Archive for the ‘Worth Considering’ category
A really neat little site, which lists out and explains the people who’ve saved the most lives in history. For some reason it had never occurred to me before seeing it to think of some of these science innovations we take for granted now as life-saving, but it’s hard to deny.
(via Marginal Revolution)
At BuzzFeed, Ann Helen Petersen makes and elaborates a really interesting point: Angelina Jolie’s PR in the last 10 years has been amazingly good. Don’t believe it, consider Ann’s great hook:
What was Angelina Jolie best known for in 2004?
a.) Wearing a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck.
b.) Making out with her brother on the red carpet.
c.) Being the offspring of ‘70s star Jon Voight.
If you follow my sensible science skepticism tag, you’ll understand why on this I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise:
This raised a question: If all the latest cutting-edge scientific research says that outdated barbell movements have to be updated with core stability tricks and then integrated into super-short high-intensity muscle-confusion routines, how come none of that did much for me, while the same five lifts repeated for a year caused profound structural changes to my body?
The answer, it turns out, is that there are no cutting-edge scientific studies.
Also of note on this topic: I recently posted a little essay I consider quite relevant to this piece. It’s called “Simple But Not Easy”, give it a look.
A piece I didn’t quite love by recognized myself in more than I’d like. This quote, especially, rang true (emphasis mine):
We have outsourced our opinions to this loop of data that will allow us to hold steady at a dinner party, though while you and I are ostensibly talking about “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” what we are actually doing, since neither of us has seen it, is comparing social media feeds. Does anyone anywhere ever admit that he or she is completely lost in the conversation? No. We nod and say, “I’ve heard the name,” or “It sounds very familiar,” which usually means we are totally unfamiliar with the subject at hand.
I’d not realized it, but Samanth Subramanian points out that the latest presidential election — which brought Narendra Modi to power — there may mark the decline of English being the most important and prominent language in India:
Most recently, though, India’s major newspapers have been expanding in a different direction. In 2012, Bennett Coleman, the publisher of The Times of India, the world’s largest English daily, started a Bengali newspaper and poured fresh resources into its older Hindi and Marathi papers. Last October, the publisher of The Hindu, a 135-year-old English paper, launched a Tamil edition. Another leading English daily, The Hindustan Times, has enlarged the staff and budgets of its Hindi sibling Hindustan. And this past winter, a few months before the election, The Times of India launched NavGujarat Samay, a Gujarati paper for Modi’s home turf.
A comment on it pretty quickly captures my summary of this essay — “it’s inconclusive and a little cute“ — but it is a neat term with some analytical power underneath it.
To actually be alive and able to take up possibilities in a genuine way means being able to take a critical and thus transformative stance towards one’s environment; it is to really be a fully cognitive adult. Thus, the possibility of always remaining a cognitive child must involve the elision of the appropriate orientation to possibility. Taking up this particular possibility (to remain a child rather than become adult) means shutting the pursuit of all other possibilities down.
Hence, we see how the restrictive shape of the cupcake, its cold and uniform neatness, matches up with the infantilizing elements of twee cupcakey tropes: it is only possible, as an adult, to remain a cognitive child if you are a child without sticky fingers, drily conforming to a prescribed set of rules.
(via Buzz Anderson)
An interesting argument that I’d never considered at all: weeks are quite arbitrary and dumb. I’m not sold, but it’s an interesting idea.
But whence the week? Throughout history, human societies have found it useful to divide time into groups of days shorter than a lunar month. One of the most common uses of this cycle has been to establish a regular market day, though just how regular varies. At one point, the Basques evidently employed a three-day week. For centuries, China, Japan, and Korea employed a 10-day week. Other societies have employed four-, five-, six-, eight-, and nine-day weeks.
Monopoly is a terrible board game — - I thought I’d linked to one, but here’s a great post about that. These rules wouldn’t make it any better, but they’re a nice use of the common understanding of the game to highlight the strangeness of the world of modern finance:
One-thousand dollars invested at a 20% discount with 5% interest (calculating interest every 3 turns, but simple, not compounding interest) means a player will have starting debt of $1000. After three turns the debt is $1050, 6 turns is $1100, 9 turns is $1150, etc. Totally manageable. The banker is your friend and wants you to succeed.
This story isn’t so much about soap-less-ness as it is about a specific product, but as a person who’s been largely soapless — - I wash my hands, and use soap in the shower if the oily griminess is overwhelming, but otherwise avoid it — - for a few years I recommend it. The author’s conclusion about its effects:
My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna’s worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning “shower” — a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products — I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.
I believe in habits, more than just about anything in life. A great little AskReddit thread about what habit to cultivate came about, and I recommend you give it a second. I’ve not investigated its veracity, but I particularly loves this list of “George Washington Carver’s 8 virtues”:
1st. Be clean both inside and out.
2nd. Neither look up to the rich or down on the poor.
3rd. Lose, if need be, without squealing.
4th. Win without bragging.
5th. Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
6th. Be too brave to lie.
7th. Be too generous to cheat.
8th. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.