Talk About an Identity Crisis

2015 10 07 rat

I noted this on Facebook yesterday, and wanted to share here as well.

So, that new “hog nosed” rat: Consider the “discovery” from the animal’s persepctive.

You’ve lived your life in anonymity, as have your ancestors for time immemorial, and then one day it’s like, BAM. Your photo is plastered all over the Internets — and everyone’s making fun of your nose.

Talk about an identity crisis.

(Image: Discovery.)


Derek Sivers: ‘Relax for the Same Result’

I like this anecdote from Derek Sivers* about effort, stress, and the importance of relaxation while working:

A few years ago, I lived in Santa Monica, California, right on the beach.

There’s a great bike path that goes along the ocean for 7½ miles. So, 15 miles round trip.

On weekday afternoons, it’s almost empty. It’s perfect for going full-speed.

So a few times a week, I’d get on my bike and go as fast as I could for the 15 mile loop. I mean really full-on, 100%, head-down, red-faced, sprinting.

I’d finish exhausted, and look at the time. 43 minutes. Every time. Maybe a minute more on a really windy day. But basically always 43 minutes.

After a few months, I noticed I was getting less enthusiastic about this bike ride. I think had mentally linked it with being completely exhausted.

So one day I decided I would do the same ride, but just chill. Take it easy, nice and slow. OK not super-slow, but dialing it back to about 50% of my usual effort.

Give it a read.

*Sivers, a longtime tech entrepreneur, has a great website. I especially like his section devoted to book recommendations.


Not Sure What to Read in the ‘New Yorker’? Subscribe to this Email Newsletter

2015 10 03 nyer

An email newsletter* I recently discovered and am loving: “The New Yorker Minute.

It’s a weekly rundown of the gems in each issue — and a guide to what you can skip.

Each Wednesday, subscribers receive a summary of material in the week’s issue, broken down into sections like “read this,” “window-shop these,” and “skip without guilt.”

There are also pointers regarding short stories, poetry and cartoons.

*Longtime readers know I really love email newsletters — and send out a weekly one myself.


Mesmerizing Vine: Levandowski Scores 5 Goals in 9 Min.

I’m, like, nearly a fortnight late in pointing this out, but still: It’s incredible.

You may have seen the news that Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski recently scored five times in nine minutes against Wolfsburg. This link shows all of the goals in the run of play.

I also found, embedded above and online here, a mesmerizing Vine showing all five stitched together.


By Me and a Colleague: Facebook’s Iniative Faces Pushback

The story, which ran last week online and on the front page of The WSJ‘s global edition, begins:

When Muhammad Maiyagy Gery heard about a new mobile app from Facebook Inc. that provides free Internet access in his native Indonesia, he was excited.

But after testing it, the 24-year-old student from a mining town on the eastern edge of Borneo soon deleted the app, called, frustrated that he was unable to access and some local Indonesian sites.

Mr. Gery said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is an “inspiration in the tech world,” but added that the company’s free Internet effort is “inadequate.”

Mr. Gery’s reaction illustrates the unexpected criticism Facebook has encountered to its bold initiative to bring free Internet access to the world’s four billion people who don’t have it, and to increase connectivity among those with limited access. He is one of many users who say a Facebook-led partnership is providing truncated access to websites, thwarting the principles of what is known in the U.S. as net neutrality—the view that Internet providers shouldn’t be able to dictate consumer access to websites.

Embedded above and online here is an accompanying video. (You may recognize the narrator’s voice.)

There’s also a piece called “5 Things to Know about Facebook’s Internet Initiative.”


Scott Adams’s Life Advice in 28 Words — and More Wisdom from the Creator of Dilbert

Think of your life as a system. Think of yourself as the most important part of the system. Be useful. And make yourself more valuable as you go.

The quote above comes from Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, during his recent appearance on Tim Ferriss’s podcast*.

Very much worth listening to.

Here’s more from Adams on goals vs. systems.

Other stuff from Adams’s I’ve linked to in the past:

  • Happiness Engineering
  • How to Get a Real Education
  • And you should definitely check out his extremely simply advice on personal finance:

    — Make a will.
    — Pay off your credit card balance.
    — Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
    — Fund your company 401K to the maximum.
    — Fund your IRA to the maximum.
    — Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
    — Put six months’ expenses in a money market account.
    — Take whatever is left over and invest it 70 percent in a stock index fund and 30 percent in a bond fund through any discount brokerage company and never touch it until retirement
    — If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issue), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges you a percentage of your portfolio.

    * I am not a regular listener of Ferriss’s podcast, but I see that he has interviewed some interesting folks.


    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Taking Selfies But Were Afraid to Ask

    2015 09 16 selfies

    Aanand Prasad, pictured above, has written an amusing — and exhaustive — guide to taking selfies:

    Do you ever hate how you look in photos taken by other people? That’s because other people have no clue how to make you look good. But you can very easily learn how.

    Selfies have been a positive force in my life ever since I came across the wonderful #dudetime and its gently radical flipping of the default male gaze. If you think selfies are bad for any reason, I don’t want to know. I suggest getting in a bin and sharing your bad opinions with the other trash.

    The target audience is straight dudes, but there are tips in here for everyone. He covers topics like lighting, camera angles, facial expressions, backgrounds, composition, and more.

    Fun stuff.


    Brian Eno’s Favorite Books; AeroPress Inventor; Creepy/Cute kangaroos; Creepy/Cute Drones

    Those are among the links I shared in the 25th edition of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, which just went out to subscribers.

    Sign up here and never miss another dispatch.


    Productivity Tip: ‘Iterate Toward Perfection,’ But Forget Perfection Exists

    Matt Might, whose account of having a disabled child I mentioned previously, also has an interesting post on productivity tips for academics.

    The advice can be applied to people working in many professions, though, not just academia.

    I really like this bit:

    Iterate toward perfection

    Treat perfection like a process, not an achievable state. Perfectionism is crippling to productivity. I’ve known academics that can’t even start projects because of perfectionism. I know some academics that defend their lack of productivity by proudly proclaiming themselves to be perfectionists. I’m not so sure one should be proud of perfectionism. I don’t think it’s bad to want perfection; I just think it’s unrealistic to expect it.

    The metric academics need to hit is “good enough,” and after that, “better than good enough,” if time permits. Forget that the word perfect exists. Otherwise, one can sink endless amounts of time into a project long after the scientific mission was accomplished. One good-enough paper that got submitted is worth an infinite number of perfect papers that don’t exist.



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