The Times has a good obituary on a photographer worthwhile knowing: Li Zhensheng, Photographer of China’s Cultural Revolution, Dies at 79 – The New York Times
Above is just one of the photos featured in the piece. While the photos are striking and historically valuable, the story of Li Zhensheng is worth knowing as well. Take some time and click through and read it when you can.
I suspect the Chinese government would rather this time and these photographs be forgotten. I’ll leave the last words to Mr. Li: “Germany has reckoned with its Nazi past, America still talks about its history of slavery, why can’t we Chinese talk about our own history?”
Sleep. At least according to this: ‘Waves’ of fluid clear the brain of toxins during sleep, say researchers – Big Think.
When you sleep, your brain is designed to wash away toxic chemical buildup in your brain. If that toxic buildup is allowed to stick around (due to lack of sleep), bad things happen to your brain and you.
So clean your brain. Get some sleep. See the article to understand more of this.
You don’t see too many BlackBerry mobile phones any more. But that doesn’t mean the end of BlackBerry the company. As you can see from this, they are alive and well making technology for automakers: BlackBerry QNX now in 175 million cars | IT Business
Here’s some key facts:
BlackBerry says its QNX suite is now in 175 million cars, up from the 150 million it announced at CES this year.
The BlackBerry QNX for automotive is a suite of embedded software solutions, including operating systems and middleware, as well as a host of security solutions that protects the vehicle’s systems from cybersecurity attacks. Vehicle manufacturers that don’t want to build their own secure operating systems can use BlackBerry’s QNX operating systems and frameworks to build their ADAS systems.
More than ever, post secondary institutions are dropping various humanity degrees from what they offer. History is one of them. No doubt part of the reason is because people are not studying history when they attend post secondary schools. I imagine part of the reason people are not studying it is because they believe one or more of these statements:
- History Majors Are Underemployed
- A History Major Does Not Prepare You for Gainful Employment
- History Majors Are Underpaid
That’s too bad. Anyone who things that should read this piece. It makes the case that those statements are myths: History Is Not a Useless Major: Fighting Myths with Data | Perspectives on History | AHA
There is economic value in attaining a degree in history. After reading that piece, no one should be able to say a history degree is worthless.
It goes without saying that there are non-economic benefits to a history degree too. The more I read history the better sense I have of my own time and my place in it. By studying history and the arguments that historians make, I am better able to think for myself. I regret not studying more history when I was younger. I make up for it now by reading history often. I hope you will too. Perhaps even study it in university.
To be more resilient, be more like resilient people. And what makes them resilient? According to this: What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others – The New York Times resilient people have the following qualities:
They have a positive, realistic outlook. They don’t dwell on negative information and instead look for opportunities in bleak situations, striving to find the positive within the negative.
They have a moral compass. Highly resilient people have a solid sense of what they consider right and wrong, and it tends to guide their decisions.
They have a belief in something greater than themselves. This is often found through religious or spiritual practices. The community support that comes from being part of a religion also enhances resilience.
They are altruistic; they have a concern for others and a degree of selflessness. They are often dedicated to causes they find meaningful and that give them a sense of purpose.
They accept what they cannot change and focus energy on what they can change. Dr. Southwick says resilient people reappraise a difficult situation and look for meaningful opportunities within it.
They have a mission, a meaning, a purpose. Feeling committed to a meaningful mission in life gives them courage and strength.
They have a social support system, and they support others. “Very few resilient people,” said Dr. Southwick, “go it alone.”
If you want to be more resilient, try and adopt those qualities.
Some good links on the art of the 1980s, of which Basquiat and Haring played a big part, here and here.
Most of the time the links I post are mostly because I want other people to know about them. Links that talk about my youth are mainly for me. 🙂 But fans of either painter or art of that time should click through.
Painting above by Haring in tribute to Basquiat. May they both RIP.
At least, according to this: 700 years of Western inequality, in one chart – Vox
The chart shows the percentage of wealth owned by the top 10% since 1300. There are only two times it takes a major drop: during the Black Death in the 14th century and during World War II in the 20th century.
If true, it means that wealth concentration will continue unless another major catastrophe occurs (pandemic? global warming?).
There is lots to debate in all this. The numbers themselves are debatable (i.e. just how accurate and representative are they?) As well, there is an argument to be made that it doesn’t matter how inequally distributed wealth is if generally life for the 90% is good. But the Vox piece argues that such inequality leads to political instability and other problem, and that a good life for the majority isn’t enough.
Read the piece and consider it for yourself.
It seems every year the website Artsy puts together a list of artists who were recently influential. The lists are always interesting, mixing artists you likely heard of (e.g., Jeff Koons) and others you may hear more of. It’s a great way to find out what artists are making a difference right now.
I had not heard of Mrinalini Mukherjee before. (Not that I even pretend to know everything about the current art world.) But I am glad to have discovered her for myself. Go here and learn more for yourself: The Most Influential Artists of 2019 – Artsy
(Image about is of Mukherjee and a featured work of hers.)
This is interesting. In reflecting upon Java’s 25th birthday, this article looks at what else has lasted since that then: Java’s 25th birthday prompts a look at which tech products have survived since 1995 – TechRepublic.
You might think that very little has lasted that long. And it’s true, many technologies have died. (Altavista for one.) But many technologies continue to succeed and grow. Amazon, for starters. Java itself still is found in computers all over the world. Check out the piece and see what lives and what died since the mid 90s, when the World Wide Web came into its own.
I think this is a terrible headline, which is too bad, because there is much to take away from this piece: How to stay sane when the world’s going mad | MIT Technology Review
There are tools and advice in there, including this:
- Notice when you are worrying, and be kind and compassionate to yourself. This is a difficult time; it makes sense that you might be more anxious.
