Monthly Archives: March 2022

The pandemic is not done and neither is my newsletter. Here’s my highlights and ramblings for March 2022 (a newsletter, in blog form)

Spring is here. And with Spring, thoughts turn to getting outdoors. I understand the feeling. People want to enjoy themselves after a tough winter. But hey, if you have a few minutes, I hope you can take the time to read this, my latest newsletter.

Pandemic: Well Omicron rushed out as fast as it rushed in, at least in my part of the world. Just in time to mark the 2nd anniversary of the pandemic. It’s been so dramatic that people are willing to declare the pandemic is over. There’s been constant talk of returning to normal. But what does Normal even mean? I’m not sure, and I don’t think anyone else is either. As this post states, How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal? . There’s nothing normal to return to. Ask Hong Kong.  They are dealing with a  ‘preventable disaster’. They wish they could return to normal.

Nonetheless, in some parts of Canada, premiers are trying to get there somehow, even as they are cautioning that the pandemic isn’t over. And newspapers like the Toronto Star are reminding us that just because we are feeling done with covid, it doesn’t mean it is done with us.  This hasn’t stopped places like Ontario from removing restrictions like the mandatory use of masks, although you will need them in some places like subways.

Speaking of the Ontario Government, I was disappointed that the Minister of Health decided to stop posting COVID stats on twitter. Fortunately they can be found on a web page. So I wrote a python program called covid.py to scrape the data and output it. I then post it on twitter myself. (You can find the code here.)

As for what is in store for us as we trying to be Normal again, there is some good insight published here, here and here. Whether people are ready for potential new waves of the pandemic remains to be seen. Case in point:  Once again America is in denial about signs of a fresh Covid wave.

Finally, I recommend that you take matters into your own hands and keep an eye on things. For example, here’s data on Hospitalizations for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario. Also good data in general, here. CBC.ca is tracking information here.

Work: As for work life, people have been going into the office. If this will be you and you forget how to dress, then this (on dress jackets) or this (on no suit business attire) may help. It would be nice if the office you went back to looked as green and lush as this. Or they were as open to personalizing your space as Corbusier wanted.

Ukraine: things seem to be reaching  new phase in the Russian-Ukrainian war. Apparently peace talks are progressing. We shall see. I am sad to see such needless suffering has been brought on by the Russian government.  It is bittersweet that the Ukrainians have held out this far, thanks to their own fighting and the aid of NATO nations. Let’s hope for an end to it soon.

Unlike the pandemic, I haven’t kept too many pieces on it. However, I thought these two were worth reading: one from a socialist perspective and one from a military perspective. As was this: Xi’s China during the war.

Climate: Is it possible to write anything positive about Climate Change? Well this piece comes close: Global update: Projected warming from Paris pledges drops to 2.4 degrees after US Summit: analysis.

In other news:  I was in London last week and I saw the British Museum is getting into NFTs. Sigh. According to this, it’s not just them. (London was great btw. We had a week of sunshine and warm temperatures. It was a perfect vacation.)

Streaming is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. So what are these streaming platforms considering doing more of? Ads. Streaming also had its moment at the Oscars recently, as this piece shows. (What about Oscars and the Slap, Bernie? We don’t talk about the slap no no.)

Inflation is still a concern these days. One way companies are dealing with it is by shrinking the products you buy. Many products are too big, so this could be something of a good thing. Inflation is still a bad thing.

Twitter: someone made a twitter bot specifically to respond to brands posting their Ws during International Women’s Day. Here the story behind the Twitter Bot posting the gender pay gap of brands celebrating IWD . A nice bit of guerilla activism.

Electric vehicles continue to make progress. A new (to me) competitor for the Tesla is the Polestar . I like how their ads are mainly saying they are not Elon Musk’s company. Tesla’s shareholders should take note.

Thanks again for reading this newsletter. I hope someday it will be filled with things having nothing to do with sickness or conflict.  It’s good to be hopeful. See you next month.

