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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#59)

I’ve been listening to a lot of country music this week: Here are some new ones I’ve been enjoying, courtesy of Greg Vandy’s 2019 best albums list:

Daniel Norgren – Wooh Dang

Jake Xerxes Fussell – Out of Sight


No one can explain why airplanes stay in the air:

I had no idea that there were competing theories that attempt to explain how flying works. Even Einstein has had a go at it to no avail:

In 1917, on the basis of his theory, Einstein designed an airfoil that later came to be known as a cat’s-back wing because of its resemblance to the humped back of a stretching cat. He brought the design to aircraft manufacturer LVG (Luftverkehrsgesellschaft) in Berlin, which built a new flying machine around it. A test pilot reported that the craft waddled around in the air like “a pregnant duck.” Much later, in 1954, Einstein himself called his excursion into aeronautics a “youthful folly.” The individual who gave us radically new theories that penetrated both the smallest and the largest components of the universe nonetheless failed to make a positive contribution to the understanding of lift or to come up with a practical airfoil design.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/no-one-can-explain-why-planes-stay-in-the-air/


Favorite book excerpts this week:

Related to the article about flight above:

“…what exists within the area of “not knowing” is so much greater and more exciting than anything any one of us knows.” (Ray Dalio, Principles)

Potential explantation for why I don’t have a lot of close friendships at the moment 😉:

“You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.” (Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People)


How to not take things personally:


Cal Newport on the differentiation of YouTube as a platform for creatives:

YouTube, unlike its peers in the pantheon of social media giants, really can act like a platform. Though it still offers a purposefully addictive and creepily-surveilled user experience at YouTube.com (few rabbit holes run deeper than those excavated by their algorithmically-enhanced autoplay suggestions), the service also allows its videos to be embedded in third-party websites, enabling it to behave like an actual platform that can support a wide array of non-affiliated communities.

I was thinking about this the other day when visiting Tested.com, a technology-oriented web site, primarily built around original videos hosted on YouTube.

Tested.com is a cool site and an example of how smaller websites (even personal ones like this) can make a big impact by leveraging other platforms.


A reminder that we should treat our elders, and anyone else for that matter, well:


Five of the world’s weirdest auroras:

I had no idea that there were so many different types of nothing lights.


Handy list of icebreaker questions: From Rob Walker’s Art of Noticing newsletter.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j4rj883slFvh1zZLGedqQFM0wqCrHlIEPE62K0LkKak/mobilebasic


Something I’m grateful for:

The way Kav always includes the kids in decision making. She’s always seemingly able to use deft judgement on how and when to include the kids in decisions large and small that we have to make that effect them. They learn by example.


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

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Art Misc

Surrounded by smiles and good humor

Raw Spirit by Iain Banks is a book about Scotch, but there are so many anecdotes and side-stories sprinkled throughout, it’s better described as a book about driving, cars, friendships, getting older, music, war, politics, Scotland AND whisky.

This bit from the book came to mind today and stuck with me:

…when you drive an old car (and in some ways here, the older the better) you drive surrounded by smiles and good humour. In an old car, unless you drive like an utter imbecile, you can generally forget about road rage. People will grin when they see you, they smile, they stop and look and sometimes they wave, and if not they make a digital gesture, it’s a thumbs-up, not a finger.

Part of this may be that an old car is seen as less of a threat, less of a declared, fully-paid up competitor in the day-to-day competition for road space and the battle to reduce one’s own journey time. But part of it, I suppose, is a kind of veneration we feel for the old in general, a feeling that they deserve credit for the fact that they’ve made it to here through all the trials, challenges and vicissitudes that might have ended their existence earlier and so should be indulged and given peace in gentle retirement. (Arguably, nowadays, people feel this more towards old cars that’s they do to old people, which is sad, even shaming.)

Indeed, the fact that any of us have made it this far, let alone well into old age, is worth a hat tip. We’re here, on the third rock from the sun! It’s crazy if you think about it.

Everyone has suffered and everyone has their struggles, let’s try to at least surround ourselves with smiles and good humour when we see each other shall we?

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#58)

What happens to Google Maps when tectonic plates shift:

Things obviously get more interesting during earthquakes. “What the earthquake would do is the equivalent of what you do with a pair of scissors, if you cut diagonally across a map along a fault line and then slid one side of the map with respect to the other,” Hudnut said. For instance, in Google Earth, go to the following coordinates north of Palm Springs, near the epicenter of the 1992 Landers quake: 34.189838 degrees, –116.433842 degrees. Bring up the historical imagery, compare the July 1989 and May 1994 images, and you’ll see a lateral shift along the fault that runs from the top left to the bottom right of the frame. The alignment of Aberdeen Road, which crosses the fault, shifts noticeably. The quake displaced the land near the fault by several meters.

