Hi friends, it’s Victor! I hope you’re all doing well.
I turned 30 on Monday. Things right now don’t feel that different from earlier in life:
When I was younger, I once read that 30 is the best age to be because you’re still in your twenties mentally, but now you (hopefully) also have more money.
Somehow, I had a clear recollection of who wrote this — a then-famous French blogger who posted this on his own 30th. I looked it up today to see if it was still online; it is, and delightfully, this is what the actual post said: “I still remember this bloke who told me 12 years ago that the best age to be is 30 years old, because you’re mentally still 20 but now you also have money. I’d like to remember the name of that guy and would like to talk to him, and confront him with this thought that never left me.”
That blog was posted 13 years ago. Clearly, this second-hand thought I read at that time never left me either. I’m still not sure why it even matters, but I feel like I now have to pass this on to the next 18-year old I meet.
Here’s some things I read much more recently:
Wikipedia is the best website
- There are a few “Stealth Starbucks” in the US: independent-looking coffee shops that do not use the Starbucks brand identity anywhere, but are owned by them. They’re used to experiment on coffee service, drink options and interior design without reflecting on the parent brand.
- Women working in ammunition factories during the First World War were nicknamed the Canary Girls: they handled TNT by hand, which reacts with melanin and stains the skin yellow for some time (along with many other toxic niceties).
- In China, a widespread social protest dubbed tang ping meaning “lying flat” started earlier this year. It is similar to the “Great Resignation” (or the stupidly called “quiet quitting”) in the West, doing the bare minimum to reject the dominant culture of overwork.
- In Japan, men who reject the societal pressures to find a wife early or be assertive in their relationships to women are called herbivore men.
- The Herman Cain Award has been given to many public figures who spread misinformation about the Covid-19 disease or vaccine, and subsequently died from Covid-19.
- Before SimCity 2000 and The Sims, Maxis had released SimAnt, a game that lets you… simulate an ant colony.
- The Yellow Sam betting coup was a pretty wild —but successful— scheme that earned the professional gambler behind it about €1.7 million euros in today’s money. What’s most surprising about it is that it was fully legal (well, except for the “[probably cut]” telephone line).
- The stepping feet optical illusion uses contrast in an interesting way to give the appearance that two objects move at different rates on a certain background.
- In Finland, a pillar of the drinking culture is to be pantsdrunk — getting drunk at home in your underwear, with no intention of going out.
- Care for some feetloaf this Halloween?
- The long pause in flights during the pandemic had a drastic impact on the natural ecosystem around airports, suddenly exposed to fewer pollutants and more (!) ozone. When travel restarted in Heathrow and Manchester, a handful flights had to stay grounded because of faulty instrumentation. It turned out the probes were blocked by the nests of wasps who had established themselves there during the pandemic — a fascinating and intriguing read.
- An journalistic investigation found traces of how the Russian government built the identity of a spy, from a Peruvian backstory to a jeweller’s life hanging out with NATO agents.
- It’s counter-intuitive, but the optimal amount of card fraud is non-zero (tl;dr: because zero fraud requires very high trust, and very high trust means it’d be an absolute pain to purchase anything).
- There’s only one person left standing in the floppy disk business.
The cold is back upon us
Everything is depressing
Good to look at
Work! Design! Tech!
- It’s likely that group brainstorming is a waste of time (see also: “a democratic process doesn’t produce good design”). I feel like all the contrarians (e.g. me) want to immediately believe this statement, but I’ve also seen many cases where it did spark creativity and helped light some bulbs.
- Quality is systemic, and comes from a healthy environment that allows people to produce quality work.
- Why posting in public channels is better than direct messages at work (a habit I’ve long enjoyed at my current job; it floors me how much information we lose when people don’t do that).
- I loved this very relatable analogy between coding and cooking — just like you learn to cook and remain a home cook without being a restaurant chef, it’s A-fine to know how to code enough to make ‘home-cooked apps’ without an ambition (or skills) to be a dedicated engineer.
- The best amount of work you can do as an organisation.
I hope Charles III also dies soon,