What I learned last week (#71)

Illustration of kids on a trampoline

A quote that I was thinking about:

The best test of a person’s intelligence is their capacity for making a summary.

Lytton Strachey

Why we should bring blogs back:

Twitter is dominating the deployment of information currently, and I agree that it would be good if there was something more behind it.

I’m not sure if this particular idea will take hold or not. I do believe, however, that we need innovative thinking not just about medical treatments, but also about how we handle the deployment of information relevant to our response.

A lot in here is about the infatuation with Twitter, which is great at some things (i.e. a lot of obscure smart people are getting the attention they deserve) and not great at many others (most ideas can’t be compressed into 240 characters and tweet threads aren’t any fun to read):

In this proposal, these experts wouldn’t abandon social media. On the contrary, they would continue to actively engage with these platforms to summarize their ideas and comment on events, while the platforms would continue to work their algorithmic magic to amplify the more impactful content. The big change, however, is that this short-form content can now be pointing back to their longer, more stable elaborations.

Noticing birds:

Tools that are are more powerful that to-do lists:

A dose of slightly different productivity ideas. The power hour and the energy audit are two of my faves from this list, ones that I am occasionally good at doing. You can get a lot done in an hour with no distractions.

One focused hour is often enough time to get a lot done, usually more than you think, adds Zaslow.” These days where people are working from home, homeschooling their kids, and adjusting to a rapidly changing environment, it can feel more manageable to squeeze in one super productive hour than to have the possibility-unrealistic goal of working at peak performance all day long,” she says.


This week’s little fires:

How a nuclear submarine office learned to live in tight quarters:

t’s unnatural to stuff humans, torpedoes, and a nuclear reactor into a steel boat that’s intentionally meant to sink. This engineering marvel ranks among the most complex, and before we’d proceed below and subject the ship and its inhabitants to extreme sea pressures, the officers would visually inspect thousands of valves to verify the proper lineup of systems that would propel us to the surface if we started flooding uncontrollably and sinking—a no-mistakes procedure called rigging for dive. Once we’d slip beneath the waves, the entire crew would walk around to check for leaks before we’d settle into a rotation of standing watch, practicing our casualty drills, engineering training, eating, showering (sometimes), and sleeping (rarely). The full cycle was 18 hours, which meant the timing of our circadian cycles were constantly changing. Regardless of the amount of government-issued Folger’s coffee I’d pour down my throat, I’d pass out upon immediate contact with my rack (the colloquialism for a submarine bunk in which your modicum of privacy was symbolized by a cloth curtain).


An astronaut’s guide to self-isolation:

Liked this video and the steps as outlined apply to many situations.

What are you trying to accomplish? What are your objectives? What’s your mission for right now? Make that clear — for this afternoon, for this week, for the next month. What do you want to get done?


68 bits of unsolicited advice:

From Kevin Kelly on his birthday. So good. Here are some:

When you get an invitation to do something in the future, ask yourself: would you accept this if it was scheduled for tomorrow? Not too many promises will pass that immediacy filter.

Learn how to take a 20-minute power nap without embarrassment.

Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.


Book excerpt I was thinking about:

“What I realize now is that you can’t conquer fear. The only thing you can do is block it out temporarily by pushing it down into what I call “the basement,” otherwise known as your body. You then have to hold so much tension to keep it pressed down that 1) you will become very stiff and prone to injury and 2) your body, not meant to be a dumping ground for repressed emotion, will rebel.” (Kristen Ulmer in Tribe of Mentors)

Lastly, check out what we’re up to now.

Comments welcome!

%d bloggers like this: