bookmark_borderWhy I love films

I recently saw the movie Arrival at the cinema. I was sitting about four rows from the front, dead centre, and was soon immersed in the story that was playing out.

From the opening scene, that long fade from dark to light, the framing of the shot out across the lake, to the first hint at the doorways the main character will need to navigate (figuratively and literally) I was hooked. I’ve always been drawn to beautiful cinematography, to the point where movies like Road to Perdition stick in my mind more for that long shot of the car driving through the rain with the fields beyond disappearing over a low clouded horizon, than it does for the story itself.

It probably started with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I loved the books as a child, and can remember the first time I saw it on TV (advert breaks and all). There is no doubt it is a slow movie, those now famous scenes of spacecrafts gently waltzing in space, all a prelude to the long build towards the climatic scenes with HAL (and that’s before you get to the wonderful weirdness of latter part of the movie). I watch it every few years, and recently saw it in a cinema for the first time. I was sat in the front row and realised I had completely zoned out at times, just letting myself be taken away by the imagery on screen. Immersed. It was wonderful.

The same day I saw Arrival I also saw Fantastic Beasts (the latest from the Harry Potter world) and whilst it was fun it didn’t grab me and hold my attention. As it veered off into CGI land (which was all very impressive) I did leave knowing it was a nice bit of fun but it didn’t sit with me long. I was aware of being in a cinema, with other people laughing and gasping (or exclaiming ‘Ohhh that’s Colin Farrell’), but I can barely remember anyone who was sitting near me when I watched Arrival.

Perhaps this comparison isn’t all that fair. Arrival is not only beautifully shot, the story is smart, well handled by the director and the performance by the lead actor, Amy Adams, was nuanced and controlled and utterly entrancing. Meanwhile the Fantastic Beasts storyline is pretty standard fare (which isn’t a bad thing) and the pacing is good, but for me Eddie Redmayne wasn’t particularly noteworthy. Perhaps because I only recently watched him play Stephen Hawking with a similar awkardness (which worked well for that character), or perhaps because I was able to focus more on the acting and direction because I wasn’t pulled into the world of the movie.

I’ve always been able to suspend my disbelief when watching movies. I am the guy who doesn’t see plot twists coming (think Usual Suspects, Sixth Sense, Primal Fear) but I need to be enticed into the world of a movie, so whilst I enjoy all the big silly blockbusters, and I’ve already booked my tickets for Rogue One, they are simply a distracting entertainment.

But it’s movies like Arrival that help me step into their world are the ones that ‘stick’ in my brain; The Lobster, Slow West, Shawshank Redemption, and Rear Window are all movies the pull me gently, that let my brain do the work and don’t force their worlds on me. I will happily step into them because of that, and more and more I am drawn to intelligent and beautiful movies. Think Cohen Brothers and Wes Anderson. Think Christopher Nolan. Think Kubrick. Think Hitchcock.

All of their movies involve imagery as a means of communicating. They don’t rely on dialogue, or voiceovers, to explain what’s happening. They trust that the viewer can fill (enough of) the blanks to enjoy the story that is being shown to them, and because they trust us, they know they can show us things without having them explained. They let us interpret the worlds they have created and allow us to layer our own experience and knowledge and filters atop them.

Those are the movies that I return to, each viewing revealing more and more nuances as I discover more about the world in which the movie is set, just as I learn more about mine. And more and more I find myself looking for movies that will deliver that kind of viewing experience, rather than a couple of hours of mindless entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the distraction a well executed blockbuster can bring, but more and more I find myself seeking out movies that are a little smarter and that focus a lot more on beauty in all it’s weird and wonderful forms.

Bonus link – a big part of creating a movie like Arrival is in the sound, check out this podcast on Song Exploder
“In the film Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist trying to decode an alien language. The score was composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, his third film collaborating with director Denis Villeneuve. In this episode, Johann breaks down a piece from the score called “Heptapod B,” and how, like the film, it revolves around the concept of language.”

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • Noisli – Improve Focus and Boost Productivity with Background Noise
    Now, put your headphones on and start boosting your productivity.
    I’m a bit of a sucker for these things but this one is a good one, calming too if you get the right combo.

