Weird-but-true facts/NoCry Gloves/Time hack


Recomendo: issue no. 299

Thousands of weird-but-true facts
Samples from a monster-length Twitter thread of hard-to-believe facts:

“One of the favourite shades of paint used by Pre-Raphaelite painters, Mummy Brown, was made by adding ground up remains of Egyptian mummies.”
“Hippos were almost released in Louisiana as a way to control invasive plants and as a food source for people”
“There are about 150 million starlings in North America. They are all descended from 60 birds released in Central Park, by a guy whose motivation was to introduce them to America because they had been mentioned in Shakespeare.”
“The last guillotining in France occurred the year Star Wars first premiered.”

— MF

Knife-safe gloves
I wear cut-safety gloves when I am wood carving or using sharp bladed tools in my workshop. Many professional workers using knives all day wear similar gloves. These are made with HPPE, formerly called Kevlar, which is a soft fabric wound around steel, and is overall stronger then steel. It greatly reduces the chances of getting your hand / finger cut. Yet the gloves are not bulky at all, but are extremely flexible and comfortable, and can be washed easily. The brand I use are NoCry Gloves, which are $13 pair and have 13,000 reviews on Amazon. A pair last a long time in part because the gloves are ambidextrous and I only wear one at a time on my holding hand. — KK

How to take your time back
According to the Michelle Drouin, the behavioral scientist who wrote this article “The Time Hack Everyone Should Know,” the key to taking your time back is not a phone detox or monitoring your screen time, it is to remember we have the tool of choice (use, omit or substitute) and to have a plan of action ready the next time you reach for your phone.
There are two types of action: omission — carving out some intimate times (e.g., dinner) and intimate spaces (e.g., at night in bed with a partner) without your phone, and substitution — swapping passive time on your phone with something that has proven health benefits, like a call to a friend or a walk. Then, each time you interact with your phone, you’ll have three choices: use, omit, or substitute. Remember: Shifting in small ways can lead to big changes in our daily timeclock.
She’s right when she says, “Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you’re being sucked into your technologies. Instead, see your tech use for what it is: you knowing what you like, and you choosing to engage in it (at the cost of other opportunities).”
— CD

Biography of my mentor
I’ve worked with Stewart Brand for 40 years, and at nearly every single interaction I’ve learned something important from him. He is a true original, an OG of the first order, who has been at the forefront of countercultures starting with beatniks, then the hippies, and eventually the digital technologists, and beyond. Most know him because of his early Whole Earth Catalog bestseller, but his influence and wisdom go much wider and deeper. Indeed he had a remarkable ability to be present at the beginning of many significant American cultural movements, yet his influence has been unappreciated. To remedy this, legendary New York Times reporter John Markoff has written a compelling biography of Brand, called appropriately Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand. As much as possible Markoff weaves into the story of Brand’s unusual life, his insights, his original approach to creativity and invention, and the methods by which he was able to bend our culture. It’s an easy and fast read. Full disclosure: I am biased and also appear in the book. — KK

Swipe right on cute cats
This is just for fun: Tinder for Cats. I can easily spend all day swiping right on cute cats and rejecting others — even though they’re all cute of course! — CD

Bamboo toothbrushes
After some dental work I wanted to get some soft-bristled toothbrushes and found these Nuva Dent bamboo ones on Amazon. They’re cheaper than plastic brushes and the bristles are as gentle as I hoped. — MF

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 04/3/22

© 2022