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My hope is that you use these emails to practice reflection.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion. Drop by https://constantine.name for my podcasts, writing and more.

~ Craig Constantine

Evil

An evil-speaker differs from an evil-doer only in the want of opportunity.

~ Quintilian

 
 — original post, tagged Evil, Quintilian, Quotes



Upper bounds

If we play our cards right, we could live hundreds of thousands of years more. In fact, there’s not much stopping us living millions of years. The typical species lives about a million years. Our 200,000 years so far would put us about in our adolescence, just old enough to be getting ourselves in trouble, but not wise enough to have thought through how we should act.

~ Toby Ord from, https://www.edge.org/conversation/toby_ord-we-have-the-power-to-destroy-ourselves-without-the-wisdom-to-ensure-that-we

I find it beneficial to have my perspectives stretched. This article walks through scales of time in a delightful manner. It pauses to ask questions, and to point out people who did certain things at precise points in our history. There are countless opportunities to shift perspective. For example: I’ve been alive for 1/100 of recorded human history. And recorded history is only 3/100 of the age of our species. The aggregate progress of humanity is simply the sum of our individual efforts, and my life represents 1/100,000,000,000 of humanity so far. Stretched perspectives indeed.

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 — original post, tagged Science, Thought and Philosophy, Toby Ord



Discontent

This is discontent, but it is not the discontent of pessimism. It is noble discontent which is the secret of progress. Only the pusillanimous are content. Heart’s desires are divine discontents. Only the unsatisfied do things. The satisfied do nothing. Unsatisfaction is the stimulus to achievement. Satisfaction is destruction and leads down to the chamber of death.

~ Jack London

 
 — original post, tagged Efficacy, Jack London, Quotes



More light

There’s also a long list of advertisers who rely on this confusion to abdicate their ethical responsibility in terms of their money winding up in the pockets of bottom-dwelling grifters and bigots. The murkiness makes it easier to pretend it’s not happening, and it’s this accountability gap the group hopes to target

~ Karl Bode from, https://www.techdirt.com/2022/06/14/nonprofit-takes-aim-at-fox-news-by-demystifying-ad-exchanges/

Caution: Depending on your viewpoint, that article will make you cheer, or will enrage you. What I want to focus on is, “murkiness” and I want to split a fine hair.

I believe there’s visibility, (in the sense that it is clear who is accountable for some speech [advertising is speech],) anonymity, and murkiness which obscures the dichotomy of visibility versus anonymity. My position is that murkiness is never a positive thing. The knowledge that something is being said with accountability, (who said it is clear,) versus with anonymity is critical for one to be able to evaluate some speech for oneself. That knowledge is removed when there’s murkiness.

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 — original post, tagged Karl Bode, Society, Thought and Philosophy



A self

But in order to be self-aware, first one needs a self to be aware of. And that takes a while. Often an entire lifetime.

~ Hugh MacLeod from, https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2017/12/05/check-yourself-before-you-wreck-yourself/

 
 — original post, tagged Hugh MacLeod, Quotes, Self-awareness



Wait wat?

Since around 2009, methamphetamines have been made with phenylacetone (P2P). Is there a chemical different causing schizophrenia?

~ “Dynomight” from, https://dynomight.net/p2p-meth/

As I was reading those two sentences, my world was just fine… until that very last word. I was ready for death, overdose, addiction, and there are probably a dozen more words that I don’t expect would fit there, but which wouldn’t make me go, “wait wat?” So i started reading…

I quickly realized this article is basically the science behind Breaking Bad. There’s also an enormous amount of “this is not good” information in there. For example, an apparently exponential-function graph of deaths is never a good thing. There’s also a bit of industrial chemistry, and a large scale sewerage treatment plant data collection . . . well, it’s worth the read.

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 — original post, tagged Chemistry, Dynomight



Change in name only

In a change of government the poor change nothing but the name of their masters.

~ Phaedrus

 
 — original post, tagged Phaedrus, Poverty, Quotes



Gömböc

So in a nutshell, Gömböc is cool, Hungarians are proud of it greatly. So naturally, they made a 4.5-ton statue replica of the shape.

~ Atlas Obscura from, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/gomboc

I could probably write a blog post about other interesting math-related puzzles and shapes that come from Hungary… or about the number of Hungarian mathematicians… but instead, I’ll just point you towards this particularly interesting thing.

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 — original post, tagged Atlas Obscura, Hungary, Math



What are you capable of?

Anyone can put a challenge in front of themselves that they are unable to do. How well do you know what you are capable of? How well do you know how to make yourself capable of more. I train to know who I am and how I can improve.

