January 20, 2023, Issue 3
Dear Bodhisattvas, greetings!
Today is the last solar term of the 24 solar terms - Da Han (Major Cold). There is an ancient saying, "With the arrival of the first snow, everything is ready; with the arrival of Major Cold, everything is hidden."
In the northern regions of our country, there is no period of Minor Cold during the Major Cold solar term. However, for most areas in the south, the coldest period is during the Major Cold solar term. After Major Cold, a new cycle begins, as the saying goes, "Winter has arrived, and spring is not far away."
During the period from Major Cold to the beginning of Spring, there are many important customs in both the northern and southern regions, such as getting rid of the old and welcoming the new, making preserved meats, offering sacrifices to the kitchen god, and year-end banquets.
On this occasion of the Spring Festival, I wish you and your family a happy and auspicious new year, may all your wishes come true, and may your family be filled with joy and good health!
The following is the main content of this issue, with an estimated reading time of about 5 minutes.
1. Six Minutes of High-Intensity Exercise Every Day Helps Delay Cognitive Decline
A new study published in the Journal of Physiology suggests that short but intense cycling exercises can increase the production of a special protein that is crucial for brain formation, learning, and memory, and can protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline. This finding contributes to the development of accessible and affordable non-pharmaceutical methods to improve the health of the elderly. The special protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), can enhance neural plasticity and neuron survival. Animal studies have shown that increasing the availability of BDNF can promote memory formation and storage, enhance learning ability, and overall improve cognitive function.
Researchers compared fasting for 20 hours, mild exercise (90 minutes of low-intensity cycling), high-intensity exercise (6 minutes of intense cycling race), and a combination of fasting and exercise. They found that compared to fasting for a day, short but intense exercise was the most effective way to increase BDNF. Compared to fasting (no change in BDNF concentration) or long-duration exercise (slight increase in BDNF concentration), BDNF increased 4-5 times.
2. Digital Gardens
Recently, the concept of digital gardens was discussed in a community, and it was widely recognized that the digital garden created by Pimgeek using Datenstrom Yellow and TiddlyWiki 5.x - "Learner's Digital Garden" - is an excellent template. Pimgeek's digital garden is based on atomic notes and gradually builds a knowledge system by combining them like building with LEGO bricks.
In the Justalk app, the great master Park Chan recently posted a thread, mentioning people who are interested in card notes, knowledge management, second brain, and digital gardens, including product developers, idea popularizers, content creators, and researchers, among others.
If you are not very clear about the concept of digital gardens, you can check out the introduction by Shao Nan in his newsletter "Product Thinking" here.
3. The Value of Stupid Questions
Derek Thompson, a well-known writer in the United States, discussed the value of asking "stupid questions" rather than "smart questions" in his article. Derek explained that questions that may seem unintelligent or show a lack of understanding can be the best way to learn because these stupid questions open up conversations and may lead to unexpected discoveries.
In our daily work and life, communication with others is inevitable. When we don't know how to proceed, we can try asking some stupid questions. In doing so, we not only indirectly elevate the other person, but we can also take advantage of the weakness of human nature (the desire to teach) to quickly gather the information we want.
4. AI Needs Algorithm Breakthroughs
The GPT-3 and ChatGPT, Craft AI, and Notion AI at the end of last year have shown us the power of technological progress. Although AI has made impressive progress by training on a large amount of human-created text, this method is limited by the availability of high-quality prose. According to researchers' predictions, AI will exhaust high-quality reading materials by 2027. They estimate that there are already 10 to 30 million books digitized, allowing AI to access hundreds of billions of words of content, although this number is within the range of 500 billion words that power the ChatGPT model. AI also needs access to visual data, and although they have been trained on millions of images, it will take a long time to cover the entire range of human-created visual output. There are some potential solutions, such as autonomous vehicles creating unprecedented road video records and AI creating synthetic training data, but ultimately, algorithm breakthroughs may be needed to fill the world with AI thoughts.
5. Updates to the Paid Column
Recently, I have updated 6 articles in the paid column of "Yi Wei Ke Hang":
- Quiet Exit, Learned Helplessness, and Default Passive Response
- Using Intermittent Journaling to Treat Negative Emotions
- The Evolutionary Direction of Human Civilization
- Who Decides for Us
- Mindfulness and Gratitude
6. Blog Updates
Recently, I have updated 3 articles on my personal website:
- Why Write Notes
- Thoughts: P.A.R.A and Heptabase
- Four Verses Discovered at the Bamboo Forest Zen Temple in Mount Yaoshan
7. The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye
Li Ao, the governor of Langzhou, went to visit Master Xuanhua, but was repeatedly turned away. So he personally went up the mountain to pay his respects.
The master held a scripture and paid no attention. The attendant said, "The governor is here."
Li Ao, who was impatient by nature, said, "Seeing is not as good as hearing."
The master called the governor, and Li Ao responded.
The master said, "How can you value your ears and belittle your eyes?"
Li Ao bowed and thanked him, then asked, "What is the Way?"
The master pointed up and down with his hand and asked, "Do you understand?"
Li Ao said, "I don't understand."
The master said, "The clouds are in the sky, and the water is in the bottle."
Li Ao was delighted and made a bow, reciting a verse: "Training the body to resemble the form of a crane, under a thousand pine trees, two volumes of scripture. I come to ask about the Way, without any extra words. The clouds are in the blue sky, and the water is in the bottle."
Excerpt from "The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp"
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© 2023 Shu Cheng Leslie