Athleticism as the new midlife crisis, the problem with digital nomads, kickoff of a huge ocean cleanup, and food studies in journalism are some of the best reads from around the web. Our long read scans the brain of the world’s greatest free climber, listen to a thought-provoking interview with Elon Musk on JRE, and then check out five things I’m digging lately in issue #35 of Align Center.
◦ selected words
Noticing your middle-aged friends getting really, really into endurance-demanding sports? It turns out it’s a huge trend — the largest group of competitors at last year’s New York Marathon was the 40-44 age group, and the average age of 100-mile (160km) ultra-marathon runners was 44. It’s hard to avoid the Ironman brand, with cars proudly sporting that recognizable red M in bumper sticker form. How big is Ironman? The company was purchased for $650M three years ago by a Chinese company, and is now worth $900M. A great read looking into what is driving people to extreme fitness.
The Atlantic (11min read)
With the rise of discount travel, improved broadband, increased worker mobility, and a growing apathy towards traditional work arrangements, remote work is becoming a reality for many. Coworking spaces are popping up like cold-pressed juice bars, which giants like WeWork taking over entire office buildings in major cities around the world. But how are these nomads contributing to the places they settle in temporarily? A much needed discussion on individualism, tourism and technology in the growing segment of mobile work.
Paris Marx (The Radical Urbanist) on Medium (7min read)
The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastics than fish. Extremely depressing, but people are hard at work to so this dire prediction does not come true. You can be critical and think it won’t make a dent, but The Ocean Cleanup, a group out of California, has made a target to clean up 90% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass with a land area estimated to be greater than the size of Texas. The launch data is tomorrow, September 8.
Forbes (4min read)
More than a year after the death of conservationist, diver, and filmmaker Rob Stewart, his parents were determined to have his third documentary see the light of day. However, the footage for Sharkwater Extinction was locked on his computer, but they’d eventually guessed his password. It was “gratitude”. The film debuts October 5, but festival goers can see it this month at the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals.
The Star (3min read)
You may recall a recent headline citing a new study in a medical journal warning that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume. The backlash was swift, as several other journalists denounced the study, labeling it as “essentially meaningless”. Next week it will be wine, then coffee, or another nutritional staple. An op-ed on the harm of misleading reporting and questionable research.
CBC News (5min read)
◦ listen in
Just 20 hours after an interview with Elon Musk, the real life Tony Stark and possibly the greatest living inventor of our time, the Internet is aflame not for what he said, but for what he consumed. The knee-jerk reaction and over-analysis from his weed smoking on the show (legal in California, by the way) detracts from a rare long-form interview where Musk’s personality is on full display. Covering topics from A.I., electric airplanes and the Boring Company (digging a tunnel under LA), to those ridiculous not-a-real-flamethrower flamethrowers, Musk couldn’t help but tease us in his usual style, promising a big Neuralink update “in a few months”. How does he find the time? He even addresses that question on this superb episode of JRE.
The Joe Rogan Experience (2hr 44min podcast) / YouTube / iTunes
◦ eat well
I never make salads. I grew up on sautéed lettuce and Chinese vegetables like choy sum and gai lan, so eating raw greens was not a thing. But after a trip to Costco I had copious amounts of spinach, blackberries at peak season, and a kilo of pecans, so I found this uncomplicated recipe that didn’t scare me. The low sugar content of the berries combined with toasted pecans and crumbled feta make this perfect for summer.
Gimme Some Oven
◦ read slow
The quiet, charismatic, death-defying climber who became the first to free solo Yosemite’s 900m / 3,000 feet, 30-pitch Half Dome (climbing without a rope) has long been an enigma to scientists and the public alike. How does the most famous climber in the world suppress his fear instincts? A team of scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina were curious (as we all are), and led by a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in research on high sensation seekers, convinced Honnald to have his brain scanned by an fMRI machine to find out how his fear center works compared to an average human.
Nautilus (26min read)
I hesitate to give you more to read, but staff writer for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf, generously shared a list of 100 of the most worth non-fiction articles published last year (excluding paywalled and The Atlantic articles). Normally these recommendations are part of his subscription newsletter, so it’s a very generous offering. If one of these really shines for you, send me a note!
Conor Friedersdorf’s List of 100 Articles
◦ current read
The first book I’ve picked up randomly off a shelf in recent memory, this beauty caught my eye, featured at the end of an aisle at my local public library. One of my best friends lives by Tofino, so I visit often, but I knew little of the history of the area, brought to life by long-time resident Adrienne Mason in this enjoyable read filled with history, archival photos and colorful characters of the area known for having the best surf in this corner of the world.
Long Beach Wild: A Celebration of People and Place on Canada’s Rugged Western Shore by Adrienne Mason (224p book)
◦ dig this
What I’m digging lately:
- What If English Were Phonetically Consistent? – English can be frustrating. If you’re not convinced, this video will, starting with the 8 different ways “ough” is pronounced (4min YouTube).
- Merriam-Webster’s 25 New Words for 2018 – New additions include tech influenced words like “TL;DR” and “bingeable” along with “adorbs”, “guac” and “zoodle”.
- India’s Makes Landmark Gay Rights Judgement – India’s supreme court overturned a 160-year-old law banning sex “against the order of nature”.
- China Uproots Trees For New Cities – Photos of transplanted trees, fueled by China’s endless urbanization.
- Julien Baker – Already with two albums and an appearance on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, the 22 year-old singer-songwriter from Memphis is one to listen. (Spotify / Apple / NPR / JulienBaker.com)
◦ humble thought
“I have a rule that serves me well: Don’t think too much about your life after dinnertime. It’s a recipe for despair. Everything looks better in the light of the morning. Cliché, maybe, but it works.”
– Writer/Artist Austin Kleon via on Twitter
I am a part of several very different worlds. In the practical world, I delve into the problems of governments, corporations and non-profits, working with professionals, doctors, researchers and business managers to help them work a little bit better, solving problems involving bits and bytes. I enjoy the problem solving, and satisfaction from my clients. It gives me freedom and flexibility, with the trade off of excessive screen time and desk work.
Then there’s a completely separate world I’m getting deeper into, a world filled with travel and movement. Though these pursuits disproportionately attract those living unconventional and privileged lives, there are few other communities where I’ve found people of such varied histories. It’s a beautiful tapestry that came together last weekend at Western Canada’s largest AcroYoga festival in the tiny town of Enderby, with a population barely scraping 3,000, and not known for anything, nor does it strive to be. I carpooled with an energetic naturopathic doctorate student from Toronto and a quiet empty-nested translator, while toting a tent for a lithium battery specialist who flew the same day from San Francisco for the five hour drive. We sang, we played, massaged, performed, and got to know each other the way five days of camping can do.
Will I always live in these two worlds? I don’t know. Maybe until the paradigm shifts or something else in me does first. While some people embrace safety and security, in many aspects, I find my comfort in movement and uncertainty. This may change. Actually, if one thing is for certain it’s that it will change, and is changing. And so will this world. Can you feel the shift?