It seems like just a couple of weeks since I last posted here. Which makes sense given that my last post was so late that it was just a couple of weeks ago. Not a whole lot has changed since then. Most notably, I rode in the Cascadia Super Gravel race. It was incredibly difficult, easily the hardest physical activity I’ve ever done. I’m glad I did it and am not sure if I would want to do it again, but would not be surprised if next year I find myself saying “It wasn’t that bad, sure I’ll do it again.” If so, hopefully I won’t be riding 30 miles on a waffle wrapper after slicing open my sidewall. We’ll see.
I’m struggling to summarize this article or come up with much in the way of commentary, so I’ll leave it here. In response to its opening question (how did we come to normalize this much death?) I will point out that the USA reacting to different sorts of deaths in ways that lack any sense of consistency is nothing new. After all, one person unsuccessfully tried to bomb a plane with explosives hidden in his shoes and now we all have to take off our shoes before boarding but our society seems to be more or less okay with mass shootings.
I’ve recently discovered the City Nerd channel on youtube. Something about his dry snarkiness and affinity for data just clicks with me. In any case, here’s a video about trucks and another about traffic violence.
I feel like I do a decent job of keeping on top of the science regarding health, injury, and sports performance, but this surprised the heck out of me. Apparently the research around strength training frequency doesn’t really back up the whole exercise every other day thing, and when strength training the average person can get the results they are looking for by going to the gym once every week or two. Of course, the science does show increased benefit from more frequent exercise, but I didn’t expect that you could get 50-70% of the benefit of going three days a week from going just once. To me, the interesting idea is that, if doing strength training less frequently makes it easier to keep up long-term, that should compound quite a bit over a year or more (as progressing half as fast over a year is a lot better than not progressing at all since you stopped going).
Even as someone who doesn’t use or care much about Twitter, this article about the platform was fascinating. From the article, “the problem that Twitter really solved was the discoverability problem”. Since discoverability is one of the central problems of the sea of content that we find ourselves in (there are too many books/movies/songs out there for any one person to engage with even a significant fraction), this is almost enough to make me want to use the bird app. Almost.
The Bubble might have been a fun 90 minute movie, but it was 126 minutes and somehow managed to feel even longer.
Sing 2, on the other hand, was a lot of fun. I’d recommend it.
We watched Ride the Eagle which was weird and fun. It didn’t outstay its welcome (89 minutes), but I don’t feel like it had the impact that it wanted to, either.
Having read Phoenix, we are now all caught up with SF Said’s books. I really liked it, and am really looking forward to Tyger.
We got together with friends to watch season 2 of Upload. It was really nice to hang out with people again, even if we are back in another wave and are hunkering down again. As for the show, it wasn’t quite as much fun as season 1, but I still enjoyed the heck out of it.
I wasn’t expecting much from Slow Horses, but the show knocked it out of the park. It had the intrigue that I like in the genre, but also incorporated some of my favorite elements from Spy Game. I’m looking forward to season 2 and might even read the books.
It took us several months to watch the DuckTales reboot from 2017, and it was totally worth it. My partner and I both grew up with the original, and this was even better.
If you are at all interested in why our cities are the way they are, I’d recommend giving Chuck Marohn’s new book, Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, a read. It was full of interesting stuff, but the thing that surprised me the most is that it changed my mind on automated traffic enforcement (red light and speed cameras). I had generally felt like we should have more of it, and still do, but agree with Marohn that there’s not much point to it unless we fix our roads so that
I read The Republic of Birds, by Jessica Miller, to my family. They enjoyed it and I loved it. It leans heavily on Slavic folklore and reading it out loud took me back to the brief period in high school where I took Russian. The story takes place in a world still recovering from a huge conflict, and I appreciated that it didn’t try to fix everything in one book, though I hope to see some of that happen in sequels.
I listened to The Machine That Changed the World and was really impressed. I had read The Toyota Way a while back and it made a big impression on me, but I think that this book was even better. From what I’ve seen, people often approach Lean as a way of making processes and systems more efficient. To me it seems like the focus should be more on empowering and supporting people, with efficiency being a byproduct of that process.