Universe Splitter/Crystallized Lemon Packets/Best tool evaluator

Recomendo - issue #350

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Quantum Decision Maker

If I can’t make a decision on something I like to consult my Universe Splitter app ($1.99 iPhone, Android). I enter two possible paths of action and press the “Split Universe” button. It then reports back to me which universe I’m in and what action to take. It’s fun and silly and like flipping a coin, except you’re creating multiple universes. The app keeps track of all your past universe splits and has a running tally of estimated universes created. I’m up to 512. — CD

Crystallized Lemon Packets

A couple of weeks ago, my parents introduced me to True Lemon packets, which contain crystallized lemon juice that can be easily added to tea or water. The powder dissolves instantly, and taste even better than fresh lemon juice. I use it to enhance my drinking water and sprinkle a bit on cut strawberries and papaya to bring out their flavors. There are many other ways to use these handy packets. — MF

Best tool evaluator

There’s this guy  – Todd at Project Farm – who maniacally tests tools on his YouTube channel. He invents systematic ways to test multiple versions of popular tools, which he buys himself. His evaluations are measured rather than qualitative. At the end of the long tests he displays a table of each tool’s performance and in a sentence or two gives his comparative verdict. This year, Todd rounded up his top 10 tests for the past year (2022), and put them into one super video. It’s a handy tool evaluator, and a good way to see if you’d find his other reviews useful. — KK

Examples of deceptive design is a pattern library of deceptive design examples used on websites and app to trick you into buying or signing up for things. There is a Hall of Shame with about 400 examples from the most complained about companies. The whole purpose of which is to raise awareness. Here’s an infographic of 12 different types of dark patterns sourced from the website. — CD

Creepy and cool AI-generated animations

I recently came across an intriguing Instagram channel featuring AI-generated animations that evoke the eerie changing portraits of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. These Dorian Gray-style portraits transform from people into grotesque monsters, with creepy music in the background. — MF

Alternative histories

In addition to the pleasure of reading a rousing story, there is a special benefit in exploring alternative histories. You know, the ones that ask what if? What if the Nazis won? What if the Russians landed on the moon first? This question is both a great way to approach history, and a good skill for thinking about the future. The Sideways Awards for Alternative History on Wikipedia is a fantastic source that lists the best alternative history stories written for each of the past 30 years. — KK

Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson


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