Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Torres del Paine? I would bet that I’ve already posted this, but I’m not willing to search today. Regardless, Torres del Paine National Park is in Chile and part of the Chilean Patagonia.

Photo by Olga Stalska on Unsplash

2. Only one thing today, so technically it is a “links” with an “s”, but extenuiating circumstances mean that this isn’t as long as it normally is. This quote from the novella A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean is with me today.

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Mayotte Island? Me neither. Apparently it is a territorial collectivity of France, which is a lot of word salad to say that it was colonized by France back in the day and it’s off the east coast of Africa, east of Mozambique and north of Madagascar. Regardless, 84% of the population live under the poverty line, which is stunning and 40% of the dwellings are corrugated sheet metal shacks. Sounds like France is definitely taking care of their own.

Photo by Ben Jung on Unsplash

2. There is a fire that has been burning for 6,000 years. Via Futility Closet, a brush fire caused by a lightening strike on Australia’s Mount Wingen has been burning for 6,000 years.

3. Via Interesting Engineering, apparently the Pythagorean theory was around a thousand years before Pythagoras of Samos.

Authored by Dr. Daniel Mansfield, a researcher at the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the study speaks about two archaeological discoveries, Plimpton 322 and Si.427. These are contemporary tablets from about 3,700 years back that contain inscriptions that are currently the oldest records of applied geometry that we currently have.

The Plimpton 322 was found earlier, and in 2017, Mansfield and his team had hypothesized that this “zoo of right-angle triangles with different shapes” was a unique kind of trigonometric table that had some practical purpose, such as constructing palaces and temples, building canals, or surveying fields. While it is believed that Greeks used trigonometry to study the sky, their predecessors, the Babylonians were using it to solve matters on the ground.

4. Mel Magazine on Adam Sandler playing pick-up basketball.

No matter where you live, so long as there is a basketball game happening somewhere in the vicinity, there’s a nonzero chance that Adam Sandler will show up. And unlike other celebrities who might call ahead to reserve the courts for themselves or make a PR event out of the appearance, Sandler, by all accounts, respects the hallowed, universal rules of pickup basketball. He just shows up, hoops and dips.

5. In the category of things that we are still discovering, via Live Science, researchers have discovered a previously unknown blood red jellyfish 2,300 feet below the surface.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Hamnøy? Me neither. It’s a really small island in Norway and its  in probably in a Volkswagen commercial. There’s nothing really on the Wikipedia page about it, but it is just really pretty.

Photo by Mischa Bachmann on Unsplash

2. This is a map of where Indigenous nations lived. I find it fascinating to scroll and dig into the details, who was here where I live. I believe I’m where the Tawakoni, Wichita, Jumanos, and Kickaapoi nations lives and there’s a Lake Tawakoni that’s about 30 miles away.

3. Carpe diem doesn’t mean “Seize the Day!” JStor Daily’s Chi Luu, but actually means “plucking the day”:

Gathering flowers as a metaphor for timely enjoyment is a far gentler, more sensual image than the rather forceful and even violent concept of seizing the moment. It is not that as a culture we can’t understand what it means to harvest something when it’s ready—we do have related metaphors like “making hay while the sun shines,” after all. But there is something in the more Hollywood phrasing “seize the day” that has clearly resonated with people in the last thirty years. We understand the phrase to be, rather than encouraging a deep enjoyment of the present moment, compelling us to snatch at time and consume it before it’s gone, or before we’re gone.

As John Keating teaches his students to value their own individuality above conforming to rules, he stands on his desk, as he says, not to feel taller, but to remind himself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. By seizing the day rather than plucking it like a flower, however, we’re actually conforming to hidden cultural values that we all share, not looking at the world in a different way from the norm, but in the same way as everyone else. These are cultural values that some argue have been co-opted by advertisers to sell us more things that we’re told will make us happier.

4. I don’t know what to tell you about this piece from The Atlantic’s Jennifer Senior, but it was the best thing I’ve read this year. the title? “WHAT BOBBY MCILVAINE LEFT BEHIND | Grief, conspiracy theories, and one family’s search for meaning in the two decades since 9/11.”

When she finally left the McIlvaines’ house for good, Jen slammed the door behind her, got into her car, and burst into tears. Shortly after, she wrote Helen a letter with her final answer: No, just no. If Helen wanted to discuss this matter any further, she’d have to do so in the presence of Jen’s therapist.

Helen and her husband never saw Jen again. “She became a nonperson to me,” Helen told me. Today, she can’t so much as recall Jen’s last name.

But for years, Helen thought about that diary. Her mind snagged on it like a nail; she needled her husband for giving it away; it became the subject of endless discussion in her “limping group,” as she calls it, a circle of six mothers in suburban Philadelphia who’d also lost children, though not on September 11. They became indignant on her behalf. A number proposed, only half jokingly, that they break into Jen’s apartment and liberate the diary. “You don’t get any more memories,” one of the women told me. “So anything written, any video, any card—you cling to that. That’s all you’re going to get for life.”

The McIlvaines would have to make do with what they already had. Eventually, they did. Three words of Bobby’s became the family motto: Life loves on. No one could quite figure out which diary or legal pad it came from, but no matter. Helen wears a silver bracelet engraved with this phrase, and her husband got it tattooed in curlicue script on his upper arm.

5. It’s only 1:35, but worth it. Don’t eat alone.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Maligne Lake? Me neither. It’s a lake in the Jasper National Park out there in Alberta, Canada. Maligne Lake is fed by the Maligne River and the river is named that way for the French word for “malignant” or wicked.

The name was used by Father Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801–1873) to describe the turbulent river that flows from the lake (in the spring), and soon spread to the lake, canyon, pass, mountain and range. It is also possible that early French traders applied the name to the river for its treacherous confluence with the Athabasca River.

Photo by Christopher Czermak on Unsplash

2. Tight Loops is a YouTube channel, a husband and wife team, that travel around in a van (cliched, but I wouldn’t worry about that) and fly fish. It’s just great. I don’t know anything about cinematography, but I know that what I’m looking at is absolutely incredible. They’re doing a series where they detail their efforts to attempt to catch the Arctic Char. It seems as if everyone should try to go to Maine because it looks amazing.

3. Portraits from 100 years ago, via The Guardian, Swedish photographer John Alinder takes portraits of his neighbors.

4. You can peddle an electric cart through the redwoods on the old train tracks.

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5. I started a new job on Monday and for the first time in my life I entered the corporate world. It’s strange and I feel a bit like Red in Shawshank Redemption where he gets out and starts working at the grocery store and asks if he can use the restroom. Red simply doesn’t know what to do in the free world. I feel similar and am still trying to navigate my way in a lot of ways.  Starting a new job at the ripe old age of 47 is definitely strange and I feel a bit out of place.