👂silence speaks volumes.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

✨ good morning.

on the agenda this week: the sounds of extinction, suckerfish & how maps affect how we view the world around us.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


👂 earworm:

“oh the only cardio we know is
running out of luck.”

maxime trippenbach, a.k.a. maxime., is an electronic-turned-indie-pop artist from ottawa, canada. max is soon self-releasing his debut album, whatevernowiscalled – an expansive project whose soundscapes perfectly capture max’s genre-blending appeal.

who is maxime (formerly known as maxd)? give us some short info about yourself.

i’m color blind, i like beer, my favourite color is yellow, i don’t quite know what i’m doing with my life just yet, and i’m ok with that.

pineapple on pizza! yay or nay?

if you don’t like pineapple on pizza it’s just because your taste buds haven’t fully developed yet. it’ll come. that being said, plain cheese pizza is by far the king of ‘zza.

where do you see yourself in ten years?

10 years from now? that’s a while. man, i can’t imagine i’d not still be doing music. i think the coolest thing in the world would be if i could do this stuff full-time. but whatever happens, i know i’m gonna keep making music no matter what.

- edm

stream now:
listen to maxime. on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week:

“remora”.

an obstacle, hindrance, or obstruction.

the great remora to any improvement in our civil code, is the reduction that such reform must produce in the revenue.

- charles caleb colton, lacon; or, many things in few words, vol. 1, 1820

as an aside, remora are also fish that attach themselves symbiotically to sharks.

their front dorsal fins evolved over time into an organ that sits like a suction cup on the top of their heads. this organ allows the remora to attach to a passing shark, usually on the shark’s belly or underside. sometimes they even attach to whales, manta rays, and the occasional diver.


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy:

📈 the sounds of extinction.

a chilling sentence to hear from a man who has dedicated his life to recording nature:

“over 50% of my recorded habitats are now silent.”

soundscape ecologist bernie krause used to go into the wild to record the chorus of nature. now, he has become an expert in the sound of extinction. his term for the sounds of all living organisms in the world’s habitat is “biophony.”

you have recorded more than 5,000 hours of sounds from different habitats, both marine and land, and more than 15,000 animal species. what are the greatest changes you have noticed over these five decades?

sadly, the greatest change is the overwhelming loss of density and diversity of species almost everywhere i go these days. in some places, like northern california, where i and my wife, katherine, live, we experienced the first completely silent spring (2015) i can ever remember in the nearly 80 years of my life. there were many birds, but they weren’t singing; it was the fifth year of the historic drought that descended on our section of the continent.

what is our culture losing by distancing itself from natural sounds?

in the end, before the forest echoes die, we may want to listen very carefully to the diminished but remaining voices of our world. we’ll quickly discover that we humans are not separate. instead, we’re a vital part of one fragile biome.

what is our culture losing by distancing itself from natural sounds?

in the end, before the forest echoes die, we may want to listen very carefully to the diminished but remaining voices of our world. we’ll quickly discover that we humans are not separate. instead, we’re a vital part of one fragile biome.

read more via the huffington post.

🗺 misleading maps.

when ian wright launched the brilliant maps twitter account and website back in 2014, to share his favourite cartographic finds, he had little inkling that it would prove such a hit. five years later, with almost 100,000 social followers and millions of annual visitors, he is left in little doubt about the universal appeal of a good map.

the vast populations of china, india and indonesia are strikingly demonstrated in the map above. canadian-born wright believes the fascination with maps lies in their ability to “very quickly and simply convey a huge amount of information.”

but he warns that maps can easily be used to mislead. “for example, the mercator projection, which remains among the most popular choices for creating maps, makes northern countries (especially those in europe) look much bigger than they actually are, while africa looks much smaller,” he says. “this subtly feeds into the idea that the larger northern countries are somehow more important.”

read more via the telgraph.


that’s all for this week.

i hope you hold me accountable to keep this interesting 😝.

😌 see you next monday!


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tell one of your colleagues what they’re missing out on 😈.

they can sign up here.

you can also share this on facebook
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🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read more of my posts:

📈 smarter, not harder.

☄️ burnout.

🎲 growing old.

🌪 a whirlwind.

⛔️ don't take it for granted.

🤖 i did not write this.

🌚 crime in space?

👁 an eye for an eye in hong kong.

🚦 green means go.