 

On acceptance, Ukeireru and the Serenity Prayer

Rainy Japanese night

Accept. It’s a word Christians use in the Serenity Prayer. It’s a word I  thought of when reading this piece: How to Adopt the Japanese Approach to Accepting Life’s Challenges, “Ukeireru’.  Like the Serenity Prayer, it speaks to acceptance as something in the bigger scheme of life. Ukeireru ….

… goes beyond self-acceptance. It’s about accepting the realities that surround you, too – your relationships, your roles in the communities you’re a part of, and the situations you face – rather than fighting them.

But it doesn’t mean you just quit. Acceptance is the beginning of change, not the end of it. Once you accept things, you are more capable of moving to a better place. And even if you don’t move, mentally you are in a better place. Either way you benefit. Read the piece  — or say the Serenity Prayer again — and see if you agree.

It’s spring. You should freshen up your web site too.

Is your website looking old and tired? Maybe you just need to freshen it up and clean it up. I wrote about how you can do that in around 30 minutes, here: Ok, you have a web page or a web site. Here’s how can you make it look better in no time. I used the guidelines there to refresh one of my sites: berniemichalik.com.

Part of that advice is freshening up your web site’s fonts. If you have no idea how to do that, then you need this: top 50 Google Font Pairings [Handpicked by Pro Designers]. One of the examples is displayed above.

It’s Monday, you need some healthy habits to add to your life. Here you go.

Biking
Now there are a million lists of such habits. However, I liked this recent one from the New York Times: Our Favorite Healthy Habits of 2021.  Here are three of their favorites that are my favorites too:

  1. Enjoy exercise snacks.
  2. Take a gratitude photo.
  3. Give the best hours of your day (or week – B) to yourself.

I’ve been doing the first one and I found it very useful. Even just some simple stretching each day makes a difference. As for the second one, every day I write down one thing I am grateful for and it makes me better too. As for the last one, I do that every weekend when I sit down to blog on Saturday. I need to it more often and during the week, too.

One healthy habit I need to revisit is biking/cycling. If you need convincing, read this by Clive Thompson. Austin Kleon is also a fan. Fun exercise is one of the best healthy habits you can take up.

Spring is a good time to adopt some healthy habits. I hope you can find some.

For the musician/gamer in your life: NES-SY37 Synthesizer

How cool is that? A synthesizer that steals design elements from Nintendo. Brilliant! More on it, here: Love Hulten NES-SY37 Synthesizer | Uncrate.

The history of the 80s as it first appeared in Usenet groups

Images from the 1980s
Before the Web, there was Usenet. And like the web, it had everything. Just in text form. 🙂

Someone has mined Usenet to find the first cultural references in the 1980s to famous events. It’s an fascnating list of when things first started to gain prominence. For example:

  1. May 1981 First mention of Microsoft
  2. Dec 1982 First thread about AIDS
  3. Jul 1983 First mention of Madonna
  4. Nov 1989 First post from Berlin after the wall came down

Check it out for some major 80s flashbacks.

PS. If all you are thinking while you read this is “what the heck is Usenet??” then read this.

And now for something completely different: The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

If you are looking for a chance to see Europe in the grandest of style, I’d like to recommend this: The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Is Launching a Trip Through France and Italy for Champagne Lovers 

It’s been a tough pandemic: you deserve it. 😊

For more details on the train, see their website, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Vintage Train.

(Image from this: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: London to Venice | Holidays 2022/2023 | Luxury & Tailor-Made with Wexas Travel.)

P.S. To see much more on the train, search for “Venice Simplon-Orient-Express” on your favorite search engine.

Thinking about left wing social media

300I read these two tweets from someone recently and they struck me as a form of progressive writing that bothers me and I was trying to figure out why. Because I agree with parts of them.

In the first one about Alberta politics:

Shock doctrine 101. Exploiting a burnt out & disoriented populace to ram through commodification of public goods. Expanding duplication of programming via private operators using public funds furthers competition model of education which ultimately fragments society.

I disagree with the idea that the shock doctrine applies to Alberta’s current state or that the Premier needs it in order to pursue such goals. Kenney doesn’t need a pandemic to do this. If anything, the pandemic has slowed down conservative premiers from doing anything like this. Conservative politicians have been forced to act compassionately during the pandemic, because no one wants to lead a province with dead people filling hospital hallways.

