“Paradoxographers”, Poetry Written In Smoke, and Dave Eggers Flies A Jetpack

I bring you the finest reading material in this week’s “Linkfest”

Clive Thompson
8 min readJan 24, 2022


“Monday” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Mōnandæg, or, “the moon’s day”.

Kind of explains how you’re feeling today, right?

Or maybe not.

Either way! Stop working — or stop pretending to work — and kick back with my weekly “Linkfest”, filled to the steaming brim with the Internet’s best reading material …

1) 🌬️ Poetry written in vanishing smoke

Technically, the Dutch artist Lennart Lahuis is using steam, not smoke — but let’s not spoil a cool headline.

Either way, this project (video above) is gorgeous: Lahuis’ device prints and reprints a single line of poetry in steam; each printing is visible for only a brief instant before vanishing into the air.

Ars longa, vita brevis, as they say, but not in this case.

As Designboom reports:

the artwork creates a subtle connection between the start of the industrial age and belgium’s old coal mining complex, combining transport crates, industrial objects and technical drawings of steam machines that were produced in the same very building that now houses the le grand-hornu museums for contemporary art and design. arranged in four different panels, complex object compositions are turned into steam machines as words in water vapor appear and fade to create together the sentence ‘when is it that we feel change in the air’. inspired by poet willem hussem, lennart lahuis contextualizes the short, ephemeral verses into his own misty version.

2) 🚀 Dave Eggers flies a jetpack, and learns why they’ve never taken off

Not actually Dave Eggers! This is “They Promised Us Jetpacks” by Eddie Codell

In this excerpt from his new book, Dave Eggers begins by pondering: Why aren’t there more people flying jetpacks these days?



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