I had the Ladybird Book of the Soldier when I was little, but lately, the little hardback books have enjoyed a resurgence. First came satire (The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis, anyone?) but now proper, grown-up topics.
Kurt at Cultural Offering highlights the problem with the concept of “work-life balance”:
I’ve always considered my work part of my life. My friends – especially the successful ones – make their work an enriching part of life.
To be sure, keeping the demands of work in proportion to the demands of domestic life can be tough. Especially if, like may sovereign professionals, you work from home. But, the idea of work being something that is to be balanced against “life”? It’s a cute phrase but nonsensical when you think about it.
I find I don’t know nearly enough about Leonardo da Vinci.
About a month ago, on Execupundit, Michael Wade recommended this YouTube video of Walter Isaacson discussing his latest book, Leonardo da Vinci. It took me a little while to get to it but if, like me, you haven’t got any closer to reading the book than buying it for a friend, I heartily recommend it.
Here’s an interesting piece from the National Geographic on how plants respond to the vibration of buzzing bees to sweeten their nectar.
To test the primroses in the lab, Hadany’s team exposed plants to five sound treatments: silence, recordings of a honeybee from four inches away, and computer-generated sounds in low, intermediate, and high frequencies. Plants given the silent treatment—placed under vibration-blocking glass jars—had no significant increase in nectar sugar concentration. The same went for plants exposed to high-frequency (158 to 160 kilohertz) and intermediate-frequency (34 to 35 kilohertz) sounds.
But for plants exposed to playbacks of bee sounds (0.2 to 0.5 kilohertz) and similarly low-frequency sounds (0.05 to 1 kilohertz), the final analysis revealed an unmistakable response. Within three minutes of exposure to these recordings, sugar concentration in the plants increased from between 12 and 17 percent to 20 percent.
But then, thinking of plants “hearing” is maybe a case looking down the wrong end of the telescope. Isn’t it possibly how hearing evolved in animals?
Ben Macintyre has a sobering column in Saturday’s Times:
Most wild coffee species are under threat, with 60 per cent facing possible extinction from shrinking natural habitat, deforestation and climate change, according to researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Wild arabica, the original of the world’s most widely used coffee, has in the past few years been classified for the first time as endangered.
Nicholas Bate offers essential advice on finding time to read:
1.Always read for 30 minutes before any Netflix viewing.
3.Read for 20 minutes before settling to sleep.
5.Take a couple of real books on the business trip. Read in line, on the transfer bus, in Starbucks, while waiting for buddies in the lobby to get the uber to the conference.