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Outside Story

During his presidency, Barack Obama granted clemency to 1,715 inmates, most of whom were serving inhumanely long sentences for non-violent drug offenses. What happened next? Well, thanks to Nation of Second Chances, those stories are now being told, one life at a time.

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A Lonely Listen

A podcast about loneliness? It’s more comforting than it sounds. Writer and creator Julia Bainbridge’s meditations and interviews on what it means to be alone in the world today are a soothing balm against the various forms of isolation we all experience—through travel and technology, work, and romance (or lack thereof.) A good episode to start with: Kat Turner, a private chef to A-list celebrities, shares an intimate audio diary of a life abroad in someone else’s world.

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Safe Word

We’re hesitant to promote the bizarrely funny and surprisingly philosophical tweets of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, for fear that if someone in the Trump Administration finds out that there’s actually something good being done by the government, they’ll quickly move to shut it down. That said, if you like dinosaurs, sentient popcorn, pigeons and horses running through water, @USCPSC is for you.

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Stairway To The Good Place

It may not be hard to make a pipe beautiful (just look at Tetra, or Summerland, or The Pursuits of Happiness), but it’s rare for piece to feel so completely new. The clean, geometric lines of Laundry Day’s Tanjune are as satisfying to look at as they are to hold, and would fit in nicely just about anywhere.

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Blue Streak

We tend to err on the side of tropical escapism when it comes to our mid-winter Instagram follows, but photographer and visual effects artist Jaume Creus’ richly-lit feed paints an appropriately moody picture of Vancouver’s (more often than not) rain-slicked city streets.

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Tiny Dancer

“I have a confession to make: The Dancing Baby was kinda my fault.” And so begins one man’s tale of how, more than 20 years ago, he helped propel an animated, diapered baby dancing his heart out to internet and TV stardom. It’s the story you haven’t been waiting for, but you’ll enjoy it nevertheless.

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Blast From The Past

It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves for years, at the tail-end of dinner parties that stretch late into the night and on lazy Sunday afternoons when The Mummy inevitably appears on some channel: Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser? The answer is much more complicated than anyone would’ve guessed.

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Kitchen Confidential

Employment options for those just out of prison are sadly and unjustly limited, but one restaurant in Cleveland offers a chance for hardworking ex-inmates to learn a new trade and put themselves on a new path. The Academy Award-nominated Knife Skills captures the struggle and the amazing opportunity given to these men and women.

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Quit Jerking Around

Biltong: South Africa's better, air-dried version of beef jerky. We love it. In fact, we just re-ordered four different types of it. Honestly, that’s it. If you’re a biltong maker, please feel free to send us more biltong. Thank you.

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Stick That In Your Stick Pipe And Smoke It

While it might seem like there are now more craft pipes than you can shake a stick at, Pigeon Toe Ceramics' actual Stick Pipe is a keeper. In true Oregonian fashion, the beautiful piece is cast in tinted buff speckle stoneware from "driftwood found on the Oregon coast.”

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Pie, Oh, Pie

Baker Lauren Ko’s pies are so gorgeous we’re not sure whether to eat them or hang them on the wall. (Obviously we know we should eat them, but what we’re trying to say is that they’re extremely beautiful pies and a little hyperbole never hurt anyone and you should just follow @lokokitchen already.)

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House Of Horrors

Everyone has at least one terrifying tale of the roommate from hell. But unless you’re Bridget Fonda, you’ve never dealt with a devil like Jamison Bachman.

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Bad Boys In Blue

Before there was reality TV, there was Cops. Supposedly true vignettes of our criminal justice system in action, the show has for decades made people feel proud of a broken system and helped viewers double down on their biases. The Marshall Project’s Tim Stelloh explores the show’s place in our culture, and whether its existence is merely a reflection of society’s criminal justice failings, or a catalyst for them.

