Currently #6: my YouTube experiment, the science of fear, and The Defiant Ones

You didn’t ask, I answered.


Life Unlocked by Srinivasan S. Pillay

I’m all for self-development books that are rooted in science. This one took a bit to get into, but was a game changer read for me. It’s all about fear—the science of dread, the fear of success, fear and prejudice, how trauma affects the brain… Really, really interesting.

Understanding the neurobiology behind fear has been the absolute key to helping me understand—and start to get over—my delightful procrastination habit and related crippling anxiety (fun!).

Because procrastination wasn’t my problem, fear was. Address the root and everything changes. (Studying epigenetics has been hugely helpful, too.)


The Defiant Ones Documentary

I don’t think the trailer does it justice. I loved this series. Ya, it was great to learn more about Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s working relationship, how Beats was created and sold, the music industry history…

But the marketing, man. These guys aren’t just creative geniuses, they’re marketing geniuses.

If you want to learn about marketing, study hip hop. Study rappers. You don’t have to like the music to appreciate the craft.

Marketing isn’t an afterthought for these guys, it’s built right into the creative process. As it should be.

new! an experiment…

Top Notch/Cringy Marketing, Week 1

Yep. That’s me. On the YouTube.

Go through the camera roll on my phone you won’t find photos of puppies, babies, or successful attempts at winged eyeliner (which I’m told is the purpose of these pocket cameras…) you’ll find screenshots of ads I see on social media. Pictures of sandwich boards I pass when I’m walking around the city. Photos of storefronts, packaging, product displays…

Marketing. My camera roll is full of really great—and really cringy—examples of marketing.

I thought it would be neat (for my own sake, but maybe someone else will find it helpful and/or entertaining?) to chat through this stuff so I learn how to explain why I think certain things work or don’t.

And, as you’ll see, it’s a shaky first attempt. The amount I rely on the words anyways, so, like, literally, and just to get a thought out is crushing. It’s a lack of self-confidence (oh look, fear again!) but I’ve got a feeling this is exactly what I need to do to work through it.

We have to start somewhere, right?

What have you come across lately that’s stuck with you? Articles, interviews, a really great ad… Comment or Tweet me!


  • Physicist: a benefit to ice for keeping your drink cooler, longer is that the phase transition from solid to liquid takes a butt-tonne (imperial units) of energy. To go from -20C (freezer temp) to 0C ice takes 4.2 J/g/degree so 84 J per gram of ice; another 84 J to get up to room temp of 20C from 0 (for what is that point a gram of water). To then go from 0C to 0.1C (i.e., to melt) takes 334 J/g. So the act of melting absorbs twice as much heat from your drink as the rest of the trip from freezer temp to room temp combined.

    So if you have a stone in there, you don’t get the benefit of melting (phase transition) to absorb a lot of heat. Plus, the specific heat of granite (assuming that’s what it’s made of) is much less on a mass basis than ice: 0.8 J/g/degree. However, the stone is denser than ice, so you have more mass to act as your thermal ballast, though that only partially offsets the lower specific heat (the density is only about 3 times higher, again assuming it’s granite). So for a drink stone of a given size, it will absorb less heat (the drink will heat up faster) from -20 to 0 than a melting ice cube of the same size by a factor of 8.7X. In other words, the drink stones are substantially worse at keeping your drink cold than plain old ice.

    However, the side effect of ice melting is that you water down your drink, which is the main thrust of the ad (and why it’s some kind of whiskey in the glass and not a cherry coke).

    The other option is to try to get the best of both worlds: ice, but contained so it’s separate from the drink you don’t want to dilute. I’ve seen various versions of that (including adorable animals shapes that are meant for lunchboxes and too awkwardly large for a glass), but they don’t look as cool as literally serving your drink “on the rocks”.


      Gold. Pure gold. (Or Granite?) I feel so much more at ease knowing the science behind this… Sigh. Amazing.

      And can’t believe I missed that but yes, of course, avoiding watering down your drink is the whole selling point. *thumbs up*

    • Someone who hates whiskey, but has often tried to like it (or at least be seen faking it) in some false hope of fostering a Nick Offerman vibe:

      Whiskey with water is better. Whiskey with too much water is worse than whiskey with no water. Because adding exactly three drops of spring water is next to impossible, and definitely takes away from the Nick Offerman appeal I’m unsuccessfully attempting to cultivate, I just go with ice.

      The ice isn’t to cool the whiskey, though I think that does help in the case of my neanderthal-esque pallette. The melting, and “watering down” itself enhances the flavour.

      “Since the probability of finding guaiacol at the liquid-air interface increases together with that of EtOH while at the same time guaiacol loses contacts to EtOH, it is now more probable for guaiacol to evaporate and contribute to the aroma of whisky. Thus, the taste of guaiacol and similar compounds will be more pronounced when whisky is further diluted in the glass. This taste-enhancement is counteracted by the dilution of guaiacol’s concentration. Overall, there is a fine balance between diluting the whisky to taste and diluting the whisky to waste.”

      Taste is obviously subjective, so there is in all likelihood a subset of the whiskey drinking population that wants a cold drink without any water added. Or maybe everyone else has their drinking pipette at hand when wetting their whistle. But I have to think that the target market for these drinking stones should be drinkers of Cherry Coke, or the purveyors of lemonade stands, rather than Lagavulin.

  • “neanderthal-esque pallette” haha!

    I don’t drink whiskey, which is glaringly obvious as I missed the whole watering-down thing to begin with. Oops.

    I’ve also never tried Cherry Coke (!).

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