Tenday Notes 21 Feb - 28 Feb 2023
Every ten days or so, I share a quick digest of what I've been working on and reading. Here's the latest. More in the series here.
Short one this, as it's a short tenday period consisting of just eight days. THANKS FEBRUARY.
I've not had a tonne of free time for creative pursuits since the last newsletter, but I did realise that my portfolio hasn't been updated in 18 months and therefore needs some love.
So I've been loving it - by which I mean chopping off older bits and replacing them with newer bits while trying to find some pride in where I've grown over that time, and how I'm a different person now than I was.
The new version isn't quite ready yet... I've sent it to some friends for feedback first, suppressing my natural urge to get it done and out and move onto the next thing in favour of a bit more perfectionism. Hopefully by the time you receive the next issue of this newsletter, it'll be out.
A fun read from Tim Harford on how one of the biggest ever financial bubbles was not in fact, the Dutch tulip mania (which scarcely caused a ripple) but the British Railway Mania, which devastated the middle classes.
A lovely read from Craig Mod in his Ridgeline newsletter about the linkages between real and videogame worlds, and how both shape us.
A fascinating read from Eric Hand in Science magazine about hidden reserves of hydrogen lurking below the Earth's surface. We've never really found these reserves before because (a) they're rare in the kind of rocks that contain oil and gas, and (b) geologists didn't think it would accumulate in any significant quantities.
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, humankind doesn't exactly have a great record on handling natural resources booms in a smart and thoughtful way, and more extractivism is the opposite of what we need right now. But on the other hand, we're in a climate emergency, and a hydrogen drilling boom could allow oil and gas companies a way to swiftly pivot to delivering to a less harmful product. It could also pave the way for the just transition we need for workers in those industries.
Finally, it could also explain the mysterious vegetation-free depressions known as "fairy circles" that appear in clusters all over the world and seem to seep hydrogen. Here's a stunning false-colour lidar image from the article that shows some examples in North Carolina that can be more than 1km wide.
An answer to a very important question - how many walls stop a Lego cannon? The Brick Experiment Channel on YouTube systematically tests cannonballs made of plastic, glass, steel, and tungsten carbide, as well as multiple different wall designs. You'll be gripped from start to finish.
Finally, my partner observed the other day that one of my favourite genres is "British men talking over dance music". It's true. Some of my favourites of this genre include:
- Fred Again... & Baxter Dury - Baxter (These Are My Friends)
- Because of Art & Anthony Szmierek - Circle of Light
- Hot Chip & Jarvis Cocker - Straight to the Morning
I would love more recommendations along those lines, music pals.
That's it for today. Told you it was a short one. See you in mid-March!