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2023#3

Header Image ©️ Shu Cheng Leslie

January 20, 2023 Issue#

Dear Bodhisattvas,

Today is the last solar term of the 24 solar terms - "Da Han" (Major Cold). There is an ancient saying, "With the arrival of light snow, everything is ready; with the arrival of major cold, everything is hidden."

In the northern regions of our country, there is no small 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 the 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, and 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, all the best, joy and happiness, 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 exercise increases the production of a special protein that is crucial for brain formation, learning, and memory, and helps protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline. This finding contributes to the development of accessible and affordable non-pharmacological methods to improve the health of older adults. The special protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), enhances neural plasticity and neuron survival. Animal studies have shown that increasing the availability of BDNF promotes memory formation and storage, enhances learning ability, and overall improves 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 short but intense exercise was the most effective method to increase BDNF compared to fasting for a day. 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 example. Pimgeek's digital garden is based on atomic notes and gradually built into a knowledge system, just like building with LEGO bricks.

In the Justalk app, the great master Park Chan recently posted a thread and mentioned people who are interested in card notes, knowledge management, second brain, and digital gardens, including product developers, idea popularizers, content creators, and researchers, etc.

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 Meditation" here.

3. The Value of Stupid Questions#

In his article, well-known American writer Derek Thompson discusses the value of asking "stupid questions" rather than "smart questions" during interviews. Derek explains that seemingly dumb or uninformed questions 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 inadvertently elevate the other person, but 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#

GPT-3, 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 used to train ChatGPT. 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 the unprecedented road video recordings created by autonomous vehicles and the synthetic training data created by AI, 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":

  1. Quiet Exit, Learned Helplessness, and Default Passive Response
  2. Self-Motivation
  3. Using Intermittent Journaling to Treat Negative Emotions
  4. The Evolutionary Direction of Human Civilization
  5. Who Decides for Us
  6. Mindfulness and Gratitude

6. Blog Updates#

Recently, I have updated 3 articles on my personal website:

  1. Why Write Notes
  2. Reflection: P.A.R.A and Heptabase
  3. Four Verses I Found at the Bamboo Forest Zen Temple in Mount Yaoshan

7. The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye#

Li Ao, the governor of Langzhou, paid a visit to 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 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, two volumes of scripture under a thousand pine trees. 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"

If you like the content of this issue, please share it with your friends to support me in continuing to write.
Feel free to reply to this email or send it to [email protected] to communicate with me.

Best regards,


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For more reading, please visit my website: JustGoidea

© 2023 Shu Cheng Leslie

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