You learn something new every day. The key to contentedness in life is to continue learning each day – that sense of curiosity keeps you young and your mind sharp. And experiencing new things, whether it’s a newly-discovered trail through the woods or the culture of a foreign nation, opens up the mind. Here are lessons from the latter part of July. Hello, August!
25: The idea of a third place in cities was a central tenet of urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s writing. In The Great Good Place, Oldenburg describes the benefits of having a ‘third place’ to accompany our homes and our workplaces (the ‘first’ and ‘second’ places in our lives):
Most needed are those ‘third places’ which lend a public balance to the increased privatization of home life. Third places are nothing more than informal public gathering places. The phrase ‘third places’ derives from considering our homes to be the ‘first’ places in our lives, and our work places the ‘second.’
26: Code switching is common in Hong Kong. The two official languages of Hong Kong are Chinese (mostly Cantonese) and English, and many residents will switch between the two often.
27: Longshot Magazine is a project that writes, edits, and publishes a magazine in 48 hours and the only funding comes from Kickstarter. The topic of Issue 2, which just finished, is debt. It’s well-designed and worth a look.
28: The Seven Corners intersection in Virginia, possibly the most confusing and aggravating intersection in the country, was named after the original seven corners formed where four roads crossed. There are now more than seven corners, but the name remains.
29: In modern times, darker, or “tan”, skin is considered more attractive in Western cultures such as in the United States (this wasn’t always the case, even here). In most other cultures, however, darker skin is often associated with the working class and manual laborers – lighter shades represent upper-class or indoors living. This explains the prevalence of sun umbrellas and of products such as whitening creams in India and in most East and Southeast Asian countries. One survey reports “4 out of 10 women in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin-whitening cream.” (Source)
30: An introduction and a history of go-go, DC’s own music genre, via Jesse Tittsworth’s blog. (The music videos may not be safe for work.)
31: Subway or train station platform screen doors, which are meant to open only when the subway train arrives at the platform, are an expensive addition to the station and are still not very widespread. They do, however, save the station money in air-conditioning costs.