To dare is to blog

Typewriter Image via Florian Klauer

A blog helps you solidify your thinking. But the practice of blogging is both a freedom and a constraint.

It’s liberating to say whatever you want, even if no one reads it. How dare someone discovers you! At the same time, there’s a fear that what’s written isn’t polished enough to be published.

But that’s what blogs are: rough drafts. They’re good enough. They are the blank piece of paper, a sandbox where people work out ideas. Blogs are full of contradictions and imperfections.

The fear is that your words may be wrong or misunderstood. No one likes to be called out. But that’s also part of the excitement; the ability to catch someone’s criticism.

Bloggers are already naked. They can even blog in their underwear. Bloggers notice and give other people something to discuss.

Bloggers raise their hand before they are ready. They pick themselves, professionals, past success, or not. They have a long-term willingness to figure it out all out and change the world while no one notices.


You can’t schedule joy

Remember why you started. (Image by
Remember why you started. (Image by Alice Achterhof)
“We make lists because we don’t want to die,” said Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco.

The problem with lists though is that we tend to include things we enjoy doing like writing, reading, meditating, along with other habits we should do, like exercise or our grocery shopping. When we fail to cross an item off the list, we feel like a failure. Said author and meditation expert Susan Piver on the obsession of getting stuff done:

I knew I had to give up trying to be disciplined in any conventional sense. It doesn’t work. And since the definition of suffering is trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result, I had to put myself out of my misery.

So she looked at her daily habits a different way. Instead of scheduling her to-dos, she instead did them out of sheer pleasure. She remembered why she pursued spiritual practice and writing in the first place and rediscovered a lighter, organic creative flow.

Once I remembered that my motivation is routed in genuine curiosity and that my tasks are in complete alignment with who I am and want to be, my office suddenly seemed like a playground rather than a labor camp.

If we want to be successful in any field, we have to do the work. Everything is practice. The problem lies in our interpretation of discipline and motivation. If the task becomes routine, the activity we once loved loses its purpose. But if we follow Susan Piver’s advice and convert tasks back into joyful exercises, we may be able to plan less and play with the process more.

I suggest that instead of being disciplined about hating on yourself to get things done, try being disciplined about remaining close to what brings you joy.

Listening to see

If you sharpen your listening, you can sharpen your vision. Try this: pick a sound to focus–the train passing, a nearby conversation, birds chirping–and you’ll feel start feeling more observant too.

You may notice how the light bounces off the train’s windows, the talkative woman’s curly red hair or untied shoe, or the health of tree limb hosting a bird’s nest.

The art of noticing starts with your ears and expands to other sensory areas. When you hone in on the sonic waves, everything else becomes transparent–it’s like watching an IMAX movie.

Listening is seeing on purpose. If you listen to your breath during mindfulness meditation, your mind calms down and creates a quiet zone for focus. Silence is a great canvass for your thoughts.

If you use your ears, your brain seems to work as well. Using one of the senses triggers the whole system like walking does in helping jog the mind. Make sense of the world, several senses at a time.

Within the box
  • Checkbox
  • Black box
  • Paper box
  • Lunchbox
  • Cable box

The world revolves around a structure of boxes. A box holds the keys to accessing the world. When it comes to computers and mobile phones, we type into little boxes all day just as cartoonists draw in them. Said artist Ivan Brunetti:

The nature of cartooning seems inherently playful, having its roots in a playful kind of drawing, but because you’re putting things into boxes and organizing pages into panels and shapes of rectangles and circles, it automatically has an architectural quality, too.

The box carries obligation. It asks to be filled with stuff (food, tv channels, paper, a recorder, etc.), and then it delivers. When you remove the box, things get messy. Its format constricts what you can put it. The box provides structure, and in a world of infinity and frenzied activity, it’s one less thing we have to think about how it works until you poke it. Boxes are life.

Life kid suck from the box Drink from the box The juice kid suck Life kid suck the box Yeah Bruce lee Tanglon

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.” | Digest


(@alexisohanian) | Twitter1. This too can be yours: Why ‘AirSpace Style’ is making all places look the same

“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”

2. The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

3. This professor describes the future educated person

“In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things.”

4. Avoid making backup plans

“For some people, not making a backup plan might indeed be beneficial in helping them put their best effort forward”

5.  Music is a performance-enhancement drug

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.”

6. Google Photos frees up phone space automatically

“It’ll delete your photos off your phone after syncing them to the cloud so you don’t have get that 16GB iPhone nightmare that says “storage is full.”

7. Do we have to be sad to be creative?

“Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year. ”

8. How teens and hipsters stain the resurgence of Vinyl

“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor, I don’t actually play them”

9.  How libraries stay current in the digital age

“a modern public library can be a place of exploration, play, performance and creativity, as well as of contemplation, reading and research.”

