The underestimated collapse of America, building a toaster from scratch, avoiding death in America, cool videos, and more.
Hi! I'm eating chips and I have a track for you to listen to while you read this issue: Kenton Slash Demon - Skydancer II. It's lovelily more enthusiastic than the articles herein (except for the fun videos).
This is a short but strong read on the uniquely American issues we face--school shooting, pathological apathy, an innate numbness to the suffering of our others. It strikes a cord, deep and discordant.
Here's a hilarious TED talk on how this dude built a toaster from scratch. But like, making his own steel (from found iron), copper pieces, and plastic (which he had to mine from the earth). A ridiculous survey of what it takes to actually have the things that we have and then immediately throw away--it takes the entire world to make your phone. And your toaster.
Here's a frightening piece on the ramifications of intense illness, the cost of having it in America, and the inexplicable machinations of the health care system--which may save you, should you be so lucky as to work for a company that sees fit to give you benefits. "For reasons I will never fully understand, the occult transmissions between the doctors and the administrators and the insurance company left me responsible for $2,654.42 out of the $648,221.53 billed. . . . I spent months of my life at the mercy of people with the capacity—and perhaps more importantly, the incentive—to care for me."
Listen, this is a 1 minute spec ad done for Nike that is nothing but A E S T H E T I C. Glitch aesthetic, cyberpunk, somehow spiritual. It's cool.
"Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?" I mean, yes, but how do you regulate this? No addictive habit loops? Muted colors for notifications? Mandatory "hey you've been here for a while" messages? Actually, that one's not too bad. I think tumblr does that? Tumblr is the shit. Nir Eyal's book, mentioned inside, BTW, is very good--both for designing addictive products as well as for seeing them coming. One of the worst hooks I get is hooked into "idle games", games where you do nothing but leave the phone open and watch numbers go up. Seriously, I paid $6 to this Idle Universe (DON'T LOOK IT UP) app just so I could get through it faster because my stupid monkey brain takes the numbers and sees them go bigger and thinks that must be better. I rationalize it as $6 for making a good game. Thanks, Idle Universe.
The tl;dr: Amazon is awful, squeezes work out of contract employees, puts on competitions to see who can work the hardest and rewards them with cookies or raffle tickets. If Amazon moves to Austin, I swear... a long read, in case you like to stare into the void of maws of massive corporations.