Underrated reasons to be thankful

(dynomight.substack.com)

186 points | by maccaw 8 days ago

34 comments

  • lisper 8 days ago
    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.

    • vlunkr 8 days ago
      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.
      • agumonkey 8 days ago
        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.
        • hansvm 7 days ago
          In sunny places that either aren't too cold or have access to high quality transparent insulation.
    • jvm___ 8 days ago
      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.

      • H8crilA 8 days ago
        Russia is still only at about 80%. Will catch up to 100% at the next iteration of the state maybe?
      • gaul_praham 8 days ago
        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!
    • gaul_praham 8 days ago
      It's easy to be thankful when you're loaded with money.

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

  • UIUC_06 8 days ago
    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:

    https://foodinsight.org/msg-a-brief-history/

    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.

    • hinkley 8 days ago
      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.
    • mjklin 8 days ago
      In Chinese MSG is called 味精 (wèijīng) or “flavor essence” and it is used liberally in home cooking.
  • n8cpdx 8 days ago
    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.

    • ChuckNorris89 8 days 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.

      • dogmatism 8 days ago
        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

      • neilv 8 days ago
        Good thoughts to keep in mind before dispensing any roundhouse kicks.
    • musicale 8 days ago
      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.

      • hinkley 8 days ago
        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.

        • musicale 7 days ago
          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.

      • FrontierPsych 7 days ago
        > 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.

        • musicale 7 days ago
          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..
  • ulnarkressty 8 days ago
    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.

    [0] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-63733683

  • autotune 8 days ago
    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.

    • mattpallissard 8 days ago
      > Except that one aunt.

      There's one in every crowd.

    • buzzerbetrayed 8 days ago
      Pretty sure the article is just for fun. But also you can be grateful for both simple and complex things at the same time.
      • autotune 8 days ago
        Totally agree! Just offering a counter point. All in good fun.
  • maccaw 8 days ago
    The author's last-years underrated reasons to be thankful was also excellent: https://dynomight.net/thanks/
    • musicale 8 days ago
      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).
  • musicale 8 days ago
    > 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.

  • chasd00 8 days ago
    Working dry erase markers. You don’t realize until you need to whiteboard something and all the markers are dried out and useless.
    • doubled112 8 days ago
      I'm thankful that dry erase markers will take Sharpie off of the whiteboard.
      • hinkley 7 days ago
        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.

    • monster_group 8 days ago
      That's why I always carry my own - especially for whiteboard interviews.
    • hinkley 7 days ago
      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.

  • musicale 8 days ago
    > 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!

    • hinkley 7 days ago
      At least peanut is a fabaceae or it'd be false advertising all around.
    • UIUC_06 8 days ago
      That was my second favorite one.

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

  • lr4444lr 8 days ago
    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.)

  • greggman3 7 days ago
    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?

  • codazoda 8 days ago
    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.

    • prawn 8 days ago
      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!
  • gaul_praham 8 days ago
    How about instead of Thanksgiving, have Shitgiving?

    As in, instead of feeling thankful for what you got (easy for the healthy, fat, and rich), start to give a shit about those who are less fortunate than yourself? Even if they are not the least fortunate, and can have the luxury of lightbulbs...

  • LouisSayers 8 days ago
    Often while doing planks at the gym I'll think of the things I'm grateful for. It helps pass the time, and helps simplify my thanks list.

    Clean air, four limbs, water, an abundance of food and to live in a peaceful country... if I get really into it I'll pick an object and think of all the things that went into creating and getting it to its location.

    There's a lot to be thankful for, especially when you're doing planks.

  • archydeb 8 days ago
    Are the musical ratios right here? 25/12 is not approximately 4/3... I struggled to wrap my head around that one

    Otherwise, excellent!

    • mandelken 8 days ago
      I believe you've misread 2^(5/12) or perhaps your browser did not display it correctly? Anyway, 2 to the power of 5/12 equals 1.3348.. which is very close to 4/3 = 1.333..
    • chris_st 8 days ago
      In the comments he mentioned that an earlier version (which you read) removed the formatting, so it's supposed to be 2^(5/12), etc.
  • don-code 8 days ago
    With regard to:

    > in principle you could create a “mirror human” with everything flipped, which is good because it’s insane and they would be immune to infectious disease but also to food so to keep them alive you’d need an entire mirror life ecosystem, although where is my mirror life science fiction

    I highly recommend Neal Stephenson's _Anathem_.

  • lisper 8 days ago
    > That often there is a BIG PROBLEM that could have APOCALYPTIC CONSEQUENCES and we worry and worry and then it gets solved or goes away

    This is indeed something to be thankful for, but it is also something to be very wary of. Over-extrapolating this leads to complacency. Some problems, like climate change, are not just going to go away.

  • hinkley 7 days ago
    If we had another color of cone in our eyes, would that increase the density of data we can absorb, or just reduce the 'resolution' of the other channels?

    I'd like to think that some day we can increase the bandwidth of information to our brains without tracing wires through our skulls to get there.

