The World

Iceland tries a 4-day workweek with good results

I guess if you’re an island in the far reaches of the North Atlantic, then you’re pretty self-sufficient and can try stuff out on your own terms. Thank you, Iceland’s Association for Sustainability and Democracy 🇮🇸 (hey, we could use one of those! 🇺🇸), for experimenting with a 4-day workweek.

It turns out the reduced workweek is a win all around. According to Mashable, the extra day was shaved off largely by “delegating and prioritising tasks more effectively”, plus fewer and shorter meetings.

Via Apple News.

The World

The helicopter on Mars

I’m taking a minute to appreciate that, despite all the challenges we currently face here on Earth, we’re flying a helicopter around on another planet. 🤯 We can still do incredible things.

This image goes with my continued fascination that we’re invading Mars instead of the them invading us. If there were really such as thing as Martians, then they surely would have blown this helicopter to smithereens and sent us an ultimatum by now. 🤷🏻‍♂️

(Also: NASA, can I use this as an album cover? Some stylish text would fit nicely against the pale Martian sky.)

The World

The weird, scrappy 2021 Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics are kicking off today. 🇯🇵

I remember the Olympics being unambiguously awesome. 🤟

Things are more complicated today. Some Tokyoites are not too happy about hosting the games. Olympics officials are being fired for saying dumb things. There are lingering questions about whether rotating the Olympics is wasteful or whether we should have the Olympics at all.

Still, great athletes will be in Tokyo.

My favorite story is about athletes finding a way to stay in fighting form for an extra year despite the pandemic and wildfires.

From sword fighting in a New York City alley, to wresting with your brother, to swimming in a kiddie pool, this scrappy spirit is what the Olympics are all about.

👉Olympians Had to Train During a Pandemic. These Are Their Weirdest Stories.

All of this is via Apple News and their not-too-newsy daily news podcast.

I kind of like the classic round Olympic stadium in Tokyo. It looks like it’s from 1984.
Quotes · The World

“Consider yourself blessed if you have a passion for anything.”

At the end of an article about a decades-long archaeology effort in Southern California, the protagonist says this:

Consider yourself blessed if you have a passion for anything. Passion is a way of organizing your life; otherwise you go off in 20 different directions, and in the end, you wonder what you have.

Fred E. Budinger (LA Times | Apple News)

This dude knows what he’s talking about.

Fred E. Budinger has been pushing to prove, from the evidence in the ground in the Mojave Desert, that humans were in North American 200,000 years ago (not 11,000 years ago as previously thought) despite decades of misfortune, hostility, and even vandalism.

Good luck to you, Fred (pictured right, below). ✌️ Your passion is inspiring.

The World

Immunity 🦠: It’s in Your Bones 🦴

There has been some confusion around the topic of how long Coronavirus immunity lasts, so it’s nice to see some new info about it. This is not the first time we’ve seen evidence that Coronavirus immunity is long-lasting, well beyond the life of your active antibodies.

Yes, antibodies fight an active infection. But your immunity does not end there. Memory of the virus lives in your bone marrow 🤯 as “memory B cells”. You can literally feel it in your bones. 😉

These B cells retain intel on the virus you had previously fought off so your body can produce fresh antibodies quickly on re-exposure. B cells last for years, if not your entire life. And they’re flexible and can deal with variants as well.

So if you’ve been vaccinated or had the virus and recovered, enjoy your amazing immune system and go forth and conquer!

The World

“Skycrane maneuver has started…”

We Earthlings have a history of fearing Martians invading our planet 👽, so it’s always amusing to watch a video of us invading them. 🧑🏻‍🚀

I used to be obsessed with 7 Minutes of Terror: Curiosity Rover’s Risky Mars Landing, which shows how NASA gets a rover from hurtling 10,000 mph through space to softly kissing the surface of Mars — all within a few short minutes. It’s still an amazing video if you haven’t seen it and are interested in, well… anything cool.

My favorite part is the skycrane maneuver, which is hard to explain but looks insane. And it seems to work quite well.

“If you’re landing a rover on Mars, there’s no doubt this is the right way.”

In fact, this skycrane show-off maneuver works so well that NASA keeps doing it. Check out a video of the latest invasion — I mean landing — in the name of Perseverance.

Books · The World

On Tyranny – Little Things You Can Do To Save The World

In America, we have the assumption that tyranny naturally comes from the government. After all, our whole origin story is based on some scrappy settlers rebelling against a meddling, powerful empire.

But the January 6 siege of the US Capital showed us that tyranny can also come from common American citizens, determined to disrupt the own constitutional process, spurred on by distributing, nonsensical, violent theories. It’s a reminder that tyranny can happen here, and it may come from the most unexpected sources. 🤔

“We see ourselves as a city on the hill, a stronghold of democracy, looking out for threats that come from abroad. But… human nature is such that American democracy must be defended from Americans who would exploit its freedoms to bring about its end.”

With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to visit practical tips from book On Tyranny. This book is full of simple lessons from 20th century Europe that we can apply to our own lives to help maintain our freedom in this really weird modern American scenario.

On Tyranny book cover
Look for the fun graphic edition coming this summer. 🙃

Contribute to good causes. (Some ideas: help make good information accessible, empower people, fight hate, or go local.)

Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. Then you will have made a free choice that supports civil society and helps others to do good.

Support a newspaper or a magazine. Real journalism is tough work and needs your support.

“Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.”

Support the multi-party system. It is critical to have viable liberal and conservative parties vying for power.

Support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.

Be inclusive. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

“You might one day be offered the opportunity to display symbols of loyalty. Make sure that such symbols include your fellow citizens rather than exclude them.”

I try my best. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Practice professional ethics. State election officials got tested this time around but stood strong, even dealing with violet threats. It’s a reminder that democracy doesn’t just happen automatically.

Maintain your rational, independent thought and individualism. Don’t let yourself get duped into something just because you like being part of a group (looking at you, yoga moms).

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

The renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual—and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism.

Be a patriot. Love your country and the best of what it stands for.

A patriot… wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves.

A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.

So there are some simple things anyone can do to help. It’s easy but also hard.

The World

I Hate Quantum Mechanics 🤦🏻‍♂️

I love science. I love philosophy. I love math. But I hate quantum mechanics.

Sorry, it just makes absolutely zero sense and hurts my brain. 🤯 It’s obviously all made up just to annoy us. 😉

It started with a Schrödinger’s cat joke on Reddit, which was perfect because the joke itself was intentionally as annoying as quantum mechanics itself.

Schrödinger’s cat jokes never get old.
Well, they do, but, they don’t.

Doesn’t make sense, right? Not funny? Annoying AF? Totally agreed.

But I had to know what this joke really meant, so then I went down the rabbit hole of what Schrödinger’s cat was all about. The good news is that the Schrödinger’s cat puzzle was actually tying to point out how silly at last one interpretation of quantum mechanics is. 👍

This trail of sorrow leads to obviously incorrect 😉 theories like quantum superposition, which says that something can be in two different states at the same time. (Thus the annoying joke. ☝️) And the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which says that nothing is ever in one specific place or traveling at any known speed. Tell that to your local traffic cop, amiright?

Science, I love you. Physics, I love you. Quantum mechanics… ehhh… okay, I love you too. But I will never truly understand you. 🧐