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A Reporter’s Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege

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After Trump’s incendiary speech, Mogelson followed the President’s supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone’s camera as a reporter’s notebook. What follows is a video that includes some of that raw footage. Mogelson harnessed this material while writing his panoramic, definitive report, “Among the Insurrectionists,” which the magazine posted online on Friday. (It appears in print in the January 25th issue.) His prose vividly captures how the raging anger and violence of the initial breach of the Capitol was followed by an eerily quiet and surreal interlude inside the Senate chamber, where Mogelson watched people rummaging through desks and posing for photographs. Although the footage was not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson’s probing, illuminating report.

Click here to read “Among the Insurrectionists.”


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digdoug
8 days ago
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These motherfuckers are so dumb. It would be funny if it wasn't sad, and scary as hell.
Louisville, KY
Michael_Novakhov
7 days ago
Well said.
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A Lightly Annotated List of Number 22’s Mentors in Pixar’s Soul

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One of the best aspects of Pixar’s Soul is a running gag about all the famous people who have tried to mentor the recalcitrant Number 22, voiced by Tina Fey. We meet a few of these figures via flashback (and Den of Geek has a great educational post about these on-screen mentors), but what caught my attention was 22’s Wall of Fame. Number 22 has a massive collection of name badges, presumably of everyone who has ever tried to guide them, and with some creative screengrabs I was able to read quite a few of them.

Caveat: I, to my shame, only read English, enough French and German to order food in a restaurant, and enough Irish to know which consonants not to pronounce. (Usually.) Many of 22’s mentors are named in Arabic, Cyrillic, Korean, Hebrew, Greek, and a few other alphabet systems that I’m not familiar with, so I wasn’t able to write them up in this list. But! It is my great hope that some of you out there will be able to pause the film and name some of those mentors in the comments.

Here we go:

Disney and Pixar’s Soul (Screenshot: Disney+)

  • Abraham Lincoln
    [n.b.: Deserved better than the penny.]
  • Grace O’Malley
    [n.b.: In Irish it’s Gráinne Ní Mháille! She was a bit of a pirate queen, leader of a prominent family in Western Ireland, and faced off with Elizabeth I over land ownership a few times.]
  • Babatunde Olatunji
    [n.b.: I think there’s a sticker for the celebrated Nigerian musician, but I couldn’t see it clearly.]
  • Harriet Tubman
    [n.b.: Deserves far better than the $20 bill, though I agree with Soul’s Abraham Lincoln that Andrew Jackson shouldn’t be on there, either.]
  • Harvey Milk
    [n.b: LGBTQ leader, the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, who championed a successful anti-discrimination bill before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978.]
  • Jack Kirby
    [n.b.: The KING, and my personal favorite puncher of Nazis.]
  • Jiří Svoboda
    [n.b.: Maybe the Czech javelin thrower who competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics?]
  • Joe Grant
    [n.b.: An early Disney animator, Grant designed the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, co-wrote Fantasia and Dumbo, and came back to animation decades later work on movies including Aladdin, The Lion King, Fantasia 2000, Monsters, Inc., and Up. Also, the titular Lady of Lady and the Tramp was said to be based on his Springer Spaniel, also named Lady.]
  • Joe Ranft
    [n.b.: Ranft was Pixar’s head of story from 1991 until 2006, he worked on The Brave Little Toaster, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a ton of other films, and also co-starred in several Pixar movies, with my favorite of his performances being Heimlich the caterpillar in A Bug’s Life.]
  • Johannes Gutenberg
    [n.b.: did NOT invent the printing press, because Chinese Buddhists did a first run of printing in the 900s, which was then refined by Korean Buddhists including a civil servant named Choe Yun-ui, who seems to have locked moveable type down in about 1250 C.E.—but Gutenberg did revolutionize printing in Europe, which is also great.]
  • Johnny Cash
    [n.b.: When I read this I heard him saying “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”, and my heart grew several sizes.]
  • Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
    [n.b.: An extraordinary philosopher, poet, and musician, who treated her nunnery as a salon in the 1670s and ‘80s until a Bishop cracked down on her. Go read her stuff.]
  • Margaret M(ead)
    [n.b.: I think this one is anthropologist Margaret Mead, I never got a clear enough look.]
  • María Izquierdo
    [n.b.: A painter of the Los Contemporáneos modern art school, and the first Mexican woman to have her artwork shown in the U.S.!]
  • Mike Oznowicz
    [n.b.: Frank Oz’s dad (also a puppeteer) and the person Monsters Inc.’s Mike Wazowski is named for!]
  • Pablo Picasso
    [n.b.: ugh THIS guy.]
  • Thomas Edison
    [n.b.: JUSTICE FOR TOPSY!]
  • István Tóth
    [n.b.: This could be either the Hungarian boxer who competed in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo (the subject of a fascinating film, Tokyo Olympiad) OR the Hungarian footballer who was a member of the squad at the 1912 Summer Olympics!]
  • Ts’ai Lun
    [n.b.: The inventor of modern paper!]

