Web Gems 21 / Music’s power is in its ambiguity


Below is an excerpt from the weekly newsletter, published every Sunday morning which includes links to interesting reads, music, and other top-notch content. Subscribe here or below.

Music doesn’t need thought. It is intuited. Like laughter, its power is ambiguous but pleasurable.

Music, after all, does a rather poor job of showing you anything, especially when there isn’t any text to consider. It doesn’t have the same resources to depict things that the other arts do (apart from the occasional cheap trick such as a loud thunderclap). Perhaps music’s power is in its ambiguity.

Life & Arts 🎭

It’s hard to know why music gives pleasure: is that the point? | Aeon Essays

We know music is pleasurable, the question is why? Many answers have been proposed: perhaps none are quite right

Ten tweaks to your morning routine that will transform your entire day | Quartzy

Your energy isn’t infinite. Learning how to control it is key.

Quote 🗣️

Listen 🎧

Video 📺

To see more content and read the newsletter in its entirety, click here.

Newsletter: Nappuccinos, audio illusions, and Tesla’s American experience


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The audio illusion

Each week I like to highlight some the articles written on this blog in a condensed format. It reminds me to take a step back and review why I thought it was worth posting in the first place. If you enjoy these reads, you can sign up here to get the weekly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox. 

Interesting Digs

How taking an afternoon ‘nappuccino’ increases productivity. If you start to zone out around 2 and 3 pm (thank you circadian rhythm), you may benefit from a pre-nap coffee. Remember: “The caffeine won’t fully engage in your bloodstream for about 25 minutes, so drink up right before you lie down.”

Tesla: American Experience. Motivated by wonder and awe, he exploited his imagination to foresee the wireless networking and cell phones we have today. Tesla was an artist working with dreams and visions but “his medium was electricity.” Excellent documentary on the magician on PBS.

This is what happens when you reply to spam email. In a hilarious TED Talk, comedian James Veitch details his emails with one spammer who contacted him about a business deal. Into the second week, James got the spammer to start replying in ridiculous code revolving around candy.


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Thought of the week

‘I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.’

— Tom WolfeThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Video of the week

Stems by Ainslee Henderson
Watch

Ainslee Henderson takes interesting “stuff” (wood, stick, wire, leaves, broken electronics, etc.) and turns it into stop-motion puppetry.

Newsletter: ‘Simplicity can produce complexity’


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Hi Friends, below are some of the highlights from the blog this week. 

Interesting Digs

“Musician, artist, thinker” Brian Eno talks Bitcoin, how ‘simplicity can produce complexity’, and moreThe Financial Times sat down with “musician, artist, thinker” Brian Eno in the studio of his Notting Hill home. The link contains my favorite snippets from the interview.

Go Fast and Break Things: The Difference Between Reversible and Irreversible Decisions’. Jeff Bezos has an interesting system for making decisions. He sees them as either irreversible or reversible. The simple heuristic pushed him to start Amazon, knowing that he could just go back to his old job if things didn’t work out.

There is no perfect idea. There is no such thing as the perfect idea. As Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, ‘Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible.’ Or as novelist Iris Murdoch instructs, “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”

Thought of the week

‘Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.’

— Leonardo Da Vinci

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Other Recommendations

Sponsor

If you’re serious about blogging and turning it into a legitimate business, then stop messing around. You have to level up with a WordPress Business account.

Video

This week’s archival videos goes back in time to San Francisco, 1939. Heed the motto: “San Francisco by the Golden Gate. City upon memories and visions of progress for tomorrow.”

WATCH: Golden Gate City: San Francisco (1939)

Video

This hover backpack will make you jump, jump! gifStudents from the University of Tokyo developed a hover backpack that frees you from gravity’s pull so you can jump and hang in the air like Michael Jordan. The rotors in the device thrust downward, allowing humans to jump 3 times higher than normal.

WATCH: A Backpack Multi-rotor for Jump Augmentation

Cool Product

In our ever increasingly fast-paced world, it’s nice to slow down every once in a while and plan something out. And these pages look huge!

FIND OUT MORE: Slow and simple notebooks with BIG TYPEFACES

Newsletter: Think on your feet, not your seat


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@irdor

Hi Friends, below are some interesting links I discovered this week. 

