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I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there's nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing.
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tolnem
3093 days ago
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janojanojano
3083 days ago
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Relevant to my current situation.
Sydney
infini
3085 days ago
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Give the man a big hand, folkses!
Asia, EU, Africa
jhollowaygmailcom
3087 days ago
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Infrrf
Brighton
GuuZ
3091 days ago
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Spot on!
ktgeek
3092 days ago
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As an avid photographer and as someone who also just likes to enjoy experiences, I understand both sides of the starting argument. However, nothing drives me more nuts than someone telling me I'm "doing it wrong" when there isn't really a right way to do something and it doesn't effect that third party.
Bartlett, IL
dbt
3062 days ago
Yeah, I don't mind people taking pictures, just holding their phone up in front of me at a concert.
Michdevilish
3092 days ago
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A Kodak moment
Canada
MourningDragon
3092 days ago
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Exactly!
adamgurri
3092 days ago
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boom.
New York, NY
Satri
3092 days ago
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Interesting...
Montreal, Canada
JayM
3092 days ago
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Heh.
Atlanta, GA
soren
3092 days ago
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Fair point, although there's also "a photo-taking-impairment effect" from photographing events you'd like to remember.
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/12/04/0956797613504438.abstract
llucax
3092 days ago
Very interesting!
ruthherrin
3092 days ago
Neat! Thanks for the link.
ameel
3092 days ago
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:)
Melbourne, Australia
trparky
3093 days ago
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"I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there's nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing."
sjk
3092 days ago
I concur. Hearing shutter sounds is preferable to hearing people chewing and slurping and crunching. Blech!
fxer
3092 days ago
Of course, you'll get the slurping no matter what, photography only delays the inevitable. Like Judgement Day!

The Builder’s High

1 Comment and 5 Shares

When I am in a foul mood, I have a surefire way to improve my outlook – I build something. A foul mood is a stubborn beast and it does not give ground easily. It is an effort to simply get past the foulness in order to start building, but once the building has begun, the foul beast loses ground.

I don’t know what cascading chemical awesomeness is going down in my brain when it detects and rewards me for the act of building, but I’m certain that the hormonal cocktail is the end result of millions of years of evolution. Part of the reason we’re at the top of the food chain is that we are chemically rewarded when we are industrious – it is evolutionarily advantageous to be productive.

And we’re slowly and deviously being trained to forget this.

A Day Full of Moments

Look around. If you’re in a group of people, count how many are lost in their digital devices as they sit there with a friend. If you’re in your office, count how many well-intentioned distractions are within arm’s reach and asking for your attention. I wonder how many of you will read this piece in one sitting – it’s only 844 words long.

The world built by the Internet is one of convenience. Buy anything without leaving your house. All knowledge is nearby and that’s a lot of knowledge, but don’t worry, everyone is pre-chewing it for you and sharing it in every way possible. They’re sharing that and other interesting moments all day and you’re beginning to believe that these shared moments are close to disposable because you are flooded with them.

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.

The fact that the frequency of these interesting moments appears to be ever-growing and increasingly easy to find does not change the fact that your attention is finite. Each one you experience, each one you consume, is a moment of your life that you’ve spent forever.

These are other people’s moments.

These moments can be important. They can connect us to others; they briefly inform us as to the state of the world; they often hint at an important idea without actually explaining it by teasing us with the impression of knowledge. But they are often interesting, empty intellectual calories. They are sweet, addictive, and easy to find in our exploding digital world, and their omnipresence in my life and the lives of those around me has me starting this year asking, “Why am I spending so much time consuming other people’s moments?”

This is not a reminder to over-analyze each moment and make them count. This is a reminder not to let a digital world full of others’ moments deceive you into devaluing your own. Their moments are infinite – yours are finite, too, and precious – and this New Year I’m wondering how much we want to create versus consume.

The Builders High

What’s the last thing you built when you got that high? You know that high I’m talking about? It’s staring at a thing that you brought into the world because you decided it needed to exist.

For me, the act of writing creates the builder’s high. Most pieces are 1000+ words. They involve three to five hours of writing, during which I’ll both hate and love the emerging piece. This is followed by another hour of editing and tweaking before I’ll publish the piece, and the high is always the same. I hit publish and I grin. That smile is my brain chemically reminding me, Hey, you just added something new to the world.