  • Productivity Is Really About What You Don’t Do
    The best productivity tip I ever got was the idea of a “stop-doing list” from Jim Collins. In this Age of Distraction, we’re all dodging and weaving between so much incoming information that what you don’t do on a daily basis has become as important—if not more—as what you do execute on.
    Can you tell I’m on a bit of a ‘get stuff done’ kick at the moment? No? Damn…

  • British Man Bungee Jumps With A Biscuit In Hand And Dunks It In A Cup Of Tea Below
    Nothing stands between a Brit and their cuppa tea… unless they need to queue up in order to get one. Then they shall wait patiently.
    I’m not a tea fan, nor much of a dunker but this is EPIC.

  • The Man Who Fell To Earth
    I kept waking up at night, thinking about it. How could you do it? Can you do it? I fully admit it’s a totally risky and partially crazy thing to do. But I thought you could mitigate the risk. That’s when I had the idea for the net.
    Parachutes? When I grew up all we had was… etc etc. More proof that mankind is still wonderfully, scarily, bonkers.

  • Watch This Futuristic Vat Of Water Paint A Cat
    Dunking a statue into a bucket of paint usually won’t give you anything other than a monochromatic result. But dunk a statue into this vat of water coated with a layer of painted film, and the results are pretty incredible.
    GEEK ALERT: This is CAF!

  • Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.
    I’m a millennial computer scientist who also writes books and runs a blog. Demographically speaking I should be a heavy social media user, but that is not the case. I’ve never had a social media account.
    Couldn’t agree with this more. And by agree, I do mean agree (and then wilfully ignore because life is too damn short).

  • The Speculative Dread of “Black Mirror”
    In 1999, at the age of twenty-eight, Charlie Brooker, the British satirist who is now a television auteur, was at a low ebb. He’d spent most of his twenties freelancing for PC Zone, a little-read gaming magazine, where he was able to indulge his obscene and misanthropic sense of humor.
    Love him or hate him, Brooker has a voice that we NEED right now.

  • The Last Unknown Man
    Early one summer morning, Son Yo Auer, a Burger King employee in Richmond Hill, Georgia, found a naked man lying unconscious in front of the restaurant’s dumpsters. It was before dawn, but the man was sweating and sunburned. Fire ants crawled across his body, and a hot red rash flecked his skin.
    We know so little about the human mind that, especially things like this, are scary to comprehend.

  • Our brains want us to keep calm. But to make a change, we need to keep angry
    These days, a lot of people are thinking about how best to make a change in the world. Some might imagine that it’s best to try to rise above emotions like anger and fear and focus on taking action. But science suggests that embracing feelings of frustration can actually help you make an impact.
    FUCK YEAH! REVOLUTION!! (does being in a constant state of ‘grump’ count?)

  • It’s official: NASA’s peer-reviewed EM Drive paper has finally been published
    After months of speculation and leaked documents, NASA’s long-awaited EM Drive paper has finally been peer-reviewed and published. And it shows that the ‘impossible’ propulsion system really does appear to work.
    Still more evidence needed but if this is true, this is a fundamental change to… almost everything.

  • Use the “SBNRR” Technique to Handle Stressful Moments Mindfully
    When your stress is building into an exasperating moment, emotions can easily get the best of you. And that can be detrimental if you’re in a professional environment. The next time you’re about to explode with stress, try this instead.
    Just throwing this one out there as I believe some recent world events may have gotten some people stressed? Maybe? Lil bit?

  • How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts
    Regardless of the machine—slots, video poker—casinos’ ultimate goal is to maximize players’ “time on device.” This is crucial for casinos, because given enough time, the house always wins.
    Fascinating. Horrible. Compelling.

  • ‘None of the old rules apply’: Dave Eggers travels through post-election America
    The word surreal is overused and often wrongly used, but in the case of the Washington Post Election Night Live party, the word was apt. First of all, it was a disco.
    One US Election article, that’s it for this week (and NO MORE after this, probably)

  • David Chang’s secret code to unleashing the most amazing flavors on Earth
    A few years ago I got really into experimenting with fermentation. Miso is made by fermenting soybeans, but I wanted to see what happens when you ferment nuts, seeds, and other legumes. It turns out you can get some really delicious flavors.
    What makes a great dish, great? What do we really experience when we taste food? Intriguing article about a chef challenging the way we experience taste.

