Things I learned this week #13

WHAT. A. WEEK. It feels the entire western world has had their eyes on the US presidential election, and it's been exhausting. Not exhausting in the way that the last 12 months have been for the US, but exhausting in the way that nothing in 2020 has lead us to expect anything good to happen. As I write this, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have just been elected as president- and vice president-elect. It's not the start of a revolution, the structure of the US political system prevents power being torn too far one way or another (or at least intends to), but it's a collective sigh of relief from me, and a lot of the people in circles I follow.

  • The reason behind this saying: I recently heard the phrase "A good wine needs no bush" for the first time - it captures the notion that a good product doesn't need advertising. The origin of the saying comes from the centuries-old practice of vintner hanging a sprig of ivy, or other trees, outside the entrance of taverns to indicate they sold the wine. The idea being that a good wine doesn't need to be advertised in order for people to know it is available. (source)
  • This Swedish ritual: It is a cultural institution in Britain to stop work (or chores, or study, or anything) at some point between 1-5pm, to make a cup of tea and have a sit down with some biscuits. In Swedish culture they have Fika, where the focus is on taking a break for coffee and some kind of (ideally home-baked) cake. Socialising with your friends or colleagues, and slowing down are central to this ritual.(source)
  • This bit of Joe Biden's medial history: Joe's been attacked for being old, and it's true, when he get inaugurated he'll be 77 and the oldest US president. In 1988 Joe almost died from having two aneurysms, and later the same year he had a pulmonary embolism. That's wild - those are two things (or three) that could really easily kill a man, but here we are, 30 years later.
  • These emojis coming in 2021: I love emojis, I love that they're tiny cute works of art which represent parts of our culture and society better than words easily can. I love that anybody can submit an emoji proposal. Because of the coronavirus, some emojis have been delayed for 2021, but as things stand we can expect to see bearded men and women, some new faces, and 200 new skin tone combination for couples and kissing emojis. (source)

Cool Articles

  • Is technology scrambling my baby's brain? by Ben Popper for The Verge. I hear a lot of descent for exposing our children to screens at a young age - Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple famously said that he wouldn't let his child use an iPad. Popper takes a serious look, as both a parent and a tech-lover and -journalist, at our collective obsession with forbidding technology to our children, and asks if maybe we've gone too far. It's a well-balanced article on a subject that I think a lot of people are very touchy about.
  • Essays on Programming I Think About a Lot by Jake Worth on their personal blog. If you develop software for a living, or work with teams who do, Worth highlights a lot of one-liners from essays by other software architects and engineers. There's a lot of wisdom in there, and links to the original sources. It's not something I suggest digesting all at once, but better as a slow burn.

What I've had on Rotation

  • Something New: Positions by Ariana Grande (pop). No, you don't need anyone else talking about or recommending this album, but it's a good album. I love Ari's self-confident, sex positive, self-loving new album. It's a good take. (links)
  • Something Old: effloresce by Covet (instrumental). I don't know what genre this music is, it's like jazz meets acoustic guitar meets softer elements of metal rhythms. I don't know - but I do know that Yvette Young (the lead guitarist of Covet) has a talent that you should listen to. (links)