- How Does an Air Ionizer Work?
Ionizers produce ozone, and they are unable to remove larger particles like dust and dander, and they cannot destroy doors and gases.
Listening to Taylor Swift in Prison
A lovely little story about the power of music.
- Shuttle Flash has a compiled a video of the antics of possibly the most unloved professional badminton player. Everytime I watch a video of her playing, I have to turn down the sound. The other professionals would keep a stoic face but it is clear that these antics take a toll. On the players, the umpires, the viewers, the noble ideal we call sportsmanship…
The Handi Desk
Good man makes his own portable desk. There are also shots of his drawings from inside the notebook.
- I read the book, and saw that there was a Netflix movie too. But before I committed to watching, I had already read Who Is Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy For?
Some iconic Vancouver locations from the X-Files
This year, it is 30 years old, and a documentary film will be released. !
Oral phenylephrine is ineffective as a decongestant. See e.g. this CNN piece. This has been known for a while. (PS. This information does not apply to phenylephrine administered in a nasal spray.)
I enjoyed this podcast episode on Pen Addict. My pen and ink buying days are over (on hold?) but sometimes it is fun to listen to people nerd out over pen and paper.
Old notes to myself
Ah, the boldness of thick black marker on an envelope.
How to Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit Without Doing Any Math
Not bad a converter! 04 C = 40 F, 16 C = 61 F, 28 C = 82 F and 40 C = 104 F
Ranked: The Most Popular Paid Subscription News Websites
This is from 2021. It’s NYT, Waco and then WSJ. Second place has half the number of subscribers of number one.
This is a really nice camping chair.
[This is in a different format from the usual book post.]
I started on this book as a recommendation from Story Graph, and I guess I approve of the algorithm! It is a very interior book, and you live in the head of Manny, the manager of a chain restaurant that has just been ordered by HQ to close down for good. Manny struggles through the last shift, with his rag-tag crew, and he struggles through life – with a waitress he is in love with and his pregnant girlfriend. It is very far from my day-to-day, and I enjoyed being immersed, for a short while, in Manny’s world. [3/5]
The story on Alberto Salazar broke a few years ago, and Nike continued to support him for a time. We have read Mary Cain’s brave story, and Kara Goucher’s book brings more depth to the darkness that consumed those who happened to be Salazar’s orbit in those years. It is a courageous book, and a story that ought to be written and ought to be read. Harsher critics question if the writer could have done more / earlier, and whether this book serves to ameliorate some of her guilt. But to me, to even be able to do what she eventually had, Goucher had to have fortitude in spades. Yes, she could have done differently, but so do we all. She deserves to process it the way she wants to (the privilege of being a writer). She was in a tough situation and perhaps the progressiveness of the world today makes us forget that just 5, 10 years ago, the world was very different. [4/5]
This book is very interesting from a sociological perspective. There are also some pop psychology musings from the author. When you finish the book, you will wonder whether politics and what appears to be a desire to drum up publicity for some collateral purpose ought to affect your view of a book. If you are a discerning reader, you will wish for better writing and you would be able to form your own conclusions about whether the author’s conclusions are right. (Every hillbilly can make it to law school like he did!) He may or may not be able to speak for all Appalachians and working-class whites, but he sure knows how to tell a story. After reading the book, you will do well to read a few reviews on why the book was controversial. The book is a deceptive piece of art. [3/5]
- Personal infidelity and professional conduct in 4 settings (Another link here)
Police, financial advisors, CEOs/ CFOs who use a marital infidelity website are significantly more likely to engage in professional misconduct. The findings suggest that personal and workplace behaviour are closely related.
Or perhaps it so happens that those who bother to sign up for the website are stupider with their recklessness.
IMAX emulates PalmPilot software to power Oppenheimer’s 70 mm release
A major dose of nostalgia for the early 2000s.
Reading the Wirecard book makes you curious about the whistleblower.
National University of Singapore’s law school is referred to as “elite law college” in the book. Amusing.
Kindness as a signifier of intelligence?
That’s a nice way to encourage kindness.
- Always wanted a Jieldé lamp, but somehow I haven’t reached that stage in my life yet.
I was just checking out this young man’s bookshelf and one thing led to another, and then I am trying out Story Graph, an alternative to Goodreads. I find the stats interesting and useful for you to discover more about your reading habits, and the recommendations on Story Graph are better than on Goodreads. Goodreads has so much data and so much money (being owned by Amazon) but it has for years been steadfastly stuck in terms of design and what it offers you.
