Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

The imminent climate change catastrophe, if not already started

Fiona Harvey, writing on The Guardian, about a newly published provisional statement on climate change, from the World Meteorological Organisation:

Global temperatures have continued to rise in the past 10 months, with 2018 expected to be the fourth warmest year on record.

Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1 ℃ above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather has affected all continents, while the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years.

The warming trend is unmistakeable and shows we are running out of time to tackle climate change […] On current trends, warming could reach 3 ℃ to 5 ℃ by the end of this century.

Another day, another worrisome report about climate. I'm afraid the great K.C. Green's Gunshow drawing – the origin of one of the strongest memes – will stay trendy for a while.

Social media is not all that bad if you listen to teenagers

Katie Notopoulos, writing on BuzzFeed News, on a new Pew Research Center report on social media and generation Z.

Much research has focused on social media being a huge waste of time at best, a facilitator of ideological bubbles, and a dangerous, hostile experience for young people at worst. But the 743 teens Pew surveyed say it’s actually, well, good. Millennials were the first to make social media mainstream, but might their Gen Z successors have figured out a better relationship with their smartphones? Growing up among devices and platforms could just make today’s teens better at incorporating technology into their lives than even the millennials before them, with greater awareness of the hazards. The internet clearly can be a dangerous place, but teens now have the self-awareness to know when it's time to unplug.

The study is a lot more nuanced than this, but Notopoulos explains it well. Anyway, this is, I think, a good reminder for us – older generations, including millenials like myself – to be more willing to learn from the youngests, and to be more careful on not ending up sounding like our own parents.

When you think of a pencil, you probably picture it yellow: This is why

Another gem of a link that I discovred through Daniel Benneworth-Gray's newsletter Meanwhile. Gabrielle Hick, on Artsy, tells the origin story behind the colour yellow and pencils:

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom.

Great story. I would love to see a list of products and the stories behind a particular colour or a specific shape; I can only think of blue jeans, white earbuds, and possibly the Laguiole knife. If you think of something, hit me up on Twitter.

Michel Gondry: "I don't believe in superheroes. I think it's a worse way of being a nerd."

Amy Liprot, on The Guardian, introducing the set-up for this very interesting Michel Gondry's interview, focusing in his new show, Kidding, starring Jim Carrey.

On an ordinary morning in Los Angeles, where the 55-year-old French film-maker recently finished work on the dark comedy series Kidding, which starts on Sky Atlantic on 29 November, Gondry just wants a simple coffee and croissant. But his sugar packet won’t open and neither will the strawberry jam. After much ripping and stabbing, his side of the table is coated in sticky crystals and his butter knife looks like a murder weapon. Gondry waves away the chaos. His sticky, human fingerprints are on everything he touches – why not his breakfast, too?

What a brilliant intro.

The definitive minimalist ressource on minimalism

Carl MH Barenburg, writing on his blog about the concept and ideas behind mnmllist, a new curated collection of links and minimalism-inpired products, books, fashion items, &c.:

I decided to create the ultimate bookmark for minimalism enthusiasts, including everything from books, bikes, clothing, furniture, to technology. All presented in a clear, well-structured, and unobtrusive categorised list of text links. Created in collaboration with web developer Manu Moreale, we launched Mnmllist.

It lists only 3 items per category, but each category can be expanded to display more links if we’ve got round to adding them.

Wonderfully designed, exquisitely curated, perfectly named. Definitely one of my favourite websites, and also one of the smartest URLs out there.