Hello, friend! Are you having a good day? Awesome. Just so you know, some kids refer to the 90s as the late 1900’s. You’re welcome.
What have you been up to this week? How are you doing? This week, my aunt passed away and my sister came home to visit for the first time since before COVID. At work, we kicked off implementation of a quality management system, which I’m so looking forward to. We received several quotes for mold remediation and submitted a claim to homeowner’s insurance. I began testing for biotoxin illness: I failed a visual contrast test, sent in a cheek swab for the HLA-DR gene, had the biotoxin illness blood panel drawn, went in for a Neuroquant brain MRI to looks for structural abnormalities associated with mold exposure, and sampled our home for mold beyond the visible aspergillus and stachybotrys. After six years of being told it’s all in my head, I’m optimistic that a proper evidence-based diagnosis and effective treatment is right around the corner. (For anyone experiencing a constellation of random symptoms, you may look into CIRS.)
What are your plans for the week ahead? I’m planning to visit my parents, visit a friend, and maybe work on a sewing project. I’m leaning towards a Ogden Cami hacked into a dress, like this or this. And and I have a few library books coming due that I need to finish (and start) reading.
I hope that your the week ahead is good to you. 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: “The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
- From the archives: Definitely Not A Slab Leak. Two years ago, a water pipe burst and flooded half of our home. Last week, we collected dust samples from around the home to test for mold and are anxiously awaiting the results. After six years of wondering whether I am undetectably sick or batshit crazy, this may be the moment of truth.
- Random source of excitement: I recently replaced several pairs of decrepit, decade-old underwear (eww, I know) with some cute and comfy 3-for-$48 gems from Hanky Panky. If those $5 pairs came out to under $0.01 per wear and these last even half that long, that’s $0.06 per wear. As embarrassing as the topic may be, these are pretty awesome and well worth the (bulk) price.
- Asking better questions: A question asked to brilliant economist Tyler Cowen: “Do you have an instinctual knack for posing high-quality questions or is there a conscious method employed when you engage with ideas?” Answers include, “Highly specific questions are better on average,” and “It is often better to preface a question with a confession of some sort, or with information from yourself.”
- On government overreach: “What they are attempting is a religious take-over of the world’s most powerful secular nation, and fully intend to weaponize the intelligence and state security apparatus against the people who won’t take the knee. They take aim at our foundations, our families, and the common ties which bind us as a people to the very laws which outline our Freedom and Liberty. This new Domestic Terrorism Policy isn’t a Domestic Terrorism Policy at all. It’s a New American Kulturkampf, and it’s Theocratic, revolutionary, and unlikely to end in a predictable or structured manner, or in a way that ensures Citizens the Liberty and Freedom our Constitution and Bill of Right guarantee.”
- On smart home advancements: Amazon recently launched Amazon Sidewalk, a low-bandwidth Internet of Things network that lets your smart home stretch beyond Wi-Fi range to power Echo speakers, Ring products, Tile trackers and more. It’s a fascinating technology with, from my perspective, some glaring privacy concerns. If you’re interested in the concept, but without the collection data analytics by Amazon, look into Helium: The People’s Network, a similar mesh network set up by individuals, rather than a large conglomerate. I’m involved with Helium and it’s a great project.
- An intriguing book: In Blockchain Chicken Farm, the technologist and writer Xiaowei Wang explores the political and social entanglements of technology in rural China. Their discoveries force them to challenge the standard idea that rural culture and people are backward, conservative, and intolerant. Instead, they find that rural China has not only adapted to rapid globalization but has actually innovated the technology we all use today.
- Freedom/Responsibility: “Once we realize our own agency, freedom begins to feel like a responsibility. The freedom to make a difference.” From Seth Godin.
- On the long win: A great dissection of the meaning of ‘success’ when seen through a long-term perspective. “I discovered that when we start to look at many of society’s ‘winners’ from a longer-term perspective, our common definition of success starts to buckle. Common images of what winning means focus almost entirely on a single moment in time: the winner on the podium, the announcement of a company’s annual profits, a legal battle won or the declaration of an electoral victory in politics.”
- A question worth asking: “How can I be a better ancestor?” I saw this question asked in the context of environmental concerns, but I think it extends much further. What can I do to (one day) be a good parent? How can I practice memorable kindness? What can I create in the world to make it a better place? How can I uphold the constitution and promote liberty in a changing society? What can I do, as an individual, to support school choice and give all children the best education possible? How can I be a better ancestor? We need more of this long-term thinking. I have observed that a lot of selfish, in-the-moment decisions are being made at the expense of our future selves and future generations.