Written by

Chris Gonzales


Sebastian Unrau

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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Animation: James Yang, The New York Times

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change »

Justin Gillis, The New York Times:

The issue can be overwhelming. The science is complicated. Predictions about the fate of the planet carry endless caveats and asterisks.

We get it.

And so, as the Paris climate talks get underway, we’ve provided quick answers to often-asked questions about climate change.

One such answer includes this:

The heat accumulating in the Earth because of human emissions is roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day.

Photo: "St. Tesla" on Behance

Photo: “St. Tesla” on Behance

Photo: "St. Tesla" on Behance

Photo: “St. Tesla” on Behance

Illuminated Code From Space »

A German artist who goes by the pseudonym “St. Tesla” applied the tilt-shift effect to a series of photos of celestial objects like nebulae, galaxies, and supernovae.

Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level) all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level). In the system the midpoint is Man, who summarizes the cosmos.

The effect is not just cute but fascinating in the way it transforms objects on the macro scale into seemingly tiny objects you could hold in your hand.

Photo: Kevin Pang

Photo: Kevin Pang

What I’ve Learned in 11 Years Working at the Chicago Tribune »

Kevin Pang offers great advice to anyone just getting started in the world of journalism. They’re all good points, but these three (which happen to appear consecutively on the list) spoke to me most:

  • If you get the chance, leave the country for six months.
  • Be prepared to have your heart broken at least three times.
  • Embrace your eccentricities. Then become the expert writer on those subjects. I used to be ashamed of being the geek who liked pro wrestling and card tricks. All these years later, my best stories have been about wrestlers and magicians, because no one can pitch and write those stories with authority like I can.

Be Present »

Brett Kelly:

But if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t take more than a moment or two for my mind to run away down some rabbit hole involving work, responsibility, and similar adult things. As often as it occurs to me, I have to give myself deliberate instructions to focus on what’s happening right in front of me.

There will always be problems and parts of life that need your attention. There will always be something else you should be doing that you’re not.

It’s about maintaining perspective.

Why I Haven’t Had a Conventional Christmas in 20 Years »

Musician and recording engineer Steve Albini, writing for Huffington Post:

In its best years, Letters to Santa raised enough to change the trajectory of more than a dozen of Chicago’s poorest families. It’s an inviolable principle of the effort that every cent of the money raised goes directly to people in need, either as gifts or direct assistance. There is literally no overhead, and over the years, we have distributed over a million dollars directly into their hands. Families have been able to move into better housing and safer living conditions, solve health crises, relocate and reunite family members, and otherwise stabilize precarious lives in a way that enabled them to flourish.

Making as large a positive impact as possible on a small number of families. I dig it.

Illustration: Jason Meeks

Illustration: Jason Meeks

#Slackdown: A Lesson in Brand Interaction »

Jason Meeks on the recent Slack outage that took Twitter by storm:

In the span of a few hours, the official @SlackHQ account tweeted OVER 2,300 TIMES in the form of kind, thoughtful, and funny replies to users tweeting about the service outage.

Most users were delighted by the personalized responses (that’s right, actual human hands typing the words), and a good stat to look at to highlight this is the fact that @SlackHQ gained over 3,300 followers yesterday (more than 7x any other day in the previous month).

As I scrolled through dozens of tweets, it became clear to me that Slack really cares about the community of people that use their product, and that the people that use the product really care about the company. Many users even tweeted kind words of support to Slack in an effort to help them through such a difficult time[.]

Truly goes to show what the power of genuine, open, and good-natured communication between a company and its users can do.

Photo: Jack Davison, The New York Times

Photo: Jack Davison, The New York Times

Edmund de Waal and the Strange Alchemy of Porcelain »

Sam Anderson of The New York Times Magazine profiled sculptor Edmund de Waal and got an interesting experience in return:

Within a few minutes of my meeting Edmund de Waal, he was putting things in my hands. He handed me, for instance, a 1,000-year-old Chinese porcelain plate — the kind of object you would expect to see in a climate-controlled glass case in a museum, protected, at great expense, from clumsy, meaty, oily, inexpert hands like mine. De Waal just passed it to me as if it were nothing. To understand an object, he believes, you have to touch it.

I never thought about it before, but man, the stress of holding a fragile object older than the printed word… *whistles*

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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.