this is the archive for the ‘links and ideas’ category:


name seals

the boy subscribes to a newsletter that is mostly about coding, but sometimes also includes random interesting links. last week, it linked to this video about name seals in japan, which i found fascinating:

i had no idea that they’re still so commonly used in japan these days, as that definitely did not seem to be the case in china. watching the video made me want to go and play with my own name seal, carved 10 years ago in shanghai, by a street vendor. it’s not super legible… but it is unique and mine!

the seed potatoes of leningrad

while i was thinking about the previous post, i listened to this episode of anthropocene reviewed (a quirky podcast by john green that reviews stuff on a 5 star scale) and it stuck because it was just so much on topic.

each episode always has 2 parts, and the one about the potatoes starts at about 11:32… although, if you like tetris, you might want to start at the beginning and just hear both parts.

“Humans are often criticized for being short-term thinkers, unable to see past their own lives. And yes, in desperate situations we can become desperate animals. But it is also human to die for want of potatoes you are saving for people you do not know. Every seed contains a possibility of life yet to come, and when given the choice between themselves today or everyone tomorrow, the seedbank workers of Leningrad chose us. Let us remember their example. I give the seed potatoes of Leningrad four and a half stars.”

eggs and other collections

being a fan of eggs, i really enjoyed this brainscoop episode on the field museum‘s egg collection. lately i’ve been thinking about museums (it’s even the writing prompt of the month on Postcrossing’s blog) and specifically about the importance of natural collections to the understanding and preservation of the species’ biodiversity.

unlike typical collections of random or futile objects, natural collections are much more than a number to aim for — they are often a genetic repository of invaluable information. who knows what the technology of the future will be able to tell us about the past through the specimens we’ve preserved? or when we’ll need that information to start again? but in order to study, understand or start again, stuff needs to be collected and kept, sometimes for centuries.

we were surprised to discover recently that this is something our local town hall has been doing for the past few years… can you guess what they’ve been collecting?

i’ll tell you about it in the next post. :)

focusmate

about a year ago, i asked here on the blog and on facebook whether anyone wanted to study with me. i was looking to replicate our berlin early morning study sessions on an online format, to help me get out of bed and into study-mode in the early hours of the morning. but no one came along, and i get it: this is not for everyone.

a couple of weeks ago though, someone in habitica mentioned focusmate and it has been the answer to my prayers!

focusmate is a platform that does exactly what i’ve been looking for: you’re paired with another person for a 50 minute video time slot. you talk a bit in the beginning about your goals for the session, and then get to work, only talking again at the end. all the while, you’re doing your thing, the other person is doing their thing, and you’re both quietly being your most productive selves.

as expected, the results have been awesome! not only do i get out of bed extra quickly (there’s someone waiting!), but i’ve also been able to do lots more stuff these past few weeks, including reading about difficult conversations and online communities, studying chinese again… and writing on this blog. :) hurray!

shake & fold

we watched this short ted talk years ago…

…and to this day, i cannot wash my hands on a public restroom without counting the 12 apostles while vigorously shaking them! :D