In the second one:

One year ago today, hate rooted in white supremacy + misogyny took the lives of 6 Asian women and 2 bystanders. This was a fatal act stemming from long standing erasure, objectification, and entitlement to Asian women’s bodies. Know their names. May they rest in power.

This was a terrible event that should be remembered. But this tweet is a left wing laundry list of issues: white supremacy, misogyny, erasure, objectification, know their names, rest in power. I know that there are limits with what you can tweet: it’s just that tweets like this limit the effectiveness of what you are trying to communicate.

I wish progressive thinkers knew how to preach to others outside the choir. I wish progressive writers could talk to people other than hectoring them. I wish they were more doubtful about it all. It leaves me in the back pew, wishing for a better sermon and looking for a reason to step outside.

I don’t mean to pick on the person who wrote these tweets. These are just two examples. There are thousands of such tweets like this out there every week. Plus websites, like The Jacobin, are full of such writing.

Thanks for reading this. I am just trying to work out why such writing bothers me and how I can think of it better. Maybe my thinking is woolly and wrong headed. It wouldn’t be the first time.

It’s time for spring cleaning. That includes the art on your walls. Here’s what you should do.

Art work for sale from 20x200
It’s spring cleaning time. No doubt you will be tossing out things from your house as you clean. While you clean and purge, consider tossing some of the things hanging on your walls* that you no longer look at because frankly you are tired of them.  (Yes, you are.)

Now that you have bare walls, I recommend you get some new art for them. If you are not sure where to do that, I recommend one of the sites listed here: 12 Great Places to Buy Art Online | Cup of Jo. I am a fan of one of them, 20X200.

Twelve is a great set of options to choose from, but let me make it a baker’s dozen by adding this place to the list: Art Interiors / Toronto Art Gallery. I’ve been a fan of Art Interiors for some time. They have fine art that’s affordable. If you live in Toronto, you can even visit their gallery. The people there are fine too.

Bonus: Another idea is to check out bigcartel. For example, I found this artist online and she has her work there:Painterlady.

* If you can’t bear to toss your old art, at least store them for awhile and freshen up your walls with new work. But do consider putting things out on the curb for someone else to have. For them it will be fresh and new and valuable. Everyone benefits.

(Image from a link to the blog Cup of Jo)

On the new iPhone SE

iPhone SE, 2022 edition, RED

One of my favorite phones from Apple is the SE, and in 2022 there is a new version of it. From what I read, the new version is a combination of physical features, old and new, combined with new software. I like it.

I read some complaints that argued the iPhone SE should have the same shape as the previous SE phones (think “flat edges”). Those complaining miss the point: there is no ONE form factor for the SE. The form factor is based on recycling once was what was new recently.

If you like an older form factor — home button, anyone? — and you like a great low cost iPhone, then the SE may be for you. Check out this list of reviews:

Convinced? Then head over to Apple and buy one. I am a fan of the (PRODUCT) RED one: iPhone SE 64GB (PRODUCT)RED – Apple

(Image from the Apple web site)

P.S. If you are looking for a bargain smart phone that isn’t the SE, there  I recommend this.

Stop giving the praise sandwich feedback, and other advice on giving good feedback at work

Image of feedback

Do you use the “praise sandwich feedback” approach at work? If you don’t know it, the approach is this: you take a piece of negative feedback and layer it between two pieces of positive feedback.  If you do know it and use it, consider reading these pieces for better ways on how to give feedback:

We all benefit from good feedback. Deliver it better. I’m sure you can.

P.S. One of the articles argues for Radical Candor. I can see it’s appeal, but I wrote before why it is usually not a good way to provide feedback. My arguments against it are here.

It’s time yet again for a post on well designed cat furniture!


There are topics on this blog I write about frequently because they are near and dear to my heart. And then there is this topic: crazy cat furniture. I just find it fascinating how designers go to great lengths to design furniture for their cats. For example, most cats would be happy with any old cardboard box, but this designer took that a step further and made this cardboard cat house (see above).

