Recommended Reading on the Internet and Digital Archiving
Installment I - over 100 recommended articles this month, where I was on a mission to read all my open tabs!
In December, I set a goal for myself: To read and then close all the open tabs on my phone and laptop, before January 1st, 2024. What does this mean for you? That you get TWO Sugar’s Recommended Reading newsletters this month, with over 100 articles combined! This first installment focuses more on the Internet and musings on Mindy Seu’s Cyberfeminism Index, and the second will be more focused on writing/literature, but really, there are just a lot of great and insightful article that I read recently. I hope you’re able to take some time to dive into my Highly Recommended Reading - Top of Mind!
First - What is Mindy Seu’s Cyberfeminism Index? Well, it is
a hefty collection with more than 700 entries of art, activism, and experimentation from the last 30 years made in pursuit of interrogating our technological reality. Think of Seu’s index, published earlier this year and also available online as a live database, as a cold, hard, page-turnable anti-canon of internet history—albeit a pretty esoteric one. (Delia Cai, Vanity Fair)
Why is this the first time I am reading about/learning about it? When I read about her work in Vanity Fair last month, I knew immediately that this piece would be the topic of this month’s Recommended Reading.
I started this newsletter as a way to share interesting ephemera that I read or view online, but also as a way of tracking the articles I consume. Seu’s approach to technology, and writing, and moving through the world with intention, and connection, and physical-digital interactions, really resonated with me:
The best way, then, to understand Seu’s work might be in this blurring between the ephemeral and the material, as well as the enormous resources at stake on both sides. To truly understand that our online world is our real world requires not only treating its systems and networks as worthy of preservation in the first place, but it also demands a serious reckoning, in Seu’s view, of the powerful obfuscation at work to make it all feel like the airy, traceless cloud we’re lead to believe it is (“Our phones are made of rocks!” Seu reminds me, holding up her phone. “This is a smart rock!”)
Seu’s mission isn’t to try to screenshot it all, but to inspire a personal mode of intake and sorting and then questioning—a form of cyberfeminist awareness of how you’re changing a technology as it changes you.)
It’s a new form of self-awareness - a self-awareness of one’s online self. How one perceives oneself online. How one presents oneself online. What one leaves behind, what one gathers. Here, I’ve gathered these articles for us all. Thanks for reading with me.
IN PRINT: Salka Valka by Halldór Laxness (Translated from Icelandic by Philip Roughton) Laxness is a master of Icelandic fiction, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING - Top of Mind
For Mindy Seu, Digital Archiving Isn’t Just a Job—It’s a Lifestyle The designer and technologist behind encyclopedic projects like the Cyberfeminism Index dares herself—and maybe all of us—to reconfigure our Info Age intentions. by Delia Cai (Dec. 2023)
10 Questions to Ask Before Entering a Business Partnership Rebecca Zucker and Jonathan Becker in the Harvard Business Review (Aug. 2023)
How to Go to Burning Man Without Going to Burning Man Caroline Webb (Sept. 2023) This is actually insightful for bringing more intentional connection, community building, and joy into your interactions and friendships. I was pleasantly surprised by this read!
How Burning Man Failed Transformational festivals, the psychedelic renaissance, and cryptocurrencies: Thoughts of an apostate Daniel Pinchbeck (Aug. 2023)
Why millennial women are embracing angel investing Since angels began investing in startups in the ‘70s and ‘80s, women have been dramatically underrepresented. A new generation is blowing past traditional barriers and diving in. E.B. Boyd (Dec. 2023)
The Rachel Weisz Gay Index Rachel Handler (April 2023) This literally made me laugh out loud to myself multiple times on the subway. Seriously, just read this!
TWO THOUSAND MILES FROM HOME As Russia invaded Ukraine, three women from the same family became pregnant at the same time. Then the war tore them apart. Lily Hyde (Nov. 2023)
Peyote is the darling of the psychedelics renaissance. Indigenous users say it co-opts ‘a sacred way of life’ Indigenous Americans fought through genocide and forced assimilation to use peyote in peace. Will the psychedelics boom co-opt it?
Annette McGivney (Dec 2023)
NEWS / LONG-FORM JOURNALISM
"If it’s not helping, then shut the f--- up."
Palestinian and Israeli leaders of the Jewish-Arab social movement Standing Together are building the basis for a shared future, and they have a message for the US left. Micah L. Sifry (Nov. 2023)
How Hamas Used Sexual Violence on October 7th Physicians for Human Rights Israel issued a report collecting evidence of sexual and gender-based violence. One of its authors lays out their findings. Isaac Chotiner (Dec. 2023)
The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False
It does not accurately describe either the foundation of Israel or the tragedy of the Palestinians. Simon Sebag Montefiore (Oct. 2023)
What Israel should do now Israel’s current approach is clearly wrong. Here’s a better way to fight Hamas — and win. Zack Beauchamp (Oct. 2023)
With people eating less, Schneider said there is an opening for products like supplements to support weight loss and ensure people get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need but may no longer be getting from food...Such “companion products” could also help “limit the loss of lean muscle mass” and ensure lost weight is not regained, Schneider said.
