What Space Really Is, Using Algorithms to Improve Your Life and Beautiful Natural Spaces
Ways to use algorithms to improve day-to-day decision-making, what astronauts really call space, the importance of simple language in communication, and more – all at Lifehacker Brain Buffet this week!
What is space, in fact, from people who have actually been there
I grew up wanted to be an astronaut, and I bet that most of you at some point are at least wondering what it really was, how to be in space not only in general microgravity things, but what it is actually like, for example, how it smells in a spaceship, what it feels like on a daily basis, what it feels like to eat, drink, sleep and live in space. Well, the new book ” What’s it like in space?” Ariel Waldman , interviews with some people who actually visited to record their experiences.
Make Magazine has a wonderful interview with Waldman in which they discuss how she got interested in the topic, how she chose the stories for the book, and why she went with more anecdotal and interesting stories rather than more educational ones that you can find anywhere. One of the tidbits of the interview was a little talk about insight and how Waldman was inspired by one of my all-time favorite documentaries:
Actually, I was not a fan of space or science. I was in love with design and went to art school. But a few years ago, I watched a Discovery Channel documentary called When We Left Earth about the early days of NASA’s attempt to send a man into space. What really struck me was that when they interviewed people who were working in mission control at the time, they said they knew nothing about spacecraft, orbits or rocketry and that they were, in fact, learned along the way. I watched this and said to myself: well, I don’t know anything about space exploration and would like to work at NASA – sounds amazing!
So you never know. Sometimes an inspirational dream is worth shooting into the dark. [ via Make Magazine ]
How algorithms can improve your life (and when)
In last week’s and this week’s Note to Self podcast (hosted by a wonderful person and friend of Lifehacker , Manush Zomorodi), the team touched on a topic close to our hearts: how you can use algorithms or pre-programmed routines to improve your life, analyze tons of variables, and ultimately, get rid of decision fatigue and paralysis and make easier choices. In the first episode of the two-part (which you can play above), Manush and Brian Christian, co-authors of a book on the topic, discuss some tips for productivity and lifestyle, which we also shared, for example, in the last article. or the object on your desk is probably the one you want next time, or why you should stop logging emails and just use search ( seriously, really ) to find what you need.
In the second part of the two-part series, Manush actually tries out some of the algorithms and methods described in the first half of the series with some success. You can listen to her talk about how she applied some of them in the embedded podcast above. Listen to both episodes and then see which – and which – you think might work best in your daily life. [ via WNYC part one and two ]
The Science of Cooling a Drink
We’ve discussed dozens of ways to chill a drink here at Lifehacker over the years, but the people at Lucky Peach actually dived into the smallest details: why the drinks are as cold as they are, how different types of ice speed up or slow down the chilling process. and how all this knowledge will help you prepare the best drinks and cocktails. People who just want to get drunk to get drunk don’t need to contact this time – this is a long guide for people who love the science of mixing delicious drinks for adults and want to apply it to their own repertoire. For instance:
A small dose of science will do you good. Think like a scientist and you will make your drinks better. You don’t need to be a scientist or even scientific to use the scientific method to your advantage. Manage variables, observe and check your results; that’s all. In this book, you will learn how to make drinks more uniform, how to make them better all the time, and how to develop delicious new recipes without taking random shots in the dark.
Okay, I’m on board. The guide explains why the type, size and shape of ice matters:
Each gram of melted ice provides eighty calories of cooling power. In comparison, a medium 3.5 ounce (90 ml) daiquiri will melt 55 to 65 grams of ice if you shake it for 10 seconds. This is an average of 2000 watts of cooling capacity per drink. Shake four bad guys at once and you have 8000 watts of chilling power.
Any ice has 80 calories per gram of cooling capacity, no matter how large or how unusual it is, but how this cooling force is transmitted depends on the size and shape of the ice. An important difference between large and small ice cubes is their surface area. Smaller chunks of ice have a larger surface area for a given weight than larger chunks. Thus, these smaller pieces can cool faster, which is good, but more liquid water adheres to their surface, which is often bad. The surface of the ice can also trap some of your cocktail so it never ends up in your glass. Let’s look at these three issues – surface area and cooling rate, surface area and trapped water, surface area and trapped cocktail – in turn.
We don’t want to give everything here, but everything is worth reading. The guide moves on to discuss surface area (and why large spheres or ice cubes are so much better than a few ice cubes), supercooled ice (which I had no idea about), and more. [ via Lucky Peach ]
1944 Memo against the “dumbass” and the praise of a simple, simple language
The first known use of the word “gobbledygook” in English came from this 1944 memo (shown above) from Maury Maverick, then manager and chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II. He urged his staff to “stay away from chatter” and “speak short and use plain English,” which we could all use as a reminder from time to time.
It’s important to note that he doesn’t encourage downplaying your message – in fact, he praises the use of statistics and other data to support your stories – he simply indicates that they should be saved as attachments for those who want to read more. The important story, the whole story and the gist, must be right ahead. What about its origin? From the Wikipedia page on “gibberish:”
Later, in the New York Times Magazine, he defined nonsense as “long, bombastic, vague speech or writing that usually uses romanized words.” There was a hint of a turkey that “always swallows and paces with ridiculous pomp.”
Good reminder and good history lesson. The complete record itself is kept in the National Archives , and the tutorial was kindly provided by BoingBoing , who found it in the equally awesome Futility Closet. [ via Futility Closet ]
Are payday loans really as dangerous as they say?
I’m not here to argue for payday loans. I think they are terrible, predatory, and take advantage of the people and communities that are most at risk of falling into exorbitant debt – and I think more and more people are coming to realize this . However, the release of the Freakonomics podcast this week touches both sides of the coin, indicating that many of the people who criticize them so strongly are also in a financial position in which they have never needed this type of financial service. offer services, and often these are services that are not provided at all by traditional banks and lenders.
At the end of the day, the podcast is worth listening to and considering, even challenging your own confirmation bias in one way or another, and learning a little more about what’s becoming an even more controversial industry with even more ease. aimed at him. [ via Freakonomics ]
Wonderful time-lapse photography of some of America’s great natural spaces
I always love ending Brain Buffet with something inspiring or relaxing, and this series of time-lapse videos of some of America’s greatest natural spaces and beauties is perfect for me. It’s five minutes, but if possible, full screen and enjoy. I will let him speak for himself. [ viaNational Geographic ]
Everyone this week! If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts, eye-opening videos, or anything else that you think is perfect for Brain Buffet, share it with us! Send it to me by email , leave it as a comment below, or send it in any way convenient for you.