#004: fixing fashion • fifth-columnness • microtonal sequencer

Welcome to the fourth edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.


I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.


The Precious Plastic team has started another recycling revolution, this time to reduce clothing waste. The call to action in their launch video is to wear repaired cloths and help turning patches and repairs into a statement—proud to be DIY.

They have started a series of well-produced videos showing how to avoid unnecessarily purchasing new clothes. In 15 minutes they cover removing stains with natural ingredients, sorting clothes properly, creating your own detergent, washing, drying, and storage.

I find the idea of upgrading your old clothes most compelling: make them smaller or larger; re-make new clothes by combining old ones; recolouring using natural ingredients (like avocado and cabbage); and decorating adding interesting patterns, pockets, buckles.

For those more comfortable with needles or Singers, there is a video on how to fix common problems yourself with a machine or by hand.

Also, (a quick detour back to their original Precious Plastic project), they use their globally popular open-source machines to make flowerpots, mountain climbing clip, a lamp shade, a hand blade for surfing from disposable masks!. They claim that 30 billion masks are thrown away per month, each containing similar materials to plastic bottles that take 500 years to degrade.

WARDLEY MAPS (via @boris)

For nerds of business, tech, data visualization, and map-making.

This dense presentation explaining the creation and use of visual maps to surface adoption strategies features lots of information and graphics to outline a framework for future planning.

It’s a multi-layered cake that you likely don’t want to eat in one sitting. If you survive the barrage and would like to learn more, Simon Wardley has written nineteen chapters on Medium about this method, and a related community for mapping offers workshops to learn collectively.

The visual slides are the best part, but as I avoid images here I will only share some quotes:

[Things that evolve and become more efficient enable higher-order systems to appear.]
[New ages don’t start with their first prototypes, they start at the industrialization and commodification of systems.]
[By sharing maps we discover that we are building similar things elsewhere.]


Therapy contemplation of the week:

[The purpose of a conversation is to help the river flow again.]

An isolated community in Kenya with no fiat money created their own system of trading that doesn’t rely on cash. This video documents the creation of their secondary currency, the institutional resistance, and some principles of how to make it work.

[Allowing popular retailers to become banks creates a profit motive for debt, which reduces trading because people are not able to pay expensive loans. Introducing a secondary currency enables people to trade which deteriorates debt as a profit strategy.]
[The community knows what’s best for them. They can back their own money.]

Beau of the Fifth Column puts his fifth-columnness to the test by talking about a war without talking about it. He supremely demonstrates how to approach a divisive topic without succumbing to slogans and talking points.

[The truth cannot be told, it has to be realized.]
[Whataboutism is proof that people believe something is true across all systems.]
[Those who are in power benefit from slogans, not from context.]

For anyone with the stomach to read it, I published an English translation of my recent encounter with the Brazilian police.


Damien Clarke’s Xenpaper calls itself a ‘text-based microtonal sequencer’: using numbers and symbols you can produce a simple scale or complex melodies with sophisticated timing. A rare ‘text-to-music’ system where the demos work and are fun—you can just click the play buttons and observe how the sound corresponds to the text. (via Web Audio Weekly)

You wanted a list of privacy-respecting alternatives to most apps and social networks? Awesome Privacy has it broken down by category, and it’s open-source so you can contribute too. (via @boris)

Boring Avatars’ fun little image playground allows you to generate and explore different avatar designs based on text, colours, and patterns. (via @douginamug@mastodon.xyz)


I can’t wait to learn German one day so that I can understand and perhaps use the words from this thread (via James):

[Kummerspeck: excess fat from emotional overeating, translates literally to ‘grief bacon’ or ‘sorrow fat’, and similar to ‘muffin tops’ in English]
[Weltschmerz: feeling so tired of worldly evils that it’s painful to exist]
[Verschlimmbessern: trying to improve something but eventually making it worse]


Adam Ragusea explains what mushrooms exactly are (they’re not plants or animals…). Feature some wild footage of something growing in a basement. (via @kevin@merveilles.town)


All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist via Joybox without accounts or sign up—just open and play.


This ‘spiky’ avant-garde jazz from Berlin, released earlier this year by PUNKT.VRT.PLASTIK, features vague meters and uneven clocks. I also grooved hard to the slightly steadier Nuremberg Amok from an older album. (via James Ball)

This lovely little bossa nova for kids (apparently going viral on TikTok, which I don’t use), comes from The Backyardigans, which is a show where every episode features a different music genre! Wish I grew up watching that… Adam Neely does a deep dive into the music theory devices employed in the song. (via matheus23)

Two things from musical master Jacob Collier, but not really about the music: 1) dance animations created from the spinning of a vinyl disc, and 2) he spells out words by playing the piano. The latter is something that normal humans accomplish via a lengthy editing process on the computer—he performs it live.

Swaya’s remix of Where They At by Acemo is our body-shaker of the week. The original comes alive with African percussion, echoed synths, and a stronger rhythmic drive.

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!

More music in last weeks’s edition.

That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have.

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