Written by

Chris Gonzales


Laura Smetsers

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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Dissect — A Serialized Music Podcast »

If you’ve ever listened to the Song Exploder podcast — which has musicians explain how one of their songs came together, piece by piece — and wished they would do an even deeper dive into the music, the Dissect podcast is for you:

In a world creating and accessing more content than ever before, we’ve quickly become a scrolling culture, hurriedly swiping through this infinite swath of content that seems to replenish without end.

Dissect was created to counter this cultural shift.

Dissect picks one album per season and analyzes one song per episode measure by measure, word by word.

Season 1 examines “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar. Season 2 tackles “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West. Season 3 dissects “Blonde” and “Channel ORANGE” by Frank Ocean.

You can subscribe to Dissect in the usual places:

Photo: Kelly McLachlan, KQED

Photo: Kelly McLachlan, KQED

Digital Text is Changing How Kids Read — Just Not in the Way That You Think »

An interesting article by KQED that explores how reading on a screen might be changing our kids’ brains, as explained by a handful of experts:

But since digital reading is still in its infancy, for many adults it’s hard to know exactly what the issues are—what’s happening to a young brain when reading online? Should kids be reading more paper books, and why? Do other digital activities, like video games and social media apps, affect kids’ ability to reach deep understanding when reading longer content, like books? And how do today’s kids learn to toggle between paper and the screen?

The digital revolution and all of our personal devices have produced a sort of reading paradox: because of the time spent with digital tech, kids are reading more now, in literal words, than ever. Yet the relationship between reading and digital tech is complicated.

Why You Don’t Want to Go Viral »

Tom Scott explains how having something you did go viral is actually a terrible environment to be creative in afterward:

A number one song does not make a career. In fact, it can kill a career. If all you’re known for is doing one thing, all the world will want to see is that one thing.

A single popular YouTube video does not make you a YouTube star, it makes you the person who stands up and repeats that catchphrase over and over again until everyone’s tired of it.

There are people out there who think, just one big hit, that’s all they need, that’s the path to stardom and being set for life. They were wrong thirty years ago, and they’re wrong now.

Excellent video.



Instant Pot Cooking Times »

After buying an Instant Pot and becoming frustrated with bloated recipe sites — and man do I ever agree with him — Minneapolist-based developer Paul Wenzel put together an awesome, quick-loading reference page with simple timetables and brief to-the-point instructions for preparing food in your IP. In his words, “No images, no stupid backstories, no apps, no BS.”

This is the perfect resource to keep bookmarked if you use your Instant Pot regularly. Or better yet, print it out and put it up on the kitchen wall where you can easily reference it anytime.

How to Pick the Best Mortar and Pestle »

🚨 FOOD NERD ALERT:🚨 Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats (hey, I linked one that wasn’t by J. Kenji López-Alt!) did a deep dive on mortars and pestles:

In the United States, the mortar and pestle has developed something of a reputation as obsolete and inefficient—a kitchen accessory that offers plenty of nostalgia but little utility. But it shouldn’t be underestimated. For thousands of years, the mortar and pestle was one of the very few implements our ancestors relied upon to cook. Our predecessors had fire, sharpened rocks for cutting, vessels to contain their food, and, crucially, they had stones and wood to pound and grind it all.

Today, the mortar and pestle remains a crucial tool in culinary traditions around the world, and it deserves to be treated as an essential in every kitchen. Not just because it served our ancestors so well, but because it continues to do what no other item in the kitchen does: smashing fibers and cells apart to fundamentally transform their texture and release their full aroma and flavor. That’s something a blade can’t ever do as well.

The publication of this article kicked off a lovely little Twitter thread about pleasant mortar and pestle sounds:

Domenica Marchetti: “one of my favorite sounds in the kitchen: the unplugged ‘toc toc toc’ of a wooden pestle against the marble mortar”

Daniel Gritzer: “Using a mortar and pestle is like…acoustic cooking.”

J. Kenji: “My toddler literally dances up and down when she hears the mortar and pestle pounding.”

What People See in 157 Robot Faces »

Fascinating piece by Evan Ackerman of IEEE Spectrum about the different ways in which people perceive robot faces, using insights from a University of Washington study (free PDF here):

Looking at all 157 faces provided some interesting insights—over a third of robot faces are black, for example. Most faces have a mouth but no nose or cheeks or eyebrows. Circular eyes were by far the most popular, while only 10 percent of faces had eyes that were shaped like a human’s.


One way in which this information is potentially useful is how different faces correlate with what study participants guessed that their jobs should be. As one example, if you want people to view your robot as effective at security, consider giving it eyelids but no mouth. Service robots would benefit from eyebrows, and entertainment robots could use significantly more detail than industrial robots.

I found this article via Tom Gerhardt of the Studio Neat Gazette newsletter, who adds:

I have been trying to use “please” and “thank you” when talking to Siri and Alexa; mostly to model for my kiddos, but it kinda exposes how we don’t have any norms developed for our interactions with robots. This article about robot faces shows we have some shared emotional responses to robots, but how should we treat them? Like a vacuum? A pet?

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.