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Random Rules

Fiorella Valdesolo is a writer, editor, and the co-founder of Gather Journal (which you should be reading if you’re not). She’s also a bit of an Instagram genius. A hodgepodge of pop culture, nostalgia, political statements, witty remarks, and simply beautiful things, Valdesolo’s account is guaranteed to stand apart from just about anyone else you follow.

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All About Katja

If you follow Katja Blichfeld on Instagram, you know she’s long overdue for a feature profile. So it makes sense that with the second season premiere of High Maintenance just around the corner, she’s the subject of two this week: an as-told-to essay in Vogue and a cover story for The Cut. Both are worth your time, but Emily Gould’s sharp and nuanced portrait of a woman in the midst of a compelling transformation is really spectacular.

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Clickstarter

Chances are you’ll never actually see Donald Hanson’s digital piece “Permanent Redirect,” but that won’t stop you from trying. The work moves to a new URL every time someone sees it, making it impossible to know how to reach it or link to it at any given time. Whatever your interpretation might be, it certainly mirrors our own mindless use of the Internet in which we keep clicking and clicking though we know we should’ve stepped away from the computer hours ago.

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Appetite For Destruction

Last month, Mario Batali offered a mealy mouthed apology in response to numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. As part of said apology, Batali now-infamously included a recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls. Why? We have no idea. But Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywhereist took Batali up on the half-baked idea and documented her process—and thoughts—along the way.

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Low Hanging Fruit

For as large as they loom in popular culture and American history, the origins of the Sicilian mafia are surprisingly mysterious. A new study in the Journal of Economic History (yet another lifestyle publication) proposes that the mafia came to fruition as a response to the rise in demand for oranges and lemons once it was discovered citrus fruit cures scurvy. They’ve been putting the squeeze on people ever since.

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Chimpan-see

Can you tell which of these chimps are related? Humans are quite good at recognizing “biological relatives through facial features,” but does that ability apply to our ultra-extended ones? Researchers need your help in figuring out how this trait evolved in humans and all you need to do is look at some cute chimp pictures. A real win-win.

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Get The Picture

MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora is exactly what it sounds like: a journal dedicated to the work of black female photographers. Named for Mfon Essien, the young photographer who died tragically just one day before an exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Museum was set to open, the biannual features work from 100 photographers from across the globe. Starting next month, the group will also begin accepting applications for their MFON Legacy Grant, to be awarded to a female photographer of African descent who “has demonstrated a commitment to exceptional image-making in the spirit of Mfon’s body of work.”

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Death By Design

Murder, She Wrote has had a bit of a resurgence on Instagram in recent years. It seems the world has fallen back in love with Jessica Fletcher, New England’s most famous writer-detective (and possible serial killer), and her unique sense of style. But @interiorsofmudershewrote makes the case that it’s not just Fletcher’s look that’s worth remembering, but the garish and neon crime scenes, too.

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La Vie En Rose

According to a 1982 New York Times article, when violent children housed at the San Bernardino County Probation Department in California were put in an 8-foot by 4-foot “bubble gum pink” cell, they relaxed, stopped “yelling and banging,” and often fell asleep within 10 minutes. That’s probably the most disturbing fact we could find in our attempt to justify how much we love these magenta color therapy glasses from Sweetflag.

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Morning Tunes

Here’s a thing you should do tomorrow: upon waking—without rising, turning on the lights, or checking Instagram—start your day with Just For Us, the new Francis and the Lights album that dropped as a post-holiday, pre-2018 surprise last week. The first track is called “Morning,” and it definitely makes for a good one. (Optional: sleeping in; getting yourself just the tiniest bit high.)

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A Life In Pictures

That the David Hockney retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art runs through a frigid winter in New York makes an odd kind of sense: the warmth his work radiates could heat a city. Our love for Hockney has only grown with time, and this exhibition is well worth yours. (And if you’re not from New York, you’ve only got a couple of months left to see the museum Pierce Brosnan stole a Monet from for free, so hurry up.)