  • Dylan16807 8 days ago
    Knowing the status of ghosts is cool and all, but why should I prefer that ghosts not exist??
    • krapp 8 days ago
      Judging from ghost stories and paranormal ghost hunting videos at least, being a ghost seems like an existential hell. A constant, desperate struggle to remind the living that you're real as if you truly cease to exist the moment you're forgotten. A fading of a mind into an insensate hunger, stalking empty halls or reliving the trauma of your death in an endless loop.

      Or if you're lucky, maybe you get to live inside a doll and spend a few decades on a shelf gathering energy until you can move your head a centimeter to the left and scare the crap out of her grandkids. Or you can rattle some shelves and move some silverware.

      In any case, it never seems fun. Ghosts of the Civil War still reliving their battles. Ghosts of the drowned in the water. Ghosts of inmates who never leave jail. You never hear about ghost parties or ghost orgies, it's always "the kid who hanged themselves in the 7Os still lives in the bedroom and stares at you while you try to sleep, his head lying limp at a crazy angle where the noose twisted his spine apart like a wishbone. Sometimes he makes wet, gurgling cries in the corner."

  • tombert 8 days ago
    As someone who has had an ulcer, I am super grateful that H. Pylori is substantially less common. Of all the diseases that I’ve had, it is easily the most unpleasant and I sincerely do not wish it even upon my worst enemies.
    • aswanson 8 days ago
      I suffered necrotic tooth pain. Wish it on no one.
  • Waterluvian 8 days ago
    I’m not sure I understand 4.

    Why would it be easier to translate sound waves to text than scents?

    • arise 8 days ago
      Because scent-languages would presumably be composed of several dozen (if not several thousand) scent components. Detection by artificial means is a hard problem, even in limited and highly lucrative domains (truffles, explosives, etc), which is why we still mostly use dogs/animals. Synthesis would require manufacturing stocks of all the various smell components, then aerosolizing them in the right combinations.

      Audio, by contrast, has one variable--air pressure--to control with respect to time.

  • kaushikc 8 days ago
    Imagine how thankful a duck should feel to walk on land, swim over and under water and also fly. If ducks got more time, they would've ruled the planet.
  • SV_BubbleTime 8 days ago
    >electric leaf blower

    Easily my best purchase of the year. Along with the snowblower.

    I can’t believe I didn’t get these sooner. I’m thankful I didn’t stick to gas-only devices.

    • prawn 7 days ago
      Going from a corded leaf blower to cordless was also great. Felt stupid buying it when I had a working, corded blower, but no regrets.

      Hearing (or barely hearing) an electric lawn mower has me planning to soon replace my very noisy lawnmower too.

  • izietto 7 days ago
    Living in a country with public health. It's not a joke, I'm really grateful for that.
  • svilen_dobrev 8 days ago
    > 25 ... if we want to do something ambitious someday

    like, "dont try that at home" ..

  • julian_t 7 days ago
    Modern dentistry (especially when you have a tooth abscess)
  • spacesloth7 7 days ago
    re: #30 "where is my mirror life science fiction" Change Agent by Daniel Suarez
  • User23 8 days ago
    Reading this submission makes me thankful that I’m not an atheistic materialist.
  • codecutter 8 days ago
    I am thankful

    for politicians, lawyers and tv evangelists because it gives me something to laugh at.

    for the significant other who hogs the covers every night, because he/she is not out with someone else.

    for the teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching tv, because that means he/she is at home and not on the streets.

    for the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed.

    for the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.

    for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.

    for my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.

    for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

    for all the complaining I hear about (legal abortions, the loss of the environment, the inefficient government, greedy corporations, etc.) because it means that we have freedom of speech.

    for the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

    for my huge heating or cooling bill, because it means I am comfortable.

    for the ugly fat lady behind me in church that sings way off key, because it means that I can hear and see.

    for the huge pile of dirty laundry, because it means I have clothes to spare.

    for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.

    for the alarm that goes of in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.

    and finally.......for too much spam and advertising, because it means I have friends, family and spammers/advertisers who are thinking of me.

    • jschveibinz 8 days ago
      Very nicely said, and somewhat Taoist in philosophical tone.
    • mdrzn 7 days ago
      Appreciate this POV.
  • d_graeme 8 days ago
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  • zozbot234 8 days ago
    Something I'm very much not thankful for: the plight of indigenous peoples in what's nowadays the U.S. I find it outrageous that we're all expected to happily celebrate a holiday that still glorifies--in myth and tradition, if not quite officially--the centuries-old genocidal oppression of Native peoples.
    • wara23arish 8 days ago
      Every country needs a national myth to unite over. Not having one is a recipe for disaster.
    • smegma2 8 days ago
      Bro has beef with a holiday
  • swader999 8 days ago
    I'm thankful for God and all of you who contribute here.
  • a3w 8 days ago
    #28 That shoes [exist]. Shoes are pushed into the marked by Big Shoe. I stopped wearing them, and my health improved. Convince me wrong. /s