Culture Tech

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier

But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body.

…mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas.

Anything in excess backlashes. In the age of distraction, knowing what to read is a vital skill.

Define your interest and identify the sources help you. Ignore the rest; they’re just headlines.


Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie

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Hoods are cheap instant anonymizers. They protected graffiti artists and skateboarders as they trespassed to perform their art. They protected muggers as they performed their art too.

I love the hoodie. I wear one to work at least twice a week. I don’t think of it as a rebellious symbol or a cloak, more of a convenience since you just throw it on. It also protects you for from the occasional unexpected drizzle.

Culture Life & Philosophy Psychology

What Vegas Teaches Us About Life

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There are so many life lessons learned in coming to Vegas, some trite but too true to ignore.

In no particular order:

  • The best things in life are achieved through raw, hard work and love for what you do
  • What goes up, must come down
  • Losing sucks, always
  • Fun is deceptive
  • The Chinese takeover is imminent, for real this time
  • Surprises are guaranteed
  • Weird is not necessarily creative, especially if it’s commercialized
  • Tattoos are meant to be temporary
  • Gambling releases dopamine but so does a like on Instagram
  • Be RƎVOLUTIONary and LOVE like the Beatles
  • Radiohead are the Beatles of our generation and nobody knows it
  • Have fun! It doesn’t last forever
  • Ignore society’s actors
  • Materialism is bunk
  • The ridiculous isn’t always remarkable when everything is ridiculous
  • Spanish is just as ubiquitous as English
  • Budgets are fragile
  • Overindulgence makes you fat, and bankrupt
  • Enjoy the ride because it’s damn short
  • Life can giveth and takeaway in a hot minute
  • Ersatz places, people, and things will never replicate the original
  • The trashy and classy lifestyle always coexist
  • What happens in Vegas, stays in life



America, the Remix

Creativity generates culture.

The primary reason the United States is the world’s cultural hegemon is because it has a diverse population in which to mash unique ideas.

Combine this recipe on top of plentiful tools for experimentation, production and distribution supported by established marketing practices to help spread the word. Taken together, these elements are what political scientist Joseph Nye coined American soft power.

Global culture and American culture are often considered the same thing.

From music to business, America is constantly pushing new stuff in which people assimilate. Even imports into America like Psy’s “Gangnam Style” get recasted as American and spit back out into the world. What is Korean pop is also American pop. America is the remix nation.

But even remixes get stodgy; the hodgepodge won’t last forever unless America’s traditional economic and military powers remain.

Culture Quotes

‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you…’


“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

The Gum Theory

The Gum Treaty is an unwritten global agreement that says people should withhold from throwing gum on the ground.

Gum should never hit the ground, period. Yet, we’re all culprits. There comes a time whether by accident or lack of resources, a trash can or leftover wrapper, our gum ends up on the floor.

The Gum Theory states that you’re more likely to step on a piece of gum for every time you throw one on the ground.

Call it what you want, gum quid pro quo or gum karma

Unless you live in Singapore, the gum treaty compounds.  Everybody breaks the rule.  At some point, you’re going to step on it and it’s going to stick.

Please consider what goes around comes around when you enjoy your next piece. 


Waiting in line

Photo by Ridham Nagralawala

We’ve all done it, skipped to the shorter line at the airport thinking the process will speed up only to see that the person who stepped in the longer line after us gets through security quicker. “Damn.”  The miscalculation only adds to the already incredible frustration of waiting in line.

Lines are aggravating not only because they impede progress but because they are a  waste of time. Fortunately, the mobile phone is an entertainment and social device, often saving us from boredom. However, the phone merely adds time to the queue.  With more people’s heads down it compounds the line problem further simply because no one is paying attention to what’s in front of them.

The feeling of being in line is what makes New York City incredibly frustrating. There’s never a shortcut through people traffic, only a way to slither in and out of head down mobile obsessed crowds like a snake. New York has a wild pace about it but this pace gets stunted by the millions of inhabitants walking the streets each day.  Lines also get worse in incompetent, careless places.

Standing at the DMV this weekend felt like entering the opening maw of hell. It’s already bad enough there’s an expected wait but the fact that DMV employees move like slow robots with little care for customer service makes it worse.  They know customers are stuck at their mercy. Might as well be a 4-hour prison.

We all know that lines suck and aren’t getting any faster any time soon. The world’s population is exploding, cities are already congested, and addicting Smartphone devices slow the pace down considerably. In fact, I just missed crossing the street because I was publishing this post.

(Post inspired by “Why Waiting in Line Is Torture” in the The New York Times)

They didn’t even have iPhones.


Life Revolves Around Food

Our life revolves around food.  We can’t function mentally or physically without it.  Try to go the gym without eating.  Your output is zilch.  All you’re worrying about is consumption.    

We take food for granted.  We think it’s always going to be available.  But when you strip it away, as Muslim folks are doing now for Ramadan, you see how indispensable food really is.  

One of the tenets of international affairs is that nations will always protect their natural resources.  This may be why China has spent thousands of years sitting out of the international community.  China is already rich in resources.

Food powers the mind and body.  If we don’t have food, we’re always thinking about it.  That’s that surviving animal in us.  If we go without it long enough, we’ll eventually grow weak and tired.   

Food is just as psychological as it is a vital component to physical energy.  

When we’re hungry, we’re HANGRY.  

Culture History

The history of Braille

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There’s only one language for the blind. It’s called Braille.

Before today, I knew nothing about the history of Braille:

Braille has its roots in the French army. In the early eighteenth century, a soldier named Charles Barbier de la Serre invented a code for military messages that could be read in the trenches at night without light; it used patterns of twelve raised dots to represent phonemes. The system was too complicated for the beleaguered soldiers to master, but when Barbier met Louis Braille, who had been blind since boyhood, the latter simplified the system into the six-dot version used ever since. Braille is not a language per se but rather a code by which other languages, from English to Japanese to Arabic…

Blind readers and writers can also see.  They activate the unused visual cortex and see their way through touch and sound.  They can even use their tongue to sense images.

Technology makes our brains even more plastic, rewiring them until the day we die.

Business Fashion


Creation emerges from need.  Find a hole in the marketplace and fill it.  You do the work instead of waiting for others to make it for you.

That’s the story of Abe Burmeister and why he co-founded Outlier.

The Internet enables niche products to find any audience across the world.  With a direct to consumer website, an awesome product, and some marketing to build awareness, one can make it happen.

We can’t always depend on large brands to tailor products for us.

If you can’t find something, take a stab at making it yourself and building an audience on the Internet that will buy your stuff.

You don’t need salespeople, just a product designer, a website, and someone to tell the world about it and field emails and calls.

Stand still at your own frustration or come up with a solution that solves a problem for you and many others.  You just might end up building a company.

Source: Uploaded by user via Wells on Pinterest