#42: Where our own understanding ends

Earthships, axe guitar, animatronics, and unsettling foods. This letter has it all.


Lovely Linky Bits

Thoughtful reads and so forth.

When Your Greatest Romance is a Friendship
“What was perplexing, I suppose, was not that two people of such different ages had become friends, but that we had essentially become best friends. Others regarded our devotion as either strange or quaint, like one of those unlikely animal friendships: a monkey and a pigeon, perhaps.”

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds
“People believe that they know way more than they actually do. What allows us to persist in this belief is other people. In the case of my toilet, someone else designed it so that I can operate it easily. This is something humans are very good at. We’ve been relying on one another’s expertise ever since we figured out how to hunt together, which was probably a key development in our evolutionary history. So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that we can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins.”

How to Be a Stoic
“Reading Epictetus, I realized that most of the pain in my life came not from any actual privations or insults but, rather, from the shame of thinking that they could have been avoided. Wasn’t it my fault that I lived in such isolation, that meaning continued to elude me, that my love life was a shambles? When I read that nobody should ever feel ashamed to be alone or to be in a crowd, I realized that I often felt ashamed of both of those things. Epictetus’ advice: when alone, “call it peace and liberty, and consider yourself the gods’ equal”; in a crowd, think of yourself as a guest at an enormous party, and celebrate the best you can.”

Curiosities & Delights

Some things to be glad about.

Unsettling foods of the 1970s.
More than you need to know about dog noses.
Slowing down speeding drivers with Scottish ingenuity.
Eight somewhat unusual writing residencies.
Bright new innards for Mumbai’s taxis.
How to take notes while reading.
The Paris Review wants to bore you to sleep.
Download all eight issues of Dada, if you like.
The curious taxonomy behind IKEA’s product names.
And here is the levitating timepiece you seek.

Moving Pictures

Video treats upon which to press play.

The recycled earthship homes of Taos, New Mexico,
and Ken Butler’s collection of instruments made from trash.
The animatronic animals of Spy in the Wild.
A brief tour through the philosophy of personal identity.
And here’s why clocks run, well, clockwise.