Artificial Life Forms, Brilliance Bias, Mouse Museum and Tibetan Book of Proportions
#20 of 10+1 Things
⚡ Welcome to #20 of 10+1 Things!
Here are 10+1 Things that I thought were worth sharing this week:
🧠 Creative Brain
Being creative is not limited to art, but is useful in solving complex problems, coming up with new ideas and more. With some helpful biological and psychological cues, NessLabs has written a great article on how to cultivate creative thinking. In a nutshell, creativity is not about building something out of thin air but it's about connecting the dots from your past to visualize the future and letting your mind wander so that you have room for new ideas.
💭 Brilliance Bias
Despite multiple studies showing that gender plays no role in brilliance, brilliance is often attributed to men. Brilliance bias is the tendency to think of brilliance or genius as a male characteristic. Very few women are depicted or mentioned in our history books, so subconsciously when we think of brilliant people, men come into our minds. Due to this underrepresentation, STEM careers that often need brilliance have fewer women employed. Many studies have indicated that women often suffer from impostor syndrome, which prevents them from pursuing STEM careers since brilliance is often seen as a male characteristic.
When thinking of a brilliant or a genius person, what picture comes into your mind first? A man or a woman?
🖱 Old Mouse Museum
It's hard to imagine a world where the computer mouse had never existed. It made computing easy and changed the way how humans interact with computers. Ever since its invention in 1968, the computer mouse has undergone many changes and has paved the way for new interaction devices like trackpads and screens. Oldmouse.com is an online museum dedicated to computer mouses, which intends to track the evolution of the device over the years. From Engelbart's mouse in the 1960s to the Microsoft Green Eyes of the 1980s, it's quite interesting to see how with human ingenuity, the mouse has evolved over the years.
“No one can remember. It just looked like a mouse with a tail, and we all called it that.” — Douglas Engelbart, Founder of Computer Mouse
📜 Book of Proportions
Buddha is traditionally regarded as having '32 Characteristics of a Great Man'. I recently came across this interesting book called 'The Tibetan Book of Proportions' consisting of 36 ink drawings showing precise drawings to depict Buddha. As Buddhism spread over the years, the pictorial representation of Buddha became important and guidelines emerged on how the should be drawn. The book written in Newari Script with Tibetan numbers was produced for this purpose in the 1700s in Nepal for use in Tibet. The book precisely points to various guidelines for depicting Buddha and is an interesting find to read and research more.
🚴♀️ How Green is Cycling?
I have always thought of cycling as one of the most sustainable means of transport and assumed that its carbon footprint only comes during the manufacturing process. While calculating the carbon footprint of cycling, apart from the manufacturing emissions, the emissions related to the extra food consumed by the person to fuel cycling also should be considered. It is found that cycling has a carbon footprint of about 21g of CO2 per kilometre. Surprisingly, three-quarters of these emissions occur while producing the food required by the cyclist. Studies have shown that electric bikes even though having a higher manufacturing carbon footprint has fewer emissions compared to cycling as no fuel(food) is burned per kilometre. Due to high calorific demand per kilometre, walking has a carbon footprint of 3.8 times more than cycling.
Riding a cycle after eating roast potatoes is more environmentally friendly than having a sirloin steak and doing it!
🍄 World's Largest Truffle
Truffle is an edible fungus that grows underground often in the roots of oak trees and is mainly used in soups, creams or sauces to adding an earthy/nutty tasty. Giancarlo Zigante, a truffle hunter from Istria in Croatia, found a Truffle weighing 1,310g on a chilly night in November 1999. In the morning when he contacted the Guinness World Records, it was confirmed as the biggest truffle ever recorded. Even though he could have sold it for €1 million, Zigante decided to share the truffle with the community over becoming rich. He invited 200 people from Istria to a feast and shared the truffle with the community. Even though the record was broken later by another truffle, because Zigante cared about the community, the truffle still stands as the most famous one in the world.
"I could have sold it for €1m and made my fortune, but I knew instantly that I didn’t want to do that. It’s great to be rich, but I felt the truffle could have more impact if it was shared. The truffle was found in Istria and should be consumed here, not sold to a rich person abroad. "
🎬 Partition of India
I've enjoyed watching a video titled 'Why was India split into two countries' published on Ted-Ed by Haimanti Roy, a professor and author of the book called Partition of India. Within a span of five weeks, using outdated maps, inaccurate census numbers and minimal knowledge of the land, the Boundary Committee drew a border dividing three provinces under direct British rule: Bengal, Punjab, and Assam. In 1947, when Britain split India into two countries, mass immigration and violence were followed. In a period of two years, millions of Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan left for India, while Muslims living in India fled villages where their families had lived for centuries.
🧵 40 Concepts
In an interesting Twitter thread, Gurwinder has shared 40 concepts that you should know. The mega thread consists of concepts from various fields like psychology, technology, economics, philosophy, history and more. My favourites from the thread are the Simulation Hypothesis and the Tragedy of the Commons.
Which one is your favourite?
👨🎨 Artificial Forms of Life
This week I'm revisiting the works of a Dutch physicist turned into an artist, Theo Jansen. Jansen creates kinetic sculptures called Strandbeests(a Dutch term that translates to ‘beach beasts’), an artificial form of life made from hundreds of electric PVC tubes that are wind-propelled and resemble walking animals. He uses PVC Tubes to assemble artificial beach animals that can walk along the coastline, store air pressure of wind and can even detect obstacles like sand dunes or water. Over the years, just like natural forms of life, Strandbeests have evolved slowly with the help of evolutionary computation. The latest generation of these sculptures can even react to the environment and Jansen tries to prove a point that these technologies are not an inventor's fancy, but a new stage of evolution. If you're interested in Strandbeests, you can check out this video by Jansen or read this interview.
I'm aware of Strandbeests from 2015 and have even tried making one during my undergrad days, but horribly failed as these are quite complex animals!
📚 From Darwin to Munger
I finished The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday a few days back and have started a new book called 'Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin To Munger' by Peter Bevelin. The book is a result of Bevelin's quest on attaining wisdom through making mistakes made by himself and the philosophies of influential people in our history ranging from Charles Darwin to Charlie Munger. The writing style is not the best I've read but think of this more as a curated collection of ideas. I've enjoyed reading the book so far and would be interesting for anyone who loves the constant search for knowledge.
🎵 Tired of Earth, These People
It's raining here and I love listening to post-rock especially when it rains. I've been listening to this collection titled 'Tired of earth. These people' by Worldhaspostrock. The music is a bit dramatic and emotional but is quite relaxing and soothing!
📣 Idea Economy
I've enjoyed reading the IdeaEconomy newsletter by John Bardos, who curates the latest ideas, trends, and tactics so that you can build an audience and grow your business. John goes through over a hundred blogs, newsletters, and podcasts to bring you the best content in a weekly email that only takes a few minutes to read. If you love 10+1 Things, I would definitely recommend you to have a look at Idea Economy.
That’s 10+1 Things for the week.
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See you next week!
“There are so many people in the world that are so much more talented than you. They’re sexier. Smarter. Richer. More creative. More likeable, more charming, better-connected, and better-looking. But there is one, singular thing you can do better than them: You can outwork them.” ~ Anthony Moore
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