Examples of spherules from IM1’s path from Avi Loeb’s Summary of the Successful Interstellar Expedition

What We’re Reading: What are you waiting for?

Medium Staff
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readJul 14

Hi everybody,

I recently read about a psychological phenomenon called “specialness spirals” in which a person is unable to use an item because it’s too, well, special to use on a mundane day. University professor Jacqueline Rifkin researches consumption, and her article for Medium publication The Conversation addressed why some people are unable to convince themselves to use new items.

“When people decide not to use something at one point in time, the item can start to feel more special,” she writes. “This accrual of specialness can be one explanation for how possessions accumulate and turn into unused clutter.”

I know plenty of people who only use the “good china” for religious holidays or wait until a birthday to wear a pretty dress. I also know people who wear ball gowns for Zoom calls because… why not?

It’s certainly a privilege to be able to have — or do — extra. But now I wonder: Where do you fit on the specialness spiral? I’d love to read about your approach to acquiring, removing, or re-using the things that clutter your life. And if you have no clutter? I’d love to read about that too. Feel free to tag my profile at the bottom of your story, and I’ll be sure to read it.

See you around Medium.

Adrienne Gibbs
Director of Creator Growth @ Medium

Your weekend reading list

We Just Witnessed the Deadliest Shipwreck in Years” by Melissa Fleming, Chief Communicator at the United Nations

It’s a date that should go down in history — a stain on our collective conscience. On June 14th, 2023, the Adriana, a fishing boat carrying 750 people, capsized in the Mediterranean. The more than 600 deaths were entirely preventable. And yet the world barely flinched.

I Don’t Want to Lose Another Summer to Body Insecurity” by Fleurine Tideman, freelance copywriter, in Invisible Illness

Sometimes I notice little girls running across the beach or leaping into swimming pools. I wonder at what age they’ll lose that fearlessness. When the swimsuit won’t be about their favourite colour, but the best way to hide themselves. I wish they never had to cross that line. I wish they could keep seeing their bodies are vessels to enjoy themselves in, and not the cage that they often become. I wish I could’ve stayed that way.

Photo by Wren Meinberg on Unsplash

Everything New in Figma” by Joey Banks, design systems engineer at Webflow

It’s truly an incredible series of updates, and we’re already beginning to see a few examples of how designers are pushing the new prototyping features to the absolute maximum.

A Quick Reference Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Teachers” by McGraw Hill, notable publisher of educational materials, in Inspired Ideas

This past school year, conversations about AI were largely dominated by concerns about ChatGPT or other generative AI tools and academic integrity. However, the broad spectrum of implications for AI in classrooms is far more nuanced, including impacts on student data privacy, equity and bias concerns, and the need for human oversight.

Why Striking Down Affirmative Action Programs Openly Safeguards Systemic Racism” by Petiri Ira, freelance writer, in Momentum

Affirmative action is often misunderstood. Many view affirmative action-based programs as an automatic in and free pass for non-White students. What critics of affirmative action fail to realise that race-based affirmative action policies were designed to address the racism descendants of enslaved individuals of America face. They fail to realise that the nation is built on the basis of race.

Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Summary of the Successful Interstellar Expedition” by Avi Loeb, Baird Professor of Science at Harvard University and author of Extraterrestrial

Their discovery opens a new frontier in astronomy, where what lay outside the solar system is studied through a microscope rather than a telescope. That 83% of the matter in the universe is apparently composed of dark matter which was not found yet in the solar system should teach us modesty in forecasting the nature of interstellar objects.

From Avi Loeb in Summary of the Successful Interstellar Expedition: The magnetic sled (right) was connected by a cable to a winch on Silver Star’s deck. Every morning at sunrise, I jogged on the deck. Initially I was surprised at the jogging speed measured by the workout app on my Apple watch, but then I realized that the GPS system and the Starlink-WiFi baseline are affected by the motion of the platform on which I jog. A filming crew recorded one of my morning jogs (bottom left).

Any great reads this week? Let us know in the responses.

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What We’re Reading” is a weekly roundup of insightful stories and perspectives from across Medium. Browse previous editions here.



Medium Staff
The Medium Blog

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