What I learned this week, November 26, 2021

A group of friends in front of the Dallas Museum of Art, night, long exposure

How To Navigate Friendship As An Adult

I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot lately—forming new ones, strengthening old ones, letting go of broken ones. I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I’m of the age where my friends are entering into different areas of their lives: getting married, buying houses, considering having kids. And, as such, it feels harder to maintain the same connection we had when we weren’t bogged down by responsibility.


Worshipping a New God.
Worshipping a New God.

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.


One of the cool things is that you could go down into a pit area and look at what was left of the vehicles after they ran their race. If their was enough left in one piece you could even sit in the driver’s seat and get your picture taken. Or you could talk to the drivers. For some reason this driver, from a cheese-wedge shaped car that made it down quickly in one piece, seemed very popular in the pits.

Good conversations take time and attention. Here’s how to have better ones

Having good conversations — with strangers or with your closest friends — is an art. It requires attention, something that’s in high demand these days.

Celeste Headlee has spent her adult life talking. She’s a longtime radio and podcast host, and even did a TED Talk about how to have a good conversation. But she says she was terrible at talking to people when she was younger.

Here are her biggest pieces of advice:


TV

The Science Behind Why We Procrastinate—and How to Stop the Cycle

From making a doctor’s appointment to doing speedwork, new research digs into the reason we put things off.


Electric bicycles, better known as e-bikes, have moved from novelty to mainstream with breathtaking speed. They’ve been a boon to hard-working delivery persons during the pandemic (and their impatient customers), and commuters who don’t care to be a sweaty mess when they arrive. And while the scoffing tends to center around the “purity” of cycling—the idea that e-bike riders are somehow lazy cheaters—that electric assist is actually luring people off the couch for healthy exercise. That’s especially welcome for older or out-of-practice riders (which describes a whole lot of folks) who might otherwise avoid cycling entirely, put off by daunting hills or longer distances.


The Many Lives of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”

Leonard Cohen in London in June 1974.
Leonard Cohen in London in June 1974. Michael Putland/Getty Images

In the late 1970s, Leonard Cohen sat down to write a song about god, sex, love, and other mysteries of human existence that bring us to our knees for one reason or another. The legendary singer-songwriter, who was in his early forties at the time, knew how to write a hit: He had penned “Suzanne,” “Bird on the Wire,” “Lover, Lover, Lover,” and dozens of other songs for both himself and other popular artists of the time. But from the very beginning, there was something different about what would become “Hallelujah”—a song that took five years and an estimated 80 drafts for Cohen to complete.


Smoke, steam, and sulfur dioxide coming out of the volcano, Masaya, Nicaragua.

We All Nearly Missed The Largest Underwater Volcano Eruption Ever Detected

She was flying home from a holiday in Samoa when she saw it through the airplane window: a “peculiar large mass” floating on the ocean, hundreds of kilometres off the north coast of New Zealand.


I have a new place I just added to my Bucket List: Pyramiden

Note that this place is literally at the end of the earth – and yet, at a restaurant – he can pay with his Apple Watch.

2 responses to “What I learned this week, November 26, 2021

    • Ive always been partial to Jeff Buckley’s version. It was interesting to learn that Buckley’s take was very different than what Cohen was thinking when he wrote it. I am afraid to say I am officially burned out on the song.

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