Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.
Marco Arment argues for keeping the podcasting world free, decentralized, and open, despite what some podcasters want:
Podcasting has been growing steadily for over a decade and extends far beyond the top handful of public-radio shows. Their needs are not everyone’s needs, they don’t represent everyone, and many podcasters would not consider their goals an “advancement” of the medium.
Great advice from artist Kyle Steed:
There is never any secret to someones success. There is only one foot in front of the other. There will always be someone ahead of and behind you. There will always be an unfair advantage. There will always be an excuse not to do it. But you have the choice to just go with the flow and take life as it comes to you, or choose to go overboard, splash around in the water like a crazy person, find your way to the shoreline and start to carve a new path for yourself. […]
So I propose we forget the phrase “just do what you love” because it’s exhausting and misleading. We need less instant gratification and more patience in our practice.
VICE’s Serena Solomon, who originally hailed from Australia before moving to the US, asked other immigrants about their first moments of culture shock in America:
“It is so frustrating here. Nothing is easy. Nothing is _efficient._ To pay rent, you have to use a check? I have never written a check. The last time I got a check was maybe 20 years ago, from my granddad. Getting an apartment takes so long as opposed to other countries I have lived in where it’s just a handshake. That’s it. I went to the post office yesterday, and I was waiting in line for maybe an hour—and there were only five people in front of me. I felt like I went from a Western country to a third-world country. People here with money have access to things. The rest of the people are just trying to survive.”
—Robin Zeitoun, 26, welder, French
(I’ve lived in the US my whole life and I don’t understand why checks are still a thing either.)
The folks at Panic put a sign on their building, which sounds like a boring story until you read on:
Something about this blew my mind and stuck with me forever. This little tidbit of knowledge felt like a secret between me and the building. This seemingly-decorative light did more than just just decorate, and I was pretty certain nobody else in my school (or later, my whole city) knew.
With the Panic Sign, I wanted to do something similar — not just feel cool about seeing our name on a thing but also build in a little magic for the city, something special for the observant, curious, and knowledgable. And I thought we could take it one step further: we’d put the magic in your hand.
Leave it to these guys to think of such a nifty idea.
The YouTube channel “Kurzgesagt” just released the video above, which details the hard limit the laws of physics will place on humanity’s ability to traverse the universe, even at our highest technological potential:
Is there a border we will never cross? Are there places we will never be able to reach, no matter what? It turns out there are. Far, far more than you might have thought…
It’s a great, well-animated video, if a little depressing in its own way. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out in response to the video though (bold emphasis mine), “Cool video — consistent with known laws of physics. But travel via wormholes would obviate it all.”
- Somewhat related: Three Worlds That Could Support Life are Found Practically in the Sun’s Backyard (Ars Technica)
Clint Edwards of The Washington Post reflects on the differences in freedom between his son’s childhood today and his own past experience as a kid:
I’m scared to let my kids wander the neighborhood because they might get hurt, or kidnapped, or who knows what. And I’m scared that someone might accuse me of neglect for allowing my children to wander unaccompanied, the way I did as a child. Obviously my neighbors are too. It feels like we all agreed to some unwritten social contract that tells us to keep our children from wandering the streets, in an attempt to keep them safe. And I’m not sure what that means.
I feel the same. I lived in a typical suburban neighborhood until I was 9, and during those years, wandering between streets of houses via drainage ditches to find kids to play with was the norm. If my own son (age 4) wanted to do the same, my kneejerk reaction would be Nuh-uh, no way, and that’s a shame.
Scary as it sounds, kids need to be able to explore. Something for us parents to keep in mind.
Here’s a little linguistic nerdery to kick off your weekend, courtesy of a New York Times op-ed by Alexander Stern:
Speakers and writers of American English have recently taken to identifying a staggering and constantly changing array of trends, events, memes, products, lifestyle choices and phenomena of nearly every kind with a single label — a thing. In conversation, mention of a surprising fad, behavior or event is now often met with the question, “Is that actually a thing?” Or “When did that become a thing?” Or “How is that even a thing?” Calling something “a thing” is, in this sense, itself a thing.
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