Zika and Tesla's big f***ing rocket
Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from October 2, 2016. It's a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.
Zika – Science Vs Sep 30, 39 min (listen) Learned: The CDC says it's ok to try and get pregnant after only three months post infection. Thoughts: This episode digs into the origins of the virus and why it's suddenly such a problem. The first hand accounts from the scientists who are piecing together what's going on is more interesting than you would think.
Hypnosis – Science Vs Sep 22, 44 min (listen) Learned: 10-15% of people are highly hypnotizable, your personality is a bad predictor for how hypnotizable you are, the three necessary things for hypnosis to work are absorption, disassociation, suggestability, and there is research that shows there is more to it than placebo effect. Thoughts: The episode didn't get into what science says about curing things like smoking and fear of flying, but I was surprised by how many studies have been done around hypnosis in general.
Postal Addresses – Surprisingly Awesome Sep 21, 44 min (listen) Learned: There are 4 billion people without street addresses, Lebanon is pushing for a GPS coordinate system, and Mongolio is attempting to switch to the 3 word address system. Thoughts: what3words.com breaks the entire world into 57 million 3x3 meter squares and labels them with a different string of three words. Using this system, the place I lived in college is fear.freezer.tweezers. Interesting. I learned a lot in this episode about the difficulty of living in a developing country or within a nomadic population, but I thought the ending message about Kurt Vonnegut being a luditte was odd to put in there.
Water Bears' Super Survival Skills Give Up Secrets – 60-Second Science Sep 28, 3 min (listen) Learned: Tardigrades are the ultimate bad ass species on this planet. Thoughts: This show is perfect to binge extremely short nuggets of knowledge. Tardigrades are the true honey badgers. Quote: "The most indestructible, multicellular organisms on earth, are undoubtedly Tardigrades. Microscopic, eight-legged, aquatic invertebrates, also known as water bears. These wee beasties can withstand severe dehydration, extreme temperature and pressures, several days in Earth's orbit exposed to the vacuum of space, and whopping doses of radiation that would kill most anything else."
How Ice Ages Work – Stuff You Should Know Sep 27, 49 min (listen) Learned: We are in an ice age right now and it began 2.5 million years ago, most likely due to the "recently" formed Himalayas. The Earth can either be in greenhouse, icehouse, or snowball mode. Glacial periods of an ice age are only 10 degrees F colder than normal greenhouse (no ice) mode. Thoughts: I live near the finger lakes in upstate NY, which are exhibit A for the power of glaciers. All the things this episode touches on are parts of the discussion around climate change, so this doubles as a primer for knowing the ins and outs of that debate.
I didn't watch many videos worth sharing this week but below is a peak at a post I'm working on.
The subject of free will is something I never gave much thought to at all until watching this Crash Course Philosophy video on the subject. It just seemed like a silly question. Of course I am choosing the things I am doing right now! But that video and eventually this hour long talk from Sam Harris really made me question things. So if you haven't thought about it either and also think it's a silly thing to even question, start here as a place to send reality into a tailspin. ARTICLES AND OTHER LINKS
I caught up some longer articles I've been hoarding in Pocket for what feels like forever. One of them is What is Code? that is below and holy crap is that probably the longest article I've ever read. It's seriously a short book but the amount of information is incredible. You play the part of a fictional and overwhelmed non-tech VP who needs to get up to speed on why software is taking over everything around you. It's a broad overview of computer science, a survey of the programming landscape, and an actual compelling read. You don't need to want to be a programmer to really appreciate the job this does in getting someone up to speed on the deal with code. Save it for a nice long flight like I did or when you have an entire morning to kill.
What is Code? – Bloomberg (read) "For your entire working memory, some Internet thing has come along every two years and suddenly hundreds of thousands of dollars (inevitably millions) must be poured into amorphous projects with variable deadlines. Content management projects, customer relationship management integration projects, mobile apps, paperless office things, global enterprise resource planning initiatives—no matter how tightly you clutch the purse strings, software finds a way to pry open your fingers."
Space X's Big Fucking Rocket - The Full Story – Wait But Why (read) "So that’s all you have to do—build a rocket that’s a million times more capable than today’s best rockets but who’s also efficient and smart and great in bed. SpaceX is building it. Meet the Big Fucking Rocket"
Two fantastic lists of things to check out
That's all for this week!