Here's a happy time waster: go to OpenPuppies.com and press the space bar for endless puppy gifs.
Last year, in response to top news stories, thousands of haikus were crowdsourced and the collection was posted here at Doom Haikus.
For context, the maker Eli Holder says:
Back in March, I was feeling overwhelmed with 2020's terrible news, and I asked myself: What if, instead of gloomy news… we just had gloomy haikus?! Wouldn't that be better?! So I wrote a script to post each day's top news stories to Mechanical Turk, asking turkers to summarize each article as a haiku. It's been running (almost) all year. About 2,000 people have responded and there are now 2,700 haikus, forever memorializing the worst year of our lives, as anxious sets of 5, 7, 5 syllables. You might ask (rightly): Why would anyone need this? Mild entertainment? Masochistic nostalgia? An unusual dataset for text summarization? I'm honestly not sure, but it was fun to make!
Here a few gloomy ones:
We are all Dying
Free Treatment May Help US all
We Will Find Out Soon
A Man was Murdered
Because of His Skin Color
All Black Lives Matter
A Job that Means You
Have No Food and No Real Home
Is not a Real Job.
The Anonymizer is an AI that generates photos for the purpose of protecting your identity.
All of the faces pictured above do not exist and were generated after I uploaded this photo:
I can sort of see a resemblance. Although I think it's a little too late to protect my identity.
Generated Photos say they don't store or save your personal data or photos, and you are free to use your anonymized photos anywhere online except for commercial purposes. Or to impersonate someone else. Or to conduct illegal activity.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even a tiny amount of moderate exercise, as short as 11 minutes, can help to offset the negative health impacts of sitting all day at your desk.
From Fast Company:
The study, a meta-analysis of nine other studies tracking nearly 45,000 people, found that those who were most sedentary risked dying prematurely. But even when people sat as much as 8.5 hours a day, getting just 11 minutes of moderate exercise significantly cut that risk. Thirty to 40 minutes of exercise was even more helpful.
Moderate exercise is considered to be the equivalent of brisk walking or biking, and if you're aiming for 30 minutes a day, it doesn't even have to happen all at once.
"It doesn't matter if you accrue it in 30 minutes or one-minute bouts over 30 occasions," says Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University and one of the coauthors of the study. "The guidelines historically used to recommend that it had to be 10 minutes or more time, and we found that that's just not the case. Any movement, no matter what duration, is beneficial, as long as you accrue enough of it."
Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash
If you never got to send your scream to Iceland, add this number to your contacts: 561-567-8431 — and the next time you need to scream just call, wait for the beep, scream and hang up.
To scream! You might be unhappy, terrified, frustrated, or elated. All of these are perfectly good reasons to call and record yourself screaming.
You can listen to the latest calls at justscream.baby.
According to the website this project will be active until January 21, 2021 and then it will be archived.
How Old Were They Then? is one of those single-purpose websites for those moments when you're watching something on TV and really need to know how old the actor was during filming.
Or when you just want to confirm that Alan Ruck really was 30 years old when he played Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Or if you're like me when I watch old Goldie Hawn films and wonder "When am I gonna get the Goldie Hawn glow-up?" only to realize that age came and went and the answer is never.
My new favorite word: dorking — the use of search engines to find very specific data.
This blog post on alec.fyi outlines all the ways to use advanced Google Search to find any webpage, emails, info or secrets.
What I found most helpful is how to search Twitter and Mailchimp archives for discount codes. Just replace the company name with whatever you want.
See the full list of query tips here.
In the most recent issue of What's in my bag? Magician Gordon Meyer shares what he carries in his bag while guiding walking tours of haunted Chicago.
Gordon Meyer is a writer and magician. He conducts "bizarre" walking tours of the Chicago neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown that focus on forgotten lore, unexplained mysteries, and ghost stories. His latest project is a book series about "Notorious Neighbors." Find him at BizarreChicago.com and @gordonmeyer on Twitter.
About the bag:
The bag is from Timbuk2's "Distilled Collection," which has sadly been discontinued. I love its canvas material and physical closures (instead of velcro). The tour sign attached to the flap was created on an inkjet printer using Avery Printable Fabric.
