I turned 30 last weekend. The classic question is “Do you feel different?” and right now… no.
Though in honesty I only really come to terms with a new age when I catch myself saying my old age. I think as soon as I need to fill out a form and find myself rubbing out being in the 20-29 age bracket will it fully dawn on me that I’m now in my fourth decade.
For the day itself my girlfriend and I did a “microadventure” next to a fjord. Basically a camping trip without a tent. As everything seems to be one big sofa blur these days, finding short bursts of adventure by sleeping out in nature feels like a good thing to do (especially as it’s getting warmer).
Other than that, I’ve kind of zoned out what’s going on with coronavirus in Denmark, but it looks like the numbers are now way down. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before restaurants (and hair dressers…) reopen.
Okie dokie – now on with this month’s newsletter..!
Things I’ve been thinking about last month
Organic food – is it necessary?
Recently I noticed I had the assumption that organic fruit and vegetables were automatically better than “non-organic”.
I find it a bit of a faff to buy organic, and am slightly resentful at paying more and getting less.
A while ago I read this article about how the environmental problems often cited about the fashion industry are mostly outdated or derivatives of marketing campaigns. The fashion industry probably does have a lot wrong with it, but the commonly told claims aren’t backed by evidence.
The organic food industry feels like something with similar characteristics: there’s something inherently warm and fuzzy about eating “natural” food, which bloggers/ food companies have an incentive to latch onto.
But how much is it true?
As with a lot of contested topics, there are “authoritative” articles stating that it is and it isn’t, but ones that have seemed quite balanced are this one and this excellent podcast episode about it.
The short answer these people say is that the difference is pretty insignificant across being healthier (organic food often still uses pesticides and even then the levels are low) and good for the planet (sometimes there’s chemical run off, but organic has a lower yield) though there haven’t been rigorous studies about it. There’s also tons of nuance, so it’s hard to make generalisations.
In any case though, if you have seen any *new* research on whether one *should* eat organic food (ideally EU rather than US-centric) then please let me know!
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
I went down a bit of a rabbit hole recently about whether I should start using a VPN after a friend (who is much more informed on all things internet privacy etc.) said “Wait… you don’t have a VPN?”.
After some research it seems like something where the benefits outweigh the costs.
VPNs seem to be totally legal/ legit and offer a secure “tunnel” so that none of your online activity gets stored and sold on to other parties. Of course there’s the argument of “well, I’ve got nothing to hide” but for ~£2.50/ month, it seemed like worth it.
I ended up going for NordVPN because (if I’m honest) I liked the website design best
A selection of podcasts etc. I’ve enjoyed recently. You can see/ subscribe to a full list of episodes I recommend here
- Wood for Good | 39 Ways To Save A Planet: enjoyable, upbeat short form episodes about reasons to feel optimistic about overcoming climate change
- Short-selling for the common good | What Does It Profit: interesting interview with a young hedge fund manager who has made a name for herself by identifying companies who are fraudulent/ bad for the world and then using the financial markets to pressure them out of business
- The Loophole | The Experiment: well-made and though provoking episode about how America is still finding its feet as a country. This episode told the story of a man who (in theory) couldn’t be charged for murder on American soil because of a constitutional loophole (that still isn’t closed)
- Anton Howes: the history of innovation | Thoughts in Between: a really interesting conversation between Cofruition client Matt Clifford and a historian who looks at where innovation comes from. To paraphrase: “necessity is the mother of invention is nonsense”
- Is reaaallly expensive coffee a rip off? Adventures in Coffee: well made and engaging episode into high end coffee. The hosts have a great rapport.
📖 Reading (/ Writing)
Whenever I get to this section I realise how little I seem to read…
The main article I enjoyed was a Harvard Business Review post called What Professional Services Must Do to Thrive that a friend sent which I found enlightening as a framework to think about the podcasting business I’m running.
I also wrote a blog post about my tips on starting a business called 5 Lessons from running a bootstrapped business.
Outside of work stuff I was told about savoury porridge which turns out to be very tasty if you view more like a risotto than granola.
- For Sama (2019): first hand experience of the war in Syria from a young mother. Uncomfortable, but powerful
- Moxie (2021): a movie about a rebellious group of feminist teens (mostly girls) overcoming patriarchy at their school. Directed by Amy Poelher, at times it was both funny and effective at highlighting subtle anti-feminist sentiments
- On The Basis of Sex (2018): film about the early career of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg (RBG). Pretty inspiring stuff about her tenacity in overcoming gender inequality written into US law. This was followed by watching the biopic RBG
- The Investigation (2020): mini-series about the police team in Copenhagen in 2017 trying to convict the owner of a submarine who dismembered a young journalist he invited onto his boat. Pretty horrific, and recent
- The Eagle Huntress (2016): an escapist documentary about a girl from a nomadic family in Mongolia who became the country’s first eagle hunting champion