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1. "a miracle happening every nanosecond"
Guardians of the Internet – Charlie Warzel – (Galaxy Brain newsletter)
This is a very readable overview of just how tenuous the internet is. The subhead is something I’ve said myself: "It’s a miracle things work at all."
The recent log4j exploit (don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it — it’s a server thing. A big server thing, but nothing average consumers need worry about) has brought into focus the perils of the open source movement. It’s certainly not an argument against open source, but rather a exploration of what is perhaps its greatest weakness.
Do this: be grateful for what’s working, and the numerous volunteers behind it.
2. "The pandemic is like a doorway."
The new normal is already here. Get used to it – (The Economist)
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been wondering the same thing. Rather than waiting for things to return to some definition of normal — the way things used to be — perhaps we’re already there. Perhaps today is, in fact, the new normal.
The pattern for the rest of the 2020s is not the familiar routine of the pre-covid years, but the turmoil and bewilderment of the pandemic era.
Do this: Stop waiting.
3. "Lookism is alive and real on the internet"
Here’s What Happened When I Quit Wearing Makeup In My YouTube Videos – Zulie Rane – (Medium)
I’m happy if I’ve shaved within the past couple of days, and my hair isn’t flying about. But, then, I’m an over 60 male. We get cut much more slack than women of any age.
This caught my eye not because I had plans to do even less about my on camera experience, but rather to find out what happened. I was pleasantly surprised.
What happens if you accept how you look as good enough? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, you get a lot happier.
Do this: Be yourself.
4. "Write to inspire"
Today I Celebrate 8 Years of Writing Online. Here’s What I’ve Learned. – Tim Denning – (Medium)
Denning is one of Medium’s most prolific writers. He writes about anything and everything, always with an interesting viewpoint. Sometimes it’s a miss, and sometimes it’s spot on.
What caught my attention was this sentiment:
See the world through words, slightly better than it is. Consider a reader’s mental health before you publish your story. Life is hard enough. Don’t make it harder with your writing.
Life is hard enough. Indeed.
Do this: try not to make someone else’s life harder.
5. "a booster effectively doubled the level of protection"
America Is Not Ready for Omicron – Ed Yong – (The Atlantic)
As I write this (on Saturday) The Netherlands has just announced a strict lockdown that will last until at least the middle of January. In recent weeks we’ve come to learn more about Omicron, and while it seems to be less severe, it also seems to be more transmissible. The bottom line, to me, is this: how will it impact our hospitals?
The variant’s threat is far greater at the societal level than at the personal one, and policy makers have already cut themselves off from the tools needed to protect the populations they serve. Like the variants that preceded it, Omicron requires individuals to think and act for the collective good—which is to say, it poses a heightened version of the same challenge that the U.S. has failed for two straight years, in bipartisan fashion.
Do this: act for the collective good. Get vaccinated, and boosted.
6."Great writing looks effortless."
The Paradoxes of Modern Life – David Perell – (Blog)
A very interesting list of paradoxes that we generally never think of, but most definitely experience. The takeaway above, more completely:
The Paradox of Writing: Great writing looks effortless. But because the ideas are so clear, casual readers don’t appreciate how much time it took to refine them.
Do this: it’s not a long read, and worth your time. It’ll make you think.
7. "swear words are just words"
Why I Have a Potty Mouth – Mark Manson – (Medium)
I’ve written about this myself before. That people are overly offended by curse words both amuses and saddens me. As Manson points out, not only are they just words (in my opinion it’s the offended that give them their "power"), they grab our attention — and that’s not a bad thing.
There’s a reason why the greatest stand-up comedians — Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, et al. — all used filthy, horrible language. It shocked you into paying attention and generated the uncertainty and discomfort required to make the best humor work.
Oh, and this:
The Idea That Swear Words Have No Literary Value Is Bullshit
That’s a common complaint. No. Swearwords, used effectively, are not a crutch of the lazy. Not taking the time to understand that might also be considered . . . lazy. Or at least closed-minded, and perhaps overly sensitive.
Do this: Observe you language and that of those around you. What do you react to and why?
What I’m Reading
- This is How They Tell Me the World Ends – Nicole Perlroth
- The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching – Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity – Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman
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