How to stretch time on weekends


If you want to stretch time, experience something new on the weekends.

Break up the time with simple excursions. For instance, go play your Nintendo Switch in the park rather than from the couch. Read and write somewhere else other than your study desk or favorite cafe.

If you’re a photographer, take on one of Instagram’s weekly photo challenges.

From Lifehacker:

“According to David Eagleman, professor at Stanford University and the author of The Brain: The Story of You, pursuing new settings, new activities, and new experiences is the best way to “stretch time,” so to speak. It all comes down to what your brain perceives as novel. When you spend time doing something unfamiliar, your brain focuses more on collecting the data associated with the activity, thus creating a more thorough memory of the experience. When you reflect on that memory, it feels like you had more time.”

In short, tweak your routine by changing your environment. Get off your ass and go somewhere else.

 

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gif via glitter

If you want to slow down time, surround yourself with novelty. The mind is desperate for new experiences.

Do small things, differently.

 

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Orange is the new blue

Photo by Wells Baum

If you use Google Maps, you’ll notice that the latest version shows ‘areas of interest’ in orange. These are places, according to Google, “where there’s a lot of activities and things to do.”

Why orange? I’m not entirely sure, perhaps because green, blue, gray, and white are already taken — reserved for representations of water, grass, housing, and roads respectively. The patches also seem to indicate a real-life geographic divide between commercial and poorer neighborhoods as seen in the image below.

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In any case, all this went through my head as I captured the image above just outside the Farragut West stop on the orange line in DC. But unlike Google maps, there appeared to be nothing to see or do (at least at that moment) in this orange space.

The use of colors, as it’s used in visualizations online and off, appear arbitrary but may contain subtle intention. After all, the map is not the territory; not to mention, orange paint was once more popular than the color blue.

 

Tracing loops

 

‘Faceloops’ by Matthias Brown AKA Traceloops

We can trace a loop with exactitude. Replication is the first step in learning a new process and developing our own style.

The shift from copying to creating something original is a slow one. The objects already out there shape our understanding of how things usually work.

It is the desire to reinterpret a style of art, technology, or weaponry that leads to the next thing.

Developing a unique style is the culmination of making small, subjective tweaks, over time. It takes combinatorial creativity, remixing, and trial and error to develop a style we can call our own.

Reproduction kick starts evolution.

What do we read next?

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Algorithms resolve two things: Indecision fatigue and the wisdom of crowds.

The elevator is programmed to manage simultaneous requests while picking up passengers in route on the way up and down. If runs on a series of complex “if and then” statements to influence its movements.

What to read next bears a similar issue. We suffer from the infinity of choice, to what type of books we’re interested in, all the way down to the format we want to read it in.

Amazon’s recommended books algorithms removed the barrier to indecision. Taking into account your past reads and what other have read, it makes relevant recommendations on the next book to pick up. Spotify Discover Weekly works the same way after it gets to understand your habits and preferences.

The mind hates thinking about what’s next. Such is the reason Obama settled on wearing the same outfit every day. Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options.

Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options. They are the antidote to the chaotic linear 21st-century feed. The more time we spending consuming rather than deciding what’s next is time well spent. By outsourcing our digging, we create more time to learn.

On the other hand, playing the tastemaker can also be deeply satisfying.

Whether we’re providing or consuming lists, it’s better not to push out or take in everything at once. Keep some of the hidden gems in stock.

Looking out to see in

Images by Wells Baum

Travel retrains the eye to see. It is only when we face sharp contrast, can we make vivid comparisons to the unfamiliar (and familiar) back home.

Travel induces perspective. It is the practice of curiosity.

Anything that removes the banality of everyday life and replaces it with a dose of novelty to shock the senses makes one appreciate both what is out there yet to explore and acknowledge what we’re used to seeing.

Hokusai’s great wave: a lesson in persistence

Can we improve our craft over time? The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) seemed to think so.

“Until the age of 70, nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At 110, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.”

He only lived until 89, but he proved his theory of incremental improvement. He finished his most famous work, The Great Wave, at the age of 71. Van Gogh, an artist that only sold one painting during his lifetime–to this brother– remarked: “These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it.”

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Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave)” (1831)

Hokusai’s other works also revolve around Mount Fuji in series that became to be called Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. 

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“Clear Day with a Southern Breeze (Pink Fuji)” (1831)

Story short: age is but a number. Life is about continuity. You may have more energy to practice when you’re younger, but the only difference between you and others will be how long you’re willing to stick with it. Hokusai played the long-game, acting like professional with pertinacity.

You can check out the Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave exhibit at the British Museum, London, until August 13th.

 

 

Newsletter: The History of Nostalgia, The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed, new tunes from Yasmine Hamdan and more

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Schreiber’s Hummingbird, from Birds of the Tropics series (N38) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes (1889) : The MET

Arts and Culture

Maria Loh On Lives Of Artists

We may live in the age of selfie but we’ve always been self-absorbed. Maria Loh, author of Still Lives: Death, Desire, and the Portrait of the Old Masteroutlines five books which address the history of the curated self with an emphasis on artists who painted their own portraits to cement their legacy.

