Five INteresting Idioms

An Experience Lasts Longer Than A Picture.
Like Rain On A Summer Morning.
Turning Leaves Into Money.
Like A New Camp.
The Twinkle Of My Star.


Stumbling and falling are still done by moving forwards.
Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward. (Victor Kiam)
It is not the absence of fear that is courage, but the mastery over it.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. (Mark Twain)

Five Interesting Phrases

  1. Cut The Mustard Meaning: To cut the mustard is to meet a required standard, or to meet expectations.

  2. I Smell a Rat Meaning: A feeling that something is not quite right, or awry.

  3. A Cut Below Meaning: Something that’s inferior to the surrounding others.

  4. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning: Being angry about something that happened in the past.

  5. Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule.


  1. “Everything happens for a reason and, something better will come along for me!”
    – Selena Gomez
  2. “I’m unpredictable, I never know where I’m going until I get there, I’m so random, I’m always growing, learning, changing, I’m never the same person twice. But one thing you can be sure of about me; is I will always do exactly what I want to do.”
    – C. JoyBell C.

Identity and Ideas – Seth Godin

Identity and ideas [ ]

We rarely do or say something intentionally that surprises us. That’s because we are in intimate contact with the noise in our heads–we spend our days looking in the mirror, listening to our inner voice and defining our point of view. “That’s not the sort of thing I would say or do…”

We call this internal familiarity our ‘identity.’ If it gets lost (when someone joins a cult, for example), it’s noteworthy and can be tragic.

If our ideas are equated to our identity, then talking about ideas is very much the act of talking about yourself.

And thus the tension is created. Our culture and our economy are built on ideas. Many of our society’s ideas get better over time (you don’t go to the barber for bloodletting any longer–it’s what probably killed George Washington) and yet some of them get stuck. Often, we need a generation to step away before an entrenched idea begins to fade, because the people who have been embracing that toxic or outlived idea see it as part of their identity.

As the media realizes that they can improve profits by narrowcasting ideas to people who embrace them as part of who they are, it gets increasingly difficult to have a constructive conversation about many ideas–because while people are able and sometimes eager to change some of their less personal ideas, we rarely seek to change our identity.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’re doing a jigsaw puzzle and a piece you thought fit in a spot where it doesn’t actually fit, that missed fit is viewed as useful information. Go ahead and try the piece in a different spot–that’s not a threat to your identity as a puzzle solver. In fact, your identity as a puzzle solver is tied up in the idea that if the evidence shows a piece didn’t fit, you simply try a new spot, you don’t feel threatened or disrespected.

The most successful problem solvers are people who have embraced this simple method–your current idea isn’t your identity, it’s simply a step closer to a solution to the problem in front of you.

One way to define our identity is to fall in love with an idea (often one that was handed to us by a chosen authority). Another is to refuse to believe our identity is embodied in an idea, and instead embrace a method for continually finding and improving our ideas.

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Niagara Falls Tightrope Day? In 1859, Frenchman Charles Blondin aka Jean Francois Gravelet crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope! It took him five minutes while 25,000 spectators stood and stared as he made his way across the Falls – one he had made several times before on stilts, carrying another man on his back, pushing a wheelbarrow, and, even once, blindfolded!


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“You are responsible for how you feel no matter what someone does to you. Remember, you are always in control of your thoughts so choose to feel confident and adequate rather than angry and insecure.”

— Robert Tew

Good morning

🙏Good morning friendsJai Meher Baba🙏
💛” When the tongue is silent, the mind speaks;
When the mind is silent, the heart sings;
When the heart stops singing,
the Soul begins to experience its original Self,
In deep sleep, tongue, mind and heart are silent and one is unconscious. The difficulty is to keep mind silent in full consciousness. If one can go into deep sleep and remain awake, one has it! One becomes what one originally was and eternally is—-God.” Meher Baba🙏💛
Source: Lord Meher, pg no;4597💛
🙏Beloved Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai🙏💛

31 May 2021

World No Tobacco Day –
31 May

No tobacco day

This day aims to raise awareness of the deadly use of tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Health problems that smokers are more prone to
  • Infographic idea: X Ways smoking can affect your skin
  • Video idea: How have smoking ads changed over the decades?
  • Podcast idea: Is going ‘cold turkey’ a good way to kick the smoking habit?


  1. “What’s the world’s greatest lie?… It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”
    – Paulo Coelho
  2. “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
    – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Brain Food. The Newsletter by Shane Parrish


Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.


Before we reinvent the wheel, it’s worth looking back to leverage what we’ve already figured out.

— Lessons From Shakespeare

Explore Your Curiosity

★ “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

— Mary Anne Radmacher on courage in 1985

★ “[W]e never want our roadmap to be just the list of things that people have asked for. That’s where the longer-term thinking comes in. You have to balance the short-term, reactive stuff with the long-term.”

— Building Products

Timeless Insight

“I’ve come to believe that this is the defining characteristic of my generation: keeping our options open. The Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman has a great phrase for what I’m talking about: liquid modernity. We never want to commit to any one identity or place or community … so we remain like liquid, in a state that can adapt to fit any future shape. And it’s not just us—the world around us remains like liquid, too. We can’t rely on any job or role, idea or cause, group or institution to stick around in the same form for long—and they can’t rely on us to do so, either. That’s liquid modernity: It’s Infinite Browsing Mode, but for everything in our lives.”

— Pete Davis in Dedicated

Tiny Thought

In life, you don’t need to know the answers to all the questions. But don’t try to lie that you do.

Anyone worth partnering with can spot an amateur liar.

Professional liars have a tell. They always need to find a new person to fool because the people they’ve duped in the past don’t want to work with them again. This is why a professional liar almost never succeeds on a large scale.

If you don’t know, just say you don’t know and you’ll figure it out. Don’t fake it till you make it. Work until you get it.

Sponsored by MetaLab

MetaLab has helped some of the world’s top companies and entrepreneurs build products that millions of people use every day. You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but odds are you’ve used an app that they’ve helped design or build. Apps like Slack, Uber Eats, Facebook Messenger, Coinbase, and many more. Let them take your product idea and turn it into the next big thing. Check them out at

Stay safe,


You can’t overcome fear by thinking about it. Face it head on.
If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. (Dale Carnegie)
It’s not what you have that determines who you are, but what you do with what you have.
The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have. (Vince Lombardi)

Lying in her long veils on the calm black water

Lying in her long veils

on the calm black water

And to grow in the corn lull them asleep of brilliant flies;
pours burning love the devil’s paladins;
that by starlight! he sings and the woods sing!

Vision of her big hair like the waves.
– its coolness on my feet, the beads of their loves.
In a slumbering alder hemmed in by chimaeras.
– from violet forests: where the stars are sleeping.

Lying in her long veils, on the calm black water
embroidered with black moss her great veils rising
mount in my soul but endless;

I cared nothing for all, hurled of the hulks hurricane,
of sour apples pale-eyed realize in antique dramas
the scented twilight, devoured by vermin

by jay & Arthur Rimbaud

Mount Everest Summit day.

Did you know…

… that today is Mount Everest Summit Day? In 1953, New Zealand beekeeper Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the 29,035-foot summit of Everest, becoming the first people to stand atop the world’s highest mountain.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

— Christopher Morley


Epigrammaticep-ə-grə-MAD-ikPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin, late 17th century
1Of the nature or in the style of an epigram; concise, clever, and amusing.
Examples of Epigrammatic in a sentence “Taylor’s epigrammatic wit always lands her at the center of a party.” “He had a distinctly epigrammatic writing style.”


