Welcome to this week’s edition of our 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.
😈: Sarah Morrison of Vox examines the dark patterns and tricks that websites and apps use to manipulate and coerce you into doing what they want — often involving tricking you into giving up your data, money, and/or time.
It’s hard to know what’s an actionable deceptive act or practice when there’s no privacy law in the first place. And it’s hard for consumers to know what they’re giving away unintentionally or how it might be used against them when it all happens behind the scenes.
“It’s a bit like invisible health effects from breathing in fumes or getting a radiation dose: At the time, you might not realize it, but it has a hidden impact on you,” [user experience specialist Harry Brignull] said. “With privacy, it’s quite difficult to think through and understand what the long-term implications are for you. You’re constantly leaking information about yourself to data brokers, and you don’t really know how they’re using it to market to you.”
🎞✍️: You know how some people are just good at social media in a way that people used to turn to personal blogs for? Like how Cabel Sasser always does great Twitter threads about niche emphemera and weird snacks that interest him, or the awkward hilarity of Gabriel Gundacker’s short video skits — I still go back and watch this one now and then — or the sheer effort put into Demi Adejuyigbe’s annual “September 21st” videos, or Natania Barron’s Twitter deep dives into the history and culture of fabric?
Well, Jamelle Bouie’s movie reviews on Letterboxd check that same box for me. He’s already a fantastic columnist whose political commentary you’ve probably seen at Slate and the New York Times, so maybe it’s no surprise that he’d be good at this too.
What gets me is that he clearly puts time/effort into spitting FACTS in some of these reviews (see: The Rise of Skywalker, Hamilton) while others are silly things like, “kong bows for no one”. Just delightful.
😯: Speaking of social media, there was a viral thing on TikTok recently where this 18yo girl named Gracie Scullion figured out how to delay her words as though her voice was lagging in real life:
Not gonna lie, it would freak me out to speak to someone doing this.
💡: David Perell’s video about his “Shiny Dime” philosophy addresses those who struggle with writer’s block because they always try to write about giant topics that can’t be contained in single pieces, when they should instead be going hyper-specific:
That famous old adage “constraint breeds creativity” comes to mind here.
🪚: This Australian guy secretly building his wife a COVID office using only materials he could find on his property is a lot of fun to watch:
Via the Dense Discovery newsletter, where Kai Brach writes:
Beau Miles has quickly become one of my favourite Australian storytellers. His archetypical Australian no-bulls*** approach to making is so refreshing, especially if you work in the digital world where every day I come across another buzzword-heavy fluff piece about ‘the potential of the new maker economy’. Beau couldn’t care less. He wakes up, finds some wood around the place, and builds a cabin – and while he’s hammering away shares some genuine insights about what it means to be human.
🗺🏔: A few months ago, Redditor u/newishtodc (aka @cstats1 on Twitter and Instagram) posted their 3D-rendered map of US elevation tiles and it’s one of the cooler visualizations I’ve seen for this kind of thing (albeit exaggerated on the z-axis by 300x).
+ You can buy the map as a print.
🌞: Also from Reddit comes this uniquely processed image of the sun by Michigan-based astrophotographer Jason Guenzel:
I’ll start by reiterating that this image is heavily software-processed. The photo was shot on a backyard solar telescope, then edited to progressively accentuate the contrasting features.
The end result is a clear depiction of the turbulent nature of the solar chromosphere. This type of photography is an incredible challenge due to the overwhelming light of the photosphere below. Solar images are always software-processed to reveal contrast. I took those methods as far as I could, and then some!
The bright spot you see near the limb of the Sun is a giant sunspot in Active Region 2804. This sunspot is big enough to swallow the Earth whole!
This is definitely NOT what the sun looks like to the eye. In fact, in heavily filtered light we only start to see these structures. So, you have to lean pretty hard on post processing to dig this stuff out.
Almost makes the sun look like a cute and fuzzy animal you could pet, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t recommend trying it though.
🪦⚰️: Filed under both “News to Me” and “R.I.P.”: Om Malik writes about the recent acquisition of Unsplash by…Getty Images, of all things?
On the one hand, I am thrilled for Cho and his co-founders. I absolutely love them as founders and human beings. And I am glad they got a good outcome for themselves and the team.
But as a longtime part of the community, selling out to one of the worst digital corporate citizens does feel like a betrayal. […] We all know how this movie ends: Getty is going to come up with some variation of a paywall, and start charging for photos on Unsplash. It is only a matter of time. In a couple of years, when the Unsplash founders are gone, I won’t even be surprised if Getty’s strongmen started sending legal notices to those who used the photos. New rights-related legalese is probably already being drafted.
I’m just hearing about this myself, and to say it’s worrisome is an understatement. This very site — heck, this very column — which we’ve prided ourselves on never charging readers for, has made extensive use of Unsplash for its hero images for years, and it will be a real problem if Getty decides to somehow turn that fact against us. We’re surely not alone in that either.
Sad as it makes me to say it, I’m going to stop using Unsplash starting right now. There are plenty of alternatives out there, thankfully, and I hope that continues to be the case going forward. Now I just have to hope I don’t have to go back through hundreds of posts and columns to manually change their photos/credits…
📺🥴: Relating a little too hard with this short film of life’s awkward moments right now.
Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently
- These mesmerizing desk globes continually rotate themselves by using ambient light and hidden magnets.
- When it comes to getting good sleep, we’ll take just about any help we can get, and a spritz of this aromatherapy pillow mist is just the thing to help us drift off into dreamland and blissfully stay that way through the night.
- Gareth Hinds’ graphic novel editions of literary classics are fantastic ways to introduce older kids/preteens to tales like The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Beowulf without boring them to death.
- Walter Isaacson’s The Code breaker tells the story of how Nobel-winning biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues developed the revolutionary CRISPR gene-editing technique, and the future implications it holds.
- Supergiant Games’ Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler for Nintendo Switch, in which you defy the god of the dead as you hack and slash your way out of the Underworld of Greek myth.
- This 84-Key wireless mechanical RGB keyboard can be used either wirelessly via Bluetooth or over a USB-C connection, meaning it can be paired with just about any computer, smartphone, or tablet out there.
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.