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7 Rests, Central Bank Simulator, Ketchup Wars and Quantified Self
#37 of 10+1 Things|📍Kerala |🌧️ 23°C
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Here are 10+1 Things that I thought were worth sharing this week:
🛌 7 Types of Rest
In a thought-provoking article, TED has listed 7 types of rest that every person needs. I thought there were only two types of rest - physical and mental. Well, there's more to that and this is one reason why you feel exhausted at times even when you had adequate sleep. Sleep and rest are not the same things. Even when we had enough sleep, we miss out on other types of rest that we desperately need. The other types of rest discussed in the article are sensory, creative, emotional, social and spiritual rest.
🏦 Central Bank Simulator
I found this interesting central bank simulator where you control the whole economy by controlling the interest rate offered by the central bank to orchard owners. You're in control of the central bank and your goal is to maximise the economic potential by ensuring the correct money supply and increasing the GDP of the village ie the number of apples produced. The goal is to vary the interest rate such that inflation, the cost of apples, unemployment, etc are within limits to keep the orchards running. I'm no expert in economics, but this is an interesting simulator to wrap your head around central banks, inflation and macroeconomics.
I tried some combinations and my best score was a GDP of 3,57,432.
What's your score?
🍅 Ketchup Wars
I read this interesting article about the story of how ketchup came to India and eventually became a staple on Indian kitchen shelves. To start with, the biggest competitor in the Indian market was the chutney - a homemade staple containing mint, onions and more. Why would someone buy ketchup in India when there was an alternative that was cheaper, tastier and more suitable to the Indian palate? The first brand to crack this puzzle was Maggi, a Nestle company in 1986. Maggi released a hot & sweet variant of ketchup that had a balance of spice and sugar. This ensured that the ketchup had the chutney part in it that Indians loved and eventually ketchup became an alternative to chutney in many households and street food outlets. Read on to learn more about the advertisement wars started by various companies that are in the ketchup space in India.
“The American ketchup is quite flat. It’s sour and it doesn’t have that spicy note to it.” ~ Gautam Krishnankutty
In an interview, roboticist Bradley Nelson of ETH Zürich spoke with Knowable Magazine on the future of micro robots and medical applications these robots can do. A robot is a device that works in an uncertain random environment, where it adapts to its surroundings and can move around to achieve a specific goal. Nelson has spent the majority of his career making robots that are in microscopic ranges, usually up to a few hundred microns wide. Engineers have already built robots that are slightly bigger than a microbe that can move around and sense their surroundings. The next major challenge in this field is to make these robots intelligent so that they can do their jobs autonomously without human intervention. If we achieve this feat, these microbots have various applications, especially in medicine. For example, these robots can go into our lungs to find and treat cancer before it spreads across the body!
🧠The Ayahuasca Experience
In her public notebook, Anne-Laure has shared a deeply personal account of her experience with Ayahuasca on a three-day retreat. If you don't know, Ayahuasca is a brew made of some ancient medicinal leaves and shrubs. It contains a psychedelic compound called DMT, that produces a metaphysical experience once consumed. Anne walks us through her preparation before the retreat by controlling her diet, experiences during the ceremonies and changes she has noticed in her life post the ceremony. This experience is well written and I felt quite emotional after reading it. At the same time, I'm super proud of her to have the courage to write and share such a fragile and a sensitive personal experience.
🔋 Sand Battery
Rising gas prices and climate crisis has forced nations around the globe to switch to green energy options. One main problem with these renewable sources of power is intermittency. Energy is often not available when you want it the most and batteries are required to solve this issue. Batteries are made with heavy metals that are scarce and have a much larger carbon footprint associated with them. A team of researchers in Finland has come up with a solution to it and they have successfully completed the installation of a sand battery. When low-cost electricity is available from say wind or solar, sand stored in a chamber is heated to 500C using resistive heating. Sand is an effective medium for storing heat and can withhold the temperature even for months. When energy prices are higher, the hot air surrounding the sand is discharged and can be used to warm the water in the district heating system. Thus effectively sand acts as a battery to store energy.
🧵 Global Population Density
I've enjoyed this thread by Tim Urban on Twitter, visualizing population density around the world. The height of spikes you see on the map indicated the population living in that area. It was quite interesting to read and observe the distribution of population in China and Iceland especially. Apparently, India's Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and you can see the magnitude by observing the spikes. Nevertheless, an interesting thread that gives you an idea of how 8 billion humans are spread across this planet.
📚 Personal MBA
After reading 'How to Fight a Hydra' by Josh Kauffman a few weeks back, I picked up another book by him this week titled 'The Personal MBA'. In the book, Josh gives a clear overview of core principles of various business topics such as entrepreneurship, product development, marketing, sales, negotiation and more. The book lets its readers understand fundamental business principles and processes, irrespective of the reader's education or work experience.I love Josh's style of writing and this book is very easy to read, but packed with information.
My favourite quote from the book so far is:
“Business schools don't create successful people. They simply accept them, then take credit for their success.”
~ Resurfaced using ReadWise(FREE!)
Last week's read: The Happiness of Pursuit
🖼 Human Trials
This week I'm exploring an art project titled 'Human Trials' by the artist Rashed Haq, who is also a scientist and a technologist. The integrated career gives Rashed a unique perspective of the co-evolution of humans with technology. Technology advancements like AI have helped us advance as a civilization but also have negative and unintended consequences. Rashed explores this perspective through his art project and sheds light on how AI has the potential to not only shape but distort our lives. These portraits are of people that never existed, created using AI and are retrained using light painting in his studio.
"Algorithms sift this data to make sense of who we are and assign to us a gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, education level, class, marital status, status as a parent, reliability as an employee, citizenship, locations frequented, entertainment preference, shopping preference, and depending on who is doing the assignment, identification as a terrorist. The invisible algorithmic categorization is used to shape our lives, often without us knowing."
🎬 Core Human Motivations
The Knowledge Project is one of my favourite podcasts and I've enjoyed watching the episode where Kunal Shah, an entrepreneur from India is the guest. This is an interesting talk and I can connect to a lot of things as I'm also from India. Kunal explores the core human motivations and how businesses can leverage these to succeed. He points out the cultural differences between Indian and western markets and the risk-averse mentality of Indian households. This is an interesting conversation and is a must-watch/listen if you're curious about what motivates people and how you can use it to scale your product or service.
I've been following Kunal for a while and I wrote about his Delta-4 Theory last year on my blog. It's the most popular article on my blog!
📊 Quantified Self
This last section of the newsletter explores a thought I had, an idea I'm exploring, a dream I experienced or something interesting that I observed:
I like visualising my personal progress and wanted to list down my stats like cycling/running/swimming distances, intermittent fasting hours, the number of steps, calories burned and mindful minutes in a google sheet. While researching on how to do this, I came across the concept of 'Quantified Self'.
According to Wikipedia:
The quantified self refers both to the cultural phenomenon of self-tracking with technology and to a community of users and makers of self-tracking tools who share an interest in "self-knowledge through numbers".
Researching more, I discovered the subreddit r/QuantifiedSelf, a community consisting of 10k+ members who are interested in self-tracking! I discovered many interesting personalities and hundreds of projects through the subreddit and this website. For example, check out this site where Felix has been tracking his life for the last 3 years over 100 different data types and has recorded 400,000+ data points so far!
The fastest way to an impartial point of view.
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That’s 10+1 Things for the week.
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“When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like a revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense. " ~ Derek Sivers