Leonardo da Vinci’s resume, distraction as an ‘obesity for the mind,’ Einstein’s celebrity, new tunes, and more!


Links Worth Reading

Leonardo da Vinci’s resume

“I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.”

So wrote Leonardo da Vinci in his resume to the Duke of Milan. Your future employer cares less about what you’ve done and more about you’re going to do for them. Da Vinci mastered the art of selling himself through his resume. Might we learn from him 500+ years later?

Matthew Crawford: ‘distraction is a kind of obesity of the mind’

The philosopher William James once said “What holds attention, determines action.” He lived mostly in a world of silence, before the instant distraction of buzzing cell phones and pop-up messages. You can throw your phone into the ocean, or you can search for silent areas such as the business-class lounge in the airport. In short, “Silence has become a luxury good.” Or as Chad Wellman recently wrote in his 79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation,

“We should evaluate our investments of attention at least as carefully and critically as our investments of money.”

If time is money, distraction is the accumulation of pennies.

Albert Einstein was a genius, but he wasn’t the only one – why has his name come to mean something superhuman?

Einstein was a genius, no doubt. He also happened to have crazy hair and a “way with words.” But how much of his celebrity was due to his timing with the proliferation of mass media: newspapaper, radio, and TV? Marie Curie won two Nobel prizes and was equally genius but she was a woman.

“Had he lived in another era, Einstein might have been a decent physicist, but he wouldn’t have been the Einstein we know.”

That’s Hollywood.

How a bee sting saved my life: poison as medicine

Venom saves lives. Ellie Lobel curbed her Lyme’s Disease by accidentally getting stung by a swarm of bees. Now she uses them to sting her on purpose.

“Rare cases like Ellie’s are a reminder of the potent potential of venoms. But turning folk knowledge into pharmaceuticals can be a long and arduous process.”

Meanwhile, “an airbag saved my life.”

The colors of paintings: Blue is the new orange

According to data blogger Martin Bellander who downloaded and studied about 130k thumbnails, the color blue became a popular painting color in the 20th century. He notes one possible reason for the rise in blue.

“Blue has historically been a very expensive color, and the decreasing price and increased supply might explain the increased use.”

Blue was my favorite growing up. As the Observatory podcast explains, the color blue is soothing like a Tiffany’s box, or hospital scrubs.

New Music

Episode 49 | Tunes of the Week

  1. Throwing Snow — Lumen
  2. Mikos Da Gawd — Shaku
  3. Electric Wire Hustle — Golden Ladder
  4. Ruff Draft — Broken Tooth
  5. Braille — The Cat’s Gone Nuts

> Listen

Thought of the Week

Buysness is…

“a boast disguised as a complaint.” – Tim Kreider

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.