Newsletter: Blind spots

Happy Friday! Below are some links and recent discoveries I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

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Joseph J. Gould, Jr. (1896) via The Met

Finding My Way into a New Form: An Interview with Teju Cole. “I always have a notebook, a pen and a camera. These are my tools because the world is always giving you various phenomena.” Teju Cole’s new book Blind Spot sees the photographer and acclaimed writer synthesize images and words. The work is yet another form of Cole’s combinatorial exploration — he was once an innovative Tweeter — into new media spaces. “That’s exactly what I do with each of these genres. I try to find out what I can do in that space. I try to do good work there, and then without any compunction or regret I move on. And I try to find the next place to continue my exploration.”

Changing one simple habit can improve your entire life. One slight tweak to your daily habits can lead to other beneficial changes. For instance, exercise is what Charles Duhigg calls ‘keystone habit.’ In his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg describes how “people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work.”

The undivided mind. Wonder sits at the intersection of science and art. Combining the two disciplines is what fueled Leonard Da Vinci’s creative genius. The imagination needs time to daydream and gather string, letting the unconscious connect the dots between disparate things.


Book I’m reading

My Inventions: Nikola Tesla. “My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.”

Video I’m watching

Army Of Spider Crabs Shed Their Shells. Watch thousands of spider crabs rally around the family to regrow their shells. Mind the hangry stingray!

Thought of the week

“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” — Neale Donald Walsch

New track on loop

Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence (2017)

Digging in the crates

Jah Stitch – Cool Down Youthman (1995)

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: Wandering mind not a happy mind

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

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Lafayette Maynard Dixon (1895), via The MET

Philippe Starck on the infinity symbol. Some people are better thinking in symbols rather than words. For French inventor Philipe Starck, that symbol was “∞” for infinity, designed by English mathematician John Wallis in 1655. Says Starck: “For me, it is the most intelligent piece of graphic design in the world. To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply – that takes a lot of work.”

Podcast: Picasso’s Guernica. ‘All finished paintings are dead paintings.’ Picasso’s Guernica took 7 weeks to paint, but it could have taken a lifetime. But done is better than perfect, especially in times of strife. The work appeared in a Paris exhibition in 1937 and became an essential piece of political art, warning against the destruction of war.

Modern Media Is a DoS Attack on Your Free Will. Tech is the ‘cigarette of this century’ said game designer and author Ian Bogost. Just like the surfeit of digital photos, there’s too much information and not enough time to go through it all. Observes James Williams of Oxford’s Internet Institute Ethics Lab: “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it doesn’t necessarily protect freedom of attention. There wasn’t really anything obstructing people’s attention at the time it was written. Back in an information-scarce environment, the role of a newspaper was to bring you information—your problem was lacking it. Now it’s the opposite. We have too much.”

Is the economy suffering from the crisis of attention? Statistics already show that we’re scatterbrained 47% of the time. We’re there, but not there noticing the present; we’re just scrolling. This is on top of smartphone addiction which kills productivity. Beware that rectangular magnetic glow!

How to unthink. One of the ways you can stem the tide of over-thinking is to act “calculatedly stupid” and instead try to enjoy what we’re doing.

Thought of the week

“All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”

Ernest Hemingway

New track on loop

Smerz – No Harm (2017)

Digging in the crates

Ultramagnetic MC’s – Poppa Large (1992)

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: When computers looked like refrigerators

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

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Louis John Rhead, 1894 (via The Met)

The Female Supercomputer Designer Who Inspired Steve Jobs. Product designer and mechanical engineer Tamiko Thiel turned computers into sculptures in the early 1980s before the Macintosh came out. Said Thiel: “The general image of computers was IBM computers, racks of electronics. They looked like refrigerators or heating units. They didn’t have any identity.” Steve Jobs wanted to hire her, but Thiel had already gone on to Germany to be an artist.

The beginning of silent reading changed Westerners’ interior life. Reading alone didn’t really take off until the 1800s. Before that, all pages were read aloud in groups. “Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads.”

Related: Before Amazon, we had bookmobiles.

The pioneer of Dadaism who made collage cool. The only way for painter Max Ernst to make sense of a fractured postwar world was to start collaging, taking pieces of disparate items from fashion magazines and other miscellaneous materials and incorporating them into his work.

