This week we're checking out what happens to the world's biggest burger, pizza or other record-setting food after it sets those records; taking a quick trip around the universe; checking out some of the earliest colour photos of life around the world; and staying productive in terrible times.
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.
Some of the Earliest Colour Photos of Life Around the World
Photography as a means of capturing the world around us is barely 200 years old, and the concept of colour photography even younger, by probably close to 100 years. Over at Timeline (on Medium), Rian Dundon explores an archive of some of the oldest colour photos of the world — not necessarily of the wealthy people who could afford them at the time, but taken by one of those wealthy people, who wanted a kind of "photo archive of the world", and set out to take it between 1909 and 1931.
What resulted from his expedition is a series of beautiful photos from all around the globe, of people from all walks of life, in beautiful colour uncharacteristic of the imagery of the time. From a Senegalese sniper in uniform to a portrait of three women in Kyoto to gorgeous photos of Egypt and Bosnia, there's a lot to take in — and a reminder that so much has changed in a very short period of time. Obviously the photos are copyrighted so I won't share them here (the photo above is public domain) — but they're more than worth a visit, and read of the story of the man who wanted them all taken and preserved for history. [via Timeline]
A Space Traveller's Guide to the Universe
Take a few minutes out of your day to explore our solar system — and beyond — with this video from Expedia. Packed with facts about each planet in our solar system and a little "sight to see" while you're there, you'll come away from it having learned a bit about how magnificent the other planets in our solar system really are, maybe a few things about our own, a bit about what lies beyond in other galaxies and how long it would take to actually make that multi-million-kilometre round trip.
There's even a tidbit about Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way Galaxy — and of course, a good warning to watch from a safe viewing distance. Hit play, and then check out the video — and an accompanying graphic — over at Expedia. [via Expedia.ca]
What Happens to Huge, Record Breaking Food After It Wins?
When freakishly large food, like the world's biggest bowl of ramen, or the world's biggest ice cream sandwich, or even the most food, like the most pizzas made or the pancakes flipped in a time limit, wins that Guinness World Record for being the biggest/most whatever to ever whatever, what actually happens to all of that food?
In some cases, it's pretty obvious since the event of building the thing may take place at a festival or event for the thing, but in other cases, it isn't so clear. Well, the Today I Found Out YouTube channel explains that most of that food is either sold or donated, and Guinness World Records actually stipulates that all of the food made for a record attempt must be consumed or sold for consumption for the record to be official. And yes, that's precisely to stave off the controversy you might be thinking, and to discourage people from making a whole ton of food, winning a world record and then wasting it all, throwing it away or leaving it to rot.
There are some caveats though, as the full video explains, like when a hamburger company, for example, tried to make the world's biggest burger (318kg!) but couldn't meet the stipulation because they couldn't get it cooked all the way through to be safe to eat... on their first try. They tried again, and succeeded. The whole story — and some examples of what's happened to that food in the past, are in the video. [via Today I Found Out (YouTube)]
Productivity in Terrible Times
How do you stay productive when the world around you feels like it's going to the dogs, or when your mental energy is constantly distracted and affixed elsewhere on the plight of people close to you — or even far away? Eileen Webb explains in this great article, full of tips both old and new. Some things are ones you've probably heard from us before, like making peace with your job and the fact that it may not be changing the world, but it's what you need to be doing, and to set up the environment around you to support you — and to enable you to support others.
The real tangibles come at the bottom of the piece though, where she offers some specific tips for self-care, which is so important right now:
- Set aside time for normal self-care like the gym, or yoga, or Sunday mornings drinking tea and reading a fluffy book.
- Regulate the flood. You don't need to have every source of news and notifications on every device all the time. Consider setting contextual rules, like "I don't look at Twitter before breakfast", "I will only do Facebook when I'm on the bus", "No Slack or Asana on my phone". The rules may shift over time, but remember that your willpower is overtaxed, and you are not owned by your job or your social networks. Healthy boundaries are an important part of setting up a life of sustainable anger.
- Be in nature. Pay attention to the parts of this world that operate outside our daily concerns. Stare at some ice crystals. Listen to a hoarding squirrel. Know that the tufted titmouse has never even heard of the electoral college.
- Be with your friends. Breathe, and laugh, and share the joy that comes from fighting alongside the people you love.
It's also worth remembering that productivity isn't everything in the first place. It might come off strange for us to say that, but after all, it's critical to remember. Productivity is, as always, designed to help you do the stuff you have to do faster so you can spend more time doing stuff you want to do. If it doesn't serve that purpose, re-evaluate.
After all, sometimes being unproductive is the best way to be productive — or at least come to terms with what it is you really ought to spend your time doing.
Every week I try to end on something uplifting, upbeat and heartening, and this animated short is only about two minutes long and ticks all the boxes. I wish I could have a dog like Omlette Dog here, but one thing's for sure — if I'm having a tough day, I come back to this adorable short. What a Good Dog. [via Madeline Sharafian (Vimeo)]
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.