Already a week into December, and I’m not looking forward to the holiday shopping season – I work near a mall, meaning traffic is nearly at a standstill for the last few weeks of the month. Fortunately, in December there are also a lot of distractions in the form of festive parties and visiting friends.
Things I’ve learned in the past week:
1. Dr. Cornel West is an inspiration. He could convince anybody to devote their life to activism.
2. Ever thought about regionally-specific hand gestures? I hadn’t until a friend from Michigan taught me what a Michigan hug is: two friends press their palms together and wrap their thumbs around each other’s hand. There’s another where you just greet each other by repeatedly slapping each others’ hands as if they were trouts flopping on land. And even more strangely, there’s such a thing as hand-based cartography.
3: Bikram yoga, or “hot yoga” as it’s commonly called, is a highly-regulated form of yoga in which the room is heated to precisely 105 degrees Fahrenheit and its practitioners aren’t allowed to take even a sip of water during the 90 minute session. This is because Bikram yoga is copyrighted by its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who has sued a number of yoga schools and instructors for deviating from his method of practice when teaching Bikram.
4: Stop signs are fairly similar throughout the world, with the United States and many European countries abiding by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD). There are a number of interesting differences between stop signs worldwide, collected on the Wikipedia entry for Stop sign.
5: Here’s a great primer about map design: “Web cartography… That’s like Google Maps, right?” (Via Axis Maps blog.)
6: Work at a job that has you looking at a computer screen all day? You can do things like dim your screen or turn up the brightness of the room’s lights to help keep your eyes healthy. As long as the ambient light in the room is brighter than the computer’s screens, your eyes should be fine. Try to minimize the glare on your computer screen as well. I’ve also heard you should occasionally focus on something far away from you, because if you spend a prolonged period of time focusing on close things, you may cause yourself eye strain.
7: In Silicon Valley, California (and maybe elsewhere), it’s common for people who want to start start-ups to go on co-founder dates. Before diving into a new venture, it’s important to try to minimize your risk by judging whether your potential co-founder’s personality and skill set complement yours.