☕️Random Fun with Alberto 🚀

Hi All!

What I am reading 📚

Even though I drink a lot of coffee ☕️, I have to confess that I didn’t know much about its history and science. So, a few months ago I did some research and picked one book about coffee, Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast. Although I didn’t particularly enjoyed the style, it makes for a very thorough and detailed historical account of coffee and in particular its roles during the early days of the USA:

"The Civil War gave soldiers a permanent taste for the drink. Each Union soldier's daily allotment included one-tenth of a pound of green coffee beans that, translated into annual consumption, was a whopping thirty-six pounds per capita."

As always, my notes and highlighted passages are in my blog.

Nerd Corner 🤓

Recently, while talking with friends, the topic of being organized and keeping track of things came about and I realized that I don’t really function without lists. Checklists, to-do lists, lists in general. I love them. I live by them.

First, checklists ✅. A good checklist usually turns a very painful and long decision making process into a simple sequence of actionable steps. Think of airplane pilots, without checklists they probably wouldn’t be able to fly those things! There’s even a book (or a manifesto I should say) about them 🤪!

I keep a handful of checklists that I use every day. One of them is for making coffee so I don’t mess up the brew while I’m still half asleep (I’ve memorized this one by now). Another example is the checklist I go through before sending this email 🤓.

Then, there are to-do lists. All my projects always start and progress with these lists. I add tasks for anything that crosses my mind related to a particular project. Then, from time to time, I review the lists to make sure I’m making progress on the right things. And of course, I keep the lists in plain-text files as I explained in a previous post.

Also interesting 🤯

  • Even though it is very hard to notice them, there are thousands of satellites just above us floating on Earth’s low orbit. This visualization of satellites mapping the Earth 🌎 below them puts things in perspective .

  • I didn’t know that Moravec’s paradox, which states that comparatively it is harder to make computers perform low-level sensorimotor operations (like hand-eye coordination) than have them perform high-level reasoning, was articulated (amongst others) by Rodney Brooks. I shared a handful of Brooks’ articles a while ago. Here’s my favorite once again.

  • Traditionally it has been very hard to make smaller and more powerful microchips. It turns out that there are also many challenges in making very big ones like the 1 trillion transistor chip that Cerebras (a startup) recently unveiled.

Quote of the week 🔖

“When building habits, choose consistency over content. The best book is the one you can’t put down. The best exercise is the one you enjoy doing every day. The best health food is the one you find tasty. The best work is the work you’d do for free.” - @naval

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Have a great week!