Why We Like Bitter Foods In The 21st Century

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Why is it that humans seem to increasingly enjoy bitter foods?

Examples include IPA beer, Aperol (sales have increased x5 from 2010 to 2022), or 100% cacao chocolate.

One theory is that people have been acribing better health outcomes to things that are hard to like, like bitter foods, in opposition to sweet stuff. This is because sugar is now universally considered as something bad for your health, and is very easy thing to eat. 

Another possibility is that we turn to less palatable foods because they are perceived to be more natural. Nature yields unsavory stuff, right? 

Of course, the venerable mango is a compelling counter.

Why Apple Will Not Release a Google-like Search Engine

It is reasoned that comments from Apple SVP of Services Eddy Cue saying Google’s search is the best and that Apple has no incentive to make its own are probably true, but could also be a measure to try and protect Google from government enforcement.

A rumor has it that Apple is developing its own search engine to compete with Google. This is true, as Apple must create some crawling/ranking software for Siri, Spotlight and such. However, I do not believe they are going to release a proper search engine. The reason for this rumor could be related to the anti-trust lawsuit against Google, and Apple is defending them. The incentives for the deal are too good for Apple, they are getting $15B a year for almost 0 effort. 

On Voice in AI Companions

Those of us who are blessed to have many close friends and family members in our life may look down on tools like this, experiencing what they offer as a cloying simulacrum of the human experience. But I imagine it might feel different for those who are lonely, isolated, or on the margins. On an early episode of Hard Fork, a trans teenager sent in a voice memo to tell us about using ChatGPT to get daily affirmations about identity issues. The power of giving what were then text messages a warm and kindly voice, I think, should not be underestimated.

Good insight from Casey Newton. 

Why Bjarne Stroustrup Created C++

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Bjarne Stroustrup explains why he created C++.

He used two ideas from existing languages. High-level abstraction to represent just about anything as a class (from SIMULA). And low-level efficiency, making the language usable by humans but still close to the machine for optimal performance (from C, made by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs). 

The chatbot, which is incapable of actually feeling emotions, was presenting itself as an emotional being—something that other popular chatbots like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are trained not to do because it is misleading and potentially harmful. When chatbots present themselves as emotive, people are able to give it meaning and establish a bond.

Humans crave connection and the world offers them solitude.

Sundry · KFC, routines, erasing memories, vodka, mimes, new species

A rainbow fish identified in the Maldives in 2022

Did you know the Japanese ate KFC for Christmas. Different cultures have quite funky traditions for the winter holidays. Are the winter holidays over yet? — atlasobscura.com

Imitating the morning routines of successful people is useless. Indeed, it is not because you drink the same coffee as a superstar tech CEO that you will be gratified with tons of cash in the bank. Humans are super skilled at imitation (mimesis), and that is a key feature of our species’ growth. But high-status people are able to counter-signal: a CEO might go to work on a bicycle by choice, but if you work at McDonald’s, it might be a necessity (and that you cannot afford a car). So be cautious about imitating high-status people who can afford to counter-signal. Be wiser in the choice of who you imitate! — substack.com

There may be 7 levels of busy-ness. I’m curious where do readers of Sundry rank on this list. Are you at level 4 “at capacity” or at level 6 “crushing commitments”? — randsinrepose.com

There is a drug that can remove the pain from memories. This is about exploiting memory reconsolidation to alleviate the sting from dreadful romantic (yes) memories. It does not erase what happened to you but it changes the impact it has on your life. Still experimental, but interesting. It also raises ethical questions: should we alter memory? — nautil.us

Alcoholic Vodka based its branding on the idea that drinking is bad. And it is quite compelling indeed. Here’s an example: “This product is extremely harmful to your health and can cause a variety of serious diseases. If you for some reason have to drink it, please drink responsibly. There are many great alternatives to this hazardous beverage” — alcoholicvodka.com

To reduce lawlessness in the streets of Bogotá, the mayor resorted to mimes. People who were jaywalking were followed by professional mimes who mocked their every move. This worked well. More than 400 mimes were hired to keep changing people’s behavior in a creative way — harvard.edu

Here are 15 cool animal species discovered in 2022. All is not going to down the toilets. Apparently, we only discovered around 10% of the world’s species. We only identified 80% of mammals, the best studied species. So much to discover! Before we burn it to the ground, of course — mongabay.com