  • The latest earthquake in Japan was an aftershock of the one five years ago
    Early on Nov. 22, the residents of Fukushima, Japan were woken by loud sirens. At 6am local time, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake had struck off the coast.
    To be honest, you don’t need to click through, the headline says it all. WTAF?!

  • Researchers have figured out how to spot a self-loathing person by how they speak
    We communicate in many ways, not just with our words. But nonverbal signals are often missed in conversation. Now, social scientists have found a way to train machines to spot the linguistic tics that show psychological distress.
    I (hate) don’t know how they figure this stuff (myself) out… clever.

  • The 100 most influential images of all time
    Time Magazine has selected the 100 most influential photos of all time, from the first permanent photograph taken (in 1826) to the heartbreaking photo of the body of a 3-year-old refugee washed up on a beach from last year.
    CN: These photos are at times graphic, and will bring many feels. But you SHOULD look at them.

  • Don’t Give Up on the Guitar. Fender Is Begging You
    Each holiday season, thousands of teenagers tear gift wrap off shiny, new guitars. They giddily pluck at the detuned strings, thinking how cool they’ll be once they’re rock stars—even if almost all will give up before they ever get to jam out to “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”
    Part of me just thinks this means fewer crap guitar players to listen to?

  • Watch the Evolution of Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Tré Cool & 19 Other Drummers in Short 5-Minute Videos Open Culture
    I’ve always been more than happy to admit that I think Ringo Starr is a fantastic drummer and don’t find it much worth arguing over. Then again, more and more people seem to have come around to that point of view. Or at least that’s been my experience.
    Don’t let the focus on drumming put you off, these 5 minute videos are fascinating. Apparently drummers have skill!

  • Five ways to damage autistic children without even knowing
    Yep, uncomfortable title. But sadly, these are subjects that I feel we have a responsibility to talk about.
    Share, repeat, share. You never know when this will come in handy (and to be honest, a lot of it applies to EVERY child).

  • How the 24-hour society is stealing time from the night
    Burmese monks know that it is time to get up when it is light enough to see the veins in their hands. Muslims base their getting up on the passage in the Quran that defines daybreak as the time when it is possible to distinguish between a dark and a light thread.
    I’ve been focussing more and more on my sleep patterns, making sure I get ‘enough’. I’m not much more aware of when I need to have an early night (which isn’t easy for a night owl like me).

  • Made-up man comes second in list of best-known MEPs in Wales
    He also came ahead of his real-life elected colleagues Jill Evans, Derek Vaughan and Kay Swinburne. They were given only 30 seconds to answer and were given the choices of four entirely made-up names and real MEPs.
    A slightly skewed survey I’d say, but still, a telling indictment of how disengaged we are from the people who serve us.

  • The Running Conversation in Your Head
    Beck: People are not very good generally at reporting the specifics of what’s going on in their minds, right?
    Fascinating look at something we all do, even if we don’t always realise we are doing it.

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • “It’s an exercise in seeing”: An artist’s mind-opening ritual of doodling on Sundays
    Sundays used to be sacred, reserved for prayer, family or sightseeing. Today, a third of busy Americans let work seep into their weekends, according to a 2014 National Bureau of Economic Research study.
    There is a lot to be said for switching off. That reminds me, must buy more Lego..

  • The average Netflix subscriber watches almost twice as much Netflix as they did 5 years ago
    Netflix says it will produce a whopping 1,000 hours of original TV shows and movies in 2017, and that’s a good thing since people keep watching more and more Netflix. The number of hours of Netflix the average subscriber watches has gone up steadily since 2011, at an average of 16.4% per year.
    No surprise, streaming services let me watch quality content, not the crap pushed out during most primetime (I’m a Celebrity, X-Factor etc…)

  • How Two Trailblazing Psychologists Turned the World of Decision Science Upside Down
    Back in 2003, I published a book called Moneyball, about the Oakland Athletics’ quest to find new and better ways to value baseball players and evaluate baseball strategies.
    If you’ve seen the movie, this is a must read. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s still an interesting read on the REAL history of ‘decision science’.

