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Things I learned this week #4

  • This world: The Word Kipple is a word invented by SciFi writer Phillip K. Dick, to mean the kind of rubbish/trash that accumulates if humans don't intervene. source
  • This part of our brain: You know when you suddenly remember that you need to reply to that e-mail, drop off that parcel, or pick up eggs before dinner? That's your prospective memory - which is kind of the opposite of your normal memory (your retrospective memory) because it "remembers" things which need to happen in the future. Don't think about it too much.
  • This Chopstick Etiquette: Cultures who eat with chopsticks each have rules about where they can/not be be placed. In mainland China, you should never leave rested chopsticks pointing towards anybody else at the table. In Japan, unused chopsticks should be placed into a rest - and if no rest is provided then one can be fashioned from paper. In Korea, chopsticks must never be placed to the left of the spoon they are paired with. In Thailand, you should never leave your chopsticks stuck into food in a bowl, or to eat rice. In Vietnam, placing your chopsticks in a "V" shape when you're done eating is considered a bad omen. (source)
  • This one person's damage to the Scots Language: For the past 5-10 years, one guy in America (who does not speak Scots) has been contributing to the Scots language version of Wikipedia. What they've actually just written is the English version with phonetic Scottish pronunciations. As a result, "this person has possibly done more damage to the Scots language than anyone else in history." (article)
  • This unrecognised inventor: Early video game consoles had their games built into the circuitry of their computer-parts. In the 70s, Jerry Lawson, a self-taught African American engineer, invent ed the cartridge, i.e. a swappable bit of memory which you'd insert into the machine to play a game. He built it a console called the Channel F which never had the popularity of the Atari/Sega/Nintendo consoles of the day, and his achievement wasn't ever really noticed for what it was: something that allowed for a Cambrian Explosion of video games.

Cool articles

  • ‌My three decades alone, basking in the company of a mountain, Susanne Sener for Psyche (link). A personal piece written by a woman who has spent over 30 years living alone in a cabin by a mountain. I've been thinking about this importance of silence/lack of input recently.
  • Popular Writers: A Stephen King interview, Neil Gaiman on his own blog (link). King's written more books than a lot of us ever will, and I really enjoyed the following statement he makes on where/how he arrives at them:

I never think of stories as made things; I think of them as found things. As if you pull them out of the ground, and you just pick them up. Someone once told me that that was me low-balling my own creativity. That might or might not be the case. But still, on the story I am working on now, I do have some unresolved problem. It doesn’t keep me awake at nights. I feel like when it comes down, it will be there...

What I've had on Rotation

  • Something Almost-New: The fall of Hobo Johnson by Hobo Johnson (links). This almost-poetry-almost-hip-hop-almost-punk sound is really great, it's got levity in places and untouched rawness in others. I've really enjoyed it.
  • Something Old: Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace by Foo Fighters (links). This is such an absolute classic album from the 2000s for me (and I think a whole bunch of other people). If you're in the mood for some Excellent rock vibes, put this on and remember how good it is.
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