Sundry: The 10,000 steps myth, exporting blood, juice ads, restaurant of airplane food

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    Everybody knows about how walking 10,000 steps a day is good for your health. But did you bother to check why this particular number is right? Neither did I, and apparently it was chosen when a Japanese pedometer manufacturer noticed that the symbol for 万, meaning 10,000, looks like someone walking. The number was in fact never backed by actual research —

    AirAsia, a Malaysian airline company, is opening a restaurant. Apparently, people love the food they serve on their planes very much —

    How do we make juice commercials? You know, the ones where an orange is dunked into orange juice and it splashes around beautifully? A video shows the behind-the-scenes and it’s pretty amazing —

    People in America, usually those less fortunate, are being paid to sell their blood. It is a flourishing business as well, as blood exports surpassed soy or corn. The United States are one of the only developed country which allows this practice. Most countries banned it on medical and ethical grounds —

    A brief, animated history of

    Deliveroo shares the 100 most popular dishes in the world. A big trend for 2020 onwards is grilled food. It’s more authentic?

    A lunch lady in Sweden was told to stop making food so tasty. She baked fresh bread and offered a rich veggie menu. She was told that this practice was unfair to students in other schools. The limits of equality? —

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    Sundry: Taxes, rain, the magic of chess, knots, natural selection

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    Taxes on the wealthy do not diminish their purchasing power. The rich and powerful usually argue that tax increases will prevent them from buying what they want. Especially special, rare items. Turns out, this is an illusion. Yes, disposable income will diminish if taxes increase. But relative purchasing power will not. Because taxes would be applied to all rich people, no other, richer person, will be more able to afford a “special item” than you. Fascinating read —

    Researchers have managed to use rain to generate renewable energy. Next: find practical applications —

    Rules, a restaurant in London, has been opened continuously since 1798. It kept open during WWII (the owners used wood planks to reinforce the structure during the blitz). It’s not hip, ster or hipster by any standard but I’m sure there must be something unique to its ambiance —

    Elementary school students explain why they like chess. This video is magical. These kids are something else (filed under sentences I never thought I’d write) —

    A new material may reveal the physics and mathematics of knots. A lot of people are into it —

    Utah sends employees to Mexico for lower prescription prices. I mean, I know about the free market and how it regulates itself, etc. Surely we can do better than this invisible hand? —

    The simplest, most concise explanation of evolution by natural selection. Here it is: “in populations of organisms, each individual is a bit different from every other; the differences may give that individual a bit of a survival advantage; that individual is more likely to pass on the traits that helped it survive; that trait becomes more widespread; rinse; repeat.” So simple and powerful —

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    Sundry: Placebo, Tarkovsky, parking, the key to love, Dalí meets Freud, loss aversion

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    The Netherlands doesn’t want to be called Holland anymore. Holland is home to three of the most visited cities in the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. The government is rebranding to reduce overtourism —

    What if the key to love was understanding? No, like real understanding. Here’s a metaphor, courtesy of Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk: “If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform —

    Parking in NYC’s Upper West Side might experience a steep price increase. By making parking prohibitive, the administration hopes to encourage alternative methods of transportation —

    Dalí meets Freud. In 1938, the Spanish painter met his longtime idol. How did it go? Well, we can argue that the master of mind games out mind-gamed a more novice mind-trickster:On being shown the painting, Freud supposedly said, “in classic paintings I look for the unconscious, but in your paintings I look for the conscious.” The comment stung, though Dali wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. But apparently, Freud opened his mind to surrealists since then —

    Akira Kurosawa tells the story of his visit on Tarkovsky’s set for Solaris. With the maestro himself —

    Loss aversion, an important idea in behavioural design and psychology, might be a fallacy. This is the idea that people experience more displeasure from losing something than they experience happiness from gaining something. “People do not rate the pain of losing $10 to be more intense than the pleasure of gaining $10. People do not report their favorite sports team losing a game will be more impactful than their favorite sports team winning a game.” —