How the Biggest Boutique Fitness Company Turned Suburban Moms Into Bankrupt Franchisees Xponential’s brands—Pure Barre, CycleBar, Club Pilates, Row House, Rumble Boxing—all have fanatical followings. And some very alarmed business partners.
Natalie Wong (Dec. 2023)
Baby boomers are aging. Their kids aren’t ready. Millennials are facing an elder care crisis nobody prepared them for. Anna North (Oct. 2023)
To catch a catfish How one detective took on an international network of romance fraudsters. Stuart McGurk (Dec. 2023)
Mourning winter in a warming world Could a whole season — and a way of life — be melting before our very eyes? Anna North (Dec. 2023)
Trans people are finding safe haven in an unexpected place: upstate New York Mike de Socio (Dec. 2023)
The Voice: Why Australia and New Zealand took different paths on Indigenous journey Frances Mao (Oct. 2023)
After 50 Years, a Danish Commune Is Shaken From Its Utopian Dream
The semiautonomous community of Christiania, in the heart of Copenhagen, was created as a post-’60s anarchistic paradise. But violence and drugs may spell its end.
Valeriya Safronova (Dec. 2023)
BUSINESS / STARTUPS / INVESTING
Reid Hoffman on the Psychology of Great Founders In the second edition of our “Letters to a Young Investor” series, Reid Hoffman discusses exceptional entrepreneurs and their intersection with promising markets. Mario Gabriele (Dec. 2023)
Given this – the many different types of markets, stages, and dynamics at work – I think a singular archetype of a “great founder” is likely illusory. Certainly all great leaders are voracious learners, but there are many different styles to this – some learn by doing whereas others by talking and listening. At this point, though, relentless self-improvers and learners are probably table stakes. Founding leaders require an almost irrational self-belief (some may say self-delusion) that their vision for the future is possible. It might sound like a contradiction, but it’s necessary to hold that belief while also being conscious of the inherent risks.
From Unicorns to Zombies: Tech Start-Ups Run Out of Time and Money
After staving off collapse by cutting costs, many young tech companies are out of options, fueling a cash bonfire. Erin Griffith (Dec. 2023)
Teens, Social Media and Technology 2023 YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram remain the most widely used online platforms among U.S. teens Monica Anderson, Michelle Faverio & Jeffrey Gottried (Dec. 2023)
VCs No Longer Do DTC Joanna Glasner (Nov. 2023)
Welcome to the age of the hermit consumer The world economy is witnessing a $600bn-a-year shift in behaviour (Oct. 2023)
Meet the zombie brands: Why Blue Apron, Allbirds, and others are still alive, only different Once-hot DTC brands are hollowing out behind the scenes. Is the goal, like Blue Apron, to clean house for a prospective buyer? Ainsley Harris (Oct. 2023)
Confessions of a founder closing her beauty brand: ‘DTC isn’t working right now’
Lexy Lebsack (Nov. 2023)
The death of TikTok’s $2 billion Creator Fund is stoking fears among influencers about the value of short-form videos on the platform The ever-changing payment schemes, fickle algorithms, and unpredictable trends may mean that being a full-time content creator is harder than ever. Alexandra Sternlicht (Nov. 2023)
4 key strategies for great conversations Many conversations start awkwardly and derail from there, but a few simple techniques can put them back on track.
by Kevin Dickinson (Dec. 2023)
Tomasz Tunguz (Dec. 2023)
Synthesis as Brilliance : Worldly Wisdom from Charlie Munger
AI / WEB 3 / CRYPTO
Meet Nightshade, the new tool allowing artists to ‘poison’ AI models with corrupted training data Carl Franzen (Oct. 2023)
An Artist Invited Blind People to Use an A.I. Image Generator. The Unsettling Results Could Help Make Art More Accessible - Researchers tested the limitations of images created with text prompts. Adam Schrader (Oct. 2023)
Crypto’s First Year After the FTX Blowup: ‘It’s Been Miserable' Michael P. Regan and Anna Irrera, Bloomberg News (Sept. 2023)
The Barrier to Mainstream Crypto Adoption Isn’t UX — It’s Product-Market Fit
Variant co-founder Li Jin argues that Web3's problems do not end at onboarding. Li Jin (Sept 2023)
Prominent Women in Tech Say They Don't Want to Join OpenAI's All-Male Board
After internal chaos earlier this month, OpenAI replaced the women on its board with men. As it plans to add more seats, Timnit Gebru, Sasha Luccioni, and other AI luminaries tell WIRED why they wouldn't join. Kate Knibbs, Lauren Goode, Khari Johnson (Nov. 2023)
BRAIN / MIND / HEALTH
The way out of burnout: A psychoanalyst explains why for people feeling “burnt out”, simply trying to relax doesn’t always work Josh Cohen (July 2016)
Is there more to burnout than working too hard? Josh Cohen argues that the root of the problem lies deeper than that.