Summary: Yet more evidence that standing at work is better for you than sitting. Millennials love their house plants. Meet the woman who never forgets anything. Photographer Alex Bartsch retraces reggae record sleeves in London. Tyler, the Creator gives us a throwaway track entitled “Okra.” Check out all these links and more after the jump. 

Sponsor

WordPress.comI’ve tried all the writing platforms (Squarespace, Tumblr, Weebly, etc.) but if you’re a blogger, there’s no better platform than WordPress. You can also snag a .blog domain name instead of the usual “.com.” The folks at BlueHost also make setting up on WordPress crazy easy with one-click installation.

Interesting Digs

To Focus Attention, Think On Your Feet, Not Your Seat. A recent study done by researchers at Tel Aviv University validates standing desks. Not only is standing better for your health, it also strengthens your focus. This is because the stress of holding your posture improves selective attention.

Millennials are turning their apartments into “house jungles”. Hilton Carter keeps 180 plants in his house. Apparently, he’s part of a millennial trend that’s obsessed with houseplants. Says houseplant author Tovah Martin: “I think the current cycle has a lot to do with people hunkering down. A houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.”

The woman who never forgets…anything. Imagine having a “highly superior autobiographical memory” (H.S.A.M). That’s the case for Australian Rebecca Sharrock who remembers everything from the time she was born to what she did on any particular Saturday a decade ago. ALL in clear detail.

Thought of the week

“Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible.”

— Rebecca SolnitHope in the Dark


Other Recommendations

Book

Covers: Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves in London

Alex Bartsch spent the last ten years photographing the original locations of some of his favorite UK reggae vinyl covers from 1967 to 1987. Holding each sleeve up to arm’s length, he meshes the past and present of London’s surroundings.

READ: Photographer Alex Bartsch retraces reggae record sleeves in London

Music video

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Just ran across the new Tyler, the Creator track in Benji B’s radio show. Apparently, the new tune “OKRA” is a ‘throwaway song’ per the video’s YouTube page. Yet, it’s one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. And the music video is equally delicious as the juicy bass and spit-filled rhymes.

WATCH: Tyler, the Creator — Okra

Video

Go inside the apartment of graphic communicator George LoisRenowned graphic communicator George Lois takes us on a tour of his apartment. Located in Greenwich Village, what he calls “the best part of Manhattan,” the apartment is full of art. Even the chairs.

WATCH: Go inside the apartment of graphic communicator George Lois


Newsletter: The art of the wasted day


Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat

Hi Friends, below are some interesting links I discovered this week. 

Summary: Author Patricia Hampl wants to get rid of the to-do list. Mike Vardy ditches the computer for plain pen and paper to get stuff done. Van Gogh emulated Japanese prints. Video footage of New York City from 1911. Check out all these links and more after the jump. 

Interesting Digs

[easyazon_link identifier=”0525429646″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wells01-20″ cart=”n” popups=”n”]The Art of the Wasted Day[/easyazon_link]. Patricia Hampl’s [easyazon_link identifier=”0525429646″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]new book[/easyazon_link] wants us to reconsider time management by removing the burden of the to-do list and daydream instead. She encourages us, especially in our old age — what she calls the third stage after youth and middle age — to let go of the over-scheduled life.

Why Paper Works. A simple pen and paper ask for our attention. And we give it. Writes Mike Vardy in his piece: “Paper works because it is only limited by what you’re willing to put on (and into) it. Paper provides an escape from your devices and does so without compromising your ability to get things done.”

Van Gogh’s fascination with Japan. Japanese art flooded Western Europe when in 1854, America forced Japan to open its borders to trade. Some of the prints of Japanese woodcuts made it all the way to Vincent Van Gogh in Paris. He grew obsessed with ukyio-e, or “pictures of the world,” joyful elements he copied into his own art.

Thought of the week

“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

Kurt Vonnegut


Other Recommendations

Video I

A trip through New York City, 1911In 1911, Swedish film company Svenska Biografteatern recorded its trip to New York. Fortunately, the footage survived and most recently was speed-corrected and reproduced with added street sounds of car horns, horses, and police whistles to give us a sense of the environment back then.

WATCH: A trip through New York City, 1911

Video II

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A monochromatic film by LA-based filmmaker Eliot Lee Hazel, who has also done visual work for Thom York and Beck.

