The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes by Donald D. Hoffman is an absolutely fascinating book that changed the way I look at the world. It posits theories that assert that the world is not what we think it is. It suggests that every experience we have is like a set of icons on a computer screen, simplifying what’s really happening underneath. Hoffman writes that nothing we sense is real, and goes about proving it in a variety of mind-boggling ways.
According to the theory, as we evolved, the way we perceived our unseen and infinitely complex existence has become a simplified interface because the true nature of our existence is too calorically expensive.
All our perceptions and actions have one goal: “fitness payoffs,” which increase the chances of survival of our DNA. Treading the familiar path of Darwinism, this assures that humans most capable of surviving to reproductive age will be most likely to pass along those traits to the next generation.
The most astonishing claim in The Case Against Reality: Space and time do not actually exist, but serve as a user-friendly canvas on which our efforts to obtain fitness payoffs play themselves out. Being a life-long space-and-time dweller, that concept alone stretches my comprehension to its boundaries and beyond.
These ideas are currently turning the world of physics upside down, perhaps changing everything as we know it in the realm of quantum physics and the so-called “hard problem” of consciousness, as well as the Theory of Everything.
I’m eager to see what becomes of this theory and if the truth of our existence emerges from it. In the meantime, this will require a lot of thought, something I greatly value when reading mind-bending books like this. If you’re up for a wild ride, The Case Against Reality is the book for you. Whew!
If there’s an object in my home that I use every day, I tend to choose that item carefully. But for some reason, I never chose drinking glasses with such discernment … until now. I saw these Duralex Picardie glasses recommended in a trustworthy publication, and I was wondering what all the fuss was about. I decided to order the largest Duralex Picardie tumblers and find out.
Over the past two months, I have been surprised at how wonderful these 17.62 oz (0.52 L) Duralex Picardie tumblers are, and what a difference they’ve made in my quality of life. I hadn’t realized that I had been drinking out of cheap copies of this particular design for all my life. But the subtle difference between those knockoffs and these classic tumblers was significantly noticeable with daily use.
Duralex Made In France Picardie Tumbler Set of 6, 17.62 oz
The delicate rise in the beltline of these glasses — a feature that’s absent in the cheap knockoffs — gives my fingers an inviting place to hold onto. The elegantly flared lip at the top allows a more pleasing interface between glass and mouth. The feel of the glass itself is smoother and easier to grip than any other I’ve encountered. And the impression of bulletproof durability is unmistakeable (even though I’m sure these tumblers are not bulletproof).
The result? A delightful, profoundly different experience while drinking liquids that affects me multiple times every day. It’s hard for me to believe that a mere piece of glassware could be so enjoyable to use, but there it is. I can’t recommend these glasses enough. They’re a delight to have and to hold and they’ve genuinely improved my life by a tiny, yet persistent degree.
Could there be a pair of truly wireless earphones that are as good or better than Apple’s AirPods? My new answer after listening to these Lightsky wireless earbuds for a day is an unqualified yes.
These sound better because of their tight seal on the ear canal and internal magic. They don’t have the Apple-esque coolness like the ability to see how much charge they have left on the iPhone screen, but they still have charge indicator lights and a similar charging case. And they are a bit balky with starting them up if you don’t insert them at exactly the same time, but I think I’ll get the hang of that soon enough.
I’m willing to overlook those slight shortcomings, though, because these Lightsky wireless earbuds have much better bass, cleaner highs, better comfort and they don’t look goofy with that white stick growing out of my ears. Best of all, at $49.99 they cost less than a third of Apple’s $159 AirPods.
They’re just as wireless and magical, but not quite as effortless. In my view, the effortlessness difference is so slight, it’s nowhere near $109.01’s worth of effort. I don’t know about you, fellow Apple fans, but I’m getting tired of paying the Apple Tax. And now my dear wife will stop calling me a space alien with those white sticks growing out of my ears!