🚶‍♂️ everywhere, everywhen.

🇺🇸 a note on death.

🧠 life's ebb & flow.

😏 new emoji?

⚡️ the power of aligned incentives.

⏰ 176 days to the year 2020.

💡 rising from the ashes, again.

🎉 something new.

📈 smarter, not harder.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

🌙 good morning.

do you ever feel like you’re living in a film, somewhat disassociated from reality? someone is clearly directing you, & yet no matter how hard you look, you just can’t quite see the cameras?

on the agenda this week: horseradish, working smarter, & brain baths.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


👂 earworm:

“and we said
this has only just begun
in the end
time forever favours the young.”

i’ve been listening to a lot of sydney-based duo, vallis alps this week. they’re currently producing a new album, which has me very excited. young is my favourite track from their debut ep, which is four years old now.

when vallis alps took the australian music scene by storm with the release of ‘young’ on their debut self-titled ep at the beginning of 2015, it was a sucker punch to the heart for many who found themselves asking “who in the world are these guys and how are they making me feel all the feels right now?”

after that release, it was never going to be a question of talent when it came to the electronic/instrumental duo, but whether they were going to be able to follow up such a massive debut with more of the same.

one can’t help but think that despite everything they’ve achieved, we’ve only just scratched the surface of what vallis alps are capable of.

- the interns.

stream now:
listen to the track on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week:

“antipodal”.

relating to or situated on the opposite side of the earth.

the spot you're farthest from right now is called your "antipode."

as i've written before, every point on earth has an antipode directly opposite to it on the earth's surface. the antipode is the place you'd get to if you dug a hole directly through the center of the earth and came out the other side.

- ken jennings, condé nast traveler.


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy:

📈 new office hours.

work smarter, not harder—right?

in recent years, american educators have been paying increased attention to their students’ sleep needs, with growing debate about delaying school start times. now a number of businesses are following suit, encouraging their employees to work when their bodies are most awake.

“it’s a huge financial burden not to sleep properly,” dr. roenneberg said. “the estimates go toward 1 percent of gross national product,” both in the united states and germany.

at the denmark offices of the pharmaceutical company abbvie, employees design work schedules that take advantage of their biological strengths. a nine-hour training program helps them identify when they are ripe for creative or challenging projects, typically mornings for early risers and afternoons for late risers.

lower-energy periods are meant for more mundane tasks, like handling emails or doing administrative chores. workers save commuting time by avoiding rush hour traffic, and can better mesh their personal and professional lives — for example, by getting their children from school in the afternoon, then working from home in the evening after the kids are in bed.

read more via the new york times.

😴 brain baths.

a new study in healthy young people found that large amounts of cerebrospinal fluid (csf) squirt through the brain every 20 seconds during deep sleep.

it was this idea of csf as a brain wash—combined with recent evidence showing that sleep is important for clearing toxic metabolic waste products from the brain—that led boston university’s laura lewis and colleagues to investigate what csf does during sleep.

the team recorded neuronal activity, blood levels, and csf flow in two men and 11 women while they wore caps with eeg electrodes and slept in an fmri scanner for up to two and a half hours. the researchers knew from previous studies that when people are awake there’s some pulsing of csf associated with breathing, heart rate, and other motions of the body—a finding they also confirmed in this study. but in their sleeping subjects, they saw large waves of csf flow into the fourth ventricle of the brain about every 20 seconds. plus, the csf dynamics were coupled to the brain’s electrical activity.

read more via the scientist.


that’s all for this week.

i hope you hold me accountable to keep this interesting 😝.

😌 see you next monday!


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did you know that word of mouth is the only way something like this grows?

tell one of your colleagues what they’re missing out on 😈.

they can sign up here.

you can also share this on facebook
or tweet about it.

🚨 if you post a screenshot to instagram stories of your favourite part of the email & tag me (@sam.travel), i’ll repost the best ones.


🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read more of my posts:

☄️ burnout.

🎲 growing old.

🌪 a whirlwind.

⛔️ don't take it for granted.

🤖 i did not write this.

🌚 crime in space?

👁 an eye for an eye in hong kong.

🚦 green means go.

🚶‍♂️ everywhere, everywhen.

🇺🇸 a note on death.

🧠 life's ebb & flow.

😏 new emoji?

⚡️ the power of aligned incentives.

⏰ 176 days to the year 2020.