WATCH: Where fashion and architecture meet

Photo

006_World-Press-Photo-of-the-Year-Nominee_Ronaldo-Schemidt-Agence-France-PresseVenezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt won World Press Photo of the Year for his image of the “Burning Man.” The picture shows a fleeing José Víctor Salazar Balza engulfed in flames at an anti-government protest in Venezuela on May 3, 2017.

READ: “Burning Man” wins photo of the year

Newsletter: ‘Beauty is often odd’


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Hiromu Kira, The Thinker (1930) @ The Hollywood Reservoir Dam

Hi Friends, below are some interesting links I stumbled upon this week. 

Summary: Stephen King lists out his top 10 favorite books. Leonardo da Vinci obsessed over water. ‘Zuckerman’ educated the Senate this week on the internet. Ellen Weinstein writes about famous artists and their odd rituals. And the ‘dog photographer’ William Wegman talks about his Weimaraners in human clothesCheck out all the goodies after the jump. 

Interesting Digs

Stephen King lists his top 10 favorite books. Goodreads asked Stephen King to list out his top 10 favorite books of all time. The voracious reader and prolific writer never felt satisfied with his answers but he played along anyway. “Of course, any list like this is slightly ridiculous. On another day, ten different titles might come to mind.”

Leonardo’s Watery Chaos. Leonardo da Vinci obsessed with water more than any of his multidisciplinary interests: architecture, science, painting, and sculpture. The currents represented that perfect chaos that separated air from water.

Maria Popova: I loathe the term “content”.  “I am drawn to ideas that remain resonant across time and space, across cultures and civilizations.” If you read her blog, you know that she excels in digging up little-known gems from primary sources and combining them in an interesting way.

Thought of the week

“I’m just reminding you that excellence is often irrational. Greatness is often strange. Beauty is often odd.”

— Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (Amazon) by Eric Greitens


Other Recommendations

Book 

51laqwVnjeLCreatives obsess with how other successful creators do their work. Witness the 2013 bestseller [easyazon_link identifier=”0307273601″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Daily Rituals[/easyazon_link] by Mason Currey. But instead of focusing on the productive habits of successful artists, author Ellen Weinstein highlights their oddities.

READ: [easyazon_link identifier=”1452162182″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals, and Practices of Extraordinary People[/easyazon_link]

Video I

51Srn9qAWFLWilliam Wegman is a photographer famous for his portraits of dogs. For the last 45 years, Wegman has been dressing up his Weimaraners in human clothes and making them do everyday poses.

WATCH: Being Human with the Dog Photographer

Video II

Watch Zuckerberg’s testify live before the Senate right here

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to Capitol Hill to testify before the US Senate. I collected some of the highlights from both days here.

WATCH: Watch Mark Zuckerberg testify live before the Senate right here

 

Newsletter: Aim for the absurd 🤷


Hermit Crab by Aki Inomata 

Hi Friends, below are some of the interesting pieces I discovered this week.

Summary: Recent studies demonstrate that attending live gigs every fortnight help you live longer. Macy’s invented the price tag in the late 1800s! NBC restored rarely seen footage from an interview with Martin Luther King Jr. The world’s greatest athletes perceive pain differently. Check out all the links below!

Interesting Digs

Science says gig-going can help you live longer and increases wellbeing. Attending a gig every two weeks may add a decade to your life. That’s according to a study done by O2 and behavioral science expert Patrick Egen. The study reveals that 20 minutes of seeing live music results in a “21% increase in feelings of wellbeing.” This is higher than both yoga and dog-walking which are also known to uplift mood.

The evolution of the price tag. Can you imagine having to haggle over everything you bought in a store? But as businesses got bigger in the 1870s, shopkeepers needed a way to streamline pricing for both sales clerks and customers alike. Two department stores helped pioneer the price tag: Macy’s in New York and Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia.

Remembering MLK in restored NBC video. “It is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps…And many Negroes, by the thousands and millions, have been left bootless … as the result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma…”

Thought of the week

“My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous. It’s being in the right place at the wrong time.”

Andy Warhol


Other Recommendations

Book

Star Wars Crayola carvings by self-taught artist Hoang Tran

Los Angeles based writer and journalist Eva Katz collected 200 miniature artworks of 24 artists around the globe for her new book Think Small: The Tiniest Art in the World.