    Simply carrying a placebo analgesic, like a fake Panadol, reduce perception of pain. So you don’t even need to swallow the placebo in order to benefit from its effect. Isn’t that amazing? For a quick thought experiment: last time you were very hungry and went to buy a sandwich, didn’t you feel slightly less hungry the moment you bought it and knew that in the near future you would eat it? —

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    Sundry: Parasite, the feeling of disgust, sexting, sunstone, Zuckerberg's notebooks

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    Thanks to the film Parasite, the authorities in Seoul will improve living conditions for semi-basement apartments. 1500 apartments will receive funding for heating, floors and air conditioning. Art at its best —

    Half of young adults practice sexting. Defined as the sharing of sexually explicit messages, photos, and videos via electronic devices, a meta-analysis found that nearly half of emerging adults (age 18-29) have either sent or received sexts. About 15% of people suffer from non-consensual sexting —

    The sunstone was a mineral used by Nordic seafarers around the 14th century to locate the Sun in a completely overcast sky. It was to be found in Iceland and to be used for navigation purposes. To this day, we still do not know how it worked exactly —

    The world population stands at 7.8 billion people. We will reach 9 billion by 2037. Within 30 years, Europe’s population will decrease by 37 million while Africa’s will increase by 1 billion —

    The inventor of Cut, Copy, and Paste has passed away. This pattern is used by billions every day and has improved our lives. We can safely say that. He coined the terms while building a word processor called Gypsy in the 70s at Xerox PARC —

    Mark Zuckerberg detailed Facebook’s future in handwritten notebooks, including one named “The Book of Change”. As biblical as it gets. In a new book, Steven Levy explores the story of Facebook (which, turns out, really is Zuckerberg’s story). After reading this excerpt, I think we still underestimate how ambitious Mark is —

    What is this feeling that we call disgust? Is it the result of thousands of years of evolution, a transformation towards what is social of our natural aversion to harmful substances? Perhaps it’s more. Perhaps it results from “a tension between the desire to explore and consume new things and the dangers of doing so”. Indeed some people are attracted to disgusting things (like horror films) —

    Bonus: last week, I linked to an article explaining that raindrops will soon be used to generate electricity. Turns out they cannot be used to create any meaningful amounts of energy. My apologies —

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    Sundry: 3D exes, virtue-signalling, Brad Pitt, polarised politics, Domino's v. Pizza Hut

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    People are having sex with 3D versions of their exes. And celebrities too. What about the law? Apparently, it’s still a whole new world —

    Do you often find yourself stuck in endless political debates with people who do not share your point of view? To tackle the distasteful nature of polarised political discussions, try adopting a “mechanistic” approach: ask for an explanation of how the policies that are being so fiercely pushed would work. Policy, not ideology, makes for smoother evenings —

    Anthony Hopkings interviews Brad Pitt. They discuss alcohol, death, and cinema. Recommended —

    Is virtue-signalling (VS) a perversion of morality? First, a primer: “Accusing someone of VS is to accuse them of a kind of hypocrisy. The accused person claims to be deeply concerned about some moral issue but their main concern is – so the argument goes – with themselves. They’re not really concerned with changing minds, let alone with changing the world, but with displaying themselves in the best light possible.” The authors make the claim that telling someone they are VS is itself VS e.g I am showing that I am authentic when pointing out that someone else is hypocritical. This might indeed be true. However, they compare VS in humans, essentially a moral behaviour, to natural signalling, like peacocks wagging their tails. Both kinds of signalling serve different functions: for animals, survival of their species, and for us, group acceptance. This cheap comparison I do not like —

    What’s the difference between Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut? It’s quite fundamental: Pizza Hut usually make pan-fried pies whereas Domino’s make ’em in the oven. The more you know —

    Instagram is anti-web. By limiting the ability to share and click on hypertext links — “link in bio” — Instagram, and its parent company, Facebook, show that they are afraid of businesses and influencers using their platforms without their oversight —

    Belief in luck makes people unhappy. But believing in your own personal star is often a sign that you are on the path to happiness —

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    Sundry: Purpose, wikiHow, negotiations, the illusion of transparency, cannabis

