One Small Step Can Change Your Life

#kaizen #self-improvement This is one of the two most valuable books that I’ve read in the last year about self improvement. In recent weeks I’ve put it into practice multiple times and it’s helping me get over bad habits that I haven’t been able to make a dent before. Recommended to anyone frustrated with repeated failed attempts at getting rid of bad habits. There are two basic approaches to changing things: big steps (innovation) and small steps (kaizen).

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

What if an experienced squad is sent behind enemy lines to find and bring back a soldier in the middle of World War II? This movie is graphically brutal: every body part that can be shot, vaporized, burned or mutilated gets such treatment. But behind the surface there is a series of moral dilemmas and statements that will make you think.“Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift.

The power of incentives

It’s imperative that we think very literally about the incentive systems we create. Farnamstreet illustrates this point with three examples where incentives went horribly wrong: The British wanted to get rid of cobras in Delhi so they started paying people for every dead cobra brought in. Result: people started breeding cobras. Belgian soldiers in Congo were told to bring severed hands as proof that they were using bullets to kill those who didn’t meet certain rubber production quotas.

Hiking from Richterswil to Pfäffikon SZ

Yesterday we decided to go hiking. We are thinking about eventually walking long trails like the Via Alpina, the Appalachian Trial and the Pacific Crest Trail but we need to start somewhere closer to what we can do today so we decided to start with Route 84 stage 4 which is a comfortable 16km hike near Lake Zürich. We started the hike in Richterswil, a short train ride away from home.

Bellinzona

At around the time we visited Konstanz we also went south, to Bellinzona, literally “war zone”. The city is known for its three castles (UNESCO World Heritage) and is located in the valley of the Ticino River. As you can guess by its name it’s recorded history is mostly battles. At several points in the past it has been independent and it also has belonged to Italy, France and Switzerland. When you see the surrounding valley it’s easy to understand how strategically important it must have been as a safe pass through the Alps.

The ways in which we need to grow

“The ways in which we need to grow are usually those we are the most supremely defended against and are least willing to admit even exist, let alone take an undefended, mindful peek at and then act on to change. It won’t be sustaining enough to have a quixotic idea of yourself as a meditator, or to hold the opinion that meditation is good for you because it has been good for others, or because Eastern wisdom sounds deep to you, or because you are in the habit of meditating.

How do we build a society when most jobs are automated?

#automations #jobs #universalbasicincome As automation increases more people become unemployable. However we have built a society that assumes that most people have jobs. How do we prepare for a world where that’s not the case? Bill Gross defends in this article the idea of establishing a Universal Basic Income of, eg: $10k per year per person in the US and argues that it could be paid for with 1) raising taxes, 2) issuing more debt via the private market and 3) selling debt to central banks at low interest rates that would be paid back to the government.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

#antimilitary #comedy #kubrick What if a US general goes insane and orders a nuclear attack in Russia during the Cold War? That’s the question that Dr. Strangelove, a Stanley Kubrick movie from the 60s, explores. It’s a critic against the military with a lot humor and irony. The character interactions are great and the plot, although surreal and quickly spiraling out of control, will make you think about the dangers of an arms race.

Konstanz, Germany

We recently made a day trip to nearby Konstanz, right on the border with Germany. The city is a well-known shopping destination for Swiss people because of low prices and easy access but the city has more than that. Inhabited since the Stone Age, in the 1400s the town-state asked the Old Swiss Confederacy to become a member but they were weary of large members and they voted against it. It’s also the home of the Council of Constance, where the Church fixed a pesky situation with three people claiming to be the Pope.

Your life in weeks

Using a grid of checkboxes to represent our lives in terms of number of years, months or weeks looks very useful to remember that the clock is ticking and that it’s up to us to decide what to do with the time we have left. Here are the pictures from waitbutwhy but I recommend reading the whole article.