That’s everyone I found! Let me know if you spotted anyone else, or translated any tags that are beyond my abilities!

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digdoug
9 days ago
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Louisville, KY
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100 Tips For A Better Life – ideopunk

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The other day I made an advice thread based on Putanumonit’s from last year! If you know a source for one of these, shout and I’ll edit it in. 

Possessions

1 .If you want to find out about people’s opinions on a product, google <product> reddit. You’ll get real people arguing, as compared to the SEO’d Google results.

2. Some banks charge you $20 a month for an account, others charge you 0. If you’re with one of the former, have a good explanation for what those $20 are buying.

3. Things you use for a significant fraction of your life (bed: 1/3rd, office-chair: 1/4th) are worth investing in. 

4. “Where is the good knife?” If you’re looking for your good X, you have bad Xs. Throw those out. 

5. If your work is done on a computer, get a second monitor. Less time navigating between windows means more time for thinking. 

6. Establish clear rules about when to throw out old junk. Once clear rules are established, junk will probably cease to be a problem. This is because any rule would be superior to our implicit rules (“keep this broken stereo for five years in case I learn how to fix it”). 

7. Don’t buy CDs for people. They have Spotify. Buy them merch from a band they like instead. It’s more personal and the band gets more money. 

8. When buying things, time and money trade-off against each other. If you’re low on money, take more time to find deals. If you’re low on time, stop looking for great deals and just buy things quickly online. 

Cooking

9. Steeping minutes: Green at 3, black at 4, herbal at 5. Good tea is that simple! 

10. Food actually can be both cheap, healthy, tasty, and relatively quick to prepare. All it requires is a few hours one day to prepare many meals for the week. 

11. Cooking pollutes the air. Opening windows for a few minutes after cooking can dramatically improve air quality. 

12. Food taste can be made much more exciting through simple seasoning. It’s also an opportunity for expression. Buy a few herbs and spices and experiment away.

13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes. 

Productivity

14. Advanced search features are a fast way to create tighter search statements. For example:
img html 
will return inferior results compared to:
img html -w3

15. You can automate mundane computer tasks with Autohotkey (or AppleScript). If you keep doing a sequence “so simple a computer can do it”, make the computer do it. 

16. Learn keyboard shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and you’ll get tasks done faster and easier. 

17. Done is better than perfect. 

18. Keep your desk and workspace bare. Treat every object as an imposition upon your attention, because it is. A workspace is not a place for storing things. It is a place for accomplishing things. 

19. Reward yourself after completing challenges, even badly. 

Body

20. The 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes of screenwork, look at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will reduce eye strain and is easy to remember (or program reminders for). 

21. Exercise (weightlifting) not only creates muscle mass, it also improves skeletal structure. Lift!

22. Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small. 

23. (~This is not medical advice~). Don’t waste money on multivitamins, they don’t work. Vitamin D supplementation does seem to work, which is important because deficiency is common. 

24. Phones have gotten heavier in the last decade and they’re actually pretty hard on your wrists! Use a computer when it’s an alternative or try to at least prop up your phone. 

Success

25. History remembers those who got to market first. Getting your creation out into the world is more important than getting it perfect.

26. Are you on the fence about breaking up or leaving your job? You should probably go ahead and do it. People, on average, end up happier when they take the plunge. 

27. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation. 

28. You can improve your communication skills with practice much more effectively than you can improve your intelligence with practice. If you’re not that smart but can communicate ideas clearly, you have a great advantage over everybody who can’t communicate clearly.

29. You do not live in a video game. There are no pop-up warnings if you’re about to do something foolish, or if you’ve been going in the wrong direction for too long. You have to create your own warnings. 

