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Writing and drawings about work, family and the stuff in-between

What I learned last week (#164): important truths, 9pm, numbering systems, and more!


A weekly selection of what I was reading, drawing, writing, and doing.


February is over now but last week it was very much not over and my hiking plans were a bit foiled by the snow. I kept the monthly hiking streak alive though I’m looking forward to some spring hiking ahead.

Last week we learned what was ultimately to happen in a certain warzone in the world and I read the following which is both of the moment and timeless: Yuval Noah Harari argues that what’s at stake in Ukraine is the direction of human history (note this is a gated article from the Economist but you can find it using the link there or via archive.fo at another link). Pretty bold title but the bigger perspective is important:

When the Soviet Union collapsed, history seemed to guarantee that Ukrainians would again go down the path of brutal tyranny – what else did they know? But they chose differently. Despite history, despite grinding poverty and despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Ukrainians established a democracy. In Ukraine, unlike in Russia and Belarus, opposition candidates repeatedly replaced incumbents. When faced with the threat of autocracy in 2004 and 2013, Ukrainians twice rose in revolt to defend their freedom. Their democracy is a new thing. So is the “new peace”. Both are fragile, and may not last long. But both are possible, and may strike deep roots.

Every old thing was once new. It all comes down to human choices.

That was written before the choices of last week were made, but there are always more choices ahead.

Ok, want some inspiration on how someone maintains their game at the highest level? This should do: Eliud Kipchoge: Inside the camp, and the mind, of the greatest marathon runner of all time (the biggest thing that jumped out for some reason: “Eliud Kipchoge is in bed by 9pm each day”).

I came across the An Explanation of the US Interstate Numbering System which was oddly very interesting. I didn’t realize that interstate highways don’t have to be interstate and that my old I-90 is the longest interstate highway running from Seattle to Boston.

This makes me think of the massive Thomas Guide map books my parents had when we first moved out to Seattle as kids and how terrified I’d be of trying to use those now in Scotland.

I learned that this photo of the space station crossing in front of the moon had to be taken in 1/2 a second with an exposure time of 1/6,000th of a second. Amazing shot. Also you can find sighting opportunities on Nasa’s site here: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

I shared my 5 favorite albums from February and in March there is a lot coming out to look forward to like this and this.

Finally, I came across a guaranteed great interview question (or an icebreaker at work): What important truth do very few people agree with you on?

This question sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.

From The Single Best Interview Question You Can Ask

See you next week!


Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

One response to “What I learned last week (#164): important truths, 9pm, numbering systems, and more!”

  1. I love a good running article to brighten my day and anything about Eliud is always great. I would love to have Harari’s optimism but Putin is definitely in the mould of Mussolini and I don’t know where this will end.

Comments welcome!

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