Random

The bread slicing machine was invented 15 years before sliced bread became popular. Sliced bread didn’t catch on because Otto Rohwedder, the guy who invented the first slicing machine, expected people to want it before they even knew about it.

Unfortunately for him, bakers were convinced that factory sliced bread would lead to sad, stale, crumbly loaves. For decades, his brilliant invention flew under the radar.

This is until Wonder Bread came along. Instead of trying to sell sliced loaves of bread to people just because it’s a good idea, they crafted a story around the ‘magical’ properties of Wonder Bread.

There is nothing special or nutritious about Wonder Bread. It’s just white bread. The product succeeded because the company was able to convince people otherwise through their (often problematic) marketing.

Image result for wonder sliced bread advertisement

People weren’t just buying the bread. They were buying a story.

By the 1930s, people had begun to equate the softness of bread with its freshness. Store bought loaves were getting so soft that they were becoming increasingly difficult to slice by hand. Wonder Bread positioned themselves as the answer.

They got people passionate about Wonder Bread, and the story spread like wildfire.

During WWII the US Government placed a temporary ban on sliced bread effective January 18 1943. On January 26, the following letter from a ‘distraught housewife’ was published in the New York Times.

I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that’s ten. For their lunches I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!

The ban was lifted in March of the same year. People had been sold, and sliced bread was here to stay.

SlicedBread

We buy stories every day, often without even knowing.

Every purchase we make says something about us, and advertisers know it.

Perhaps instead of the best thing since sliced bread, we should be pondering what the best story is since sliced bread.

Look out for these stories next time you’re at the shops. Make sure the stories you’re buying are honest.

I want to place a bet.

By the time I die, everyone on earth will be referring to one universal time zone.

In fact, we’d be better off doing so right away.

International or interstate communication and organising would become significantly easier.

We would have to reframe how we thought about time, but this shouldn’t bother us.

Time is not a stable law of nature. It’s a unit of measurement designed by people. We can adapt it whenever we want, and have done many times in recent history.

The United states didn’t have consistent time from state to state until 1904.

In fact, it was impossible to accurately agree what the time was in any two places separated by enough distance until radio was invented. Before large scale train networks, there was no need for everyone’s clocks to be synchronised anyway.

200 years ago your community only included people within close enough proximity that you would share a timezone. The time was whatever everyone agreed the time was.

Obviously, this is not the case anymore. We are all part of a global community.

It’s time we reconsidered time.

I have family in both Canada and Wales, but I live in Australia and I’m not good at remembering stuff I don’t need to recall.

Doing the time calculations, or remembering which is which when trying to figure out a time to Skype is a totally avoidable exercise.

If we all adopted a universal time (let’s say we adopt GMT), or even just started to organise with an agreed upon time zone, this issue would be completely solved.

We only associate 2pm with afternoon because we have never questioned it or considered an alternative.

It only seems weird not to associate pm with afternoon because we have blurred the line between our manually adjusted clock-time and the time of day which is regulated by the Sun.

Understanding that these two things are different is important.

It’s going to take some unlearning, but that mild discomfort is far outweighed by the potential benefits to global organisation and business.

How many minutes do you think you spend calculating time differences every year?

If you don’t have family overseas, fly long distances, or do business internationally, maybe it’s as low as a minute or two? For those who travel internationally for both family and business, perhaps this figure enters the hours.

Let’s imagine an average of 10 minutes per year per person is spent calculating time zones.

If this is true, human kind wastes over 146,000 years of human time every year worrying about these unnecessary calculations.

What would you do with 146,000 years?

If that’s not worth rethinking what 12:00 means to you, I don’t know what is.

We would likely design better words for the times in between morning, afternoon, evening and night as well. And each timezone would have different times they associated with each part of the day, including a new 24 hour time for midnight.

The sun set in Greenwich at 19:30, it would set in Western Australia about 8 hours later at 07:30. I would stop thinking about 07:30 as the time I should be thinking about getting ready for work. 07:30 would be the time I would usually be eating dinner.

Nothing would collapse. Everyone would be fine. We’d never have to think about converting time again.

People who don’t like change would complain for a while… And then they’d have to catch up once people started organising to meet them for lunch at 22:00.

I can’t imagine this not happening. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

If you’re uncomfortable with this idea, please tell me why.

The music of awkward English folk-pop legend Tom Rosenthal is very close to my heart.

His song range from the stunning and serious (About the Weather) to the absurd and hilarious (P.A.S.T.A).

My first introduction to Tom was this hidden gem among his earlier work, Don’t You Know How Bust & Important I Am?

It’s a joyous critique of the over-working, hyper-productivity mindset, and I find it grounds me when I start taking things (or myself) too seriously.

‘Don’t you know how busy and Important I am? I’ve got so much to do.’

Is the repeated chorus throughout the song. But his sarcastic jab at self importance takes darker turn;

‘Too busy to cry, too busy to die, too busy to see my chance.’

The music video, filmed in the same town as the original UK version of the office, features a trio of awkward office workers progressively losing their shit dancing as they let themselves go to the tune of;

‘Maybe I’m just trying to distract myself from my mortality.
Maybe I’m just trying to distract myself from my mortality.’

Tom’s message is subversive but clear; slow down, enjoy the little things, and don’t die dejected and busy.

This kind of absurdly beautiful clever nonsense jives with me greatly.

Tom’s music is at times a breath of fresh air, at others a reality check and on occasion, a soul churning experience.

He’s the artist I recommend most often.

Put him on shuffle until you find something you love, because he’s almost certainly made something that you will.

I never watched Full House. It was a little before my time.

I’d seen clips and I got the gist, but little did I know that this seemingly innocent 1980s sitcom would be the canvas for a deeply unsettling, minute long experience involving 24 counts of Nick Offerman’s ‘Ron Swanson’ moustache.


Seeing Offerman’s face animated onto the body of a baby in motion was disturbing enough, but what made more even more uncomfortable was the fact that is was so well done.

It left we with a sense that visual accountability could soon be a thing of the past.

CGI has developed to such an extent that anyone could believably be animated doing almost anything.

This is done through a process called ‘deepfake‘, which leverages artificial intelligence to take existing image and video content of a person’s face and superimpose it onto the face of another.

The more access the web has to your face, the more likely it is that someone out there could replicate it.

If youtube goofballs are pulling this off now, how long until face swap technology is so accessible that the infallibility of video evidence is totally compromised?

Unfortunately, it seems the time may have already passed. For those not yet acquainted, please meet Mr Jordan Obama.

This video did the rounds last year, and somehow (probably because I try to avoid Buzzfeed like the plague) it slipped past my radar.

If you had the time, the inclination and the budget, you could generate a perfectly believable video of me tearing apart and eating a raw chicken in front of a gelato shop.

Please don’t.

Just consider the fact that you could.

Horrifying.

(Shudders)

You know the feeling when your attention is so engulfed that the world stops in its tracks?

It’s the moment you leap off the diving board.

The moment your parachute triggers.

It’s the freezing-warm rush of the lights striking as they reveal a stage, with you on it.

It’s whenever time feels stuck and the air feels tight.

You feel the world begin to animate as the feeling unravells.

Energy spills out of you as everything returns to equilibrium.

You senses snap back to focus as adrenaline peaks, then subsides; a bodily epiphany.

These are airlock moments.

Named such because airlocks transport you between atmospheres of differing pressure (imagine an astronaut being released into the vaccum of space).

In these moments, for a split second, you become the universe; as far as you’re aware, nothing else exists.

Chase these moments.

There is nothing more authentic than a human body hitting auto-pilot and taking control; acting on pure instinct until the moment passes.

Let your heart race.