The Neuroscience of Storytelling Three scientific explanations for how our brain is wired for storytelling. Carmine Gallo (Oct. 2023)
ADHD has become an identity, not just a disorder. We need a new way to talk about it
For many, an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis is the thing it took to forgive ourselves and finally start healing Matilda Boseley (Sept. 2023)
Examining the association between social media fatigue, cognitive ability, narcissism and misinformation sharing: cross-national evidence from eight countries
Saifuddin Ahmed & Muhammad Ehab Rasul (Sept. 2023)
Intellectualization Results From Blocked Childhood Trauma Daniel Mackler (Sept. 2023) Intellectualization [is] when people use their intellect, their logic, their abstract reasoning to avoid having to deal with their feelings.
Shadow work: why you should be cautious of the TikTok self-help trend
Roger Bretherton (Oct. 2023)
Don’t cheer the scale: Doctors and dieticians untangling body size from health
Healthcare professionals, from advanced sports dieticians to general practitioners, are increasingly trading a focus on weight for other, more robust health measures Lydia Hales (Oct. 2023)
Understanding Consciousness Is Key to Unlocking Secrets of the Universe
The quest to understand our physical universe may depend on investigating our own mind Amy Brady (Dec. 2023)
ART / LITERATURE
Notes on Complexity: A Buddhist Scientist on the Murmuration of Being Maria Popova (Aug. 2023)
In Notes on Complexity: A Scientific Theory of Connection, Consciousness, and Being (public library), the Buddhist scientist Neil Theise endeavors to bridge the mystery out there with the mystery of us, bringing together our three primary instruments of investigating reality — empirical science (with a focus on complexity theory), philosophy (with a focus on Western idealism), and metaphysics (with a focus on Buddhism, Vedanta, Kabbalah, and Saivism) — to paint a picture of the universe and all of its minutest parts “as nothing but a vast, self-organizing, complex system, the emergent properties of which are… everything.”
“The molecular weight of loneliness”: On Writing Fiction Influenced by Neuroscience
Temi Oh on Identity, Consciousness, and Free-Will in Science Fiction Temi Oh (Aug. 2023)
The Women Writers Who Destroyed Their Own Work The act can be the result of a fevered impulse—or a display of ferocious will. Naomi Huffman (Aug. 2023)
Lorrie Moore: ‘I’m just cruel. What can I tell you?’
The cult US author talks about losing her father during the pandemic, deadpan comedy – and why she wrote her long-awaited new novel in secret Lisa Allardice (June 2023)
The art of living, according to Miyazaki The octogenarian founder of Studio Ghibli hides luminous keys to our existence in his animated films. We’ve gathered together seven of these lessons Francesc Miralles (Dec. 2023)
When Keith Haring, Salvador Dalí and Jean-Michel Basquiat Created an Art Amusement Park A resurrected version of Luna Luna, a fairground started by artist André Heller in 1987, opens in Los Angeles later this month Julia Binswanger (Dec. 2023)
OTHER / PERSONAL INTEREST / RANDOM
How to Survive Living with Your Burner Roommate Joe Gelman (Aug. 2014)
The Flower That Only Grows on the Acropolis of Athens Anna Wichmann (Sept. 2023)
Read the very first reviews of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Dan Sheehan (Aug. 2023)
Jezebel Relaunches Under New Ownership, Eyeing Direct Advertising
Mark Stenberg (Dec. 2023)
Musk Fanboys Melt Down After Ralph Nader-Founded Car Safety Group Trashes Cybertruck Tesla fanatics were more than displeased that an organization known for prompting vehicle recalls blasted the truck as "dangerous" Miles Klee (Dec. 2023)
Elon Musk's luck has finally run out Linette Lopez (Dec. 2023)
The Uncertain Loneliness of Ambivalence on Motherhood I thought by now I would have decided, but this amorphous deadline keeps getting pushed back. Jill Filipovic (Dec. 2023)
Ryan Gosling Praises Mark Ronson’s ‘Kenergy’: ‘The Entire World Gave Zero F—s About Ken … Look At Him Now’ Steven J. Horowitz, Michael Schneider (Dec. 2023)
Confessions of a Yakuza Boss Tokyo Vice author, whose new book, The Last Yakuza, is out now, details how he won—and kept—the trust of Japan’s Mafia Jake Adelstein (Dec 2023)
Who Decided January 1st Is the New Year? Chad De Guzman (Dec, 2023)
Fiction: Necessary Evil Think of your being a Jew in terms of having been born with clubfoot: unfortunate, of course, but not the end of the world. Mikhail Iossel (Jan. 2014)
‘I repeatedly failed to win any awards’: my doomed career as a North Korean novelist
Before I fled south, I spent years as an aspiring fiction writer in the hermit kingdom. I worked hard – but literary glory kept eluding me Kim Ju-sŏng (Dec. 2023)
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