  1. “Love me or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart… If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”
    – William Shakespeare
  2. “Make the most of what you have and keep your standards high. Never settle for anything less than you deserve or are capable of achieving.”
    – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Friday 28th May 2021

Hi there,

Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days;


Azerbaijan and Armenia

A series of incidents have been reported along borders between Armenian and Azerbaijani territory over the last seven days. In the Gegharkunik area, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces exchanged fire in border areas, with an Armenian soldier being killed in a clash on 25th May.

The clashes came days after seven Armenian personnel were captured by Azerbaijani forces at the border near Lake Sev. Armenian forces claimed the seven were detained as they responded to an incursion from a group of Azerbaijani soldiers, whereas the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence claimed the Armenian soldiers had entered Azerbaijani territory.

More recently, on 27th May, an exchange of fire was reported in an area on the border of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in which one soldier was wounded. Armenian forces have denied the incident took place, and instead claimed the soldier was wounded due to a personal dispute with another Azerbaijani soldier.



This coming weekend will see multiple right-wing groups carry out protests in Rome on 29th May. Among the groups are CasaPound (at Piazza Sant’ Apostoli) and Area (at Via Paisiello).

Media reporting has described all these protests as ‘fascist,’ Antifa groups and trade unions have expressed an intention to counter-protest the CasaPound protests from Piazza del Campidoglio and the Mayor of Rome – Virginia Raggi – has been publicly criticising the groups involved in these upcoming protests.

While reporting on the group ‘Area’ has shown this organisation to be a fascist group (based on prior incidents and indications it is a reincarnation of Forza Nuova), reporting on CasaPound indicates it is more of a conservative, anti-EU organisation. The group appears to be reported as ‘fascists’ due to its larger size than other right-wing extremist groups and presence it has in Rome’s local politics. This group would appear to be the intended target for the upcoming counter-protest by Antifa groups and trade unions in Rome.

Given that protests in Rome – especially those in/near Piazza Monte Citorio (Piazza Sant’Apostoli is approximately 1-2km southeast of this location) – attract large police presence and unrest, these upcoming protests in Rome are likely to feature the same. In particular, areas surrounding Piazza Aant’ Apostoli and Piazza del Campidoglio will be among the most likely locations for unrest and rioting.


Democratic Republic of Congo

Authorities in Goma, capital of North Kivu province, have activated an evacuation plan with thousands evacuated from about 10 neighbourhoods after authorities detected presence of magma under the urban area of Goma and under Lake Kivu, raising fears of an eruption on land or under Lake Kivu. Inhabitants have been evacuated to areas including Sake, Gisenyi and Rutshuru. The eruption at Mount Nyiragongo has left more than 20,000 homeless, over 3,629 houses destroyed and at least 32 dead. Seismic activity has also caused damage.

Lake Kivu contains high levels of carbon dioxide and methane and there is increased concern that seismic and volcanic activity will trigger a limnic eruption. This will see the dissolved CO2 and methane gas release and form a cloud, threatening the more than two million people living in the banks of Lake Kivu. Such eruptions could also be accompanied by a tsunami. The last limnic eruption occurred in 1986 at Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing 1,746 people.


Minnesota, USA

On 24th May, a group of activists blocked a construction site of the Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota. Some of the activists locked themselves through the treads of an excavator on site. The exact location of the construction site was not revealed. The protest was led by the Giniw Collective, an indigenous activist group which has protested the construction of the pipeline due to its path through Native American lands and allegedly threatening waterways in the state.

Protest action targeting the pipeline has increased since Enbridge, the owner of the pipeline, was given all the required permits for construction in December 2020. Non-violent direct-action protests have involved blocking construction sites, workers’ camps, and roads in northern Minnesota. However, protests against the project have also targeted financial institutions across the United States and in the United Kingdom, due to their financing of Line 3 and other fossil fuel projects. The coming months will likely see increased protest activity by activists targeting the wider oil and gas sector and the banks financing it, with the Line 3 project likely being at the forefront of protests in the United States.



On 24th May, 16 people were found shot dead at two bars in the town centre of San Miguel del Ene, a village located in the VRAEM region of Peru. Pamphlets left behind at the scene described the attack as social cleansing and urged Peruvians not to vote in the upcoming national election on the 6th June. The pamphlets were signed “MPCP”.

The Militarized Communist Party of Peru (MPCP) is a Maoist terrorist group and the direct successor of Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path. The Shining Path long terrorised Peru before they were beaten back in the 1990s by the military campaign of President Alberto Fujimori. The remnants of that insurgency now oppose Fujimori’s daughter, who is currently running for president herself. If Ms. Fujimori is elected, it could mean an increase in both terrorist attacks and counter-terrorism operations in the south of Peru.

Captured members of the MPCP claim some 330 terrorists are left in the VRAEM, a sparsely populated region where they control the production of cocaine and occasionally attack security forces.


THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Podcast

A fortnightly podcast that expands on key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.


Intelligence Fusion and Trace Labs explore crowdsourcing intelligence

What is crowdsourcing? And how can it be used to support open-source intelligence collection? Our CEO Michael McCabe sat down with our friends and partners at Trace Labs to discuss this and how they use crowdsourcing for the greater good, using Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) to find missing persons and reunite them with their families 

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Wonder Girl of the Air Day? On this date in 1930, English aviator Amy Johnson completed the first solo airplane flight from England to Australia. She had started the trip 23 days earlier on May 5. The song “Amy, Wonderful Amy” celebrated the fame of this “wonder girl of the air,” who became a legend in her own lifetime.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

— Helen Keller

UN Peacekeepers Day 29th May 2021

International Day of UN Peacekeepers 
29 May 2021

UN day

This day is celebrated to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel of the UN and to honor the 3800 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving the UN.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Situations that UN peacekeepers helped de-escalate
  • Infographic idea: Where are UN peacekeepers most active?
  • Video idea: How do UN Peacekeepers remain cool in high-stakes situations?
  • Podcast idea: What can you do after working at the UN?


Scintillasin-TIL-əPart of speech: nounOrigin: Latin, late 17th century
1A tiny trace or spark of a specified quality or feeling.
Examples of Scintilla in a sentence “A scintilla of hope rose in his chest when the elevator door opened.” “There was not even a scintilla of evidence to support Kim’s claims.”

 How to miss a deadline

How to miss a deadline

How to miss a deadline [ ]

In my earlier post, I opened a discussion about how to avoid missing a deadline.

But what happens if you can’t avoid it?

Projects are always on the frontier, combining elements and ideas and effort to do something that’s not been done before, not quite the way we’re doing it here and now.

And so, bold projects sometimes fail to make their deadline. Even if we build systems and use buffers, sometimes it doesn’t work.

Some thoughts:

– Don’t wait until the last minute. Wishful thinking is sometimes confused with optimism, but you probably knew more than four days before the deadline that you weren’t going to meet expectations. If people are building dependencies around your promises, then waiting until you have no choice simply makes the miss worse. Because not only are you late, but you were hiding it.
– Don’t minimize the problem. You’re late. Clearly. So say it. Loud and (not quite) proud. By owning the original promise and then being clear that you’re aware of the miss, you help the people who were counting on you feel seen and respected.
– Create alternatives. This isn’t always possible, but when it is, it usually leads to better relationships. If an airline can’t have a plane in a certain spot at a certain time, it goes a long way if they do the work of finding all 100 people inconvenienced a new plan, instead of putting that on them, one at a time.
– There’s a difference between seeing the damage (and working to ameliorate it) and accepting shame and blame. It’s clear that the future is unclear, and that things happen. If you can clearly outline what you’ve seen and what you’ve learned, it doesn’t make your clients feel better if you also fall on a sword–because if it’s not your fault, the sword is meaningless theater. And if it is your fault, it’s worth telling us that as well.
– In short, there’s no good way to make a missed deadline meaningless to the person who was counting on you. Being counted on is a gift. If you want to be counted on next time, best to invest early and often in making that deadline, and then, in the rare cases when it’s not enough, treating your clients with the respect that you’d like to receive in a similar situation.