30. If you listen to successful people talk about their methods, remember that all the people who used the same methods and failed did not make videos about it. 

31. The best advice is personal and comes from somebody who knows you well. Take broad-spectrum advice like this as needed, but the best way to get help is to ask honest friends who love you.

32. Make accomplishing things as easy as possible. Find the easiest way to start exercising. Find the easiest way to start writing. People make things harder than they have to be and get frustrated when they can’t succeed. Try not to. 

33. Cultivate a reputation for being dependable. Good reputations are valuable because they’re rare (easily destroyed and hard to rebuild). You don’t have to brew the most amazing coffee if your customers know the coffee will always be hot.

34. How you spend every day is how you spend your life. 

Rationality

35. Noticing biases in others is easy, noticing biases in yourself is hard. However, it has much higher pay-off. 

36. Explaining problems is good. Often in the process of laying out a problem, a solution will present itself. 

37. Foolish people are right about most things. Endeavour to not let the opinions of foolish people automatically discredit those opinions. 

38. You have a plan. A time-traveller from 2030 appears and tells you your plan failed. Which part of your plan do you think is the one that fails? Fix that part. 

39. If something surprises you again and again, stop being surprised. 

40. Should you freak out upon seeing your symptoms on the worst diseases on WebMD? Probably not! Look up the base rates for the disease and then apply Bayes’ Theorem 

41. Selfish people should listen to advice to be more selfless, selfless people should listen to advice to be more selfish. This applies to many things. Whenever you receive advice, consider its opposite as well. You might be filtering out the advice you need most. 

42. Common systems and tools have been designed so everybody can handle them. So don’t worry that you’re the only one who can’t! You can figure out doing laundry, baking, and driving on a highway. 

Self

43. Deficiencies do not make you special. The older you get, the more your inability to cook will be a red flag for people.

44. There is no interpersonal situation that can’t be improved by knowing more about your desires, goals, and structure. ‘Know thyself!’ 

45. If you’re under 90, try things. 

46. Things that aren’t your fault can still be your responsibility. 

47. Defining yourself by your suffering is an effective way to keep suffering forever (ex. incels, trauma). 

48. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing. 

49. Don’t confuse ‘doing a thing because I like it’ with ‘doing a thing because I want to be seen as the sort of person who does such things’

50. Remember that you are dying. 

51. Events can hurt us, not just our perceptions of them. It’s good to build resilience, but sometimes it isn’t your fault if something really gets to you. 

52. If you want to become funny, try just saying stupid shit (in the right company!) until something sticks. 

53. To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “everything in my life is completely fine.” Notice what objections arise. 

54. Procrastination comes naturally, so apply it to bad things. “I want to hurt myself right now. I’ll do it in an hour.” “I want a smoke now, so in half an hour I’ll go have a smoke.” Then repeat. Much like our good plans fall apart while we delay them, so can our bad plans. 

55. Personal epiphanies feel great, but they fade within weeks. Upon having an epiphany, make a plan and start actually changing behavior. 

56. Sometimes unsolvable questions like “what is my purpose?” and “why should I exist?” lose their force upon lifestyle fixes. In other words, seeing friends regularly and getting enough sleep can go a long way to solving existentialism. 

Hazards

57. There are two red flags to avoid almost all dangerous people: 1. The perpetually aggrieved ; 2. The angry. 

58. Some people create drama out of habit. You can avoid these people.

59. Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters. See: politicians, marketers, new masculinity gurus, etc. Avoid these. 

60. (~This is not legal advice!~)
DO NOT TALK TO COPS. 

61. It is cheap for people to talk about their values, goals, rules, and lifestyle. When people’s actions contradict their talk, pay attention! 

62. “If they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you” and “those who live by the sword die by the sword” mean the same thing. Viciousness you excuse in yourself, friends, or teammates will one day return to you, and then you won’t have an excuse. 

Others

63. In choosing between living with 0-1 people vs 2 or more people, remember that ascertaining responsibility will no longer be instantaneous with more than one roommate (“whose dishes are these?”).

64. Understand people have the right to be tasteless.

65. You will prevent yourself from even having thoughts that could lower your status. Avoid blocking yourself off just so people keep thinking you’re cool. 