“Art was a form of visual philosophy written with brushes and chisels rather than with pen and ink”

fivebooks.com

+ Before the self-portrait, the rise of ownership of mirrors in the 15th century gave people their first feeling of individuality.

Look back with danger

Nostalgia didn’t always have a positive tone. In fact, before the 20th century, the word was used in the pejorative sense.

Nostalgia in those days was a technical term used and discussed primarily by specialists. In the twentieth century, however, the word has become fully demedic­alized. It now means little more than a sentimental attachment to a lost or past era, a fuzzy feeling about a soft-focus earlier time, and is more often used of an advertising campaign, a film or a memory of childhood than with regard to any strong sense of its etymology, “pain about homecoming”.

the_tls.co

Philosophy & Productivity

The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed

It’s crazy to think that a hundred years after the Adamson Act passed, we’re still working the same eight-hour shifts designed for railroad workers. Given that most of us work in front of computers and our best ideas come when we step outside it, how can we free up more time to think? Writes Morgan Housel:

“Tell your boss you found a trick that will make you more creative and productive, and they ask what you’re waiting for. Tell them that your trick is taking a 90-minute walk in the middle of the day, and they says no, you need to work.”

collaborativefund.com

Platonically irrational

We think modernity is superior to the past. But we too can be intellectually overconfident. “When Kahneman writes that we are ‘blind to our blindness’, he is reviving the Socratic idea that wisdom consists in seeing one’s blindness: knowing what you do not know.” Within all facts and reasoning, there’s still a little room for doubt.

This is only a preliminary step in Plato’s dialogues – a (good-natured) reaching after fact and reason should and does occur – but an initial tolerance of uncertainty is a capacity without which individuals and societies cannot adequately self-correct and improve. 

aeon.com

Social Media & Technology

Notes From An Emergency

The internet companies are not only American-based, but their manifest destiny also makes them look like hegemonic colonizers.

“This is a dilemma of the feudal internet. We seek protection from these companies because they can offer us security. But their business model is to make us more vulnerable, by getting us to surrender more of the details of our lives to their servers, and to put more faith in the algorithms they train on our observed behavior.”

idlewords.com

The Library of Congress Wants to Destroy Your Old CDs (for Science)

CDs were once expensive, plastic things. But they were built really cheap. I just tried popping on an old Chemical Brothers mix, and it didn’t even play. Blame the sharpie.

It’s also better not to muck up the top of your CDs with labels—the adhesive creates chemical reactions that quickly eat up data—or even permanent markers. “The moment you start to write on that top layer, you’re setting yourself up for degradation.”

theatlantic.com

Digging in the Crates

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Shanti Celeste is an up and coming house producer from Bristol, England. Her latest 2-track EP features the jungle healer ‘Make Time,’ combining a rich collection of synths and electronic breaks. A real treat.

Listen

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Yasmine Hamdan is a Parisian-based electronic musician who grew up in war-torn Lebanon. While’s she gained a reputation in the Middle East as an underground artist, her latest solo record Al Jamilat plans to unleash her to a broader audience. The track ‘La Ba’den’ offers dreamy electronic Arab vibes. Compelling stuff.

Listen

Thought of the Week

“Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Martin Luther King Jr.


For more interesting reads and new music, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or the Twitter feed. You can also subscribe to the blogs: wellsbaum.blog and bombtune.comIf you dig the blogs and want to support them, make a donation, buy a book, or email this post to a friend.

Yasmine Hamdan – La Ba’den

Image courtesy the artist

Yasmine Hamdan is a Parisian-based electronic musician who grew up in war-torn Lebanon. While’s she gained a reputation in the Middle East as an underground artist, her latest solo record Al Jamilat plans to unleash her to a broader audience. The track ‘La Ba’den’ offers dreamy electronic Arab vibes. Compelling stuff.

Listen to her interview on the latest Gilles Peterson show.

The music we play


Vinyl, cassette tapes, CDs, and MP3s were at one point mass produced. They were placeholders, meant to expire at the mercy of technological change and evolving listening habits.

So if we take the stream, a file-type that’s in infinite cloud-based inventory, what type of file emerges next?

The next development will focus on the quality of sound, just as mobile cameras improve the quality of resolution. And like photography’s countless editing tools, we’ll be able to work backward to tweak or filter out the type of sound we want to hear.


For instance, we can manipulate music files so they project a sound mimicking vinyl’s surface noise. We reshape it, like putting a black and white or red preset on an image.

The next evolution of music is therefore a personalized sensory experience, whether you want to hear sound in its cracked, hissy, compressed, raw state, or in its mass-marketed radio format.

Music will always be the “killer app” that people make their own.

16th century self-promotion

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Before the rise of ownership of mirrors in the 15th century, people mostly identified themselves with others. It was their reflection that made them appears as individuals.

The portable oil canvass in the 16th century accelerated the self-absorbed trend. Self-portraits became the predominant way to flaunt one’s importance and durability. Artists, in particular, were the first to latch on to painting technology to curate their image the way people edit their selfies today.

Modern day photography with software editing tools like Photoshop wishes to make people look better than they actually are, unlike the television which adds five pounds.

Either way, we’re not going to be remembered for how we looked but rather for what we contributed to the world. The work, not the selfie, is what’s going to last.