READ: Think Small: The Tiniest Art in the World

Video

Author Malcolm Gladwell sits down with Alex Hutchison, author of the new book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance to discuss how great athletes come to enjoy suffering pain. Says Hutchison, “Great athletes don’t necessarily feel pain differently. They reframe pain differently.”

WATCH: Explore the Secrets of Human Endurance

Video II

Zeynep Tufekci, Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

Are we selling our souls for ads? Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufecki seems to think so. The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook debacle demonstrates the Wild West of data exploitation.

WATCH: We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

 

Newsletter: Awe-struck 👁🌲


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Illustration by Christopher Pearse Cranch for Emerson’s Nature (1836)

Hi Friends, below are some of the pieces I collected and enjoyed this week.

Summary: There’s no denying the positive impact of being surrounded by trees. France passed a law that enforces the right to disconnect. Arnau Alemany paints the most magical photos. Plus, laugh (or cry) at the video about the small annoyances we encounter in life. Check out all the recommendations below.

Interesting Digs

Why Do We Feel Awe? One of the main benefits of walking in nature is that trees inspire feelings of awe. According to research done by psychology professor Dacher Keltner at UC Berkeley, awe benefits not only the mind and body but also improves our social connections and makes us kinder.

The right to disconnect. On January 1st of this year, France passed the ‘right to disconnect‘ law which enforces a digital diet outside working hours. The rule prohibits employers from calling or emailing employees during personal time. France already imposes 35-hour works weeks.

The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing. The biggest trick about email is that it gives you the feeling you’ve done something. Every time you open an email, your head lights up like a Christmas tree. What you can do is follow Stanford professor John Perry advice on structure procrastination: “Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing.”

Thought of the week

“When on a roll of any kind, always maintain it as long as possible. Momentum isn’t always easy to conjure.”

Rick Rubin


Other Recommendations

Art

picasso bulls head #creativity #drawing #art

Simplicity comes from revision. Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Art II

arnau-alemany-vista-urbana

Catalan artist Arnau Alemany paints obscure urban neighborhoods from Paris, Barcelona, and New York and surrounds them in natural environments. “They exist at the frontier between the metropolis and desert, between the fields and the wastelands, he writes, “Beyond that boundary, there remain only some buildings in clear disrepair.”

See more pictures

Video

toaster #breakfast

Burnt toast, half-torn tape, and uncooperative mobile screen orientations. These are only some of the everyday things that make us frantic with frustration. We can all relate to these small but annoying daily irritations.

WATCH: Life is pain

 

Newsletter: ‘Feel the burn’


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gif by Flo Meije

Hi Friends, the Marines have a saying: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.’ Read about embracing pain in David Cain’s piece below. In the spirit of ‘everything is a remix,’ check out the amazing animation an artist recreated from the MET. Think robots are a 21st-century creation? Peep the video about François Junod’s work in making automatons. Check out all the digs below.

Interesting Digs

The Art of Enjoying The BurnThe Marines have a saying: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.’ Progress hurts. But “that intensity can energize the work once you stop seeing it as undesirable,” writes blogger David Cain. Think long-term and embrace the pain.

Banksy returns to New York. The iconic street artist Banksy is back in New York, the first time since his month-long residency back in 2013. He kicked off his visit with a mural dedicated to the imprisonment of Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, who’s watercolor painting protests the continued destruction of Kurdish territory by the Turkish military.

The Young and Brash of Tech Grow a Bit Older, and Wiser. Tech entrepreneurs are coming to realize their moral responsibility to the addictive tools that they built. Rather ironically, this piece predates the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Thought of the week

“Every great advance in knowledge has involved the rejection of authority.”

— Thomas Henry Huxley


Other Recommendations

Art

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Since starting a year ago, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has made 400,000 of its images free to download and remix. The project immediately empowered the likes of software developer and designer Simone Seagle. She downloaded a 1920s print from abstract Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky called Violett.

Art II

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When mixed media artist Jimmy Swift traveled to India in March 2015, he saw a jagged rock on the beach. He immediately knew what to do with it. “When I first saw this rock it looked like a perfect place for a great white. It’s truly amazing how mother nature can carve out such a perfect shape.”

