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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Photo: Dag Peak

Photo: Dag Peak

“Crown Shyness” Phenomenon in Trees »

This is one of those things you may have seen around the internet this week, but I’m mentioning it here anyway because I think it’s neat. Crown shyness is a natural phenomenon in some tree species, in which “the crowns of fully stocked trees do not touch each other, forming a canopy with channel-like gaps.”

To this day, the exact reason for crown shyness is uncertain. Professor Alan J. Rebertus wrote about it in 1988:

In northeastern Australia, where eucalypts are subjected to severe and prolonged winds, Jacobs (1955) believed that contact between crowns caused abrasion and death of sensitive growing tips. Putz et al. (1984) found numerous dead twigs on the branches bordering crown shyness openings in black mangrove, as well as a positive correlation between the width of crown shyness openings and how far adjacent pairs of trees travelled as they swayed in the wind.

However, Ng (1977) found no evidence for direct abrasion in Dryobalanops aromatica, a crown-shy species in Malaysia, and suggested that the growing tips were able to sense light and stop growth when nearing adjacent foliage.

Whatever the reason, the result is striking.

Photo: Blu.

Photo: Blu. View full size here.

Anthropocene Mural in Rome by “Blu” »

I recently stumbled on the r/Heavymind subreddit, which focuses on thought-provoking and symbolic art. The mural shared in this post was made by an Italian artist who goes by “Blu”.

An October 2015 post by Rom Levy of StreetArtNews offers a bit of background and several camera angles of the mural:

After a rather long break, Blu is back in Italy with a fantastic new piece of work which was just completed on the streets of Rome. Painting without a lift using a rope and rappelling against the wall, the Italian artist painted his disastrous vision and evolution of the anthropocene period. As usual with Blu, it’s a simple design which goes straight to the point.

The subject of the mural is a little cynical for sure, but I love looking at all the little details. Click here to see the full-res version.

Kevin Conroy Voices a Scene from The Dark Knight »

Voice actor Kevin Conroy of Batman: the Animated Series and Batman: Arkham fame recently guested on Rob Paulsen’s Talkin’ Toons podcast and ended up doing a rendition of Christian Bale’s ending speech from The Dark Knight, but in his own uniquely gravelly style.

“Malhari” Dance Video »

Sure, you can read about the Bollywood movie this is from or check out the Reddit thread I found it in, but look, sometimes you just need to watch and enjoy a thing, sans context, without overthinking it. This is one of those things.

The Disaster Factory »

Greg Knauss wrote an entertaining article for Offscreen about the “worst case scenario” thinking that professional coding requires and how it affects programmers’ personal lives:

In an environment as insanely chaotic as our modern technological infrastructure – made up of the most advanced science we have, and often held together with chewing gum and good intentions – the only rational response is a deep and abiding paranoia. Experience has taught me to see my software as a writhing mass of Achilles’ heels, a horrific Shoggoth, every line of code a potential disaster. And so I wrap each in a thick, protective layer of negative assumptions, so that when things do go wrong – and they will – the program can (best case) recover quickly or (worst case) not actually kill anyone.

Retraining Your Brain to Enjoy Being Bored »

Jordan Rosenfeld, writing for Quartz:

As a freelance writer, it made sense that I’d check my email frequently. But I also enjoyed surfing the Internet to break up the dull moments of child-rearing. Checking Facebook was a great way to keep tabs on far-flung friends. Before long, I was never bored: not at the post office, the grocery store, or while getting my oil changed. None of this seemed like a problem—until I noticed a creeping feeling of mental clutter, and a significant decline in my creative writing.

It hit me while I was driving one day: I no longer let myself be bored.

Man, that hits home. (Except, replace “Facebook” with “Twitter” to make it even more dead-on.) I found this article via the August 2017 edition of Kevin Rose’s newsletter, The Journal, where he adds:

Lately, I’ve tried to introduce a little boredom into my life by revamping my morning routine. Instead of turning off the alarm on my phone (which pulls me right into notifications and Instagram), I’ve now switched to an analog bedside alarm.

After turning off the alarm, I purposely avoid all electronics (TV, laptop, phone, etc.) for the first hour of the day. I shower, then take the dog to the local coffee shop, leaving my phone at home. Once I have my coffee (or tea, depending on the day) I just sit, letting myself daydream and wake up slowly for about 30 minutes.


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.