What I learned this week, June 19, 2020

This equation will change how you see the world (the logistic map)

I have always been facinated with the Mandelbrot set and fractal math in general – this is a particularly good example.




The ‘Untranslatable’ Emotions You Never Knew You Had

From gigil to wabi-sabi and tarab, there are many foreign emotion words with no English equivalent. Learning to identify and cultivate these experiences could give you a richer and more successful life.

Some of these are fascinating

  • Desbundar (Portuguese) – to shed one’s inhibitions in having fun
  • Tarab (Arabic) – a musically induced state of ecstasy or enchantment
  • Shinrin-yoku (Japanese) – the relaxation gained from bathing in the forest, figuratively or literally
  • ktsuarpok (Inuit) – the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, whereby one keeps going outside to check if they have arrived
  • Natsukashii (Japanese) – a nostalgic longing for the past, with happiness for the fond memory, yet sadness that it is no longer
  • Wabi-sabi (Japanese) – a “dark, desolate sublimity” centered on transience and imperfection in beauty
  • Saudade (Portuguese) – a melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing that is far away either spatially or in time – a vague, dreaming wistfulness for phenomena that may not even exist
  • Sehnsucht (German) – “life-longings”, an intense desire for alternative states and realizations of life, even if they are unattainable
  • Pihentagyú (Hungarian) – literally meaning “with a relaxed brain”, it describes quick-witted people who can come up with sophisticated jokes or solutions
  • Desenrascanço (Portuguese) – to artfully disentangle oneself from a troublesome situation

Read more here:

The ‘Untranslatable’ Emotions You Never Knew You Had


Bread and Butter Pickles

I have always loved these things – and never knew why they were called that. Apparently, during the depression people made sandwiches with bread, butter, and pickles. And it seems to have been delicious.

Read about it here:

The history and mystery of America’s long-lost pickle sandwich

The History of Popcorn

I always thought that popcorn was a modern invention. I was wrong.

Long before boxes of Pop Secret lined grocery store shelves, corn began as a wild grass called teosinte in southwestern Mexico, according to research compiled by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. Corn was probably cultivated as a domesticated crop around 9,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2012 that archaeologists unearthed the first evidence of popcorn in Peru: 6,700-year-old corn cobs studded with puffed kernels.


Early popcorn probably resembled parched corn, which is made by cooking dried kernels, often in a frying pan. (Because parched corn typically uses kernels with lower water content, curbing its ability to pop, it’s considered a predecessor of CornNuts.) “Parched corn is much crunchier,” Frank says. “We know that in the early Southwest, there was popcorn—it just wasn’t a Jiffy Pop that you’d put in your microwave.”

The fluffy popcorn we know and love today is, in part, the result of thousands of years of careful cultivation of a few different strains of corn by those early tribes.

Read more here:

The History of Popcorn: How One Grain Became a Staple Snack


Corn in a Cup




Steadman and Thompson’s first meeting

The story of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman covering the Kentucky derby.

Read it here:

Decadence and Depravity in Louisville, Kentucky





What I learned this week, November 4, 2011

Maybe I should take this list and try to get through it  before I die (probably right before). So far, before reading the article, I’ve been to five (that I can remember).

The 15 Spots for the Best Drunk Food In New Orleans

I’m sorry…. but this is simply too stoopid to pass up:

Something has exploded in a spectacular fashion on Uranus

Sometimes I look ahead and read a book because there is a movie coming out at some future date made from the book. Thus it is with Hunter Thompson’s The Rum Diary.

I enjoyed the book more than it deserved. That whole Caribbean Ex-Pat wasting away in Margaritaville, almost getting killed by the government dictator’s thugs thing is very attractive to me. Probably better read (and written about) than lived.

The movie is out now and it looks good. At least to me.

It is interesting that this is the second time Johnny Depp has played Hunter S. Thompson in a film. I always thought that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was unfilmable… and the film proved me right. This one should be very different.

Here’s Why No One Reads Your Blog

  • You’re Boring
  • You’re a Waffler
  • You’re not a Controversialist

How Blogging Taught Me to Be a Writer

  • Discipline: writing on a schedule
  • Discipline: writing even when you don’t feel like writing
  • First drafts don’t have to be perfect
  • In fact, it’s okay to write first drafts that are so bad they end up in the trash
  • I’ve learned to hone in on the details and connections in daily life so I can write about them
  • I know how crucial it is to let a piece rest
  • I’ve also learned that sometimes good enough has to be good enough
  • A career in writing involves mandatory, non-writing activity
  • Sometimes a blog post launches into the internet … and nobody cares
  • The best part: every one of the above lessons has carried over into other forms of writing