10. Lance Wyman reveals his creative process in unreleased “designlogs

“The reason I started keeping log books,’ says Wyman, ‘was that I wanted a record of what I was doing. It’s my way of keeping in touch with the complexity of the design projects that I’m working on.”

New Music

1. Combat – Jacaranda
2. Elementz of Noise – Clock
3. Minor Science – Naturally Spineless
4. The South East Grind – Secret
5. BadBadNotGood – In Your Eyes

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This professor describes the future educated person

future education
Illustration by Clay Rodery

Dear digital denizens, please rest easy.

That so-called ‘Internet addiction‘ you have is an evolution of what humans have been doing along — curating, collecting, and sharing. We just do it with more often with the assistance of our screens.

According to professor Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania, “an educated person in the future will be a curious person who collects better artifacts. The ability to call up and use facts is the new education. How to tap them, how to use them.”

Professor Goldsmith named his course “Wasting Time on the Internet”– an incentive that gets his students to sign up. However, it has the opposite effect. Instead of screen-staring, his students are more likely to create and collaborate.

“They became more creative with each other. They say we’re less social; I think people on the web are being social all the time. They say we’re not reading; I think we’re reading all the time, just online.”

The web is the world’s biggest copy-paste machine. On top of this, Google is our second brain. The fear is that humans will lose their ability to think. However, what happens instead is that we allow more ideas to have sex. Remixing ideas is what Maria Popova of Brainpickings often refers to as “combinatorial creativity.”

“When a D.J. brings a laptop full of music samples to a club he doesn’t play an instrument, but we don’t argue that he isn’t doing something creative in mixing those sounds to create his own effect. In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things. I find it exciting.”

It turns out that wasting time on the Internet could be productive rather than harmful. To think the Internet also means the end of books and face to face communication is also an exaggeration. Of course, like any tool, it depends on what you are using the Internet for — playing games is not the same as sharing research and new ideas.

What’s your opinion on learning in the Internet age? Please share below in the comments.

Designing the ideal food for hungry drivers


homer simpson eating while driving

Ever tried to eat and drive on the way to work or a road trip? All we can think about is how to avoid destroying our pants with a drip of some condiment or spill crumbs onto the floor, into the seat, or on the car dashboard.

Writer Jason Torchinsky comes up with an interesting solution that combines the durability of bagels, with the shape of something like a Hot Pocket so you can safely pack in other ingredients like pork, BBQ sauce, and baked beans.

“Whatever this food is, it needs to be scaled both for a human hand and a car interior’s storage areas. It should combine multiple types of food into a single housing, allowing for a one-vessel meal to be consumed—no swapping of food types or delivery methods.”

Of course, the food also has to be delicious. It also needs a name. So what do we call such innovation?

“These things will revolutionize car-eating, you’ll see. Now I just need a name for them. Fillinders? Canoods? Editubes? Toods, maybe, like ‘tube’ and ‘food?’ Or, similarly, Fubes? Foobs?”

Until Apple, Google, and Tesla develop autonomous cars, the food is secondary — we still have to keep our hands on the wheel, and our eyes focused on the road. That is why we need an interim solution. We need a food item that’s easy to eat and allows us to keep our hands and mouths somewhat clean. Until, taco shells are not on the menu.

The Range, an electronic musician, makes music from YouTube vocals

superimpose album by The Range, aka James Hinton

Less than 100 views on YouTube is “practically unseen” proclaims the new documentary from electronic producer The Range, aka James Hinton. He pulled vocal samples from strangers’ acapella on YouTube to make his newest album Potential. 

A&R teams have been using YouTube for years to sign new talent. Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun discovered Bieber on YouTube in 2008. But like some producers, Hinton was just looking to sample lyrics to mix in with his beats.

“There are these people out there that I didn’t know that were just shouting out into the void.”

Hinton spent “something like 200 hours on YouTube over about 35 days,” he told Wired trying to find that “intimate and raw and really unique” voice. He found people from London, Kingston, and locally in Brooklyn. Once he mastered the songs, he tracked down each the artists to get their approval. Some of the Youtubers like

Some of the Youtubers like Kai had inactive accounts; others had posted videos years ago and forgot about them. Hinton agreed to share songwriting credits with all the vocalists on the album, so everyone receives royalties.

Below is the mix of his collaboration with Kai. I did not realize that I had already liked the song on SoundCloud before hearing about its story. It sounds like Burial met Diplo laced with hints of Balearic beats.

Hinton also made a documentary called Superimpose (watch it below) to launch the album. As a musician, Hinton still wonders “what drives people to record videos of themselves in the first place.”

Creative expression, fame — whatever it is — it is a human desire to be heard. Hinton is currently vetting Twitter for possible collaborations. Just wait until he digs deep into vast video archive of Instagram and Facebook.