🗿 Birch Bark Issue #54

I think this is the best issue yet!

I don’t feel comfortable bragging, but I think the quality of everything in this issue is the best combination I’ve managed to hit on since this newsletter started. Please feel free to share this one far and wide if you enjoyed it too!

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Links

While the US’s handling of Covid-19 has been…poor, the rollout of the vaccine is doing better than most. “We’re number 5!” isn’t a great chant, but it’s better than we’re used to in the past year.

This is a fun look at why some generic brands suddenly have pretty nice package design.

If you’re a weirdo who loves Blaseball, it’s back March 1. If you’re a wannabe weirdo like me, then you’re going to figure out what this is all about next month as well.

On the opposite end of “fun”, this article articulates how single-issue, often extreme voters push politicians to ignore majorities.

I don’t know who needs this now, but this Reddit post explains how to play basically all Metal Gear Solid games on PC right now.

Finally, if you ever questioned how important UI design is, a bad UI made Citibank accidentally made a $900 million payment when they meant to pay less than $8 million. They got some back, but $500 million is gone!

Videos

This week’s theme is long videos, so strap in, but I swear all three of these are excellent!

First up is Tom Scott explaining the laws that make “influencers” declare ads whenever they have sponsored content, but all other mediums (like movies and TV) don’t.

Next up is an hour-long essay on pop music needle-drops in film, and you may be thinking “that’s way too long” and I promise you by the end you’ll wish there was more.

And finally, this video looks at animating a MetaHuman model in Unreal Engine. ASMR doesn’t really work for me, but this video was as close as I’ve come to those vibes.

Art

Music

OK Human, by Weezer (2021, pop rock)