Recent Reads 2019: 03.22 – 04.02

A Beautiful 1928 Letter to 16-Year-Old Jackson Pollock from His Dad – Brain Pickings
“The secret of success is concentrating interest in life, interest in sports and good times, interest in your studies, interest in your fellow students, interest in the small things of nature, insects, birds, flowers, leaves, etc. In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life.”

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Lessons Learned From Seven Courses in Seven Days
“Aside from learning the actual content I consumed, the challenge of taking seven courses in seven days led me to reflect on who I am, what I like, and how I spend my time. I’ve distilled this down into several key points that I think apply to any learner.”

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In praise of slow thinking and Socratic ignorance — Quartz
“Distance and time provide perspective. To embrace slow thinking is to allow for shifts in opinion. When we’re not in a rush to reach a conclusion or take action, we’re free to explore ideas and change our minds, or just be deliberately undecided. Having no fixed position, which seems unthinkable on the internet, is actually a liberating way to navigate the world.”

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The story behind the Oblivion mod Terry Pratchett worked on • Eurogamer.net
“Most people know Pratchett as the author of Discworld, the famous fantasy series about a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants. However, what many people don’t know is that the knighted author was also a massive fan of video games – so much so that he actually worked on mods for Oblivion, most of which were spearheaded by a Morrowind modder named Emma.”

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Delete Never: The Digital Hoarders Who Collect Tumblrs, Medieval Manuscripts, and Terabytes of Text Files
“Many people active in the data hoarding community take pride in tracking down esoteric files of the kind that often quietly disappear from the internet—manuals for older technologies that get taken down when manufacturers redesign their websites, obscure punk show flyers whose only physical copies have long since been pulled from telephone poles and thrown in the trash, or episodes of old TV shows too obscure for streaming services to bid on—and making them available to those who want them.”

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Emilia Clarke, of “Game of Thrones,” on Surviving Two Life-Threatening Aneurysms | The New Yorker
“But it all seemed manageable, part of the stress of being an actor and of life in general. Now I think that I might have been experiencing warning signs of what was to come.”

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Do You Have a Not-So-Stranger? | A Cup of Jo
Perhaps you make up stories about them, or maybe you simply wonder: Where do they live? What’s their favorite book? Do they have an orange cat named Julius? Is someone, somewhere, thinking of them right now? They’re mysterious, yet familiar, like human signposts or landmarks or even lucky charms.

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Chris Evans Talks Trump, Tom Brady, Anxiety and Those Retirement Rumors | Hollywood Reporter
“Cap’s arc within the Marvel universe has also become a story weirdly in tune with larger shifts in the culture, in ways even Feige couldn’t have predicted. Downey’s Tony Stark was the superhero as disrupter, a repulsor ray–powered Elon Musk. In the ensuing years, America’s collective faith in billionaires with big ideas has been severely tested; Musk is now a full-time Twitter villain, as is the president of the United States. Nazi-punching is once again a marketable skill. And Captain America — an honorable man maintaining his code through increasingly dark times — seems less like an anachronism and more like the hero 2019 needs.”

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At 82, Glenda Jackson Commands the Most Powerful Role in Theater – The New York Times
This is one of my favorite pieces of the year so far!!! “In those moments, she told me, even if you don’t know why, an energy is produced and sent into the dark. The audience responds and sends the light back, forming a perfect, unbound, unbroken circle. “It is the model of an ideal society,” incumbent on everyone working together. “It doesn’t always happen, but it has happened enough to know that it’s possible.””

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How to play an effective Paladin – presented by the Red Dragon Inn
“Just because a Paladin has Fallen doesn’t make the character unplayable, on the contrary, it makes them more playable! They have tasted something that they possibly hadn’t before, what it is like to be on the other side of the tracks. And that means that they can better accept those that walk there all of the time. You will need to decide how such a fall affects your character, but it should be something huge!”

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How I finished the entire freeCodeCamp curriculum in 9 months while working full time
“You will have to study even on days you don’t feel like it. Here is where motivation also plays a big role, but discipline is important — especially if you’re like me and get distracted a lot with social media and cat videos.”

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SQL: One of the most valuable skills – Craig Kerstiens
“Yes we get a new standard every few years and occasionally something new comes along like support for window functions or CTEs, but the basics of SQL are pretty permanent. Learning SQL once will allow you to re-use it heavily across your career span without having to re-learn. Don’t get me wrong I love learning new things, but I’d rather learn something truly new than just yet another way to accomplish the same task.”

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Die, Workwear! – How We Lost Our Ability to Mend
The idea of mending today feels more like a promise than a reality. Alden Wicker touched on this last month in her Vox article about how the spare button represents all the ways we fail to be good consumers. Everyone has a stash of spare buttons rattling around in some drawer, with each button still neatly tucked inside its original packaging until we gather the will to throw it away. We buy things because they’re supposedly “investment pieces” and “classics,” but when it comes time to actually take care of our clothes, we don’t actually know how – or, more often, can’t be bothered.

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The Soothing Promise of Our Own Artisanal Internet | WIRED
This vision of decentralization is more back-to-the-land than blockchain. If portals to the digital world are so exploitative, it asks, why not curate our own?

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