Hello and Good-Bye

Hello internet friends,

surprise! Bet you forgot about these newsletters.
Well, so did I. What was for a while a cherished ritual started to become tedious and then I just stopped. And I guess that’s what Mailchimp started to think about Tinyletter, too: they will shut it down in February.
And while I haven’t written one of these mails for many years I wanted to use this opportunity to reach out and send a final hello to all of you. Or maybe a penultimate one. I might do one more in January.

I haven’t quite given up on the concept of newsletters, though. For this year I have been writing and posting week notes to my blog and I plan to continue doing so next year.
And I have been link-blogging more and more, too.

One of my ideas for next year was to combine these two things and also send them out as by email. In some way as a spiritual successor to this newsletter here.
Would that be something anyone of you would be interested in reading? I might use the last moments of Tinyletter to give it a go in January. If that’s not your cup of tea please feel free to unsubscribe with the link at the bottom of this email. I’ll probably export the subscriber list and send out new emails with a new provider. (Never Substack, though. For good reasons.)

So, have a good December everyone. Take care of yourself.


PS: I just realized I stop writing these before the pandemic. Can you imagine what an interesting documentation of those times the newsletter could have been if only I kept on writing it? Yeah, me neither. But the potential was there.

Ay! Pereza!

Hello internet friends,

you might not be aware of this but I’m not a big fan of eating stuff that comes out of the water. Well, this might change now: Shrimp Are Testing Positive for Cocaine and Scientists Don’t Know Why
Finally I can live the agency lifestyle.

Since it’s not cocaine in my nose it has to be something else that makes me sniffle – and well, yes, just like so many other people I have a pollen allergy. Turns out this is another side effect of toxic masculinity: Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies
There’s a joke in there somewhere about how in trees it is not the males who shed messy seeds, but this is a family show here.

Excavations show hunter-gatherers lived in the Amazon more than 10,000 years ago which is a couple of thousand years earlier than previously thought. Lately it seems these signs of very early humans pop up all around the globe, quite amazing.
And I’m pretty sure that pollen allergy wasn’t a problem these people had.

Meanwhile in the modern times we can sort of look around and now: it’s all a bit pointless. The Case for Doing Nothing is pretty compelling.

Well, I guess that’s what I’ll do now until it’s time to sleep.

Eggs! EGGS!

Hello internet friends,

back from the unannounced easter break. Did you even notice?
I thought so.

Best news ever: The age of the Influencer has peaked. It’s time for the slacker to rise again
Time to get the flannels out.

Now this is an interesting look at what is going on at YouTube: The Most Measured Person in Tech Is Running the Most Chaotic Place on the Internet
Remember the last time we learned that the golden age of YouTube is over? Now let’s read this article again and find the fun connections.

Christ almighty: Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA:

it’s possible to encode malicious software into physical strands of DNA, so that when a gene sequencer analyzes it the resulting data becomes a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software and takes control of the underlying computer.

The future!

Yeah, enough for now.


Hello internet friends,

it’s a new week already, uh? Time flies when you’re having fun.
Warning: today we’re being a bit morbid with all four subjects being either extinct, past their prime, very old or about to be replaced in the near future.

Let’s start with the extinct – scientists in the Philippines have found a new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines (For those of you without a subscription to nature – here’s a link to CNN.)
Pretty fascinating to think how these hunter-gatherers somehow made their way from Africa (which still seems to be the theory behind the origins of hominins) made it to those South-East Asian islands.

Oh no! The golden age of YouTube is over – or at least that’s what The Verge claims. While a lot of it might have to be taken with a grain of salt, I do notice that a lot of the people whose videos I watch on there kind of stopped lately. Oh well, as long as the hour-long videos of randos just walking around cities are still up, I know I have stuff to watch.

Ironically enough the next link is now to a Youtube video – and what a nerdy one: A 20 Year Old DOOM Record Was Finally Broken
I mean honestly… wow. That’s a lot of dedication to something that doesn’t matter at all. Not that anything does, really.

There were many articles about the 737 lately and for good reason. This one from the New York Times has been the best so far: Boeing’s 737 Max: 1960s Design, 1990s Computing Power and Paper Manuals
If you want the gist in a quick video, here’s Vox with an explainer video.


Least Useful Part

Hello internet friends,

let’s talk about The Matrix first. It has been twenty years since that movie appeared in cinemas and it still holds up quite well. David Sims over at The Altantic makes a case for the idea that A Movie Like The Matrix Might Never Happen Again – mostly because Hollywood is even more risk-averse these days than it was back then.

An article in The New Yorker made quite the rounds last week – apparently a bunch of paleontologists found a dig site from The Day the Dinosaurs Died thanks to that meteor.
Of couse nothing is ever as simple and great as it sounds at first. Apparently the actual scientific study does mention the day of the meteor and that they found a lot of animal fossils but not any actual dinosaurs. Turns out – it’s not so easy to know How to interpret the dinosaur study tearing the paleontology world apart.

In other news – Patagonia Is Refusing To Sell Its Iconic Power Vests To Some Financial Firms. Luckily I don’t run into people with that look a lot, but I guess they’ll have to get their puffy vests from somewhere else now.

Gizmodo asked a bunch of experts about the least useful body part and the answers are pretty amusing. It’s not a question I’ve ever asked myself, but after reading this, I might give the old pyramidalis muscle a bit of a flex.

Meanwhile BBC Future ponders Why there’s so little left of the early internet and what is being done to make sure there’s a bit more left of the internet of today. Even though it might be a stretch to say that any of this current stuff is really worth preserving.

