Newsletter: ‘To be great is to be misunderstood’

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Happy New Year! Below are some interesting links and recent discoveries for your weekend reading.

Instagram and Facebook are ruining our fond memories of vacations. If you want to remember a vacation or any other experience, you’re better off framing a picture rather than just posting it on your Instagram feed where images get consumed and quickly forgotten.

The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation. In 1968, Doctor Paul Ehrlich warned the world of its excessive population with his book entitled The Population Bomb. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” he wrote, “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” While Dr. Ehrlich’s dire warnings never panned out (at least yet), his book sparked a much-needed debate about “the potential consequences of overpopulation: famine, pollution, social and ecological collapse.”

David Perrell’s Twitter thread on simplifying complexity. This Twitter thread is full of life advice on how to achieve simplicity, including how to invest, catch a baseball, and how to remain an avid learner.

Book I’m reading

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo EmersonA foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Video I’m watching

The millennial whoop explains why all pop music sounds the same. Spotted by musician Patrick Metzger, this is how he describes the hook:

It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal.

The annoying ‘millennial whoop’ pattern 🎤

Thought of the week

A good candidate for Word of the Year in this category is “fake.” “Fake” once meant “counterfeit” or “inauthentic,” like a fake Picasso or a fake birth certificate. It is now used to mean “I deny your reality.” “Hoax” is used with the same intention. (“Alternative facts,” another phrase associated with reality denial, seems to have been mocked out of existence.)

— Louis Menand in his New Yorker piece: Words of the Year


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
Wells Baum (@bombtune)

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4 thoughts on “Newsletter: ‘To be great is to be misunderstood’

  1. I particularly like the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I read somewhere that every great idea in history was once a heresy. I think that’s exactly right. To challenge the status quo feels a lot like eating kale for the first time. You know it’s good for you, but it’s so dang unappetizing. But, to be honest, I’m sorta into kale now. (I mean that both actually and metaphorically.) It’s not always easy to choose the inconsistent or the challenging path, but it is so important for the healthy of body and soul.

    1. Good point, and also why protests are always unpopular in the beginning. Wait fifty years and what was unpopular becomes the norm.

  2. So that I don’t lose images I’ve taken on my phone and shared on social media, I use an app on my phone where I can select my favourite images, and have them printed and sent out in the post. As I always fear that my memory cards could get corrupted. Xx

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