It’s a little NY and a little PA. Meet the only N.J. town squeezed between 2 other states.


My hometown of Montague, New Jersey: “It’s a little NY and a little PA.”

The only municipality in our state that borders both New York and Pennsylvania is finally starting to feel a little bit more like New Jersey.

Residents of rural Montague Township, population 3,753, no longer have a New York mailing address. High school students are no longer being bused across the border to [New York].

Now, that’s not to say that Montague is the typical New Jersey town. It covers more than 45 square miles, but there is not a single traffic light to be found. It’s home to High Point, the tallest elevation in New Jersey at 1,803 feet, but prohibits buildings from rising above 35 feet.

What’s in my inbox

I’m a sucker for newsletters and subscribe to a bunch, but don’t read them all consistently. Here are a few (more) that have been must-reads for me lately:

Amazon Chronicles

Tim Carmody’s brand new email 100% focused on tracking and contextualizing the movements of one of the most influential companies on the planet.

Squirrel Notes

Deane Barker’s Squirrel Notes is a must-read for CMS wonks, reporting on the latest content management trends, tools, events, etc. Usually a good bit of nostalgia too.

Heath Row’s Media Diet

My pal Heath‘s venerable blog, reborn in newsletter form. A roundup of interesting news and commentary across the landscape of culture, media, technology, politics, science, health, and more.

Manipulating text with BBEdit


Manipulating text with BBEdit

But the other thing I use BBEdit for is a bit more esoteric and hard to describe—something I call “text munging”, for lack of a better word.

Text munging takes many forms, but generally it happens when you’ve got a bunch of text in one format and you need to get it into a different format. I’ve used BBEdit to transform the source pages of websites, to format a mailing list properly, and more. Today I used it to generate a podcast feed out of a chunk of HTML.

BBEdit has been my go-to text editor, notepad, and “text munger” since I started using a Mac as my primary computer, I think around 2001-2002.

I depend on it many times daily, and similar to Snell, just last week used BBEdit to migrate blog posts from a broken Movable Type installation by transforming its static HTML files into XML for importing to WordPress.

Related reading: learning regex via BBEdit.

The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health


The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health

[…] Yet vitamin D supplementation has failed spectacularly in clinical trials. Five years ago, researchers were already warning that it showed zero benefit, and the evidence has only grown stronger. In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted—in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years—found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

How did we get it so wrong? How could people with low vitamin D levels clearly suffer higher rates of so many diseases and yet not be helped by supplementation?

As it turns out, a rogue band of researchers has had an explanation all along. And if they’re right, it means that once again we have been epically misled.

These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.

Sweet Darkness

A colleague recently sent me this poem, by David Whyte, as a way of encouraging a new perspective. It helped.

When your eyes are tired
 the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
 no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
 where the night has eyes
 to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
 you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home

The night will give you a horizon
 further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
 The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
 except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
 confinement of your aloneness
 to learn

anything or anyone
 that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

“Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte by On Being Studios is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

You Should Meditate Every Day


The best way I can describe the effect is to liken it to a software upgrade for my brain — an update designed to guard against the terrible way the online world takes over your time and your mind.

I started meditating for 5-10 minutes per day around October of last year (inspired by a talk from Dan Harris), and while I’ve faltered a little along the way, I do feel better when it’s part of my daily routine. I had been put off by the apparent spirituality of meditation, but Dan’s talk helped me understand that I can enjoy the benefits of practicing mindfulness without the spiritual…baggage.

If you’re looking for mindfulness app recommendations, check out Oak—it’s simple to use and free; a good place to start.