Sundry · well-being, macadamia nuts, how to argue, gut health, Borges on football, processed foods

A macadamia nut

Well-being does indeed rise with income. Remember the studies you saw on Instagram or LinkedIn. They argued: your happiness stabilizes after you earn $75,000 a year. This always sounded odd to me. Why would people want to accumulate more capital then? The dataset for these studies was not great. A new study (with better data) is showing that well-being does not plateau with cash in the bank. Au contraire. Back to work then… —

70% of macadamia nuts come from one tree in Australia. Do you like cookies with macadamia inside? I do not. Still, 70% of the world’s production of these nuts comes from trees in Hawai’i. And all the trees in Hawai’i come from a single, chad-esque tree that originated from Gympie, Australia. Talk about winning the reproduction game. What is the etymology of macadamia you wonder? Named after the friend (John Macadam) of the guy who discovered it —

How to argue more effectively. The video is interesting throughout but it boils down to a simple idea: don’t let your identity come into play. Just like your feelings and emotions do not define you any more than the simple pleasure you get from eating cereal whilst standing in your kitchen and wearing your fav underwear, your belonging to the “idea tribe” should not prevent you from rationally arguing. Your political ideas are not you! —

Jose Luis Borges hated football. And he’s Argentinian. He had a distaste for the aesthetics of the “beautiful game”. But what worried him most was the fans. He linked the blind support of football fans to the rise of nationalism and populism. For him, the dogmatic belief was the same. And it was dangerous —

Your gut health might impact your social skills. That is in fish and mice. Research in humans has not been actively pursued yet. But it is plausible: in recent years, we have discovered that the microbiome is indeed more complex and “brain-like” than previously thought. Careful what you eat! —

Highly processed foods are as addictive as tobacco. Researchers have applied to processed food the same criteria used in the 1988 U.S. Surgeon General’s report that established tobacco’s addictive nature. And boy, it ain’t looking good. What do they mean by addictive? Why, just compulsive use and inability to quit, slow brain alteration, highly reinforcing, intense urges. Careful what you eat 2! —

Is Hexclad cookware a scam? Maybe it’s just me (probably), but I am seeing a lot of ads online for this pan that brings the durability of stainless steel with the convenience of non-stick. In a video, the co-author of Modernist Cuisine reviews the stuff. As always, the truth is not black or white. However, if you’re not too fussy about cooking these pans could still be a good deal —

Sundry · evolution, truffles, Scorsese, parasites, wildfires

A Japanese website today (source:

Some animals, such as the cool-looking platypus, have barely evolved. Some species do not need to alter their form because they already fit with their environment quite well. With less variations than land, the marine world usually yields more stable animals —

Truffle oil is not made with truffles. It is synthetic flavoring. The bits inside are fake too. The shower of truffles you get on your dish sometimes aren’t actual truffles. They are cheap tubers that have nothing to do with the real deal. Today I learned: not two truffles are the same —

Ever heard of Scorsese’s 1973 little-known masterpiece, Goncharov? No? That would be normal. This film was entirely made up by the Tumblr community. This includes posters, soundtracks, and fan fiction. You guessed the lead actor: Robert De Niro —

Why are Japanese websites designed so differently? When Westerners think of Japanese culture, they think of minimalist design. But Japanese websites are very compact, colorful, and text-heavy. Investigator Sabrina Cruz studied this question for 2 months. One of the main findings is that Japanese consumers are more risk-averse: they need a lot of precise information before buying a product —

Can a parasite infection increase risk-taking behavior? Wolves infected with Toxoplasma gondii (the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis) are more likely to either disperse or become pack leaders, which are risky moves. It is interesting to note that parasites can have effects on social dynamics beyond mere infection —

The US is funding Ukraine to defeat Russia at a smaller cost. Since the beginning of the war, I have been wondering about US motives for the tremendous military aid they are giving Ukraine (almost $70B in November, ~5% of the yearly defense budget). A satisfactory argument is that of the proxy war. They are waging an active war against Russia, they are winning and they don’t even have to put American boots on the ground. It’s a win-win scenario against your oldest enemy —

Rain is a startup that fights wildfires. Their claim is that they operate a network of autonomous water-carrying, drone-like helicopters that activate within 10 minutes of ignition. Could this be an example of how technology can help solve problems exacerbated by climate change? —