Then there’s this  minimal wooden cat scratcher that doubles up as a cozy chilling spot for your pets! My belief is that the only way the cat will settle in any given spot is either a) it’s warm b) to annoy the dog you have.

Finally there’s this!

Yes, a wall mountable cat bed that gives your cat a place to lounge up high while saving you space. They even put shelves on the wall to make it easier for the cat to get there!

Ok, that’s it for me. For now. 🙂

(P.S. All images and posts from Yanko Design, the good people who keep me stocked with all these ideas to post. )

On “Good” IKEA


Sure we all know IKEA furniture, some of it not so great (don’t get me started on my now-in-the-trash Standmon armchair :)). While that armchair gave me grief, many other pieces of theirs have been really good. (No, not you, Billy bookcase. Wait, maybe you have such a bookcase and you like it…in that case it is good). Regardless, if you are unsure about the quality of Ikea furniture, I recommend you read this:  Ikea but like the *good* Ikea.

Speaking of good IKEA…this is a good deal! See:  You Can Rent a Tiny IKEA Apartment for Less Than $1 a Month

P.S. Speaking of good IKEA, I wrote about that elsewhere on this blog. Links here:

(Image above is of another really good thing from IKEA: the Stockholm rug. A classic.)

On Auden, Brueghel, and the brilliant way the New York Times combines them

I’ve posted before on The very cool AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) section of the New York Times. That time it was concerning their exploration of the Apollo 11 mission.

The folks at that section have done it again, this time with a poem from W.H. Auden titled Musée des Beaux Arts. It’s a beautiful poem, and simply reading it by yourself is a fine experience. But click here and immerse yourself into it, with the richness of analysis provided, and you will come away with a deeper level of understanding and appreciation of the work both of Auden and Brueghel.

On the ethics of the pig heart transplant

David Bennett Sr. has died, two months after receiving a genetically modified pig’s heart. Like any transplant operation, there were ethical decisions to make. If you are an animal rights activist, you have even more ethical decisions to think about. But this particular transplant brings in even a broader range of ethical considerations, which is obvious once you read this: The ethics of a second chance: Pig heart transplant recipient stabbed a man seven times years ago.

I generally have faith in medical professionals to make the right ethical choices when it comes to transplants.  I think he should have received the transplant and a transplant from a pig is acceptable. But read about it yourself and see what you think.

 

On Stonehenge and the Judean Date palm: the past is never gone

I have been thinking much on these two pieces I’ve read recently:

One thing I find interesting about them both is how something that could be considered part of the Past is now part of the Present. Stonehenge keeps being meaningful to us now by revealing things about the people of that era; the seed for the Judean date palm shows us what a long lost plant looks like now.

The past is never past. We choose not to pay attention to it, but it remains, piled up behind us, a huge closet full of things that were once in the present. They remain there until we find a reason to make them present again.

On the importance of intolerance and how it plays out in real life

Intolerance has a bad reputation. People will talk about having “zero tolerance” for something, which means they are intolerant of it, but they don’t want to use the “I” word in case it makes them look terrible. That’s too bad.

We need to be intolerant at times. Otherwise we run the risk that comes from the paradox of tolerance. If you are not aware of that paradox, I recommend you read this.  You may have even come across practical examples of it, such as this: Bartender explains why he swiftly kicks out Nazis even if they’re ‘not bothering anyone’ – Upworthy.

Being intolerant is not just something that is limited to Nazis. I was thinking of this recently when the “trucker rally” moved into Ottawa. That band of malcontents were tolerated by the officials of that city, and things got out of hand.  Meanwhile, they were not tolerated in other cities like Toronto, and things went better for the citizens there.

We see levels of intolerance on a smaller scale on social media. Blocking people is a form of intolerance. I generally put up with bad comments from people if they are infrequent, but others do not and block them immediately. That doesn’t make me a better person, just someone with a higher (and perhaps wrong) level of tolerance.