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Consider The Goldfish

Sustainably caught? Sure. Ethically farmed? Yes, please. But when was the last time the non-vegans among you gave any thought to the pain once felt by the tuna on your midday sandwich? Overwhelming evidence points to the fact that fish do, indeed, feel it. So the question is: now what?

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Smut Petal-ing

Floral designer Doan Ly’s still lifes look like they’ve been taken off the set of a ‘70s erotic film—in a good way. Ly’s use of light, angle, focus and color make her work more reminiscent of classic LP covers than the wedding arrangements they often are. It makes sense, then, that her New York studio, a.p. bio (also a class we nearly failed in high school), is dedicated to “elevating floral design to art,” a goal already more than met.

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Design For A Cause

After a year in which the current administration has sought to weaken environmental protections at every turn, the recent reissue of the EPA's 1977 Graphic Standards Manual feels especially timely. The team behind the book is donating a portion of the proceeds from every copy sold to Earthjustice, the nation’s largest nonprofit environmental law organization.

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Tiny Dancers

The New York Times's deep dive into the "high-drama" world of youth competitive dance is an extraordinary look at the fierce and fascinating intensity of young girls under pressure.

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Instagram's Uncanny Valley

At first glance, Brooke Didonato’s photographs are beautiful. At second glance, they’re weird. After that, all bets are off.

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Finally Something We Can Solve

This animated puzzle by the guys at Playables is a delight. We highly suggest blowing off work and taking the time to complete it.

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Life Of The Party

Writer Jen Doll's deep dive into professional "party motivators" is a surprisingly heartfelt meditation on what it means to straddle the two seemingly incompatible worlds of youth and adulthood.

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Twinkle Toes

Veja sneakers are designed in France and sustainably made out of everything from recycled plastic bottles to tilapia skin to Hermès-approved silk. You can’t go wrong with any of their vintage-looking, athletic-inspired designs, but the silver pair above make a particularly perfect (and seasonally appropriate) antidote to white footwear fatigue.

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The Work of Art

This beautiful short reveals the intricacies of paper marbling. With combs, brushes and chemicals, the artist constructs a masterpiece that looks as good on water as it does on paper.

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Stitch, Please

Things we love: embroidery, animals, and weirdly specific Instagram accounts. Makes perfect sense then that we’d love Chloe Giordano’s weirdly specific account of adorably embroidered animals.

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Polar Express

Sometimes you need a break from a break. Escape whatever family bonding or strife is going on with a joint and a 40-minute ride through the mountain peaks of Norway on the famous Flåm train line. And while virtually gliding through the snow is soothing with the sound on, we like to hit mute and pair the “journey” with our own musical choices.

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Harder Than It Looks

Sitting. We all do it. But that shouldn’t stop you from buying How To Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh’s pocket-sized book on meditation. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk strings together short prompts for breathing exercises and self-reflection that are perfect for beginners or long-time practitioners, or people with short attention spans who just want to try something new. (The book is also a great gift or stocking stuffer that makes you look like a thoughtful and caring person even though you’re definitely buying it at the last minute.)

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Not-So-Millennial Pink

It gets dark pretty early these days, which means we have to look for light elsewhere. Lately we've been finding it in Andria Darius Pancrazi’s photos of rose buildings and magenta skies, or what he calls “softserve pinkcore mulhollandwave."

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Skip The Eye Strain

If you also fell down a rabbit hole of color-acuity tests (our personal favorites here, here, and here) upon seeing that Pantone had announced its 2018 Color Of The Year, do yourself a favor and download Blendoku 2. (The color is Ultra Violet, but that’s honestly beside the point.)

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A Prickly Pick

It's rare to find an accessory that's as playful as it is practical, which is what makes these Farbod Ceramics pieces such a treat. (NB: If the last few months are any indication, they also have a tendency to sell out fast.)

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Which One Are You?

Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” In Cat Person, the fiction selection in this week’s New Yorker, author Kristen Roupenian applies this premise to the banality of modern courtship with an acutely terrifying result.

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Men Of The Cloth

The Johannesburg-based African L’Homme will teach you how to dress like a modern man, or just be a salve to this season’s endless sea of winter coats.

