The world is an interesting place—packed with information and inspiring people—and none of us has time to experience all of it. Inspired by series such as Physician on Fire’s The Sunday Best, Curious Thoughts is a window into what I have been reading and thinking about in recent days.
I hope you enjoy what you find here as much as I have.
- Steve at ThinkSaveRetire published an epic
rantpost this week that resonated with the nascent philosophy of my own blog. Do yourself a favor and check it out: I don’t want this to be just another pf blog
- Ever the innovator, Physician on Fire decided to reach out to a fellow physician who had asked for advice on the Bogleheads forum. With a very high income, modest expenses, and no desire to retire anytime soon, this doc’s position was unique to say the least. See what advice PoF had to offer in He Earns $1,800,000 a year. He spends $70,000. Holy Stealth Wealth!
- With a new baby in the Curious household, Tom from High Income Parents wrote a timely (for me) review of The Benefits Of A Revocable Living Trust as a guest post on Financial Samurai. I learned a lot and have some more homework to do. One take home point: probate sucks!
- Neverending Footsteps is one of my favorite travel blogs. Lauren has an endlessly entertaining, self-deprecating writing style which I just love. She has been traveling and blogging for years, but I think a nice introduction for budget-minded folks is her post How to Travel the Maldives on a Budget: It’s Possible!
- We are spoiled (or cursed, depending on your perspective) with a glut of healthcare resources in this country. This article from the Atlantic—Most of the World Doesn’t Have Access to X-Rays—puts the disparity in radiology services between the US and the developing world into stark perspective. A few lowlights:
- Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has 126 radiologists; the entire western African country of Liberia has 2.
- The World Health Organization estimates that 2/3 of people worldwide do not have access to basic x-ray and ultrasound imaging.
I don’t get nearly as much time to read as I would like, but a few months ago I finished Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom—a cautionary assessment of humanity’s foray into the development of artificial intelligence. All I can say is: Yikes!
You may have heard the likes of Bill Gates and Elon Musk sounding the alarm on the dangers of artificial intelligence; this book was a strong influence on their perspectives. It’s not a beach book, so be prepared to re-read passages and (at least in my case) look up philosophy terminology.
The effort will reward you with new lens through which to view the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead in the field of artificial intelligence. It may also send you to the hills to live in a cave, far from the evil robots.
If I had to pick a celebrity chef idol, it would have to be the lovely, chill AF Ina Garten. She lives a charmed life in her beautiful home in the Hamptons, whips up delectable dishes for her fashionable and celebrity friends, and generally puts Martha Stewart to shame. My wife and I have also found her recipes to be on point, almost without exception.
Here is a favorite summer recipe of hers. Bon appétit!
- Guacamole Salad by Ina Garten
All mammals—from the tiniest shrew to the largest blue whale—are allotted an average of 1.5 billion heartbeats in their lives (humans, with our sanitation and modern medicine, are an exception at 2 billion heartbeats). Shrew’s hearts, of course, beat much faster and use up those beats in about 14 months, while blue whales stretch their slower heartbeats over about 100 years.
I learned these fascinating facts in an recent interview with theoretical physicist Geoffrey West, in which he discussed at length the concept of biological scaling. Biological scaling attempts to explain how certain characteristics—heart rate, life expectancy, metabolic rate—change with size of the organism, and how they relate mathematically among species.
It turns out these physical characteristics and biological phenomena vary based on an organism’s mass according to the principle of 1/4 power scaling. A cat, for example, is 100 times more massive than a mouse, and lives 100 raised to the 1/4 power (=3.2) times longer. A mouse’s heart rate, in turn, is 3.2 times faster than a cat’s. Metabolism across species changes in a different but predictable ratio: 3/4 power scaling.
All this might make one consider starting a cult dedicated to the magical number of 4.
Rules of the Pythagorean order
Finally, a few words of wisdom from triangle enthusiasts of past millennia.
Thanks for reading, and stay curious!