It can be hard to know what to be intolerant about. Too much intolerance is also bad. Too much intolerance can lead to rigidity which can lead to loss of opportunity, lack of understanding, bad feelings, and even destructiveness. Not all unwelcome behavior leads to a bad end for the tolerant. Be as tolerant as you can be, but have firm limits for those rare instances when you have to be intolerant towards those that overstep them (while understanding what if anything you lose when you take action).

On qualifications


Here’s two pieces on being qualified.

If you are underqualified at something, it can be difficult to motivate yourself because you think: I am bad at this. If that’s you, read this:  A willingness to be bad. The best way to get good is not give up because you suck. You suck! So do lots of people. Focus on sucking less.

You might think you would love to be the best at the thing you suck at. So read this: Why it’s sometimes harder to get a job you’re overqualified for.

Being qualified is a relative thing. If you compare yourself to one person, you can seem overqualified. Then you compare yourself to another person and you are underqualified. Regardless, find a standard you think is appropriate and work towards that.

Good luck!

(Image from link to Austin Kleon’s blog and the first link above.)

 

 

The two problems with home robots

This is a cool story about a concept robot for homes:  A BB-8 Droid for your home – Yanko Design.

I used to have problems with such concepts, because  they provide an opportunity to have a device wandering around your home, recording data and selling it to others. That’s why I was never keen on such devices coming from Amazon or Google. I was very pro-privacy when it came to such technology.

For better and worse, I have since adopted quite a few Google Home devices in my house. If I was worried about them recording all the time, I appear to have gotten over it. As often is the case, the convenience they provide trumped privacy concerns.

Given that, I would love to have a robot like the one above. Instead of having multiple Google Home devices, I could just have one Google Home Robot that followed me around.

That brings me to the second problem. While it is cute that they illustrate this one rolling and bouncing around a home, mobility for robots is a huge challenge. Especially homes with stairs.

I see two ways around that. Such a robot would not be good for me, but people living in one level condos and apartments might find some combination of a vaccuum robot + Google Home device just the thing. And for people with stairs, maybe a robot above with wheels and a handle you can use to bring it with you up and down stairs might be the best alternative.

Robots are coming to most homes eventually. Maybe they will look like the one above. Maybe not. But soon we will see them everywhere.

Seven links on Indigenous people within Canada


I continue to read and collect stories on Indigenous people within Canada. I think these ones are worth sharing.

Here is a piece on the search for the unmarked graves of Indigenous Children published in the New York Times in October. Relatedly, here is another piece: Genocide In My Own Backyard.

Reconciliation and drinking water are also two things I try and gain a better understanding of. This lead me to this piece,  A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation,  and this Canada to Pay Billions to Indigenous Groups for Tainted Drinking Water

I thought this was a good development for Mi’kmaw students, being provided by my employer: IBM opens school for Mi’kmaw students in Cape Breton . Likewise, I enjoyed this: Indigenous artists featured at a recent Toronto art fair. Back to tech, I thought this was fascinating:
How AI and immersive technology are being used to revitalize Indigenous language preservation.

White noise generators: virtocean

If you like the sound of the water and you like white noise generators, then this one’s for you: VirtOcean: Ocean noise generator. Good for sleeping, working, or just for relaxing sounds in your everyday life.

What I find interesting in math and sciences, March 2022

Here are two pieces on physics that really are also about philosophy. First, in the realm of the very small: On quantum theory and reality. Second, in the realm of the very large: On space and time.

Of all the sciences, those having to do with space are the ones I enjoy reading about the most. I got interested in Lagrange points due to the James Webb Telescope. Here’s something on them: Lagrange points.

I thought this was a good reminder to me of any images we get regarding black holes (something I find fascinating): The Images of Black Holes are Not Photos.

COVID has made me think more and more about biology these days. That’s a good thing. It has me reading things like this: Disease moves like ripples on a pond.

One of my fundamental beliefs is that we don’t think with our brains but that we think with our entire bodies. This makes me interested in anything that makes that connection. This is such a piece: Our nervous system is connected to our organs and shapes our thoughts and our memories.

There was some discussion on racism in mathematics over the last while. I think this is a good discussion to have. Here are two pieces on the topic: Racism in our curriculums isn’t limited to history. It’s in math too and Opinion: Is math racist? Wrong question.

