Web Miscellany: Compilation #75

Hello there! How are you? Can you believe that it has been a year since the pandemic sparked fear and uncertainty across the globe? With the advent of lockdown, people were given the opportunity to use COVID-19 as a reason to pursue their goals or an excuse not too. Either is perfectly acceptable, but I hope that you used some extra time to create connect in new and deeper ways over the last year.

I have been tired and work has been busy, so tax filing and chores have been put off a bit too long. It rained briefly, the second light sprinkling since the start of pandemic. It has been lovely day, but I cannot wait to exit Phoenix in pursuit of some real precipitation and trees that are more than rooted skeletons.

What are your plans for the week ahead? I will be visiting my parents tomorrow for board games and online dog shopping (the shelter is waiving fees for large breeds) while my boyfriend meets up with a friend for their monthly Ham & Jam (amateur radio and playing music) and then some other uber-nerdy friends to discuss Linux, Bitcoin, and NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover.

I hope that your weekend and the week ahead are wonderful, 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.

  1. Food for thought: “Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” — George Orwell
  2. From the archives: Nothing Important Comes With Instructions. “After several years of foraging through forums, soliciting advice and asking the experts, I’m slowly coming to realize that nothing important comes with instructions. No one can tell you when it’s time to leave a toxic workplace or a failing relationship. No one can look at a series of labs and offer a full picture of what’s going on in your body.”
  3. Ornithology Rabbit Hole: A juvenile male Cooper’s hawk has taken up residence in my yard and is making a racket and snatching up the ground squirrels. I have been learning everything I can about the gorgeous species, following a bird obsession sparked by reading The Atomic Weight of Love, a novel I can highly recommend.
  4. Endless Amusement: Mailbag #1 from Tim Urban. A bit of writing advice: “Remember that in most cases, the ideas behind the writing are more important than the quality of the writing itself. You’d rather have great ideas and pretty good writing than the other way around.”
  5. Neat Artwork: I really like these cool collages from Bernardo Tarnowski.
  6. On Being Poor-ish: “When someone is telling me they are or have been poor and I’m trying to determine how poor exactly they were, there’s one evergreen question I ask that has never failed to give me a good idea of what kind of situation I’m dealing with. That question is: “How many times have they turned off your water?”. The reason this question works is because it lets me know whether the person I’m talking to has “felt” broke – I.E. been in a situation where they felt resource strapped for some reason or another – or has “been broke”, actually factually unable to pay for basic services they needed to survive at a minimally decent human level.” On The Experience of Being Poor-ish, For People Who Aren’t from Resident Contrarian.
  7. On Psychedelic Startups: Some Thoughts on For-Profit Psychedelic Startups and Companies from Tim Ferriss. We have three friends who began psychedelic startups around 2017-2018, while well-intentioned, psychological help feels a bit cringey when profit is involved…even more so when the profit margins are massive.
  8. On Non-Fungible Tokens: “NFTs are going to be more like Kindle books and YouTube videos. The vast majority are going to have ten views, not a billion. It’s an unregulated, non-transparent hustle with ‘bubble’ written all over it.” NFTs are a dangerous trap from Seth Godin. I’ve been thinking about this a fair amount over the last few weeks. Soon enough, there will surely be digital frames to display rare NFTs and they may ultimately replace physical artwork, but the quantity of unique items could be limitless. The blockchain is creating a fascinating new environment in so many areas, and it’s exciting to watch the new technologies emerge.
  9. On The Common Denominator of Success: “The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” The Common Denominator of Success, by Albert E. N. Gray.
  10. Incredible Photography: The Winners of the 2020 World Nature Photography Awards.

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