- A Complete Guide to the Handful of Proper Nouns Anna Wiener Uses in Uncanny Valley
It is necessary to have such a guide. While not naming the software companies, brands, apps etc is perhaps a way to get to the point without the baggage of labels, sometimes the curiosity just gets to me and I end up guessing / searching the internet. But I do wonder, if it were me, how many words would I use to describe Facebook?
We are now getting articles about the downsides of working from home.
It ought to be clear that it has its pros and cons, and no one is saying WFH has no downsides. So there is no need to take the extreme end of any argument. I hope employers truly structure in more autonomy and flexibility, because that is for the greater good in the longer term.
I Replaced my Phone and Laptop with an iPad Mini. Here’s How it Went
Sometimes a half-assed, likely-lousy idea pops up in your head, and you can definitely count on there being a YouTube who has thought it, tested it and made a video on it.
- The Photos app in iOS 17 is apparently able to read your laundry labels. Sweet.
Japanese firm develops solution to eradicate mosquitoes without insecticides
I am looking forward to the day we can open the doors and windows without a care for dengue.
Lonely people see the world differently
“Our results suggest that lonely people process the world idiosyncratically, which may contribute to the reduced sense of being understood that often accompanies loneliness”. For all the misunderstood people out there… I hope you find someone who you feel understands you.
I used to read one book at a time. But in the last few years, coincidentally with my weaning myself off physical books, I began to read more than one book at a time. Sometimes, I had 2 or 3 books I consider myself to be actively reading. Perhaps it became necessary because borrowing e-books sometimes requires one to wait for the book to be released.
I also decided to read 1000-page things (Russian epics; WWII) and series (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), and decided these efforts would be better aided by having physical books. So I ended up between e-books (mostly on Libby, sometimes on Kindle or the Books app) and physical books. And in a way, I am glad that I moved on from single-mindedness to this … flexibility. Sometimes you just want something different. And sometimes, in the midst of battling a big tome, you need a break.
For the past 5 years, I finished 32.8 books per year on average. I have 84 “currently reading” titles on Goodreads (I started tracking my reading in late-2017). Which seems about right, because I “touch” around 50 books a year. I used to try to finish books I started, but then decided life’s too short to finish books you don’t care to finish.
Already this year is shaping up to be different from the past 5 years. It is the end of June, and I have already finished 33 books. Perhaps it’s because of a confluence of: a stronger urge for reading this year; lowered running volume; a less busy year at work.
PS. I cannot believe we are “in the early 2020s”.
Blurb: In The Trackers, singular American writer Charles Frazier conjures up the lives of everyday people during an extraordinary period of history that bears uncanny resemblance to our own. With the keen perceptions of humanity and transcendent storytelling that have made him beloved for decades, Frazier has created a powerful and timeless new classic.
I have never read Frazier before, so the fact that I was holding a signed copy did not mean that much to me. I had wanted to read it because I was in the mood to be transported, and this book was set in Depression-era America. It was also a nice souvenir, since I was visiting Seattle and the Elliott Bay Book Co made book-buying rather irresistible.
I enjoyed the book, loved how the scenery and the scene were depicted (mostly of the west, plus Florida), and felt the wistful sense of longing that every character had. Everyone is always missing something.
“You know,” she murmured, “we’re all heading straight to hell.”
“Yes,” said Masako, giving her a bleak look. “It’s like riding downhill with no brakes.”
“You mean, there’s no way to stop?”
“No, you stop all right – when you crash.”
I finished this book in two days, or perhaps two and a half, because I read a good part of it on a plane flying from Seattle to Singapore.
The characters are all gloomy and messed up, and the details (of the scene, of the inner dialogue, of the dialogue…) are many, but the plot moves along, and you cannot put this book down. So, please make sure you have the time for it, because this book is so delicious, sucked in at one go.
Literary realism at its best. Artfully grisly? Because we all have dark impulses, and how do you know how you would act, if you were put in that situation? Despite the brutality, you feel sympathy for the downtrodden protagonist, and hope that somehow she finds some peace.
- “Quiet luxury is new age minimalism,” Elle magazine wrote. “It’s less austere than minimalism but more polished than ‘normcore,’” said Vogue.
A $1,700 merino sweater, a $300 t-shirt? Thankfully, I never knew luxury.
The Journey, Mary Oliver
Sometimes, reading poetry helps soothe me. Especially when the universe throws you something incomprehensible.
