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Underrated reasons to be thankful

Underrated reasons to be thankful


·November 24, 2022


Having traveled in many third-world countries I wake up every day thankful that I have a house with a roof and walls and a floor, and water that comes out of a tap that is safe to drink. Not only that, but I have hot water that I don't have to fetch firewood for. And lights that come on at night when I flip a switch. These are unimaginable luxuries for millions of people around the world.

And don't even get me started about refrigerators and air conditioning.


Hot showers are a truly amazing luxury. Historically not even the wealthiest people on the planet have had access to them. It’s a nice thing to think about when it’s 0 degrees outside and you’re taking a shower for probably a few pennies of water and electricity.


It's somehow strange because in any sunny place, all you need to have hot showers is a black surface tank. Could have been done very long ago at scale.


In sunny places that either aren't too cold or have access to high quality transparent insulation.


The 1940 census in the USA reported 50% of the homes having indoor plumbing.

When the first electric lights arrived in towns or villages people would gather after dark just to enjoy the light. We're spoiled, it's hard to find true darkness anymore, but pre-electricity having light after dark meant you were burning something or you were in the dark. Eons of having the night mean you couldn't see anything and now we don't even think about it.

We're just whiny, spoiled kings who live on top of supply chains.


Russia is still only at about 80%. Will catch up to 100% at the next iteration of the state maybe?


Right, I guess the Fantines of today are whiny spoiled queens(?) because they might have paid access to an apartment, food and water, electricity... Hell, they may even have a smartphone. What have they to complain about? They should be thankful! It could've been worse!


It's easy to be thankful when you're loaded with money.

When you're not, other feelings take their place.


My favorite, although there's so much amusing in here.

> That MSG—a standard amino acid glued to a sodium atom—is naturally present in lots of things like tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes, and parmesan cheese, meaning Italian food is high in MSG, which is good because MSG is harmless and delicious should be enjoyed by everyone including people with psychosomatic issues.

I read a comment by some chef, who, when asked by another chef why she has a giant tub of MSG beneath her sink, said, "Why don't you have a giant tub of MSG beneath your sink?"

MSG is wonderful. It does not give you a headache; that was debunked decades ago. If it had been discovered recently, instead of 1908:

it would be as trendy as kale. I've heard only one compelling argument against it:

If a food has too much umami you can't taste all the other flavors in it.


Kombu, as it's called in Japan, is a seaweed that has a good amount of glutimate in it. It's a bit rough, and as far as I know they don't leave it in dishes, just to make the broth. It's the bay leaf of the umami world.


In Chinese MSG is called 味精 (wèijīng) or “flavor essence” and it is used liberally in home cooking.


I think sometimes people take too much for granted and can overthink thanksgiving. Just having the means to read this site means you probably have hundreds of things to be grateful for, like the ability to read and the leisure time to do so. But maybe that perspective comes from practicing gratitude daily rather than only once a year (not shading the holiday, it is great to also dedicate a special day).

More relevant to the article, several of these things seem calibrated to cause division and strife at the thanksgiving dinner table. Sometimes being the drama can be fun, and I think the following would Do the trick:

> That electric leaf blowers now exist and perhaps we can develop a new understanding that it’s chill to not spew intermittent pitch-shifting mechanical shrieking sounds at deafening volumes all the time everywhere?

> That ghosts don’t exist, which wasn’t obvious a thousand years ago.


>the ability to read

This. A lot of people take for granted how cool it is to have a working pair of eyes. Or being able to hear everything. Or have all four limbs.

We only appreciate health once we lose it.


I really only have one working eye

but I still manage to take it for granted most of the time. I'm usually just annoyed at the other one (causes minor physical discomfort, but my brain has learned to just kind of ignore the off-axis blurry signals from it) but never appreciate the normally working one

Thanks, Right Eye!

And fuck you, Left Eye


Good thoughts to keep in mind before dispensing any roundhouse kicks.


In the past 1000 years, hasn't the overall set of ghostly evidence increased? Reported sightings, suspicious photos/videos/images, reported haunted houses and locations, etc.?

Even if one finds the reported evidence unconvincing, it seems difficult to definitively prove that ghosts do not exist.


In the past 300 years, the incidence of plate glass, mirrors, insulation, and electricity have gone from almost never to almost everywhere.

There are 'ghost hunting' groups that go around trying to identify ghosts by process of elimination. All of them find some other reason for the noises, the tingly feelings, the gusts of air, the creaking floorboards caused by east-west heating gradients.

Turns out a tingly sensation is usually your house trying to burn itself down via an electrical short, so in at least some cases they help people by doing this work.


I'd say that's evidence that "many ghosts appear to manifest as emergent behavior from a confluence of explainable natural phenomena."

I'm not a ghost expert, but this seems to be to be a fairly definitive proof of the existence of (some) ghosts.


> it seems difficult to definitively prove that ghosts do not exist.

It's pretty difficult to definitively prove anything doesn't exist.

Big Foot, unicorns, leprechauns, grachflaxaprods. I made the last one up just now, but hard to prove it doesn't exist.

I think that when people say things like you did, like the existence of ghosts or Santa Claus, it is generally presented as binary choice. They exist or they don't. In reality, it is a continuum and looked at as the odds for something like that to exist. So the odds that a different species of lemurs exist and we have not found it might be 80%. But that a god exists, let alone the one that you happen to believe in rather than the other 10,000+ that have existed, is .0000000000000000000...0000000000000000001%.

