Einstein Notes

Einstein’s Theory of Happiness

A great thinker writes a few words about life on two pieces of paper. 95 years later, the two notes written by Einstein sold for $1.8 million. Not bad for something that was, according to the seller, given by the scientist as a tip to a messenger during the trip when he learned he has been awarded the Nobel prize in Physics.

What did Einstein write on the two notes?

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Uranus Smells

Uranus Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Recently, scientists have come up with some interesting conclusions about the gas giant’s atmosphere. Thanks to infrared observations, they managed to detect a certain gas that is quite likely to be present towards the top of Uranus’ cloud cover. Hydrogen sulfide is what gives rotten eggs their charming smell.

I always thought Uranus is a beautiful name for a planet. But then my English improved and, at one point, the punchline hit me. I still think it’s a beautiful name. I mean, the human body is beautiful, isn’t it? In English, it’s a beautiful funny name for a planet, so that makes it even better. Still, it makes it really difficult to say that I come from Uranus. Journalists across the web raced in coming up with the most memorable way to report the analytical news.

How Tech Companies Ruin Urban Societies

How Tech Companies Ruin (Urban) Societies

In general, it’s good for a country to have large, powerful companies that employ a lot of people and pay them very well (more taxes). However, the resulting income inequality causes some serious trouble in communities hosting or close to high-pay hotspots.

One of the saddest examples is San Francisco, where property prices have skyrocketed during the past decade, mostly due to an influx of well-payed employees from corporations such as Google, Apple and Facebook as well as a host of tech startups and highly profitable medium-sized companies.

NASA Experiments

Interesting NASA Experiments

There’s some pretty interesting human activity going on in outer space during this period. For example, NASA recently launched InSight, yet another probe heading for Mars (yes, I do believe we’ve spending a bit too much on Mars). Along with that, they also launched two cubesats, the world’s first interplanetary such (cheaper) satellites. “MarCO-A and MarCO-B are demonstrating a number of cubesat technologies during their nearly 7-month cruise to Mars, including a folding high-gain antenna and a cold-gas propulsion system.”

The Dance of the Planets

The Dance of the Planets

Draw a line between the position of two planets every several days and behold the apparition of beautiful shapes.

The article lists some other funky coincidences about the planetary bodies in our solar system. It’s written in a slightly “new age metaphysical” tone, but facts are facts and these are undoubtedly interesting facts. Personally, what I draw from all the above is a feeling of complete agreement with what a wiser person has said before me: “Mathematics is the language of nature” (and I perceive even physics and chemistry as flavors of mathematics).

Best of 2017

Best 99 Things That Happened in 2017

There’s a lot of negative news out here, and for good reason I’d say. The world has indeed improved since a century ago, but we as a species know we can do better. I’m happy to see that people strive in that direction by wanting to improve and shouting about those things that are obviously wrong with our civilization.

But here’s a list of good news from around the world. And all of these happened in one, single year!

Children and Apologies

Children and Apologies

Children do not perceive mistakes the same way we do. They are oblivious to most social norms and cultural taboos. However, children have been found to have an understanding of right and wrong from as early as 19 months old. I believe they can empathize from a much earlier age (depending on the emotional nourishment they received as infants).

The article below discusses how parents sometimes force their children to say “I’m sorry”. It’s a double mistake: first of all, the child is humiliated and secondly, the child doesn’t even understand the reason why the apology is made, hence damaging his or her understanding of the concept of being sorry.

Salma Hayek Frida

Salma Hayek and Harvey Weinstein

Weinstein’s disgusting behavior towards women triggered the famous #MeToo social media campaign. It’s all history now. There are some very good articles out there about Weinstein and other libidinous rich men. There’s also the shocking leaked audio of the predator in action.

In this eye-opening timeline, we are shown how much things have changed because of the scandal that has rocked Hollywood, the world’s #1 exporter of corrupt cultural values. Thanks to #MeToo, the protest went global. I feel like women’s rights have made an important step forward since then.

But from all the articles I read, I took a particular liking to Salma Hayek’s story about the movie “Frida”, produced by Weinstein. This vulnerable, heart-felt story made me empathize with the victims more than anything else I read or heard on the topic.