🤖 Birch Bark Issue #55

Daft Punk is playing in my house all week

If last week you told me, “Daft Punk will release a new video next week,” I would have been thrilled! Sadly, the video we did get was anything but good news. On the plus side, it did get me to listen to a ton of Daft Punk this week and really appreciate how much joy their music has brought me over the course of my entire life. From making fun of, but also being drawn to “Around the World” on the radio in 1997 to the pure bliss of their final record, “Random Access Memories,” the duo consistently created some of the best music in the world for decades straight, and we still get to enjoy all of it.

On to the update!


Ezra Klein on the fragility of our infrastructure when one of the richest states in the richest country in the world was brought to its knees by bad weather.

I’d classify this article as “technically true, but kind of insignificant,” but an interesting quick read on why it’s more environmentally sustainable to use Ariel, Times New Roman, Georgia, Courier, Verdana, or Helvetica than any custom font due to the fact all those fonts are pre-installed on all modern computers and don’t need to be downloaded.

Casey Newton’s Platformer has quickly become my favorite newsletter, and this article about the recent uptick in social media competition is another winner.

And finally, Reuters has created this visualization of the first 500,000 US deaths from Covid-19 that is as well done as it is depressing.


Starting this week with my own video, I know, but an artel showing Chrome using 24x the RAM of Safari was making the rounds last week, and I could not stand the fanboy cheers it triggered, so I got some better data.

Next up is Chris Lawley going over Craft, a really cool collaborative notes app.

Then we’ve got a review of a FIFINE microphone that looks like it’s a good, cheaper alternative to the Blue Yeti.

And in non-tech stuff, here’s one of the best explainers on how disinformation spreads online. This video is about how some wildly cherry-picked PCR testing data has been spread around to “prove” that all testing is bunk.



If I had to make a list of top 5 albums of all time, The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats is absolutely on that list. Singer John Darnielle focuses on his trouble youth with a collection of unforgettable songs.

And because it’s not every week a legendary band breaks up, I’m doing a bonus pick today for Daft Punk. While their studio records have been all over social media this week, I think their Alive 2007 record is an underrated masterpiece. Turn this one up.