Weekend Round-Up: Deep Ocean Life, Black Market Bourbon, And The Desert Of New Mexico

Weekend Round-Up: Deep Ocean Life, Black Market Bourbon, And The Desert Of New Mexico

Each week, our editors gather their favorite finds from around the internet and recommend them to you right here. These are not articles about watches, but rather outstanding examples of journalism and storytelling covering topics from fashion and art to technology and travel. So go ahead, pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and settle in.

Fish

How Ultra-Black Fish Disappear in the Deepest Seas – The New York Times

I can’t think about life in the deep ocean without hearing David Attenborough in my head, saying something along the lines of, “And yet, even here, in the deepest abyss, where no sunlight penetrates … there is life.” Indeed there is, and in one of most nutrient-poor environments in the world, animals can be driven to extreme measures to avoid being eaten. “Vantafish” is not an actual name for any of the pitch dark animals covered in this story from The New York Times, but it should be – these fish, who are so black they look like fish-shaped holes in the water, can absorb up to 99.9% of the light that hits them (Vantablack only reflects back about 0.045%). You would think that animals would not need camouflage in the black depths of the ocean, but many predators in the abyss hunt and signal using bioluminescence and have developed incredible low light vision as an aid in hunting. The arms race between predator and prey has resulted in these amazing adaptations – creatures which come as close to being invisible, in their natural home at least, as any on earth.

– Jack Forster, Editor-in-Chief

Bourbon

Inside The World Of Black Market Bourbon – Whisky Advocate

Flippers, rarified stock, and massive premiums on the secondary market – I’m not talking about 5711s and Daytonas. It’s bourbon, baby. The spirit has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade, and this story for Whisky Advocate digs into the back-water channels that keep premium examples of the form tied up in collector stock, dealers, and a web of online groups dedicated to sourcing the rarest bottles. Written by the talented Sean Evans (whom I had the pleasure of meeting via automotive press circles), this is a fascinating inside story at why you likely need to look farther (and much deeper) than your local liquor store if you want to score a special bottle of bourbon. From Pappy to Weller, Willet, and even the existence of fakes, the market is hot, and the drinking is great. 

– James Stacey, Senior Writer 

Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick The Photographer: A Look Back At His ‘People Of The New York Subway’ Series From 1946 – Far Out

Stanley Kubrick is certainly considered one of the greatest filmmakers, and outright auteurs, in modern history. He had an artist’s eye and an impeccable sense of framing. While he surely worked with cinematographers on each of his films, Kubrick was known to be quite hands-on with the camera and lens choices – meticulously crafting the perfect shot. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that Kubrick began his legendary career as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine in the mid-1940s, just after WWII. He was a prodigy with a camera, set loose in his native New York City. Far Out released a look back at a photo series that he produced in 1946 – when he was a mere 18 years old – called “People of the New York Subway.” In the photos, Kubrick captures a singular moment in time, a capsule of life in the post-war city. With this series, you get a glimpse into the beginnings of the future icon’s long and successful career, but also a view into the ordinary day-to-day life of a bustling New York in its raw, and gritty beauty.

– Danny Milton, Editor

Bomb

A Bomb In The Desert – The Atlantic

My interest in America’s mid-century nuclear experimentation spiked while researching the “Croner” watch for this project. It turns out Waldo Halley Croner, to whom the watch belonged, was involved in Operation Crossroads, or what most folks might know as the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests in the South Pacific that inspired the hit movie Godzilla. Operation Crossroads took place in 1946, while the Trinity test, the first time a nuclear device was ever detonated, happened just a year earlier. Some scientists thought the test could end all life on earth. The stakes were tremendous. Of course, we know that’s not the case in hindsight, but it was an incredibly tense moment in history and one that would forever change the world. This piece in The Atlantic looks back at the very moment the world’s first-ever nuclear test took place in the desert of New Mexico.

– Cole Pennington, Editor

Flash

The Rise And Fall Of Adobe Flash – Ars Technica

If you have fond memories of the internet in the mid-2000s, they likely involve – in some capacity or another – the use of Flash. Everything from glitzy corporate websites to browser-based games (and Homestar Runner!) relied on the platform to give a sense of interactivity and movement to what had long been a largely static user experience. This piece in Ars Technica traces Flash back to its roots, tracking the journey of the software’s unlikely rise to ubiquity and unceremonious decline into obsolescence. At the end of 2020, support for Flash will cease – effectively closing the chapter on one of the most influential and democratizing creative forces the internet ever knew – but its effect on web design and native digital content will live on.

– Dakota Gardner, Web Editor

Main photo by Marek Okon

HODINKEE

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