Weekly Learnings for April 16th. The Pollen Edition.

(Fun shares on the stuff that filled my brain this past week).

It’s spring in Cincinnati. Time to hook up an IV of Claritin.

Aphorism of the Week

“A fountain gets muddy with but a little stirring up, and does not get clear by our meddling with it but by our leaving it alone. The best remedy for disturbance is to let them run their course, for so they quiet down.”

Baltasar Gracián (who may have said that with a touch of irony)

Fun Reads

The First Binding

I freaking love it when I can get lost a wonderful fantasy. By far a favorite read of the year. It’s your basic “boy starts small but then grows into a hero” yarn, but when you know what you like you know what you like. This book is compared to the “Name of the Wind” (with reason, there are lots of similarities). Partrick Rothfuss fans get their dander up about that fact, but if R.R. Virdi can actually FINISH this series no one will care.

Anyway, a great beach read.

The Problem With the Retirement Age is that it’s Too High

Annie Lowrey delivers. We live in a world of abundance and artificial scarcity. We should lower the age of retirement. Not necessarily for people like me (or my friend group). But for folks who do hard work. The kind that grinds the body down, we should lower the age.

What Do I Do with this Baby Squirrel?

An excellent article for understanding what to do with all the small critters that (appear to) need help in Spring. This article was perfect timing given my nieces are currently trying to convince my daughter to adopt a baby rabbit. (No).

Putting Time into Perspective

In the middle of the work day, the product team and I went totally philosophical and existential about the rate of change in the world. We work in the education field (which feels SO DAMN SLOW), and it’s good to remember (and fear) that we live in exponential times. Shit really is speeding up. Tim Urban’s “Put Time into Perspective” is a great post illustrating this concept.

Fun and Thoughtful Podcasts

Unicorns are rare, but What About Real?

In which TechCrunch talks about edtech startups. Always relevant to me!

Why Elon Musk is Beefing With Substack

I’m a little unclear about the value proposition of Substack in particular. I mean, I get what it does. But why not just do what they do with Ghost or WordPress? The answer would normally be “the network effect.” But in this case, Substack is creating a “network” around a particular author and writer (not a “macro-network” if you will). Maybe it’s just a case of “where the cool kids hang.” Or it’s user experience exceeds other platforms.


Nilay Patel does a great job interviewing Substack CEO Chris Best. This was a very frustrating podcast, and I felt that it was mostly filled with non-answers. Which sucked given the shenanigans Elon Musk is doing on Twitter, I’m actually rooting for Substack (although not as much as I’m rooting for Mastodon).

This Philosopher Wants Liberals to Take Political Power Seriously

Ezra Klein interviews Danielle Allen, who never fails to present super cool ideas on democracy and citizenship. I loved every bit of this interview (and desire to live in a democracy that functionally works along the lines she sketches).

Rep. Katie Porter’s Working Class Politics

I may be falling in love with Katie Porter. She comes across as incredibly pragmatic. This interview highlights the fact that nearly all our congressional representation is done by folk in the upper (read: rich) class and that affects political outcomes REGARDLESS of party identity.

The Life and Possible Death of Low Interest Rates

Who wouldn’t want to listen Larry Summers and Oliver Blanchard duke things out on the future of inflation? Planet Money does such a freaking great job at creating a narrative here that I can only give them mad props.

What’s going to happen with interest rates (and by extension, inflation)? I’m moderately skeptical of Summers’ thinking – but I do think he brings incredible insight and points (and could very well be correct).

Fun Listening

Nickle Creek’s new album is fantastic. Bonus: Saw them in concert last night. Cincy was their opening gig for their new tour. Having seen them a million times, they were wonderful (if not a little rusty as they got their groove down). It reminded me of my lessons during 1st period – trying things out.

Get The Gardening On

Filled the beds. Almost. Got the peas growing. I’m planning an epic salsa / Siracha garden this year.

Sadly, it looks like our Azaleas have an infection and won’t make it through spring.

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