Firefalls, the Future of Journalism, and the New Essentials of French Cooking

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Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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Photo: James Day, Wired

Photo: James Day, Wired

Photo: James Day, Wired

Photo: James Day, Wired

How The New York Times is Clawing Its Way Into the Future »

Gabriel Snyder of Wired interviewed New York Times deputy publisher Arthur Gregg Sulzberger about the company’s ever-evolving strategies (digital and otherwise) to remain as relevant as they deserve to be:

One of the anxieties I heard throughout the Times is that they can get the journalism absolutely right, execute the technology perfectly, and still not find the hundreds of millions it costs every year to line the walls with Pulitzers. While other media companies collapse or implode […] there is unease over the possibility that when (or if) the Times emerges from its digital rebirth, it might be scarcely recognizable. Even Sulzberger admits to long-term doubts for the industry, though, he says, “We feel like we’re closer to cracking the code than anyone else.”

With 2017 going the way it’s gone so far (at least here in the States), it’s clear that good, hard-hitting journalism is more important than ever. If you’ve yet to begin paying a subscription to your news publication of choice, consider doing it today.


Photo: Herb Snitzer (1959)

Photo: Herb Snitzer (1959)

Thelonious Monk’s Music Advice »

This is one of those things that’s been written about many times across the web over the years, but I like Lists of Note so I’m linking their version from 2012:

The following fantastic list of advice comes courtesy of legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, a musical genius who died exactly 30 years ago, on February 17th of 1982. The list was transcribed by saxophonist Steve Lacy in 1960.

My favorites:

  • YOU’VE GOT TO DIG IT TO DIG IT, YOU DIG?
  • DON’T PLAY EVERYTHING (OR EVERY TIME); LET SOME THINGS GO BY. SOME MUSIC JUST IMAGINED. WHAT YOU DON’T PLAY CAN BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU DO.
  • A NOTE CAN BE SMALL AS A PIN OR AS BIG AS THE WORLD, IT DEPENDS ON YOUR IMAGINATION.
  • (WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR TONIGHT? SHARP AS POSSIBLE!)
  • WHATEVER YOU THINK CAN’T BE DONE, SOMEBODY WILL COME ALONG & DO IT. A GENIUS IS THE ONE MOST LIKE HIMSELF.

Photo: Ray Lee

Photo: Ray Lee

Yosemite’s Sunlit Waterfall Looks Like Glowing Lava »

Earlier this week, you may have seen the photo above by Ray Lee making the rounds online. In case you didn’t, the effect you’re looking at there is what’s known as the “Firefall” effect seen at Yosemite National Park’s Horsetail Fall, where the waterfall appears to glow like molten lava.

This spectacle is only witnessable at sunset for a couple weeks each February, only for a fleeting ten minutes at a time, AND only if the conditions are perfect, as explained by Michael Greshko at National Geographic:

The effect is finicky, requiring superb conditions: The sunset must catch the 1,000-foot-tall Horsetail Fall just right to illuminate the mist with reds and oranges. Plus, there’s no guarantee of a waterfall, as it pours down El Capitan’s east side only if there’s enough water to fuel it.

If all goes well, the Yosemite Valley’s rocky peaks progressively coat El Capitan in shadow from west to east during sunset, leaving a narrow swath of light on the waterfall just before sundown. The marked contrast between the glittering mist and muted rock makes the waterfall look like it’s glowing.

Seeing this effect in person is going on the bucket list right now.


5 Calls »

5 Calls is a nifty site — made by the likes of Nick O’Neill, Mike Monteiro, and more — that smooths the process of calling your congresspeople. It’s all fine and well to retweet, like, and share your opinions online, but if you truly want to make your voice heard as a constituent, you’ve got to make those phone calls.

This site (which also has a free app for iPhone and Android) uses your location to find the phone numbers of your local representatives, offers you a chance to select a current issue that’s important to you — with some background and opinion for each one, researched by the 5 Calls team — and gives you a script to use when calling.

Take a few minutes today and make those calls. In fact, make it a weekly habit.


The Year in Language (2016) »

The Google News Lab and Polygraph collaborated on this project, which analyzed Google search trends to identify which words and phrases trended upward in 2016, then compared them to results from 2013 until now. It’s a fascinating look at how language is evolving (or devolving, depending on your outlook) before our eyes.


The New Essentials of French Cooking »

On The New York Times’ ‘Cooking’ section, food writer Melissa Clark wrote a kind of next-generation cookbook called The New Essentials of French Cooking, which dives deep into 10 modern recipes for classic French dishes every modern cook should master.

With the help of both recipes and step-by-step video instruction, you’ll learn how to make omelettes, quiche, soufflés, ratatouille, and more. She’s also included a lot of culinary history about the recipes, along with tips and techniques to perfect the dishes and make them your own. Very cool.

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.

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