How to cope with assholes

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“I never could figure out why he was so serene in the face of certain assholes, especially in particular a petty tyrant we have in our midst. But what he does is he pretends when people are nasty that he’s a doctor who specializes in studying assholism. And he says to himself, ‘Oh, what a fascinating subject or specimen. I can’t believe how lucky I am to see this close up,’ which is funny, because I guess that’s partly who I am.” He also likes a strategy he calls “time travel”: “Think about it like it’s tonight and you’re looking back at it, and it won’t seem so bad.””

This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks

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Newsletter: ‘The internet is a propaganda machine.’

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Do you see a duck or a rabbit? Both 😉…?

Hi! I hope everyone is having a good week. Below are some of the links I recommend checking out this weekend. As always, peep a new tune and old classic after the jump.

web gems

Architects around the world are designing better schools. Buildings shape learning. Architects in Japan and Denmark are redesigning schools that permit more natural light and encourage the type of play children do at home.

The Stahl House Movie. Like watching The Office or seen Big Lebowski? My older brother wrote and filmed a mockumentary about icons & contemporary Los Angeles for his Sci-Arc thesis. Watch it, funny and brilliant.

99% Invisible: The Age of Algorithm. Algorithms are doing more harm than good. Facebook, Google, and Twitter all feed the internet silos with fake news. As Cathy O’Neil author of Weapons of Math Destruction puts it: “The internet is a propaganda machine.”


An Ad for London’s First Cafe Printed Circa 1652. In 1652, London’s St. Michael’s Alley became the first cafe in London to sell coffee: “THE Grain or Berry called Coffee, groweth upon little Trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia.”

+ As author Tom Standage points out in his book Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years, coffee houses were the original social networks and MOOCS where people mingled, studied, and exchanged ideas.

Smokers Are The Last Nice People Online. “Everyone on cigarette internet is so nice to each other.” Wish we could say the same about other web communities.

Thought of the week

“Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.”

— Teju Cole

New track on loop

Heat Wave – Nightmare (2017)

Digging in the crates

Mobb Deep – Reach (1996)

PS: I created a music club on Facebook. If you want to experience some new tunes and relive some greats, knock on the door!

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

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The view from the street

I ventured into DC this weekend which I often do to whet my appetite for street photography. Little did I know, two events were happening: the Juggalo March and a Latino Festival which ran down Constitution Avenue.

While I snapped many pictures of those folks, what struck me most was this skateboarder flying down 15th street with the entire street to himself. Since the streets were closed off, he had the freedom to ride wherever he wanted. You can also see the new opened African American museum layered in the backdrop.

gif and photos by Wells Baum

I only skateboarded a few times growing up, but the sport comes with valuable life lessons if you can keep up with it. As Jerry Seinfeld put it:

To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you get something wrong until you get something right? If you learn to do that trick, now you’ve got a life lesson. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think those kids will be alright.

Skateboarding is a life’s sport. The skateboard culture ushered in by Tony Hawk and brands like Vans introduced an element of coolness and creativity forever.

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Question the algorithms

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Photo by David Werbrouck

It is a canard to think that math can’t fail. All you need to do is look at the way society constructs algorithms – from job and college applications to Facebook feeds to find out that sorting can be wrong and biased.

In the case of the 2016 election, algorithms did more harm than good. Facebook fed the internet silos with fake news. As Cathy O’Neil author of Weapons of Math Destruction puts it in a 99% Invisible podcast: “The internet is a propaganda machine.”


We’ve adopted the factory mindset of mass-sorting, leaving the anxiety of decision-making up to machines. Humans are pieces of data, waiting to be organized by the least valuable candidate or customer.

There’s too many of us and not enough time to make individual considerations. But a conversation around algorithmic frailty might do us some good. Making generalizations impedes the magic of a discovering an outlier.

Newsletter: Have a friend “from every decade of life.” 👫

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Hi everyone, below is a list of links worth checking out this week. Listen to the new King Krule/Mount Kimbie collaboration after the jump.

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  1. Once you pass the median age of 38, you’re considered ‘old.’ But people actually don’t start feeling old until their 60s. So how do you stay young? Have a friend “from every decade of life,” is what one 101-year old recommended.

  2. If you’re looking for a way to train your brain to think positive instead of negative, try to build yourself a positivity circuit: “spend one minute looking for positives, three times a day for forty five days.” Practice.

  3. Would you rather live in New York or LA? You can only choose one. Fun think piece from someone who’s dabbled in both cities: No, I’m from New York.

  4. Do you get goosebumps of a lump in the throat when listening to certain songs? If so, research shows that your brain might be unique.

