Written by

Chris Gonzales


Aryeh Nirenberg

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.

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Graph: Marshall Burke, Sol Hsiang, and Ted Miguel / Stanford

Graph: Marshall Burke, Sol Hsiang, and Ted Miguel / Stanford

Climate Change is Going to Slam the Global Economy »

In a new study published in the journal Nature two days ago, scientists and economists at Stanford and Berkeley calculate that climate change will reshape the global economy in higher-than-expected ways. It’s not going to be pretty.

In their projections, some countries may actually benefit from climate change while others bear the brunt, though there is certain to be an overall decrease in global economic output. According to this interactive map tool the researchers created, the US is likely to experience a -36% change in GDP per capita by 2100 due to climate change, while Mongolia may see a +1413% change. Hooooly cow.

Here is Jason Kottke’s commentary on the findings:

This quote by one of the study’s lead authors, really grabbed me by the throat:

What climate change is doing is basically devaluing all the real estate south of the United States and making the whole planet less productive. Climate change is essentially a massive transfer of value from the hot parts of the world to the cooler parts of the world. This is like taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

Among other many things, anthropogenic climate change is an issue of discrimination. Rich, predominantly white countries caused the problem and can do the most to limit the damage, but climate change will disproportionately affect poor countries, poor people (even in rich countries), women, and people of color.

The Dramatic Landscape of China’s Gansu Province »

In typical fashion, this Atlantic photo essay is awesome.

Gansu Province, in northwestern China, is about the same size as California, with a population of about 26 million people. Most of its inhabitants are Han Chinese, with some ethnic Hui and Tibetans. Gansu’s diverse landscapes include parts of the Gobi Desert, the Yellow River, numerous mountain formations, and remnants of the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. The mostly arid lands range in elevation from about 3,000 feet above sea level to mountains more than 19,000 feet tall. Gathered here are recent images from across China’s Gansu Province.

Some of the images (like those above) are outright stunning.

Death to Analytics »

Ben Brooks argues why you should kill (or at least ignore) analytics on your site, if you haven’t already done so:

If you can stand to bring yourself to keeping all analytics off of your sites, then you stand a real chance at writing about what you truly love to write about. […]

It shows in people’s writing when they are writing about stuff which they love. Stuff they care about. Stuff they are thinking a lot about.

I choose my topics because I could write for days about them and not be bored. And I think readers get a sense when a writer has a lot more to say on something. When they are not done. And I think that draws people back to the site.

It’s Official: Working From Home is the Worst »

Casey Tolan of Fusion reports:

A major review of past research on the topic published this month in Psychological Science in the Public Interest found that working from home can be beneficial to employees and employers—but only in small doses. People who telecommute sparingly are happier with their jobs and perform better. But on average, people who telecommute 15.1 hours a week or more (or roughly two days per week) actually report decreased job satisfaction.


[Ben Waber, CEO of consulting firm Sociometric Solutions] found that employees who frequently interacted with each other reported being happier and were more likely to keep their jobs. “People in tight-knit, face-to-face groups had job satisfaction that was 30% higher,” he said. “When you have a really tight-knit group of co-workers, those people tend to be a lot happier.” On the other hand, the amount of digital communication they did with co-workers had no effect on their job satisfaction.

These findings fascinate me. Our entire team here at Tools & Toys (and at our sister site The Sweet Setup) works remotely. We live in entirely different cities and states. Slack is our “office” of sorts. I can’t speak for the other guys, but I know I feel far more satisfied with this arrangement than I ever did at my old desk job.

Then again, I’m something of a hermit in my personal life so my view may be skewed.

Photo: Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

Photo: Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

The Amazing Inner Lives of Animals »

Tim Flannery of The New York Review of Books wrote a brilliant review of Carl Safina’s book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, that feels like less of a review than it does a fascinating essay on animal behaviors:

Much published behavioral science, incidentally, is phrased in a neutral language that distances us from animals. Safina argues that we should use a common language of grief, joy, friendship, and empathy to describe the equivalent responses of both human and other animals. To this I would add the language of ceremony: What other word but “marriage” should be used to describe the ritual bonding, followed by lifelong commitment to their partners, of creatures like the albatross?


Most of us will never see a wild elephant, much less spend the time observing them that is required to understand them as individuals. But there are animals that share our lives, and whose societies, emotional depth, and intelligence are readily accessible.

This description of elephants, taken directly from the book, is quite a piece of writing:

Their great breaths, rushing in and out, resonant in the halls of their lungs. The skin as they moved, wrinkled with time and wear, batiked with the walk of ages, as if they lived within the creased maps of the lives they’d traveled.


What if Everything is Possible? »

Elle Kaplan argues that we shouldn’t let two little letters like “im” keep us from having higher goals:

Everything in life seems impossible, until it isn’t.


The quotes in my introduction seem pretty humorous at this point — but when J.K. Rowling was scribbling Harry Potter on a napkin while hoping her welfare checks would cover that month’s electric bill, it probably seemed an impossibility that she would one day be richer than the Queen of England.

And while we’re on the topic of getting rejected by publishers, it happened to Arianna Huffington 36 times before her first book was published, and well before she was told The Huffington Post would be a complete and utter failure.

Like Steve Jobs said, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

To Scale: The Solar System »

A month ago, Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh, along with a group of their friends, went out to a dry lakebed in Nevada and built the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits. The result is this lovely video.

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.