Is there a Facebook update that compares to building a thing? No, but I’d argue that 82 Facebook updates, 312 tweets, and all those delicious Instagram updates are giving you the same chemical impression that you’ve accomplished something of value. Whether it’s all the consumption or the sense of feeling busy, these micro-highs will never equal the high when you’ve actually built.

Blank Slates

This New Year, I wish you more blank slates. May you have more blank white pages sitting in front you with your favorite pen nearby and at the ready. May you have blank screens in your code editor with your absolutely favorite color syntax highlighting. May your garage work table be empty save for a single large piece of reclaimed redwood and a saw.

Turn off those notifications, turn your phone over, turn on your favorite music, stare at your blank slate and consider what you might build. In that moment of consideration, you’re making an important decision: create or consume? The things we’re giving to the future are feeling increasingly unintentional and irrelevant. They are half-considered thoughts of others. When you choose to create, you’re bucking the trend because you’re choosing to take the time to build.

And that’s a great way to start the year.

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tolnem
3097 days ago
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timlikescake
3095 days ago
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My main resolution this year is to spend at least a couple of hours making something new each month.

As always, Rands explains perfectly why this is a good idea.

A young Kenyan woman holds her pet deer in Mombassa, March...

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A young Kenyan woman holds her pet deer in Mombassa, March 1909.Photograph by Underwood and Underwood

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tolnem
3117 days ago
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macjustice
3136 days ago
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pet deer!
Seattle

Dummy pilot and seat soar, as engineers test a catapult escape...

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Dummy pilot and seat soar, as engineers test a catapult escape system in Arizona, March 1963.Photograph by Robert Sisson, National Geographic

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tolnem
3117 days ago
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A farmer buring the hoof of a horse before shoeing it in...

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A farmer buring the hoof of a horse before shoeing it in Scotland, May 1921.Photograph by William Reid, National Geographic

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tolnem
3117 days ago
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Phone Keypad

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Phone Keypad

I use one of those old phones where you type with numbers—for example, to type "Y", you press 9 three times. Some words have consecutive letters on the same number. When they do, you have to pause between letters, making those words annoying to type. What English word has the most consecutive letters on the same key?

Stewart Bishop

We can answer that question with the following headache-inducing shell command, which finds all words in a given list which use the same key a bunch of times in a row:

cat wordlist.txt | perl -pe 's/^(.*)\$/\L\$& \U\$&/g' | tr 's/^(.*)$/\L$& \U$&/g' | 'ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ' '2223334445556667777888999' | grep -P "(.)\1\1\1\1\1"

The winner, according to this script, is nonmonogamous, which requires you to type seven consecutive letters (nonmono) with the "6" key.[1]It's actually tied with nonmonotonic. These no doubt both lose to more obscure words which weren't in the wordlists I used.

Phone Keyboard Sentences

It's rare for a word to have all its letters on the same key; the longest common ones are only a few letters.[2]Like "tutu". Nevertheless, using only these words, we can write a high def MMO on TV, a phrase whose words use only one number key each.

There are plenty of other phrases like this, although some of them are a bit of a stretch:

Typing issues like this aren't limited to old phone keyboards. For any text input system, you can find phrases which are weird to type.

QWERTY Keyboards

It's a well-known piece of trivia among word geeks that "stewardesses" is the longest common word you can type on a QWERTY keyboard using only the left hand.

In fact, it's possible to write entire sentences with just the left hand. For example, try typing the words We reserved seats at a secret Starcraft fest. Weird, huh?

Let's take a look at a few more sentences—written with the help of some even messier shell commands and Python scripts[3]I constructed these sentences by searching text logs for sentence fragments that fit a particular constraint, then randomly connecting those groups together using a technique called Markov chaining. You can see the code I used here.—which follow various constraints:

Left hand only

Right hand only

Home row only

**Home row only*

Top row only

And lastly, if anyone wants to know why you're not more active on social media, you only need the top row to explain that you're ...

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tolnem
3119 days ago
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waxis
3105 days ago
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'To torture you, we tore up your poetry'.
Arizona
dc3
3120 days ago
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Nice
Carlsbad, CA
NielsRak
3120 days ago
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Retweeted...oh wait. Noooooooooo!!!!!
brico
3121 days ago
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//
Brooklyn, NY
zittrain
3121 days ago
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Very cool shell command.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
rclatterbuck
3121 days ago
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!
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