June 27, 2021

Written by

Chris Gonzales

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.

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✍️😌: There’s something so peaceful about watching six+ minutes of David Hockney slowly flipping through his sketchbook. No words, no music, just a bunch of beautiful pieces of art, each worth pausing the video to examine more closely.

🏢🚗: Last month, urban planning associate professor Michael Manville wrote a piece for the Atlantic on how the very existence of required parking (lots, garages, etc) destroys cities. If you’ve studied anything about city design before, none of this will be news to you, but for the person reading this who’s never had reason to think about it before…well, your eyes will be forever opened:

Large portions of New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, if they burned down tomorrow, couldn’t be rebuilt, because according to modern zoning, their buildings don’t have “enough” parking. Brownstone Brooklyn, after all, is largely devoid of parking; so is Boston’s famed North End. Zoning defenders might call this point moot, because those places are different—parking can be scarce because walking and using transit are easy. But walking and using transit are easy, in part, because parking is scarce. Transit thrives on density, which parking undermines, and parking and walking don’t mix. The short walk to a Manhattan subway stop will take you past attractive store windows, which come right up to a sidewalk largely uninterrupted by driveways. Walk along an L.A. boulevard, by contrast, and you’ll get a good view not of stores but of their parking lots, which means in turn that your walk must be careful rather than carefree—lest a car slide out, cross the sidewalk, and run you over. That pleasant experience comes courtesy of L.A.’s zoning.

🌎: Here’s another examination of places, but on a larger scale: Tomas Pueyo’s piece, The Global Chessboard, takes a look at how simple geography has determined the flow of pretty much all human history, and particularly the features of North America that helped the US become the world power it is.

🍗🔥: Try watching this guy make BBQ chicken and not salivate. You can’t do it.

I loved this bit at the 2:55 mark:

This is old-school chicken cookin’ right here. How to barbecue chicken right — or at least, it ain’t how to do it wrong, I’ll tell you that.

I can already tell this is a channel I’ll be watching a lot of in the near future.

🧠💫: Ready to have your mind bent by an optical illustion?

😟: …or do you feel like being slightly unsettled by ‘liminal’ spaces?

📺🚶‍♂️: Director and VFX artist Clinton Jones challenged 2,400 fellow 3D artists to create a unique render from the same simple animation of a person walking with a heavy load. Here were the 100 best entries:

If you have nearly three hours to spare and want to watch every single render, you can do that too.

I love the top comment on Reddit:

Have to imagine little burger dude was part of another project that got scrapped and the cg guy was like “no, it’s burger mini-man’s time to shine”

🌵📸: Arizona photographer Tony Kuyper shares five lessons on photography he didn’t expect to learn while shooting the local desert flora.

I also soon came to understand that I had failed to fully see the plants I had walked past every day since moving to Tucson. Their abundance suggested they might be ordinary, I suppose, and who wants to photograph “ordinary,” right? I had a photographic bias against plants, I think. But that’s changing. There’s nothing commonplace about common plants anymore, especially here in the deserts of southern Arizona. There’s beauty in resilience and elegance in adaptation. The structures that help these plants survive also impart a unique character. Finding this character with a camera is the challenge.

Via Om Malik, who helpfully collected the list of lessons:

  • Stop chasing the light and focus on where it might be hiding instead.
  • Don’t ignore the ordinary.
  • It’s easier finding light once you’ve found your style.
  • Taking the picture is only the beginning. Developing the image personalizes it.
  • We are all photographers, even if we don’t take pictures.

💡❓: In this TED Talk animation, Sheila Marie Orfano begins with Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s 1922 short story “In a Grove” to ask and then examine the question, “How do you know what’s true?”:

A samurai is found dead in a quiet bamboo grove. One by one, the crime’s only known witnesses recount their version of the events. But as they each tell their tale, it becomes clear that every testimony is plausible yet different. And each witness implicates themselves.


It’s tempting to fixate on why we have competing perceptions, but perhaps the more important question the Rashomon effect raises is, what is truth anyway? Are there situations when an “objective truth” doesn’t exist? What can different versions of the same event tell us about the time, place and people involved? And how can we make group decisions if we’re all working with different information, backgrounds, and biases?

Food for thought.

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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.