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.
🧑🎓: An Ivy League education is one of those things so many parents strive to attain for their kids, without considering the ramifications — or even drawbacks — of what that success would look like. In 2008, author and essayist William Deresiewicz wrote a lengthy piece for The American Scholar about the disadvantages of an elite education:
One of the great errors of an elite education, then, is that it teaches you to think that measures of intelligence and academic achievement are measures of value in some moral or metaphysical sense. But they’re not. Graduates of elite schools are not more valuable than stupid people, or talentless people, or even lazy people. Their pain does not hurt more. Their souls do not weigh more.
Yes, this piece almost feels like something from another planet, with all that’s happened in the world between 2008 and today. (Not to mention all the dated references to John Kerry and George Bush, et al.) Still, it’s worth mulling over if you’re one of those “achieve success at all costs” types.
💻🗃🪦: On a more “modern” note, tech journalist Joanna Stern wrote a WSJ article last month on the technology checklist you should complete before you die. As in, figuring out what legally happens to your various online accounts, digital files, passwords, etc. when you pass, and who you designate to take care of that stuff.
One of those things you should do sooner than later, unpleasant though it may be to think about.
🤯: Now, in a blend of old and new, let’s examine the improbable (yet somehow effective) cryptographic technique employed by Cloudflare, wherein, of all things, a wall of lava lamps acts as a random number generator they use to encrypt user data:
(via Jason Kottke)
🏛: A few days ago, a Redditor posted a photo of an incredible replica model of ancient Rome that apparently took 30 years to make. Another Redditor entered the comments to share that they’d once gotten the chance to photograph the replica in much closer detail than most visitors would be allowed to.
“If Apple does this, I’ll be broke.”
💡: The next time you’re feeling like your ideas are completely-unoriginal-so-what-is-even-the-point-of-trying, remember that no idea is new, nor is your version of it worthless:
The idea doesn’t matter nearly as much as the execution does. No one will have your taste, your mind, your unique perspective on the matter. Do you know how many vampire books and shows there are? All of them have differences, and all of them share ideas (“oh no, looks like another animal attack!”). People still eat that s*** up!
Don’t let the fact your idea has been done before stop you from continuing. People are always going to need some version of an escape from their lives.
🧪🌎📺: My wife recently stumbled across this website (and YouTube channel) called Science Mom, which is run by a husband and wife duo (he goes by “Math Dad”) who put together free (!) semester-long science courses for kids. Our son is currently going through the chemistry course, which is comprised of a series of videos and an accompanying schedule/curriculum you can print off and assemble into a kind of “textbook.”
I can’t believe they’re not charging for this. Just to give an example, my son’s been modeling atom orbitals with play-doh, learning about what isotopes are, the difference between atomic number and atomic mass, etc. It’s crazy.
📱+💻: I consider myself something of an iPad aficionado, seeing as how I’ve been using one as my full-time computer for nearly a decade. Even so, I picked up a few new tricks from Christopher Lawley’s recent video on just about everything he’s learned about the iPad.
Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently
- These stainless steel measuring cups are built to last a lifetime (or two) and have lots of convenient little features that add up to a fantastic user experience.
- If you’ve ever wanted one of those awesome books with a hidden compartment inside to stash stuff in, Trevor Lee’s BookRooks Etsy shop is the place to go.
- Based on the iconic and now-classic LS50s, KEF’s “LS50 Meta” bookshelf loudspeakers boast incredibly immersive sound so you can lose yourself in your favorite music.
- At 9,036 pieces, this tribute to Rome’s most iconic landmark is easily the largest LEGO brick set created to date (sorry, Millennium Falcon).
- The Look of the Book is a captivating investigation behind the scenes of the history, making, and significance of book cover design.
- This handmade hardwood tortilla press proves that kitchen tools can be both functional and beautiful to look at.
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.