in: Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends: May 31, 2024

A vintage metal box labeled "Odds & Ends" with a blurred background, photographed on April 14, 2023.

Reach Ultraclean Dental Floss. PFAS are “forever chemicals” that have been linked to thyroid disease, obesity, immune suppression, reproductive problems, and cancer. They’re used in things like carpets, cookware . . .  and, we recently learned, dental floss. A study found that those who use PFAS-containing floss have higher levels of the chemical in their bodies. This is, of course, correlational, and the use of such floss has not been proven to cause health effects. But heck, why keep using it if you don’t have to, since there are floss brands/types that don’t contain PFAS that might leech into your body? The trick is to find one that doesn’t feel like crap on your gums (PFAS are what give floss its nice glide). After deciding to switch from our old standby, PFAS-containing Oral B Glide, we discovered a winner of a replacement: Reach Ultraclean. Strong and rubbery, it doesn’t shred between your teeth, and it moves in and out of their gaps with a satisfying twang that makes flossing just a bit more enjoyable. 

If you’ve wanted to, but haven’t yet made flossing in general a habit, you can bet we’ve got an article on that.

The Social Network. I hadn’t seen this film since it originally came out almost 15 years ago and recently rewatched it with the family. It’s a great flick, which shrewdly frames the founding of Facebook as a story of a man seeking status (at the heart of everything, you’ll always, always find the fight for status). Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg is so well-acted, and Aaron Sorkin’s snappy dialogue of course crackles. Even though the main characters in the story don’t come off very well, it made me nostalgic for the early days of the web, when things were still new, exciting, and fun, people were scheming and dreaming about doing something big on the net, and college students could create things in their dorm room that became billion-dollar empires. It was a time for launches. (AoM debuted two years after FB opened to the general public. Memories.)

“The Ambling Mind” by L. M. Sacasas. For some reason this year, I’ve naturally been waking up earlier. Instead of sitting around the house until the kids get up, I go out and take a two-mile walk around my neighborhood. I really enjoy it. This article by L.M Sacasas highlights one of the joys of walking outside: it’s a great way to think through things. There’s something about walking that juices your cognitive gears. Which is why many of history’s great philosophers like Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche were walkers. For more on the all-around powers of walking, check out this article we published a decade back: “Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved By Walking.”

The Anatomy of Courage by Lord Moran. Charles McMoran Wilson, 1st Baron Moran, commonly known as Lord Moran, is most famous for being Winston Churchill’s personal physician from the period of WWII until Churchill’s death. But back in WWI, he served as a medical officer in the Royal Fusiliers for two and a half years. During that time, he closely observed how soldiers responded to the stresses of war. Moran offers interesting insights and opinions on what qualities make men more or less vulnerable to fear and susceptible to cowardice, and what conditions are apt to lead men to break down or hold together.

Quote of the Week

Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor.

—Benjamin Disraeli

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