Jackdaws That Vote, “Hair Ice”, and Reddit’s $3.4 Million In Free Labor

I bring you the finest reading each week in my Linkfest

Clive Thompson
9 min readJun 27, 2022




I can’t solve the beginning of the workweek for you.

I can only divert you — with my weekly Linkfest, offering the finest online readings I could scavenge across the Internet!

To begin …

1) 📷 The sumptuous cyanotypes of Rosalind Hobley

Rosalind Hobley is an artist who works in cyanotype, one of the earliest forms of photography. As Colossal describes it …

Cyanotype is an early form of photography, first invented in 1842 and named for the rich monochromatic hue of its prints. Hobley uses cotton rag paper with a light-sensitive solution of iron salts and then leaves it to dry in the dark. She then exposes it to UV light under large format negatives and finishes up by washing the prints in water, where they develop their characteristic blue color. “I love the mess and creativity of the cyanotype process,” she says. “I am interested in techniques which translate the photographic image into something more interesting and exciting. I like mistakes, blur, brushstrokes, loss of definition, spontaneity.”

This image is from her recent sequence called Still Life, all photos of flowers in which Hobley aims “to have the weight and presence of a piece of sculpture,” as she puts it. Mission accomplished, I’d say. These all have a thoroughly dreamlike quality too.

2) 💰 Reddit mods do an estimated $3.4 million in work for free each year

Via fancycrave1 on Pixabay

Whenever you find a high-functioning subreddit, odds are high it’s thriving because it’s got excellent moderators.

Mods aren’t paid for their work; it’s all volunteer. But being a good moderator requires many hours of work per week, if not per day. So recently a group of researchers decided to estimate the total economic value of all that free volunteer labor.



Clive Thompson

I write 2X a week on tech, science, culture — and how those collide. Writer at NYT mag/Wired; author, “Coders”. @clive@saturation.social clive@clivethompson.net