July 11, 2021

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Toby Ord / NASA

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.

* * *

🎞🤩: As Jason Kottke puts it so well, the Twitter replies to Todd Vaziri’s request for great film shots of the last decade are a visual feast. I’m also realizing how far behind the cultural zeitgeist I am — so many fantastic looking films I need to see!

🎨🌌: Everyone thinks they know the real story of Vincent van Gogh’s life — the madness, the ear thing, etc — but as this video about his painting, “The Starry Night” explains in detail, there was so much more to the man than those things:

In other words…

“He created these images despite his mental illness, not because of it.”

🔪🥔: It seems such a simple thing, this quick tip from J. Kenji López-Alt on how to keep potatoes from sticking to your knife. And yet, my whole culinary life is changed???

👾🧠: is a crowdsourced game reviews website dedicated to helping you find good games — primarily on iOS and Android, for now — that don’t use psychological tricks to manipulate you into addictive gaming patterns. You know exactly the kind of games I’m talking about: those cutesy, thinly veiled gambling simulators that have flooded the mobile gaming market over the past several years. They’re gross, and you should avoid them.

Browse around the site’s “Healthy” games list (or their “Dark” list, if you feel like hurting yourself today) and click through any of the titles to check their ratings, good or bad, for various dark patterns.

🌎: Oxford Senior Research Fellow Toby Ord went through the trouble of digitally restoring a selection of old Apollo-mission images of the Earth, and they are gorgeous. However, the sentence below is what really struck me:

Only 24 people have journeyed far enough to see the whole Earth against the black of space.

I had never considered how low that number was until now 😲

Anyway, after looking at the images, stick around for the story behind the project:

At first glance, [the raw digital scans] were beset by even more flaws than the reproductions: with dust and scratches; strange colour casts; extreme under- or over-exposure. But they held within them the potential to remedy these flaws and reveal their beauty. Filled with hope, I downloaded a scan of The Blue Marble, and tried my hand at restoration. To my lasting surprise, the preliminary adjustments for levels and white balance saw it come to life — already surpassing the reproduction used on Wikipedia.


I restored these images over the course of many long evenings. On warmer nights I’d open the window to the Moon and stars and the black of space. The work was often slow and painstaking. But it was also deeply uplifting: seeing the images come to life, and gazing for the first time at the beauty of some of the lost pictures of our world.

👀: Depending on your personality, you’ll find these crazy macro videos on Instagram oddly satisfying, kind of interesting, or deeply disturbing.

🤓: TierZoo is an amusing yet educational YouTube channel that talks about the history of life on Earth as though it were a multiplayer video game, where creatures have “stats” and “abilities” and are chosen by “players,” while different periods of time are referred to as “patches” released by the “devs.” It’s all very nerdy, but my 9yo son and I are loving it so far.

🍳: I’ve been digging the Kitchenomicon website, which has lots of great recipes and cooking techniques + kitchen tips for you to peruse. I love their whole ‘neon’ aesthetic and the fact that the recipes have ZERO backstory or preamble whatsoever — only the ingredients and steps, nothing more.

You should check out their recent guide on the best nonstick skillets, which is the sort of thing I hope they do more of.

  + Side note: The embedded video from that skillet guide is hosted on an interesting social video site I hadn’t heard of until now but am already fascinated by. It’s kind of like “stories”-type videos expanded into an entire platform of their own. It’s apparently pretty new because I’m currently #1,777 on the waitlist.

* * *

Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently


Guide: Everyday Carry: Tony Stark

* * *

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.