Yeah, I think I'm just gonna skip Spring this year...
... said The Weather in Ottawa.
P.S.: I am not complaining.
... said The Weather in Ottawa.
P.S.: I am not complaining.
Bitten (Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong, 436p.
The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 384p.
The Lady Astronaut of Mars (Lady Astronaut #4.5) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 31p.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 414p.
Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger, 355p.
In these days of misinformation, fake news and click baits it's good to have some initiatives to teach us how to navigate this messy digital information ocean (or hell...).
And Crash Course – Navigating Digital Information is an excellent way to learn about media literacy. The host is John Green, also known as the author of the novel “The fault in our stars” who, along with his brother, Hank Green, has this more than 10-years-old YouTube channel (Vlogbrothers).
Navigating Digital Information is a 10-episode series that was developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute Media Wise project based on research form the Stanford History Education Group.
The series covers topics like: – Lateral reading and fact checking – How to use Wikipedia (and how it is awesome!) – How to evaluate photos and videos – How to read charts and graphics (and how to be critical about them!) – How to know who to trust online.
I highly recommend this series to everyone that uses the Internet, no matter the age.
I've reached the end of my Beginners Level 2 ice skating course. ☃
The thing about learning how to ice skate as an adult is that the learning process is painfully slow. And I say “painfully” in the literal sense of the word. It involves learning how to fall and how to get up on ice. It is challenging! Specially for me who had zero experience on the ice.
Last winter I took the Level 1 course (Intro to Ice) which taught me how to fall, how to get up and how to stand up on ice skates. I could barely glide forward. I would usually fall a few moments after I entered the rink. I could take little steps forward and I was terrified most of the time. I can say it was one of the most challenging things I've done in my adult life!
But now, 18 hours of ice skating later and feeling more confident, I feel way less afraid. There is a point in the learning process where you stop struggling with the laws of physics on having no friction under your feet, and start to actually just glide. But you gotta keep your balance. And that takes a lot of brain and muscle power!
Until now, while I'm skating forward, there is that awkwardness and wobbly body movements that denotes a beginner ice skater. But I feel completely satisfied with my progression! It was hard work!
So now I can say I find ice skating relaxing even when I'm struggling with it. It's a weird combination. It's one of those activities that requires mindfulness. Full focus. Concentration. And I think that is what makes it so rewarding in the end. It combines difficulty with fun.
These are the techniques I want to improve: stopping, one foot glide, backwards C-pushes (also known as “half-bubbles” and T-pushes.
And I can't wait to take the next course! I am ready for more! While I wait, I will continue going to the ice rink on weekends to practice until they are available to the public (you know, summer is coming).
I just watched episode 7 of Mr. Robot (Season 2) the other day.
Yeah. I know, it's old but I'm catching up [so, spoilers ahead].
I just loved this episode so much that I kept thinking about it for a few days. I would say Mr. Robot is not usually my type of show. It's dramatic. I usually like something with more action.
But the show has such a unique tone that it makes drama seem good to me. I mean, it's about hacking the world and questioning the status quo of everything. And I like that. It's techno-thriller, and it's really good at that.
The thing is that the main character, Elliot, is really complex. He is hacker and cyber-security engineer with anxiety and social disorders.
I was stunned when I found out in Season 1 that his father was actually dead and that all the conversations he was having were inside his head. It has that Fight Club feeling to it. After I knew his father was dead and that all along he was having this hallucinatory delusion, I started remembering the scenes and realizing that, yes, his father was not interacting with the other characters, only with Elliot.
So, what I mean here is that I like the way the series plays with scenes and situations. It's a puzzle. It has hidden meaning. It has layers.
Episode 7 of Season 2 was mind blowing to me because since the beginning I knew Elliot was trapped somewhere. And something felt wrong. He had a routine, starting in a small room with a bed and a desk, he would eat with the same guy at a cafeteria, then sat down to watch people play basketball, then went to a religious assistance group and finally back to his room to write in his journal and sleep. Sometimes other characters would go visit and talk to him, but he never left the “house”. It was weird. He couldn't use a computer. I even thought about searching an explanation on the Internet. I was afraid I might be missing something.
And then, episode 7 comes to explain it all!
He was not “off the grid”. He was in prison!
Because he murdered a guy [I assumed, so far, by the hints presented]! And he completely deleted this from his memory. It's like he's been in a trauma for a long time. And all that we see is a re-imagination of his situation. His room is in reality a prison cell, his new colleagues are prisoners, just like him, and they were the ones playing basketball everyday. But the way the explanation came, with only images and Elliot breaking the fourth wall was really amazing to me. It was well done.
But overall I think the series is excellent because of the odd camera angles, the colors, the juxtaposition of sound and silence, the very-near-future-techno feel and the ironic villains with obvious names (Evil Corp is the name of the mega corporation that owns almost everything).
Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, 208p [Audio]
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, 302p
Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger, 401p
The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 432p
I've been thinking a lot about social media lately.
Actually, I've been thinking about it for a long time. And I've taken action to minimize my exposure: I deleted my Instagram and Pinterest account, I used extensions to eliminate Facebook's annoying timeline, I unfollowed hundreds of profiles on Twitter. But I still use social media a little.
I still check Twitter for local weather and traffic news or alerts. And I like to check the latest tweets from some cool authors I follow. I connect with people using the Facebook Groups platform. I have a LinkedIn account. I occasionally go check Reddit.
And after all this time reflecting, tweaking and observing my behavior I still think that the minimum amount of social media usage is not that beneficial. Maybe the benefits do not completely outweighs the downsides.
I can list at least 5 books I've read in the past that made me rethink the way I engage with social media and with the Internet in general:
And now I'm reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. And just like Tristan Harris saying that social media apps today are like slot machines, Cal Newport says they are the “new smoking”:
“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” ― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Which, in the end, is saying that they are extremely addictive, no doubt.
And I worry about it. Have I become addicted without even knowing? How did those websites and apps changed my behavior? Is my mind being hijacked? Am I aware?
I don't have answers right now but I am feeling that after reading Cal Newport's new book I'm gonna have a radical change on how I use social media and the Internet.
Who owns our attention? Are you paying attention?
There are 6 episodes discussing persuasive design, the psychology of attention and how to use technology more intentionally.
I love that in the end of each episode Vanessa Hill (the presenter) tells us to watch the series at our own pace and at our time 😊.
So, Cal Newport's new book just arrived on my Kindle today 🤗.
I am reading 2 other books right now, but I really want to pick this one up (and maybe change my readings plan for this month a little bit).
But the thing is: I feel more and more overwhelmed by the so called “social media”. I already maintain the few accounts I have with the bare minimum of feeds. Well, my Facebook is totally blank now because I use a News Feed Eradicator and the Nudge extension to practically mute it.
And this book seems to be a sane reflection on how to use digital technologies today. I like minimalism and I like digital tools. Perfect combination.
From the author:
Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.
Can't wait to read his ideas on this topic!
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow, 272p
enough by Patrick Rhone, 96p