Random Thoughts, Volume 6: Animal Spirits Edition

I wonder how I can get any more random, but I do want to capture various links of online reading/listening/etc. as I come across them.

Also linking with Jen’s  7 Quick Takes since I have 7 of these.

1.  “How to Live a Happy Life: Louis CK Explains the Science” TIME magazine

“Taking an inventory about where you’re spending your time is revealing. And then once you identify the activities and people with whom you want to spend more time, calendaring your time thoughtfully becomes critical. When you put something on a calendar, you’re more likely to actually do that activity – partly because you’re less likely to have to make an active decision whether you should do it – because it’s already on your calendar.”

2.  “Keeping a Time Diary Can Identify Patterns That Affect Your Productivity” — LifeHacker

Also in the time management field.  I am (again) trying to keep track of my time and figure out what makes me more or less productive in different areas.  I do notice some of these things, but I found it fascinating that the person who kept this time diary found how a bad night sleep affected him several days later, and other quirks. I need to be better about doing this.

3,  “The Bride Didn’t Always Wear White” –The New York Times

This looks like an amazing exhibit on wedding wear through recent history.  In 2010, our family took a wonderful trip to England & Ireland.  The apartment we rented was a short walk from the V&A Museum, so we used to call it our “neighborhood museum” (the same way Brompton Oratory was our neighborhood church).  When I saw this article, I immediately thought, “time for a trip to our neighborhood museum.” I wish.

4. I just love my Fitbit.

Can I get an Amen from anyone else who enjoys the Fitbit?  After I gave it up for Lent (and oh, that was hard! I did two half-marathons during Lent, and, as we true believers like to half-jokingly say, it’s like they didn’t even count).

I’ve just entered the world of friends on Fitbit.  So far I’m Fitbit friends with several people, one of them a world-famous (if she’s not, she should be) author, Colleen Swaim.  I do really enjoy getting to compare stats and swap messages.  I’m also part of a private group that Katie at Runs for Cookies started several months back.  I enjoy getting to see my stats versus others.  My goal for July is to hit 12,000 every day.  I’ve only missed one day so far, and we have some upcoming car travel days, so I may miss a few more, but I’m sure my average will be well above the 12,000 mark.

Do you make Fitbit (or even just general fitness) goals?

5.  “Why Kids Fidget and What to Do About It” The Washington Post

“Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. In order to develop a strong balance system, children need to move their body in all directions, for hours at a time. ”

So worth reading, and now I feel justified in how much I make my kids be active.  Also, now I feel reassured that my very active 11-year-old is just working his vestibular system.

6. Amazon, A Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed— The New York Times

I’m somewhat conflicted about Amazon.  I order from it all the time, I love Amazon Prime for watching movies and TV shows, as well as the free two-day shipping for most items.  It’s just super convenient for so many things, books included.

But I’ve read with interest articles like this one, and I must say I still like Amazon after reading this.  In many ways, Amazon has democratized the publishing process.  What do you think?

7. “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt” — NPR’s Planet Money

I  supported this Kickstarter campaign, because (as I’ve written about before) I’m a big fan of Planet Money and listen to the  podcast often.  The series of podcasts reporting how a t-shirt gets made (based on this book: The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy:
, which I’ve not read, but looks really interesting),


Because I supported the Kickstarter, I recently received this t-shirt in the mail.  It fits really well, it is comfortable and a really flattering color.  I decided that because the graphic is so strange (a squirrel holding up a martini!), I wouldn’t start wearing it until I could comfortably explain the economics term “animal spirits.” (The t-shirt is a visual pun of that concept).  I actually hadn’t remembered what that was all about, since it’s been a long time since I listened to the series.

So I went back to the Planet Money site and just briefly went through the great multi-media site they put together.  Do take a look if you get a chance–here’s that link.

What are “animal spirits?”  Basically, it’s the concept that economic decisions are made by people, not just markets.  Sometimes that means emotions or spontaneous ideas take place, but ultimately shows economics is about humans, not just things or money.

This might be kind of mischievous, but my thought is to wear it often, and especially during the 40 Days for Life in October, to freak out and befuddle (in a good way) my fellow NPR listeners.

What are you reading or listening to online lately?

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