That’s all for now – toodles!


Hello internet friends,

no shit, Sherlock: Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)
I’m pretty sure the contents of this article are only a surprise to people who don’t procrastinate. But hey, read it anyway, maybe it helps you to not have to do something else right now?

I am in the lucky position that I have a whole bunch of very good art museums nearby. (And as with most other privileges, I just squander it by not going regularly.) And so the logistics on how certain special exhibitions with art works from all over the world happen are pretty fascinating to me: How to move a masterpiece: the secret business of shipping priceless artworks

Click. Paperclip. Click Click Click, more paperclips. Remember Universal Paperclips? Well: The Unexpected Philosophical Depths of the Clicker Game Universal Paperclips is a very neat article with a lot of background information. Including the awesome fact that someone is working on a movie script based on the game.

Last but not least: The case for being grumpy at work


As Far From Civilization As Possible

Hello internet friends,

after I’ve given you so much to read last week, this week it’s a whole different story. Or… well, three stories.

Turns out Your Drunk Self May Actually Be the Real You
Sleepy, slightly sad and just wanting to go home? Yeah, sounds about right.

E-scooters – even near me they suddenly creep up, those nasty little buggers. Because riding them is just slightly above vaping on the scale of obnoxious things to do in public, these things mostly stand around and are not being used. Which for me is a data point for the fact that there is still hope for humanity. But I guess if you had to use one of them for something, this is a pretty good idea: I Rode an E-Scooter as Far From Civilization as Its Batteries Could Take Me

The new Formula 1 season is upon us. And while I really don’t follow the sport really all that much anymore, I had a chuckle at this: Who has the fastest website in F1?
(And talking about F1 – the Netflix documentary series on the 2018 season is actually pretty compelling to watch, even if you’re not into the sport itself.)

That’s all for today,


Fish Zapping

Hello internet friends,

I hope this letter finds you well, after it travelled back and forth underneath the oceans.

We stay underwater and have a lot into the past. Apparently Herodotus described a type of boat that nobody else whose words made it through the millenia ever mentioned, so people most thought: eh, old Herodotus. A world-class historian, not much of a nautical engineer.
Turns out if you look at the right place, you actually find more proof that this kind of boat exists – and where, if not the river Nile, would you find an old boat? Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right – after 2,469 years. Nice.

More underwater news? This interview is pretty bonkers: Latest Generation of Lionfish-Hunting Robot Can Find and Zap More Fish Than Ever
It sounds like a great idea to release an army of app-controlled fish-zapping robots. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, enough underwater now, let’s go up in the sky!
Apparently a huge meteor hit the earth some time in December and nobody really noticed: Meteor blast over Bering Sea was 10 times size of Hiroshima
What’s even more interesting: a Japanese satellite took a picture of the entry event – and you’ll have to zoom it quite a bit to see it.

Okay, some more bits and pieces:


Two Identical Puffs

Hello internet friends,

have you ever been so generic that you saw a stock photo and thought it was you?

“Dominik, this could be something for your newsletter!” That wasn’t a wrong assumption at all.
Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric Proto-Writing System – fascinating. Even more fascinating that we’re slowly moving back to that system these days. 🥳

This is very much my kind of humor: I commissioned an oil painting of Barbra Streisand’s cloned dogs
Just look at it.

I’ll share a secret with you – I, too, forget most of the articles I mention here in my emails. I do hope that every one of them is of interest to some of you, but like so many things most of these links are ephemeral, interesting for a moment, gone the next.
But some of them stay in my mind, often just under the surface and just once in a while they poke their head out to ask: “Hey, remember me?” And one of them is this pretty incredible story: I fell in love with a female assassin
That article is eleven years old now, did anyone of you ever watch the “major Hollywood film” that they wanted to make out of the story?


A Thief And A Skier

Hello internet friends,

do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, heart beating and with just one question in your mind: “How do you spell that person’s name?”
Yeah, me neither.
But still, this is pretty fun: The Gyllenhaal Experiment – the visualisation is probably the best thing about it, right next to the crushing feeling that maybe one isn’t so good at spelling the last names of random American celebrities.

Now this is fascinating: The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief – and no, it’s not an Ocean’s [insert number here] story – turns out you don’t need all that many people for a successful heist. Or 200 of them.

I have the western approach corridor for the Zurich airport right over my head, a small-ish but busy airport nearby and a whole bunch of the big international air routes within viewing distance. There is also a lot of sky to see from here, so the chances that I see at least one plane when looking up at a clear day are pretty high. And of course I want to know what plane it is, where it goes and where it comes from. Obviously I have Flightradar24 running a lot. (Just now an Edelweiss Air A330 from Tampa to Zurich would be right in my view, if it weren’t so cloudy. And I could see the Enter Air 737 from Poznan to Fuerteventure as well, somewhere in the distance.)
So obviously I’m not really learning Flightradar24 — how it works? from this article, but you might. (And it reminds me that I should get my little Raspberry running again. I’m missing a lot of potentially interesting data.)

Number one sign I’m not an adventurer: When I hear “Many have died attempting to…” my first instinct is to then not try it.
Not this guy, though: Meet the skier who made the ‘impossible’ first solo descent of K2 Just the very first GIF/Movie is absolutely amazing.

I’m not an archaeologist, so my opinion doesn’t quite matter, but I somehow guess there was still some juvenile humor involved in this: Ancient Romans etched penis graffiti as a symbol of luck and domination