Fuck you, Goldman Sachs

With the kind of impeccable timing I usually have, today as I prepare to list my Auckland home for sale, Goldman Sachs announced the Auckland housing market has a 40% chance of crashing, literally immediately softening house sales and freaking out our stock market.

Well, screw you, Goldman Sachs. I’m going to get a good price for my place from buyers who love it, and everything’s going to work out fine.

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Two heads are better than one

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Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero just practised for his proposed human head transplant by transplanting a second head onto a rat. In multiple iterations. None lived for longer than 36 hours, but that’s a hell of a lot better than the results from 20th century animal head/brain transplants.

The isolated beating heart at the beginning of that video looks macabre, but those animal organ experiments directly led to human organ transplants, which are commonplace now.

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Canavero’s full paper is here, but it’s not public access. And frankly, that sucks. All academic knowledge should be free to read and not held ransom by journals.

Canavero used a third rat as a blood bag to keep the blood pressure up in the donor rat and the recipient rat during surgery.

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Hopefully Canavero will use a different technique during human surgery.

Maybe Canavero will attempt his human transplant this year as promised, maybe not. But someone will, somewhere, eventually.

Head transplants work on the basis that that bit of us that is “me” lives in our brains is a fixed unchanging essence, and our bodies are only interchangeable shells we use for ambulating and oxygen processing. But this ignores the fact we’re embodied beings: we experience reality through and in our bodies. For one thing, our bodies are home to at least as many bacterial cells as human cells. There’s increasing evidence that our bacteria alter the way we think, feel, and love: like the outgoingness of humans infected with toxoplasma gondii, or the link between gut bacteria and obesity.

Transplanting a brain onto another body isn’t just giving an existing personality a new home, it’s creating a whole different being. I think we should go for it, but we have to acknowledge we can’t know what the outcome going to be like.

The future is barreling toward us and we’re not ready.

Music Monday: Bonobo feat. Innov Gnawa

The thing I miss most about music stores is finding unexpected treasures. Queen St store Real Groovy was my dealer of choice. You had to ask to try a CD/vinyl and they’d put it on one of the ‘listening posts’ so you could sample it. I almost always ended up buying whatever was playing in the store, though: the guaranteed-eclectic choice of random staff members. That’s how I found Bonobo aka Simon Green, with his Remixes and B Sides in 2002. In 1997 I walked in and Degobrah by Butter 08 hit me like an aural brick. I immediately bought the City of Industry soundtrack without knowing a damn thing about the film or the artists, and that’s how I discovered Massive Attack.

Real Groovy still exists, although in a new, smaller, building across the road. Yet somehow it seems too hard to head into the CBD by bus (there is zero parking) and sample music in meat space, when I can download it instantly without leaving the cocoon of my home. Instead I subscribe to a couple of thoughtfully curated mass-market new music lists, although I have no idea of the curators’ motivations, loves, or potential kickbacks.

I’m missing out. Where is the new, unexpected work that grabs my liver and shakes me by the vertebrae? I know it’s out there. There must be an online equivalent of descending into a gloomy cavern, entirely unaware of what’s about to ooze into your ears.

 

What do y’all do with cords?

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This is the corner of my desk. Sadly, I need all this crap: rechargers, power cords, transformer boxes, leads, cables, and all. Still, it annoys the hell out of me every day. What do you do to keep your cables under control and make your workspace look less like that one cupboard in every office where defunct IT stuff gets dumped?

Dave Seah’s Emergent Task Planner (with free downloads)

Designer Dave Seah has a kick-ass range of free downloadable time management templates. They’re called the Emergent Task Planner range, and I love these suckers.

There’s space for your top 3 tasks and 6 additional tasks, each with four hours worth of 15-min time trackers so you can record how long you actually spend on the work. The left holds an open time scale in 15 minute increments. At the bottom is scratch paper space, or room to write new tasks as they, well, emerge.

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This graphic is from Seah’s website and you should totally go there immediately and download the planners for free and try them out, and, if you like them, pay him $12 for the dated 2017 version. Seah also has a whole range of free productivity downloads you can find here (including a concrete goals tracker and a NaNoWriMo word count tracker)

You can also buy ready-to-go printed versions on Amazon. There’s an undated 3-month spiral-bound notebook, an A5 spiral-bound version, and an unbound version you can punch for your own Franklin Monarch etc. I’m annoyed at myself for not needing the 3-month bound book because I want one.

But I did buy a couple of packs of the Stickypad ETP.

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These 4″ x 6″ sticky notes fit into an A6 notebook, or on a larger planner page. The stickies  – and the A5 version – don’t include the time tracking boxes and I wish they did, although I can easily add in boxes by hand for the purpose.

Even when you don’t need a tightly scheduled planner, there are always those days where tasks, appointments, and meetings collide, and you end up with a jammed day. These planner sheets are perfect for that. You can print one off just when you need one, or add a single sticky to your regular everyday carry notebook.