Video

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As craftsman François Junod points out in the video, “the oldest known automatons date back to the Egyptians.” They gained popularity as entertainment for royalty in the 18th century. WATCH: The Magic of Making Machines


Support the blog…

I spend hours each day digging the web for interesting gems and remixing them here. If you enjoy reading wellsbaum.blog, please consider becoming a patron or making a donation. You can also contribute as little as $1 below with just a couple clicks. Thank you.

Make a one-time donation

Contributing to the blog would help me immensely. For every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

Newsletter: ‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny’


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Image via The Guardian

Hi Friends, we lost the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking this week but his work and spirit will linger on forever. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, give Seth Godin’s new podcast a listen. For Picasso fans, the Tate Modern has a new exhibit showcasing the artist’s work in his ‘years of wonders.’ Check out all links below.

Interesting Digs

RIP Stephen Hawking: ‘Quiet people have the loudest minds’. Stephen Hawking was a visionary physicist who explored the universe and explained black holes. Born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, and dying on Einstein’s birthday, the universe teed Hawkings up to be a genius. But he was also a natural comedian, he took life lightly, someone we could all learn the wrinkles from. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny,” Hawkings told The New York Times in 2004 interview. He also said that “people who boast about their IQ are losers.”

No such thing (as writer’s block). Writer’s block appears to be the work of the evil. It wants us to quit and hide in shame instead of “dancing with the amygdala” as Seth Godin pleads on the very subject in his new podcast. In reality, no one gets talker’s block just as a plumber never get’s plumber’s block. Stuckness is a work of fiction. Here are my notes.

Study: On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories. Blame the humans, not the machines. According to research done by data scientists at MIT, it is humans, not bots, which disseminate false news. False news spreads faster than real news because people on Twitter are more likely to retweet novelty.

Thought of the week

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

— Stephen Hawking


Other Recommendations

Art

picasso #art #artist #painting

Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said. The Tate Modern has a collection of paintings of Picasso’s work through the formative years.

Video

London-based STUDIO AKA animated Icelandic electronica composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s hauntingly beautiful tune ‘A Song For Europa’ from the 2016 album release, Orpheé. WATCH: Jóhann Jóhannsson – A Song For Europa

Tangible

51ba7q+Zk+L._SY355_What people often forget in the age of digitization is that analog — writing your notes down on paper — is more likely to make them stick. Check out the technique of the Scanmarker Air Pen Scanner.


Support the blog…

I spend hours each day digging the web for interesting gems and remixing them here. If you enjoy reading wellsbaum.blog, please consider becoming a patron or making a donation. You can also contribute as little as $1 below with just a couple clicks. Thank you.

Make a one-time donation

Contributing to the blog would help me immensely. For every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$1.00

Newsletter: Strong opinions, loosely held


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via giphy

Hi Friends, if you’re looking for some motivational fuel I recommend watching the interview with Henry Rollins below. If you missed watching the Francis Bacon video in last week’s newsletter, I’ve highlighted it again here because it’s too good to miss.

Interesting Digs

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever. Success is an accumulation of little efforts that build on top of a grateful perspective, a practice of modesty that keeps you doing what you’re doing. Says Rollins in the video: “I don’t have talent. I have tenacity. I have discipline. I have Focus. I know, without any delusion, where I come from & where I can go back to.”

Why We Still Use “Horsepower”.  In the 1770s, James Watt demonstrated that his steam engine invention was more powerful — he wisely used the marketing metaphor ‘horsepower’ — than the work of multiple horses which were used to drive the malt crushing mill. I love this piece of insight from the author: “Humans now worry about replacement by machines, but horses have already experienced this and for them it may well have been a good thing.”

Notes on Being Very Tall. Nicholas Kulish is 6 foot 8 inches. Towering about the average American height of 5 foot 8, society is simply not built for him. “Why do we bob and weave around the New York City subway in a strange dance?” His observations about tallness are hilarious and beautiful.

Thought of the week

“Be confident, not certain”

Eleanor Roosevelt (i.e. strong opinions, loosely held)


Other Recommendations

Art

From the 16th to 18th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s grotesque sketches from the High Renaissance period in 1493 were his most emulated and celebrated works of art. Wrote art historian Kenneth Clark: ‘For three centuries they were [seen as] the most typical of his works. Today we find them disgusting, or at best wearisome.’

The beauty is in its strangeness. Why did we ever lose our taste in monstrosities?

