Written by

Chris Gonzales



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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Featured Links

Images: Jaime Fernández and Monika Mayr, Tata&Friends

Images: Jaime Fernández and Monika Mayr, Tata&Friends

Rebranding Concept for the European Space Agency »

Design studio Tata&Friends took on a fictional rebranding concept for the European Space Agency, and boy did they nail it:

ESA is the European Space Agency and its mission is to shape the development of space exploration. Less known than it’s American counterpart NASA, but just as strong in its achievements. ESA is part of the elite in space exploration.

Icon Magazine asked us to rebrand any possible thing for their Rethink section. As we’ve been in love with the idea of rebranding the European Space Agency since a long time, we knew we had to go for it.


New Light Sculpture in Amsterdam Highlights Our Obsession with Screens »

“Absorbed by Light”, a topical new light sculpture in the heart of Amsterdam — a collaboration between Design Bridge and British artist Gali May Lucas — eerily illustrates in an all-too-familiar way how, these days, we can all physically occupy spaces while our minds are elsewhere:

The installation, which sits outside the Hermitage Amsterdam, provides an arresting commentary on “how we’re constantly drawn to the screens that illuminate our lives; yet the light that brings us information also draws us away from the tangible world”.

The artist adds:

“I see this every day in parks and in restaurants, especially in winter when there are more hours of darkness. […] Absorbed by Light depicts a reality we can all recognise in ourselves – a universal truth. As a spectator, you can join the narrative by taking up a position amongst the figures and sitting on the bench.”



New Horizons Glimpses the Surface of Ultima Thule »

Remember the incredible Pluto flyby from the summer of 2015? Well, New Horizons — the same spacecraft that took those amazing photos — has been sending back images of another distant (and I mean distant, as in 4 billion miles from the sun) member of the Solar System, except this time it’s an object in the Kuiper Belt:

Kenneth Chang of The New York Times illustrates what we know so far:

Ultima Thule, known also by its official designation of 2014 MU69, turns out to be what planetary scientists call a “contact binary” — two bodies that formed separately and then gently touched and stuck together. It’s a bit more than 21 miles long. […]

The lack of sharp corners and apparently smooth surface of Ultima Thule suggests that it has not changed much in the last 4.5 billion years. What the scientists find there could tell them a lot about how the sun and planets formed.

Coffer — A Puzzle Box Made from Scratch »

From 2016 to 2018, North Carolina-based metalsmith Seth Gould worked to create Coffer, a puzzle box (also known as an armada chest) that is not only beautifully intricate inside and out, but the parts and mechanisms of which were all created by himself, down to the bolts, springs, levers, and even the keys that unlock it:

The Coffer was made primarily through handwork at the forge and at the bench. The majority of pieces, including the bolts, levers, and staples, are made from wrought iron, a material I use primarily for its working properties (enjoyable to forge and file). Wrought iron is no longer manufactured, so each piece needed to be forged from salvaged material. The forging is done using a coal forge, hammer, anvil, and power hammer. Once the pieces are forged as close to their finished shape as possible, I move to the bench to refine the surface and shape with a file. The final touch is a bit of file embellishment.

The making of Coffer was documented in the video embedded above — filmed by Jesse Beecher — with the music set to the percussive sounds of Gould’s workshop. I love everything about this project. (Via Jason Kottke)

Miscellaneous Links

  • If there’s one thing research scientist Janelle Shane has learned this year, it’s that the neural net has no idea what it’s doing (yet). “Neural net jokes are surprisingly similar to the jokes of five-year-olds. They kind of understand the format, but not necessarily the content.”

  • Need a new way of tracking habits in 2019? I suggest going back to revisit Sean McCabe’s Five Habit Tracker from a year ago, which can be drawn in any grid notebook if you’re into that type of thing. He also made a video explaining the concept.

  • When you’ve got five minutes to spare, take this Personal Values Assessment survey and find out what is most important to you and what factors into your decision-making. I found out about it via Claudia Dawson of Recomendo:

    [The survey] peers right into your soul. I felt naked after reading the report of what matters to me the most and essentially, what drives me. I don’t know much about where it originates from but it seems to be used as a tool for leadership and career training. Personally, I think it’s far too personal to share with just anyone. With that said, I did ask my closest friends to take the test and send me their results. It helped me understand them so much better.

  • Apparently, if you throw some bouncy balls into a trashcan and photograph it, the effect can be strangely bokeh-like, as seen in the hero image for today’s Linkage column above. (Via Reddit)


Neat Stuff We Published This Week

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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.