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Leo Ariel

Highly Classified Exposé (Do Not Open .. Unless You Dare)

published2 months ago
1 min read

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Hi friends,

Greetings from Ubud!

I'm staying in a villa by the Monkey Forest. You see crab-eating macaques roam the streets, perch on electrical wires, and eat crumbles of leftovers. They are the pigeons of Ubud.

As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a CIA spy. Secrets fascinated me, as did a double life. As Dostoevsky says, the world enchants us in three ways: authority, miracle and mystery.

Here's what I want to share this week:

  1. CIA Design Case Study. In college, I took an Intro to Acting class. To be more deliberate in delivery, my teacher told me to ask: “What emotion do I want to evoke in the other person?” This works with lines and designs. This article is about how text and colors convey certain moods.
  2. Exposed Emails. Imagine every text, email you ever sent was made public. Personally, I don’t think anybody would care. Nevertheless, Tim Kreider’s thought experiment culminates in his most insightful line - “It's alarming to find out how little room we occupy / how little allegiance we command, in other people’s heads.” Read the essay here.
  3. Peter Thiel's Secret. The man known for secrets reveals one at SXSW 2013. Thiel categorizes beliefs along two axes: optimistic / pessimistic and known / unknown. Insurance thrives in a pessimistic, unknown world, while Small Bets is a corollary of an optimistic, unknown world. Watch the video here.

What I'm Working On

George Rhoads. I published my first long-form essay! Like millions of kids, I was captivated by Rhoads' ball machines. In this essay I trace the origins of his creative work. I show how multiple disparate elements (Kinetics, Origami, Engineering) come together to form his personal monopoly. Read the essay here.

Copying Designs. Like code, every graphic can be reverse-engineered. I begin to dabble in Figma.

Riders in Green: I’m writing an essay on Gojek, the premiere transportation app in Indonesia. You see riders reppin' green jackets everywhere. I’ve ridden on several, with short rides averaging $0.80. Just as Lyft is a pun on lift, Gojek is a pun on ojek, the Indonesian word for taxibike.

Have a wonderful week,