  • Strobe-light training: From Michael Jordan to Kawhi Leonard
    With 20 seconds left in the third quarter of the young season’s biggest game, Gregg Popovich screams. He wants everyone out of the way so that Kawhi Leonard can go to work against Andre Iguodala. Leonard waits near half court as his teammates shuffle to the corners.
    I was tempted to offer a ‘strobe-light’ version of this post…

  • Who Can Be A Dancer?
    How do I responsibly raise a young white boy in today’s world of dangerously heightened white supremacy? How do I teach him to be self-confident and empowered by his choices, but still show him he isn’t the center of the universe, without creating a core of self-doubt?
    This. All day this.

  • The most relaxing song in the world
    According to a marketing study conducted by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, the most relaxing song in the world is Weightless, by ambient band Marconi Union. The song was produced by the band in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy.
    They aren’t wrong, it’s very relaxing. I’m listening to it now, it’s soo relaaazzzzzzzz

  • Reframe “Negative” Emotions as “Difficult” Emotions
    Nobody likes being sad, angry, or heartbroken. If you want to give yourself a leg up on getting through troubling times, a simple mental reframe can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    I am emotion driven, I react and don’t always like the negative reactions I leap to. Definitely trying this the next time a random person doesn’t even bother to look back before breezing through the door and letting it swing IN MY GODDAMN FACE!!! Ahem…

  • Maths zeroes in on perfect cup of coffee
    Mathematicians are a step closer to understanding what makes a perfect cup of coffee. Through some complex calculations, they have shone a light on the processes governing how coffee is extracted from grains in a filter machine.
    Maths? Come to my kitchen, my coffee is always perfect! (for me)

  • The Big Thing About Little Things
    Back in 2013, George Saunders gave a speech to the graduating class at Syracuse. I’ve been thinking about that speech a lot over the past week. I’ll skip the platitudes about why it’s important, and I’ll leave the matter of politics entirely out of it.
    I’m going to write more about this elsewhere but it’s an interesting speech.

  • Can we just f***ing stop asking couples when they’re going to have a baby?
    Society dictates that our adult lives follow a specific formula. Move out, get a job, settle down with a partner, get married, have a baby, retire then die.
    I’d go further and stop after ‘get a job’, life is too short for all these damn rules and expectations!

  • The Difference Between “Being” and “Doing”
    The activities of the mind are related to patterns of brain activity. Different mental activities, such as reading a book, painting a picture, or talking to a loved one, each involve different patterns of interaction between networks of nerve cells in the brain.
    As per the Sunday doodling article, there is a lot more to the impact of the activities you partake in than just the activity themselves.

  • This Is How Facebook Is Radicalizing You
    On December 17, 2013, Facebook announced that videos on your News Feed would start autoplaying. They would mute on default and, at the end of the video, it’d have a carousel featuring related videos you might want to watch.
    Headline news stuff, I swither on Facebook on a weekly basis. It has a LOT of good points, but the bad ones are starting to appear to be a lot worse than we realised.

  • If You Want to Be Happy, Quit Facebook?
    What makes this study so interesting is that it was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and so was able, at least in theory, to determine whether quitting Facebook actually causes changes in well-being.
    The articles I link to are usually posted here in the order I ‘find/read’ them. But sometimes it’s worth shuffling them around…

  • Bad sex award 2016: the contenders in quotes
    Games of tennis, muddy fields, knocking knees – it’s time to get intimate with the challengers for the Literary Review’s 2016 Bad sex in fiction prize A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin The act itself was fervent.
    Some lighter news, I challenge you not to giggle reading some of these. P.S. if any of these make you horny, get some help!

  • This 22-Year-Old Draws The Most Brutally Honest Cartoons About Mental Health
    Ruby Elliot, aka rubyetc, is a London-based illustrator who began sharing cartoons and illustrations about mental health and everyday life four years ago. Trapeze When Elliot was 17 she dropped out of school but managed to find solace in her love of drawing.
    Been following her on Twitter for a while, funny, self-effacing, honest and never shies away from mental health issues (and why should she). I’m ordering my copy today!