[Even better, check out out my previous post and create approaches so you don’t miss the deadline in the first place.]

* How (not) to miss a deadline [ ]

Deadlines are valuable, and deadlines are expensive.

Organized systems and societies need deadlines. It would be impossible to efficiently build a house if the subcontractors could deliver their goods or services whenever it were convenient for them. Movie studios and book publishers schedule their releases months in advance to allow distribution teams to plan their work. Software is dependent on subsystems that have to be in place before the entire program can work.

Along with the value that synchronized deliverables create, there are also real costs. Not simply the organizational cost of a missed deadline, but the significant damage to a reputation or brand that happens when a promise isn’t kept. And there’s a human cost–the stress and strain that comes from working to keep a promise that we might not have personally made, or that might be more difficult because someone else didn’t perform their part of the dance.

In the wide-open race for attention and commitments, the standards of deadlines have been wavering. For forty years, Saturday Night Live has gone on at 11:30. Not, as its creator says, because it’s ready, but because it’s 11:30. That’s the deal.

On Kickstarter, this sort of sacrosanct deadline is rare indeed. “This charger will ship in six weeks!” they say, when actually, it’s been more than a year with no shipment date in sight. Or with venture capitalists and other backers. “We’re going to beat the competition to market by three months.” Sometimes it feels like if the company doesn’t bring wishful thinking to the table, they won’t get funded. Given that choice, it’s no wonder that people get desperate. Wishful thinking might not be called lying, but it is. We should know better.

Earning the reputation as someone (a freelancer, a marketer, a company, a leader) who doesn’t miss a deadline is valuable. And it doesn’t happen simply because you avoid sleeping and work like a dog. That’s the last resort of someone who isn’t good at planning.

Here are some basic principles that might help with the planning part:

– If you’re competing in an industry where the only way to ‘win’ is to lie about deadlines, realize that competing in that industry is a choice, and accept that you’re going to miss deadlines and have to deal with the emotional overhead that comes with that.
– Knowing that it’s a choice, consider picking a different industry, one where keeping deadlines is expected and where you can gain satisfaction in creating value for others by keeping your promises.
– Don’t rely on false deadlines as a form of incentive. It won’t work the same on everyone, which means that some people will take you at your word and actually deliver on time, while others will assume that it was simply a guideline. It’s more efficient to be clear and to help people understand from the outset what you mean by a deadline. The boy cried wolf but the villagers didn’t come.
– At the same time, don’t use internal deadlines as a guaranteed component of your external promises. A project with no buffers is certain to be late. Not just likely to be late, but certain. Better buffers make better deadlines.
– Embrace the fact that delivering something on a certain date costs more than delivering it whenever it’s ready. As a result, you should charge more, perhaps a great deal more, for the value that your promise of a deadline creates. And then spend that money to make sure the deadline isn’t missed.
– Deadlines aren’t kept by people ‘doing their best.’ Keeping a deadline requires a systemic approach to dependencies and buffers and scenario planning. If you’re regularly cutting corners or burning out to meet deadlines, you have a systems problem.
– The antidote to feature creep isn’t occasional pruning. That’s emotionally draining and a losing battle. The answer is to actively restructure the spec, removing or adding entire blocks of work. “That will be in the next version,” is a totally acceptable answer, particularly when people are depending on this version to ship on time.
– A single deadline is a deadline that will certainly not be met. But if you can break down your big deadline into ten or fifteen intermediate milestones, you will know about your progress long before it’s too late to do something about it.
– The Mythical Person-Month is a serious trap. Nine people, working together in perfect harmony, cannot figure out how to have a baby in one month. Throwing more people at a project often does not speed it up. By the time you start to solve a deadline problem this way, it might be too late. The alternative is to staff each component of your project with the right number of people, and to have as many components running in parallel as possible.
– Bottlenecks are useful, until they aren’t. If you need just one person to approve every element of your project, it’s unlikely you can run as many things in parallel as you could. The alternative is to have a rigorous spec created in advance, in which many standards are approved before you even begin the work.
– Discussions about timing often devolve into issues of trust, shame and effort. That’s not nearly as helpful as separating conversations about system structure and data from the ones about commitment and oomph.
– Hidden problems don’t get better. In a hyper-connected world, there’s no technical reason why the project manager can’t know what the team in the field knows about the state of the project.

Like most things that matter, keeping deadlines is a skill, and since it’s a skill, we can learn it.

[More on this in my next post on what to do if you can’t avoid breaking your promise.]

Wuhan Virus and all “colored” Fungus. But, All Lives Matter!

So invisible behind the fire

Strange and dry below the grave
We prod happy Coffins about stolen Kaffans
Beware! The birth gets weird
Strangely mammoth on the ground
It pulls scary faces behind the sea
Beware! The night is no more
So invisible behind the fire
We grind heavy feet beneath the sea
Heavy! The stink will be born
shadowed seeking
at a crossroads
a phone ringing somewhere
Under what skies
the god
lose his way
where he knew no-one

Five Interesting Phrases

  1. A Cold Fish Meaning: Someone who lacks empathy and emotion.

  2. Keep Your Shirt On Meaning: Keeping calm. Usually said by someone who is trying to avoid making others upset.

  3. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning: Being angry about something that happened in the past.

  4. If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen Meaning: One should discontinue with a task if they are unable to cope with it due to pressure.

  5. Know the Ropes Meaning: Having a familiarity or understanding of how something works.


  1. “Let’s start a new tomorrow, today.”
    – Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
  2. “Some people try to tell you the things you want in life are out of your grasp, while others lift you up on their shoulders and help you reach them. I may not know a lot, but I prefer to fill my life with people who let me climb on top of their shoulders, not people who try to keep me planted on the ground.”
    – Katie Kacvinsky, Awaken


  1. “Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.”
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. “The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
    – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel

James Clear Newsletter

3-2-1 Newsletter by James Clear“The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

3-2-1: On dealing with conflict, writing books, and working on the right level

read onJAMESCLEAR.COM | MAY 27, 2021

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

Here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week…

3 Ideas From Me


“Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing someone to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go.

Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.”


“If you think you can learn a lot from reading books, try writing one.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


“The list of mistakes you can never recover from is very short.

But you likely realize your life will not be destroyed if your book doesn’t sell or if a potential date turns you down or if your startup goes bust. It’s not the failed outcome that paralyzes us. It’s the possibility of looking stupid, feeling humiliated, or dealing with embarrassment that prevents us from getting started at all.

The first step to being courageous is being willing to look foolish.”

2 Quotes From Others


French moralist Joseph Joubert on dealing with conflict:

“Never cut what you can untie.”

Source: Some of the “Thoughts” of Joseph Joubert


Author Marilynne Robinson on why she writes:

INTERVIEWER: What led you to start writing essays?

ROBINSON: “To change my own mind. I try to create a new vocabulary or terrain for myself, so that I open out — I always think of the Dutch claiming land from the sea — or open up something that would have been closed to me before. That’s the point and the pleasure of it. I continuously scrutinize my own thinking. I write something and think, How do I know that that’s true? If I wrote what I thought I knew from the outset, then I wouldn’t be learning anything new.”

