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Life & Philosophy Newsletter Productivity & Work Psychology Social Media Tech

Life in blocks, singing karaoke, thin slices of joy, #SaveFabric Tunes, and more

Arts and Culture

Sing to Me: Karaoke is self-compromise as spectacle

It’s no fun if you’re good at karaoke. It’s equally annoying to laugh while you’re signing. You’re supposed to be so bad that your friends can’t ignore you. Said it’s Japanese creator Daisuke Inoue:

“I was nominated [as] the inventor of karaoke, which teaches people to bear the awful singing of ordinary citizens, and enjoy it anyway. That is ‘genuine peace,’ they told me.”


Philosophy and Productivity

A disappointing film that highlights life’s stupid misfortunes

The Paris-based motion design team at Parallel Studio stitched together a series of GIFs that highlight some of the most unfortunate things you might have encountered in everyday life such as like a download that stops at 99% or a spoon that falls all the way into your soup. Watch

Thin Slices of Joy

When you’re young, it’s the big moments like our first car or getting our first kiss that shapes our lives. As we age, the small things matter like a sip of warm coffee or lunch with a friend. Joy all comes down to the art of noticing. Says Google’s former mindfulness guru Chade-Meng Tan:

“Noticing sounds trivial, but it is an important meditative practice in its own right. Noticing is the prerequisite of seeing. What we do not notice, we cannot see.”

Life in blocks

Everybody gets the same amount of hours in a day. It’s your job to use that time most efficiently. Instead of planning your day as a checklist, look at it as a series of 100 10-minute blocks that amount to about 1,000 minutes.

Cooking dinner requires three blocks, while ordering in requires zero—is cooking dinner worth three blocks to you? Is 10 minutes of meditation a day important enough to dedicate a block to it? Reading 20 minutes a night allows you to read 15 additional books a year—is that worth two blocks?


Social Media and Technology

The Binge Breaker: Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones. He’s determined to make it stop.

Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.

McDonald’s hooks us by appealing to our bodies’ craving for certain flavors; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter hook us by delivering what psychologists call “variable rewards.”


New Music

 

Episode 107 | Tunes of the Week
  1. Clark – Shadow Banger
  2. A Made Up Sound – Bygones
  3. Jesse Futerman – A Tribute To Horace
  4. Christian Löffler – Myiami
  5. Leron Carson – Lemonline

Listen here


Thought of the Week

“He doesn’t give out energy for the benefit of others. He absorbs energy at others’ cost.” – Francis O’Gorman, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History

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Newsletter

The Fab Five, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, the epidemic of worry, new tunes and more

Arts & Culture

Twenty-five years after the Fab Five, big-time colleges still short-change their stars

They never won anything but the Fab Five – the so-called greatest recruiting class of all time — broke fashion trends. They took after Michael Jordan and wore baggy shorts, shaved their heads, and replaced their white socks with black. The players doubled revenues for their school but received nothing in return until officials found out a booster paid Chris Webber $200,000. The NCAA banned the Michigan basketball program for a decade. In 2015, the school’s football team inked a $170 million deal with the Jordan brand. It raises the question: when do schools start splitting some of the profits it earns from its athletes?

John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972)

The challenge isn’t knowing what to see. The challenge is learning how to see. As soon as you learn what to look for, your originality dwindles. Your interpretation becomes someone else’s. Watch John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and you’ll never look at a picture the same way again.

“The process of seeing paintings, or seeing anything else, is less spontaneous and natural than we tend to believe.”


Philosophy & Productivity

What’s Up With Those Voices in Your Head?

What is your inner dialogue? If it’s like most people, it’s chaotic and uncontrollable. Perhaps one of the reasons we tug away at our phones is because we’re too afraid to play with the chorus of our thoughts. In his new book The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves, author, and Durham University psychology professor Charles Fernyhough writes about the tug of war we have with our internal expressions, and how we use creativity as an outlet to express these thoughts and frustrations.

“A solitary mind is actually a chorus,” he writes. Tune into yours right now: What are you hearing? Who’s speaking, and when did the conversation begin? This is ambiguous territory. Measuring one’s own private soundtrack is hard enough.

The Epidemic of Worry

It was Mark Twain who said “I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.” Worrying goads the Zeigarnik Effect, leading us to take to get rid of anticipation by replacing it with unnecessary action.

Worry alters the atmosphere of the mind. It shrinks your awareness of the present and your ability to enjoy what’s around you right now. It cycles possible bad futures around in your head and forces you to live in dreadful future scenarios, 90 percent of which will never come true.


Social Media & Tech

Inside the secret meeting that changed the fate of Vine forever

Social networks come and go (re: Myspace). The latest victim is Vine, who never did anything to improve the tools for its best creators, so they moved on to other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. On Friday, Vine announced that it was shutting down.

“We were driving billions of views — billions — before we left,” Vine star DeStorm Power said Thursday. “The word Vine became shorthand for short sketch-comedy videos. We did that. Vine didn’t do that. We changed culture by making videos on this six-second app.”