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    Neoclassical economics finds its roots in equilibrium thermodynamics. And it’s outdated. More simply put, the concept of equilibrium (which dominates current economics thinking) comes from 19th century findings on physics. But the economy never returns to a state of equilibrium, argues Ole Peters. The exponential growth of GDP we have been witnessing since the 80s resembles more closely an explosion, namely the nuclear chain reaction of nuclear explosions. Capital creates more capital. Equilibrium thinking must be updated —

    Do smokers of cannabis get dumber or do dumb people smoke cannabis? Apparently, the latter —

    The illusion of transparency is the idea that people can “read” us when we undergo strong emotions. They can’t, or perhaps they could, but most people do not care about you (and it’s a better thing than you imagine) —

    Algorithmic entertainment is standardising content. The Web gave us an avenue to be creative and original. But algorithms, such as Spotify’s recommendations, are normalising creativity to make people more engaged. In addition to delivering content, platforms are shaping it to foster engagement. Damn —

    This is the story of wikiHow. It’s an open platform to learn anything (and that was useful to me many times). It’s a beautiful story. There’s still hope for the Web —

    Purpose in life is not to be necessarily found in grand achievements. Sometimes, just achieving very basic goals is enough —

    Choosing the right words can make or break negotiations. This is why diplomats are diving into semiotics —

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    Sundry: family dinners around the world, the friendzone, Christianity, whistling, yellow

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    Special announcement

    Say hello to Kurkuma! A new newsletter about the tech industry, user experience (UX) and everything in between. It’s aimed at PMs/designers but if you are curious to see the tech world through the eyes of a customer-obsessed designer, do subscribe!

    And, as always, thank you for reading!

    A new breed of apps scan your texts to detect romantic interest. Not sure if he/she is flirting? Perhaps about to enter the dreaded (but untrue) friendzone? Feed these apps your WhatsApp log and their algorithms will analyse the conversation to spot interest. Apparently, a good indicator for amorous intent is the use of words such as “night” or “dream”. To your phones —

    Weeknight dinners around the world: what families from Thailand to Peru, from Australia to Saudi Arabia, have for dinner on a good old Wednesday night —

    Citizens need to be more familiar with statistics. Numbers don’t have meaning in and of themselves, we give them the meaning. So they are used to spin or move opinion one way or another. This issue is even more relevant now that we only have the care to read headlines, because there is so much noise. Remember the big-red-NHS-we-give-the-EU-£350M-a-week-bus? The issue is not simple. Also: Bayesian statistics; this article changed my life —

    The state and history of elite competitive whistling —

    What if the woke generation, that is usually atheist and progressive, owes its existence to Christianity and the values it carried? This, and the thesis that Western liberal ideas exist because of this religion (e.g even the weak and poor have intrinsic value or helping others is made through self-sacrifice) is Tom Holland’s argument in his book, Dominion —

    If you live in a world with rare sunshine, you might associate the colour yellow with joy —

    Who would I be without Instagram? Asks Tavi Gevinson who goes on analysing her life without sharing photos —

    Sundry: Kurosawa's favs, motivation, conspiracy theories, Cuttlefish, dating

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    Giving, as opposed to taking, has a direct and positive impact on brain activity. Although sociologists see both as sides of the same coin (exchange), most people perceive giving as the true social interaction. And for us social animals, it feels real’ good —

    Akira Kurosawa lists his 100 favourite

    Bertrand Russell, philosopher and Nobel laureate, believes there are four fundamental human desires. Acquisitiveness: the desire to accumulate more of everything or “satiety is a dream which will always elude you” ; rivalry or the desire of the other’s ruin ; the love of power, that is very well known ; but also the love of excitement, which drives “progress”, however you want to define this last term. That was a long sentence —

    30% of US adults have used online dating. And 12% found a committed relationship from it —

    Do you usually feel excited at the start of a project, only to lose most motivation as you pursue it? Most people do. This phenomenon is known as Kanter’s Law: “everything looks like a failure in the middle” —

    Why do Facebook content moderators start to believe conspiracy theories? If a fact tastes good and you are repeatedly exposed to it, you will start to believe it —

    The memory of cuttlefish is extraordinary. They will adapt their hunting activities based on their analysis of available prey. This shows the extent and the complexity of their cognitive ability —

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