66. Being in groups is important. If you don’t want to join a sports team, consider starting a shitty band. It’s the closest you’ll get to being in an RPG. Train with 2-4 other characters, learn new moves, travel from pub to pub, and get quests from NPCs. 

67. It’s possible to get people to do things that make you like them more but respect them less. Avoid this, it destroys relationships. 

68. Think a little about why you enjoy what you enjoy. If you can explain what you love about Dune, you can now communicate not only with Dune fans, but with people who love those aspects in other books.

69. When you ask people, “What’s your favorite book / movie / band?” and they stumble, ask them instead what book / movie / band they’re currently enjoying most. They’ll almost always have one and be able to talk about it.

70. Bored people are boring. 

71. A norm of eating with your family without watching something will lead to better conversations. If this idea fills you with dread, consider getting a new family. 

72. If you bus to other cities, consider finding a rideshare on Facebook instead. It’s cheaper, faster, and leads to interesting conversations. 

Relationships

73. In relationships look for somebody you can enjoy just hanging out near. Long-term relationships are mostly spent just chilling.

74. Sometimes things last a long time because they’re good (jambalaya). But that doesn’t mean that because something has lasted a long time that it is good (penile subincisions). Apply this to relationships, careers, and beliefs as appropriate. 

75. Don’t complain about your partner to coworkers or online. The benefits are negligible and the cost is destroying a bit of your soul. 

76. After a breakup, cease all contact as soon as practical. The potential for drama is endless, and the potential for a good friendship is negligible. Wait a year before trying to be friends again.

77. If you haven’t figured things out sexually, remember that there isn’t a deadline. If somebody is making you feel like there is, consider the possibility that they aren’t your pal.

78. If you have trouble talking during dates, try saying whatever comes into your head. At worst you’ll ruin some dates (which weren’t going well anyways), at best you’ll have some great conversations. Alcohol can help. 

79. When dating, de-emphasizing your quirks will lead to 90% of people thinking you’re kind of alright. Emphasizing your quirks will lead to 10% of people thinking you’re fascinating and fun. Those are the people interested in dating you. Aim for them. 

80. Relationships need novelty. It’s hard to have novelty during Covid–but have you planned your post-Covid adventure yet?

81. People can be the wrong fit for you without being bad. Being a person is complicated and hard. 

Compassion

82. Call your parents when you think of them, tell your friends when you love them.

83. Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out. 

84. If somebody is undergoing group criticism, the tribal part in you will want to join in the fun of righteously destroying somebody. Resist this, you’ll only add ugliness to the world. And anyway, they’ve already learned the lesson they’re going to learn and it probably isn’t the lesson you want. 

85. Cultivate compassion for those less intelligent than you. Many people, through no fault of their own, can’t handle forms, scammers, or complex situations. Be kind to them because the world is not. 

86. Cultivate patience for difficult people. Communication is extremely complicated and involves getting both tone and complex ideas across. Many people can barely do either. Don’t punish them.

87. Don’t punish people for trying. You teach them to not try with you. Punishing includes whining that it took them so long, that they did it badly, or that others have done it better. 

88. Remember that many people suffer invisibly, and some of the worst suffering is shame. Not everybody can make their pain legible. 

89. Don’t punish people for admitting they were wrong, you make it harder for them to improve. 

90. In general, you will look for excuses to not be kind to people. Resist these. 

Joy

91. Human mood and well-being are heavily influenced by simple things: Exercise, good sleep, light, being in nature. It’s cheap to experiment with these.

92. You have vanishingly little political influence and every thought you spend on politics will probably come to nothing. Consider building things instead, or at least going for a walk. 

93. Sturgeon’s law states that 90% of everything is crap. If you dislike poetry, or fine art, or anything, it’s possible you’ve only ever seen the crap. Go looking!

94. You don’t have to love your job. Jobs can be many things, but they’re also a way to make money. Many people live fine lives in okay jobs by using the money they make on things they care about. 

95. Some types of sophistication won’t make you enjoy the object more, they’ll make you enjoy it less. For example, wine snobs don’t enjoy wine twice as much as you, they’re more keenly aware of how most wine isn’t good enough. Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment.

96. If other people having it worse than you means you can’t be sad, then other people having it better than you would mean you can’t be happy. Feel what you feel. 