Video: Different types of chopsticks, explained. People have been eating with chopsticks since the 4th century BC. Historian Edward Wang describes why the chopsticks in China, Japan, and Korea are all unique.

Video: Art+Film /// David Hockney IN THE NOW. David Hockney is a British artist who’s become known as the ‘the painter of Southern California.’ Says Hockney on the perpetual need to notice:, “Our eyes never stay still. If your eyes are still, you’re dead.”

Thought of the week

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ― Sigmund Freud

New track on loop

Beat Spacek – Ring Di Alarm (2017)

Digging in the crates

Mal Waldron – All Alone (1966)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Newsletter: ‘No worry before its time’

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

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Edward Penfield, 1896 (via The MET)

Kiss The Good Times Good Bye. We’ve gone from horses to cars to what will be, ‘standardized modules.’ The former product head of General Motors predicts the inevitable future of the auto industry that everyone knows is coming but no one wants to talk about: “nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway. That is the death knell for companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. That kind of performance is not going to count anymore.”

Podcast: Ellen Langer with Krista Tippet. Ellen Langer is a social psychologist who has spent 35 years studying mindfulness. She argues that most people go on living mindlessly, not noticing their surroundings until they go on vacation. Instead of forcing ourselves to be present “which doesn’t mean anything,” she encourages people to pursue “the simple act of actively noticing things.” She also agrees with the Stoics that the imagination is always worse than reality; our labeling of experiences (bad or good etc.) shapes our reality. Her adage for treating anxiety: “No worry before its time.”


What Boredom Does to You. Treat boredom as a process, a skill essential to the 21st-century hyper-speed of mobile internet addictiveness. As Steve Jobs once said: “I’m a big believer in boredom. … All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.”

Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward? Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward (mirror writing) because he didn’t want others stealing his ideas. Writes Da Vinci biographer Rachel A. Koestler-Grack: “The observations in his notebooks were written in such a way that they could be read only by holding the books up to a mirror.” But did a genius who combined art and science so brilliantly really need to hide his work? Some authors think he did it to avoid smudging his writing.

Video: Religion Is Nature’s Antidepressant. American neuroendocrinologist and author Robert Sapolsky is an atheist who still believes in the health benefits of religion, highlighting its benevolent and social qualities. “If it is a totally heartless indifferent apathetic universe out there you are far more at risk for all the logical things which is to conclude it is an utterly depressing universe out there. Rates of depression are much higher among atheists… Go figure.”

Thought of the week

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”

Iris Murdoch

New track on loop

Chaos In The CBD – Pressure (2017)

Digging in the crates

Burial – Shell of Light (2007)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Newsletter: Music is not for ears 👂🎶

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“This Roman god is in fact unlocking his iPhone X using FaceID.” — Tom Standage

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

web gems

Music is not for ears. Music is a ‘fundamental human experience.’ It is intuited like laughter, a proxy for thought, notes and theories. Sound perception is more than a ‘straightforwardly acoustic phenomenon’ because of the way it conjures ‘imagery, memories, stories, movement and words.’ 

The Future of Fashion. Fashion is losing staying power. The pendulum of trends changes along with the hyper-speed mobile world. The industry’s constant reinvention means that the leading designers are the ones making ‘bold moves and upheavals.’

The Web scientist Michael K. Bergman has compared plugging search terms into Google to dragging a net across the ocean. You may catch something, but there are fathoms you can’t fathom. That’s where we are right now with the impact of digital on design.

Nike’s bestselling Huarache only exists thanks to a disobedient employee. Tinker Hatfield’s Nike Huarache was a prototype that never was supposed to see the light of day. That is, until of the product managers sold 5,000 pairs in three days in New York. The Huarache exoskeleton design is now a Nike staple.

New futuristic Tianjin library is the coolest place to read a book in China. Despite censorship, China has built one of the coolest libraries in the world with 1.2 million books. Check out the gallery. Also worth perusing: Japan’s lonely vending machines by Eiji Ohashi

A smartphone photography study. We are taking more pictures than we have time to deal with. But it’s not all for aesthetics. This graph shows that ‘information to remember’ of wishlists, shopping lists, books to read, etc., is second to ‘scenery’ on the list.


Thought of the week

“The zoo is the epitaph to a relationship.”

