Random

There aren’t many apps I can say that I’m honestly afraid to download.

TikTok is one of those apps.

I’ve watched my sister and my girlfriend filter through video after silly video until they find something which sends them into a fit of uncontrollable laughter… and looks like a stupid amount of fun.

My concern is that if I open the TikTok floodgate, I won’t be able to close it.

So I’m running an experiment.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to create a TikTok account and download a social media tracker which I will use to monitor my usage over the course of a week.

Next Thursday I’ll check how much time I’ve spent and ask those closest to me if they’ve noticed any changes in my behaviour.

I’ll then decide whether I delete it for good or leave it on my phone.

Either way, I’ll keep you posted.

Hey hey,

A little while ago I mentioned that I was preparing a book pitch and the first 5000 words of a creative non-fiction text. Today that draft was due.

7681 words, way too many hours of reading, and one mad scramble later, I’ve submitted it for my first round of formal feedback. But I felt I’d be remiss not to ask for your feedback too.

This is a link to the first draft. I have my own thoughts about what I like and what I think needs to change, but I don’t want to influence your read.

If you have the time and the inclination, I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have.

You can reach me via any of the usual means, but here is a link to an anonymous feedback form which you can use if you’d prefer.

Much love,

-Luke

Tonight I cherished the privilege of once again seeing Kate Tempest perform live. This time, I saw her in my hometown of Perth while wearing the same Doc Martens I wore-in at her Festival N°6 set in the lush wonderland of Portmeirion.

Tempest began the show by ravaging the Perth crowd with highlights from her first two albums. Notably, my faviourite of her tracks, Europe is Lost.

But what made this show truly special was the way in which she transitioned transitioned tenderly into the hopeful notes of her latest album, The Book Of Traps And Lessons, which she then performed in full.

Supported by the electric homegrown rap-poetry talent Omar Musa, This evening was a gig you should be sorry you missed.

It’s a mild, cloudy afternoon. You’re on a bush trail and the earth is dry beneath you. All of a sudden, you feel a drop. Then another. The sky slides open to release a fine drizzle and the raindrops make soggy little craters in the soil.

What can you smell?

Imagine it for a moment. Can you smell that delightful, wet, earthy aroma?

That scent, which is always present when rain falls on dry soil, is called petrichor.

The word was coined in 1964 by Australian Scientists and originates from the Greek words petra, which means “stone”, and īchōr, the fluid which pulsates through the veins of the Gods.

Next time petrichor hits you remember that, like most things, it has a name.

Excellent words are worth remembering.

While driving my Nonno home from my young cousin’s birthday party tonight, he burst into laughter.

“It’s funny. When I was growing up. 1940. After the war, there was not enough to eat.”

His Italian accent is thick and his English is sometimes broken, but he makes do.

“We were 7 kids. My father was a blacksmith. We eat vegetables, much cheaper.”

He’s laughing, but it’s clear that life in 1940s Italy involved a lot of pain.

“We were very lucky. Not enough food, lots of people died. Our neighbours, some people couldn’t get enough food.”

He goes on to describe the standard meals his family would share every week; fish soup on Fridays; tomato soup on Saturday; a slice each of off-cut meat on Sundays.

I’ve always found the way he eats peculiar. Each day of the week involves a different type of dish with mild variation, and every week the cycle repeats itself.

“But I never liked pasta and beans. Always we had pasta and beans and I never liked. My father, one day he said, when I didn’t eat the pasta and beans for lunch he said, ‘That’s okay, if you don’t want to eat, don’t eat.’ Then he locked away the bread and said I not eat anything else until I eat the pasta.”

He repeats this part a few times, explaining that each child had their likes and dislikes, but that there was never enough food to begin worrying about what people liked and didn’t like. If you didn’t like a meal, you just didn’t eat.

On the day he refused to eat his pasta and beans, he caved before the day was done. Wincing in disgust, he describes eating the bean pasta, cold and stuck together.

“No refrigerator, no microwave, just sat on a shelf. But I was so hungry.”

It dawns on me why he so naturally avoids waste.

We sit in silence for a few seconds before he clears his throat.

“As a father, a grandfather, I agree with my father now. One person working and 7 kids, not enough to be picky. But at the time… I hated him.”

He bursts out into another fit of laughter. I join him.

“And now, we have so much food.”

He’s laughing almost uncontrollably.

“We have too much food to eat. If you eat all the food you get sick.”

He catches his breath and looks out the window as we drive past a well lit Nandos.

“What a strange world.”

What a strange world indeed.

Good feedback can be hard to come by.

So when you find someone who’s willing and able to give it to you, do whatever you can to cherish them.

The ability to be respectfully honest is a nuanced trait worth developing so that you might pass down the mentorship you’re graced with onto others.

Fortunately (maybe unfortunately for my wallet), you can now get a pretty high quality resin 3D printer unit for a few hundred dollars or less.

The print times are still pretty long and the resin smells atrocious and requires a bit of clean-up, but that’s a pretty low price to pay for the ability to print nearly anything you can imagine at will.

There is a growing community of people online who design cool things and share them for anyone to print. You’ll find everything from designer vases to figurines of Baby Yoda.

If, like me, this kind of tacticle creative outlet is intensely attractive to you, be careful how much you look into this.

You might be surprised by how accessible it’s become.

Sometimes the best way to stop people from doing things is to make it unviable for them to continue the habit.

The problem with strategy is that a real addict will do nearly anything to get their fix, so they’ll skirt right on the edge of only just being able to afford something before they pack it in.

Cigarette taxes stop people smoking, but they also make vulnerable people more vulnerable.

What happens then when a society starts taxing creativity?

When funding gets slashed so low that we don’t even need a federal department anymore.

What happens when the cost of aspiring to do different means dedicating yourself to the chance of lifelong financial instability?

Why is it that we are so hell bent on stopping people from creating?

What cost will we pay for pushing the artists skirting right on the edge of their viability line into quitting?

People are sick of feelgood bullshit.

Let’s face it.

Television humour is getting darker, the internet provides a boundless battleground for bad ideas and mainstream media has made cynics of us all.

As we grow less hopeful we grow less tolerant of fluff.

But we still want to be better.

And if we’re going to take advice from anyone, it better be from someone as sarcastic, sinnacle and grounded as we think we are.

Enter the anti-self-help movement.

Biological robots exist now. They’re called Xenobots and while they can’t do much of anything yet, the potential implications of their existence are enormous.

Xenobots are made from frog skin and heart cells. They can be programmed through a digital simulation of natural selection.

Xenobots are living robots
The computer produces a design, left, which is used to create the living robot on the right. The Robot is about 0.7 Millimetres in size.

When asked about why this research is important, the researchers behind the breakthrough explained;

“Once we figure out how cells can be motivated to build specific structures, this will not only have a massive impact on regenerative medicine (building body parts and inducing regeneration), but the same principles will lead to better robotics, communication systems, and maybe new (non-neurocentric) AI platforms.”

Whether or not programable life is something we should be messing with in the first place is perhaps another question.

“The long-term goal here is to figure out how living agents (cells) can be motivated to build specific things, and how to exploit their plasticity and competency to do things that are too hard to micromanage directly (like build an eye, hand, etc.).”

The development of this technology could be the future of health science and medicine.

For a detailed and visual overview, check out this video from ASAP Science on YouTube.