Web Miscellany: Compilation #89

Hello, friend! What have you been up to this week? How are you doing? I attended my aunt’s funeral via a YouTube live-stream due to a local breakout of the covid-19 delta variant, and I have such mixed feelings about the experience. It was nice, however, to see visiting family members, though the interactions remained limited.

Apparently the Phoenix Suns went to the finals. I only know this because my in-laws were grumpy that the team lost. They’ve been court-side season tickets since 1968, through the up and downs. I used to think my dad was practically a season ticket holder because he would call into the local radio station to answer trivia questions to win tickets quite often during Charles Barkley era; an era when even sports-haters followed the suns because that was the only thing on TV and the only place in Phoenix to go for entertainment.

What are your plans for the week ahead? I’ve been on a sewing kick lately and recently tidied up boxes and boxes of fabrics, tools, and notions. Oh, and we have mold remediation schedule for next week; hopefully my home will be verified mold-free by late-August, and we can begin treatment to get the bio-toxins out of my body. Woohoo!!

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.


  1. Food for thought: “Any system that helps you understand the world around you is valuable. Natural history, biology, ethnology, physics, geology…. You must have knowledge to make the nets in which other knowledge is caught.” – Damon Knight
  2. From the archives: “That was the first time I realized that the hero’s journey is not limited to warriors, philosophers, and leaders. At 23 years old, I understood that I had just as much opportunity to set out on my own journey and bravely face any obstacles that stood in the way of my freedom; I knew then that I had the power to write and re-write my own story, and that I could always choose to be the hero.” The Truth About Heroes & Warriors
  3. Fun fact: During the Belle Epoque, people thought the approach of Halley’s Comet spelled sure destruction. Stores started selling “anti-comet pills.” Papers put out ads for escape submarine rentals. One cult even considered sacrificing a virgin. Fascinating write-up!
  4. Shark art: “The scene was based on a real event: in 1749, in the waters off Havana, Cuba, a 14-year-old cabin boy decided to go for a dip in the ocean while his ship was in port. As he swam, a shark bit his leg and dragged him under. The shark released him but then bit again, this time severing the boy’s foot. Nearby sailors—horrified—came to his rescue in a skiff, reportedly just before the shark’s third strike… The boy’s leg was later amputated from the knee down, but he otherwise recovered fully and went on to have a long and successful career in business and politics.” The boy, Brook Watson, later commissioned John Singleton Copley to paint the encounter.
  5. Predatory academia: “According to the most current data available, the median debt taken out by an Master’s of Arts Program in Humanities graduate, not including undergraduate debt, is $65,471. The median graduate salary of those who took out loans, two years after graduation: $37,928… People who write and talk about student debt know that for-profit colleges are the worst offenders when it comes to predatory recruitment practices. They target veterans, single mothers, students of color, and first generation students.” Fascinating piece by Anne Helen Petersen, broken into three highly insightful posts: part 1, part 2, and part 3.
  6. Financial success benchmark: “A recent study revealed that 70% of millennials are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a larger share than any other generation.” Couples with incomes exceeding $300k annually are complaining? This is simply bananas! Our household income is well-below the U.S. median household income of $70,000 a year and we do okay. The key is being intentional with our funds (i.e. paying our future selves via real estate, retirement, and healthy habits) and not keeping up with the Joneses (i.e. collecting furniture from the curb, driving old but reliable cars, buying hobby supplies at the thrift store). It’s not a glamorous life by any means, but I suspect we have a higher net worth than those who make and spend $300k per year.
  7. Math isn’t boring: There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoyed mathematics class in school, and the other 98% of the population. “In the essay, Lockhart declares that students who say their mathematics classes are stupid and boring are correct—though the subject itself is not. The problem is that our culture does not recognize that the true nature of math is art. So we teach it in a manner that would just as easily ruin any other art.”
  8. Embroidered Polaroids: Embroidery artist Artemis reimagines instant film with intricately stitched snapshots of landscapes. So lovely! I don’t think I would have the patience for this type of project, but I can dream.
  9. Newly discoverer newsletter: The Morning News is curated with art, random intriguing stories, and useful information. I just found it and want to share many things, like xxx, xxx, and xxxx.
  10. Car warning sounds: “Car warning sounds urging drivers to buckle up or turn off the headlights can be quite unpleasant to listen to. So Nissan teamed up with sound designers at Bandai Namco, the gaming company known for Pac-Man and Tekken, to replace those warning noises with something more musical.” What a brilliant (and obvious!) idea to bring into the world.

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