💡 rising from the ashes, again.

🎉 something new.

☄️ burnout.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

⚡️ good morning.

some of you noticed that i had disappeared without sending a newsletter for the past two weeks & reached out to me. let me catch you up to speed!

flying dublin-venice, dublin-london, dublin-london again, dublin-san francisco, dublin-barcelona & back again in less than a month can take its toll on the brain & body, as i quickly found out.

on the agenda this week: destiny, the overview effect & friendship.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


👂 earworm:

“if that feeling had a price
then i would gladly pay it
over and over and over
til i'm broke.”

dublin-born artist eden has just announced his sophomore album, no future (february 14th, 2020) & a brand new single, projector.

the accompanying video from directorial legends zhang + knight, who regularly collaborate with eden, help to elevate this melancholic track to a new level.

eden says: “life continues on, even if there's some drastic change or ending. whether we're talking about a relationship or the state of the world, the most catastrophic thing doesn't mean it's all over. things might shift, but it doesn't have to be the last page of anyone's book.”

(coup de main).

below is an excerpt from a reaction to his debut album, vertigo, which helps to encapsulate just what makes his music oh-so-special:

isolation has become the unintentional, core theme of this album. in its perfection and obscurity, it’s safe to assume the artist spent hours in isolation, devoting himself to the study of his sound and analysis of the genre.

his tracks bring to mind an image of meticulous hours in the bedroom with a macbook, testing certain pairings of sound, varying blends and arrangements until it was perfected. in a sense, this lends itself as an ode to the often overlooked, bedroom artists who have been so blatantly disregarded in the past for their reluctance to conform.

read more via atwood magazine.

stream now:

listen on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week:

“مَكْتُوب” or “maktub”.

an arabic word that directly translates as “it is written”. i stumbled across this while reading paulo coehlo’s, the alchemist.

"maktub," the merchant said, finally.
"what does that mean?"
"you would have to have been born an arab to understand," he answered. "but in your language it would be something like 'it is written."


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy:

🌍 the overview effect.

“if somebody’d said before the flight, 'are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?' i would have said, ‘no, no way.’
but yet when i first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, i cried.”
- alan shepard, nasa astronaut.

“from space i saw earth — indescribably beautiful with the scars of national boundaries gone.”
- muhammad ahmad faris, syrian astronaut.

first described in 1987, the overview effect describes a change in how astronauts feel as they hurtle through space. it's a profound change, incapable of being fully captured in words.

looking down on our little blue-green world, sheltered only by a paper-thin atmosphere, there comes an awareness. the incredible fragility of our planet and the pettiness of human borders become clear when looking at earth from space.

we're not sure of the psychological processes at play in the overview effect, but it is characterised by a strong emotional response. for many astronauts, looking at our planet from space and recognising its fragility can inspire an overwhelming urge to protect it.

read more.

🙏 an ode to friendship.

i often ponder friendship — that crowning glory of life — and the strain of protecting its sanctity from the commodification of the word “friend” in this age of social media. adrienne rich exposed the naked heart of it in her bittersweet assertion that “we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.” i side with astronomer maria mitchell in that the few who do accompany us intimately along the walk of life shape who we become, and with poet and philosopher david whyte in that “all friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness.”


but what, really, is the meaning and measure of friendship? like most things of beauty, it is slippery to define yet deeply felt. paradoxically, devastatingly, it is often recognized most acutely through its sudden loss. it lives most intimately not in the grand gestures but in the littlest things that add up, in the final calculus of life, to the bigness of any true bond.

read more.


that’s all for this week.

i hope you hold me accountable to keep this interesting 😝.

😌 see you next monday!


🦶 footer:

did you know that word of mouth is the only way something like this grows?

tell one of your colleagues what they’re missing out on 😈.

they can sign up here.

you can also share this on facebook
or tweet about it.

🚨 if you post a screenshot to instagram stories of your favourite part of the email & tag me (@sam.travel), i’ll repost the best ones.


🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read more of my posts:

🎲 growing old.

🌪 a whirlwind.

⛔️ don't take it for granted.

🤖 i did not write this.

🌚 crime in space?

👁 an eye for an eye in hong kong.

🚦 green means go.

🚶‍♂️ everywhere, everywhen.

🇺🇸 a note on death.

🧠 life's ebb & flow.

😏 new emoji?

⚡️ the power of aligned incentives.