I continue to learn math in an amateurish way. I enjoyed these sources of information on it: Guide to Tensors and The Best Math Books and Statistics Books.

(Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash)

It’s Wednesday. If you need a reset, read this


I often blog about Mondays. Mondays are pivotal days in our lives. Sometimes they are days we dread, sometimes they are days we get ahead and get on with things.

Wednesdays are a different beast. Wednesdays we are in the thick of things. Even on the best of Wednesdays we can feel over our heads and wondering if we are succeeding or even managing.

If that’s how Wednesdays feel to you, read this: How to Make the Most of Your 24 Hours. It’s a great piece on how to reset your approach to your days. You can read it on any day, but I think today is the best day to read it. Take a break and do that. You might find your week improves going forward.

On Elon Musk, 2022

Elon Musk is a hard guy to categorize. Perhaps the easiest thing for me to say is that he is his own worst enemy. He creates companies that are revolutionary and worthy of great praise, but he also goes around posting idiotic memes like a sulky teen to unwittingly draw attention to the worst parts of himself.

Like the man himself, his SpaceX technology is a mixed bag. While it is great that he does this, Elon Musk activates Starlink in Ukraine, the technology itself is going to be damaging to astronomy if not space itself, as this shows: SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites Leave Streaks in Asteroid-Hunting Telescopes.

I have mixed thoughts on the Tesla too. Great car in many ways, though this review is tough: 2021 Tesla Model Y review: Nearly great critically flawed. I also think this feature calls into question “do you really own your Tesla?”: Tesla now monitors how often you adjust your seat position and will disable controls for certain drivers. Finally, I don’t think this is a good development: Tesla opens showroom in region of China associated with genocide allegations.

However problematic Musk seems to me, he is head and shoulders better than other plutocrats, like Peter Thiel. Could he be better still? Sure, he could emulate billionaires like Mark Cuban, who is opening an Online Pharmacy to provide affordable generic drugs.

I know there are plenty of fans of Musk, and I can see why they are. I also know many loathe him, and I get that too. I remain in the middle for now, and I hope he improves over time and I get to be more of a fan.

It’s Monday. Here’s how to work smarter and speak better


To be your best at work, you need plenty of skills. Hard skills for sure. But soft skills are the thing you need to really have a successful career. Here’s two good sources of information to help you with those skills.

First, check out this article on how to speak better in public: Demystifying Public Speaking . Whether you are talking to 2 or 2000 people, knowing how to do it effectively is an essential soft skill to have.

Second, if you want to have a long and successful career, you need to work smarter, not just harder. For ideas on how to do that, study this: Why Simply Hustling Harder Won’t Help You With the Big Problems in Life .

Ok, break’s over. Go and have a good Monday!

And now for something beautiful: a tiny black cabin built from felled oak trees


This tiny black cabin you see above is built from felled oak trees acquired from a home’s construction waste. The company responsible, Studio Padron, did a fantastic job of recycling, take all this waste wood and making a glorious living space.

Looks great inside too

For more, go to the Yanko Design link above and check it out.

The very fashionable New Balance 327 are perfect for spring

I think New Balance makes great shoes for lots of reasons. If you are training hard athletically, they can really help you. But not all of us are doing that. Perhaps we just want to go for nice walks in the spring.

If that’s your goal, consider the NB 327.

The cloud version above and the mushroom version below are both really stylish and look really comfortable. They could be perfect for doing that stroll you want to do. They’ll be fine if you also want to pick up the pace.

I love the tread on the back too. I had driving shoes like that and they were incredibly comfortable on long drives on the highway.

(Credit to Uncrate.com for the images)

On surveillance capitalism, Tiktok edition

If you are like me, you can be spooked at how much social media companies know about you. I’ve become so concerned that I recently moved over to Duck Duck Go for some of my searches in a (vain?) attempt to prevent this from happening. I also have some privacy tools installed on my browser in the hope I can cut down on the information companies are gleaning about me.

We all have our ideas on how they do this. If you want to know how one company does it, see:  How TikTok Reads Your Mind.

More on surveillance capitalism here.

