Photo by Evelyn from Pexels
Creating a reading culture, drones for good, and best before dates are some of the top reads we’ve discovered in this issue. Then listen to a marketing guru’s advice for freelancers and find out the book that’s been on my reading list for two years. Then I leave you with an update from Europe, and five things I’m digging of late, including a video on why we write, an art project and a recommended folk musician from Portland.
◦ selected words
How Do We Bring Reading Back?
“Any tech company that cares about their employees’ bodies enough to have a chef and a gym, should also offer something for the mind. Imagine how it changes the recruiting conversation to say “we have an onsite independent bookstore” as one of the amenities.” The need for readers amidst a culture of shouting, and how a humanities program for managers at the Telecom giant Bell worked out too well.
Austin Kleon (4min read)
You’re Probably a Reducetarian
Are you among those consciously reducing your meat and dairy intake, but the thought of committing to a full vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t appealing? A recent study concluded that giving up meat and dairy is the single biggest change we can take to reduce our impact on Earth. If you’re in this camp, there’s a new label for you (because society loves labels!). This article humorously explains another, admittedly less-catchy, alternative to the “flexitarian” term I was using in this playful back and forth dialogue.
The Guardian (2min read)
What Best Before Dates Really Mean
After considering 900 submissions from industry and individuals, Canada’s National Zero Waste Council has come up with a set of recommendations to reach their goal of reducing food waste in half by 2030. The main contributors to waste? Best-before labels, education, and vague regulations on food donations. Watch the 5min video with tips on how you can reduce food waste.
Global News (3min read + 5min video)
Team of Drones Help Entangled Whales Escape
I do the “drone groan” whenever I’m by the ocean and over the sound of waves and birds, I hear the artificial whir of a drone hovering overhead. But drones have useful applications besides making cool Instagram videos. Federal rescue teams in Hawaii have partnered with Oceans Unmanned, a non-profit bringing technology to ocean protection, to protect whale, and human lives.
Honolulu Star Advisor (2min read + 4min video)
Academics Sign Pledge Against the Scientific Journal, Nature
The public pays for funding research, so why do we pay twice to access the results? Spurred by the Journal behind Nature and Scientific American’s launch of their 53rd publication to monetize the field of AI, join the thousands who’ve signed a petition to protect open access to research in the field of Machine Intelligence. Other fields, pay attention.
TechCrunch (2min read)
◦ listen in
Tips for Freelancers from Seth Godin
The popular blogger, marketing guru, and rational voice in our ever-changing world does more than criticize our education system, he actually changes it by creating the alt-MBA program. Launched earlier this year, Akimbo is Godin’s first foray into podcasting, following his trademark straight-forward style bringing fun historical background to why we work the way we do, and how we can change it for the better. As a freelancer since 2008, I can tell you his advice in this episode is golden.
Akimbo – A Podcast by Seth Godin (31min podcast on Stitcher)
◦ eat well
Savory Golden Oatmeal
When I was first presented with this rich golden bowl, I didn’t think oatmeal could be savory. Spiced with turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and topped with slices of mango and banana, this filling breakfast will have your home smelling of fresh chai. This recipe is the closest I could find. Optionally add rose water.
◦ read slow
Move Over Myers-Briggs, We Have the “Magic: The Gathering” Color Wheel
In grade nine, for half the school year I would meet up under the stairs at lunch hour to join my friends, toting boxes of Magic: The Gathering (MTG) playing cards (mainly fourth edition — nerd nod). 25 years later, the fantasy card game hasn’t gone away. Instead, in our digital world it’s shown remarkable staying power with daily live tournaments in board game shops worldwide. In MTG, the cards are divided into five colors representing ideologies, with white for peace, blue for knowledge, black for power, red for freedom, and green for nature. In this ridiculously well-done long read, writer Duncan Sabien has gone into great detail to a level only a super fan could achieve, leveraging pop culture references and pop psychology to explain how MTG colors can help us understand behavior and motivations, borrowing from the scientifically-sound Big Five personality traits. A 47min podcast version of this story is also in the link.
Medium (30min read)
◦ current read
Chalk this up as one of those books I’ve been meaning to read since it came out in 2015, but only now reading it too late, or at exactly the right time, depending on your perspective. Elizabeth Gilbert speaks on creativity from a unique place, having wild success with Eat Pray Love, her straight-talk on living a creative life manages to be playful, rational and inspirational. A more-than-inspirational read not only for those struggling with their creative process, but mostly for those who fear starting. Get the gist in this 51min podcast from On Being, then go out and create for the sake of it.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (288p read)
◦ dig this
What I’m digging lately:
- Why Do So Many People Want to Be Writers? – The School of Life’s perspective on why so many people are pursuing this craft.
- The Guardian’s 20 Photos of the Week – The British daily’s photographic series highlighting major current events.
- NYTimes + Bias = Art – Alexandra Bell makes radical edits to expose biased front-page headlines with her “Counternarratives” project.
- 135 Companies are Tracking You – And that’s only in Canada. In two clicks, opt out of all 135 data collection agencies tracking your browsing behavior.
- Haley Heynderickx – The persistent Portland native’s melodic debut album almost never came to be. Start with this song on Spotify or YouTube.
◦ humble thought
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.”
– Neil and Andrew Postman “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”
Growing up in one of the many small suburbs encroaching into rural Fraser Valley, I found myself often the youngest at extended family gatherings. I would never be asked to babysit, because there were no babies. My parents had few friends outside of family, and because my cousins were all grouped in similar ages with the eldest never having children, I’d grown up in this strange childless bubble that extended into adulthood.
Even today with several nieces and nephews, I’m not the most comfortable around kids. This past week I visited family in Halifax, pronounced “Hal-ee-fax” by locals, an old cotton mill town in West Yorkshire whose claim to fame is being the original home of Mackintosh’s Toffee and their red plaid candy boxes. Last Sunday evening I was playing hide and seek in the backyard of their manor with the youngest, a bright, energetic five-year-old girl, when it was her turn to pick the game. She wanted to sing songs. I asked, what kind of songs? And she replied, “Anything! You can make it up!”.
Boom, comfort zone breached, and then the pangs of anxiety come rushing in. Yes, it’s only a child’s request. And yes, it’s not a big deal. I safely suggested she sing first, and she confidently belted out a song I didn’t recognize to a tune that was possibly all her own. I was still nervous and overthinking as my turn came because singing and remembering lyrics were never my thing. I gave it go, singing something about the moon and the stars to a broken melody.
And it felt liberating! She smiled, but I caught her off guard because I ended a bit short and didn’t finish the song nicely, but children don’t judge and so she continued after a brief pause. She gave a cute mashed-up rendition of Frozen and some random lyrics she’d picked up in her five years of existence. It got easier for me on the second and third songs, but then I got stuck, so I quickly thought of a song I knew some of the words to. Out came the Mulan theme, which was well before her time, but I saw on her approving face that she liked it. She would’ve liked anything I sang, as long as I played along. That’s the beauty of the game. On her next song, I noticed her unabashedly using words from this song I just finished and remaking it into her own.
It’s this “don’t care” attitude children bring to everything from music to art that is so beautiful. It’s something that often gets lost on the path of “growing up”, the part that gets silenced with creativity, and something that I will actively fold back into my life. Thanks for reading.
Thanks to Giles, Doug, Sarvi & Humaira’s shares for some of the links in this issue.