What's inside the bag:
Zippo 1941 Replica Lighter ($26): I bought this for its historical and minimalistic styling, but soon learned that the "windproof" claims are true — and useful in bad weather. I use it on my candle-lit tours, and also to ignite an offering to a seamstress and labor activist whose story I tell.
Listerine Ready! Tabs ($18, 56ct): I used to carry a water bottle to combat dry mouth, but these are lighter. They cause my mouth to water like crazy and freshen my breath. Recommended for anyone doing a lot of speaking. Bonus: They're sugar free.
Busy Beaver Button Co: Everyone who comes on the tour gets a logo button attached to a ticket stub. The stubs are half-sized business cards from GotPrint.com. The buttons feature my logo by artist Refugio Alfaro and are manufactured by the local company, Busy Beaver Co. (Spoiler alert: the buttons glow in the dark!)
Nite IZE SpotLit LED Light ($8): I keep this light clipped onto my bag to increase my visibility for autos, and I also unclip it and use it to illuminate the placards I show to my guests. It's tough, waterproof, and provides just the right amount of extra light. The placards in the photo are of a Felt & Tarrant Comptometer (manufactured in the neighborhood) and Richard Nickel, a preservationist, artist, and neighbor.
Additional items in the photo
Spirit apparatus: The chalkboards have had their frames removed for smaller packing, I use these to receive messages from the ghosts of Bucktown. The large, vintage Chicago Fire Warden Bell, is haunted.
Designer Tessa Forrest recycles inspiring quotes from poets, philosophers and other leaders and turns them into new and fresh graphics using bold and decorative typefaces.
Here are my favorites from her instagram account @subliming.jpg.
This New Age Bullshit Generator created by Seb Pearce will put you on the fast track to becoming the next best-selling self-help guru. Just click on the "Reionize electrons" button and generate esoteric-sounding bullshit with every click.
The inspiration behind the website:
"The inspiration for this idea came from watching philosophy debates involving Deepak Chopra. After sitting through hours of New Age rhetoric, I decided to have a crack at writing code to generate it automatically and speed things up a bit. I cobbled together a list of New Age buzzwords and cliché sentence patterns and this is the result."
Here is some new-age BS I generated:
"We self-actualize, we dream, we are reborn. Freedom requires exploration. The totality is bursting with vibrations. Nothing is impossible. Have you found your myth? How should you navigate this unified cosmos? Child, look within and awaken yourself."
In this NY Times article — "Shh. It's Breakfast Time." — Hillary Richard demystifies the ancient practice of eating in silence.
"The concept for silent breakfast is simple enough: Focus on your food, quietly, and deal with whatever thoughts come up."
As someone who wakes up and immediately heads to her to-do list, I forced myself to adopt this habit of sitting somewhere alone with my coffee in the mornings and sipping silently. It really helps to slow down my brain so that I don't feel overwhelmed when I sit down at my desk to work.
More from NY Times:
When I first encountered silent breakfast, in 2019, it was easier for many of us to avoid ourselves by running through our own lives. In 2020, with nowhere to go and much less to do, I refocused on silent breakfasts. I made a date with myself every morning and guarded my time against the inevitable digital intrusions.
I worked on being my own company, on treating myself like I'd treat a guest, on asking myself questions. I focused on what was in front of me, which allowed me to face each tumultuous day with a stronger sense of calmness and acceptance, relatively speaking. I started to crave my quiet reconfiguration every morning.
To quote Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
Also, in case you hit a paywall, here is a link to the same article on another website.
In this BBC Ideas video, philosopher Nigel Warburton imagines a future world where "Good Death" centers exist on the outskirts of all towns, a place where we all get to choose how we die.
Of course there are caveats:
"No one gets to use the facility without thorough psychological evaluation and counseling. This choice is only for the sound of mind."
This web app on Playback.fm will let you upload your black & white photos to colorize and download for free. Any image you upload will be temporarily hosted on their server for 10 minutes.
Here are a few images I ran through their AI.
Photos inherited from my father-in-law (1950s-1960s).
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared the 4-question test she uses to help her figure out whose advice to trust.
Do I trust this person's taste and judgment?
Does this person understand what I'm trying to create here?
Does this person genuinely want me to succeed?
Is this person capable of delivering the truth to me in a sensitive and compassionate manner?
This can be applied to both professional and personal critics.