⏰ 176 days to the year 2020.

💡 rising from the ashes, again.

🎉 something new.

🎲 growing old.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

🥴 hola.

72 hours in san francisco & i’m straight back home. jetlagged hops between timezones have really melted my brain this week—and so, just a short & sweet email this monday.

here’s an iphone view of iceland’s spectacular volcanic topography from 35,000 feet:

next monday’s newsletter will be coming to you live from barcelona 🇪🇸.

on the agenda this week: senescence, 100 blocks of time & going dutch.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


👂 earworm:

låpsley’s ep ‘understudy’ from 2015 floated it’s way into my eardrums this week.

fletcher is a master of blank space, using it in perfect measure with her pervasive vocals and delicate instrumentation; no bar feels too sparse and no chorus is left too bland. some might see it as a discredit, constantly referring back to låpsley’s elementary status. if anything, though, it should be a gesture towards things to come; from pitch shifting to spotless synths, ‘understudy’ is an ep constructed with confidence and exactitude – who knows what she could come up with next.

read more via diy.

stream now:

listen on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week

“senescence”:

1: the state of being old or the process of becoming old.
2: the growth phase in a plant or plant part (such as a leaf) from full maturity to death.

until we're all brain patterns on computers, there are still forces that do not bend to our wants, including senescence and death. (you'll talk like this, too, when you hit 40).

john hodgman, the new york times, 21 dec. 2018.


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy

🎲 100 blocks a day:

most people sleep about seven or eight hours a night. that leaves 16 or 17 hours awake each day. or about 1,000 minutes.


let’s think about those 1,000 minutes as 100 10-minute blocks. that’s what you wake up with every day.


it’s always good to step back and think about how we’re using those 100 blocks we get each day. how many of them are put towards making your future better, and how many of them are just there to be enjoyed? how many of them are spent with other people, and how many are for time by yourself? how many are used to create something, and how many are used to consume something? how many of the blocks are focused on your body, how many on your mind, and how many on neither one in particular? which are your favorite blocks of the day, and which are your least favorite?


imagine these blocks laid out on a grid. what if you had to label each one with a purpose?


you’d have to think about everything you might spend your time doing in the context of its worth in blocks. cooking dinner requires three blocks, while ordering in requires zero—is cooking dinner worth three blocks to you? is 10 minutes of meditation a day important enough to dedicate a block to it? reading 20 minutes a night allows you to read 15 additional books a year—is that worth two blocks?

read more.

🇳🇱 going dutch:

the dutch government has decided to stop describing itself as holland and will instead use only its real name – the netherlands – as part of an attempted update of its global image.

the national rebranding, which has been signed up to by business leaders, the tourist board and central government, will be rolled out later this year.

ministers want to shift the international focus from certain aspects of national life with which the country is commonly associated, such as its recreational drug culture and the red-light district of amsterdam.

as part of the new strategy, the netherlands will be the official brand at the eurovision song contest, which takes place in rotterdam next may, and during the olympic games in tokyo in 2020.

read more.


that’s all for this week.

i hope you hold me accountable to keep this interesting 😝.

😌 see you next monday!


🦶 footer:

did you know that word of mouth is the only way something like this grows?

tell one of your colleagues what they’re missing out on 😈.

they can sign up here.

you can also share this on facebook
or tweet about it.

🚨 if you post a screenshot to instagram stories of your favourite part of the email & tag me (@sam.travel), i’ll repost the best ones.


🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read more of my posts:

🌪 a whirlwind.

⛔️ don't take it for granted.

🤖 i did not write this.

🌚 crime in space?

👁 an eye for an eye in hong kong.

🚦 green means go.

🚶‍♂️ everywhere, everywhen.

🇺🇸 a note on death.

🧠 life's ebb & flow.

😏 new emoji?

⚡️ the power of aligned incentives.

⏰ 176 days to the year 2020.

💡 rising from the ashes, again.

🎉 something new.

🌪 a whirlwind.

welcome to sam’s brain drain, a weekly collection of thumb-stopping things to tap, read, & watch.

estimated reading time: 3m 51s.

🌪 well hello.

it’s been a whirlwind of a week. i woke up in london on friday morning to find out that i was on the homepage of cnn.

i was working remotely from london city & i had to checkity-check myself a few times before going about my day.

how surreal is that?


on the agenda this week: flying, meatless mondays & thomas cook.

