Sad Coffee Monthly #1 (July 2016)

Hey random internet person, welcome to my experimental monthly newsletter. Every month, I try to gather and summarise the most fascinating stuff on the web. The content is separated into categories for easy reference.

The first few issues will have some of my favourite old links so apologies for rehashing media you may have already seen.

*Please note that the newsletter was originally written for a Singapore audience, so some of the references might be obscure.

Something Inspirational

Iceland Defies Expectations in Euro 2016

Quick Football Facts:

Singapore: Population of 5 million+ (3 mil. citizens). National team of full-time players have trouble defeating Laos.

Iceland: Population of 300,000+. National team with part-time players beat England, one of the highest ranked teams in the world.

In a show of appreciation for their team’s performance at Euro 2016, thousands of Icelanders gathered to perform a chilling viking chant. Every single person in the crowd could be seen clapping their hands and roaring simultaneously in a slow crescendo that rocked the foundations of their little island.

I asked a friend’s dad if Singapore would ever be able to rally around anything the same way. He laughed and turned away as a single tear rolled down his cheek.

Something Educational

This is How You Get People Hooked on History

A delightfully quirky video detailing the general history of Japan. I dare you not to keep singing the soundbites.

Something Nifty

A Camera Accessory You Can’t Leave Home Without. (Because it’s always with you, get it?)

They say that your smartphone is better than any other camera you own because it’s the one that’s always with you. That must make the Pocket Tripod the best companion accessory.

It’s nothing more than a stand for your smartphone but it’s exactly the kind of bring-and-forget gadget you’ll appreciate when you’re trying to capture a landscape at dusk.

Casual photographers take note: a tripod is essential if you want to take crisp images in low light environments because our pathetic meat suits are incapable of keeping perfectly still. Being able to keep your camera in a fixed position also allows for creative shots like time-lapses.

It’s available at https://pocket-tripod.com/ with very reasonable shipping to most countries.

Something Healthy

Kombucha Tea: Helping You Maintain a Healthy Gut

I used to scoff at those old Yakult commercials featuring tiny animated “beans” as heroes of digestion. A battalion of them would gush out of a cute pink Yakult bottle and tumble along a tube of drab-looking intestines that would pulsate with color as soon as those “beans” rolled by. Finally, the camera would zoom out to capture a delighted boy with his thumbs up. Yeah, right.

Well, turns out those folks in Japan knew what they were doing.

If you’re not hip to bacterial science, our body plays host to trillions of microbes (we have more bacteria on and in our bodies than human cells). Many of them work tirelessly to keep us in operational condition, which leads us to probiotics.

Probiotics are a culture of beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tract. They “eat” food that our enzymes have broken down. In exchange, they produce useful vitamins, promote mineral absorption, boost our immune system, and generally help improve digestive function.

Unlike digestive enzymes, probiotics need to be supplemented because our bodies can’t produce them and they are pretty weak — stress and junk food depletes them. Our stomach acids alone are also designed to kill most bacteria, which is why it is recommended that we consume probiotics with dinner — the extra food acts as a kind of protective layer to let the bacteria get to where they need to.

Kombucha tea is just one of several foods that contain probiotics. Other natural sources include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, soft cheeses, kefir, sourdough bread and sour pickles. Of course, you can also go the supplement route. The nice thing about kombucha is the option to pair it with other tea flavours like green tea, chai and oolong.

Be forewarned, like many fermented foods, kombucha tea has a sour quality, regardless of any added flavouring. But you’re not drinking it for the taste anyway, right? Try kombucha tea at your favourite organic food store, or make it at home with this nifty recipe.

Something Productive

Honey: An App that Automatically Searches for Discount Coupons.

Honey is an app for your web browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Opera). Once installed, it stays in the background and doesn’t make a peep. But once you find yourself in an online store, Honey automatically trawls the web to seek out discount coupons that can be applied to the site you’re on.

That’s it.

You don’t have to do anything. Other than having to register with your email address, there’s no catch. At least none that I’ve discovered yet (I will update if this changes). It’s not perfect though, as it doesn’t work for all online stores.

Download it via the links below:

Referral Link (gives me bonus credit) 
Normal Link

Something John Oliver

The Questionable Headlines of Scientific Studies.

Alright, first off, if you’re wondering why there’s a topic dedicated to one person, it’s simple: I have a man crush on John Oliver. He and his talented team of writers have an impeccable ability to consistently expose the shenanigans that goes on in public institutions which are supposed to uphold truth and transparency. His YouTube channel focuses predominantly on American politics, but there are segments that are also relevant to an international audience.

This episode of “Last Week Tonight” touches on mainstream media’s voracious appetite for eye-catching headlines and how the scientific research community is feeding that hunger.

It seems there is great pressure for research institutes to consistently publish scientific papers that have “significant conclusions”, even when there’s nothing concrete to declare. This results in very misleading information being propagated.

The problem, however, isn’t that simple. Most researchers/scientists are earnest about their findings, and don’t make bold claims until their work has been validated by their peers. Mischief arises when the institutes they work for need to seek more funding. That’s when the PR reps might swoop in and misrepresent research data to reflect an important discovery, even though the resulting headline may have little or nothing to do with the actual research.

Anyway, John, in his trademark wit, effectively explains why this cycle of deceit will not slow down. Watch the video and be sure to stay for the skit at the end.

Something Cool

Sick of Millennials Trying to Pass Off Their Electronic Noise As Music? Check this Out.

This Swedish band just made a musical Rube Goldberg machine and it is mind-numbingly incredible. To think I was proud of myself for having made a pencil holder with leftover cardboard.

Something Quotey

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” ~ Ken Robinson

That’s all for this month! Hope you found a thing or two that tickled your neurons. If you would like Sad Coffee Monthly to be sent directly to your inbox, subscribe here. No spam. I promise.

Until next month, let the right stuff in.

Disclaimer: Sad Coffee is not affiliated with any of the products/services/companies/brands being featured, unless otherwise stated.