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a collection of podcasts and links that explain the world
1) Hi-Phi Nation is back! One of my favorite shows didn't waste any time making me think uncomfortable thoughts. Across all cultures, there seems to be a clear U shaped curve in happiness, where we bottom out in our mid 40's, and then continue to climb our way into happier times the rest of our lives. I'm currently sliding right on down the curve into this mid-life crisis territory, so I have that to look forward to. The Bottom of the Curve provides a nice exploration of what we can do about this unfortunate feature of being human. I loved hearing from people who are currently in the mid-life crisis zone and about how they handled it. I took notes. Just in case.
2) “The U.S. really is a metric nation, we just don’t know that we are a metric nation.” Give an inch, take a millimetre is a co-production between 99 Percent Invisible and Sum of All Parts that looks at the history and current state of the U.S.’s confusing relationship with the metric system. Syracuse, NY, my current hometown, had a nice shoutout as the epicenter of a metric-phobic kerfuffle (which sadly does not surprise me).

3) Science Vs on Bigfoot: "The probability isn't 0, but it's adjacent to it." 

4) Everything that happens has happened before. When faced with a decision, you first need to realize it’s an old problem with a new context, and work on accurately figuring out which old problem this one actually is. Ray Dalio, who runs the most successful hedge fund in the world, is someone who has spent his whole life thinking about how to make decisions. Host Shane Parrish extracts as many nuggets as he can from him in a recent interview for The Knowledge Project.

5) People are complicated, we all have different phases throughout our life, and Herbert Hoover had completely opposite reputations in the U.S. and Europe. These are just a few of the big lessons that The Memory Palace is able to distill in the short seven minutes of Hoover.

6) If you want to learn about how the plough was the first invention to set us down the path to modern civilization and why you should question if this was all even worth it, listen to the 50th episode of 50 Things that Made the Modern Economy.

7) Oct 31, 2017. Halloween? Of course. The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing (or maybe gluing) his 95 Theses to All Saints' Church in Germany, and starting a revolution? Yup. Learn about it on Witness from the BBC.

8) Nudge, Nudge, Nobel. Planet Money speaks with Richard Thaler, the man who started the now booming field of behavioral economics and this year's winner of the Nobel prize in Economics. "The idea that people have self-control problems and they don't know how to save for retirement and they know they should is news to no one - except economists."


9) The most precise measurement instrument ever made has been having a stellar year. LIGO has detected several black hole collisions, proven Einstein’s theory for gravity waves to be correct, and has earned the people behind it a Nobel Prize. And if that isn’t enough, the other week they released the first evidence of a kilanova, or the collision of two neutron stars, which are now believed to be the source of most of the gold and other heavy elements in the universe. Really wild, incredible stuff. Great video and write up from the NYT.

10) Happiness Is Other People: "Self-reflection, introspection and some degree of solitude are important parts of a psychologically healthy life. But somewhere along the line we seem to have gotten the balance wrong. Because far from confirming our insistence that 'happiness comes from within,' a wide body of research tells us almost the exact opposite."
"But if there is one point on which virtually every piece of research into the nature and causes of human happiness agrees, it is this: our happiness depends on other people."

11) What books would you recommend someone read to improve their general knowledge of the world? Here’s a big ol list.

12) Quora. Think of Quora like a Yahoo Answers that doesn’t suck. My wife rolled her eyes the past year anytime I mentioned it (mainly because it’s a weird word to say out loud), but now she gets a personalized email of questions and answers and is addicted as I am.

That's all for this week!

Connect with me @erikthejones on twitter and if you've learned anything interesting, please forward this link to any curious natured friends or family so they can subscribe. Many thanks!

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