Source: The Paris Review Interviews: Volume IV

1 Question For You

Am I working at the right level? Do I need to zoom in or zoom out?

If you enjoyed that, please share with others.

Share this newsletter on TwitterFacebookLinkedInWhatsApp, or via email.

Or, copy and paste the link below:

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the multi-million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits
Creator of the 
Habit Journal

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Stratospheric Flight Day? In 1931, Auguste Piccard and Charles Knipfer flew a balloon from Augsburg, Germany, to a glacier near Innsbruck, Austria. Reaching a height of 51,793 feet during their 17-hour flight, they were the first humans to reach the stratosphere.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”

— Aung San Suu Kyi


ClerisyKLER-ə-seePart of speech: nounOrigin: German, early 19th century
1A distinct class of learned or literary people.
Examples of Clerisy in a sentence “Members of the clerisy make time to read daily.” “John tried to make his writing accessible to all audiences, not just the clerisy.”

Strangely humming above the grave

So hot above the vapors
We see electric meaning over the towers
I reach! The evil has fled
Strangely vaporous before the trees
We taste dream-like tentacles above the vapors
Whoa! The heat is vanishing
Strangely humming above the grave
We excrete vaporous sirens among the dream
We Reach! The lust will die
scared defiant
a long way from home
a sense of danger
With what hopes
my friend
seek the road back
and never catch up

5 Random Phrases.

  1. Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule.
  2. Hear, Hear Meaning: A shout of agreement, or to draw attention to a speaker.
  3. Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch Meaning: Do not rely on something you are not sure of.
  4. Quick and Dirty Meaning: Things that are fixed with great speed, but as a result, it’s probably not going to work very well.
  5. Fight Fire With Fire Meaning: To retaliate with an attack that is similar to the attack used against you.

Swiss abandon years of EU talks and reject treaty

is this the beginning of the end? End of the BureauCrazy riddles EC/ EU Parliament and the impact of BREXIT and the advantages the countries see in the Bilateral trade agreements instead of the EU FTAs.

The officiousness, the high-handed behaviour ot the EU officials may also not help.


  1. “Everyone enjoys being acknowledged and appreciated. Sometimes even the simplest act of gratitude can change someone’s entire day. Take the time to recognize and value the people around you and appreciate those who make a difference in your lives.”
    – Roy T. Bennett
  2. “Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”
    – Alphonse de Lamartine

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day? Today is dedicated to improving the health of seniors by helping them stay fit and healthy. Trivia buffs: The number of people 60 years and older will rise in numbers from 900 million to 2 billion between 2015 and 2050.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been.”

— Jimmy Buffet

Sunk costs, creativity and your Practice- Seth Godin’s Blog

* Sunk costs, creativity and your Practice [ ]

“Ignore sunk costs” is the critical lesson of useful decision making.

The thing you earned, that you depend on, that was hard to do–it’s a gift from your former self. Just because you have a law degree, a travel agency or the ability to do calligraphy in Cyrillic doesn’t mean that your future self is obligated to accept that gift.

We hold on to the old competencies and our hard-earned status roles far longer than we should. The only way to be creative is to do something new, and the path to something new requires leaving something else behind.

New decisions based on new information are at the heart of leadership. But you can’t make those decisions if you’re also busy calculating how much the old decisions cost you.

Creativity is the generous act of solving an interesting problem on behalf of someone else. It’s a chance to take emotional and intellectual risks with generosity.

Do that often enough and you can create a practice around it. It’s not about being gifted or touched by the muse. Instead, our creative practice (whether you’re a painter, a coach or a fundraiser) is a commitment to the problems in front of us and the people who will benefit from a useful solution to them.

I built a workshop on creativity that’s run by the folks at Akimbo. The fourth session starts this week. If you’re ready to get serious about your art, whatever form it takes, I hope you’ll check it out.

Intelligence Fusion Newsletter I like.

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25th May 2021 MOST READ THIS WEEK: Israel-Palestine – Escalations in Conflict
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The month of May was dominated by the escalation in conflict between militant groups in the Gaza Strip and Israeli forces, with thousands of rockets fired towards Israel, and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, causing heavy casualties. We put together a short intelligence report in the first few days of the conflict to explore the causes of the escalation, the sorts of incidents we were seeing from both parties, and what further escalations we expected to see.  ⇒ CONTINUE READING
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 What are the land-based drivers of maritime threats? 95% of all kidnappings by pirates in 2020 took place in the Gulf of Guinea, now the epicentre of piracy off the coast of Africa – and one of the most dangerous seas in the world. So what is driving this pirate threat? And how does what happens on land help fuel incidents at sea? In this episode of The Insight, we explore the drivers of piracy in Africa, taking a look at what helped cause piracy in Somalia, what is driving piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and how we can learn from this to identify when and where the next threat is coming from.
Watch now
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MORE VIDEO:  How to: Use the Intelligence Cycle
How do we make sure our clients get clear, accurate intelligence they can act on quickly? By using the Intelligence Cycle – a military principle that helps ensure consistency across all our intelligence gathering. We put together this video to show how it works in practice  ⇒ FIND OUT MORE 
Coming soon: A Guide to Threat Intelligence for Mining
FREE GUIDE:Mining is an industry of significance for a number of countries across the world, making security for mining operations a key priority. Keep an eye out for our downloadable guide on the physical and reputational threats faced by mining operations, and where threat intelligence for mining can play a crucial role in supporting the industry.
Coming soon: Insurgency in the north of Mozambique
INTELLIGENCE REPORT:The March 2021 attack on Palma, in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique, led to countless deaths – including those of foreign workers – thousands of displaced people, and caused energy giant Total to suspend its multi-billion dollar gas project located just 25km from the site of the attack. We take a look at the wider insurgency taking place in the region.
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COMING SOON:  What are the key security risks to gold mining in the central Sahel Region?
The central Sahel region of Africa, comprising Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is home to some of the world’s richest gold deposits, and a number of valuable industrial mining projects. It’s also home to political instability, widespread poverty and spreading jihadist violence. We’ll take a detailed look at the different threats facing gold mining companies in the region. 
See the data behind our analysiswith a free trial of Intelligence Fusion. Schedule your demo to get set up.

26th May 2021

Vesak, the Day of the Full Moon –
26 May

full moon

This day marks the day the Buddha was born, as well as the day of his enlightenment and passing.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Lessons you can learn from the life of the Buddha
  • Infographic idea: X Buddhist holy places you must visit
  • Video idea: Different forms of Buddhism and how they are distinct
  • Podcast idea: Why was the Buddha’s life so influential?

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Career Home Run Day? On this day in 1935, Babe Ruth hit his last three career home runs — numbers 712, 713 and 714 — for the Boston Braves in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates won, 11-7.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”

— Zig Ziglar

 Industrial scale and brittleness – by Seth Godin

 Industrial scale and brittleness [ ]

Look at that banana, just look at it.

Bananas are a modern miracle. They’re cheap, nutritious, and readily available.

And just about every banana you’ve ever eaten (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) came from the same tree.

Not just a similar tree, the way oak trees are all similar to one another. The same exact tree, which was planted in a hothouse in England about a hundred and fifty years ago. The Cavendish banana tree (named after the family that’s now called the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) is sterile. It has no seeds. The only way to grow one is to take a cutting from an existing tree and basically grow a clone.

Because the tree was optimized for yield and taste, we end up with plentiful, delicious, cheap bananas.

Until a blight arrives. And the virus that’s just around the corner is almost here, and it will wipe out every single Cavendish tree on Earth in just a few more years.