John Berger

Musical vitamins

New track on loop

Portico Quartet — A Luminous Beam (2017)

Digging in the crates

Balil – Choke and Fly (1993)

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 first two internets

via giphy

Below are some interesting links from the week as they relate to arts and culture. Give yourself a dose of Jheri tracks if you haven’t heard it yet.

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“Edgar Allan Poe is dead … few will be grieved by it.” Edgar Allen Poe didn’t exactly get the obituary he deserved. Even worse, they called the writer a “little more than a carping grammarian.” Ouch!

Walter Isaacson: The Greatest Genius Of Them All. Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci book is out (Amazon). The author proclaims da Vinci the truest polymath of them all, even amongst Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs because he excelled in a furious curiosity that helped him combine disciplines.

+ Isaacson also offers his two cents on America’s current political environment, using Einstein to illustrate his point: “Einstein wrote to his son that American democracy was like a gyroscope, that just as soon as you feel like it’s going to fall over it has the ability to right itself. I believe that’s the case; I believe that America is looking wobbly at the moment but it has a magical ability to right itself, and it will do so.”

Einstein’s Note On Happiness, Given To Bellboy In 1922, Fetches $1.6 Million. Out of tip money, Einstein preferred to give his Japanese courier a nugget of wisdom: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” In other words, be a little more tortoise-y and a little less harish; don’t forget to enjoy life’s process.

Boiling Lead And Black Art. The printing press — considered the ‘first internet’ along with human language — was always a slow process, especially when it came to printing mathematics. But it also ensured that what got published was thorough, unlike the surfeit of the internet’s blog posts and tweets. “Slowing down requires better thought technology. It requires a willingness to draft for the sake of drafting. It requires throwing away most of what we think because most of our thoughts don’t deserve to be read by others.”

A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved. We developed consciousness to deal with information overload. “Neurons act like candidates in an election, each one shouting and trying to suppress its fellows.” It sounds like democracy.

thought of the week

“The greatest impediment to creativity is your impatience.”

Robert Greene


musical vitamins

New track on loop

Herron – Ghost (2016)

Digging in the crates

Fracture & Neptune – Clissold (2009)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

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Believe in yourself (via Ben)

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: Thinking like a mountain

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via giphy

Give the drummer some! Below are some interesting reads in creativity, culture, and tech from this week. Listen to the track ‘Something More’ from UK artist Nabihah Iqbal after the jump.

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A Night at the Garden by Marshall Curry. On February 20, 1939, 20,000 Americans gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City to celebrate the rise of Nazism. Film producer Marshall Curry worked with an archivist to pull together the clips of footage to tell a cohesive story that is eerily similar to today, lies and all! History is a GIF loop.

How to practice effectively…for just about anything. TED outlines four tips for practicing effectively. The first suggestion is no surprise: Focus on the task at hand. Minimize distractions like TV and social media. Put your smartphone on airplane mode or throw your phone into the ocean. I’ve listed all four tips for you here.

Want to be happier and more fulfilled in life? Learn to be open to change. You’re made to change, in small and significant ways. To think who you are today is final is nonsense, an illusion that falsely imagines the end of your own history. Instead, practice becoming, as Kurt Vonnegut so wisely encouraged.

Lawrence Argent, Sculptor Who Was Big on Whimsy, Dies at 60“I’m not interested in creating an object of decoration; that’s not what I do. My task is to create something that fits the surrounding or the area. If it were to be removed, you would miss it.” RIP Lawrence Argent. 

Thinking Like a Mountain. Nature writers endeavor to make sense of the land dominated by humans to see if it’s just as conscious as themselves. “What is looking back at us through other species’ eyes? Could we ever escape our own heads and know the viewpoint of a hawk? Is there such a thing as thinking like a mountain?”

thought of the week

“A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.”

André Gide


musical vitamins

New track on loop

Nabihah Iqbal – Something More (2017)

Digging in the crates

Breakage – Hard (2010)

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 ‘nudge’ theory and why planning backward is better than planning ahead

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via giphy

Hi all! This week’s focus is productivity. Below is a list of inspirational links to help us step outside the robot and think differently about our work habits. Plus, peep the new tune from Harlem based singer-songwriter Lynette Williams after the jump.

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Pretending to be Batman helps kids stay on task. Good advice for adults and kids alike. The magic of acting like someone else helps us ignore the distractions that get in our way. “It is important to note that pretending to be another character had large effects on children’s perseverance.

