Interesting articles, videos and other tidbits from around the web.
Jörg Blech, writing for Der Spiegel:
There are up to a billion viruses in our intestines alone – per gram of content.
Turns out those viruses are bacteriophages.
This isn’t an infection in any meaningful way. The phages aren’t hijacking human cells to make more copies of themselves, as viruses like influenza, Zika, or Ebola might. Instead, Barr thinks that the cells are in control. They’re actively engulfing phages, and shuttling them from one end to the other. Why?
They might help our immune system fight bacteria.
Phu My Hung is one of my favorite places in Saigon. It has so many nice corners, a lot of soothing greenery 😉 and walking around the area is pure pleasure.
I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay.
You can send me messages using the form below. If I go 24 hours without receiving a message, I’ll permanently self-destruct, and everything will be wiped from my database.
That’s okay though.
Until then, let me know how you’re doing. Other people will be able to read what you write, but your name or identity won’t be attached to anything, so feel free to say what’s on your mind.
It’s been a rough month.
ThisWebsiteWillSelfdestruct (dot) com
Head over and read the messages. Or send one yourself and keep this wonderful page alive.
It seems to have survived for three weeks already.
Chuck Frey on The Sweet Setup:
Like many things in business, creativity responds well to a process — one that guides you along the path of birthing, nurturing and implementing game-changing ideas. This simple system includes 5 steps:
Investigate → Generate → Incubate → Evaluate → Activate
It never ceases to amaze me how all these techniques can be expressed as ways through the Munich Procedural Model of product development.
Michael Crichton in his talk Why Speculate? given at the International Leadership Forum:
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
Sinosplice founder John Pasden:
Should learners of Chinese have a Chinese name? That’s a good question, but it’s not one that I’ll be answering in this article. Assuming that you feel you need a Chinese name, there are several approaches that you can take, depending on your preferences and your needs.
I got my Chinese name assigned when I enrolled in Tongji University.
Viet Tuan for VnExpress International:
Vietnam is urging citizens to marry before 30 and bear children early to maintain an ideal replacement fertility rate. […]
The decision calls for people to marry before they are 30 and bear children early. Women should have their second child before 35, it advises.
The reason being:
Vietnam’s population hit 96.2 million last year, which is third in Southeast Asia and 15th globally, according to the Central General Census and Housing Steering Committee.
The country however reached a turning point in 2015 when it started to become one of the countries with the fastest aging populations in the world, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said in a 2016 report.
Each Arai helmet is hand-crafted. And the professional racers get to wear the same products as the consumers.
Damien Newman created a squiggle to symbolizes the design process from research on the left via concept and prototyping in the middle to the final design on the right.
–– Georg Christoph Lichtenberg?
Follow hitmaking, Grammy-nominated songwriter and music producer Oak Felder as he creates a new song. Along the way, he speaks about music production, creating his own unique sound, working with the world’s top artists, and what it means for young artists to have access to powerful technology.
Paul Graham in a 2008 essay:
Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.
The surprising thing is how different these messages can be. New York tells you, above all: you should make more money. There are other messages too, of course. You should be hipper. You should be better looking. But the clearest message is that you should be richer.
What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter. You really should get around to reading all those books you’ve been meaning to.
When you ask what message a city sends, you sometimes get surprising answers. As much as they respect brains in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: you should be more powerful.
Read the whole essay. It’s a very thought provoking. What does Munich tell you, what Shanghai, what Saigon?
Robyn Griggs Lawrence, author of Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House:
According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi. Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.
Check out the Wikipedia article for more examples and some photos.
I love fast software. That is, software speedy both in function and interface. Software with minimal to no lag between wanting to activate or manipulate something and the thing happening. Lightness.
Software that’s speedy usually means it’s focused. Like a good tool, it often means that it’s simple, but that’s not necessarily true. Speed in software is probably the most valuable, least valued asset. To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book — makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.
John Gruber comments:
One of the confounding aspects of software today is that our computers are literally hundreds — maybe even a thousand — times faster than the ones we used 20 years ago, but some simple tasks take longer now than they did then.
Too few product managers treat speed as a feature. There should be tests that make sure software stays fast (or becomes faster) when new features are addede.
Hugo, which is powering this site, is a positive example, advertising itself as “the world’s fastest framework for building websites”.
Lead developer Bjørn Erik Pedersen said in an interview with the New Dynamic:
I try to play the zero-sum game when adding new features: The processing time added by the new feature will have to be compensated by improvements in others […].
Performance bottlenecks show up in the most surprising places, so you have to benchmark. Performance gains and losses come from smaller accumulated changes over time. And speed matters. Try Hugo’s server with livereload and you will see.
New York bartender Jeff Solomon shows how to mix every cocktail.
And by every cocktail we mean not every cocktail, because that would be insane. Today we’re gonna focus on classic cocktails. These are the drinks from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that are still popular today.