Matthew Gifford

Weekend notes: 1/27/17

Attention

It’s been difficult to process everything that has happened over the past week. It seems like every hour or two, something absurd happens. And while I’m trying to deal with the outrage, the next thing comes along. It’s like I’m watching a slow-motion chain-reaction car accident and can’t look away.

Noise

The problem with paying so much attention to that stuff is that it distracts us. We end up spending too much time feeling and expressing anger and getting involved in unproductive arguments.

Duty Calls by xkcd

I think one of the most important things each of us can do right now is to reclaim our attention. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to effectively resist. Or to even function normally.

On a tenuously related note, if you feel like you’re buried in work, consider throwing away your crazy GTD/kanban/OmniFocus system and try something simpler.

Signal

If you don’t have some way to communicate securely with friends and family, you might want to consider setting that up. I’ve settled on Signal. If you’re using it, let me know.

Music

Google Music suggested that I listen to Wisdom of Elders by Shabaka and the Ancestors today. I didn’t get a chance to listen to the whole thing, but what I did hear was very interesting.

Space

Just watch this for a minute.

By Jason Wang, et al — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVgKidAuf4o (converted by uploader from WebM to GIF), CC BY 3.0, Link

Those are planets orbiting a star 129 light years away. We can directly observe planets around other stars now. That’s amazing.

Which leads me to a question I’ve been contemplating for a few months: What would happen if we were someday able to directly observe a civilization on another planet?

January 27, 2017

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