Links – 23 December

Optimists For The Win: Finding The Bright Side Might Help You Live Longer (NPR.org) – “A Boston study published this month suggests people who tend to be optimistic are likelier than others to live to be 85 years old or more.” Take results with a grain of salt, survey size was over 71,000 but it was a self-reported study and of those surveyed, less than 2,000 were men.

Visualization of AirBnB listings around NYC (Reddit discussion) – I love good visualizations, especially of mundane topics I would never see otherwise.

Becoming Eli (Washington Post) – An excellent look into the life, trials and challenges of a young person embracing their happiness identifying as non-binary.

Since eighth grade Eli had attended three schools and been hospitalized for depression and anxiety five times, twice after attempting suicide. Eli’s forearms and thighs were marked with thin white scars from slicing through skin to tamp the pain of a lifetime of profound discomfort — with the birth name chosen by Susan and Scott, with the pink sequined dresses grandma used to buy, with having to inhabit a female body. And with the fact that the other option, being male, also felt wrong.

For as long as Eli could remember, gender dysphoria had hung like a fog, obscuring any solid sense of self. The discomfort became so severe in middle and high school that it had been hard to even get out of bed. “I won’t make it past high school,” Eli had often thought.

Then in the past year or two, life had begun to brighten. After trying and discarding various gender and sexual identities, one had finally clicked: non-binary, meaning Eli didn’t identify with being fully male or female.

Riley Howell, the student who tackled the gunman during the April 30 UNC-Chapel Hill shooting, is now a canon Jedi Master and historian – He was a big fan of Star Wars, and this thread popped up as soon as the Star Wars reference book for the Rise of Skywalker was released. Such a cool tribute to a hero that could be forgotten.

This Twitter thread starts with the real timeline of Disney’s growth and taking over of the entertainment world. Then they go into a theoretical and humorous future timeline.

Maps of Choose Your Own Adventures

These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structure (AtlasObscura.com) – “[E]ach arrow represents a page, each circle a choice, and each square an ending. Dotted lines show where branches link to one another.” A wonderful visualization of a nostalgic piece of entertainment.

Coolest Things I Learned in 2019 – I came across this fantastic blog post by David Perell that is a collection of fascinating, interesting, and illuminating facts or insights he collected. I knew many of them, but there were plenty I didn’t. Highly recommend giving it a read.

Sony’s proto-Walkman that went to the moon* – A fascinating video from one of my favorite niche YouTube channels that dives into a brief history of what came before the Sony Walkman cassette player.

Shen Wei, “The Vagrant Master”, a homeless man in China who is learned in philosophy and quotes Confucios, Dante and Aristotle, has fled his home area of Shanghai as he gained unwanted Internet fame.

Watching a fighter jet takeoff, with an unexpected end.

Baby gorilla’s first chest thump. Adorable.

A fascinating look at Stephen Wolfram’s daily setup and gear.

Norway’s $1 Trillion Man Talks Brexit, China and Big Tech. An interview with Yngve Slyngstad.

BM: What do you make of [Big Tech] share prices?

YS: The first thing to note is the size of these companies relative to the market in general. When you see the market cap of Facebook surpassing the combined market cap of Russia—and Amazon actually crossed the combined market cap of Brazil—it just tells you that it’s well worth spending more time thinking about how these companies affect how the economy is working and about their long-term profitability, rather than spending too much time on geopolitical risk or the risk of a country having some difficulties for the moment. It’s the development of how the economy is put together rather than the simple political issues of the day that we try to focus on.

Boy Meets World was a major show from my childhood. I vividly remember watching it and how cool the older brother Eric was. Well, having grown up, I have learned more about Will Friedle thanks to his involvement with Critical Role. Here’s a great interview done as part of their Between the Sheets show that dives into his life, anxiety, and who he is..