Welcome to November 2021’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of opinions and experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam (2011) (Worth Reading): Computational Neuroscience PhDs analyze big data about human sexual desire. Unfortunately, they rely on stereotypes when they try to support their results with cultural analysis.
Your Local Epidemiologist by Katelyn Jetelina (PhD, MPH) (Highest Recommendation): “Ventilate spaces. Use masks. Test if you have symptoms. Isolate if positive. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.” Necessary reading if you care about facts or humanity.
What’s It Like to Fight a Megafire by M. R. O’Connor (Highest Recommendation): The protagonist is my sister-in-law’s brother, and still I was clueless. Structures are crumbling: climate protection, public policy, mental healthcare. Recalls Gawande’s The Bell Curve.
- Death at the Wing (Recommended): Each episode features a basketball star’s tragic story and its relationship to Reagan-era policies. The debut podcast from director Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice).
- Ear Hustle (Highest Recommendation): Prison life at San Quentin, told by people on the inside and their families. Later seasons feature other prisons and the transition to post-incarceration.
- Hi-Phi Nation (Highest Recommendation): Vassar professor Barry Lam has a background in broadcasting and a PhD in philosophy. His memorable, moving stories balance philosophy and investigative journalism.
- Maintenance Phase (Highest Recommendation): Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes investigate the health and wellness industries. If Michael Hobbes asks to start a podcast with you, say “yes.”
- Order 9066 (Recommended): A quilt of narratives about WWII-era Japanese-American incarceration. The American Saga: Americans caging other American because they are not white.
- Unfinished (Highly Recommended): Careful, embedded, investigative journalism. Season 1 is about Isadore Banks and his lynching. Season 2 is about Short Creek and fundamentalist Mormons.
- Unread (Highest Recommendation): A brief memorial to a friend and their shared love of Britney Spears. Full of love, laughs, heartbreak, and intrigue. My favorite kind of podcast.
- Vinimark (Recommended): I don’t need much interaction with something to enjoy learning about it. Given how much I enjoy this South African show about wine, add vino to my list.
- Wild Thing (Highly Recommended): Science storyteller Laura Krantz maps our obsessions. Season 1: Bigfoot. Season 2: UFOs. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
- xoxo, Jess (Recommended): What’s the ideal training for podcasting? Who excels at communicating with intimacy, succinctness, and humor? Jessica Walker makes a case for greeting card entrepreneurs.
I update my notes daily and on every device I use with Simplenote. It’s made by Automattic, WordPress’s parent, and is free and open source.
Losing and then recovering something is a good test for how much it matters to you. I missed my Apple AirPods Pro earbuds a lot.
Personal Finance and Investing
Learn how retirement calculators work, pick one, and check how you’re doing every few years. Start with the Bogleheads Wiki entry, “Retirement calculators and spending.”
In a worthwhile yoga class
- There is a succinct, useful description of the class on the studio’s or instructor’s website. You will learn what style of yoga it is, how vigorous it is, and if it is appropriate for your level of experience.
- The teacher makes a good faith attempt to learn and use your name. The teacher and other students make you feel welcome and respect your boundaries.
- The teachers uses Sanskrit. They focus on ujjayi breath. They om and chant, and offer you the option to om and chant, too.
- There is an appropriate warm up if the class is active. The sequence of postures is appropriate for the style of yoga and builds to a peak pose. The teacher offers variations on poses for people with different abilities.
- The teacher provides clear instruction on getting into and out of each pose. They tell you what to focus on in your body and with your gaze. This includes clear verbal queues and, with your permission, hands-on assists.
- The teacher is off their mat and walking around, keeping students safe. They ensure that every student is working on the same posture at the same time. They might show you how to get into a posture, if necessary; they don’t take the class with you.
- The class follows a theme and the postures’ meaning supports that theme. So does the music, if the teacher plays music in class.
- The teacher offers ideas from yogic scripture for you to consider. It helps if the teacher has a sense of humor and humility.
- The teacher has an unmistakable commitment to everyone’s dignity and safety.
- If any of these guidelines don’t apply to a given class, the teacher explains why they are varying from the norm. For instance, good Yin yoga teachers explain why Yin postures use alternative names.
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.