- Focus on what’s in your control. Work out what is a hypothetical worry (you cannot do anything about it) and what is a real problem (needs a solution now).
- Refocus on the present moment. Focus on your breath, or on using your five senses.
- Engage in activities that you find meaningful and enjoyable. That could include music, walking, reading, baths, household tasks, or calls with friends and family.
- Notice and limit your worry triggers. If the news is making you anxious, limit your consumption.
- Practice gratitude. List the things you were grateful for that day: for example, “The sun was shining.”
- Keep a routine, and stay mentally and physically active.
I am not sure if these will change your life, but this piece is full of interesting ideas and concepts to consider: 50 Ideas That Changed My Life — David Perell
I like the circle of competence one. It’s worthwhile to consider and remember when you hear someone smart in one area making claims in other areas. Chances are they are not any more competent in all areas than anyone else, and you should take their claims with a grain of salt.
The Canadian Civil Liberties association has a nice one page sheet of them, here.
This may not be something you want to try during the pandemic, but if you ever thought about giving up coffee or any other form of caffeine, read this: This Is What Happens to Your Body During a Caffeine Detox.
I was impressed by how detailed the article was. Also how your nervous system changes over time. Remarkable!
Mary Beard brings her unique perspective to statues and what to do about them, here: Statue wars | blog post by Mary Beard – The TLS.
Good food for thought on people for or against the disposal of statues.
This is actually a great looking set of tools to help you work from home: Eight apps to help you stay focused when working from home – The Globe and Mail
Normally when I see such a list — and there have been many — I see the same tools over and over again. Not with this list. Moreover, they are a diverse set of tools to help with various difficulties when you work from home.
Have a look. I’d be surprised if there isn’t one there you could use.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten on setting long term goals is one I heard at a client I was working with. His team was making five year goals. It’s a difficult thing to do. It’s easy to make a vague statement about where you’d ideally like to get to in five years. To make it concrete, he told his team that they had to make a one year goal that bridged to the goal in year five and that they would commit to do before the year was done.
This is something you can do for any longer term goal, from one year to ten. Let’s say you want to run a marathon in a year. Then decide what your goal is for the next 1-3 months that brings you closer to that goal. If you want to own a house in ten years, what are you doing in the next 1-2 years to get there. By committing to shorter term goals, you get greater certainly you will achieve your longer term goals and you get closer to them with each short term goal you achieve.
If you want to set some financial goals, try reading this: How to Save for Short & Medium-Term Financial Goals? | WiserAdvisor – Blog.
It’s also where I got the image above.
Here’s some random links I have found this week and some comments. The tone is somewhat negative. The mood of the web is negative these days, and it gets to me. If you are not up for that, just ignore this for now.
Posted in links, new!
Tagged links, random
You may hate lifting weights, but if you struggle with depression, even from time to time, then you should consider it.
More details, here: Resistance Training May Help Relieve Depression (Time)
What are you looking at in terms of exercise? It says:
He recommends following the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine: doing strength training at least two days per week by performing eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 different strength-building exercises each time.
Sounds hard, but it isn’t. And if you need some exercise routes, go to Darebee and find some routines you need.
I have blogged for over 13 years. I have almost 3900 posts, over 964,000s view and over 221,000 visitors. I’ve also made over 200 dollars from ads. 🙂
At one time I had hoped to get over a million views, but at 50 views a day, that is unlikely to happen. When I first started, I wrote blog posts because blogs were new and big in social media. Then I was added as a noteworthy blog on the New York Times Fashion blog list (for bizarre reasons) and I had 10 times the current traffic and I blogged to keep it going. Then that changed and I kept going to practice writing, to share ideas and advice with people, and to journal things that were happening at the time.
But in the back of my mind I had a thought that some day my kids would want to know more about their dad and they might go through my blog the way kids go through our diaries and letters after their parents pass on. To find out what made him tick. What he thought about when he was sitting on the porch those many years.
I realized though that they were never going to go through thousands of posts to find the ones I thought the most of. As a way of ensuring they would at least read some of them, I’ve tagged my favorite ones and put them here: favorites | Smart People I Know
.They are a range in different ways. I can’t say all or even most of them are any good. But of the thousands of posts here, these are among the better ones, I thought. They span the years. Some of them are about me. Others are about things I loved at the time. A few of them are historically interesting.
In a way this is like Swedish Death Cleaning: throwing away most things that you own to simplify things for people who come later. I don’t plan on going anywhere yet, but I thought I would get started on the process now.
As well, it’s been a way to go through it and say, has any of this been worthwhile? I think I can say, some of it has. If you go through my favorites, you can see so for yourself.
That’s what this piece argues: Of course technology perpetuates racism. It was designed that way. | MIT Technology Review.
I disagree. Technology sometimes perpetuates racism, but it is often due to the fact it is NOT designed to account for racism. Sometimes machine learning software cannot perceive non-white faces correctly because they are trained with only white faces and cannot account for non-white faces. Sometimes search engines result in racist results, based on racist queries. AI systems can be made racist by engaging with a multitude of racists. If you feed systematic racist data based on redlining into your banking system or prison data into your justice software system, then those systems will make racist decisions. In all these cases, the fact that the systems are not designed to account for racism (or sexism or any form of discrimintation) is the problem. They need to be designed to account for these things.
Only when technology is designed to account for racism will it stop perpetuating racism.
There are a fair number of these in Manhattan, but if this is correct, it looks like one is coming to downtown Toronto, at Bay and Bloor: Herzog & de Meuron designs Canada’s tallest skyscraper.
I predict over the next 20-30 years we may have lots of these bean poles in many cities. Including Toronto.
Click on the link for more details.