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Weekly Review #15

getworkdonemusic.com does what it’s name says, if you’re into progressive/psytrance, but I see no reason why there shouldn’t be other sites like it but with different genres. Like mood radio, but only ‘get work done’ genre.

Alex Wellerstein created Nukemap, an interactive website that shows you exactly how much radiation and destruction comes from any nuke in existence, and lets you simulate launching them at any city in the world. It takes a powerful conversation topic and visualize it in a way anybody can understand- we need more tools like this.

After Whatsapp’s $19 billion purchase by Facebook, thingsthatarecheaperthanwhatsapp.tumblr.com puts things in perspective. Billions are hard to envision. Although I think this website is a tad whiny about the whole shebang – supply and demand is supply and demand, and the market price is what it is. You can’t change that anymore than you can a law of physics. But it does raise questions about where money in general goes.

The Talkto app will call businesses and ask them little questions like those concerning hours and availability with you simply texting the query. Brilliant. What other insignificant focus-sucks can we automate?

Pippa Biddle points out that sending upper class white kids to poor communities to help does more harm than good, and argues they can be of more use elsewhere in more administrative roles. Reminds me of these Onion Articles one and two. Also, Teach for America. Is that the best use of bright young ambitious youth? It makes them feel good, but it’s not the most effective use of their time or the needy’s. (I’ve thought about this personally in regard to teaching english abroad as a strategy to live elsewhere. There’s and example of something actually helpful (native english speaker as a teacher) but an inexcusably bad career move, in my mind)

I came across an old essay of Paul Graham’s that is essentially an ode to the art of essay writing. Makes me feel ever better about my daily writing habit. Some learnings:

  • Real life essays do not necessarily defend a position, as those in high school do.
  • The art of writing has fallen by the wayside ever since literature professors were co opted to teach writing (not their expertise)
  • Essay should be where you try to figure something out. Write about something that’s surprised you, something you’ve thought a lot about, something unexpected.
  • Oftentimes it is the act of writing the essay that helps the author figure out what he’s talking about

Do things, tell people is a perfect personal mantra. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes you forget to tell people about what you’ve done, since you’re so wrapped up in it.

Spain is thinking about moving its clocks up a few hours in an attempt to eradicate the unproductive siesta. They’re an hour behind Portugal, which is on the same time as the UK like it should be, because of Francoist leftovers. And they think the best way to help people cope is to move the prime time television spot up fomr its current position of around midnight. (Speaking as a former Barcelona resident, I found the Spanish attitude unbearably lackadaisical. There’s not much hustling going on in their national psyche. This could be a good way to start changing that.)