Sundry: Van Gogh fame, depressed kids, escape rooms, being productive, Apple Card

Excellent, original productivity tips and tricks from someone (Alexey Guzey) who spent a lot of time thinking about it. The first bit is about what to do if you’re unproductive right now. It’s good —

Escape rooms are about escaping reality. They are odd: “it is weird to gather in a themed room for an hour to unlock combination locks in a high-stakes situation that matters not at all.” Yes but they are cool, aren’t they? History and theory of escape rooms, courtesy of Rachel Sugar, for Vox —

How to find your artistic voice and be true to yourself as an artist —

Would you go to a restaurant where your order will probably be wrong? That’s the premise behind the restaurant of mistaken orders, in Tokyo, where all waiters have dementia. They say the food is good anyway. So it’s not a problem —

On hammocks, their history and their greatness —

Why are kids so depressed? The numbers are dreadful. Is it food or screens? Is it education, as per the Pink Floyd? Or is it a lack of communal structures to help parents with child-rearing, as Kim Brooks argues? We’re putting a lot of pressure on kids and they’re not happy about it. More play please! —

Why are mountain roads curved and not straight? Spoiler: follow the donkeys —

Societies with subsistence economies might use sharing as a risk-buffering function. Less true for societies that have other means of getting food such as animal husbandry or external trade —

How did Van Gogh become famous if he only sold one painting during his lifetime? —

Curated technology links

People at Linear Labs are trying to reinvent the electric motor —

Extraordinary 1:30 long conference by Jean-Marie Hullot, the man who invented Interface Builder (used to create user interfaces on Macs by every developer) and who whispered to Steve Jobs’ ear that Apple needed to create a phone. We know what happened next —

Uber and Lyft take more from their drivers than they say —

Why do some indie video games look like bad? —

 Thoughts on Apple Card by Jean-Louis Gassée: how vs. what —

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Sundry is a list of unrelated but interesting links, about 7 of them, sent every week. It is a distillation of what I read (80+ hand-curated blogs through RSS, for the last 12 years). 

Curiosity Satisfaction Guaranteed™.

Sundry: East Timor, the invention of the bicycle, mosquitoes, sleep + a new tech section!

Why did we wait so long for the bicycle? Turns out inventors had to stop trying to create a four-wheeled carriage without a horse and had to conceptually think about replacing the horse-with-rider paradigm. Also, materials and technology —

Who is humanity’s greatest enemy? Think about it for a second. Did you guess mosquito? It’s mosquitoes. They’ve been killing us for a long time. And now, Timothy Winegard wrote a book about it —

Genome-wide association studies spitting polygenic scores are mired in statistical problems. The idea that we can understand why Northern Europeans are taller than Southern Europeans from a large pool of genomic data is not so evident. Sure, we can make plants that yield larger fruits but when the genetic traits become complex (height or disease), it gets very complex. Please always beware of people telling you that some populations have higher IQs than some other populations and base that idea in genetics —

Cells in the reward system of the brain fired more energetically in response to rewards that had cost more effort, possibly reflecting effort justification, inferring greater liking from having worked harder for something —

Campaign rally songs of the 2020 candidates. A nice piece of journalism by the NYT —

How enjoyable is it to go through a museum and get information from Google Lens (vs. you know, reading the little notices or using the audio guide)? Lauren Goodie is puzzled —

What happens to your body and brain if you don’t sleep? All sorts of depressing shit, delightfully animated in an instructive video —

I’ve never understood why people used the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” until I read this article about what happened when Australians sent teddy bears en masse to recently-independent East Timor —

Nigerian teenagers make quality-looking special effects for short films with rudimentary equipment —

Curated technology links

Slack is 911 when your company’s tools and processes fail. This is the best take on what Slack is in 2019 —

How to build good software, courtesy of Singapore’s Civil Serve College. Might seem obvious in some ways but interesting for everybody —

All 166 (!) startups from Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 demo day — (day 1) and (day 2)

In praise of fast software, the best kind of software (speed is a proxy for efficiency) —

Why these social networks failed: in which are dissected the lives and deaths of lovely networks such as Friendster, Vine, Myspace, Path and more —

Subscribe here to get Sundry.

Sundry is a list of unrelated but interesting links, about 7 of them, sent every week. It is a distillation of what I read (80+ hand-curated blogs through RSS, for the last 12 years). 

Curiosity Satisfaction Guaranteed™.

Sundry: Bayesian probability, vegetarian > butcher, banana peels, troubles with mindfulness

On the fallacy of statistical significance study and the Bayesian approach to probability. Please read this and change your understanding of probability forever. It’s long but worth it —

On the origin of the banana peel comic device —

The U.S Navy will return to mechanical controls (instead of touch screens) inside their ships. The people who decided that touch is a good interaction model for driving vehicles must see for themselves if changing AC in a moving car with touch screen is at all possible. And, upon the realisation that it isn’t, they must be sent to that special place reserved to people who overdesign microwave ovens —

The 100 best movies of the last decade, according to Indiewire —

Some vegetarians are turning into butchers. The focus is on using the whole animal and selling less. This method won’t meet the current demand but it begs the question: is the problem eating meat or the demand? Should we just bow to it?  —

Streaming online pornography produces as much CO2 as Belgium —

There are troubling truths with mindfulness. Two main takeaways. One is the commodification of it (oversimplifying the complex undertaking of understanding ourselves, as meditation has become a quick-fix like watching Netflix). The second is the conflict between the Buddhist idea of no-self and the Western tradition that there is indeed a self, which is expressed in the “I”. Interesting —