Hoarder brains

The brains of hoarders show differences in their cingulate cortex and insulas from those of non-hoarders and OCD sufferers, and brain injuries seem to be able to trigger hoarding behaviour. In 1848, an explosion drove a tamping rod through the brain of Phineas Gage, a railway worker in Vermont. He survived the accident, but was said by his doctor to have developed ‘a great fondness for pets and souvenirs’ that was ‘only exceeded by his attachment to his tamping iron, which was his constant companion during the remainder of his life’.

Thoreau on the Habit of Writing

Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing, of keeping a journal. ... Having by chance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought them into juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it was possible to labor and to think. Thought begat thought.

Henry David Thoreau
The Journal, 1837–1861
(January 22, 1852)

3D globe inspiration

Some people have mistakenly said that the Metaverse itself was the inspiration, but it wasn’t for any of us as far as I know. John [Hanke] has publicly stated that the panoptic 3D “Earth” application from Snow Crash was the actual inspiration for him. Mark Aubin has said that the Powers of Ten movie and flipbook were an inspiration to him. I’d honestly been toying with the idea of 3D globes before I read Snow Crash around 1994. So I think this is more a case of multiple people converging at the right place and the right time with similar ideas.


If he were in some normal, stable part of the world like lower Manhattan, this would actually work in 3-D. Instead, he’s got to put up with two-dimensional satellite imagery.

Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash (1992)

Gen. Z and digital environments

The growing pro-metaverse contingent is perhaps the logical conclusion of decades of rhetoric that “innovation” is synonymous with “digitization.” For the twenty-somethings who populate the NFT community, the greatest and most salient innovations in their lifetime have occurred in the increasingly pleasant digital environments of their phones and gaming consoles. Meanwhile, the primary narrative they have been fed about the physical world is that it will probably kill them one day, via COVID-19 or climate change. Our generation may not be consciously hostile to the physical world, but we have little affection for it either.

Losing the point of cooking

For me, I feel like we lose the point of cooking. We’re so stuck in the recipes and what to do and the quantities of everything that you forget that cooking can be this super intuitive, relaxing process that doesn’t have edges around it, but is this ambiguous thing that flows into the next thing.

Perpetual cooking

When I cook at home I very rarely follow recipes, it is more about feel and taste but also what I have on hand and want to use up.

Something that I try to convey in my recipes but is admittedly very hard to articulate is the intersection of intuition and thrift and laziness in home cooking [...]

Anyway I'm always pursuing the idea that one meal can flow into the next and the next, building flavor but also feelings and memories, instead of fixing hermetically sealed little meals that just make 1-2 portions, but instead big batches that evolve over time, richer and deeper meals that carry a literal trace of the meal you had before it.

[...] I remember eating many lunches at Moosewood in Ithaca and seeing how Monday's salsa became Tuesday's marinara became Wednesday's ribolitta, which is also how any decent line cook will interpret leftovers into a memorable family meal.

Learning something every day

[Arnold Bennet] suggests that we use the evenings for learning. About what? It doesn’t matter, really. But you should spend your time learning about something. [...] The point is that you spend your time learning about something you’re interested in so that you experience it more deeply.


Bennet has a few words of caution for us.

First, he recommends that we start small. With a small amount of time and small expectations. Don’t try to apply this every day of the week. Give yourself a window of an hour for thirty minutes of reflection; expect interruptions and distractions.

Next, he recommends that we don’t become too strict about our regimen. The idea is for the learning and reflection to serve our life, not for our life to serve the regimen.

With anything that improves life, we have to avoid becoming a snob about it. There may be reasons that it doesn’t work for everyone, or why they can’t implement it. Improving ourselves is enough work already — there’s no need to worry about improving everyone else.

Finally, we should be cautious of failure at the beginning. Learning of a way to improve one's life can come with a strong motivation that disappears quickly when things get tough. Be careful not to overdo things.

A taste of armadillo

The armadillo, remarkable for its laminated shell, when baked in its scaly coat is a good treat, the flesh being considered delicate eating, somewhat like a rabbit in taste and colour. The flesh of the large twelve-banded Brazilian one (Dasypus Tatouay) is said to be the best of all. In South America there are several species of armadillo, all of which are used for food when met with.

The cost of a thing

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

Henry David Thoreau
from “Walden” (1854)

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