There have been real environmental side effects all along, but at scale, they become impossible to ignore.

Or consider the legal system in my country. It grew from a fairly informal and resilient (if not always fair) way to keep the peace and settle disputes into a behemoth, which combines the prison-industrial complex with a very expensive civil suit system that’s beneficial to many of the key players but ultimately insensitive to those that can’t use it to their advantage.

Check out Rohan Pavuluri’s new TED talk about bankruptcy, or Bryan Stevenson’s urgent talk on criminal justice.

People aren’t bananas, and the injustices that the legal system has created have always been shameful. But at scale, immense scale, they’re even worse.

Industrial scale seems to pay off. Until it doesn’t. And then it’s on us to change it, while there’s still time.

You’re getting this note because you subscribed to Seth Godin’s blog. Don’t want to get this email anymore? Click the link below to unsubscribe.

The Marshall Goldsmith Newsletter


My mission is simple. I want to help successful people achieve positive, lasting change in behavior; for themselves, their people, and their teams. I want to help you make your life a little better. Thank you for subscribing! Life is good.

There is simply no excuse for making excuses at work – or anyplace else for that matter.

When you’re late to an appointment and you hear yourself saying, “I’m sorry I’m late but the traffic was murder,” stop at the word “sorry.” Blaming traffic doesn’t excuse the fact that you kept people waiting. You should have started earlier. You certainly won’t have to apologize for: “I’m sorry I’m early, but I left too soon and the traffic was moving along just fine.”

If the world worked like that, there would be no excuses.

I like to divide excuses into two categories: blunt and subtle.

The blunt, “dog ate my homework” excuse sounds something like this: “I’m very sorry I missed our lunch date. My assistant had it marked down for the wrong day on my calendar.”

Translation: “You see, it’s not that I forgot the lunch date. It’s not that I don’t regard you as so important that lunch with you is the unchangeable, non-negotiable highlight of my day. It’s just that my assistant is inept. Blame my assistant, not me.”

The problem with this type of excuse is that we rarely get away with it — and it’s hardly an effective leadership strategy. After reviewing thousands of 360-degree feedback summaries, I have a feel for what qualities direct reports respect and don’t respect in their leaders. I have never seen feedback that said, “I think you are a great leader because I love the quality of your excuses,” or, “I thought you screwed up, but you really changed my mind after you made that excuse.”

The more subtle excuses appear when we attribute our failings to some genetic characteristic that’s apparently lodged in our brains. We talk about ourselves as if we have permanent genetic flaws that can never be altered.

You’ve surely heard these excuses. Maybe you’ve even used a few of them: “I’m impatient.” “I always put things off until the last minute.” “I’ve always had a quick temper.”

Habitually, these expositional statements are followed by saying, “I’m sorry, but that’s just the way I am.”

It’s amazing how often I hear otherwise brilliant, successful people make willfully self-deprecating comments about themselves. It’s a subtle art because, in effect, they’re stereotyping themselves and using that to excuse otherwise inexcusable behavior.

Our personal stereotyping frequently comes from stories or preconceived notions about ourselves that have been preserved and repeated for years, sometimes going back as far as childhood. These stories may have little or no basis in fact. But they imprint themselves in our minds and establish low expectations that become self-fulfilling prophecies.

The next time you hear yourself saying, “I’m just no good at …” ask yourself, “Why not?”

This doesn’t just refer to our aptitudes at mathematics or mechanics. It also applies to our behavior. We excuse our tardiness because we’ve been running late all our lives, and our family, friends and colleagues let us get away with it. These aren’t genetic flaws. We weren’t born this way, and we don’t have to be this way.

If we can stop excusing ourselves, we can get better at almost anything we choose.

Life is good. Marshall.


  1. “Its more fun to think of the future than dwell on the past.”
    – Sara Shepard, Unbelievable
  2. “Give me the Love that leads the wayThe Faith that nothing can dismayThe Hope no disappointments tireThe Passion that’ll burn like fireLet me not sink to be a clodMake me Thy fuel, Flame of God”
    – Amy Carmichael

Cultural wisdom begets cozy temporary homes for the Nenets of the Siberian Arctic

Word of the Day

Olivaceousah-lə-VAY-shusPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin, 1770s
1Of a dusky yellowish green color; olive green.
Examples of Olivaceous in a sentence “Sometimes Kermit the Frog appears olivaceous, while other times he is a bright kelly green.” “The warbler was a dusky, olivaceous color.”

Did you know

Did you know…

… that today is Scavenger Hunt Day? A scavenger hunt is a game where individuals or teams compete to find items or perform tasks provided to them as a list by the organizers of the game. So, join in or organize one yourself! Trivia buffs: The word scavenger comes from the 14th-century English word scawageour, referring to officials that collected taxes.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.”

— Denis Waitley

Word of the Day

Descantdih-SCANTPart of speech: nounOrigin: Middle English, mid 14th century
1(Music) An independent treble melody usually sung or played above a basic melody.2A discourse on a theme or subject.
Examples of Descant in a sentence “The conductor finally found a soprano to sing the descant.” “He was well-known for publishing a descant on success in business.”

The Consequence – by SEth Godin

The consequence [ ]

Attitude follows action far more often than action follows attitude.

We change our mood as a result of how we act. If you want to feel a certain way, begin by acting as if you do. On the other hand, if you truly want to accomplish something, waiting for the mood to strike is ineffective.

World Turtle day.

Did you know…

… that today is World Turtle Day? We celebrate World Turtle Day to honor these resilient animals. Turtles and tortoises are associated with wisdom and perseverance and play an important role in our ecosystem. Trivia fans: The main difference between the two is that turtles sometimes live in the water, while tortoises only live on the land.

I label many of Indian Cabinet Ministers as #KadiNinda #KadiNidra and #Turtle Ministers for their inertia, inaction, indecisiveness and the tendency to UPWARD DELEGATE all their decision Making to the Prime Minister.

It is a Unique cabinet where there is 100% Job security as no one gets sacked.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

— Elbert Hubbard

I like Newsletter

This is the weekly email digest of the daily online journal Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — Aldous Huxley on love, knowledge vs. understanding, and the antidote to our existential helplessness; Neil Gaiman’s tribute to a forgotten visionary — you can catch up right here. If my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation – for a decade and a half, I have spent tens of thousands of hours, made many personal sacrifices, and invested tremendous resources in Brain Pickings, which remains free and ad-free and alive thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

The Secret of Happiness: Bronson Alcott on Gardening and Genius

“I had a pleasant time with my mind, for it was happy,” Louisa May Alcott wrote in her diary just after she turned eleven, a quarter century before Little Women bloomed from that uncommon mind — a mind whose pleasures and powers were nurtured by the profound love of nature her father wove into the philosophical and scientific education he gave his four daughters.bronsonalcott.jpg?resize=680%2C896

Bronson Alcott

The progressive philosopher, abolitionist, education reformer, and women’s rights advocate Bronson Alcott (November 29, 1799–March 4, 1888) developed his ideas about human flourishing and social harmony by observing and reflecting on the processes, phenomena, and pleasures of the natural world — something he shared with the Transcendentalists of his generation, and particularly with his best friend: the naturalistic transcendence-shaman Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In 1856, while living next door to the visionary Elizabeth Peabody in Boston — the seedbed of Transcendentalism, a term Peabody herself had coined — Alcott borrowed and devoured Emerson’s copy of a book sent to him by an obscure young Brooklyn poet as a token of gratitude for having inspired it: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, published months earlier.

