Links, page 8

  1. Anthony Bourdain: Don’t Eat Before Reading This
    newyorker.com

    Revisiting this incredible piece. The man was unique.

    I love the sheer weirdness of the kitchen life: the dreamers, the crackpots, the refugees, and the sociopaths with whom I continue to work; the ever-present smells of roasting bones, searing fish, and simmering liquids; the noise and clatter, the hiss and spray, the flames, the smoke, and the steam. Admittedly, it’s a life that grinds you down. Most of us who live and operate in the culinary underworld are in some fundamental way dysfunctional. We’ve all chosen to turn our backs on the nine-to-five, on ever having a Friday or Saturday night off, on ever having a normal relationship with a non-cook.

  2. The Cult of the Complex
    alistapart.com

    Jeffrey Zeldman:

    Good communication strives for clarity. Design is its most brilliant when it appears most obvious—most simple. The question for web designers should never be how complex can we make it. But that’s what it has become. Just as, in pursuit of “delight,” we forget the true joy reliable, invisible interfaces can bring, so too, in chasing job security, do we pile on the platform requirements, forgetting that design is about solving business and customer problems … and that baseline skills never go out of fashion.

  3. The Slow Death of Internet Explorer and the Future of Progressive Enhancement
    alistapart.com

    Oliver Williams thinks we should update the “mustard cut” technique to truly deprecate Internet Explorer, and I love the idea.

    Users have more browsers than ever to choose from, yet IE manages to single-handedly tie us to the pre-evergreen past of the web. If developing Chrome-only websites represents one extreme of bad development practice, shackling yourself to a vestigial, obsolete, zombie browser surely represents the other.

    He makes a crucial point — IE users might actually be better off with a pared-down experience:

    By making a clean break with the past, we can focus our energies on building modern sites using modern standards without leaving users stuck on antiquated browsers with an untested and possibly broken site. We save a huge amount of mental overhead. If your content has real value, it can survive without flashy embellishments.

  4. I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t
    theverge.com

    Sarah Jeong, for The Verge:

    Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had.

  5. The Illusion of Control in Web Design
    alistapart.com

    Aaron Gustafson:

    Last week, two events reminded us, yet again, of how right Douglas Crockford was when he declared the web “the most hostile software engineering environment imaginable.” Both were serious enough to take down an entire site—actually hundreds of entire sites, as it turned out. And both were avoidable.

    Start simply. Code defensively. User-test the heck out of it. Recognize the chaos. Embrace it. And build resilient web experiences that will work no matter what the internet throws at them.

  6. Game Score Fanfare: The Anxiety of Celeste and its Music
    youtube.com

    Mathew Dyason:

    Celeste is a poignant exploration of facing anxiety, helped in large part by its deeply personal soundtrack by Lena Raine. Let’s look at how the music approaches the theme of anxiety, whether by inducing it, or turning stress into something more productive.

    I often listen to film and videogame soundtracks to help me focus while working (including the Celeste soundtrack!). This video gets to why that works so well. The idea that stress can be positive (eustress instead of the negative distress) is a powerful concept that I wasn’t aware of.

  7. Plainness and Sweetness
    frankchimero.com

    Frank Chimero:

    I find that the more input I have in the content and strategy of the project, the less burden I place on the aesthetics. Perhaps this is because I believe the aesthetic of the work should be an extention of its objectives, so if you get the strategy right, the look follows. Since I like to tackle problems sideways, I must risk being plain and rely on direct visuals to keep the work comprehensible.

  8. The Tricky Business of Measuring Consciousness
    wired.com

    Jason Pontin for Wired:

    In a groundbreaking study, 102 healthy subjects and 48 responsive but brain-injured patients were “zapped and zipped” when conscious and unconscious, creating a value called a “perturbational complexity index” (PCI). Remarkably, across all 150 subjects, when the PCI value was above a certain value (0.31, is it happens) the person was conscious; if below, she or he was always unconscious.

    Massimini’s test is important because it is the first real proof of integrated information theory (IIT), a theory of consciousness invented by neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin.

    IIT doesn’t try to answer the hard problem. Instead, it does something more subtle: It posits that consciousness is a feature of the universe, like gravity, and then tries to solve the pretty hard problem of determining which systems are conscious with a mathematical measurement of consciousness represented by the Greek letter phi (Φ).

  9. Annihilation (2018)
    filmfreakcentral.net

    Walter Chaw feeds into my obsession with this weird, wonderful film:

    What’s impressive is Annihilation’s willingness and ability to evoke the soul-sickness that leads to great moments of art, great moments of self-destruction, and an equation of the two. Its heroes suffer from cinematic time: years can pass and outside the theatre it’s a mere two hours. They suffer, too, from this idea that you can enter into a space, experience something that is entirely alien, and then re-emerge struggling to articulate the crucible of your experience. How many versions of your old selves have you left behind in a museum, a theatre, a concert hall, a book? Is it a thousand? How many new versions have emerged into the uncanny bright of the day outside?