72 Hour Rule, Cheapest Plotter, Museum of Failure and Shabbat Elevator
#36 of 10+1 Things |📍Kerala |☁️ 27°C
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Here are 10+1 Things that I thought were worth sharing this week:
⏳ 72-Hour Rule
For a long time in my life, I was plagued with impulse buying. I had this habit of purchasing stuff instantly from e-commerce sites and hoarding stuff that I actually do not need. One trick that worked for me over the last couple of years is the 72-hour rule. Every time I want to purchase something that is not necessary, I wait for 72 hours before making a purchase decision. I do not add the product to my wishlist or shopping cart such that it prevents the app from reminding me about the product or service. In this blog post, I discuss the external triggers around us, especially in e-commerce, that force us to make impulse decisions.
🔥 Shabbat Elevator
I was reading something on Wikipedia and somehow came to know about this elevator known as the 'Shabbat Elevator'. It is essentially a self-operating automatic elevator that stops at every floor meant for observant Jews. From sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday, on Shabbat, practising Jews are prohibited to do certain kind of activities that includes igniting a fire. This often is extrapolated to also cover the use of electrical switches and many Jews who strictly follow Shabbat refrain from using electricity on the day. These elevators are common in areas with a large population of Jews in Israel, the USA, Canada, etc.
🍇 Chemistry of Wine
As global temperatures are rising and climate patterns are changing, we see the impact of it on various sectors that we never thought of. Knowable magazine in an interesting article has explored the consequences of climate change on the wine industry. The greatest challenge the industry faces today due to climate change is unpredictability. In the past, producers knew which vine to grow, how to grow, when to harvest and how to ferment the product for an ideal consistent taste. But the changing climate has left the industry confused. At warmer temperatures, berries ripen fast building more sugar, but their acidity that adds to the freshness declines. Also, secondary compounds that add to the flavour profile of wine break down in warmer temperatures. So farmers are left with a dilemma whether to harvest early with less flavour profile or late with more sugar. From testing new grape varieties to adapting the fermentation process, growers and winemakers around the world are struggling to find ways to cope with climate change.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been reading a lot about James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and was fascinated by the resolution of images produced. I came across this interesting website that compares the images produced by JWST to the Hubble Telescope. It is a simple website that is designed for general audience to understand the scientific capability of the telescope and how it can outperform its predecessor. For example, look at the picture of the Southern Ring Nebula, the improvements are astronomical! The tool is open source and more images can be added by other contributors over time.
🤔 World's Top Thinkers
Prospect magazine has compiled a list of top thinkers around the world that are working on potentially game-changing ideas. From data analysts to philosophers, the scope of the list is quite extensive and even features the founder of Wordle and also Elon Musk! One interesting person I came to know from the list is Joy Buolamwini, who is working on eliminating racial bias in training datasets and making AI models more inclusive. I do not know the criteria for listing these intellectuals, but it's an interesting list of 50 individuals to explore and learn about great things they are working on.
📚 The Happiness of Pursuit
This week I've been reading the book titled 'The Happiness of Pursuit: Find the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life' by Chris Guillebeau. The book is a distillation of his wisdom and experiences encountered during his decade-long quest, travelling to every country in the world. According to Chris, the ultimate path to success and satisfaction in life comes from pursuing a long-term goal, which he calls a 'quest'. The book does not tell you to travel to every country in the world or hop on a sailboat to cross the Atlantic. Rather, it tells us to pursue our dreams by embarking on our own quests. The book is dangerously inspiring, at least to me and would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to live an ordinary life.
My favourite quote so far from the book is:
“Any given moment can change your life. For some people, it’s a conversation that opens the doors of possibility: a new business opportunity, perhaps, or a new relationship. For others it’s the sudden shift in perspective: I don’t have to live like this anymore.”
~ Resurfaced using Readwise(FREE!)
Last week's Read: How to Fight a Hydra
🖌 Cheapest Plotter
I had built a hanging wall plotter with my friends 7 years ago and wanted to build another one for an art project I'm working on. I came across this project called 'Brachiograph', which is often called the cheapest and simplest pen plotter in the world. It costs less than 14$ and can be built in an hour. To make it all you need is a Raspberry Pi, three cheap servo motors, cloth pegs and some random things you can find at your home. If you're looking for a great Python or Raspberry Pi project to work on, I would definitely recommend you try this out. My goal is to use this code and build a bigger one that can plot on an A3 canvas.
📷 Last Witnesses
This week I'm exploring a photography project titled 'The Last Witnesses of the Lost Places' by Pierpaolo Mittica. The project documents the last inhabitants of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone called ‘Samosely’, translating to self settlers. After the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986, an exclusion zone having a radius of 30km was created by the Soviet government and people were evacuated from the area. But after a while, 1200 of these people returned back to the area as city life was not meant for them. Today only 200 out of these 1200 people remain and the main of these last survivors are elderly. When the last one of them dies, the culture of these lost places will end forever with them. Pierpaolo has done an excellent job in documenting the lives of these last survivors and I get a sense of nostalgia browsing these images.
🧵 Museum of Failure
I've enjoyed reading the latest thread by Trung Phan highlighting 10 products from the Museum of Failure in Sweden. Museum of Failure has 150+ products and services that have failed across the world. The majority of all innovations fail and the museum reminds us that innovation and progress require an acceptance of failure. From Nintendo power gloves to a $200 handheld device for checking Twitter exclusively, this is an interesting thread.
🎬 DIY Internet
This week I've enjoyed watching an original film titled 'The Street Network' by Stripe Press. The documentary explores the story of 'SNET', a DIY internet created in 2011 by a group of gamers in Havana serving thousands of people. Because of lack of funding, government restrictions and the US embargo, Cubans have very little access to the internet. In 2011, only 16% of the island had access to the internet and it was illegal to buy network equipment. At its peak, SNET was one of the largest community networks in the world having 100,000+ IP addresses. There were clones of social networking sites like Facebook and members used to play hacked versions of online games like World of Warcraft and Dota. Today networks like SNET are illegal in Cuba and these network administrators are cooperating with government authorities to increase the penetration of the internet on the island.
❓ Is Art vital for Humanity?
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:
If you know me personally or have been following this newsletter, I talk a lot about art. If nothing fruitful happens in my life and I had a choice, I would be grateful to be known as an artist. I've been working on a long-form article on a thought I was exploring for a while. I haven't fixed a title yet, but it revolves around 'Why is Art vital for humanity' or 'Why is art important' or 'Why do artists exist'. I had multiple interesting conversations with people real and online on this topic and I thought I would take some perspectives from the readers of the newsletter. Here are some open-ended questions that I'm having and I would love to hear your thoughts on these:
Does art contribute to science?
Does art help us to imagine better?
Does art predict our future and science model it?
If you had to eliminate scientists or artists, whom would you choose?
In a future dominated by generative art by AI, does human imagination matter?
If you have any thoughts on these, please do let me know by replying to his newsletter or in the comments section.
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That’s 10+1 Things for the week.
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You can predict a lot about a society by seeing their obsession with nostalgia in comparison to their curiosity for the future.