Whitman’s unexampled verse — so free from the Puritanical conventions of poetry, so lush with a love of life, so unabashedly reverent of nature as the only divinity — stirred a deep resonance with Bronson’s own worldview and inspired him to try his hand at the portable poetics of nature: gardening.elizabethblackwell_curiousherbal_tomato.jpg?resize=680%2C1001

Tomato, or Love-Apple, from Elizabeth Blackwell’s pioneering 1737 encyclopedia of edible plants. (Available as a print and as a face mask, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

Right there in the middle of bustling Boston, where his young country was just beginning to find its intellectual and artistic voice, Alcott set up his humble urban garden. One May morning — a century and a half before bryologist Robin Wall Kimmerer contemplated gardening and the secret of happiness, before Olivia Laing wrote of gardening as an act of resistance, before neurologist Oliver Sacks drew on forty years of medical practice to attest to the healing power of gardens — the fifty-six-year-old Alcott planted some peas, corn, cucumbers, and melons, then wrote in his journal:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngHuman life is a very simple matter. Breath, bread, health, a hearthstone, a fountain, fruits, a few garden seeds and room to plant them in, a wife and children, a friend or two of either sex, conversation, neighbours, and a task life-long given from within — these are contentment and a great estate. On these gifts follow all others, all graces dance attendance, all beauties, beatitudes, mortals can desire and know.


Hot pepper by Elizabeth Blackwell from A Curious Herbal, 1733. (Available as a print and as a face mask, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

By mid-summer, Alcott had discovered in his garden not only a creaturely gladness but a portal into the deepest existential contentment — something akin to the creative intoxication that he, like all artists, found in his literary calling:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngMy garden has been my pleasure, and a daily recreation since the spring opened for planting… Every plant one tends he falls in love with, and gets the glad response for all his attentions and pains. Books, persons even, are for the time set aside — studies and the pen. — Only persons of perennial genius attract or recreate as the plants, and of books we may say the same, as of the magic of solitude.

Complement with Derek Jarman on gardening as creative redemption and training ground for presence, then revisit Whitman, writing while recovering from a paralytic stroke in the nursery of nature, on what makes life worth living.

donating=lovingFor 15 years, I have been spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each month to keep Brain Pickings going. It has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, no assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. If this labor makes your life more livable in any way, please consider aiding its sustenance with a donation. Your support makes all the difference.monthly donationYou can become a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a Brooklyn lunch. one-time donationOr you can become a Spontaneous Supporter with a one-time donation in any amount.Partial to Bitcoin? You can beam some bit-love my way: 197usDS6AsL9wDKxtGM6xaWjmR5ejgqem7

Sylvia Plath on Living with the Darkness and Making Art from the Barely Bearable Lightness of Being

When the twenty-two-year-old Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932–February 11, 1963) wrote to her mother one bleak January day, both women were wading through a darkness of the soul. Science was only just beginning to hone the tools with which to begin dissecting the elemental mystery of what makes us who we are: how much of our psychology and what we experience as our personhood — whether we call it self or soul or spirit — is a product of our physical constitution, of the particular biochemical processes coursing through our particular infrastructure of matter that we experience as our body. Neuroscience was then an infant science — it still is — and the helix of heredity had just been discovered, hinting at the promise of new clarity on the ancient puzzlement of nature versus nurture, new insight into how much of our psychology is a biological inheritance and how much an ongoing composition continually revised by the confluence of chance and choice we call experience.sylviapalth_smithsonian.jpg?resize=680%2C908

Sylvia Plath by Rollie McKenna (Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery)

Several years earlier, the teenage Plath had begun contouring her consciousness and mapping its psychological promontories, its luminous surfaces and its dark edges, rhapsodizing about the joy of living, thinking deeply about free will and what make us who we are, and composing her first tragic poem in response to a minor domestic accident. Two years before she shaded in what was becoming an all-consuming darkness in “The Disquieting Muses,” she wrote to her mother in a letter included in the posthumously collected Letters Home: Correspondence 1950–1963 (public library):

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI don’t know whether it is an hereditary characteristic, but our little family is altogether too prone to lie awake at nights hating ourselves for stupidities — technical or verbal or whatever — and to let careless, cruel remarks fester until they blossom in something like ulcer attacks — I know that during these last days I’ve been fighting an enormous battle with myself.

But then, with the presence of mind and the triumph of spirit that allowed her to live through the remaining years of her life — years she filled with some of the most timelessly exquisite poetry ever written — she adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngBut beyond a point, fighting only wears one out and one has to shut off that nagging part of the mind and go on without it with bravo and philosophy… Your present life is the important thing.

There is a dangerous fallacy — a biological falsehood, a feebleness of empathy, an ethical failing — in the view that people who die by suicide after living with mental illness have somehow failed at life. It is one thing to feel deeply the tragedy of that loss, to rue the help not available to them in their time of struggle; it is quite another to fault the faulty instrument itself. It is impossible for any one consciousness to truly know what living inside another is like in the first place — we make art and poems and songs to try to show each other what it is like to be alive in this body-mind. But it is especially unfathomable for a mind coursing with fairly ordinary biochemistry, housed in a brain with fairy ordinary neurophysiology, to grasp what it might be like to live with a mind inflamed by ceaselessly misfiring neurotransmitters or a mind housed in a brain with a large tumor pressing against the amygdala at every moment of every hour. To survive even a single day with such a mind is no small feat. To have not only survived thirty-one years, as Sylvia Plath did, but to have filled those years with works of staggering beauty, with poems that irradiate generations of lives — that is a rare triumph of the spirit.sylviaplath_smithsonian9.jpg?resize=680%2C512

One of Sylvia Plath’s little-known paintings.

Complement with May Sarton on the cure for despair and Lorraine Hansberry — another visionary artist of Plath’s generation, who also lived and made in the darkest depths — on the most reliable antidote to depression, then hear Meryl Streep read Plath’s stunning “Morning Song” and savor a rare glimpse of the poet’s inner world through her little-known paintings.


The Vast Wonder of the World: An Illustrated Homage to Ernest Everett Just’s Trailblazing Life and Life-Redefining Science


“I have marveled at the green urchins on a Maine shore, clinging to the exposed rock at low water of spring tides, where the beautiful coralline algae spread a rose-colored crust beneath the shining green of their bodies,” Rachel Carson wrote as she was revolutionizing our understanding of the marine world with her poetic science and preparing to awaken the modern environmental conscience. “At that place the bottom slopes away steeply and when the waves at low tide break on the crest of the slope, they drain back to the sea with a strong rush of water. Yet as each wave recedes, the urchins remain… undisturbed.”

So too with deepest discoveries of science, adhering to the bedrock of culture ideas that remain through the ebb and flow of ideologies. So too with the minds who produce them — the rebels, the visionaries, the pioneers who stand strong and undisturbed against the tide of their time.

Exactly twenty years before Carson began honing her urchin mind at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts — the JPL of marine biology — a young fellow urchin alighted there to do the same.ernesteverettjust.jpg?resize=680%2C1114

Ernest Everett Just (Marine Biological Laboratory Archives)

Ernest Everett Just (August 14, 1883–October 27, 1941), who soon came to be admired as the “black Apollo” of science by the Italian women working at the Neapolitan laboratory for which he left Woods Hole, is the subject of The Vast Wonder of the World (public library) by librarian-turned-author Mélina Mangal and Colombian illustrator Luisa Uribe — a lovey addition to the growing corpus of picture-book biographies of cultural heroes to foment young hearts with inspiration for growing vast minds and tenacious spirits.


The story begins in Woods Hole in 1911:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngAt twilight, a man lay on a dock, luring marine worms with a lantern. He scooped them out with his net and placed them in a bucket. He couldn’t wait to look at them more closely.

