Good evening, friends old and new! Here's another episode of this newsletter (after missing last month's issue), with some things I found interesting lately.
Morgan Island in South Carolina is perhaps the closest thing we have to Jurassic Park, except the island is only inhabited by about 4,000 rhesus monkeys.
Neurocracy is a sci-fi story set on a clone of Wikipedia in 2049, which you can explore interactively. (Much more immersive than the one I sent a few months back!)
Sunstones are a type of translucent mineral which may have been used as a navigation device in medieval Iceland, thanks to the way it reflects polarised light.
An ice circle is a very rare phenomenon where a circular sheet of ice forms above a lake and rotates. There are human-made ice carousels that reproduce this effect.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales is the highest aqueduct in the world and offers a scary, scary view.
Behold: skateboarding dogs. ("See also: skateboarding duck")
That Guy… Who Was In That Thing is a documentary about the guys who were in these things — actors who were recognisable enough from a key role without ever having made it to star level. An actresses sequel also exists.
Marginalia is a search engine aimed at serendipity: use a keyword to land on weird, crafted, personal websites, away from the SEO-optimised hell that typically fills the first pages of results these days.
The Alex Baldwin tragedy happened because they hired untrained scabs. These threads from actress Claudia Black and set armorer SL Huang were really illuminating to learn about the levels of trust and active consent that need to happen when filming with guns (and why the guns weren't dummies).
Cows (and other animals) have regional accents.
What it's like to forget your first language, a phenomenon known as language attrition (which I may have spoken about before).
I barely speak French anymore and I'm definitely feeling less fluent now. I'm unlikely to ever really lose it, but I really struggle to find my words and idioms.
There is mounting evidence that Vikings were in Canada in 1021 AD, well before Columbus.
For some time in 2018, gangs in Detroit replaced real guns with paintball guns.
Some great rebukes to common fallacies heard when discussing 100% renewable energy.
A discussion with the manager of Windows on the World, twenty years later.
How to engineer society by designing kitchens.
Our newly formed habit of being able to search for things online anytime might cause us to incorrectly remember things better than we think we do.
A great explanation of how moral panics are formed in journalism.
I'm reading The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye at the moment and it's been an excellent explainer of how a moral panic is built. (Highly recommend it, even if you think you're pretty well-informed on trans liberation issues).
Because of the supply chain issues, we might soon be running out of the colour blue.
The Unicode group put out a ten page report about the pink heart emoji.
A fun hacking report from a senior high school student who rickrolled his entire school district.
If we ever need post-apocalypse infrastructure: someone checked and found ADSL broadband works over (salty) wet string.
Enjoyed this pigeon jazz installation. (Discovered when learning about duckwave).
The benefits of having the willingness to look stupid.
THUMPASAURUS - Struttin' (funk dance / US / 2021)
Sega Bodega - Only Seeing God When I Come (electronic leftfield / UK / 2021)
David Shaw and the Beat - No Shangri La (psych pop / belgium / 2020)
bladee - Trendy (hip-hop / sweden / 2021)
Hamlet Minassian - Al Elnim (disco / armenia / 1979)
DJ Seinfeld - Walking With Ur Smile (house / UK / 2021)
Some “no-bullshit tenets” to help you make decisions faster.
Brilliant story about the type designer on a path to decolonise Chinese fonts.
A gentle, interactive introduction to Graph Neural Networks.
Good advice: learn how to write 5x more, but write 5x less.
See also: 40 tips for one-sentence emails.
Why you should build silos and decrease collaboration on purpose.
The benefits of thinking with your hands.