This iPulse Minimalist carbon fiber wallet is the smallest wallet I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s excellent. It looks better than it does in these pictures, and it’s literally as small as a wallet can get and still be practical. It’s exactly the width of a credit card. The coolest feature is the way you can pull a little tab and your credit cards are magically offered up to you. Please take a look at this coolness on the video I shot.
It’s hard to photograph the beauty of carbon fiber, but this iPulse Minimalist wallet is certainly attractive with its 3D looks. It’s also so light you can hardly tell you’re holding it in your hand. I get compliments on it anytime anyone sees it — especially when I pull that little tab. And if you don’t like the idea of a minimalist wallet, its RF protection against electronic snooping makes it a perfect business-card or passport case as well.
And the most astonishing thing about it is its price: $19.98 on Amazon. Worth it!
There’s nothing like real leather. That’s what you get with this elegant iPulse card-holder leather case for iPhone X ($24.98). Its compact construction lets the iPhone X seem as slim as it is while allowing room for several credit cards, your driver’s license and a few bills. You’ll be able to go without your wallet!
Looking more closely, you can plainly see the master craftsmanship that went into the creation of this product. It’s simply perfect, with precise stitching along with that natural patina and the unmistakable scent of real leather. Continue reading
For the money, you’d have a hard time finding a better drone than the Tozo Q2020 ($35.99). This little aircraft is about the size of your open hand, and it’s loaded with sophisticated features. Best of all, it’s easy to use, once you get the hang of adjusting the trim and flying with four channels.
The problem is, to improve your flying skills with this product, you will need to practice a lot. The easiest thing to facilitate that would be to get another six batteries, so you can keep flying almost continuously. But despite the inadequate instructions, you can look for help on YouTube and then get your hands on, learning how it feels to fly this mini-beast. What fun!
This is the perfect drone for beginners and an especially good intermediate trainer that can take some brutal impacts and emerge unscathed. It’s dependable and will hold up to just about anything. This is a remarkable value.
My old 120GB SSD was getting way too full, so it was time for an upgrade. What would be the best SSD replacement for a 5-year-old PC? I emailed my trusty PC maker Jon Bach at Puget Systems (who made the best PC I have ever owned) to find out. He recommended this Samsung 850 Pro SSD, one that has never failed on him or any of his customers after installing thousands of these into the computers he sells over the past five years. All that was left was to determine the storage capacity.
Black Friday was right around the corner, so I laid in wait. Sure enough, the price for the Samsung 850 Pro came down about 10% and I jumped for the 1TB version. I was concerned about installation difficulties, mainly migrating all my data from the old drive to the new. My fears were unfounded because Samsung provides a terrific migration software tool. Please note: the easiest way to use this software is to get a cheap $12 USB-to-SATA III adapter for the new SSD, and simply plug it into a USB 3.0 port on your PC. Samsung’s migration software promptly makes a clone for you and then you can replace the old drive with the new. For me, the freshly cloned drive booted up immediately.
At first, it was difficult to tell anything happened. When I looked at my “this PC” window, there was the new drive C, with a huge cornfield’s worth of space waiting for me. Mission accomplished! I did a few tests and this drive is spectacularly fast! I have what feels like limitless space and limitless speed now (look at the impressive CrystalDiskMark scores above — to give you some context, 10 years ago a 50MB/s read/write speed was considered miraculous). Best of all, I got a relatively new-tech drive that formerly retailed for more than $700 for less than $400. I couldn’t be happier with this purchase of the Samsung 850 Pro.
If you’re looking for an Apple Watch band that’s as good as the ones Apple sells but costs about 90% less, here’s a candidate from LDFAS. It’s a $31.99 link bracelet with a beautiful, clean look, and its color matches my Space Gray Apple Watch.
This one is unlike any Apple watch band I’ve seen. It’s partly rigid (see my pictures of it to see what I mean) because of the close proximity of the links — they are so close together, they don’t move or bend much. But the band is engineered to fit the wrist perfectly, so it always looks smart and feels perfectly comfortable. Continue reading