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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.

Our senses are constantly filtering data which we use to decide what we’ll do next. The fact that humans are so predictable is a testament to their ability to do this effectively. 

If you boil that down for long enough, our lives are nothing more than a long string of decisions, actions and inactions. 

Is this depressing? Maybe. Reductionist? Definitely. Could it be useful? I believe so. 

There are a million reasons we might choose to do one thing over another; we have ethical frameworks to pass quick judgement on wrongdoings of others; a moral compass to ensure that we align ourselves with internal principles of right and wrong; a relentless self interest which keeps us safe and ensures we can pass down our genes; and every now and then, we just do stuff because it feels good. 

The mental gymnastics our brains perform while making these decisions are but small parts of the lifelong games we use to define ourselves.

In the same way that ‘you are what you eat’ is true of the body, ‘you are what you do’ is true of the soul. 

Here’s the deal: we live in a strange, rapidly changing, hyper connected world which is making some of us intensely miserable in ways we don’t fully understand. 

Our ability to control our own attention is diminishing at an alarming rate.

Technical monoliths are making us feel exposed in ways people never used to have to worry about.

And our opportunities, while still limited, seem limitless in the face of everybody else’s success.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We are sensationally adaptable creatures.

Brilliant people all over the world are constantly discovering fascinating things, many of which can inform our way forward through this jumbled mess.

Whenever it gets too much, remember that all you can ever be held accountable for is everything you do.

If the world outside is so overwhelming in scale and implication, how tiny our own short lives must be.

And if the prospect of being responsible for your every living breath is so overwhelming, how small and insignificant the rest of the world must be.

The world, and your roll in it, is neither too large or too small.

It just is.

Realise this and you might just do away with half the troubles our new world brings with it.

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?

In 2014 a professor at the University of Melbourne published a study in which the computer sessions of 1249 students were analysed over a total of 3372 sessions.

Facebook was present in 44% of all sessions and accounted for the second most common task, totalling 9.2% of all task instances. Only being beaten by university work itself.

What’s interesting is that about 99% of the sessions involved instances of media multitasking.

For the purpose of the experiment they defined focussed behaviour as instances of 20 or more minutes with two or less different activities.

They discovered that students tended to multitask regardless of whether or not they used Facebook.

What was stunning is that when they compare the focussed behaviour between Facebook users and non-Facebook. Around a third of the non-Facebook users spent most of their time in focussed behaviour, compared to only one in nine Facebook users.

Further, Facebook was responsible for initiating multitasking behaviour at the cost of student’s focus.

While these results shouldn’t surprise anyone, they are a reminder that if Facebook is your vice of choice, maybe there are times where you want to restrict your access.

If you’re studying, maybe consider installing a website blocker to stop Facebook initiating distraction.

It’s fascinating how quickly originality devolves.

Cliches are cliches for a reason. At their core is something pure and magical – they’ve just been done to death.

Nobody wants to hear another poem about a rose or song about crying in the rain.

… Unless you can find a way to do so with unique specificity.

There’s nothing interesting about a man reading a paper on a park bench.

But there’s everything interesting about a man reading a paper on a park bench if he smells distinctly of leeks and there’s a squirrel eating his shoe.

The devil (and the beauty) is in the details.

Your phone is probably the most distracting thing you own.

You can pick it up and access any one of a hundred apps at almost any time.

But this convenience comes at a cost.

Have you ever checked a message on your phone, then decided to check your email as well, jot down something in your shopping list app, Google the closest pizza place and then open up deliveroo? Me too.

When we engage in the consumption of media across channels and switch frequently, it’s called media multitasking.

Unfortunately, media multitasking taxes our ability to learn implicitly.

Which means that while you’re switching through channels, you’re not actually learning (or growing) a whole lot.

Because most of our learning happens naturally and subconsciously.

So be mindful. Next time you pick up your phone, try to do only the thing you first intended to do.

Then put it away.

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.