attract Southern Koreans to defect to the North, its modern (at the time) features were largely oriented to be visible from the South, but telescopic observations now suggest that the windows have no glasses, lights turn on and off at set times, and streets are maintained by a minimal crew for illusion.
The term is also used for
. In Britain, a 300 square metres fake town exists in Gravesend, Kent, developed by the Metropolitan police in the early 2000s to let young police officers practice riot situations. It contains a mixture of film sets façades and more realistic buildings, where officers practice containing fake mobs played attacking with petrol bombs. It was documented in
Architecture of Conflict by James Rawlings
, and by
Chris Clarke’s photos
More artificial towns in the form of Swedish racing tracks, US military training camps, European city replicas in China in the
photographs of Gregor Sailer
in London had a great exhibition called
Living with buildings
examining how the built environment influences our health.
spaces better for deaf people
goes from rethinking acoustics in large open spaces and the use of bright light to allow lip reading, down to seemingly small details like having
light and armless chairs
and wider pavements. (via
Unrelated side note going back on Wikipedia again: like spoken language,
sign language have numerous dialects
, often amplified because of the smaller communities of signers and a history of insulation of segregation with hearing people.
Black American Sign Language
, rooted in the racial segregation of schools — which included schools for the Deaf, has some differences with “standard” ASL that remain in use today. Black signers use a different phonology (use of space, use of two hands) and vocabulary, sometimes loaned from spoken African-American vernacular English (
“Other loan words modified existing signs, such as STOP TRIPPING, which took the bent-v handshape of TRIP and moved it up to the head to indicate a new meaning of "stop imagining things”
In Flemish-signing Belgium, the gender segregation in schools until the 1970s
meant that some signs
were “girl’s signs” and others were “boy’s signs”.
Signers in Manchester use a
different system for numbers
, compared to the rest of the UK. This site highlight variations in many other signs based on geography.
, an island off the US coast, was known as “a Deaf utopia” for several centuries. An unusually high proportion of the population was Deaf and caused its
own village sign language
to thrive, with everyone hearing and non-hearing able to sign — until the population and economy largely changed in the early 20th century.
In my ears
Júníus Meyvant - Across the Borders
(folk rock / iceland / 2019)
Planningtorock - Transome
(pop house / germany / 2018)
El Ten Eleven - You Are Enough
(post-rock / US / 2018)
MOUTHS - I Don't Know Why I Hate You (But I Do)
(chamber pop / france / 2018)
This is the new project of
, which you should check out because his music and voice are incredible and everybody’s been sleeping on it
Perfume Genius/Empress Of/Jim-E Stack - When I’m With Him
(pop / US / 2019)
Cub Sport - Hawaiian Party
(indie queer pop / australia / 2019)
The Mountain Goats - Younger
(alternative rock / US / 2019)
Their new album is produced by Owen Pallett!! Who is releasing a new album later this year which I’m v excited about!!!
Anyway, here’s a 2 week-old lemming
No, not these
Design! Tech! Work!
using some colours and the properties of LED subpixel rendering on your screen.
Who needs SVG when you can
draw pictures with variable fonts
How do you spell Jake Gyllenhaal? You’re not the only one to struggle, and someone
visualised common misspellings with Sankey diagrams
. There’s an accompanying
that’s harder than it looks.
An insider view of
the working conditions for Facebook moderators
, leaving people with trauma and gullible to conspiracy theories after seeing so many.
loves closed captions
. I for one don’t have any diagnosed hearing loss or ADHD but I do struggle to keep engaged with videos without them.
If you had doubts: no, you
probably don’t need blockchain
Have a great month!