Weekly Newsletter

Philosophy #

Do Easy
The film and source essay (linked to at the bottom of the page) both convey a philosophy rooted in Taoism, but understandable for the modern American. It’s important to note that William S. Burroughs (the essay’s author and the author of Naked Lunch) struggled with a debilitating heroine addiction for much of his life. Looking at this essay in light of that, I found that many of the ideas took on a dual meaning.

Mastery #

The Kitchen Bladesmith
Profiles Bob Kramer, master knife craftsman. If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I have a strange fascination with tales of mastery.

Technology #

This new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid too
This short press release announces a new Tesla line of batteries that Tesla promises will soon be used to power American homes.

Sustainability and Urbanization #

With Porches and Parks, a Texas Community Aims for Urban Utopia
NPR reports on a community in Austin, Texas that’s been founded upon principles of sustainability and community.

Journalism and International News #

Witnessing War’s Horrors Through a Camera Lens
National Geographic interviews Lynsey Addario, a war-photographer who has photographed the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Her discussion sheds light on changes around the world as the well as the mindset required to endure the fear and hardship associated with photographing war.

Agriculture #

The Amish Farmer Replacing Pesticides with Nutrition
This article reports on an early adoptee of John Kempf’s methods for increasing farm yields. In case you don’t remember, I included an article on Kempf in a previous newsletter (found here). I’m so interested in these modern farming techniques because they take into account the systemic nature of the farm ecosystem, and reflect a larger movement towards systems-level thinking in the sciences.

Other Contributions #

The Age of Uncertainty (Will Baird)
Discusses the paradox of age-based laws, focusing on how they affect colleges’ treatment of their students.

If I Die on Mars (Will Baird)
This short video profiles three of the several hundred people Mars One is considering for a one-way mission to the red planet. It gives some insight into the strange, diverse, and even heartbreaking worldviews and experiences that could motivate such a mission. The video illustrates how the motives of someone who would choose to die on Mars are, in the end, incredibly human.