Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #542

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • What If? Radiolab. “I love Radiolab (I think Hugh introduced me to the show; my daughter and I have explored that, Reply All, and Decoder Ring, in car rides together). And, while I’m continuing our ban on politics, I think this episode is timely. Recorded in the summer of 2019, this podcast on the presidential transition is ‘part war game, part choose your own adventure,’ it”s ‘a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution.’ Time to dust off some hypotheticals.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • ‘It’s the screams of the damned!’ The eerie AI world of deepfake music – The Guardian. “It’s that time of year when insipid musical earworms leak out of malls and Zoom calls. And now, there’s an infinite number of carols waiting for us, thanks to algorithms. Google‘s Project Magenta is using AI to generate new music, trained on 1.2M tracks. The results are … interesting. Like a skipping AM radio playing something you know you’ve heard somewhere. The legal consequences of this are remarkable—we know what copyright and infringement are, but at what point does that extend to the content on which we train a data model? Well, you don’t have to think much about that. Just light up the virtual fireplace, pour some digital nog, and enjoy the balmy November weather. Interesting times.” (Alistair for Mitch). 
  • Japanese town deploys ‘Monster Wolf’ robots to deter wild bears – CNN. “Maybe your problem isn’t so much too many bears in your life; maybe your problem is that you just don’t have enough robotic giant wolves with glowing red eyes.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The cheap pen that changed writing forever – BBC. “I’m an ink gel man myself, and while I have a theoretical affection for fountain pens, I’ve never been able to avoid losing them for long enough to make them worth it, and have never been particularly sad when they got lost. But, it was the ballpoint that changed penmanship, and that still rules the roost. And, at one time, the ballpoint pen was a radical invention.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • DIY Blackout Blinds for Photo and Video Shoots – Learn Online Video. “I’ve been spending a lot of time, money and brain energy on optimizing my video skills. I was pretty competent (after doing this kind of work for over 20 years), but the world has changed, and the tools and technologies have evolved as well. Lighting is the hardest. Compared to audio and video (for those who think that is hard), lighting is a million times more complex and nuanced. So… I’ve been learning, but also struggling. I find that I look more like Casper The Friendly Ghost than a human being. After watching several YouTube videos, I realized that I needed to start with a blank canvas… which, in the world of lighting, means pure darkness. This is a problem for my office, because it’s a lot of windows and natural light. So, I went down the rabbit hole and found this video. I am not handy (by any means). This may be the first ‘project’ I have ever done (not joking). It was fun, fast, super-easy, and it really works. I can now blackout my entire room – and the cost was under $50 plus maybe an hour of time in labor? It’s also further proof that there are some of the smartest people in the world with great solutions to problems on YouTube.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • A Toy, a Tool, a Piece of Art: Sarah Haas on What a Book Can Be – Literary Hub. “Some know this. Many do not. One of Hugh’s favorite questions is: ‘What is a book?’ The answer becomes more opaque over time. The more digital we get. The more that paper becomes removed from the book (think eBooks). Welp, here’s a big, grand exploration of what a book can be… and what kind of object it actually is…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

Are you interested in what’s next? How to decode the future? I publish between 2-3 times per week and then the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast comes out every Sunday. Feel free to subscribe (and tell your friends ;):