April 1, 2016

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Rob Bye

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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22 Things to Do on Planet Earth »

Nicholas Bate offers an excellent list of suggestions. My favorite:

8. Get away from light pollution, look up and (re-)learn a constellation or two. Remember: Man’s an explorer and has sailed to the edge of the planet, written sagas and stepped on the Moon. You too: go beyond the mall.

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Graphic: Andy Woodruff

Beyond the Sea »

Cartographer Andy Roodruff’s Beyond the Sea project offers an interesting way to view our planet (pun intended):

In the northern reaches of Newfoundland, near the town of St. Anthony, is the Fox Point Lighthouse. I’ve never been there, but I know it has one of the most impressive ocean views in the world. If you face perpendicular to the right bit of rocky coastline there and gaze straight across the ocean, your mind’s eye peering well beyond the horizon, you can see all the way to Australia.

What’s really across the ocean from you when you look straight out? It’s not always the place you think.

Concept photo: Earl Carlson

Concept photo: Earl Carlson

Humanizing AMBER Alerts »

You know that AMBER alert that pops up on your phone from time to time, with no clear indication of what it means or how you can help? Designer Earl Carlson wants to fix that:

This is not an effort to by cynical or morbid, but an honest question. Can we do better? The serious nature of these alerts is undermined by the several contributing factors. While the basis for the AMBER Alert program is heart wrenching, and the initiatives by the above organizations have been amazing, I can’t help but think about the situation I ran into earlier. What led me to be so indifferent to the AMBER Alert I received on my phone?


Contrast [Instagram’s push notifications] with the AMBER Alert. Any time one of these alerts is issued, there is a real human life in danger. By bringing the description of the missing child into the alert, you can start to picture the child, and you instantly know that this could be a matter of life and death.

Be the Plumber »

Over on the Signal v. Noise blog, Chris Gallo of Highrise shares the importance of using — really using — your own product:

Our team made a commitment to using Highrise more. Instead of being theoretical users of the product, we became customers of it. We depended on it.

We felt the pain our customers were telling us about. It wasn’t pleasant. But it gave us a new insight into what it was like to use the product. It forced us to improve Highrise and to do it quickly.

Sometimes you have dig in and fix it from the inside. It might take a little pain, but it may also be the only way you’ll figure it out.

Making a Primitive Bow and Arrow from Scratch »

The (seemingly nameless) guy behind the wildly popular Primitive Technology YouTube channel recently posted a video of his process for creating a bow and arrow from scratch, using only natural materials and primitive tools:

In conclusion this was an easy bow to make. The short design makes it easy to find a straight piece of wood for the stave. A short string is also easy to make and short arrow shafts are easy to find. Short bows shoot fast and are easy to carry in thick forest.

The dimensions of the bow were based on those given in the SAS Survival Handbook by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman. but instead of carving it from a stave from the start, I split the stave and then carved it. I think this requires less time, effort and skill. It also gives a flat bow design that’s unlikely to break. It does require wood that doesn’t twist much when split though.

I find his videos relaxing to watch, and each time he posts one feels like an event. His first video, for example — where he built a wattle and daub hut from scratch and with a fireplace — was nine months in the making.



Firewatch: One Month Later »

A couple weeks ago, Cabel Sasser of Panic Inc. published a recap of all the crazy things the team behind Firewatch experienced and learned in the month following the game’s release. It’s a touching story:

All of us find ourselves in the same weird afterglow of actually having done it, something I think feels weird and almost hilarious to all of us. How did this happen? What are the odds? We made this thing. So I give Sean a hug, and he leans in and says “let’s do this again.” That’s how Firewatch really ends.

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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.