Category Archives: philosophy

Sounds of the Internet’s Most Annoying Acronyms

The internet is great at coming up with new words. Some of them are easy to sound out (selfie, wearable, even “emoji”), but acronyms are a much tougher phonetical nut. They’re no less words than the clusters of letters around them, yet don’t have agreed upon pronunciations. When you read them, what do you hear?

dem words

ICYMI  →  nails on a blackboard
WTF  →  farts (the slow, bubbling kind)
TFW  →  whiff of a baseball bat before it whacks you on the head
TBH  →  gasping for breath after huffing paint
LRT  →  air being let out of a balloon
IMHO  →  being poked in the bum by a rhinoceros
OMG  →  church bells pealing out of tune
LOL  →  gagging on a lollipop
GIF  →  empty chortling after the climax of a giant joke

Music Is the Breath of Life

Washington Avenue Pier

Music is the sound of consciousness breathing.

Like a runner out of breath or a contentedly sleeping child, the music emanating from Earth is the whistling sound of life.

Breathe in: babies are born, bees pollinate, cities grow, birds migrate, farms prosper, a new species is discovered!

Breathe out: clashes of might and power strike individuals to the ground, forests are destroyed, vehicles spout poison, people die.

Tragedy or bliss, the music plays on.

Portmanteau No

iPhone 5s vs Galaxy S5: Why I Lasted 5 Days on Android (and You Should Too)

galaxy-iphone

After six years with various iPhones, I lasted all of five days trying out my first Android smartphone. But I’m not mad about the $50 restocking fee I had to give the AT&T store to give the Galaxy S5 back. It was a worthy experiment that made me realize what I do like about iOS and what I want out of a phone in general, plus helped me break some less than stellar habits. Here’s what I learned.

1) I want my text messages pushed to me.

I’m not a big fan of push notifications — I have pretty much all of them turned off — but I rely on push for accessing texts quickly and easily. It’s something that defines the medium (for me, but obviously not for everyone). I used to get miffed/mystified when my Android-using husband didn’t get my texts right away, but now I know why. Continue reading

It’s Alright to Die

If someone dies and you want to tweet about it, go for it. You’re doing them a favor.

records

Last week, New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan died. I didn’t know him, I didn’t even know of him, by name. But I felt like I should’ve.

While I was sad to hear of a brilliant man’s relatively early death (he was 59), I was grateful for the flood of tweets memorializing him. Peter Kaplan was a person worth remembering, but also a person worth discovering.

These days, even minor celebrities’ fame explodes when they die. Instead of dismissing the surge as a symptom of pop-culture obsession, consider it an opportunity to learn about one more human and extend whatever impression they made on the world just a little bit further. Continue reading

Noted

When I really want to remember something, I write it down where it could disappear at any moment.

An unsaved, unnamed notepad document, open on my screen. Its analog equivalent might be a scribble on a piece of tissue so light it could be blown away by the slightest window breeze. Continue reading

Meetings Meetings Meetings

My least favorite part about meetings is they often provide incontrovertible proof that other people are not as smart as you guessed/hoped/thought they were.

Face to face to facepalm.

Mug

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee with an AeroPress

“Something no more miraculous than a cup of coffee is enough transcendence for one day.”
— 
My Dinner with André

I’ve written before about the AeroPress as the pinnacle coffee-making method. One of its best features is how amazingly easy it is to use, but it can seem daunting at first. All the specifics—how much water to use, how to grind, how and when to pour and press—are left to personal choice.

As a starting point, I present below a step-by-step guide to my brewing process (which I act out every single morning). Tweak the measurements to your taste to create the best cups of coffee you’ve ever had.

Continue reading

In Defense of Likes and Faves: Doodling in the Margins

What does it mean to like or favorite something on the internet today?

The Backstory

The above is a riff on a line from Robin Sloan’s recent coup d’app, Fish. His tap essay explores the difference between liking something online and actually loving something online. Robin posits that in the overwhelming stream of great posts, articles, pics and videos, something we love on the internet is something come back to, something we read or visit at least twice. Fish is a beautiful essay with a strong point; it’s innovative, well-designed and touching, and I am a big fan.

However, I don’t quite agree with the disparagement of liking, faving (and even +1-ing) that helps form the essay’s underlying thesis. According to Sloan, when you deign to spend a click on one of these actions, (emphasis his):

“You’re saying to your friends or followers: This is worth your time. (But me, I’m on to the next thing.)”

Continue reading

Greatest Universe Ever Sold

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (presented by Pom Wonderful) is proof that we have beaten bin Laden. Or at least, provides hope for the future of the American way. Morgan Spurlock (who you might remember from fast-food takedown Super Size Me) faces commercialization and product placement head on, and in exposing it, finds positives. He finds sponsors that understand where he’s going with the film and are fully behind the idea. They’re in on the joke, and that‘s a great selling point. It’s also good for the consumer.

Greatest Movie examines the effects of self-awareness on advertising, and finds the two are not mutually exclusive. This is a good thing. Advertising is not going to disappear any time soon; it has become part of our global culture. And even if it could, would we really want it to? Marketing and advertising are effective methods of disseminating information. What we don’t need is false advertising. The more enlightened companies are – in terms of what goes into making their products and what their customers are looking for – the more progress we can make as a society.

One of the major goals of humanity – of existence, in general – should be to become more self-aware. To explore the boundaries of awareness, as beings in this universe (as part of this universe). How much can we realize about the “now,” the present? How far does our perception extend, and what factors are influencing it, in real time? Continue reading