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TED Ed Video: The history of the world according to corn (A plant I’ve recently become very fascinated with)
- “Corn currently accounts for more than one tenth of our global crop production.”
- “99% of cultivated corn is the exact same type: Yellow Dent #2. This means that humans grow more Yellow Dent #2 than any other plant on the planet.”
- Following the technological developments of World War Two, mechanized harvesters became widely available. This meant that a batch of corn that previously took a full day to harvest by hand could now be collected in just five minutes.
- Today, humans eat only 40% of all cultivated corn, while the remaining 60% supports consumer good industries worldwide.
Book Recommendation: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
This books gives detailed descriptions of the daily routines and eccentricities of famous artists, writers, composers, poets, filmmakers and scientists. I found it incredibly fascinating, and quite helpful in trying to brainstorm an effective schedule for myself. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Daily Rituals is the amount of variation among its subjects. Some of those featured rose at the crack of dawn, put their noses to the grindstone, did some exercise, ate with their families, and went to bed. Others rose at noon, procrastinated for hours, eked out a small bit of work, drank heavily well into the night, and fell asleep with the help of sedatives, but still somehow managed to make a name for themselves. For anyone interested in the art of the routine, or who just wants to learn a little more about the inner workings of creatives, this is a great read.
- “Only Hitlers of the world work at night; No honest artist does.” (According to W.H Auden)
- I like to think not, as night is almost always the time of day during which I feel the most inspired and creative.
- “His (Francis Bacon’s) studios were environments of extreme chaos, with paint smeared on the walls and a knee-high jumble of books, brushes, papers, broken furniture, and other detritus piled on the floor. (More agreeable interiors stifled his creativity, he said.)”
- “In her (Patricia Highsmith’s) later years, as she became a hardened drinker with a high tolerance, she kept a bottle of vodka by her bedside, reaching for it as soon as she woke and marking the bottle to set her limit for the day. She was also a chain smoker for most of her life, going through a pack of Gauloises a day. In matters of food, she was indifferent. One acquaintance remembered that “she only ever ate American bacon, fried eggs and cereal, all at odd times of the day.” Ill at ease around most people, she had an unusually intense connection with animals—particularly cats, but also snails, which she bred at home.”
Oura Ring Facebook Feedback
A few months ago, I wrote a little bit about the Oura ring in this post. For new readers, or those of you who don’t remember, the Oura ring is a state of the art fitness tracker (Basically a Fitbit on steroids.) Though I don’t own one myself, I’m part of a Facebook group of people who do, and who post about the insights they gleaned with data generated by their rings. I recently posted a question to the group and got some interesting responses that seemed worth sharing. I’m attaching screen shots of the responses below.
- HRV stands for Heart Rate Variability. It’s one of the key metrics that the ring measures, and seems to be an excellent indicator of many different aspects of health. A high HRV is desirable. I’m going to attach an article on HRV below the screenshots for those of you who want to learn more about it.
- I put a square around the comments I found most interesting.
What is Heart Rate Variability (HRV) & Why Does It Matter?
- “Higher HRV has been found to be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, and improved psychological well-being and quality of life.”
- Heart rate variability or HRV is the physiological phenomenon of the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats in milliseconds.
- “The HRV level changes naturally from day to day, based on the level of activity and amount of, for example, work-related stress, but if a person is chronically stressed or overloaded – physically or mentally – the natural interplay between the two systems can be disrupted, and the body can get stuck in a sympathetically dominant fight state, with low HRV and high stress hormone levels, even when the person is resting. This is very consuming on the body and can result in various mental and physical health problems.”
Excerpts from my journal / notes to myself:
“I’m generally far more interested in hearing a person’s stories than hearing their advice. Advice is just an opinion that is probably not going to serve me half the time. A story on the other hand, will bring me a tiny bit closer towards understanding how the world works.”
“What do you believe to be true? What do you believe to be true about yourself? What do you believe to be true about the world? Is there any chance, however slim, that you might be mistaken?”
“The quality of my state of mind is largely a function of how much progress I feel as though I’ve made over the past 6 – 12 hours. This generally holds true regardless of how well the previous day went.”
“You don’t need to figure everything out. Sometimes it’s best to just embrace the mystery.”
Photo of the Week