Video

Francis_Bacon_by_John_Dekin

Francis Bacon painted ghostly, violent images. Some say he emptied his darkest thoughts on canvass, mostly as a manifestation of his relationship with his sadistic lover, Peter Lacey.

Bacon cultivated a sense of darkness that gave his paintings an “edgy atmosphere…gambling everything on the next brush stroke.” Says Bacon in the video: “We do with our life what we can and then we die. If someone is aware of that, perhaps it comes out in their work.”

> WATCH Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence

Tangible

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Ember is a smart coffee cup controlled via an app that maintains set temperature for your tea or coffee. It keeps your cup warm if you happen to get distracted or have to run off to a meeting.

While still a bit pricey at $80, it’s on my wish list. You can snag one on Amazon.

 

Newsletter: ‘If you can wait and not be tired by waiting’


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gif by Richard Chance

I was reminded this week to ‘keep the patience’ by rereading Rudyard Kipling’s poem entitled “If”. Good things take time.

In the meantime, below are some articles and some other digs I stumbled upon this week that I think you’ll find interesting.

Interesting Digs

Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence. Francis Bacon was a mystery man who tugged at the most morose moments in his life, leaving the characters in his paintings look as if they are literally gasping for air.

Children struggle to hold pencils due to too much tech, doctors say. According to doctors, you can blame tech for children’s inability to hold pencils. Apparently all that screen time is doing nothing to strengthen their thumb, index, and middle fingers which work together to form one’s basic writing technique.

Robin Hanson On Signaling And Self-Deception. Introverts are egg people, not onion people. “I’ve sometimes been tempted to classify people as egg people and onion people. Onion people have layer after layer after layer. You peel it back, and there’s still more layers. You don’t really know what’s underneath. Whereas egg people, there’s a shell, and you get through it, and you see what’s on the inside.”

Thought of the week

“I go in and start working, I’m not sure where I’m going — if I knew where I was going, I wouldn’t do it.”

Frank Gehry


Other Recommendations

Artwork

I’m blown away by the artwork from illustrator Mochi on her Tumblr page. The gif below is called Pouring rain with the sun setting is blissful.

http://mochipanko.tumblr.com/post/124096842688/ah-pouring-rain-with-the-sun-setting-is-blissful

 

Video

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income? For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

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“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

> WATCH

Books

linchpin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin: “A brilliant author or businesswoman or senator or software engineer is brilliant only in tiny bursts. The rest of the time, they’re doing work that most any trained person could do.

It might take a lot of tinkering or low-level work or domain knowledge for that brilliance to be evoked, but from the outside, it appears that the art is created in a moment, not in tiny increments.”

Thanks for reading. If you found any of the above useful or interesting, I’d appreciate it if you shared this post on social or emailed it to friends. You can also show your love by making a small contribution below or one of choice on the donations page right here.


Support wellsbaum.blog

Dig the blog? Make a small contribution. For every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Newsletter: ‘I have forgotten how to read’ 📖


via giphy

Below are some links worth reading this week along with some art and podcasts recommendations after the jump.

Interesting Reads

I have forgotten how to read. Reading online is much harder than reading a book, not only because of the multitude of distractions (text messages, notifications etc) but also because of the tendency to share for immediate gratification. Writes author and journalist Michael Harris: “Online life makes me into a different kind of reader – a cynical one. I scrounge, now, for the useful fact; I zero in on the shareable link. My attention – and thus my experience – fractures. Online reading is about clicks, and comments, and points. When I take that mindset and try to apply it to a beaten-up paperback, my mind bucks.”

How to Manage Stress Like an Olympic Biathlete. The mental game is just as important as the physical one. Focusing on process rather than pursuit may give you a better chance at achieving victory. Says Olympic biathlete Clare Egan: “‘If I hit this, I’ll win the gold medal’ — as soon as you have that thought, you’re definitely going to miss it. That extra push or desire to win is not only not helpful, it’s counterproductive. You have to eliminate that from your mind and focus on the task.”

The Case for Self-Promotion. When it comes to sharing your work, what’s the right balance between pompousness and modesty? Columnist Courtney Marting explains the paradox for On Being: “It’s a total catch-22: if you don’t self-promote, you won’t be known to those who hold the keys to whatever kingdom you’re interested in unlocking. If you do self-promote, you might catch the gatekeepers’ attention, but pray they don’t read your self-promotion as needy or navel-gazing.”