He knew the ways of the sea, though he was not a fisherman. His grandfather had built wharves, but he was not a dockworker…

He was a scientist.

But Ernest Everett Just was not like other scientists. Half a century after another researcher with a similar name and a similar scientific passion (the German marine biologist Ernst Haeckel) coined the word ecology and half a century before another marine biologist with similar outsider status (Rachel Carson) made it a household word, Ernest Everett Just “saw the whole, where others saw only parts.” Like Carson, he wrote poetry — that supreme art of interrelation; like every true visionary, he was above all a noticer — “he noticed details others failed to see.”


The story follows him from his childhood in South Carolina — where he watched the river become ocean, attended the school his mother founded in the town she established, and nearly lost his life to typhoid fever — to the laboratory where he developed his greatest scientific contribution: the understanding of how life begins from an egg.

Along the way, we see his mother’s school destroyed by a fire, we see Ernest leave home on a segregated steamship to continue his education in the North, we see him study with grief-redoubled focus after his mother dies of tuberculosis.


At Dartmouth, a biology class concentrates and consecrates his devotion to science as he looks through a microscope for the first time and discovers the miniature universe of the cell.


Born not long after the development of cell theory began revolutionizing our understanding of life, at a time when the cell was known to be the basic biological unit but its working parts were a mystery, Just devoted the rest of his cellular existence to illuminating the mystery.

He became a biology professor. He traveled to Woods Hole each summer to deepen his research and train young scientists. In an era when most biologists treated marine creatures as inanimate samples for study, he tenderly removed sea urchins and sand dollars from their habitat to transport them to the lab and encouraged his students to study them right there in the tide pool.


Day after obsessive day, night after late night, he peered at sea animals through the microscope, squinting at the edges of a radical idea, until it blazed with the empirical clarity of a discovery: Studying a sand dollar during fertilization, he observed how the egg cell was directing its own development — anathema to the accepted view that the sperm cell was responsible for the changes that coalesce into new life.

Despite the scientific esteem the discovery brought him, Just felt increasingly stifled by the swell of racism in his nation’s bosom, which kept him from obtaining a teaching position at a major university worthy of his talent and credentials. (Since history is not the factual record of events but the dramatic narrative our species superimposes over events, it is historical irony, in the classic Ancient Greek literary sense, that Just was among the biologists whose work laid the foundation for genomics and its sobering revelation that we share 98% of our DNA with a head of broccoli, dwarfing to absurdity the sub-negligible biological differences on which humans peg the artificial othernesses of their senseless biases.)


In his mid-forties, Just emigrated to Europe, where he completed and published the groundbreaking results of his research as the twin triumphs Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Animals and The Biology of the Cell Surface, both published in 1939, as the world’s deadliest war was syphoning life from humanity and syphoning the humanity from Life.

All biography is more like sculpture than like portraiture, tasked with the creative challenge of what to cut away from the immense monolith of a whole life in order to render a representative depiction of personhood — a challenge especially trying when sculpting a life-story for young readers, balancing beauty and complexity. The Vast Wonder of the World is more Grecian sculpture than Guernica, composed in the spirit of beautification and celebration — Just did, after all, live a beautiful and inspiring life — without wading into the confusions, controversies, and complexities that haunt any human life and haunted his. (My own orientation to writing nonfiction for young humans, especially dealing with science, is to lean on the side of truth; to trust that any truth, handled with basic sensitivity and humanity, is in the larger service of beauty — the beauty of reality — and that E.B. White was right in his life-tested conviction that anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time.”) The book, while lovely, ends on an abruptly and artificially upbeat note with the publication of Just’s magnum opus, leaving a great deal out: how he, like Frederick Douglass before him, fell in love with a German woman — a philosophy student — while still married; how, unlike Douglass, he had the moral courage to rise against the stigma of divorce; how the Nazis invaded Germany months after the landmark publication of his life’s work and interned him in a camp; how he was soon released and headed back to America, not knowing his own cells had been silently mutating along the way; how within months of his return he was dead by that metastatic mutation, leaving behind the stunning urchin spine of his trailblazing life and his life-redefining science.


Special thanks to my friend Stephon Alexander for bringing Ernest Everett Just’s story into my life.

For other lovely picture-book biographies of science visionaries who broadened the humanistic landscape of possibility with the example of their lives, savor the illustrated lives of astronomer Maria Mitchell and astronaut Ronald McNair, then revisit the inspiring story of Wangari Maathai, who became the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize with her tenacious work at the intersection of activism and ecology.

donating=lovingFor 15 years, I have been spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each month to keep Brain Pickings going. It has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, no assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. If this labor makes your life more livable in any way, please consider aiding its sustenance with a donation. Your support makes all the difference.monthly donationYou can become a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a Brooklyn lunch. one-time donationOr you can become a Spontaneous Supporter with a one-time donation in any amount.

Tiny Thought by Shane Parrish

Tiny Thought

There are two types of talent: natural and chosen.

Natural talent needs no explanation. Some people are just born better at certain things than others. While natural talent may win in the short term, it rarely wins in the long term. A lot of people who are naturally talented don’t develop work at getting better.

Eventually, naturally talented people are passed by people who choose talent.

How can you choose talent?

When you focus all of your energy in one direction for an uncommonly long period of time, you develop talent.

Results follow obsession.

Appreciate- MOtivate

Appreciation is a wonderful thing:

It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Voltaire – 1694-1778 – French Writer

<img src="; alt=" motivational quote: Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.</p>

National Maritime day

Did you know…

… that today is National Maritime Day? Today we celebrate the entire maritime industry and domestic waterborne commerce, as well as the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving aboard a Merchant Marine ship. Observed on May 22 each year, it commemorates the 1819 date of the American steamship Savannah, which set sail from Savannah, Georgia, on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.”

— Lao-Tzu

Requested Ministry-wise PIB Releases

Requested Ministry-wise PIB releases.
Requested Ministry-wise PIB releases.

23 Artists on Creativity, From Picasso to Kahlo | Inspiring Quotes

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23 Artists on Creativity, From Picasso to Kahlo

One of the most influential and prolific artists in history, Pablo Picasso famously said that “every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Well, the folks on this list held on to that creativity and wonder, and became some of the most collected — and quoted — creators in the game.

From the sculptural mobiles of Alexander Calder to the abstracted flowers of Georgia O’Keefe, from pop art to abstract expressionism, from Paris to New York, these artists have changed the world with their iconic paintings, unforgettable photography, stunning sculpture, and immersive installations. In the process, they have earned insights about creativity and imagination, process and progress, and seeing the truth in beauty and form. These 23 quotes offer wisdom, inspiration, and motivation that a new generation of artists can take to heart.


