Hello dear friend! I can’t believe February is already wrapping up and ushering in March. How are you? How has you week been? I have a habit of falling down different rabbit holes and my boyfriend is the same, so we inundate each other with new information and ideas constantly. Hot topics this week have included: cryptocurrency, critical race theory, mycotoxins, plant hybridization, pressure canning, great horned owls, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, wedding day pranks, Tibetan mastiffs, the singularity, and precautions against nuclear fallout. There is never a dull day in our household!
What are your plans for the weekend and week ahead? My plans include household chores and replanting the flower garden that has been devoured by “the Nibbles,” our socialist neighborhood scurry of squirrels. Yep, I just learned that a group of squirrels is called a scurry, which as apt because that’s exactly what they do when I shout at them to stop eating my plants.
I hope that the week ahead is joyous, and that you and your loved ones continue to stay safe and healthy. Here are a few links from around the web. Feel free to share anything interesting you’ve stumbled upon in the comments.
- Food for thought: “Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” — Anna Quindlen
- From the archives: Savings, Inflation, and Debt Serfdom. If you haven’t yet considered cryptocurrency, this is a good reason to start your research. Fiat currency is not backed, so the valuation of the dollar drops each time more money is printed (the Feds printed $3.5 trillion in 2020 alone). Bitcoin and a small number of alt-coins allow for the creation of a limited amount of currency, thus safeguarding funds against future inflation. In a tangential vein, this article from Time suggests that “If we invest the time and resources to develop user-friendly wallets, more exchanges, and better educational materials for Bitcoin, it has the potential to make a real difference for the 4 billion people who can’t trust their rulers or who can’t access the banking system.” It’s highly volatile, but the risk should stabilize with more widespread adoption. Lots to unpack here, so perhaps a discussion for a later post…
- Recommendation: I’ve been micro-lending through Kiva since 2011 and have relent the same $100 across 185 loans. It’s one of the few things I’ve done consistently for over a decade and it gives me joy every time the recipient sends an update detailing how the money changed their business and their life. Join on Kiva and change a life today!
- On Algorithms: “You are the system, we all are, and given the power of invisible and leveraged algorithms, it’s essential that they be created and maintained by people who understand that they’re responsible for the impact they make.” Algorithms give or they take from Seth Godin.
- On Love: “When it comes to lasting romance, passion has nothing on friendship.” From The type of love that makes people happiest, by Arthur C. Brooks. I’m so grateful to be practically married to my best friend.
- Something Heartwarming: Garbage collectors in Ankara open a library with books rescued from the trash. “The only regret the men have, is that they didn’t start collecting sooner.” Such a lovely story!
- High Signal Stuff: The Monday Media Diet with Zanab Hussain Alvi: On Iran, blogs, and breeding plants. I loved this guest post on Why is this Interesting? and would love to be friends with this woman. It began with a self-description of being “warm introvert, dark optimist” (I can relate) with “pathologically weird” reading habits, and just got better with each sentence.
- On Cognitive Peaks: The case for opsimaths. Maybe late bloomers aren’t so late. Lots of good stuff in here.
- On Lockdown: Results from a new study which draws on survey data collected during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic suggests that being forced to slow down life, as a consequence of lockdown, has had significant, positive impacts for many people and their families.
- Something Beautiful: A pair of dancers from the Polish National Ballet perform a dance to Reckoner by Radiohead, choreographed by Robert Bondara. Wow!