Written by

Chris Gonzales


Nivanh Chanthara

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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The Quiet Alarm (or, The Usefulness of Boredom) »

Andreas Elpidorou — assistant professor in philosophy at the University of Louisville in Kentucky — writing for Aeon about how life without boredom (much like a life without physical pain) would actually be a nightmare:

Now, imagine a life that is devoid of boredom. On first glance, many of us might find such a prospect desirable, even ideal. But consider it more carefully. […]

Think of boredom as an internal alarm. When it goes off, it is telling us something. It signals the presence of an unfulfilling situation. But it is an alarm equipped with a shock. The negative and aversive experience of boredom motivates us – one might even say, pushes us – to pursue a different situation, one that seems more meaningful or interesting, just as a sharp pain motivates us not to put pins into our bodies.

Illustration: Lee Woodgate

Illustration: Lee Woodgate

How to Make Easy Sushi at Home »

In this article for Lucky Peach, Sonoko Sakai walks you through the process of buying ingredients for, and the preparation of, te-mari zushi (ball-shaped sushi) and maki zushi (sushi rolls).

While the article is indeed useful, there wasn’t really one single block of text I wanted to quote here, oddly enough, but rather a handful of choice sentences that struck me for whatever reason:


Making sushi is more complicated than it seems, but it doesn’t have to be.


[Making homemade sushi in Japan is] like baking bread: The incentive to make it a home is low because there is a corner baker who does a better job.


Sushi can be made with a variety of ingredients—you are not locked into Japanese tradition—so long as the ingredients are fresh.


Good nori is crispy, melts in your mouth, and has a subtle sweetness and nice ocean smell.


I also use a santoku knife—the name means “three virtues,” because it’s an all-purpose knife meant to cut meat, fish, and vegetables.

Testing The “Impossible”: 17 Questions That Can Change Your Life »

Tim Ferriss has a new book called Tools of Titans that examines the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. In this episode of his podcast — Overcast link here — he shares a sample audio chapter from the book, listing the 17 questions that dramatically changed his life (and could maybe do the same for others).

I’ll quote one of them here:

#10 — Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?

In 2008, I owned a home in San Jose, California, and its value cratered. More accurately, the bank owned the home and I had an ill-conceived adjustable-rate mortgage. On top of that, I was on the cusp of moving to San Francisco. To sell would have meant a $150,000 loss. Ultimately, I picked up and moved to San Francisco, regardless, leaving my San Jose home empty.

For months, friends pressured me to rent it, emphasizing how I was flushing money down the toilet otherwise. I eventually buckled and followed their advice. Even with a property management company, regular headaches and paperwork ensued. Regret followed. One introspective night, I had some wine and asked myself: “Do I really need to make money back the same way I’m losing it?” If you lose $1,000 at the blackjack table, should you try and recoup it there? Probably not. If I’m “losing” money via the mortgage payments on an empty house, do I really need to cover it by renting the house itself? No, I decided. I could much more easily create income elsewhere (e.g., speaking gigs, consulting, etc.) to put me in the black. Humans are very vulnerable to a cognitive bias called “anchoring,” whether in real estate, stocks, or otherwise. I am no exception. I made a study of this (a lot of good investors like Think Twice by Michael Mauboussin), and shortly thereafter sold my San Jose house at a large loss. Once my attention and mind space was freed up, I quickly made it back elsewhere.

Freesound »

Freesound.org is sort of like an Unsplash for audio.* It’s a huge collaborative repository of Creative Commons-licensed audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps that you can use in your podcast, app, films, YouTube videos, etc. Their FAQ page is full of useful info about attribution and more.

One useful way to browse the site (other than simply using the search bar) is by popular sound packs, where you can find hip-hop drum samples and storm soundsbut also quirky stuff like “swoosh WHOOSH air effects” and “weird male screams”.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of rather-NSFW audio snippets on this site, so check the titles and tags before clicking to hear samples. Most of them will give you a warning you have to dismiss before you can listen, but some don’t. You’ve been warned.

* The difference being that Unsplash is 100% “do whatever you want”, while some Freesound sounds may ask you to credit the author and/or avoid commercial use.


The Compounding Benefits of Privilege »

Despite having to amputate his left leg below the knee, Garrett Dimon acknowledges that a life of even middling privilege can make the worst things in life so much more bearable, and it’s worth taking the time to notice it in your own life:

My journey wasn’t easy, but it was easier than it would be for most people. We can all do a little bit to help spread these advantages. One helping hand at the right time can set off a chain reaction of compounding benefits for that person and every other person that their life touches.


It’s not about whether you or I have worked hard. It’s about whether that next person has to work twice as hard for half as much. That’s the difference that comes with privilege, and once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee.


Musical Chord Progression Arpeggiator »

This musical toy by CodePen developer Jake Albaugh is, as Merlin Mann aptly describes, “delightfully hypnotic to play with.” Spend some time with it this weekend and see what cool combinations you can come up with.

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Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.