~ Jesse Danger from, https://moversmindset.com/jesse-danger-systems-thinking-game-design-and-novelty/

 
 — original post, tagged Art du Déplacement, Challenges, Jesse Danger, Quotes



Because enough people know

there are enough users who understand how it is supposed to work. They expect to be able to listen to any podcast anywhere they want. Most probably don’t understand why they have this ability, about the history and technology design that made it possible, but they understand that they have the ability. And it doesn’t have to be all of them or even most of them, just enough of them, whatever that means. And for right now, at the end of 2021, there are enough. Podcasting has always been and remains an open platform. I can’t say it will be for the future, but so far so good.

~ Dave Winer from, http://scripting.com/2021/12/21/124205.html

I like Winer’s point that the web (websites, web browser, blogs—not asocial media platforms) and podcasting are not dominated by any one large company. He’s pointing out that we’ve two examples of things not centrally controlled—two examples of success (so far, things could always change.) And therefore it’s quite possible that we could build something else, another new media format, which is also free, open, and not centrally controlled.

But I don’t like that Winer has glossed over the fact that podcasting only appears to be open, (in the way that the web is open.) Podcasting appears to be open, and isn’t yet dominated by one large company, because the podcast creators individually go to great lengths to make their shows available everywhere. There are multiple large companies trying to leverage the listeners against the creators. I’ve given up on trying to lead podcasting to be open, the way the web is open; I simply hope that someone else sees what I see and that I live to see podcasting grow to be a first-class, truly open, platform, (the way the web is.)

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 — original post, tagged Dave Winer, Internet Tech, Podcasting



In the bud

Every evil in the bud is easily crushed; As it grows older it becomes stronger.

~ Cicero

 
 — original post, tagged Cicero, Evil, Quotes



Temperature matters

The other evidence we have is animals who live in the cold have higher metabolic rates, higher activity levels, yet higher body fat and body mass than those that live in the warmth. This suggests that fluctuations in body fat may be tied to changes in temperature exposure, and not just to protect us from famine. The bottom line is temperature matters.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/heat-for-weight-loss/heat-and-body-weight/

My pull-quote is from the very end of Pilon’s article. Overall it lays out a delightful overview of the main systems that regulate our body composition. I love this last point—the part I’ve quoted—because it has nothing to do with humans; It’s a nice “and the same thing seems to be true for other mammals” that provides a great reality check on the models he’s presented in the article.

Pilon is the author who made things clear and simple enough for me to try intentionally manipulating the window of time each day when I stuff food in my face. Being intentional about that greatly increased my awareness of subtle signals from my body. At 8:30am, when I’m day-dreaming of blueberry pancakes, am I actually hungry or am I simply having a craving for carbohydrates? And when I wake up at 1am with a massive cramp in my left calf… I should probably have remembered to take my magnesium supplement before bed, and I better eat a banana first thing in the morning.

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 — original post, tagged Brad Pilon, Health, Intermittent Fasting



Thought and action

Please remember I am talking about the world as it is. The men who act without thinking, and the men who both think and act, are the ones who mould the world. The man who thinks and does not act never moulds the world. He may think that he does—but that, too, is only a thought, the thought of a deedless, actionless thinker.

~ Jack London

 
 — original post, tagged Efficacy, Jack London, Quotes



Rescuing life from productivity

And so we get to the crux of our human predicament — the underbelly of our anxiety about every unanswered email, every unfinished project, and every unbegun dream: Our capacities are limited, our time is finite, and we have no control over how it will unfold or when it will run out. Beyond the lucky fact of being born, life is one great sweep of uncertainty, bookended by the only other lucky certainty we have. It is hardly any wonder that the sweep is dusted with so much worry and we respond with so much obsessive planning, compulsive productivity, and other touching illusions of control.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2021/12/20/four-thousand-weeks-oliver-burkeman/

For years I’ve been finding myself judging my day, each evening as I go to sleep. I lie down, and try as I might, my thoughts go beyond simply reviewing. I tried to stop doing the judging part, to no avail.

There’s a Steve Jobs quote about asking himself a question each morning, and that’s great, (but not something I do.) I realized that I’m asking myself that question at the end of each day after closing my eyes to beckon sleep:

If that was the last day of my life, am I satisfied with what I did?

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 — original post, tagged Life Balance, Maria Popova, Productivity




 
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just the quotes?
My collection of ~1,000 quotes, (and growing,) figures prominently in these weekly emails. You can also get a daily, random quote by email from my Little Box of Quotes.






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