Thinking Cap: Podcasts, Articles And Clips To Make You Smarter

Thinking Cap: Podcasts, Articles And Clips To Make You Smarter

Real-life stories of feral children discovered in the wild, a new podcast on climate change, and why Sir Patrick Stewart really really loves hardware stores (and we do, too,) all in this week’s Thinking Cap!

Welcome to Lifehacker’s Thinking Cap, a new series where we round up interesting, informative and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you and hopefully cap off your week nicely. Let’s get started.

10 Real Life Feral Children

Piggybacking on The Jungle Book, this video from National Geographic explains that while the story of Mowgli, a human boy who was raised by animals in the wild, is definitely fiction, there have been plenty of examples of real-life feral children who were either raised by wolves or other animals after being lost or abandoned in the wild by abusive parents, or through some strange circumstance. The video above looks at 10 such children, and their eye-opening (and sometimes tragic) stories. [via Nat Geo (YouTube)]

Warm Regards: A New Podcast All About Climate Change

Have we become desensitised to the headlines that say every passing week or month is the warmest one on record? Have even people who know climate change is real and know we should take action about it become complacent? Or maybe it’s just such a big problem that’s bigger than any one of us and we’re all either overwhelmed by it or so busy fighting off deniers that it feels like we’re running in circles?

This new podcast, called Warm Regards, hosted by meteorologist Eric Holthaus, environmental science writer Andy Revkin and paleoecologist Jacquelyn Gill, aims to get to the bottom of the topic. Embedded above is the first episode I listened to, thanks to Kottke, about climate science and the current US Presidential race. It’s well worth a listen, and if climate change is a topic of interest to you as well, worth subscribing to. They even have a bonus ep this week debunking the “global cooling” myth. [via Soundcloud, thanks Kottke!]

Who Is the Mentally Strongest Person In Your Life, and Why?

Most of us probably have someone in our lives we can point to and say “this is one of the strongest people I know,” as in, someone who exhibits real mental toughness — or the ability to resiliently bounce back and adapt to the crazy situations or circumstances life throws at them. In this Quora thread, a number of people share the people in their lives that are notable in this way, and a few of their stories stand out. Among them:

Mental strength, strength of will, strength of character. This man has them all.

For the sake of anonymity let’s call this man “Joe”.

I met Joe a few years ago and immediately liked him. He was contemplative, kind, always the one to try to smooth things over in a fight… he was just a very calm and collected person. Always smiling.

At work, he always did his best, even if that meant helping other employees get ahead or spending time after work to help interns get on their feet. He was the quintessential guy you went to when you didn’t know what to do, or needed help.

About a year after forming a friendship with Joe, I learned about his history. He was from Africa and as a young adult had been a slave in the diamond mines. He was a “blood diamond” slave. He saw several of his friends killed, maimed, tortured and beaten while he worked in the mines. He made the decision that he would not let that existence happen to his son.

Eventually, he escaped, made his way to America without his family, and became and [sic] refugee. He worked 3 jobs for several years while living out of an old truck he got in trade for construction work he performed.

He managed to do this all alone, saved all of his money and brought the rest of his family (wife, son, daughter, and mother) to the US to live with him in a trailer.

He started going to night classes online while on the job so he could make more money. He applied for US citizenship at the same time.

When I met Joe, he had a large house, several cars, and had a masters degree in political science. He seemed like the average upper-middle class guy.

Little did I know that he had lost a lot of blood, sweat, and tears through his life and never let it hold him back. He just kept beating down the barriers to the way he wanted his life to be, and the life of his son.

I had the honour of standing with him when he obtained his US citizenship.

There are a ton of stories like this, people whose resolve carried them through extraordinary circumstances that will inspire you to make a little peace with the frustrations you have in your own day to day, or at least inspire you to have the resolve to power through your own frustrations, too. [via Quora]

What It’s Like to Be an Ice Cream Truck Driver in New York City

Driving an ice cream truck driver is no joke, especially in a place like New York City, where competition is fierce, companies demand huge franchise fees from truck drivers and there are trucks just about everywhere in the hot weather months, all stalking neighbourhoods for business. This video from Gothamist follows around one ice cream truck driver, gives you a peek of life behind the wheel and inside the truck, and some of the unique challenges of driving a truck in a market as complicated and crowded as New York City. [via Gothamist (YouTube), thanks SwissMiss!]

Sir Patrick Stewart Really Loves Hardware Stores (and So Do We)

If you can’t tell from all of the DIY projects we post around here, we love hardware stores, and those old school ones — where the people working there are knowledgeable enough to tell you when you’re buying the wrong tool for the project you’re going to do, and the shelves are really pegboard stacked high with tools and other goodies — are the best kind of hardware store. And who else loves hardware stores like that? Sir Patrick Stewart, in this video above that he posted to Twitter last week — a fitting, and smile-worthy note that we’ll end this week’s Thinking Cap on.

If Sir Patrick Stewart can’t inspire you to hit the hardware store and DIY something amazing, we don’t know who can. [via Twitter, thanks Consumerist!]

That’s all for this week. If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts or eye-opening videos, share them in the comments below!

Title GIF by Nick Criscuolo.

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