When a scientific experiment is beautiful

Can a scientific experiment be beautiful? Milena Ivanova makes the case that it can, here: When is a scientific experiment like a beautiful work of art?

I’m glad she mentioned the Michelson Morley experiment because I think it is a fine example of elegance and beauty. You might not think it, looking at it in the image above. Read the article: you might be convinced after reading that it is.

 

On the annexation of the Balkan regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary (or, the world needs more historical examples)

I find it sad is that whenever something happens that can be compared to history, we get comparisons only to Nazi Germany. Case in point, last week I saw Nancy Pelosi compare the attack on Ukraine to the Sudeten Crisis.

This is problematic in several ways. One problem is that it isn’t the only comparison that can be made. There are many such instances in history where military annexation takes place.  Another problem is that such comparisons lead people to think that things will progress along the same lines.

The solution is to learn more history. This can be hard for non-historians like me. Google is no help. I searched for annexations this weekend and most of my searches returned links to Nazi Germany. We have to research deeper.

When it comes to annexations, there are countless examples throughout history. Take Prussia. If you go through the history of Prussia in the 19th century and look for annexations, you can find many examples. European nations were always annexing their neighbor’s turf, and Prussia was just one such nation to do so.

But you don’t have to go back that far. For instance, you would be wise to read about  the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 – 1909.   In it you can see many parallels to what is happening in Ukraine right now. And that’s just one concrete example. There are many more.

The point is, the next time you want to reach for a comparison to Nazi Germany or you hear someone reference Nazi Germany in comparison to something that is happening in the world, try and read more history and find other examples.

P.S. Note the quote on that image: Civilization is on the March. That’s some disagreeable quote, but not a surprising one.

 

Forget resolutions and get healthier any time (My fitness and health links for March, 2021)

Forget resolutions: you can get healthier and fitter anytime. Heck, stop reading this and go touch your toes or head out for a walk. When you finish that you can check out these 20 links to help you with exercising more, weighing less, drinking less, sleeping better or anything else related to fitness and health:

Exercise

  1. This is me:  When the Last Thing You Want to Do Is Exercise.
  2. Not all cardio has to kill you:  Low-Intensity Cardio Training: What Is It & How Does It Work?
  3. These are an old collection of links I’ve gathered that are good:  Are you in terrible shape? Not so terrible but bad enough shape? Do you need help? Here you go
  4. This Simple Piece of Equipment Could Elevate Your Workout. Can you guess?
  5. Especially good for people who can only workout at home:  How to get motivated to start exercising at home.
  6. One home form of exercise you can do:  Embrace winter with this 5-minute outdoor yoga practice to connect with the earth and stand tall.
  7. You will have to go outside for this, though:  Sprints.

Weight Loss:

  1. Very helpful if you feel stuck:  How shifting your expectations about food can help you lose weight.
  2. 15 Impressive Fitness Goals to Strive for That Aren’t Weight Loss. This is great. For example, stretching and being more flexible.
  3. I felt this was bogus, and so did many who read it:  Mike Pompeo tells The Post how he lost 90 pounds in six months. Glad he got fit, but I think he did that for reasons other than good health, and he lied how he did it.
  4. If you need a challenge:  The 30-Day Well Challenge 

Sobriety:

  1. If you are considering your drinking, think of how it affects others:  My sobriety is not just mine.
  2. This is good:  Reframe: Drink Less & Thrive 17+
  3. As is this:  Should You Try ‘Mindful Drinking’?

Sleep:

  1. A good intro to melatonin. It has not worked well for me, but it might for you:  Melatonin Isn’t a Sleeping Pill. Here’s How to Use It.
  2. My Before-Sleep Ritual Is to Treat Myself Like a Baby. I liked that.

Finally:

  1. Hey, this is good to know:  The Secret to Making Colonoscopy Prep Less awful
  2. I like the qualifiers here:  How to (Try to) Quit (Almost) Anything
  3. Interesting:  Retiring the Cinderella view of the spinal cord as an intrabodily cognitive extension
  4. Also good:  Health Insider – Workout & Nutrition Blog