  5. Here’s your moment of Zen, a calf trying to catch snowflakes with his tongue. #TGIF

Thought of the week

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” — Nietzsche


New track on loop

Mount Kimbie – Blue Train Lines ft. King Krule

Digging in the crates

Slum Village – Reunion (2004)

PS: I created a music club on Facebook. If you want to experience some new tunes and relive some greats, knock on the door!

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Newsletter: The painted bat 🦇

The painted bat (BBC Earth)

Hi, all! Below are some interesting reads I collected throughout the week pertaining to arts & culture, philosophy & productivity, social media & tech. Peep the new tune from FYI Chris after the jump.

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  1. “It’s human nature to want to prove that you’re right, but it’s rarely effective.” These are the skills you should learn that will pay off forever
  2. We usually think of art pieces like the Mona Lisa as original, a copy of one. But history shows that artists frequently made multiple versions, even Leonardo. “The idea of producing more than one version of a work is nothing new,” writes Matt Brown in his new book Everything You Know About Art is Wrong.
  3. TED distilled fourteen writing tips from an interview conducted with novelist Anne Lamott. Here’s the advice she’d give herself: “I’d teach my younger self to stare off into space more often. I would tell her to waste more paper. I would tell her she doesn’t need to stick to a decision; she can change her mind.”
  4.  A recent study shows that if you “accept life’s difficulties and one’s own negative feelings nonjudgmentally,” you’ll live a happier life. Own your state of mind; don’t be afraid of feeling bad!
  5. No longer a rare sight. The painted bat is back! So dope.🦇


Thought of the week

“Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.”

Kurt Vonnegut

New track on loop

FYI Chris – Home Alone

Digging in the crates

Mos Def – Umi Says

PS: I created a music club on Facebook. If you want to experience some new tunes and relive some greats, knock on the door!

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Newsletter: Loving Vincent 🎨

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The beautiful train scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away

Below are five links worth sharing this week. Listen to Pessimist’s new track ‘Glue’ and the 1979 track ‘Resurrection Los’ from Cameroon’s legendary Los Camaroes after the jump.

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  1. It took six years of development and 125 painters to recreate Van Gogh’s brush strokes to make the world’s first oil painted feature film, Loving Vincent, which drops next month. Check out the trailer.

  2. James Holdman was one of the most prolific travelers of the 19th century. He was also blind, compelling himself to see through touch. Wrote one of his friends, “He had eyes in his mouth, eyes in his nose, eyes in his ears, and eyes in his mind, never blinking, but ready on all occasions to perform his services with remarkable precision and efficiency.” Read about The Blind Traveler.

  3. A good photo speaks for itself. But with the tiniest of tweaks using iPhoto or VSCO, it can be that much better. Kirk McElhearn explains why you should spend a few seconds editing your photos before you post them online.

  4. I put together a Twitter thread of my favorite John Peel quotes to celebrate the greatest rock DJ’s birthday this week. He would’ve been 78. Take a look back at his record collection.

  5. All the internet’s a stage. Agree or disagree?

Thought of the week

“15 years ago, the internet was an escape from the real world. Now, the real world is an escape from the internet.”

— Noah Smith


New track on loop

Pessimist – Glued

Digging in the crates

Los Camaroes – Resurrection Los

PS: I created a music club on Facebook. If you want to experience some new tunes and relive some greats, knock on the door!

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Pedestrians at the corner

All photos by Wells Baum

At the corner,
Patiently waiting,
At least trying to,
Fidgeting instead,
Generation thumbs pecking at the phone,
A passing bus emits CO2 into the air,
We breathe in street dust,
Overtaken by wafting the delivery man’s pizza,


Staring at the other side,
Eavesdropping on each other’s chatter,
The newcomers give the placebo button another pinch,
A living signal turns white,
Twenty seconds to cross,
The clock ticks,
We all go together,
Dog trotting to safety,

One minute united at the corners,
Signalling styles,
Anonymous the next,
Walkers dignified as pedestrians,
Jealous of those who stayed behind.

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Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Newsletter: What’s your favorite number?

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Painters suspended on the Brooklyn bridge, October 1914 (Eugene de Salignac)

Hi all, I hope everyone had a chance to check out the solar eclipse this week. I saw it at 81% totality from DC. Those lucky enough to experience the total eclipse will appreciate Annie Dillard’s essay below.

New music this week comes this way courtesy of Thundercat. Ry Cooder takes the crate.

web gems

  1. Autistic author Naoki Higashida provides a beautiful answer to the question: What’s your favorite number?

  2. In celebration of the solar eclipse, The Atlantic republished Annie Dillard’s epic piece on her encounter with a total eclipse in 1982. “We saw the wall of shadow coming, and screamed before it hit.”

  3. “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” Robert Frank is best known for his 1958 book The Americans which featured 83 photos from Frank’s journey across the U.S. documenting race and material consumption in American life.