An effortless way to improve your memory. Want to remember more of what you read? Give your brain a 10-15 minute rest. No phones, no distractions, just pure boredom, a quiet room and dimmed lights. “Baguley and Horner both agree that scheduling regular periods of rest, without distraction, could help us all hold onto new material a little more firmly.”

Thought of the week

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.”

— Jean-Luc Godard


Other Recommendations

Art

Kasamatsu Shiro (1898 – 1991)

(via @Oniropolis)

Books

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The World As I See It by Albert Einstein: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”

Podcasts

“We were born here,” Frederick Douglas said in response to those like Abraham Lincoln who wanted free slaves to settle outside America, “and here we will remain.”

Listen to Frederick Douglass on In Our Time

Thanks for reading. If you found any of the above useful or interesting, I’d appreciate it if you shared this post with friends.


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Newsletter: ‘We are living in total fragmentation’ ⚡


Below are this week’s interesting links and recent discoveries for your weekend reading.

Links

David Bowie predicted Internet-enabled dystopia in 1999. “We are living in total fragmentation…I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.”

Neanderthals’ Lack of Drawing Ability May Relate to Hunting Techniques. Neanderthals were great hunters but poor artists. According to a study done by professor Richard Coss, their inability to draw could’ve been due to the fact that they didn’t have to work as hard for their food. Homo Sapiens, on the other hand, strategically chased game in the open grasslands of Africa. They developed superior hand-eye coordination as a result of drawing out their prey on cave walls.

Facebook is a video game for adults. Tweeted Mike Bird: “Overheard someone say ‘Facebook did to your parents what they worried violent video games would do to you’ earlier this week and haven’t stopped thinking about it.” Facebook is a weapon of mass propaganda, a platform where conspiracy theories thrive. We should be giving our parents the same lecture they gave us on video games but about their manipulative online use.

The best of the rest

Book recommendation

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[easyazon_link identifier=”0136647553″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Photographers on Photography by Nathan Lyons[/easyazon_link]: Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”

 

What to watch

One minute art history: a unique flow of artworks stitched together to demonstrate a variety of styles.

Peep this musical vitamin

Baltra “Fade Away”

Thought of the week

“True journey is return.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin

 

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

Newsletter: Instagram’s clash of sameness


Tools shape our thoughts. (pic via the Doug Engelbart Institute)

Each week I surf the net to find interesting links, from videos to books to new music. Here’s the latest collection I think you may like:

Instagram ‘homogenized our creativity’. Not only are we drowning in photos, the conformity of images is ruining the art of photography by simplifying them into cliches. Give everyone a camera and the stage, and they’ll exploit it just like everybody else. The upshot is a mass experience that mostly dulls expression: the same travel pics, coffee cup shots, and innumerable selfies. Scratch it up, discolor the frame; dare to be different.

Tomorrow’s World: Children in 1966 predict what the world will be like in the year 2000. Well-spoken, cynical, and eerily accurate, in 1966 these kids predicted what life would be like in the year 2000. Their predictions include the rise of robots and job loss due to automation, the threat of nuclear war, the backlash against globalization, sea levels rises, etc.

How To Become A Centaur. We are living together with machines in a symbiotic relationship, just as the pencil or the bike augment our minds and bodies. Contrary to the popular opinion that AI will replace mankind, the relationship with robots could be a non-zero-sum game. “AIs are best at choosing answers. Humans are best at choosing questions.”


Book I’m reading

[easyazon_link identifier=”0547085907″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer[/easyazon_link]: “Scientists describe our brain in terms of its physical details; they say we are nothing but a loom of electrical cells and synaptic spaces. What science forgets is that this isn’t how we experience the world. (We feel like the ghost, not like the machine.) It is ironic but true: the one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know. This is why we need art. By expressing our actual experience, the artist reminds us that our science is incomplete, that no map of matter will ever explain the immateriality of our consciousness.”

Video I’m watching

Bob Marley would’ve been 73 years old today. To celebrate the reggae legend, watch teenage cellist and 2016’s BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason perform a cello version of Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.”

Song I’m digging

Johnny Jewel “Mirror Image”

Thought of the week

“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

René Magritte


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

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Wells Baum is creating a daily blog that collects and remixes the most interesting pieces of art, beats, life, and technology from around the web. Your support goes a long way: for every contribution, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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