And no one would admit that they secretly longed for the sea

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Sea shanties are “in.” Yes, really. Sea shanties, the harmonious songs sung by sailors as they worked, have made an unlikely comeback that no one could have predicted. It’s all thanks to the video sharing social media app TikTok, where a stirring rendition of “Soon May the Wellerman Come,” a 160-year-old New Zealand tune, went viral weeks ago, and has since inspired countless collaborations and alternate renditions.

But the question is why sea shanties, of all things, and why now? To find out, we interviewed a range of regular people, none of whom would admit the truth, that their hearts ached to toss away these drab little lives and set out for a life on the ocean. …

Some advice never goes out of date.

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Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Technology moves fast, and new devices come out all the time, so getting a new laptop often involves digging through a wealth of reviews for everything on the shelf. But some guidelines for laptop shopping never go out of date.

I’ve been working in Information Technology for twenty years, and much of my job is recommending purchases and assisting people who are using laptops and desktops. These are the rules I go by, based on all the real-world feedback I’ve received from people who are using computers for their daily work.

  1. The more you’re going to use it, the more you should spend on it.
    This is the most important rule, and you can apply it to almost anything you buy. Think about how much this laptop will cost you per-hour of use. Don’t drop $1000+ for a laptop you use once in a while; you won’t ever get that value out of it. Don’t buy the cheapest thing you can find if you’re relying on it daily; even the smallest frustrations will be annoying you constantly. …

Excerpt from a more perfect world

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

“Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists, and militia groups, and to say that they need to stand down, and not add to the violence that we’ve seen in these cities, as we saw in Kenosha, and as we’ve seen in Portland?”
“Sure, I’m willing to do that.”
“Then do it.”

“White supremacy, and any other ideology that believes one race of human beings is better than another, or that one race is corrupted or inherently lesser, is an abomination before God, an abomination before the United States of America, and an insult to everything this great nation has accomplished. These groups need to stand down, but they also need to stop talking. Stop talking about your hateful ideas. Stop talking about me. …

Why your loyalty should stop at your paycheck

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

At some point during your career, you’ll almost certainly listen to a demoralized coworker complain about their job. They’ll lament the extra effort they put in, the lack of recognition from the higher-ups, and how pointless and inefficient the policies are. When this happens, I hope you respond by validating their feelings, and being empathetic and supportive. And then I hope you give them one single piece of advice:

Stop caring about your job.

Which isn’t to say “stop caring about your work.” You should care about the work that you do. You should take pride in doing good work that is useful, ethical, and professional. …

If we can’t create fair maps, then let’s ditch the maps.

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Photo by Timo Wielink on Unsplash

Gerrymandering is simultaneously one of the most maligned and most abused tactics in US government. It allows parties to secure power. It often suppresses minority influence. It frustrates voters who see their towns sliced up with surgical precision, diluting their vote and forcing their preferred candidate into an uphill battle. Everyone hates it. So why can’t we seem to fix it?

The problem is that any set of rules can be manipulated, and the people who win or lose by those rules have plenty of incentive to bend them to their benefit. As much as we may hate gerrymandering, we can’t deny that it arose specifically because of how we’ve structured the political process. If American politics were a board game, the political players would be doing exactly what we’d expect: working the rules to maximize their chances of winning. Representatives want to keep their jobs. They want to further the cause of their own parties. …

P-R-A, I-S-E, our D-E-I-T-Y

An excerpt from “The Interglactic Guide to Planetary Religions,”:

In most respects, the religions of Sol-3 are altogether typical. Most are deity-based, and among them we see common archetypes, such as sky gods, divine prophets, and elemental spirits. But the planet deserves special attention for one particular religion which, in addition to being highly unusual, is also by far the planet’s most successful. I’m speaking, of course, about the great mouse god, Mickey.

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Photo by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash

The dominance of the mouse religion on Sol-3 is truly incredible. The centralized church commands a vast wealth. It has large religious sites across the planet, where millions make pilgrimage every year. Its influence stretches into every major region, crossing cultural and generational boundaries. It has legions of dedicated followers pouring money and energy into every part of the church’s functions, and even non-believers know its central figures and mythology. …

And how you can usually fix it

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Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

In 1999, the movie Office Space immortalized one of the most common frustrations in all of consumer technology with one simple line: “Why does it say there is a paper jam when there is no paper jam?” It’s a moment that resonates because we’ve all been there; the printer reports a paper jam, you check it and find no paper jam, and then it reports a paper jam again. It’s baffling and annoying. But in my years working in IT, I’ve found that this issue usually has a simple cause, and an easy solution that takes seconds to perform.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, the real problem is that printers are terrible. The printer market is based on selling toner and ink cartridges, so the printers themselves are often cheaply made. On top of that, most printers have a very simple display, if they have any display at all, so they’re limited in how much diagnostic information they can show. So what we wind up with is devices that are prone to errors, and that also aren’t good at telling us what’s wrong when a problem happens. …

Every person is different, now every chat client is too.

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Photo by Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash

Building on the failures of Google Talk, Google Huddle, Google Spaces, Google Hangouts, Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, Google Allo, Google Duo, Android Messages, Google Wave, and the chat-thingy that only works inside of Google Docs, the search giant announced today that they are simplifying their messaging strategy by creating a unique chat service for each person in life.

“We’re excited by the complete lack of progress we’ve made by creating our existing bizarre, weirdly-unfocused collection of services that kinda do the same thing, but not really, over the last few years,” the company said in a post on its official blog, “and now we’re ready to take the next logical step by creating a separate, unique service for every single person in life, whether they want it or not.” …

It’s the result of some surprisingly savvy, calculated moves.

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Photo by Corey Motta on Unsplash

The wild success of the Nintendo Switch seems like it came out of nowhere. Its predecessor, the Wii U, was a clear stumble, suggesting that Nintendo was on a decline, and that the success of the Nintendo Wii had been a fluke. The Wii U looked to be the last gasp of a company that had lost touch with the modern audience — a desperate attempt to throw gas on the fire with another controller gimmick.

When the Switch was announced, it seemed like another Wii U-style flop waiting to happen. Once again Nintendo was releasing a console with motion controls and some fancy sensors. Once again the console had its own screen, and could be played without a TV. Taking the long view of Nintendo’s ups and downs, the simple conclusion was that the company was merely piling on fun quirks to try and spark some fresh attention, and that it would again fall flat with that strategy. …

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Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Good morning, and welcome to your yoga experience. My name is Water Wheel, and I’ll be your guide on this journey into calm, peace, and convincing yourself that you’ve earned the froyo you’ll get after class. Let’s begin.

First, simply sit, legs crossed, and feel yourself being. Breathe deeply. Keep breathing. Now breathe more. Breathe into your belly, because that’s apparently a thing. And now, more breathing. I’ll keep reminding you to breathe every ten seconds for the next hour, even though logically you must be doing it, or you’d die.

Do not think about death. Feel your energy. Be present. …


Samuel Cook

Former writer for and, currently a technology professional, teacher, and father. I write about whatever is on my mind.

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