97. Liking and wanting things are different. There are things like junk food that you want beyond enjoyment. But you can also like things (like reading) without wanting them. If you remember enjoying something but don’t feel a desire for it now, try pushing yourself.

98. People don’t realize how much they hate commuting. A nice house farther from work is not worth the fraction of your life you are giving to boredom and fatigue. 

99. There’s some evidence that introverts and extroverts both benefit from being pushed to be more extroverted. Consider this the next time you aren’t sure if you feel like going out. 

100. Bad things happen dramatically (a pandemic). Good things happen gradually (malaria deaths dropping annually) and don’t feel like ‘news’. Endeavour to keep track of the good things to avoid an inaccurate and dismal view of the world. 

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digdoug
10 days ago
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The backstory of an insurgent

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Matt Stoller has a thought-provoking post about the Trump supporter who was shot while trying to break into the Speaker’s Chamber in the Capitol building on January 6. Her name is Ashli Babbitt and she was the subject of a New York Times profile, on which Stoller drew.

According to the New York Times, Babbitt was a 35 year-old woman from California who spent 14 years serving in the U.S. Air Force, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. government sent Babbitt abroad eight times, and though not every time was in a combat zone, such repeated deployments into violent areas tend to cause brain damage.

After her time at war, Babbitt had a modest propensity for violence, threatening a rival love interest by rear ending her with a car in 2016. She married, and bought a small business with her husband, a pool supply company called Fowlers Pool Service and Supply. There she ran into commercial problems common to small businesses these days.

She borrowed money at an extortionate rate (169%), then defaulted, but sued on the grounds that her lender had cheated her with too high of an interest rate. She lost, as “courts have held that such arrangements don’t amount to loans and are not bound by usury laws.” At which point she became more into politics through social media, and then was sucked into the QAnon conspiracy-theory-cum-cult.

So, says Stoller,

here’s the profile of a rioter, a working class person who went overseas eight times in military service, including two combat zones, who then tried her hand at a small business where financial predators and monopolists lurked. She then fell in with conspiratorial social media, and turned into a violent rioter who, like most of the rioters, thought she was defending America by overturning an election.

It’s easy to mock this kind of thinking, to see rioters as losers or racists. And no doubt there’s a strain of deep-seated racial animus that is with us and always will be, but I think ascribing all of it to such an explanation is too simple. Racist or no, Babbitt really was at one point a patriotic American, serving in the military for over half her adult life. More broadly, she’s far from alone in expressing rage at the status quo. There have protests against the existing social order for almost a decade, starting with the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and then Black Lives Matter in 2014 and accelerating into protests and riots earlier this year. I’ve written about the relationship between unrest and corporate power in the context of those protests, a sense of alienation that normal political channels, that politics itself is not a realistic path for addressing social problems.

Babbit, he argues,

Babbitt was both an adult making dangerous political choices, and a product of our policy regime, having been a soldier in a violent unnecessary war and trying to make her way a society that enables predators to make money through financial chicanery and addictive products. She chose poorly, but she also had few choices to make, one of which was getting on social media and being lured into joining a violent and paranoid cult of personality.

As everyone and his dog has realised by now, the shambolic insurgency on January 6 was the culmination of a six or seven-year process of alienation, inequality, racism, right-wing and neo-fascist resurgence. But it leaves the US with an almost existential problem. There are, Stoller thinks, only two paths in a representative democracy which has a large group of its citizens who live in a cult-like artificial world of misinformation, and many more who rightly or wrongly don’t trust any political institution.

One is to try to strip these people of representation and political power; that is the guiding idea behind removing Trump, as well as a whole host of conservatives, off of Silicon Valley platforms that have become essential to modern society.

The trouble is that “Rremoving these people is a choice to not have a society, to pretend that we can put these people into a closet somewhere and ignore them.”

It’s not going to work.

The alternative Stoller sees is less dramatic.

We can take on the legal framework behind social media so these products aren’t addictive and radicalizing. As I’ve written, there are legal immunities and policy choices that allow Facebook to profit in especially toxic ways through compiling detailed user profiles and targeting them with ads. If we change how social media companies make money, we can change how these services operate to make them socially beneficial instead of engines of radicalization.