The Internet Isn’t Meant To Be So Small
I wonder how many of us miss the internet as it was in the late 90s. Perhaps if you are a Gen Z, this weird version of the internet that we all love to hate is the only version you know. And you have very little expectations of it being a tool for discovery, just a place for you to build your brand, game the algorithm, spread your truth…
‘Washington’ or ‘DC’? Social Media Erupts After Associated Press Picks a Side
I don’t understand how people stop calling it Washington DC. There is a whole state on the West Coast that you are confusing the world about.
- I am an expert at cracked heels, and hydrocolloid plaster manufacturers don’t advertise this on their packaging, and so I had to check how long you can leave them on for.
Mr Bean says no.
Rowan Atkinson tells you why electric vehicles are not the panacea they claim to be.
You cannot google for this, and have to scour through various blog posts and/or go down to different libraries to find it out for yourself, but finally, because this was asked in Parliament, there is now a list of book exchange corners in Singapore’s public libraries.
I wonder if the fact that there was no list has got to do with the piles of unusable/ obsolete material one tends to find at libraries’ book exchange corners, or the enterprising men who target these places and collect books to sell.
I was reading Nelson’s blog, and then I came across a post on ambient music.
I too was trying to avoid “gormless electronica and “earth fart” recordings that fail to inspire” and was glad for a worthy recommendation.
How to beat desk rage
I don’t think The Economist has a solution, but well, it does a good job of describing a very particular agony of modern life.
I Bought a CO2 Monitor and It Broke Me
I loved this piece. It is a reminder that there are many things one can measure, but really, what are you going to do with the information?
These Microsoft wallpapers are awesome.
I love Clippy.
“Billions of tiny cocoons hang woven into its threads, a lizard lying in the sun, a burning house, a dying soldier, everything dead and everything living. Time is big, yet it has room for new cocoons. A grey and relentless net, in which every second of my life is captured. Perhaps that’s why it seems so terrible to me, because it stores everything up and never really allows anything to end.”
This story is morbid, disturbing and I loved it. It had me in a soft but firm grip, and there are no chapters, just a breathless report stretching 238 pages. The main character goes off for a holiday in the mountains and finds herself the sole survivor behind a transparent wall. The book follows her as she undertakes the task of surviving – cutting wood, planting crops, milking a cow… The narrative skips between the past and present, and that required processing but also made the read even more engaging. Even as it was clear that things would not generally go well, I was engrossed in the details, trying to guess what happens next.
This is not a fast-paced science fiction novel. It is an ode to the natural world and the human spirit. It is a simple story, told in beautiful prose. But as to whether the protagonist truly finds equanimity, I do not know.
[The book was first published in 1963, and I have never heard of the author. I am so pleased I chanced upon it at the bookstore.]
“But if time exists only in my head, and I’m the last human being, it will end with my death. The thought cheers me. I may be in a position to murder time. The big net will tear and fall, with its sad contents, into oblivion. I’m owed some gratitude, but no one after my death will know I murdered time. Really these thoughts are quite meaningless. Things happen, and, like millions of people before me, I look for a meaning in them, because my vanity will not allow me to admit that the whole meaning of an event lies in the event itself.”
- What walking from Washington to New York reveals about America
To me, walking is a good thing. Maybe one day I will take a 26-day walk.
Nepo babies have never been bigger. So why are the Windsors and the Roys so unhappy?
Sometimes I try to read about why rich people become so unhappy, as a mind-expanding exercise. I appreciate that suffering is part of the human condition but I also appreciate details about the devastating effect of being wealthy.
Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review
I had the chance to test it, and got it at a good price. I am new to this customise-all-the-damn-buttons-on-your-mouse train, but I do like the size and look of the Surface Precision. It is slightly smaller than the Logitech G604 that I already have.
10 Seattle bookstores you’ll never want to leave
When we saw the photo of Twice Sold Tales, I knew we had to go there. We spotted a few cats and met a couple who was there trying to spot all the cats.
- Sometimes you get nice tips on Lifehacker, and sometimes you scratch your head at articles like this: How Library Book Requests Can Keep You From Impulse Shopping
- I am told that the 90s is back and Outdoor Research’s retro gear are really cute.
Turn off your email, get the packing right – and never, ever play Monopoly: 15 tips for a happy holiday
Ha, the hate that Monopoly gets. I played Monopoly Deal (a card game) on a trip and it was quite fun.