The pleasure/happiness gap. We have two choices: the taking of short-term dopamine or the giving of long-term serotonin. We become what we choose.

Planning ahead is good, but planning backward is better. Start with the end-goal in in mind and then work backward. The key to goal-setting is to ‘imagine hypothetical goal achievement’ to create the feeling that you’re already making progress.

The flaws a Nobel Prize-winning economist wants you to know about yourself. The ‘nudge’ removes the barriers to decision-making by pre-selecting how one should save their money or what to eat.

Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks. Nobel Prize-winning British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro talks about how he completed Remains of the Day in 4 weeks using a hack he called a ‘Crash.’

I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday.

Thought of the week

“I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

Stephen Hawking


musical vitamins

New track on loop

Lynette Williams – Light (2017)

Digging in the crates

Aim – The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice (2002)

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.

$1.00

Low brain activities

via giphy 
  • TV
  • YouTube
  • Social media

People enjoy low brain activities because it gives them the option to unthink. Whether it’s movies or endless Instagram scrolling, the images are there telling us what to think.

Reading or listening to music, on the other hand, may take your mind places. As Ray Bradbury once put it, books create a ‘theater inside your head.’

When you pursue the answers out of passiveness, the mind takes a seat. Idleness is ok in moderation.

No one’s waiting for you to get off the couch and exercise your imagination. The door to exceptional wonder is open at all times.

Newsletter: ‘Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination’

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Interior with a Man Writing on a Long Table (Anonymous, French, 16th century)

Below are five links I think you’ll find interesting. As always, listen to a new tune and old gem after the jump.

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Aziz Ansari has great advice for people in creative slumps. When he’s uninspired,  comedian Aziz Ansari does nothing at all: “I’m not gonna make stuff just for the sake of making stuff. I want to make stuff ’cause I’m inspired. Right now I don’t really feel inspired.” Should we force creativity? I think we know how Steven Pressfield would respond to this.

The Intuitive Thing: Ray Bradbury on the Arts. I love what Ray Bradbury said about books versus movies in this interview: “when you read…you’re creating it in your own theater inside your head. But a film is total realism. You can’t change it, it’s right there, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Inside the husband-and-wife architecture duo’s sprawling Cape Town home. South African architect Gawie Fagan built his house in 1965 into the surrounding natural environment. At 91-years-old, he still lives there with his wife and still goes to the office every day.

Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination: Tim O’Reilly. “Our job is to imagine a better future, because if we can imagine it, we can create it. But it starts with that imagination.” Tim O’Reilly explains why we should avoid envisioning a dystopian society where robots wipe out humans.

10 Einstein Quotes to Fire Up Your Creativity. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The genius was on to something.


Thought of the week

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open.”

— Frank Zappa

New track on loop

Nathan Fake — REMAIN (Olga Wojciechowska Rework)

Digging in the crates

Erick Sermon – Music (2001)

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 asshole problem’

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via Karo Rigaud

Below are some of the interesting links I stumbled upon this week. Peep a new tune and old classic after the jump.

web gems

This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks. Technology increases the asshole problem “because people are much more likely to be mean if they don’t have to make eye contact.” The worst part: it’s contagious.

Why We Fail and How. I love 16th-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne’s concept of solitude in finding a “room behind a shop.”

“We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude. Here our ordinary conversation must be between us and ourselves, and so private that no outside association or communication can find a place.”

Keepers of the Secrets. No one knows what they want anymore because they depend on an algorithm to feed it to them. Thank goodness library archivists are still the element of surprise alive by giving you a box you don’t ask for. People “only want information based on the information they think they want. It’s important to look outside of your own existence.” We miss you John.

The Mask of Doom. He “wore the mask out of necessity.” Take a look back at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s piece on MF Doom from 2009.

Why We Sleep – how more sleep can save your life. “Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer.” That revolutionary new treatment is sleep. Even jellyfish get sluggish when they don’t get enough. 


Thought of the week

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”

— Gertrude Stein, “Reflection on the Atomic Bomb” (1946)

New track on loop

Corbin (Spooky Black) – Ice Boy (2017)

Digging in the crates

Roots Manuva – Ital Visions (2001)

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 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)

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.

$1.00