Yep. The business model is the key to this. If it’s not brought under control then the game’s up. So there is an urgent connection between antitrust and other forms of regulation and the future of the US as a functioning democracy. Trump may or may not be finished, but the line of elected Republican presidential-hopefuls who lined up in the Senate and House to try to overturn the election shows that the supply-line of prospective autocrats is flowing nicely.

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digdoug
13 days ago
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Tips for a Better Life

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On his blog, Conor Barnes shared an eclectic list of 100 Tips For A Better Life. I’m less keen on these sorts of lists than I used to be because they’re often written for people who already have pretty good lives and it’s too easy to imagine that a list advocating the opposite of each tip would also lead to a better life. To be fair, Barnes’ list acknowledges the difficulty with generalized advice:

31. The best advice is personal and comes from somebody who knows you well. Take broad-spectrum advice like this as needed, but the best way to get help is to ask honest friends who love you.

That said, here are some of the list items that resonated with me in some way.

3. Things you use for a significant fraction of your life (bed: 1/3rd, office-chair: 1/4th) are worth investing in.

I recently upgraded my mattress from a cheap memory foam one I’d been using for almost 7 years to a hybrid mattress that was probably 3X the cost but is so comfortable and better for my back.

13. When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.

I’ve been doing this over the past year with mixed results. Google has become a terrible way to find good recipes, even with this trick. My version of this is googling “kenji {name of dish}” — works great.

27. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.

My motivation is sometimes very low when it comes to working on this here website. But my discipline is off the charts, so it gets done 99 days out of 100, even in a pandemic. (I am still unclear whether this is healthy for me or not…)

46. Things that aren’t your fault can still be your responsibility.

48. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing.

Oh, this used to be me: “I’m this sort of person.” Turns out, not so much.

56. Sometimes unsolvable questions like “what is my purpose?” and “why should I exist?” lose their force upon lifestyle fixes. In other words, seeing friends regularly and getting enough sleep can go a long way to solving existentialism.

75. Don’t complain about your partner to coworkers or online. The benefits are negligible and the cost is destroying a bit of your soul.

Interpreting “partner” broadly here, I completely agree with this one. If they are truly a partner (romantic, business, parenting), complaining is counterproductive. Instead, talk to others about how those relationships can be repaired, strengthened, or, if necessary, brought to an appropriate end.

88. Remember that many people suffer invisibly, and some of the worst suffering is shame. Not everybody can make their pain legible.

91. Human mood and well-being are heavily influenced by simple things: Exercise, good sleep, light, being in nature. It’s cheap to experiment with these.

This is good advice, but some of these things actually aren’t “cheap” for some people.

100. Bad things happen dramatically (a pandemic). Good things happen gradually (malaria deaths dropping annually) and don’t feel like ‘news’. Endeavour to keep track of the good things to avoid an inaccurate and dismal view of the world.

Oof, this ended on a flat note. Many bad things seem to happen dramatically because we don’t notice the results of small bad decisions accumulating over time that lead to sudden outcomes. Like Hemingway said about how bankruptcy happens: gradually, then suddenly. Lung cancer doesn’t happen suddenly; it’s the 40 years of cigarettes. California’s wildfires are the inevitable result of 250 years of climate change & poor forestry management techniques. Miami and other coastal cities are being slowly claimed by the ocean — they will reach breaking points in the near future. Even the results of something like earthquakes or hurricanes can be traced to insufficient investment in safety measures, policy, etc.

The pandemic seemed to come out of nowhere, but experts in epidemiology & infectious diseases had been warning about a pandemic just like this one for years and even decades. The erosion of public trust in government, the politicization of healthcare, the deemphasis of public health, and the Republican death cult (which is its own slow-developing disaster now reaching a crisis) controlling key aspects of federal, state, and local government made the pandemic impossible to contain in America. (This is true of most acute crises in the United States. Where you find people suffering, there are probably decades or even centuries of public policy to blame.)

Bad news happens slowly and unnoticed all the time. You don’t have to look any further for evidence of this than how numb we are to the fact that thousands of Americans are dying every single day from a disease that we know how to control. So, endeavour to keep track of the bad things to avoid an inaccurate and unrealistically optimistic view of the world — it helps in making a list of injustices to pay attention to and work against.

Tags: Conor Barnes   COVID-19   global warming   lists   politics
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digdoug
13 days ago
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Visual development for Soul by Camilo Castro

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Visual development for Soul by Camilo Castro

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digdoug
14 days ago
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