The history of the Mason jar

Mason Jar

Fascinating read:

This current incarnation of the Mason jar has a lot to do with the hunger for greater legitimacy: How can I be more real, and more unique in my realness? One of capitalism’s most enduring legacies has been persuading people that they can purchase a singular style. In some areas, like fashion, the effort to be unique has come full circle, so that the best way to be an individual is to dress with utter banality (hence the trend known as normcore). Mason jars—with their enticing aura of thrift, preservation, and personal labor—have become a potent signifier in this quest. Rather than ensuring against scarcity, however, Mason jars confirm the presence of abundance—and suggest that we’re rather fatigued by it.

Read The Mason Jar, Reborn {the atlantic}.

Amen, Brother

William Deresiewicz on personality tests {american scholar} like Meyers Briggs, horoscopes and Ennegram:

Of course, it’s all bull­shit. The human psy­che is much too com­plex and vari­able to be reduced to such schemes, even with their inevitable foot­notes and epicy­cles. Call­ing some­one a Heal­er (or a “caregiver,” for that mat­ter) is about as use­ful as call­ing them a Capri­corn. Which is why, when I’ve spent my hour with the chakras, I return to the only thing that’s capa­ble of rep­re­sent­ing, with any kind of cogency or depth, the human soul: lit­er­a­ture. There you will find not types but indi­vid­u­als, in all their unpre­dictable unique­ness, their myr­i­ad con­flict­ing acts and motives. No order, no sys­tem—just truth.

Friday Link List

1. Vinyl Sales Are Way Up {nicholas carr}

Speaking of the physical manifestation of informational goods, the numbers for 2012 just came out and, according to Nielsen Soundscan, U.S. vinyl album sales leapt another 18 percent, the fifth year in a row of muscular gains.


2. Gabby Giffords Launches Gun Control Campaign {npr}

So she and her husband Mark Kelly, as they write this morning in USA Today, are launching a campaign “to balance the influence of the gun lobby” and push for “responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.”

Their announcement comes two years to the day after Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman who attacked an event she was hosting in Tucson, Ariz. he killed six people and wounded 13, including the congresswoman.


3. iPads & China Vs. Wisconsin {npr}

A joke began to circulate in Wisconsin: ‘This paperless society sure is good for business.’ Amazing, astonishingly, the paper industry demand held up right around 2005, 2006. There is a beautiful old, 120-year-old mill on the Wisconsin River in a town called Nekoosa. It has to work extra shifts to make the paper for the recent biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. The irony, of course, is that no industrialist has done more than Steve Jobs to create the touch screens that are putting the pressure on these paper mills.

Friday Link List

1. How Green Is Telecommuting? {andrew sullivan}.

I doubt the premise of this article based on my personal experience, but it’s an interesting observation, if true:

It might … be that, contrary to some early expectations, telecommuting is not necessarily good for the environment. A 2011 article in the Annals of Regional Science found that, on average, telecommuters end up putting in more travel—on both nonwork-and work-related trips—than those who don’t telecommute. In other words, that they don’t drive to work doesn’t mean that they drive less overall. As Pengyu Zhu, the article’s author, put it, “the hopes of planners and policymakers who expected the promotion of telecommuting programs to substitute for face-to-face interactions and thus reduce traditional travels remains largely unmet.”

I hardly ever drive my car save for my commute to work, so my ability to telecommute saves me two long drives every week. I have a hunch that those who telecommute and end up driving the the same amount (if not more) are also living typical suburban lives. A similar study could be done across all non-urban dwellers who drive to work whether or not they telecommute. Suburbanites don’t just drive to work, they also shop and pick up the kids from school, too.


2. Caffeinated Seas Found off U.S. Pacific Northwest {national geographic; via stephen marche}.

The Pacific Northwest may be the epicenter of U.S. coffee culture, and now a new study shows the region’s elevated caffeine levels don’t stop at the shoreline.

The discovery of caffeine pollution in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon is further evidence that contaminants in human waste are entering natural water systems, with unknown consequences for wildlife and humans alike, experts say.


3. In Praise of Urban Density {andrew sullivan}.

The denser the city, the more productive, efficient and powerful it becomes. The theoretical physicists, Luis Bettencourt and Geoffrey West calculated that if the population of a city is doubled, average wages go up by 15%, as do other measures of productivity, like patents per capita. Economic output of a city of 10 million people will be 15-20% higher than that of two cities of 5 million people. Incomes are on average five times higher in urbanised countries with a largely rural population. And at the same time, resource use and carbon emissions plummet by 15% for every doubling in density, because of more efficient use of infrastructure and better use of public transportation.

Friday Link List

Short vacation one for ya this week.

1. Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek {the new york times}

Crazy, multi-part series about “freeskiing” in Washington state:

The very thing the 16 skiers and snowboarders had sought — fresh, soft snow — instantly became the enemy. Somewhere above, a pristine meadow cracked in the shape of a lightning bolt, slicing a slab nearly 200 feet across and 3 feet deep. Gravity did the rest.

2. The QVC Effect {fox business}

Informative and entertaining article/video/interview about my current employer:

It’s a place where if you’re lucky enough to get on, you can give your business exposure that many entrepreneurs can only dream of — and it’s all located in the small town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Now, if you have a preconceived notion about the customer base and the items being sold on QVC, you may want to tune in because it’s surprisingly current, with guests like Jennifer Hudson and the Kardashians and brands from Apple to Ugg to Ralph Lauren.