March 26, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting


Journaling Showdown: Writing Vs. Typing – I do both. I’m much, much faster typing, but I do enjoy writing and it is more portable.

The scents in your body wash, chicken stock and canned drink all come from one company – I had no idea this company even existed. I think I was happier before I did.

Catnip Ain’t the Only Plant That’ll Send Your Kitty to Blissville – If you are looking for recreational drugs for your cat, this article has some good tips.

Europe’s first sex robot brothel FORCED OUT of base as prostitutes complain of competition – NSFW. This was easily the weirdest thing I read all week. You can get a sense for the article with this quote from a prostitute: “It is another strategy of the patriarchy that presents us as objects without rights or soul. A privilege of the wealthy classes.”

Sherwin-Williams “Safari” – Yes, it is a paint commercial. But it is lovely.

Health – Physical and Mental

Is the dark really making me sad? – I get anxious when it is cloudy all week. I can’t imagine living somewhere where it is night for a long period of time.

Bruce Lee achieved all his life goals by his death at age 32 because of one personality trait – Confidence. Well, I’m not buying it. I know some really confident people that fail spectacularly. Life isn’t that simple. You need drive, ability, perseverance, etc to really be successful. You could say that I’m confident that this is BS.

Gwyneth Paltrow Wants You to Buy a $90 Cure For a Disease You Don’t Have – But she plays some smart characters, so maybe I should listen to her.

How Rock Climbing Is Helping Me Get Over My Fear of Failure – Makes me want to go hit a rock climbing gym. Anyone interested in joining me?

This is the exact time you should go to sleep if you need to wake up at 7am feeling refreshed – This is the dumbest article I read all week. Starting with the premise that you want to wake up between sleep cycles and then calculating that people take an average of 14 minutes to fall asleep and sleep cycles last an average of 90 minutes, they give you the exact minute you should get into bed. I still think a much better approach is to sleep until you wake up in the morning. If you sleep too late, go to be earlier. It worked for millions of years. Not sure why people don’t do it now. Don’t just reject the idea out of hand. Sleep on it.

Today’s men are not nearly as strong as their dads were, researchers say – This is probably true, but the research seems weak.

Art and Culture

French court bans television ad showing happy kids with Down syndrome – Sometimes other countries seem really strange. Did they really ban an innocuous commercial that made Down syndrome kids look happy because it might hurt the feelings of mother’s who had abortions? That seems hard to believe, even for the French.

FOR A MODEST PERSONALITY TRAIT, ‘INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY’ PACKS A PUNCH! – I find people that can’t listen or consider alternate views dull. I did think it was ironic that they article’s headline is in all caps. I also don’t think that making snarky comments about Gwyneth Paltrow is a sign of low intellectual humility. It’s just common sense.

Basing Life on What You Can Afford – A collection of anecdotes from people struggling financially. These are lower income people, but I see the same thing play out at all income levels. People have a tendency to live on the edge financially and then disruptions become catastrophes.

The idea of monogamy as a relationship ideal is based on flawed science – On one hand, I’d argue that given the near universality of monogamy as the standard for relationships, it seems like it must be the most successful approach. On the other hand, different standards have been common at different times. Maybe the times are changing. I’ll ask my wife what she thinks.

The Hamilton Hustle – I’m filing this one under “maybe I’m not going crazy”. With the popularity of Hamilton, I keep hearing people with a very different ideological outlook from Al talking as though they love him. Now it makes more sense.


Physicists Find That as Clocks Get More Precise, Time Gets More Fuzzy – It’s interesting how different the universe is when you radically change scale. It’s a bit like zooming in too close to a picture and seeing little colored dots. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

A New Blast May Have Forged Cosmic Gold – A summary of the current debate over where gold came from. I’m still not sure, but I don’t think I’ll ask Gwyneth Paltrow to weigh in on the debate.


Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Multicopters – A squishy drone.

Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? – An interesting look behind the scenes at the development of driverless cars.

How to Get the Most Out of Google Maps – A lot of useful information here. I use the heck out of Google Maps, especially when I travel.

How to Stop Destroying Your Clothes in the Wash – My washer and driver may as well only have a “Start” button because I never change any settings. Maybe I should pay more attention.

TRAPPING A SELF-DRIVING CAR IS SURPRISINGLY EASY – This is pretty amusing, but it is also a good warning. People will jack with self-driving cars.

Politics and Policy

Patents Are A Big Part Of Why We Can’t Own Nice Things: the Supreme Court Should Fix That – We definitely need to rethink some of the laws in the IP space. An incidentally, when I click on a “Buy Now” button, I feel that I am buying something, not just licensing it.

Should You Need a License to Work in Texas? – People often mistakenly believe that Texas is a free market state. Maybe compared with some, but it generally tends to be a pro-business state. It looks like it is also a pro-occupational lobbyist state. I’d like to see all new licensing requirements get put on the ballot. I’d like to think that people wouldn’t vote to require all sprinkler systems testers be licensed. Then again, I’ve seen some of the people that they have elected so maybe this isn’t a good idea.

Warfare helps explain why American welfare is different – An interesting attempt to explain the lack of national healthcare or health insurance based on warfare history.


Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem. – I can’t believe those greedy bakers!

Robotization Without Taxation? – Robert Shiller is a brilliant economist, so when he writes something that seems idiotic, I have to take notice and re-read it carefully. I did and it still seems idiotic. Then again, he’s a much better economist that I’ll ever be, so I can’t be sure who the idiot is here. I’m still betting on him. Maybe it’s my lack of intellectual humility. I should check with Gwyneth Paltrow or some other celebrity to get a more informed perspective.