  • This temporary tattoo-like device doubles up as 24/7 stethoscope for your heart
    Researchers have developed an electronic sensor that can stick to the skin like a temporary tattoo and give you round-the-clock feedback on your heart health.
    Dear scientists, you are bloody amazing, please don’t ever stop.

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

Trump warning: Skip the first two links if you want to avoid Trump related links (I know, I’m feeling very fatigued by the whole thing too).

  • President Trump’s First Term
    On the morning of January 20, 2017, the President-elect is to visit Barack Obama at the White House for coffee, before they share a limousine—Obama seated on the right, his successor on the left—for the ride to the Capitol, where the Inauguration will take place, on the west front terrace…
    Between now and then we will have a much better understanding of what President Trump will do. I have the fear.
  • Motherhood: A letter to my girl
    The man we were talking about in the bath on Monday night won the competition to be the Big Boss. The man whose name we laughed at. He got fewer votes than the lady, but we don’t make the rules, darling, they do. ‘They’ will become so significant to you as you grow up.
    How do you explain what Trump embodies to an innocent mind?
  • Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy
    Chade-Meng Tan, a former engineer, joined Google in 2000 as employee number 107. Though he played an instrumental role in building Google’s mobile search function, among other technological feats, he’s better known for the mindfulness classes he later led for employees.
    Mindfulness? Finding joy? Yeah, easy to scoff at but right now, I’ll grasp these straws!
  • Nick Denton, Peter Thiel, and the Plot to Murder Gawker
    One day in September 2014 the publisher of Gawker Media, Nick Denton, sent an e-mail to Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and billionaire.
    In depth article on this story which I’ve been aware of but not massively bothered by (I don’t read Gawker, and this felt all ‘boys with toys’ nonsense to me…
  • A 20-Year-Old Dutch Man Just Set The New World Rubik’s Cube Record
    Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the entire 4.74 seconds it takes Mats Valk of the Netherlands to completely destroy both this Rubik’s cube and the world speed record.
    Since this was posted, a robot did it in 0.637 seconds. The rise of the machines continues…
  • The End of Relaxation
    We live in the golden age of wellness vacations, where taking time off is all about becoming a better person. When I was 22, I used to have a fantasy about going away to a sanitarium.
    When I was 22 I used to worry about being taken away to a sanitarium, my my, times change!
  • You Can Have Emotions You Don’t Feel
    What does it mean to have an emotion? It seems obvious that having one means feeling it. If you’re happy but don’t know it, in what sense could you actually be happy? Such reasoning seemed sound to William James.
    Reason #349 in the series: Humans are complicated and also awesome.
  • Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them, Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness
    “Unless we are very, very careful,” wrote psychologist-turned-artist Anne Truitt in contemplating compassion and the cure for our chronic self-righteousness, “we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference…”
    Deep thought article that seems timely. Abridged version: Be nice to everyone.
  • The Art of the Blurb
    Few Canadian writers have been more deliriously blurbed than Anne Carson. “[T]he most exciting poet writing in English today,” declared Michael Ondaatje. “ . . . I would read anything she wrote,” proclaimed Susan Sontag.
    All writing takes skill (as you’ll have seen from my examples here, it also can be performed by idiots)
  • Be Unfailingly Kind
    DJ and I play Destiny. I’ve never met DJ, but each week he and I and a dozen or so other regulars are sitting on our respective couches, chairs, and bean bags tackling the various parts of this gorgeous first person shooter. You can play much of Destiny by yourself.
    How to be a good leader = how to be a good person. Abridged version: Be nice (kind) to everyone.
  • Eavesdrop on Ultrasonic Rat Giggles
    A tickle can send a rat into a fit of ultrasonic giggles. New research reveals what goes on in a rat’s brain during a tickle attack. Scientists knew rats loved to be tickled, especially on their backs and bellies. A tickled rat lets out tiny giggles, too high for us to hear.
    Cute little ratsies!

bookmark_borderDark is the light

This post is an attempt to process my own thoughts about recent news and my reaction which has been to shy away from any mention of ‘Trump’. Perhaps it’s just fatigue, but perhaps that fatigue is partly my own doing?

