Friday Notes 072 - September 27 2019

Last night was the first race for the x-country team I'm helping coach at my daughter's school. That meant two trips across town to get my wife to work, us back to the race, then us back to the arena so all of my kids could skate. Then back home after 7pm with three kids in tow while my wife continued to work, and then ride her bike home.

Having one car does make some nights a lot of running around, and I've got two more of those with x-country races coming up before the season is over.

Otherwise, my 50km race last weekend went decent. It's hard to get all the training needed for 50km in and I felt the lack of a run over 40km in the last half of the race. Still this was my fastest race in three years so I'll call it a success. Even better, I was sore the next day but way better off than previous years.

On the work front, reverse SSH to configure Ubuntu in a VM with an outside service. That article should be coming up in a bit, once I figure out the port mapping on my crazy router so that this external resource can access my Ubuntu VM.

If you’ve found my content helpful I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

Monday I shared how I download file with Blink Shell on my iPadOS device. The iPad is very capabable, you just have to be willing to look at workflows that aren't what you've always done.

Wednesday I got a book review ready for Range by David Epstein. Epstein argues that we prize speacialization early and it harms us. That for our own experience and benefit, we should have a breadth of experience. I don't think this changes marketing advice on finding a narrow niche so that you can target your customers, but you should be looking for experience outside of a narrow field of speciality so you can bring that learning back to your speciality.

Friday Five

1. Experienced Developers Just Google Better

Love this post from Sophie.

In an attempt to dispel the idea that if you have to google stuff you’re not a proper engineer, this is a list of nearly everything I googled in a week at work, where I’m a software engineer with several years’ experience

I've long maintained that after 10-years coding I simply know the question to ask Google faster and can evaluate the answers better. I still look up the exact names of WordPress functions many times a week. I look up the order of the parameters and how exactly to get the value of a select box with jQuery.

I've looked all of these things up before, and I'll likely look them up again.

If you're just starting as a developer, looking stuff up on Google and in documentation is what developers do.

2. Eating Meat Versus Environmental Impact and Nutrients in Our Bodies

A little while ago I shared an article on The Impact of Eating on Our Planet. It basically said that meat is not great for the environment because it takes lots of land to produce, but going vegetarian is not quite the answer either because clearing land for farming removes forest and peatland that sequester carbon for us.

I ended by asking for other articles and thoughts on eating, and I got some.

Let's start with this article Sebastiaan pointed me towards. One point I found particularly interesting was the land used for meat production vs farming.

The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

So according to this study we'd use less land if we went with more vegetable and cereal growing. Also that article agrees with the podcast I cited in my previous post that you can do so much more for the environment by cutting meat instead of purchasing a Tesla or flying less.

This article also talks about protein in meat vs other options and the use of resources to produce a gram of protein.

The analysis also revealed a huge variability between different ways of producing the same food. For example, beef cattle raised on deforested land result in 12 times more greenhouse gases and use 50 times more land than those grazing rich natural pasture. But the comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land.

So, it takes a lot of land to produce meat.

Sebastiaan also pointed me towards the Peak Human podcast and the only episode I've had a chance to listen to is this one that talked about nutrients and diet options. The takeaway was, eat everything in moderation, but trend towards lots of colourful fruits and vegetables. They specifically said that you should be eating some meat, purely from a body health and nutrient perspective. They didn't address any environmental issues at all.

They did say that they've never met a lifelong vegan, and even when they found a society that was 'vegan' it turned out they actually hunted the meat eating people at the bottom of the mountain for their livers.

There are other interesting episodes pertaining to this topic that I haven't had a chance to listen to yet.

There are more, but those titles jumped out to me and made it on my long term listening queue.

Now onto other things I've found like this great video Kottke shared a while ago.

Takeaways:

Kottke also shared this interesting map about how America uses it's land. The huge area used for meat based food production, and the plants to feed them overwhelm the map.

So Where Does that Leave Us?

As far as I can see for health we need to eat across food types aiming for stuff that's not food factory produced as much as we can afford it. Eat multiple colours of vegetables and fruit.

From the environmental perspective, eat less meat. Eat no beef.

Around this house, we're getting recipes from a vegan friend for a few nights a week. We rarely eat beef anyway because one of my kids is allergic.

I 100% see the argument to eat no meat based on the environment impact. I feel unsure how to continue to get what I need to run/climb/spend hours in the mountains and have all the nutrients we all need.

3. hPDA and My Field Notes

Joe Buhlig has a short post about the awesome uses for his Hipster PDA.

I still carry around my Field Notes book, though I don't use it as much as I once did. I'm more likely to put my bag down and pull out my Bullet Journal.

4. You Can't Control Passion

Two good quotes out of my reading on Tuesday as I worked through Company of One by Paul Jarvis:

Passion and courage are almost impossible to control and can easily leave you feeling bad about yourself. It's far easier to simply work at getting really good at something in demand, discovering how these skills can be applied to something else, and hen testing your idea in a small way to see if it will pay. (Page 85)

And

...you can pursue any passion you want, but you shouldn't feel entitled to make money off it. (Page 87)

So for I'm finding this book one of the most quotable books of the year. Yes I'm enjoying it, this chapter in particular so far.

Chapter 5 in summary, don't go into business for yourself just to make money find a purpose to your work. Don't just follow your passion because it's fickle, and most successful people only became passionate about their thing after they had achieved mastery at it. To start they just kept learning new skills an testing them. The tests were, will people pay for this.

5. The Customer Doesn't Care About Your Costs

If you've been wondering about selling yourself on value, here is a great video from Jonathan Stark.

Just like Jonathan, I don't think that saying you live in a high cost of living area is part of the conversation. In fact, the customer doesn't care at all about your costs, the only thing they care about is the value you provide.

Jonathan goes into more detail, so watch his video. Also, subscribe to his channel