⚡️ tag me on instagram or twitter if you enjoy this week's brain drain!


📄 a note on flying:

by the time this email reaches you on monday morning, i’ll be fast asleep in san francisco (jetlag dependent) for an extremely brief 48 hour stop.

by now, i feel i have a pretty good hold of the standard flying hacks—here’s one that seems to go unmentioned: when checking in for a flight, don’t do it immediately.

wait until a few seats have been pre-selected. then find a row that either has the window or aisle seat booked and book your opposing preference. i’ve had a window & middle seat to myself on 6 flights in the past 10 days. glorious.


👂 earworm:

emawk is a multi-faceted musician. his latest track, "18", is a story of growing up and falling in and out of love.

this visual is truly a special one. when you listen to emawk, you can tell that there is an immense amount of care that is being put into every note, melody and sound that is presented. his meticulous nature allows him to convey to his listeners every point of view that he sees. when it comes to this music video, the same feeling is felt. it plays like a movie but not so much to where it would overshadow the music. this is a visual that you’ll want to replay over and over again.

read more via lyrical lemonade.

stream now:

listen on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week

“cimmerian”:

a member of a mythical people living in perpetual mist and darkness near the land of the dead.

what to you is clear as the daylight, may to me be as densely impenetrable as the cimmerian night.

- essays on scandinavian literature, hjalmar hjorth boyesen


🤪 mildly humorous:

some quality tweets this week.


🧠 brain candy

🌍 meatless mondays:

global meat consumption has more than doubled since the 1960s, and meat production is set to double again by 2050. in one way, that’s a good thing — proof that rising incomes are supporting higher living standards in developing countries. but americans, famous for enjoying too much of a good thing, still eat three times as much meat as the global average. for solid self-interested reasons, they and other rich-world diners ought to curb their appetite.


consider this: livestock are responsible for 12% of man-made greenhouse-gas emissions, more than the entire aviation industry. most of that comes from just one animal: the humble, gassy cow. on a per-calorie basis, cattle are responsible for vastly more emissions than chickens and pigs, in part because their digestive systems produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. from a climate-change perspective, serving your family roast beef at dinner is as bad as driving about 100 miles in the average car.

read more.

✈️ thomas cook ceases operations:

founded in the 1840s by a victorian entrepreneur of the same name, thomas cook started out by running train trips through the english midlands. the business expanded as britain’s growing middle class discovered they had more time -- and money -- to discover the delights of continental europe. briefly absorbed into the state rail company soon after world war ii, the company got its biggest boost in the 1970s and 1980s as britons sought the sun on a cheap budget. the ad slogan “don’t just book it, thomas cook it” entered the national psyche. but the company labored under its large debt burden and the costs associated with maintaining a high-profile presence in britain’s provincial towns. nimbler online rivals ate into its core business and a succession of turnaround plans failed to stick, while the sluggish european vacation market and uncertainty over the economic impact of brexit crimped demand more recently.


the slowing global economy and signs of a pullback in chinese tourist travel may have prevented fosun tourism from raising its bailout package. the company, which bought into thomas cook in 2015, “is probably concerned about spending too much to get too little on their investment,” said andrew collier, managing director of orient capital research in hong kong. “this marks a deeply sad day for the company which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world,” ceo fankhauser said monday.

read more.


that’s all for this week.

i hope you hold me accountable to keep this interesting 😝.

😌 see you next monday!


🦶 footer:

did you know that word of mouth is the only way something like this grows?

tell one of your colleagues what they’re missing out on 😈.

they can sign up here.

you can also share this on facebook
or tweet about it.

🚨 if you post a screenshot to instagram stories of your favourite part of the email & tag me (@sam.travel), i’ll repost the best ones.


🎉 get social:

instagram: @sam.travel

twitter: @sammcallister

email me: smcallis[at]gmail.com

website: sammcallister.me


👋 read more of my posts:

⛔️ don't take it for granted.

🤖 i did not write this.

🌚 crime in space?

👁 an eye for an eye in hong kong.

🚦 green means go.

🚶‍♂️ everywhere, everywhen.

🇺🇸 a note on death.

🧠 life's ebb & flow.

😏 new emoji?

⚡️ the power of aligned incentives.

⏰ 176 days to the year 2020.

💡 rising from the ashes, again.

🎉 something new.

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