Read the news, pick your flavour.

Trouble is what news? And are you getting the differing flavours and view points you need?

Social media pulls us towards people who share our viewpoints, sure we all have a few dissenting voices here and there but those are largely filtered by our choices at the outset. Because of that the opposing views that seep into my social media bubble are far removed from what I believe and all the more shocking for it, yet to others the very views that shock me are the norm, and my liberal leanings are as shocking, bemusing, and downright offensive to them.

Today, with the spectre of Brexit waiting in the wings, America has a man viewed by many (and myself) as wholly unfit to hold the position of President Elect of the United States of America. Was Hillary a better option? Perhaps not, but democracy always comes down to a choice; Trump or Clinton, Europe or not. To the Democrats who didn’t vote because Hillary wasn’t ‘popular’, shame on you (notable stats from those who did vote, Trump won because of white, middle-class votes).

Social media also makes things like the US election much more vivid for those of us not involved. Step back in time and ask was Reagan a good president? When Bill Clinton was elected, did he say things that were questionable? You’d only find answers to those questions if the facts were filtered to you through your news outlet of choice; pick your broadcaster or foldable media (newspaper), either way there was a professional journalist acting as a filter somewhere in that stream of information.

Such filters have always existed but as we now control our own we are free to seek out the truth, however we want to perceive it, regardless of how it is framed we can extract what we choose. That’s all well and good but what seems to be missing, the obvious next step, is any accountability (hell, even a realisation) that we, as global citizens*, have to take some responsibility for how we react to the news we choose to receive.

Outrage can be a powerful force if it is considered and qualified.

For example, I don’t react well when I read about shootings in America. We don’t have a gun culture here in the UK, and I just don’t understand how you can defend gun ownership at all. It would be easy to wade in, spouting hatred at all gun owners, and ridiculing all of the USA for their perceived stupidity for not having dealt with this issue. I could start tweeting the victims saying that they must’ve deserved it, and perhaps they are lucky that they got a quick death. I could fall into the mob led chants and actions that seem to make so much noise, regardless of how many are involved. The hate filled bile that bubbles up in some newspapers.

But I’m aware that my culture and social history isn’t that of an American, so whilst I have an opinion, I’m not going to wade in and add another angry voice (and one that is white and male) to the cacophony. I’m also aware that I am well educated and have enough life experience to have calmed my teenage anger and angst. So I avoid adding to the hate and turn to understanding and, if I can, I look for a compassionate view or a way to find a balance between the opposing views, no matter how far apart they are.

Unfortunately before a balance can be found there needs to be a common ground, a platform within which it is safe to have heated discussions on opposing viewpoints, to share opinions without fear, and from which everyone can leave with a greater understanding and, hopefully, a better solution.

This is all sounding very utopian because right now that platform feels very far away. But if we don’t fight for it idea of it, we will never take one step towards it. We need to be active, we need to be vocal and oppose and act on our beliefs accordingly, with respect, and with an open mind.

And it’s here that I falter. How? How do I make a difference?

Well a few things spring to mind. Attend protest rallies/walks, peacefully. Amplify the voices who SHOULD be speaking on topics, get out of their way and support them. My demographic gives me power in todays society, and I am starting to see the ways I can let others use that. My voice is not important (he says, spouting forth in a blog post), and I should not be speaking to matters of race, gender classification, disability, misogyny, and all other prejudiced minorities.

The past year has made me realise I’m much more politicly minded that I previously thought. Although perhaps it isn’t so much politics that has me pondering my place in the world but the way so many people have been reacting to political events.

From the Scottish Referendum to Brexit to the US Election, there is an undercurrent of hate. It manifests itself in different ways but the effect is the same.

Of course, as you’ll rightly note, my perception of these events might be colouring my view. Things might not be as bad as they seem, or they might be worse. My social media bubble is pointing towards the latter but who knows what future lies ahead of us? A decade from now, will we look back with disbelief at the volume of ire and hatred that was generated, given the impact Trump had as a President, or will we be looking back from a world we don’t recognise, a dark and scared place.