They thought I was a surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.
– Frida Kahlo


Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
– Vincent van Gogh


The only way art lives is through the experience of the observer. The reality of art begins with the eyes of the beholder, through imagination, invention and confrontation.
– Keith Haring


A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.
– Diane Arbus


The texture of experience is prior to everything else.
– Willem de Kooning


The artist is a receptacle for emotions derived from anywhere: from the sky, from the earth, from a piece of paper, from a passing figure, from a spider’s web. This is a spider’s web. This is why one must not make a distinction between things. For them there are no aristocratic quarterings. One must take things where one finds them.
— Pablo Picasso


I can control the flow of paint; there is no accident.
– Jackson Pollock


I tell myself that anyone who says he has finished a canvas is terribly arrogant. Finished means complete, perfect, and I toil away without making any progress, searching, fumbling around, without achieving anything much.
– Claude Monet


Originality is neither a matter of inventiveness nor method, it is the essence of personality.
– Edward Hopper


The herculean task of a photographer is to capture a momentary frame as beautiful in reality, as it would be in a dream.
– Ansel Adams


If you refuse to study anatomy, the arts of drawing and perspective, the mathematics of aesthetics, and the science of color, let me tell you that this is more a sign of laziness than of genius.
– Salvador Dalí


Art is a guarantee of sanity.
– Louise Bourgeois


I think there are many open-ended questions that artists can pose and we can ask communities to feel empowered enough to reply, respond, rebel, and feel amazed by the relentless spiraling of thought and image and action that is the artist’s profession.
– Kara Walker


A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him.
– Man Ray


The admission of approximation is necessary, for one cannot hope to be absolute in his precision. He cannot see, or even conceive of a thing from all possible points of view, simultaneously. While he perfects the front, the side, or rear may be weak; then while he strengthens the other facade he may be weakening that originally the best. There is no end to this. To finish the work he must approximate.
– Alexander Calder


I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
– Joan Miró


Great art — or good art — is when you look at it, experience it and it stays in your mind. I don’t think conceptual art and traditional art are all that different. There’s boring conceptual art and there’s boring traditional art. Great art is if you can’t stop thinking about it, then it becomes a memory.
– Damien Hirst


I’ve never met a person I couldn’t call a beauty.
– Andy Warhol


Art without content is like sex without intimacy: technically sufficient, but emotionally empty.
– Judy Chicago


Artists and religionists are never far apart, they go to the sources of revelation for what they choose to experience and what they report is the degree of their experiences. Intellect wishes to arrange — intuition wishes to accept.
– Georgia O’Keeffe


I don’t think about art while I work … I try to think about life.
– Jean Michel-Basquiat


The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer. As examples of such obstacles, I give (among others) memory, history or geometry, which are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.
– Mark Rothko


Art doesn’t transform. It just plain forms.
– Roy Lichtenstein

Photo Credit: Agnieszka Cymbalak/ Unsplash

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About the Author
Frank Gargione
Frank is communications director for a non-profit living with his two tiny rescue dogs on the Jersey Shore.

New Age BS… auto generated

By unfolding, we exist.

You and I are entities of the universe. Being is a constant.

Fulfillment requires exploration.

We are in the midst of an intergalactic redefining of health that will remove the barriers to the quantum soup itself. Our conversations with other warriors have led to a refining of ultra-zero-point consciousness. Who are we? Where on the great myth will we be recreated?

Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is love. The stratosphere is bursting with pulses. We exist as ultrasonic energy.

How should you navigate this ancient universe? The universe is calling to you via atomic ionization. Can you hear it? Although you may not realize it, you are zero-point.

We reflect, we grow, we are reborn.

23rd May 2021

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula 23 May 2021

End Obstetric Fistula

This day aims to shed light on obstetric fistula, a condition that pregnant women could develop due to prolonged, obstructed labor without treatment.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Medical conditions that are common among pregnant women
  • Infographic idea: X Things you should prepare for if your wife is going into labor soon
  • Video idea: What kind of challenges do rural women face while giving birth?
  • Podcast idea: How to choose the right hospital for your delivery

Courtesy: Intelligence Fusion Newsletter.

  • Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days;



A series of clashes were reported this week between Indonesian security forces and militants in West Papua Province. The clashes involved militants from the Kelompok Kriminal Bersenjata (KKB) group and took place in the Mayuberi, Makki and Serambakon areas. In a separate incident, two soldiers were captured and killed by militants from the West Papua Liberation Army, leading to an operation aimed at pursuing the group responsible. The clashes come after security forces launched an operation across West Papua following the death of a senior intelligence official earlier in the year.

The relationship between security forces and the local population in the area is poor, and security forces have frequently been accused of rights abuses during previous operations, often leading to displacement of civilians. Clashes are expected to continue across the province as the operation continues, leading to displacement and clashes in isolated rural areas.



Over the past seven days there have been numerous Palestine Solidarity protests across Europe. Among those involved in these protests have been the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and Palestine Action; both groups are anti-Israel who realise their aims through targeting businesses involved in Israel in any fashion.

The main difference between the two is that Palestine Action appears to be largely based in the UK and engages in direct action protests (Elbit Systems is its current target). While Palestine Action has been targeting Elbit, BDS has been increasing its rhetoric against Puma, AXA Insurance, Hewlett-Packard and Soda Stream. As the protests have occurred over the last seven days, the rhetoric and direct action against these businesses appears to have increased in what appears to be an attempt to capitalise on the situation and increase the pressure on these businesses.

These current circumstances would indicate that activist threats against the people, assets and reputation against businesses with real or perceived interests in Israel appears to be increasing at this time. Businesses with real or perceived interests in Israel can likely anticipate activists targeting them through protests and online smear campaigns.



Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the country will begin a trial run for generating power from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam during the upcoming rainy season between June and August. The ministry warned that “no force can disrupt” its efforts to fill the dam, which will reach full generating capacity in 2023. Egypt, which along with Sudan relies on Nile water resources, said it will manage water shortages caused by the filling.

A final agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the operation of the dam is yet to be reached. Talks held in Kinshasa in April of this year ended with no progress. Both countries have condemned Ethiopian intransigence in negotiations while Ethiopia accused Egypt and Sudan of efforts to “internationalise” the dispute. Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has warned of unprecedented instability in the region if Egypt’s water supply is affected. Egypt and Sudan carried out joint air drills during the Nile Eagles 2 exercise in late March/early April.


Zitacuaro, Mexico

On 17th May, authorities discovered eight men and one woman shot to death and left inside a vehicle along a road in the Ignacio Zaragoza neighbourhood of Zitacuaro. The act is believed to have been perpetrated by members of the Familia Michoacana criminal group under the command of Medardo Hernandez Vera, alias Mantecas. The killings would be related to the sale of drugs.

The Familia Michoacana, with the help of its allies, is currently fighting the New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG) in the area of Zitacuaro and in the wider state of Michoacan for control of territory to produce, traffic and sell drugs. Cartel activity in Mexico accounts for the majority of violent incidents in the country, and tactics and levels of violence have increased recently in the area, with the use of explosives attached to drones being used in a number of attacks by the CJNG against rivals and armed forces.



On Monday 17th May, a FARC dissident leader was allegedly killed by Colombian special forces during an operation in Venezuela.

FARC dissidents claim that one of their leaders, known by the alias Jesús Santrich, was killed along with five others by Colombian special forces. The incident allegedly took place on the side of the Serranía del Perijá mountain, located on Venezuela’s western border with Colombia.

Santrich was one of the chief negotiators for the FARC but rejected the 2016 peace accord after two years when he became wanted by the United States on drug trafficking charges. He eventually fled to Venezuela, where he co-founded the Segunda Marquetalia and announced a new offensive against the Colombian government.

Both the Venezuelan and Colombian government have yet to confirm the incident, which, if true, may further deteriorate relations between the two countries. It would mean that Colombia violated Venezuela’s sovereignty, and that Venezuela harboured FARC dissidents, possibly confirming an alliance between the Venezuelan government and the Segunda Marquetalia.


THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Podcast

A fortnightly podcast that expands on key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.


Piracy in West Africa – what are the drivers of maritime threats?

95% of all kidnappings by pirates in 2020 took place in the Gulf of Guinea, now the epicentre of piracy off the coast of Africa – and one of the most dangerous seas in the world. So what is driving this pirate threat? And how does what happens on land help fuel incidents at sea?

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