Written by

Chris Gonzales


Cédric Klei

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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Photo: Amanda Demme, The New York Times

Photo: Amanda Demme, The New York Times

The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow »

Mildly NSFW for language.

You probably heard about this story in at least one of your online circles this week, and if you’ve neglected to read it until now — and I understand why you would — you’re doing yourself a disservice, honestly. Taffy Brodesser-Akner of The New York Times Magazine got an inside look at Gwyneth Paltrow’s controversial “wellness” brand Goop, from its confoundingly meteoric success to the more bizarre ideas and practices that have come out of it:

Everyone glowed. Everyone wore flowing dresses and wide-legged jumpsuits. There was a woman asleep on one of the couches. Also: a manifestation workshop; acroyoga, where we bobbed up and down on scarves hanging from the ceiling; a medium who told me my grandmother was standing next to me telling me I have thyroid disease; a man who stuck two ungloved fingers into my ears and said he “fixed” my jaw, which there was nothing wrong with. Trust him, he said, he’s not a doctor. He’s not even a physical therapist. He’s a weight trainer, and he said he has a list of 2,000 people waiting to get fixed by him. All these people, wasting their money on traditional medicine, when he’s willing to take you into his office and lay you on a table and make you good as new without the hassle of insurance.

I agree with Ed O’Keefe:

This Gwyneth Paltrow profile should be nominated for a Pulitzer. Or a comedy writing award. The kitchen scene should be required teaching material for kids in journalism school. What a great read.

Photo: Javier Zarracina, Vox

Photo: Javier Zarracina, Vox

Why Restaurants Became So Loud — and How to Fight Back »

Speaking of irksome trends, Julia Belluz of Vox examines the increasingly high decibel levels restaurant patrons have to deal with:

But here’s the thing: Loud restaurants aren’t just irksome — they’re a public health threat, especially for the people who work at or regularly patronize them. Being exposed to noise levels above 70 and 80 decibels — which many restaurants boast these days — causes hearing loss over time, Gail Richard, past president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, told me. This kind of hearing loss is “preventable, but it’s also irreparable,” she added.

In reckoning with this underappreciated health threat, I’ve been wondering how we got here and why any well-meaning restaurateur would inflict this pain on his or her patrons and staff. I learned that there are a number of reasons — and they mostly have to do with restaurant design trends. In exposing them, I hope restaurateurs will take note: You may be deafening your staff and patrons. I also hope restaurant patrons will start, er, raising their voices about this, or voting with their feet.

It’s not just restaurants either. I’ve been in Starbucks stores across the US that all have their music WAY too loud, which sucks when you’re trying to sit and do writing work, especially if you have a talkative kid in tow and people around you are having loud meetings (either in person or over Skype or whatever). It’s just too much input for this introvert.

Food Wishes: How to Make Poutine (or, You’ll Ruin French Fries and Like It) »

My family and I’s recent travels have brought us to Michigan, about a half-hour south of the Canadian border. Next week we intend to visit Canada for the first time ever — if only briefly — and we’ll be trying poutine for the first time as well. So, I thought it was a funny coincidence that Chef John of Food Wishes put up a video on poutine making, using cheese curds he also shows how to make:

This guy is whey dedicated to his craft. (Ugh, sorry.)

There is No Right Decision »

David Cain of the Raptitude blog argues that no decision you’ll ever make exists in a vacuum:

We do make choices, and they do have consequences. But the idea that there’s a “correct” one is only ever a story we tell ourselves. […]

Here’s how I think it really works: You’ll make a million decisions, and each will shape your life and other people’s lives in ways you’ll barely know. You will have surprising successes and surprising failures. You’ll give yourself too much credit for both. Then you’ll die.

Much more important than any decision, or its consequences, is the motivation behind the sorts of decisions you tend to make. Principles, applied over the years, have consistent, traceable trajectories.

The core "ghost characters": 妛挧暃椦槞蟐袮閠駲墸壥彁 (via Paul McCann)

The core “ghost characters”: 妛挧暃椦槞蟐袮閠駲墸壥彁 (via Paul McCann)

The Japanese Ghost Characters Haunting Unicode »

Interesting story by Paul McCann about “ghost characters” in Japanese encodings and Unicode that seemingly came from nowhere:

In 1978 Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry established the encoding that would later be known as JIS X 0208, which still serves as an important reference for all Japanese encodings. However, after the JIS standard was released people noticed something strange – several of the added characters had no obvious sources, and nobody could tell what they meant or how they should be pronounced. Nobody was sure where they came from. These are what came to be known as the ghost characters (幽霊文字).


The errors went undiscovered just long enough to be set in stone, and now these ghosts are, at least in potential, a part of every computer on the planet, lurking in the dark corners of character tables.

At this rate they’ll presumably be with humanity forever.

(via John Gruber)

Graphic via Armin Vit, Under Consideration

Graphic via Armin Vit, Under Consideration

Rolling Stone’s New Logo Drops the Shadow »

I can’t cover every possible brand redesign in these columns, but the recent one by Rolling Stone feels like a big deal considering how much history is behind their logo alone, as shown in this video:

I’ll be honest, I don’t care too much for the flat logo, even if they did hire the same guy who made the original one. The drop-shadowed, cross-hatched look of that old logo was just so iconic. The new one feels like any other magazine logo.

That said, it appears that Under Consideration co-founder Armin Vit disagrees with me (edited for brevity):

This is the first time in decades that the logo will not have its hard shadow, which is as much part of the brand as are the letterforms. The resulting logo carries the tradition of the publication but delivers it in a 2015-and-beyond, flat design that makes more sense for today’s visual landscape. Let’s be happy that this didn’t become a geometric sans or another Medium-esque bold serif. Overall, I think the logo is the right evolution at the right time.


Neat Stuff We Published This Week

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