📕 an eccentric writer, a king, and a bet

by Kshemendra, 11th century
translation by Brishti Guha, 2020

One beautiful spring day, King Satavahana visited a pleasure garden, taking his queens with him. Playing in the pool, surrounded by pretty ladies, the king looked as handsome as Cupid. As the sunlight refracted off their jewels creating dizzying patterns of color in the water, he began playfully splashing his companions with cool drops of water. One of the queens, whom the king had pelted rather hard, cried out “Your Majesty, don’t splash anymore water on me!”

Unfortunately, the queen had spoken in Sanskrit, a language at which the king was a complete dunce. He thought she wanted sweets. “Have all the sweets in the palace brought to the pool side!” he ordered his retinue.

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💬 useful writing

Precision and correctness are like opposing forces. It’s easy to satisfy one if you ignore the other. The converse of vaporous academic writing is the bold, but false, rhetoric of demagogues. Useful writing is bold, but true.

It’s also two other things: it tells people something important, and that at least some of them didn’t already know.

Telling people something they didn’t know doesn’t always mean surprising them. Sometimes it means telling them something they knew unconsciously but had never put into words. In fact those may be the more valuable insights, because they tend to be more fundamental.

― Paul Graham, essay (2020)

💡 the history of the Bulgarian split squat

The Cold War period was a time of great experimentation for both weightlifters and their coaches. People played around with different rep schemes, techniques and numerous means of periodisation. All in the quest for Olympic glory. Oftentimes it was the Nations who dominated the lifting platform that brought us the real and lasting innovations. Think again about the Romanian deadlift and how it came to the wider lifting world.

Well one such weightlifting powerhouse during the 1970s and 1980s being the Communist state of Bulgaria. Demonstrating a ferocity and raw power, Bulgarian lifters were the go to experts of the field. Something evidenced by the fact that many lifters still emulate their training programmes from the era.

Weightlifter performing a split

more on Physical Culture Study

📕 consequences of a statistical approach towards a utilitarian utopia: a selection of potential outcomes

by Matt Dovey, 2019

Maximised Total Happiness

Michelle smiled, exhausted, as her baby’s cry filled the hospital room. The lights above her were harsh and cold, and the sheets beneath her were tangled and scratchy, soaked in her sweat and stinking of iodine, but none of that mattered against such a beautiful sound. She heard it so rarely, —just once a year.

“Congratulations, Mrs Bergeron,” said the midwife. “It’s a girl.”

“Oh, thank you so much! I’m ecstatic!” She looked over at Nathan, cradling baby Danielle face down in his strong arms. A Happiness Moderator stood by them, uniformed with the usual black suit and easy smile; he lined up a large needle at the base of Danielle’s skull and implanted the HappyChip with a swift movement. Danielle’s cries quieted, then turned to a happy giggle.

“You should be very proud,” said the midwife, smiling. “What number is she?”

“My 22nd!”

“Well, congratulations again. I look forward to seeing you next year for number 23.”

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💬 beginnings

“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.”

― Carl Jung

💬 the essence of all philosophy

Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.

— Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or (1843)

📕 they’re made out of meat

by Terry Bisson, 1991

“They’re made out of meat.”


“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”


“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

“They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”

“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they’re made out of meat.”

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discovered via Brandon Sanderson’s dialogue post