5 questions to figure out your life purpose

The guy in the video above provides a handy-dandy guide to figuring out what you might be doing on this here planet. Here are the key questions:

1) Who are you? Simple! Just your name.

2) What is one thing you do right now that you feel supremely qualified to teach other people?

3) For whom do you do that?

4) What do those people want and need?

5) How do they change as a result?

If that’s too heavy, maybe this business-oriented advice in a similar vein will prove more palatable.

Today’s New York Ebola case finds its way to Craigslist’s ‘Missed Connections?’

Ever since Gawker wrote about the “ultimate Craigslist Missed Connection,” this little corner of the New York Internet has fascinated me; nowhere can you find hearts so rudimentarily bared so colorfully raw. And those literary gems of heartbreak like the one Gawker cited — I presume from students in creative writing programs around the city — show up on a regular basis.

The latest contribution is a bit more newsworthy than usual: the author (“w4m – 24”) implies that she kissed the New York doctor who was discovered to have Ebola after returning from Guinea. How so? The post’s title (“Doctor with Short Dark Hair at Bowling Alley – w4m – 24 (Brooklyn Bowl)” references a meeting at Brooklyn Bowl, and the news article about the doctor (who has short, dark hair) mentioned that he went to that type of venue in Brooklyn.

Or, in “her” words:

Doctor with Short Dark Hair at Bowling Alley – w4m – 24 (Brooklyn Bowl)

You just got back from a long trip. You told me you’re a doctor. I didn’t believe you. You were so sweet, I barely saw it coming when you grabbed me and leaned in for a kiss. It lasted forever and I still wanted more.

I hope you see this.

An attempt to spread panic? A media experiment? A (surprisingly) truthful confession? A strange coincidence? Who knows, but I’m sure someone will be finding out soon. Probably Gawker. They follow this beat.

New journalism business model? Evernote’s Context feature and the Wall Street Journal.

newspaper shirt
Another paying audience: the shirtless. burningmax/flickr

Revenue-hungry, quarantined and shrinking newspapers may have found another customer.


The remember-everything service has figured out a way to improve the scribblings of its 127-million-strong audience: Context

The Context update for premium customers will automatically make connections between a user’s notes and external information sources that include the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and PandoDaily.

From Evernote’s trumpets:

Possibly the most powerful new benefit that Context brings is a look at related information from premier news and information sources, including from one of the most trusted media organizations on the planet, The Wall Street Journal.

To maximize the impact, we aren’t just looking at today’s news, we’re going through recent archives to find the best articles for that particular moment. Click, and the article opens in Evernote, then clip it, cite a section, or use Work Chat to share with your team.

I wonder how much one of the country’s most established newspapers charges Evernote for access to its trove of knowledge.

Or maybe it’s enough getting exposure to 127 million task-oriented people hungry for information that makes a difference in their knowledge building.

Either way, the message of the shiny Web medium continues its song:

  • Services that facilitate the creation and management of content are how audiences get built in the Internet era.
  • In this world where everyone is making media, the pros must help people stake their claim, not trap them inside their own territory.
  • So go where your audience is.
  • Be ready when they need you.
  • And if they can’t pay you, maybe the venue can.

Is everything art?


Launching myself from one hold to another in the climbing gym, I wondered if the movements counted as art. They weren\’t dancing, not overtly. I can\’t say I looked graceful, though internally I felt nothing but grace. And certainly no one would pay to watch me fail at that fresh V6 in back. But does something have to last and exist beyond oneself in some form of constructed media, experiential or tangible, to be art? What if it\’s just a memory in someone\’s mind? And if my climbing counts as art, then what about my bike riding? Or someone jogging? Or one\’s choice in shoulder bag? Or the way you walk to work? The way you say goodbye? Any of it. Are we all artists? Is there a moment we are not expressing who we are? Is the world swimming in it, but we just don\’t notice most of the time, unless we put ourselves in a special place, some sacred ground where we all agree to notice art, and that space itself compels us to do something different, to move differently, to turn a climb into a dance, to sing not speak, to deliver lines not chitchat, to concentrate and purify the pain and hope and ceaseless friction of want and disappointment and deliverance.

The best weather app without a doubt

1weather app
20% chance of rain, see? The little umbrella tells me so.

The 1Weather app (on Android only) homescreen widget tells me at a glance the temp, date, location and, most importantly for someone who bikes to/from work almost every day, the chance of rain. Yes, that tiny and instantly viewable reading about how likely it is that I’ll get soaked made this into the weather I app I stuck with. For reasons I don’t understand, the weather apps from Weather Bug, stock Android, Accuweather, Weather Channel, Yahoo! and Weather Underground (yes, I tried every one) all bury this chance-of-rain info a screenpress or more away.

Noise-hating New Yorkers, rejoice: tech may kill the honking

no noise sign
Make all the racket you want; I’ve got my DMR. Patrick Fitzgerald

Hong Kong scientists made a device that absorbs sound and converts it into electricity. Not magical enough? The decorated membrane resonator (DMR) also happens to be really, really small. That matters because traditional sound-absorbing materials need a thickness ranging from 17 millimeters to 17 meters, depending on the sound’s frequency. These sorcerous discs from Asia still need to be of varied sizes to absorb different noises, but their diminutive nature means — if a noise-maddened man of New York can dream — that a strategically assembled constellation of them could effectively defend the borders of our peace and quiet.

Dairy-free ‘butter’ in your Bulletproof Coffee: recipe and review

Mug for your coconut power coffee
Pour your power in here and sip on those deep thoughts. Photo by Cheryl.

Update: I’ve created a simpler and better-tasting solution. Here you go: Cocopower Coffee Bamzoom:

* 1 cup of coffee.

* 1-3 teaspoons of organic cacao powder (to taste).

* 1-3 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil (again to taste).

* 1-2 tablespoons organic coconut cream (to taste).

* Vigorously mix all of the above. Seriously, whip it wild: Use an electric blender.

* Drink and feel surges of energy and mental clarity.

The old recipe using non-dairy versions of butter is below.

I’m allergic to dairy, so I tweaked the ingredients on the Bulletproof Coffee recipe to use Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks instead of real butter:

1. 1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks (add 2 tbsp if you omit the coconut oil).

2. 2 teaspoons coconut oil (optional).

3. 2 teaspoons honey or coconut sugar (optional).

4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

5. Brew two cups of coffee to handle all of the above.

6. Blend or vigorously whisk everything.

Review: Delicious. Feels more like a meal than a drink. However, the oils grip your mouth for a good while after finishing the coffee, and I can’t say the sensation is entirely pleasant.

I found the original recipe here, which pulled from Vanilla Coconut Bulletproof Coffee, a true piece of art loyal to real butter.

The 3 secrets of happiness

Courtesy of @davidgallan:

1. Calm your mind.
2. Note your joy.
3. Wish happiness for others.

Inspired by this fellow, I believe, and related to the work of this other mind engineer.

Continue reading →

Zen and the art of bicycle riding in New York

Bicycling in New York
Standard gear for a pleasant bike ride around New York. Credit: Carl Paulaner Hefe-weizen

The risks of riding in New York force the experience into the realms of the spirit; only religious reasons could compel one to face the daily barrage of idiots, crumbling infrastructure and rage. In my new $3.99 book on Amazon, Zen and the art of bicycle riding in New York, I share ideas about shaping your mindscape into the contours necessary to survive a two-wheel commute in the Big Apple.

I also wrote a sad, disturbing short story about aliens, love and loss. Fun read!

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