The odds in favour of you being born were slim | Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan

The odds in favour of you being born were slim

“Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of the earth. The speck of dust represents the odds in favor of your being born; the huge planet would be the odds against it. So stop sweating the small stuff."

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The minor deities of the internet | Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Infinite attention, infinite regard and the minor deities of the internet

“That’s the dream of replication: infinite attention, infinite regard. The machinery of the internet has made it a democratic possibility, as television never could, since the audience in their living rooms necessarily far outnumbered the people who could be squeezed into the box. Not so with the internet, where anyone with access to a computer…

The Black Swan Model: the domesticated chicken and what it never expected

The Black Swan Model: the domesticated chicken and what it never expected

Writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls the phenomenon of people being unable to predict the future based on the past the Black Swan principle. This name is inspired by the the 17th Century early explorers. People in Europe had always assumed that all swans were white. Imagine their surprise when they found that black swans that…

Inspirational People: Tenzin Gyatso

Inspirational People: Tenzin Gyatso

"If we look at human history, we will find that a good heart has been the key in achieving what the world regards as great accomplishments in the fields of civil rights, social work, political liberation and religion for example. Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, after a school talk in Tibet. "A sincere outlook…

Book Review: Awaken in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-discovery by Mark Coleman

Book Review: Awaken in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-discovery by Mark Coleman

Awaken in the Wild is a really great introductory book about the connection between mindfulness and the natural world. Published in 2006, it feels before its time in terms of the themes of overstimulation from technology and mindfulness. There are around 40 brief and themed sections in the book, with a short lesson and then…

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a collection of loosely related essays that expand upon the idea of wandering, being lost and our human sense of the unknown. The essays are insightful, vivid and at times slow-moving. This is a mosaic of cultural history, autobiography, nature writing and artistic criticism that roves far and…

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan There have been a swathe of books lately on how to overcome shyness. This one is my favourite. This memoir recounts the adventures of Quiet American, Jessica Pan as she undertakes a year of living as an extrovert in London. It’s a…

Verner Panton: The Daring Spirit of 60's Design

The richness of lovers and tribes

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I…

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings takes its cue from medieval bestiaries. Author and playful intellectual Caspar Henderson sets out to write a modern compendium of beasts, and show, in the process, that truth is a lot weirder than fiction. Forget about dragons, cyclops and faeries, the world of extant species such as the thorny devil, nautilus and puffer fish are enough to inspire wonder.

Reflexion by Odilon Redon

This being human is a guest house

This being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness comesas an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,who violently sweep your houseempty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably.He may be clearing you outfor some new delight. The dark…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

Mind-expanding books that opened up the world to me as a teenager #Booktag

Some books help you as a teenager to move beyond the claustrophobic and limited world you were born into. We can't help where we were born or who our family is. However, when we are young, if we read the right books, we may just be able to transcend challenging beginnings and see the world…

Book Review: The Mind is Flat by Nick Chater

Book Review: The Mind is Flat by Nick Chater

Forget all about the Freudian id, superego and ego vying for your present attention. And forget about Jungian archetypes and stuff randomly bubbling up to the surface of your consciousness. According to Behavioural Psychologist Nick Chater – this doesn’t exist. Instead, what we all have is a flat mind. Or a mind that’s incredibly adept…

Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Ant-lover and Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, Edward O. Wilson has been arguing for the unity and connectedness of all human knowledge for many decades. In his latest book The Origins of Creativity, Wilson singles out creativity as humanity’s most important legacy which has allowed us to evolve and dominate other organisms on…

Film Review: High Life

Film Review: High Life

I saw this one at this year's NZIFF in Wellington. Directed by Claire Denis, High Life is about a group of prisoners who are used as guinea pigs in sexual experiments by an evil nurse played by Juliette Binoche on board a space mission. I don’t normally speak in such plain terms about the plot…

The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels

Film Review: Sensitive

Are you someone who blocks your ears when you hear the emergency services drive past? Are you someone who gets freaked out in crowds? Do you seem to intuit and understand other people and all of their problems in a very sophisticated way, without really trying? Do you easily take on the energy of other…

Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

* Contains no plot spoilers Japanese author Yukiko Motoya’s collection of short stories have a definitive style and are matched with substance. It’s obvious that she gets a bit of inspiration from Murakami’s magic realism style, although seen through Yukiko’s lens, the world is from a woman’s perspective. Her stories seem to feature unremarkable everyday…

Book Review – Men without women by Haruki Murakami

Book Review – Men without women by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers Short fiction can be a fickle thing and sometimes difficult to love with some not so polished or ridiculous moments. Yet Murakami’s short fiction is an exception.  He can weave magic better than anyone about the intricacies of human relationships, the vagaries and oddities of the human heart and dark…

Before Time Began: Latin Quotes on Ancient Sundials

Before Time Began: Latin Quotes on Ancient Sundials

Ancient sundials of Greece, Egypt and Babylon often featured provocative and emotional expressions in Latin. They were succinct and powerful calls to action which were designed to waken up the senses and peel back the blinkers on what really matters. These concise messages highlighted the passing of time, mortality, life, death and enjoying one’s brief…

Seven reasons why it's great to be an introvert and having introverted friends

Seven reasons why it’s great to be an introvert and having introverted friends

Many of us are introverts but are in denial about this and trying fervently to be extroverted, pushing ourselves to exhaustion trying to make small talk about bullshit that doesn't matter, often dealing with obnoxious people who have loud voices and often (but not always) boring and generic thoughts on the world. Here's a list…