What’s next?

What’s next? Are we over the smartphone boom and the newest social networking app already? We live in a ‘next’ society. We need something new every couple months. As the chips get faster, so too do our consumption habits.


New Music

 

Episode 106 | Tunes of the Week
  1. Chaos in the CBD – Subterranean Storm
  2. Jay Daniel – Paradise Valley
  3. Throwing Snow – One for the Booth
  4. Ensemble Entendu – Peel Back
  5. Pavel Dovgal – Floating Beams

🎵 Listen here


Thought of the Week

“The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations.” — @nntaleb

 

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Newsletter

How to do deep work, China’s ‘Chabauduo’ mindset, Giphy’s art exhibition, NEW beats and more

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Read of the week: Cal Newport explains how to do deep work

Scroll down for ‘tracks of the week’ 🔻


Arts & Culture

China’s ‘Chabuduo’ Mindset

Done is better than perfect, in some cases, as in updating a web design or app. But in China, ‘almost’ is a pervasive and dangerous mindset. Known as ‘Chabuduo’ or ‘good/close enough,’ can have disastrous effects when it comes to building everyday things, especially infrastructure.

“When you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.”

A GIF art exhibition

Giphy is the new home of the GIFs, dethroning Tumblr and taking them to the next level, even to real life. Giphy recently hosted an exhibition in New York called ‘Loop Dreams,’ showcasing the GIF works of 25 artists “brought to life through holographic posters, projections, VR, and interactive installations.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Fran Lebowitz on Facebook, TV, and Trump

Author and acclaimed New Yorker Fran Lebowitz can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t stand watching television, nor does she like social media, yet she’s still on top of them all or at least, well-informed in her sardonic complaints about them.

“..years ago, I decided reading in bed is too stimulating. Watch TV. It’s boring. You’ll fall asleep.”

Obsessed with productivity

Skip breakfast. Shorten your work week to four hours. Strengthen your focus. The obsession with productivity is getting out of hand. Why do humans want to maximize their output so they can become more like computers? What are we going to do with the extra time, do even more work? Perhaps, but only if the work is purposeful.

“The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.” – Ira Glass


Social Media & Technology

Your digital eulogy

Artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is giving people a chance to visit their own digital funeral at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to review the type of social media posts people would see after they pass away. According to BuzzFeed’s senior writer Doree Shafrir who experienced her own ceremony:

“All of my tweets started scrolling on a screen in front of me as though to say, you know, here are some words of Doree’s to remember her by – tweeting about wearing a dress to a wedding with pockets or Justin Bieber. And I thought, oh, my God, if I did die – God forbid – right now this is what people would see.”


New Music

  1. Youandewan – Waiting For L
  2. Hiatus Kaiyote – The Lung (Paul White Unofficial Remix)
  3. Abi Ocia – Running
  4. Arbes – Sun On My Back
  5. Danny Brown – Really Doe

Listen

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Culture Newsletter Tech

‘The map is not the territory,’ Alain de Botton’s Atheism, Seth Godin on social media, NEW beats and more

giphy (11)
gif via Casey Bloomquist

Read of the week: ‘The map is not the territory’

Scroll down to hear the tracks of the week 🔻


Arts & Culture

Start before you’re ready

Inspiration can be a distraction. Producing something original requires concentration and distance. Roger Smith is a watchmaker at Hodinkee on the remote Isle of Man, far away from Switzerland and Cupertino.

“The influences just aren’t around, and I can just get on with my days work and just make what I want to make.”

Roger Ebert wrote this after 25 years as a movie critic

The job of a movie critic is unusual. Instead of spending your time at the office or even at home penning away your novel in ample lighting, you watch 2-3 movies a day. You get “up in the morning and in two hours it is dark again, and the passage of time is fractured by editing and dissolves and flashbacks and jump cuts.”

Alain de Botton — A School of Life for Atheists

Alain de Botton is an atheist, but his perspective on religion is far more complicated. Instead of debunking religion in thinking that all pious people are idiots–as some atheists may presume–he shines a light on some of the things where religion excels: in values, wisdom, communions, and “the wonders of religious architecture.” As he says nearly eight minutes in:

“These religions at their highest points, at their most complex and subtle moments, are far too interesting to be abandoned merely to those who believe in them.”


Philosophy & Productivity

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?

Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

“The map is not the territory”

The human head consists of a left brain and a right brain, each with distinct cognitive functions. The left hemisphere is known for processing logic and doing verbal and mathematical analysis while the right half excels in creativity and imagination, the visual stuff.


Social Media & Technology

Why Seth Godin opts out of social media

Seth’s thoughts on social media are thought-provoking and to the point. If you listen to his latest interview with Brian Koppelman, you’ll hear Seth say this:

“Social media is based on infinity. If you look at how many Facebook shares you got, if you look at how many Twitter followers you have, you have just enrolled in the wrong dialogue with yourself.


