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

This week we're taking a tour of the International Space Station, making bread with geothermal energy and running down some of the best hot dogs in America. We're also filling out your bucket list, and playing with some thought experiments.

Welcome to Lifehacker's Thinking Cap, a 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.


Volcano Bread

The beauty of baking bread is that all you really need is flour, water, salt, yeast and, well, heat. In this case, you have all the heat you could possibly need. Filmmaker Alison Grasso went on a tour called The Rye Bread Experience, where you learn how geothermal ovens work by cooking in them, and made this short film about the process of making bread thanks to the warmth and power of the ever-moving earth and heat below our feet. It takes a while -- 24 hours, to be precise -- but the results are, well, I'll let you watch. [via Here Say, thanks Kottke!]


Six Beautiful, Incredible Places to See Before They Disappear Forever

If you're making a bucket list, you might want to consider adding a trip to the Alaskan Tundra, the US Everglades or the Venetian Lagoon and Canals to your list. Not just because your time is limited, but because theirs is as well. Venice is sinking; rising sea levels and human development threaten the Everglades, one of America's most unique ecosystems and most biodiverse habitats; and the permafrost below the Alaskan Tundra is slowly but surely melting, forever changing the ecosystem there.

Don't want to travel that far from home? Consider a visit to the Great Barrier Reef -- climate change and sea acidification are a one-two punch that's killing it. Those two aside, here's the full list:

  • Alaska's Tundra
  • Everglades National Park, Florida
  • Tikal National Park, Guatemala
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Amazon Rainforest

  • Venice Lagoon

Some are natural beauties, others are manmade, but they're all worth a trip. [via Oyster]


If You Woke Up Tomorrow In Your Five-Year-Old Self's Body, What Would You Do?

It's a popular thought experiment: If you woke up as your five-year-old self tomorrow, with the memories of your lived life intact, what would you do?

I think we all have our own answers to the question, but this thread at Quora is full of them, including this super real answer from Elke Weiss that's probably legit for most of us even if we prefer more fanciful, fun responses:

I'd likely go mad.
At 5, but with the mentality of an adult, I'd be trapped with a peer group so far beneath me intellectually that I'd become depressed and miserable. I'd be seen as a child prodigy, and likely be in college as a 5 year old, which isn't very healthy to my emotional development.
True, I'd have invested in Apple, Facebook, and Netflix early.
I wouldn't have dated my first boyfriend.
Could have stopped the greatest tragedy of my life.
But would I be me? I'm a make up of my experiences, and now, I've erased them.

Too real, Elke. Too real. But honestly, it makes perfect sense. Most of us would probably trot out the usual "I'd play the lottery!" or "I'd change the future!" or "I'd invest in Apple/Microsoft/Amazon/whatever," but the answers here go past the usual and dive a bit deeper. It's a fun read. [via Quora]


The Best Hot Dogs In America

What's more American than the German-inspired hot dog? Even if the hot dog has its roots in German sausages (specifically the frankfurter), the United States claims to be the home of the hot dog, and has made it uniquely its own. So unique, in fact, that First We Feast has a dizzying array of the best hot dogs in the country, from the classic chilli and mustard covered Coney Island dog to the always-delicious Chicago dog.

Some more interesting dogs are represented as well, like my personal favourite, the Ben's Chilli Bowl Half Smoke, or the almost-too-much corn chip chilli dog at Luscher's Red Hots. Hit the link to explore them all and make yourself just as hungry as I am. [via First We Feast]


A Beautiful HD Fly-Through of the International Space Station

The ISS is humanity's outpost in high orbit, and it's worth remembering that it's been continuously lived in since 2000. It's grown since then, added some bits and pieces, gotten some renovations, and this video is a beautiful fly-through of the whole thing, module to module, in full on 4K if you have a display or TV that can support it. If not, it's still a gorgeous watch. Have a great weekend. [via NASA]


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 illustration by Nick Criscuolo. Additional photos by FarbenfroheWunderwelt and Jeremy Keith.


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