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Things I Learned this week #5

  • This missed opportunity to name something: Ping Pong is a weird name for a sport, right? Ping Pong is actually a trademarked name, but it's not uncommon to call a thing by a brand name: it's like Hoover vs. Vacuum Cleaner, or Kleenex vs. Tissue. The real-fun fact here is that in 1900 Slazenger, a sports company, filed a trademark for the term Whiff-Waff - and 120 years laters (somehow) Ping Pong prevailed while Whiff-Waff died out, despite the fact that it's clearly more joyful. (link to an oddly self-righteous article).
  • This stone man: The Apennine Colossus (link) is a stone sculpture in Tuscany, Italy, which is a personification (embodiment?) of the Apennine mountain region. This is why he's really big, but also I guess why he's made of stone? The use of stone to represent stone is perhaps a little on-the-nose, but the piece is gorgeous and captivating.It was created in the late 1500s by a Flemish sculptor residing in Florence, and some people argue that if it placed in the Piazza della Signora (and not in the private garden of a Medici home some seven miles from Florence) it would be considered a masterpiece.
  • This new word: Farrago means some kind of confused, haphazard, or disorganised mix - a word around which I appear to have been building a life philosophy.
  • This set of tarot cards: Don't ask how I got here, but this week I learned one can purchase a Hello Kitty themed set of tarot cards for a cool £250 (etsy link)
  • This medical condition: Stendhal Condition, named after a French novelist, is characterised by dizziness, hallucinations, and heart palpitations which come on after being overwhelmed by the beauty of art. Amazingly, that means it's really common in Florence, Italy (link)

Cool Articles

  • What to talk about in 1:1s by Julia Evans on her wizard zines site. I really like the simplicity of this piece - it's just a collection of example things you might want to raise to a manager, so that 1:1s can actually be useful to you in the 6-12 month time span, and not just a box to tick, or reason to spend time away from your desk.
  • Against Waldenponding by Venkatesh Rao on their Breaking Smart newsletter. No one is quite sure on the effects of so much technology, content, and mediums (podcast, YouTube video, Netflix, Newsletter) on our brain. It's given rise to a counter-culture, which is almost a meme in some tech circles, where someone voluntarily completely disconnects and go to live in a cabin in the woods. This article argues against, and while I don't necessarily agree with all the points the author makes, I think it's an interesting counter point in a debate where I rarely see someone taking an opposing side.

What I've had on Rotation

  • Something New: Pink Elephant, by Stand Atlantic (Pop Punk). I adore pop-punk, and I think everybody should embrace their inner teenager. This album is cathartic and comfortably pop-punk, but even better than that, it's a great album in its own right - it doesn't rely on nostalgia or tropes. Put it on play and relive the vibrancy of being 17-19 again. (links).
  • Something Old: Safe in the Steep Cliffs by Emancipator (Contemporary Instrumental). I've spent a lot of time this week needing music without words, and I've been rediscovering a lot of my old favourites during my time at University. The tempo and beat of this album is great to head-bop to while you're in a flow state, but perhaps a little too-high energy of more cognitively intense tasks (links)

Cool Things

  • By the Books - it's like the online experience of browsing a friend's bookshelf, but online. Created / curated by MailChimp.
  • blobs.app - soft and gooey blobs are becoming more commonplace in UI design. This little web UI will generate a simple svg (or Flutter) blob for you to use. I got this from the Smashing Magazine newsletter,
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