New Music

  1. Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Yermande (Kick And Bass Mix)
  2. Big Peace – Diva
  3. Call Me Like – Mission Road featuring Ft. Anderson.Paak
  4. Alix Perez – Had I Known
  5. Complete Walkthru – Intuition Brought Me Here Intuition Brought Me Here

Listen

Categories
Newsletter

The 100% Rule, Ai Weiwei on Beijing surveillance, the California Typewriter, new tunes from Joy Orbison, and more

Pick of the week:  In 2009, former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz addressed West Point cadets on the meaning of solitude and leadership.Read on…For tracks of the week, scroll down 🔻 


Arts & Culture

Ai Weiwei on Beijing Surveillance

One of the key traits of any artist is to protect against and take advantage of the contradictions. It goes back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about intelligence: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” In this video, Chinese dissident/artist Ai Weiwei explains why he calls Beijing his home.

“I wouldn’t think Beijing’s a prison for me. But Beijing is definitely a prison for freedom of speech.”

Trekking the Shikoku henro, Japan’s oldest pilgrimage route

Financial Times writer Barney Jopson went on the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan, a route founded and dedicated to commemorate the original 750-mile trek of Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. Also known as Kūkai, Daishi returned from studying in China in the late 7th century AD to help import Buddhism in Japan. Jopson biked the route but given the age of many of the participants, most prefer to travel by bus while others walk.

“There are no definitive counts but each year between 80,000 and 140,000 pilgrims — known as o-henro — are estimated to travel at least part of the route. According to one survey, around 60 per cent of them are over the age of 60. The vast majority speed around on air-conditioned bus tours but a hardy band of 2,000-5,000 are estimated to do it on foot, usually completing the circuit in 40-50 days.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Solitude and Leadership

A lot of people think thinkers can’t be leaders. But that’s exactly what leadership is: thinking. The leader of a group takes what they read and hear internally and externally and originates his/her own thought. They speak for themselves. As former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz said in his 2009 speech to West Point cadets:

“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.”

The 100% Rule

Half-ass efforts produce half-ass results. The same goes for 99 percent effort. If you don’t commit 100 percent to whatever it is–quitting smoking, writing a book, taking photography seriously–it’s going to fall to the wayside.

“99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.” Jack Canfield, The Success Principles


Social Media & Technology

Clack-clack: California Typewriter, the movie

“Keep ’em typing!” says Kenneth Alexander, a typewriter repairer with over forty years of experience. He works for California Typewriter in San Francisco, one of the last surviving typewriter repair shop in the United States.

“If you want to concentrate, if you want to write in your own mind, write with a typewriter. You see the words hit the paper. There’s no distractions.”

‘That time when I…’

One of the ways mobile behavior has changed is that instead of sharing stuff at the moment, we edit and share it later with a caption like “That time I…”. According to Washington Post journalist Britt Peterson, the phrase, and its various iterations (“that time when,” “that moment when,” etc.) create immediate intimacy with your followers which is why it works so well for celebrities, who may not want to reveal their present location for obvious privacy concerns.

“That time I” works in real time to make readers feel like they’re part of an in-group, creating collective nostalgia for events that just took place. In some way, it’s a neat linguistic trick.”


New Music

  1. Tycho – Epoch
  2. CO/R – Bells, Walking
  3. Scntst – OTD (Break Mix)
  4. Lenzman – Don’t Let Me Go
  5. Kirk Knight – Young Ones
  6. Motion Graphics – Brass Mechanics
  7. Ash Walker Music – Dark Hour
  8. COMBAT! – Jacaranda
  9. Sam Gellaitry – Life
  10. Mood Tatooed – Outsider

> Listen

Categories
Arts Creativity Newsletter Social Media Tech

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.” | WellsBaum.com Digest

1. This too can be yours: Why ‘AirSpace Style’ is making all places look the same

“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”

2. The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

3. This professor describes the future educated person

“In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things.”

4. Avoid making backup plans

“For some people, not making a backup plan might indeed be beneficial in helping them put their best effort forward”

5.  Music is a performance-enhancement drug

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.”

6. Google Photos frees up phone space automatically

“It’ll delete your photos off your phone after syncing them to the cloud so you don’t have get that 16GB iPhone nightmare that says “storage is full.”

7. Do we have to be sad to be creative?

“Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year. ”

8. How teens and hipsters stain the resurgence of Vinyl

“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor, I don’t actually play them”

9.  How libraries stay current in the digital age

“a modern public library can be a place of exploration, play, performance and creativity, as well as of contemplation, reading and research.”

10. Lance Wyman reveals his creative process in unreleased “designlogs

“The reason I started keeping log books,’ says Wyman, ‘was that I wanted a record of what I was doing. It’s my way of keeping in touch with the complexity of the design projects that I’m working on.”

New Music


1. Combat – Jacaranda
2. Elementz of Noise – Clock
3. Minor Science – Naturally Spineless
4. The South East Grind – Secret
5. BadBadNotGood – In Your Eyes
Listen to Episode 98 | Tunes of the Week

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