Recomendo

Thoughts on depression/Winning the Internet/Useful questions

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Recomendo: issue no. 255

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Overcoming depression
This is the best thing I’ve read on the best ways to help a friend who is depressed (or yourself). It’s slightly counterintuitive, and a quick read. Thanks, Noah Smith, for this evergreen memo: A Few Thoughts on Depression. — KK

Most shared links in newsletters
One of the most anticipated newsletters I receive each week is called Winning the Internet, which is an automated email of links sent out by Russell Goldenberg. Currently sourcing links from 99 newsletters (including Recomendo), every hour a Google Script runs that parses the links shared in those newsletters and then the data is filtered and charted to discover the most linked story and other widely shared links. Also included in each email is “Three Random Links That Appeared Just Once This Month.” Winning the Internet has made it easier for me to clean up my inbox by unsubscribing to a lot of newsletters. — CD

How to ask useful questions
This is a great blog post on “How to Ask Useful Questions,” by Josh Kaufman. Poorly worded questions don’t respect the recipient’s time, energy or attention, and as a result often go unanswered. An inexperienced question might sound like “I’m thinking about [action]. What do you think?” If your intention was to ask for help, a better worded question would be: “I’m trying to A, and I’m having trouble. So far, I’ve tried B with result C, and D with result E. Now I’m stuck. Any guidance?” Josh gives a few more examples based on what your intention is, like asking for agreement, information, clarification, etc. The goal is to be specific, and give as much context as possible in a concise way. And of course, be polite. — CD

The story of our longevity
The single unequivocal benefit that civilization, science, and modern life has given us is: longer lives, on average. Extra Life, a new book by Steven Johnson, investigates the origin of this gift. Johnson tells the story of our longer lives quickly, easily, with tons of news. Longevity is an enabling invention that has opened up many other benefits, and its story is important because this miracle has many parents and most of them were institutions. To further the extra 20,000 days we been granted, or to birth other meaningful inventions in the future, we need to continue to improve our institutions. Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer is a great, fast, important read. The book has a good companion 4-part PBS miniseries (streamable) that summaries the story in the context of Covid-19 vaccines and current events. — KK

Setapp: 1-year subscription
I’ve been a paying subscriber to Setapp for years. It’s a subscription service to over 200 Mac apps. They carefully curate the apps and find ones that are well made and useful. Some of my favorites are CleanMyMac X, Luminar, Downie, CleanShot X, Permute, ClearVPN, World Clock Pro, and CloudMounter. It’s $10 a month, but new users can get their first year for $70. — MF.

Life on earth as a video game
My daughter introduced me to this terrific YouTube channel that presents the history of life on Earth as if it were a giant multiplayer video game. The creator presents real facts about plants and animals, but calls them “builds” and “upgrades.” Start by watching this video on the Cambrian Explosion, called “When Earth Was in Beta.” — MF

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 06/6/21