Online passport renewal/No-slip hangers/Explain that Stuff

Recomendo - issue #416

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Online passport renewal

If you need to renew your US passport there is a pilot program to renew it online, but you’ll need 8 weeks to process it. Mailing it in is currently faster. But if you are not comfortable mailing your passport, consider this official state department beta program Renewal Online, which only accepts a limited number of applicants per day. (Thanks for the tip from our sister newsletter, Nomadico – written for people who work while they travel.) — KK

No-slip hangers

During a recent move, our movers suggested replacing our bulky plastic hangers with super-thin, non-slip velvet hangers — and they were right. They maximized my closet space while keeping clothes from slipping off. The 360-degree swivel hook makes it easy to adjust items so that they all face the same way. At around 50 cents per hanger for a pack of 30, they’re an affordable way to instantly declutter your closet and give it a more uniform, boutique-like appearance. Best of all, no more clothes on the floor! Here’s a photo of my closet with the hangers. — MF

Explain that Stuff is a science and technology website that I find myself returning to again and again. Created by science writer Chris Woodford, it offers simple yet engaging explanations of how things work—from everyday gadgets to complex scientific concepts. I have to admit that lately, when I want to quickly understand something, I’ll ask an AI to explain it to me like I’m 5 years old. However, in comparison, this human-written website is much more satisfying to read and learn from, like having my own private science tutor at my fingertips. — CD

Walk across Bali

I just completed a six-day walk across the island of Bali. We carried only day packs and our luggage was forwarded each day. We walked roughly 77 km from Ubud, up to the volcanoes in the center of the island, and then finished on the north coast. We had two guides to lead the way through the rice terraces, and we slept in local villages, Balinese style along the way. I highly recommend the organizers, who charge only $500 for the whole trip, including all the vegetarian meals along the way. This is miles off the tourist, or even backpacker, tracks. The hosts, Astungkara Way, also offer a 10-day version which goes coast to coast. — KK

Best Months to Visit Each National Park

I love this visual guide that shows the best months to visit all U.S. national parks. It’s easy to read and will hopefully take the guesswork out of planning your next outdoor adventure. Here is the accompanying blog post about the criteria used to determine the “best” times to visit each park. The creator considered factors like historical visitor statistics, seasonal weather, road and trail closures, and even special annual events like bat flights and wildflower blooms. — CD 

How to do great work

Last year, Paul Graham, a renowned programmer, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist known for co-founding Y Combinator, wrote an essay titled “How to Do Great Work.” He covered a wide range of topics, from choosing what to work on to cultivating originality. This week, I came across Peter Schroeder’s terrific visual representation that maps out the main ideas from Graham’s essay. It’s useful even if you don’t read the essay. — MF


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