My only tip for you in 2022 and forward

Change your beliefs to align with reality instead of finding an alternate reality that aligns with your ideas.

It’s ok if you feel hurt, upset, and disappointed when the objective reality challenges your beliefs; throw some tantrums if you like as long as you eventually correct your thoughts to align with science, evidence, and history.

We need critical thinkers and fact-checkers to face the global challenges ahead of us.

I am one of those pandemic sourdough bakers

I am one of those people who started baking sourdough buns during the lockdown. I’ll try going through this blog post without any bun jokes!

I had never done any baking before, but the idea of nurturing and attending to a homegrown yeast colony that leads to a delicious treat has been a helpful momentary distraction from a world pandemic. I noticed that kneading dough could lightly fool my touch starved nerves when I spent months without giving and receiving human touch.

The idea of using only three ingredients, water, salt, and flour, appealed to my appreciation for minimalism. Yet, I had many parameters to adjust and watch for, such as time, temperature, and moisture. I tried baking more complex recipes and very quickly gave up.

I am guilty of soliciting Likes and validations on social media to remind my friends that I still exist and officially living like a monk due to the circumstances.

It took me a couple of extra weeks to grow a starter active enough to bake loaves of bread. My first few buns were suitable substitutes for construction material and good candidates for mercy killing! Things started to improve after the first ten attempts.

I even added a few pictures of buns on my dating profile, but I don’t think it made much of a difference. Next time I’ll bake a loaf that looks like a fish!

I don’t remember the last time that I bought bread from the market. I now make my own. Surprisingly I consumed less bread than before, and every slice of toast is ever more satisfying. I am guilty of soliciting Likes and validations on social media to remind my friends that I still exist and officially living like a monk due to the circumstances.

I even added a few pictures of buns on my dating profile, but I don’t think it made much of a difference. Next time I’ll bake a loaf that looks like a fish!

So here we go, enjoy the progression of my pandemic sourdough baking journey:

I think I’ve officially mastered this. My starter is active and hungry to eat more flour
I think I’ve officially mastered this. My starter is active and hungry to eat more flour
My third bread ever, I notice an improvement compare to the first one that was a door stopper
My third bread ever, I notice an improvement compare to the first one that was a door stopper
Bread No. 5 turned out even better than Mambo No. 5 ... har har!
Bread No. 5 turned out even better than Mambo No. 5 … har har!
Bread No. 13 - Oregano ? sourdough bread and I pushed the hydration a bit too. My apartment smells like delicious fancy pizza crust!
Bread No. 13 – Oregano ? sourdough bread and I pushed the hydration a bit too. My apartment smells like delicious fancy pizza crust!
Bread No. 21 - is a new flour from @anitasorganic that I’m experimenting with. It has 40% whole grain in the mix and it was the most well-behaved dough to work with. Of course, I had to add a whole pack of ? oreganos to the mix, because why not. It now smells like sourdough whole grain pizza crust. I noticed that it is quite challenging to get consistent exterior results if I stick to the standard baking time. Next time I’m going to watch the bun during the last 5 minutes and pull it out as soon as it has the right texture and colour.
Bread No. 21 – is a new flour from @anitasorganic that I’m experimenting with. It has 40% whole grain in the mix and it was the most well-behaved dough to work with. Of course, I had to add a whole pack of ? oreganos to the mix, because why not. It now smells like sourdough whole grain pizza crust. I noticed that it is quite challenging to get consistent exterior results if I stick to the standard baking time. Next time I’m going to watch the bun during the last 5 minutes and pull it out as soon as it has the right texture and colour.
Bread No. 30 - I reduced the rise time to 8 hours and baked the loaf at 400F. What I’ve learned is that the dough is more likely to come out in a uniform shape in lower temperatures. The holes are accurate metaphors of how I feel inside ? after 6.5 months of social isolation.
Bread No. 30 – I reduced the rise time to 8 hours and baked the loaf at 400F. What I’ve learned is that the dough is more likely to come out in a uniform shape in lower temperatures. The holes are accurate metaphors of how I feel inside ? after 6.5 months of social isolation.
Bread No. 31 - a rosemary sourdough loaf baked at a lower temperature. Also, three leaves are better than two.
Bread No. 31 – a rosemary sourdough loaf baked at a lower temperature. Also, three leaves are better than two.
Bread No. 32 - as the weather gets colder, I’m relying on the heater to let the dough rise overnight. We are on a two-week COVID-19 lockdown again here in BC because the numbers have been rising for the past few weeks.
Bread No. 32 – as the weather gets colder, I’m relying on the heater to let the dough rise overnight. We are on a two-week COVID-19 lockdown again here in BC because the numbers have been rising for the past few weeks.
Bread No. 38 - I’m not going to cut this loaf for another hour so I can appreciate how it looks a bit longer!
Bread No. 38 – I’m not going to cut this loaf for another hour so I can appreciate how it looks a bit longer!

Got Ink

I guess this doesn’t qualify for Inktober, but October is also my birthday month, and I treated myself to inks. These tattoos are done by the skilled and talented hands of Jamie Kan @jamezkan, and the 5-hour session felt like therapy.

Maidenhair tattoo by Jamie kan, Vancouver, Canada
Daffodils tattoo by Jamie Kan, Vancouver, Canada

Superintelligence – Paths, Dangers, Strategies – by Nick Bostrom

Superintelligence - Paths, Dangers, Strategies - by Nick Bostrom

To be frank, I got this book because I liked the owl on the cover, and I have a thing for owls! If you are into machine learning and artificial intelligence thought experiments, you would want to read Superintelligence.

According to the Swedish author, Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence is any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest. He believes if machine brains surpass human brains in general intelligence, this new superintelligence could replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Earth. The book explores multiple scenarios that superintelligence can happen and how we can detect or possibly contain it.

I think, by the time a superintelligent agent is born, it will be too late, and it will either kill us all or adopt us as their pets!

Nick Bostrom is a Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute. This book has small text, long sentences, and sizable paragraphs, so it takes a committed reader to make it to the other side of the book.