Regardless of the views I absorb, the facts around Trump speak for themselves. How a man who has committed the crimes he has, and holds the views he does, is now the ‘most powerful man in the world’ is beyond my ken. But the fact remains, he is President Elect.

The world feels very dark, but that’s all the more reason to fight, to not stand idly by, and to hold up a light for others.

* Not a great term but my premise is, if you are on social media you are a global citizen, even if your own bubble doesn’t extend that far.

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • Why we need loneliness
    Loneliness is epidemic, and in the coming years it could explode. Forty percent of people age 65 and older report being lonely at times. And the percentage of people living alone has been rising steadily since the 1960s.
    Lots of negative connotations around loneliness but we all need a little space. So, if you could budge over a bit, that’d be grand!
  • Stick to a Weekly Routine to Add Flexibility to Your Schedule
    Having a daily routine helps you develop good habits and stick to your goals. If you have a hectic schedule, though, forcing certain types of work into every day can be counterproductive. Instead, build a weekly schedule.
    Counter-intuitive advice? Wonderful life hack? Yet another self-important blog post that is mostly common sense? You decide!
  • The Iconoclast
    In May 2001 a middle-aged woman named Sharon visited her oncologist for what she thought could be her final appointment. Two months earlier, Sharon had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, and her condition was already well beyond dire.
    Kick ass awesomeness in full flow!
  • DeafBlind Americans developed a language that doesn’t involve sight or sound
    A video showing a new language. Amaze.
  • Africa unplugged
    A few miles down a rutted dirt road, and many more from the nearest town, a small farmhouse stands surrounded by dense green bush. On the inside of one wall gangly wires reach down to a switch and light that are connected to a solar panel.
    How Africans are devising their own ways to get connected to the world. Both inspiring and humbling.
  • Millennials Are Drinking the World’s Coffee Supply Dry
    You never used to drink so much. You used to be good at going without the strong stuff for a few days. But now, an innocent mid-morning macchiato preludes your 3 PM soy latte and a quickie espresso is just the hit you need to pep you up for after-work drinks. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
    Damn Millennials! Some of us have been drinking coffee way long than these whippersnappers! Back in my day, this was all fields…
  • Half of Heathrow’s 25,000 noise complaints made by the same 10 people
    Heathrow received more than 25,000 noise complaints in just three months over the summer – but around half were made by the same 10 people.
    Could this be any more British??
  • The new IFTTT is here
    We launched IFTTT in 2010 with a simple mission: to bring the control we take for granted in the physical world to our digital services, and help them work together. The world’s changed rapidly over the last six years, but every twist leads us back to that promise.
    I am quitely excited by this. I use IFTTT to help generate these posts and a few other tasks, the more I can automate the better! (until someone hacks in and my lights starting flashing on and off randomly).
  • To be happier, pray at the altar of progress and put your faith in technology
    Faith in progress has overtaken religiosity as the answer to the question of how to be happier in secular societies. It used to be traditional religious belief best bolstered well being, providing the faithful a sense of control in a wild world.
    I’d agree that perhaps it’s just that education is better so people are more willing to question religion and find it’s many foibles??
    During the summer of 2016, We created and directed a video about unsatisfying situations: the frustrating, annoying, disappointing little things of everyday life, that are so painful to live or even to watch.
    You’ve probably seen this little video (I’ve been sharing it on Twitter and Facebook) but SO worth a watch. That soup spoon! GAH!!
  • How to Cut Cake Fairly and Finally Eat It Too
    Two young computer scientists have figured out how to fairly divide cake among any number of people, setting to rest a problem mathematicians have struggled with for decades. Their work has startled many researchers who believed that such a fair-division protocol was probably impossible.
    This still doesn’t answer my question! Why do I need to cut MY CAKE! (Gordon doesn’t share food).
  • Typology: Pub
    English literature starts with a night down the pub, when the pilgrims assemble in the Tabard Inn at the beginning of The Canterbury Tales. It is a little Britain, in a microcosmic rather than a xenophobic sense: a boozy heterotopia where knight and clerk can mingle.
    Quiet background music, good choice of drinks, and never too busy that you have a long queue at the bar. Cosy interior, dimmed lights. Yes, I’ll take one old man pub to go please!