Recent reading III

Imagining a Solar-Powered Internet: Kris De Decker Low<–Tech Magazine

So you have to adapt your society or technology to a new type of energy source. We actually need a lot of innovation because all our technology is based on fossil fuels, and it doesn’t really work with intermittent power sources. Which could be done, for instance: in some developing countries, internet networks are not always on. They are indeed intermittent, because they work with solar panels. Every internet node has a solar panel, and the data only gets from one node to another if there is sun. Your email might take three days to arrive, depending on the weather. So you can adapt basically anything to an intermittent energy supply. It’d be a kind of cultural shift towards something more sustainable.

How do you use the internet mindfully?

This summer we got to watch a workshop created by a few friends that used colorful cardboard blocks to imagine the internet as a city. Together they built structures that represented different ways of organizing the infrastructure of the web. “If the Internet were a city,” they asked, “what would be its roads, buildings, and parks?”

Typography on the Web (2015)

What we gained with modern web technology is the ability to have the layout (and even fonts) automatically react to outside conditions like screen format, device capabilities, user preferences, or even reading distance. Design is no longer about tailoring invariable content to one specific embodiment; the web forces us to think about typography in terms of parameters and to get clear about content versus form.

Archiving Is The New Folk Art (2011)

Clearly, all of this is a far cry – and a lot of extra busy work – from the act of merely listening to music. In fact, I spend much more time acquiring, cataloging and archiving my artifacts these days than I do actually engaging with them. The ways in which culture is distributed and archived has become profoundly more intriguing than the cultural artifact itself. What we’ve experienced is a inversion of consumption, one in which we’ve come to engage in a more profound way with the acts of acquisition over that which we are acquiring; we’ve come to prefer the bottles to the wine.

The Utility of Fun

Having spent a significant amount of time in design classrooms critiquing work and cutting my teeth, I sympathize with students who feel the pressure to create work imbued with austerity. Students easily fall into the trap of thinking that if something doesn’t feel clean, and professional, that it isn’t good. If it isn’t good, they won’t get a job. If they don’t get a job, they can’t pay off their loans. Obviously, I disagree. This notion is dangerous, and can strip professionals of the joy that is vital for sustaining careers.

Sourdough Bread! The oldest (and probably best) loaf

Sourdough is fetishized like nobody’s business. It’s also the most bro-y of all foods (the only challenger is BBQ). YouTube is full of white dudes with beards and tattoos talking sincerely about hydration levels, scoring patterns and oven humidity. The root of it, I suppose, is the fascination with how a simple ingredients list (flour, water, salt) can produce such wildly different results. The magic is all in the process, and bros love a process.