Wednesday links: culture, identity, menopause, and annuities, oh my!
Greetings from the University of New Hampshire! Crazy week so far and we’re only at Wednesday! My work laptop, which is really my right hand, had been developing some sort of power supply issue over the last few weeks and decided that Monday afternoon was the perfect time to die, so I’ve been wrestling with that. Then this morning while I was doing my weight routine I started sneezing uncontrollably. I actually started to wonder if I had become allergic to coffee - I actually said this to my wife - and she asked me if I had been snorting the grounds before I brewed it. That’s what my wife thinks of me. No, I did not snort the coffee grounds. It looks like I am nursing a (totally devastating) man-cold. And of course things always pile on. We’re anticipating a snowmageddon tonight into tomorrow. I took out a home equity loan and bought some extra eggs just in case. We’ve been enjoying unseasonably warm weather for February, so I guess we are due.
Last night I was at a loss for what to do for my daily picture, so I decided to bust out the paints and make myself a bookmark (pic above), which Daughter #3 promptly confiscated for herself. I think I really burned myself out in 2021 with a third daily art challenge, because I can probably count on one hand the number of pieces I have made since then. But this felt good - a simple little project with a nice outcome (if I say so myself). Need a bookmark? Let me know - I’ll send you one if I can get it past Daughter #3.
So here’s this week’s links - culture, identity, menopause, and annuities - that’s a mixed bag, right?
I’ll be back Sunday with an essay. Stay safe out there if you are in the storm’s path!
As usual, willing good for all of you!
Friends - if you like RWL, would you share it with your friends?
What: The Honest Broker, America’s Culture Is Booming. Really.
Why: This is cross-posted to The Free Press, but I wanted to share it with you, dear readers, because I think if you like my world view, you will really like Ted Gioia . I’m now following him.
This post contains all the optimism that I feel about the New Media - all the tools that are just out there for people like us (you, me, Ted, everyone else) to start creating. It is part of the culture of permissionless innovation. From the newsletter:
Consider the fact that there are now 36 YouTube channels with more than 50 million subscribers—each of these has far more reach than any record label or newspaper. The New York Times, by comparison, has just 9 million subscribers. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to MrBeast, who runs more than a dozen YouTube channels with an estimated 200 million aggregate subscribers—and now has his videos translated into Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, and Russian.
MrBeast is low-brow culture, so no kidding he has a huge following, but that’s not what is surprising. Record companies and movie studios have produced plenty of low-brow culture. They still do. But no institution picked MrBeast and decided to make him a thing. No Disney, no Sony, no MGM, etc. He made himself and that is exciting.
Self-creation is the essence of what it is to be American. Being low-brow is also pretty much quintessentially American. But I put more emphasis on the self-creation part - because it’s the choice of being whatever you want to be - low-brow, high-brow, no-brow, uni-brow - the incredible possibility, that is for me what it is to be American.
What: Andrew Solomon, How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are (21 min)
Why: This is one of the better TED Talks that I have listened to in the last few years. The talk starts slow, but hang with it - it is worth listening to. He talks about integrating the difficult parts of our life into a narrative of triumph. It’s ultimately very positive.
What: NYT, Women Have been Misled About Menopause (55 min)
Why: As the article says, if you are an otherwise healthy woman, you are going to get to menopause sometime in your late forties or early fifties. The article focuses on the issue of hormone replacement therapy, and makes an argument that the medical field has removed this as an option based on limited and old data. Some physicians are willing to go against the institutions, but most will not, despite the fact that the evidence is actually limited, according to the article.
Given that half of the population will eventually face the issue of menopause, it’s shocking that there is not more study of this issue. Why would the medical institution decide to abandon this treatment based on such limited evidence?
It could be that this article gets this issue wrong. But after a couple of years of COVID, I think we have all been awoken to the fact that there are a lot of contradictions in “the science” when it comes to medicine.
What: After Hours, Bed, Bath and Beyond Annuities! (33 min)
Why: The discussion of Bed, Bath, and Beyond was interesting - co-host Felix is the author of Better, Simpler Strategy that I talked about last Sunday’s essay, and he applies some of those insights in this podcast. But I really want to recommend this podcast for their discussion of annuities, which is the second half of the pod. Most employers do not offer pensions any more. Most people have some form of defined contribution retirement plan where they contribute to a 401K or 403B fund, and will have to manage their money when they retire. With the money you have in your retirement account, you can buy an annuity which will give you a pension. It’s definitely worth considering. This is a pretty good introductory discussion of the idea.
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