- A critical look at the current cultural trends around (a type of) minimalism that is more a lifestyle brand of prescribed tastes, technocratic optimization and conformity than spiritually-inspired asceticism.
- In what could be read as a counterpoint to the flawless surface fantasies of an inhuman minimalism, Anab Jain writes about the social and practical values of repair/salvage, what she refers to as a practice of "making-as-caring" - a combination of material and immaterial labor as an alternative to the wasteful thoughtlessness of consumer capitalism.
- Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look inside the Facebook/Oculus Rift efforts to build the leading virtual reality platform. Among the technical challenges: making sure the virtual worlds don't make people sick, which is something they apparently test by subjecting a particularly sensitive employee to newly developed content. While it's hardly a subjective sampling, it shows some awareness that products designed for the masses often fail (sometimes harmlessly, sometimes dangerously) to meet the needs of a great diversity of end users.
Roadmapping the Future:
- As climate change leads to persistent droughts, desalination becomes a more appealing or even vital option for cities and nations bordered by oceans. Scientific American examines Israel's success in developing desalination technologies. Through intensive R&D they have reduced the energy required for the process dramatically: the cost of clean sea water has fallen by 2/3rds since the 1990s.
Bias and Brains:
- Black culture has often been the pioneering force for mass culture in the United States and abroad, and just as often the financial and social capital generated by those trends have been ported away from the original communities into whiter, wealthier hands. As much as the internet has democratized distribution, it hasn't upended this pattern of racist cultural theft. Through the lens of memes and viral content, Aria Dean looks at who really benefits when black creative practices taking place in digital spaces reach other networks.