I’m always fascinated by people who think about space and space travel. Good thoughts by Maxime.

I’m sure that plenty of space nerds and technophiles will make the argument that maybe in 300 years we’ll have much more advanced technology than we do now, and some of these problems will be alleviated. That’s possible, but these problems can’t be completely eliminated. What I want to suggest is something simple: wanting to colonize alien planets upon arriving to a new solar system might be a nearsighted idea. You might be thinking you would want to do that just because you’re just used to living on planet Earth, and you’re lacking the perspective of someone who’s used to living in space.

I’m fascinated by architecture, and architects working in Antarctica are bringing some really interesting ideas to reality.

As someone who worked on the James Webb Space Telescope, it’s amazing to me that scientists have already discovered methods of using the telescope in ways that weren’t predicted when it was designed, prior to it being launched.

The study, led by NASA scientists and published in Nature Astronomy today, highlights an intriguing new way the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope could be used to detect and measure oxygen on exoplanets…

The new study identifies a wavelength at the mid-infrared level that can be used to detect collisions of oxygen molecules both with oxygen and with other gas molecules. The study’s authors suggest that the JWST’s Mid InfraRed Instrument Low Resolution Spectrometer (MIRI LRS) could search for oxygen at this wavelength around exoplanets that are transiting their host stars.

This method would potentially allow us to detect Earth-like levels of oxygen in many star systems less than 16 light-years away. In more distant systems it would be able to detect levels several times higher than those on Earth.

Well worth reading some of Frank’s thoughts about redesigning a web blog.

Basecamp has some truly interesting ideas:

You can not not communicate. Not discussing the elephant in the room is communicating. Few things are as important to study, practice, and perfect as clear communication.

Give meaningful discussions a meaningful amount of time to develop and unfold. Rushing to judgement, or demanding immediate responses, only serves to increase the odds of poor decision making.

Meetings are the last resort, not the first option.

Speaking only helps who’s in the room, writing helps everyone. This includes people who couldn’t make it, or future employees who join years from now.

If your words can be perceived in different ways, they’ll be understood in the way which does the most harm.

Never expect or require someone to get back to you immediately unless it’s a true emergency. The expectation of immediate response is toxic.

Poor communication creates more work.

Five people in a room for an hour isn’t a one hour meeting, it’s a five hour meeting. Be mindful of the tradeoffs.

Write at the right time. Sharing something at 5pm may keep someone at work longer. You may have some spare time on a Sunday afternoon to write something, but putting it out there on Sunday may pull people back into work on the weekends. Early Monday morning communication may be buried by other things. There may not be a perfect time, but there’s certainly a wrong time. Keep that in mind when you hit send.

Communication is lossy, especially verbal communication. Every hearsay hop adds static and chips at fidelity. Whenever possible, communicate directly with those you’re addressing rather than passing the message through intermediaries.

The Burnout List →

Frank Chimero · Frank Chimero · ·

I resonated with a few of his items:

  1. Bullshit tasks and meta-work: admin and management overshadows productive labor. Instead of being tired with one another (like a basketball team) we become tired of one another (like a marketing team). Tasks with tangible outcomes are naturally de-prioritized and people focus on meta-work that is incentivized. (See #3.) [Partially accurate but too jaded, rephrase later?]
  2. Lack of ethics: the only ethic is work ethic. Questions no longer ask if something should be done, but if it can be done. Whatever works is permitted, meaning nothing can be ruled out, discounted, or ignored.
  3. Self-improvement industrial complex: the mistake of seeing life as a project, despite it being something you can’t solve or get out of. Trying to “jump over your own shadow.” Framing development as “fixing yourself” instead of growth.
  4. Abundance problem: too much of everything—over-production, over-achievement, over-communication—leads to the problems of abundance: exhaustion, fatigue, and suffocation—when too much exists.

Having Kids →

Paul Graham · Paul Graham · ·

Before I had kids, I was afraid of having kids. Up to that point I felt about kids the way the young Augustine felt about living virtuously. I’d have been sad to think I’d never have children. But did I want them now? No.

If I had kids, I’d become a parent, and parents, as I’d known since I was a kid, were uncool. They were dull and responsible and had no fun. And while it’s not surprising that kids would believe that, to be honest I hadn’t seen much as an adult to change my mind. Whenever I’d noticed parents with kids, the kids seemed to be terrors, and the parents pathetic harried creatures, even when they prevailed.

When people had babies, I congratulated them enthusiastically, because that seemed to be what one did. But I didn’t feel it at all. “Better you than me,” I was thinking.

Now when people have babies I congratulate them enthusiastically and I mean it. Especially the first one. I feel like they just got the best gift in the world.

The Lesson to Unlearn →

Paul Graham · Paul Graham · ·

Interesting take on testing in education as it relates to success in other aspects of life and as a representation of learning.

The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn’t something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.

When I was in college, a particularly earnest philosophy grad student once told me that he never cared what grade he got in a class, only what he learned in it. This stuck in my mind because it was the only time I ever heard anyone say such a thing.

For me, as for most students, the measurement of what I was learning completely dominated actual learning in college. I was fairly earnest; I was genuinely interested in most of the classes I took, and I worked hard. And yet I worked by far the hardest when I was studying for a test…

The creed of compromise →

Thomas Maloney · Aeon · ·

Many of us ask ourselves such questions. Work is a conundrum. We cannot measure the consequences of our choices against the alternatives that have passed us by. We can only try to be thoughtful and humble, empathise, observe others – sometimes a painful exercise – and speculate about what might have been.

Here, then, is my speculation. Work is something we struggle to get and strive to keep. We love-hate it (usually not in equal measure). Sometimes it seems meaningless. I’m told this is the case even for surgeons, teachers and disaster-relief workers: those with jobs whose worth seems indisputable. For the mere facilitators, the obscure cogs in the machinery of the modern economy whose precise function and value it takes some effort to ascertain, the meaning in wh at we do often seems particularly elusive (I should know). I contend, however, that while our lives need to be meaningful, our work does not; it only has to be honest and useful. And if someone is voluntarily paying you to do something, it’s probably useful at least to them.

On Human Scum →

Dave Pell · Medium · ·

These are the three most infamous politicians to describe opponents as human scum: Hitler. Stalin. Trump.

As the simple truths spoken by impeachment witnesses backed him into a corner, the president repeated his use of one of history’s most notorious phrases: “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day. Keep fighting tough, Republicans, you are dealing with human scum.”

While Trump’s command of history is limited, he is aware of the nature of this particular phrase because he has used it, and been admonished for it, before. The sick attacks on Schiff, particularly using a trope associated with two of history’s most vile antisemites, calls into question when (if ever) Trump’s defenders will finally say enough is enough.

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