July 29, 2016

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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Tesla's soon-to-be-operational [Gigafactory.]( More photos of its construction [were published]( at *Jalopnik* yesterday.

Tesla’s soon-to-be-operational Gigafactory. More photos of its construction were published at Jalopnik yesterday.

Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux »

Elon Musk recently published part two of Tesla Motors’ so-called “Secret Master Plan” (the first part of which was written a decade ago):

By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.

Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner:

As Jason Kottke summarizes:

The company is going all-in on sustainable energy, building out their fleet of available vehicle types (including semi trucks and buses), and pushing towards fully self-driving cars that can be leased out to people in need of a ride.

It’s all pretty exciting stuff to think about, although not everyone is 100% behind the plan. On his Human Transit blog, public transit consultant Jarrett Walker questions the particular validity of abolishing buses in favor of automated car fleets:

So a bus with 4o people on it today is blown apart into, what, little driverless vans with an average of two each, a 20-fold increase in the number of vehicles? It doesn’t matter if they’re electric or driverless. Where will they all fit in the urban street? And when they take over, what room will be left for wider sidewalks, bike lanes, pocket parks, or indeed anything but a vast river of vehicles?

Obviously, these are large problems to solve, and no one person will have the magic answer for everything. I’m just thrilled there are people working on them.

Photo: Sebastian Kim, GQ

Photo: Sebastian Kim, GQ

The Encyclopedia of Matt Damon »

Rather than ask inane questions about the upcoming Jason Bourne film, GQ asked Matt Damon and other stars who have worked with him over the years to share a few interesting and funny stories about why he’s so darn well-liked in Hollywood:

Bill Simmons (Bostonian; host, ‘Any Given Wednesday’): I was dating this girl who moved to Chicago, and I was living in Boston. I was making, like, $200 a week writing a column and bartending, and it cost somewhere between $300 and $450 to fly to Chicago. So I went to see Good Will Hunting in Cambridge by myself. And at the end, he goes to see about a girl, and I was like, “You know what? I like her, but I don’t know if I’d go to see about a girl.” We broke up within 12 hours. And my next girlfriend was my wife. That’s why I always defend Matt Damon.

I loved this story about Prince:

Julia Stiles (co-star, ‘Bourne’ films): After The Bourne Ultimatum came out, there was a premiere in London. Prince actually came to it, then got tickets for the cast to come see him [perform]. We were summoned into a room to meet him [after the show]. Matt said, “So you live in Minnesota? I hear you live in Minnesota.”

Damon: Prince said, “I live inside my own heart, Matt Damon.””

Go read the rest. Just know there’s a lot of NSFW language in the article.

The Remarkable Inconsistency of Climate Denial »

Adam Frank, in an op-ed for NPR:

In the face of these facts, climate denialists claim that the science is somehow mistaken or it’s a deliberate hoax. So where exactly is their inconsistency? […]

Climate denialists, like everyone else, enjoy the fruits of science. But it’s only when those fruits run up against pre-conceived political antagonisms that the cognitive dissonance begins.


“I Saw Earth and Moon in a Single Glance” »

Avi Solomon interviewed Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden on the 45th anniversary of his epic voyage to the Moon:

So there was a little space around the far side of the Moon where I was shadowed from both the Earth and the Sun and that was pretty amazing. I could see more stars than I could possibly imagine. It really makes you wonder about our place in the Universe and what we’re all about. When you see that many stars out there you realize that those are really suns and those suns could have planets around them and all that kind of stuff.

The sky is just awash of stars when you’re on the far side of the moon, and you don’t have any sunlight to cut down on the lower intensity, dimmer stars. You see them all, and it’s all just a sheet of white.

It’s a long read with lots of photos. Save it in Instapaper for later.

How to Make a Tennis Ball »

As it turns out, the making of tennis balls is surprisingly hypnotic. Take a few minutes for yourself to relax and enjoy.


Free Agents Podcast »

This week, David “MacSparky” Sparks and Jason Snell of Six Colors and The Incomparable started a podcast together called Free Agents, focused on what it takes to be an indie business owner.

There are already tons of podcasts on this topic in the world, but this one’s hosted by a pair of nerds that we like, and which you — being awesome readers of a tech- and gear-oriented site like Tools & Toys — may already follow elsewhere. Definitely subscribe.

Episode one (embedded above), “The Temptation of Yes”, really hit the dirt running and proves this podcast will be a good’un. (That introduction by Matt Alexander was also good, even if he’s embarrassed about it.)

You Can’t Build a Sustainable Career by Being a One-Hit Wonder »

Srinivas Rao — author of the upcoming book, Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best and host of the Unmistakable Creative podcast — writes about why it’s important to continue building a substantial body of work even if you’ve already had success with one thing:

The always on instant feedback nature of the internet leads to a lot of one hit wonders, and people aspiring to follow in their footsteps. […]

What we don’t see however is what a small fraction of the internet these things are. Not only that they are eventually forgotten. As Seth Godin likes to say “would we miss you if you were gone?” How could we possibly miss a one hit wonder if they were gone? They weren’t even here that long. Most of these things are built off public opinion, which is at best a fickle currency and changes from week to week.

The takeaway: So you wrote a bestselling book, big deal. Get up the next morning and start writing another one.

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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.