PS networks can even see earthquakes in real time. A dramatic video of the 2011 Tohoko quake, made by Ronni Grapenthin at the University of California, Berkeley based on data from the Japanese Geospatial Information Authority, shows the coastline near the quake site move horizontally by as much as 4 meters. The video also shows the waves that rippled outward over Japan (and indeed the world).

http://nautil.us/issue/81/maps/what-happens-to-google-maps-when-tectonic-plates-move


On having a personal website:

Personal websites are the backbone of the independent Web of creators. Even after all those years, they remain a vital part of what makes the web the most remarkable and open medium to date. We shouldn’t take this for granted, though. If we don’t pay enough attention and care about the open web enough, we might lose this valuable asset. So let us protect the Web as a source of inspiration, diversity, creativity, and community. Let us maintain what we have and work together to make this little part of the magic of the Web sparkle even brighter. Let us help new members of the community to start their journey. Let us build, prototype, publish, and connect.

This obviously hits close to home and a big reason why I’m happy about doing the work I’m doing now.

https://matthiasott.com/articles/into-the-personal-website-verse


Quote I was thinking about:

Success isn’t about being the best. It’s about always getting better.

Behance 99U

Book excerpt I like for its simplicity

“You always have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.” (Naval Ravkant in Tools of Titans)


The history of Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime show:

https://www.theringer.com/music/2020/1/29/21112539/prince-halftime-show-oral-history-super-bowl-xli


I am trying to pay attention to signs of life in front of me:


Notes from a first trip to Amsterdam:


Percentages are reversible:

Maybe this shouldn’t of surprised me the way it did but ¯\(ツ)


The oh-so-useful immediacy filter:

One of the most useful bits of advice I ever got, came from the writer Anne Herbert who said that whenever she got an invitation to do something months away or even a week away, she asked herself whether she would accept the gig/meeting/task if it was tomorrow. The answer was often no. I use that immediacy trick all the time, and it has served me very well.

from Recomendo

Zooming in:

Both the message of this post and the image of stars that you can zoom in and out of is amazing.


Something I’m grateful for last week:

My time with my friend in a foreign city for two night, even though it was short and I was anxious to get home, it was better than good


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

Categories
Art

Signs of life

Something inspired by the great short story “The Great Silence” by Ted Chiang, from his most recent collection of short stories: Exhalation. Also, this is my first time using a Pigma Brush pen I picked up in Amsterdam.

Every parrot has a unique call that it uses to identify itself; biologists refer to this as the parrot’s “contact call”.

In 1974, astronomers used Arecibo to broadcast a message into outerspace indended to demonstrate human intelligence. That was humanities contact call.

In the wild, parrots address each other by name. One bird imitates another’s contact call to get the other bird’s attention.

If humans ever detect the Arecibo message being sent back to Earth, they will know someone is trying to get their attention.

– from The Great Silence by Ted Chiang

I had to look this up and per Wikipedia: The Arecibo message is a 1974 interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth sent to globular star cluster M13. It was meant as a demonstration of human technological achievement, rather than a real attempt to enter into a conversation with extraterrestrials.

This is a demonstration of the message with color added to highlight its separate parts. The binary transmission sent carried no color information.

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#56)

Book excerpt I loved:

“The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)


Some thoughts about what being the best means.


The 2019 reading re-cap from Tim Ferriss: I am a subscriber and still missed a lot of these. I enjoyed the discussion of his process (of course) at the outset.


I need to try Copic markers: I’ve seen these on the shelf and have never tried them. This illustraion looks amazing though, and made me put them on my wish list.


Some modern inspiration from a well-executed idea about un-modern tech: Primitive technology is a YouTube + WordPress site about primitive technology. From the About page:

Primitive technology is a hobby where you make things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. This is the strict rule. If you want a fire- use fire sticks, an axe- pick up a stone and shape it, a hut- build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without modern technology. If this hobby interests you then this blog might be what you are looking for.

He has millions of views on YouTube and, ironically, a really low-tech simple site.

https://primitivetechnology.wordpress.com/


Two great places to find free images: There are so many great resources for art in the public domain. Here are two more that I could peruse for hours:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago: https://www.artic.edu/collection?is_public_domain=1
  2. Paris Museums: http://parismuseescollections.paris.fr/en

We’re nearing the end of the open internet:

​At some point in the next decade, the Chinese government, with the support of Russia and other authoritarian regimes, will move forward with plans to establish a separate root system for their share of the internet. When the split happens, we will mark it as the end of the global internet era. When the history of that event is written, we will identify a series of seminal events in 2019 that were harbingers of what was to come.​

-from News Items.

https://www.cfr.org/blog/2019-beginning-end-open-internet-era


New tool for calendar scheduling: Calendly is great for not only scheduling meetings, but if you run a business that requires your customers to make appointments, you can embed it on your site, take payments for meetings via PayPal and automatically create online meeting links.

https://calendly.com/


Having the right materials at the right time is important: Rainy days are no match against the well-prepared art project.


What Will Happen In The 2020s: A short but sweet set of predications about the next decade.


What I was grateful for last week:

  • The feeling at end of the day after a good days work. The good type of empty.
  • The brief bit of sunshine makes all the difference on a afternoon run. It changes everything.
  • The sunrise on a weekend morning.

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