🏡 cul de sac.

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

⚡️ happy monday.

i’m learning to think slower, and to talk more. what’s your plan this week?


as an aside: tesla’s new cybertruck is hideously ugly. however, i’m a huge fan of those who dare to break the mould. following the status quo kills innovation. it may not be pretty but it’s refreshing & that’s what matters most.


on the agenda this week: a new vision for neighbourhoods, deafened dolphins & the eradication of smallpox.

estimated reading time: 3m 35s.

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


👂 earworm: ato.

“i like to be alone
too much some would say
voices in my head, running relay
mood moving like, a ballet duet
beautiful for you i reckon.”

ato has just dropped his latest album, ep3:

leeds rapper ato has made his own lane in music: detailed anecdotes that are relatable, like almost missing a flight because you wanted to spend an extra hour with someone. and they're laid over lush production that ranges from james blake-esque layered tracks to club ready rhythms.

the fader.

stream now:
listen to ato’s new album on spotify or on apple music.


📚 word of the week:

“copacetic”.

fine; completely satisfactory; OK.

the united states of the 1960s experienced many social upheavals. but in one realm, all was copacetic.

new york times.


🤪 mildly humorous:

outtakes from the twitter-sphere.


🧠 brain candy:

🌳 cul de sac.

my friend lama & her team have just launched a new business focused on fundamentally improving real estate & life at large, it seems. the first car-free neighbourhood built from scratch in the u.s.

how we move determines how we live, and how we move is changing.

we’re undergoing the first major shift in transportation since the interstate highway system. private car ownership is giving ground to transportation that is on-demand, shared, and (on average) more environmentally friendly. that 1-mile trip to get ice cream is increasingly happening on shared bikes, electric scooters, or on foot. lyft shared and uber pool make daily trips more affordable. and there is a renewed interest in public transit investment, including the expansion of the light rail in phoenix.

people have responded by making different personal choices. in 1983, 46% of 16-year-olds had licenses. today, it’s just 24%.

fewer cars, less roadway, far less parking. new possibilities for how we live.

we’re building the first car-free neighborhood from scratch in the u.s. and we’re proud to say it will be in our hometown. culdesac tempe will have 1000 people and 0 private cars.

read more via culdesac.

🐬 dolphins in the ganges.

india’s ganga is a noisy river.

there’s the churning of sediment, the hums, grunts and growls of fishes and turtles. there are the cacophonous stretches of cities and industries breathing and dumping their waste into the river. then there’s the constant din of boats and ships, and the clamour of heavy machinery dredging the riverbed.

the gangetic river dolphins are effectively blind; they don’t really have use for eyesight in the shallow, sediment-rich, murky waters of the rivers they inhabit. instead, the mammals see with sound.

they produce ultrasonic clicks, and use this echolocation to find food, avoid ships and chart their way around the waters. they also modulate their clicks to talk to each other. but what does a dolphin do when its underwater home gets increasingly cacophonous?

read more via qz.

💉 smallpox, the speckled monster.

smallpox was one of the worst diseases humanity has ever faced & remains the only infectious disease to have ever been eradicated.

the reason? the world’s first iteration of a vaccine.

smallpox had one blessing, which people noticed long ago: if you survived it, you would never get it again. this even led to a theory that the cause of the disease included some innate seed, present in everyone; some poison in the blood that could be activated by the wrong trigger, but then expelled from the body for good.

which led to a simple, “so crazy it just might work” idea:

why not give yourself smallpox on purpose and just get it over with?

that was the idea of smallpox inoculation: deliberately communicate a mild form of the disease in order to confer immunity.

inoculation began as a folk practice. the inoculator, in one version, took contagious matter from the pocks of an infected person, put the liquid on a needle, and pricked the skin of the patient. they developed the fever in 7–9 days and passed through all the symptoms in a few weeks.

no one knew why, but the disease contracted in this way seemed to be milder and less deadly. (the best modern theory is that the body has a more effective immune response if the virus enters through the skin rather than the respiratory system).

read more via roots of progress.


that’s all for this week.

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

😌 see you next monday!


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👋 read one of my last 5 posts:

🌙 rising waters.

👂silence speaks volumes.

📈 smarter, not harder.

☄️ burnout.

🎲 growing old.

or click to see them all.