  4. Life coach David Cain provides an intriguing solution to avoid experiencing anxiety in advance: When You Can’t Stop Looking Ahead, Look Backwards

  5. If you want your food to taste better, take a picture.

Thought of the week

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”

— Marcus Aurelius


New track on loop

Thundercat – Jethro

Digging in the crates

Ry Cooder – Soy Luz y Sombra

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Robert Frank, the man who photographed America

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via ICP

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”

One of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, Robert Frank is perhaps most renown for his 1958 book The Americans which featured 83 photos from Frank’s journey across the U.S. documenting race and material consumption in American life.

The quote above appears in Teju Cole’s book Known and Strange Things. There’s also an excellent piece on Frank in The New York Times entitled ‘The Man Who Saw America.’

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Robert Frank, untitled, Pace/MacGill Gallery
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Political Rally, Chicago, 1956, Edwynn Houk Gallery

To err is human

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gif via kidmograph

Technology evolves. Customer expectations change. Facebook tweaks its algorithm, again! All strategies and proven methods are temporary.

The pragmatist is always looking for a better way while following the practices that already work.

But there’s no way to identify what works without identifying what doesn’t work first. Strive a little toward imperfection.

Trial and error is the essence of survival. Consider doubling down on efforts that are showing promise.

We must remain in beta.

Newsletter: Sometimes thinking is a bad idea

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gif via US National Archives

Below are your interesting reads in creativity, culture, and tech from this week. Listen to the new track ‘Endless’ from Mercury Prize-nominated Portico Quartet after the jump.

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  1. “There are many different ways of getting from London to Paris, but as long as you get to Paris, that’s all that counts.” After running more than 2,300 auctions, Christie’s international director of auctioneering Hugh Edmeades explains What it feels like to conduct an auction.
  2. We are at our best when we’re relaxed and instinctive, free from the chaos of the monkey mind. Sometimes thinking is a bad idea.
  3. “I don’t just shoot willy-nilly, I wait for something to happen.” RIP Detroit street photographer Bill Rauhauser.
  4. Think of social networks as unique places, just as the bar and the coffee shop each contains its own set of memes and culture. In the Land of Internet Subcultures, Try Not to Look Like a Tourist
  5. Can a penguin go insane? Werner Herzog demonstrates the Nihilist Penguin.


Thought of the week

“We build our computer (systems) the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.”

— Ellen Ullman

New track on loop

Portico Quartet – Endless

Digging in the crates

The Defenders – Our Rights

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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This is the place 

Photo by Lin Zhizhao

Social networks are unique places. They are no different than hangout spots; the bar and the coffee shop each contains its own set of memes and culture. However, using the same language from one into the other could make you look like a tourist.

“One user’s home platform is another’s foreign land. A point made by a subculture at home on Facebook might look funny to another on Twitter, which can read as evidence of a conspiracy to yet another on YouTube, which might be seen as offensive on Tumblr, which could be a joke on Reddit.”


Knowing the ins and outs of each channel comes with frequent use. And while most sharing is trial and error — virality is mostly luck — replicating content between environments is a bound to fall flat. Posting a witty tweet makes no sense in the feed of a Facebook friend who’s looking for something with sticky emotional value.

The old adage rings true: the medium is the message.

Good social media contributors are tweakers. They tailor a message to each network to maximize engagement, down to the file type. They may upload an image to Instagram but a similar video version to Facebook and Twitter, and a GIF for Reddit.

Social media is still the Wild West. You must pick and choose an audience carefully or risk being misunderstood, which happens to most people anyway, even on their own turf.

Newsletter: We crave irreality

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Give the drummer some! Below are some interesting reads in creativity, culture, and tech from this week. Listen to the track ‘Glue’ from Belfast-based electronica duo Bicep after the jump.

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    1. The actor turned painter/sculptor, Jim Carrey, makes art as a form of catharsis in order to bring some color to his life. His work is impressive. As he puts it in the video, “artists make models of their inner life.” Watch Jim Carrey: I Need color.
    2. “Museums shouldn’t be trending! They should set trends,” says the former Met director Philippe de Montebello. Great read on How the Metropolitan Museum of Art Can Reclaim Its Glory in the age of cell phone screen irreality.
    3. “Analysts warned of several metric tons of dopamine and cortisol careening through the global economy.” This business piece made me laugh.
    4. The internet seems to be part of the air, ubiquitous and invisible. But what if you could get closer to the servers and cooling fans and take a listen? Explore What The Internet Sounds Like.
    5. Facebook is surveillance, and we give Big Brother the benefit of the doubt in selling our information to marketers in exchange for the ease of communication with so-called ‘friends.’ Thoughts?

https://wellsbaum.blog/2017/08/05/hooked-on-facebook/

Thought of the week

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” — Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art

New track on loop

Bicep – Glue

Digging in the crates

Bullion – Caroline, No

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

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