For example, I'm not saying a god doesn't exist, but I AM saying that the odds are not binary, meaning a 50/50 chance. Agnosticism therefore is an extremely weak position. This is important, because no scientist is going to try to prove leprechauns exist, because the odds are so exceedingly low that it is a bad choice to try to prove it. Sure, one scientist in the world might, but the vast majority don't. It's a poor choice of where to beneficially spend one's time.

And on some things, like a god, the odds are so extremely low that you might as well be like limits in calculus - you just say "close enough" and say it is zero odds of a god existing, so practically speaking, you're an atheist. Which isn't to say that if the evidence changes, as a scientist you would wouldn't change your mind - of course a scientist would...because there is evidence. However, the evidential burden would and should be quite high that this "entity" is indeed a god.

And really, a god's power is really only just atom-moving (or changing quantum field states if you prefer). For example, if we take the story of Jesus turning water into wine, people look at it as "turning water into wine", but it isn't. Not really. It is just moving atoms. "Turning water into wine" is a misnomer. What actually happens is take H2O atoms, grab two Carbon atoms and extra 4 Hydrogens atoms and rearranging them into C2H5OH - Ethanol alcohol. This is the reality. Jesus was just an atom twiddler. Sure, wine might have more actual atoms arranged into additional molecules, but still it is the same thing. So when you think about it, Jesus had to take the Carbon and extra hydrogen from the air or dirt on the ground or rearrange the atoms into a different molecule.

It's the same thing with everything - bringing Lazurus back from the dead? No. Jesus just twiddled some atoms in Lazurus' body.

This is pretty much true for any god.

If I can move individual atoms, like the replicator in Star Trek, am I a god? If I can bring atoms into existance from quantum fields, am I a god?

Ooops, got off track there on the whole god (Jesus) "miracle" thing, sorry.


I expect it's a matter of scale. Game designers are more powerful than the gods within their virtual worlds. I imagine that having arbitrary control over matter, energy, time and space in the physical world at small scale would qualify you as a small-scale god. At planet, galaxy or universe-scale that sort of omnipotence would qualify you as a rather serious deity - especially since it would presumably enable immortality, omniscience, etc..


After reading this article [0] today, I am thankful I have enough to feed my children. It is strange to feel relief and be distraught at the same time.



How about we simplify it a bit:

My dog

Having a job

Parents and relatives who don’t get involved in scams. Except that one aunt.

Living in a first world country and not having to deal with citizenship issues.

No need to add all this additional complexity to something that should be so simple.


> Except that one aunt.

There's one in every crowd.


Pretty sure the article is just for fun. But also you can be grateful for both simple and complex things at the same time.


Totally agree! Just offering a counter point. All in good fun.


The author's last-years underrated reasons to be thankful was also excellent:


Surprising that he seems to believe in the hard problem of consciousness ('21:10) but then seems to doubt contiguous selfhood ('21:13) and then claims that ghosts don't exist ('22:17).


> That electric leaf blowers now exist and perhaps we can develop a new understanding that it’s chill to not spew intermittent pitch-shifting mechanical shrieking sounds at deafening volumes all the time everywhere?

I've recently heard some less-deafening electric leaf blowers which sound more like hair driers and seem to lack the piercing, high-pitched "siren screech/banshee wail" of older electric models. I hope they catch on.


Working dry erase markers. You don’t realize until you need to whiteboard something and all the markers are dried out and useless.


I'm thankful that dry erase markers will take Sharpie off of the whiteboard.


I thought one of our artists was going to kiss me when I showed him this trick.

He'd been drawing an elaborate picture on our white board with a permanent marker some idiot transferred from a paper easel. He got nearly the whole thing drawn without any mistakes, and only as he was finishing did he realize he couldn't erase it. Boy was that an emotional roller coaster.


That's why I always carry my own - especially for whiteboard interviews.


Do us all a favor and throw the dead ones away.

I've watched I don't know how many people cycle through three dead markers on a white board and put them all back. The only way a conference room ends up with 3 dead markers is because it has 3 dead markers and nobody does anything about it. When there are no markers left new ones will show up, one way or another.


> it is known in Holland as “peanut cheese” which I guess is a testament to the power of the Dutch butter lobby?

Surprised that both the (tree) nut and (dairy) butter lobbies aren't up in arms against (this so-called) peanut butter, demanding that it be called legume spread!


At least peanut is a fabaceae or it'd be false advertising all around.


That was my second favorite one.

peanut cheese - "it's naturally non-dairy!"


Here's one: that you don't have progressive lung disease.

Enough of you I am sure have experienced briefly with COVID what it's like to acutely lose the freedom of an unobstructed breath.

(And I hope those of you with long COVID are seeing eventual remission.)


Every time I go out to eat I'm thankful that someone was willing to make that food for me. Food prep, especially at restaurants, is a ton of work. When I cook on my own and realize how much work it can be to make a single dish I'm super thankful that someone else was willing to make some for me for money.

Of course maybe if they don't actually want to do it and just have to do it for income I shouldn't be so thankful?


17. Ghosts don’t exist

I wish someone would tell the people I love about this. Nah, never mind, they don’t need to know.

Oh, BTW, it’s usually when I’m most confident that I’m wrong.


I was driving back from a remote film shoot with a colleague and client last week. The client was absolutely incredulous that neither of us believed that ghosts were real. I was in a fair bit of shock at her reaction!