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How To Make A Zine

Having only recently been introduced to Buffalo Zine, we can’t vouch for all the issues—especially since they re-think the design, layout and format of every installation. (Think: a send-up of ‘70s catalogues in one shipment followed by a hand-scrawled street ‘zine the next.) We can, however, vouch for the ones we've seen and for the fact that this indie fashion publication won the Stack Awards’ “Magazine of the Year” just last week.

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So Drippy

It’s been a long week (it’s always a long week these days), so take a minute to chill with this soothing short by Kevin McGloughlin that proves sometimes a painter doesn’t need a canvas.

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Not Everything Is A Baby Photo

Most people take Instagram way too seriously. Don’t worry, Brock Davis definitely does not.

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We Didn't Start The Fire

Slow Burn, a new eight-episode podcast from Slate’s Leon Neyfakh, retells the story of the Watergate scandal and asks: what does it feel like to watch a president fall? Let's hope we find out.

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Pipe For The Picking

Unlike its pastel-speckled forebears (confetti is fun but sucks to clean; funfetti is delicious but devoid of nutrients), this limited-edition Pursuits of Happiness pipe has no downside: it’s both visually pleasing and decidedly functional. Minimal clean-up required.

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See The Light Of Clay

Using a medium otherwise reserved for pre-schoolers, Eleanor Macnair artfully recreates photographs—famous and obscure alike—with Play-Doh, breathing new life into often familiar images.

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The Art Of Love

In "Oliver Jeffers," Bas Berkhout's sensitive short doc about the acclaimed Irish artist and children's book author, Jeffers explores his own past to help understand his son's future.

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Press: Works on Instagram

Never made it to Press: Works on Paper before it closed? You're in luck. The Instagram feed of San Francisco’s beloved bookstore lives on, offering up inspiring images and vintage, rare, and out-of-print publications for bargain-basement prices.

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An Oral History Of Jeff Goldblum

Our biggest takeaway from GQ’s brilliantly done feature on everyone’s favorite fictional chaos theorist? All marriage proposals should involve Jeff Goldblum.

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The Good Kind Of Ghosting

Tuck one in a corner of your bookshelf, bring another as a hostess gift to the next dinner party you attend, and add the rest to your holiday wish list for anyone who’s asking: these three-inch tall ceramic spirits are each handmade and accordingly one of a kind. We’re partial to the bumpy dude dipped in green, but who says you have to pick just one?

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A Michelin-Starred Meal For $1.50

Turns out you don’t need to break the bank to eat a Michelin-starred meal, but the flight might cost you. The $1.50 braised chicken Chef Chan Hon Meng serves from his “Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle” food cart in Singapore has earned him the rare culinary honor, if not a ton of money.

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Jailhouse Talk

The best new podcast is being made by inmates in San Quentin State Prison. Ear Hustle’s Earlonne Woods, Antwan Williams, and prison volunteer Nigel Poor have managed to record and produce a riveting series that takes a candid and honest look at what life on the inside is really like.

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One For The Road

Rich colors, stark lines, and ... dust. Hayley Eichenbaum’s stunning images of the American West turn ordinary, everyday scenes into the abstract.

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Something New Under The Sun

Twitter is mostly a bearer of bad news these days, but every six hours @softlandscapes tweets a little algorithmic ray of sunshine into the world. That’s why we were stoked to find that its creator, George Buckenham, built a web version so you can get your landscape fix whenever, wherever.

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Tile Waves

We should caveat this with a seizure warning. But if you’re into bright colors and mindlessly toggling digital control buttons, this interactive visualization is a trip. It really brings us back to our Winamp days. In a good way.

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Bird Croppings

Obsessed with the flight patterns of birds, photographer Xavi Bou has spent the last five years on his "Ornitographies" project. In his attempts at "making visible the invisible," Bou painstakingly layers stills from films of birds in motion to create beautiful, undulating, and near-abstract images of a nature that cannot be seen as a whole with the human eye.