Eat [and Drink] Less Plastic

Drink water from your tap. Drinking water is one of the biggest contributors to microplastic ingestion, but bottled water has about double the microplastic level of tap water, according to Mason, making it a poor choice for those who want to consume less plastic. Some bottled waters have also been found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals. Mason says that unless you know your tap water is unsafe, you should opt for that over anything in a plastic bottle.”

-Kevin Lorea, “How to Eat Less Plastic.” Consumer Reports. August 13, 2019.
  • Drink water from your tap.
  • Don’t heat food in plastic.
  • Avoid plastic food containers.
  • Eat more fresh food.
  • Minimize household dust.
  • Reducing plastic pollution is going to require government intervention.

Open question: Does microplastic pollution and its effects on hormones and reducing fertility an existentional threat to the human species?

The Population Bust: Demographic Decline and the End of Capitalism as We Know It

“The mismatch between expectations of a rapidly growing global population (and all the attendant effects on climate, capitalism, and geopolitics) and the reality of both slowing growth rates and absolute contraction is so great that it will pose a considerable threat in the decades
ahead. Governments worldwide have evolved to meet the challenge of managing more people, not fewer and not older. Capitalism as a system is particularly vulnerable to a world of less population expansion; a significant portion of the economic growth that has driven capitalism over the past several centuries may have been simply a derivative of more people and younger people consuming
more stuff. If the world ahead has fewer people, will there be any real economic growth? We are not only unprepared to answer that question; we are not even starting to ask it.”

—Zachary Karabell, “The Population Bust Demographic Decline and the End of Capitalism as We Know It.” Foreign Affairs. September/October 2019.

Take that, Karl! Workers end up destroying capitalism by not reproducing themselves. There’s no extracting surplus value from people that don’t exist!

The 1619 Project – The New York Times

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American
slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html

Build Your Own Text Editor

“This is an instruction booklet that shows you how to build a text editor in C.

The text editor is antirez’s kilo, with some changes. It’s about 1000 lines of C in a single file with no dependencies, and it implements all the basic features you expect in a minimal editor, as well as syntax highlighting and a search feature.

This booklet walks you through building the editor in 184 steps. Each step, you’ll add, change, or remove a few lines of code. Most steps, you’ll be able to observe the changes you made by compiling and running the program immediately afterwards.”

https://viewsourcecode.org/snaptoken/kilo/index.html

Might be interesting to compare to the source code of mg, which is a minimal editor written in C that works like Emacs.

Math: Ambiguity & Order of Operations

“The real answer, the one I believe any mathematician, physicist, engineer, other number-cruncher would tell you is to make sure your
expressions aren’t ambiguous. There’s no extra charge for another set of parentheses. Just toss them in. If you want the answer to be 16, write (8÷2)(2+2). If you want it to be 1, write 8÷(2(2+2)). Problem solved.”

—Evelyn Lamb, “The Only Way to Win Is Not to Play the Game.” Scientific American. August 3, 2019.

Authentic Happiness

“The purpose of this website is to provide free resources where people can learn about Positive Psychology through readings, videos, research, opportunities, conferences, questionnaires with feedback and more. There is no charge for the use of this site. If you would like to take the questionnaires, you first need to register.

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. This field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of work, love and play.”

https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/

The Resulting Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions – Issue 55: Trust – Nautilus

“In life, it’s usually even more complicated because in most real decisions we haven’t examined the coin. We don’t know if it is a fair coin, if it has two sides with a heads and tails on it and is weighted properly.

That’s the hidden information problem. We can’t see everything. We haven’t experienced everything. We know the facts that we know, but there may be facts that we don’t know. Then the job of the decider is to reduce the uncertainty as much as they possibly can, but to understand that they’re always working within a range and they have limited control over how things turn out on any given try.”

—Stuart Firestein, “The Resulting Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions.” Nautilus. Issue 55.