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A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #8

Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar
Hello friends,
Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.
I have finally tested -ve for Covid and me and my family are all back to our full health.
But as soon as we thought we have recovered and can start enjoying the British summer, there is news of a heatwave in the next two days where temperatures in the UK will reach 40°C. The UK government has already published a heatwave plan and I urge all my readers in the UK to please take care of themselves and their families, and follow the guidelines from the government to stay safe and healthy.
On the brighter side, NASA revealed the first images from the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope which is going to replace the Hubble Space Telescope and broaden our understanding of the universe. It’s a humbling experience whenever I see these images as it makes me feel utterly insignificant in this vast cosmos.

📗 The Feynman technique
We all want to learn more and learn fast but always struggle with it.
Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winner in Physics and is famous for his lectures. But there is a very famous technique that he talks about for learning. The steps are outlined below -
  • Pretend to teach a concept you want to learn about to a student in the sixth grade.
  • Identify gaps in your explanation. Go back to the source material to better understand it.
  • Organize and simplify.
  • Transmit (optional).
One way to learn more is to read more. But simply reading won’t help us. We need to apply our learnings and practice what we have learned.
Learning is a lifelong process and must be cherished over everything else. An active mind is a healthy mind.
Source - Sachin Ramje's Twitter post
Source - Sachin Ramje's Twitter post
📙 Cosmopolitan cover
While going through Andrej Karapathy’s Twitter profile, I stumbled upon this incredible story about Cosmopolitan’s first cover designed by an AI tool.
In Issue 3 of my newsletter, I talked about DALL·E 2 and Imagen.
And for this cover Karen X. Cheng, a digital artist, used DALL·E 2 to create a cover for Cosmopolitan. The whole image generation took 20 seconds but the team had to go through various text prompts in order to land on the final image that was used by Cosmopolitan.
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) still has a long way to go but these are some important steps in which we can see real-life applications of the power of this tool.
Karen X. Cheng
I used @OpenAI #dalle2 to create the first ever AI-generated magazine cover for @Cosmopolitan!! The prompt I used is at the end of the video #dalle
⚡ Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
TDEE is composed of the following -
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
This denotes the calories you burn at rest every day. Your BMR supports the daily functions your body must do simply to exist - breathing, blood circulation, body temperature, repairing cells, and brain activity for example. If you were to lay down all day, not move, eat or drink - you are still burning energy just to keep you alive. The most common way to increase your metabolism is by increasing your muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your BMR is going to be. As you build muscle, you’ll notice that your appetite increases, because your body now requires more calories to maintain that muscle mass.
TEF (Thermic Effect of Food)
These are the calories we burn through digesting food and absorbing the nutrients from food. Some foods require more energy to digest which is why you’ll often see articles about ‘foods that help boost your metabolism’ - they don’t boost it, they just take a little more energy to break down. Protein is one of these food groups - your body uses more energy to break protein down. It’s one of the reasons why everyone recommends eating protein when you are attempting to lose weight.
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
It means the calories we burn through movement outside of planned exercise. Any movement that is unplanned is NEAT - getting out of bed, walking to the kitchen to have breakfast, running for the bus, walking to the lift at work, shifting around in your seat, walking to grab lunch, brushing your teeth and everything in between. If you are a very active person outside of the gym, your NEAT is going to be very high and you’re going to be burning more calories throughout the day.
EAT (Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
If you choose to head out for a walk, run, cycle, swim, dance or do a weights workout, this counts as EAT. It’s simply any exercise that you have planned.
NEAT - Washington Post article by Daphne Miller
NEAT - Washington Post article by Daphne Miller
📚 Books
This week I finished reading Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and enjoyed it. It was a fast read and I wanted to read something light but also not very comprehensive.
While going through the Cosmopolitan cover story, mentioned above, there is a quote from an artist, Sarah Oliphant
All art is borrowed. Every single thing that’s ever done in art - we’re all just mimicking and forging and copying the human experience. Everything we’ve ever seen that’s been meaningful to us becomes the inspiration we draw from when we’re creating art.
It really encapsulates what Austin is trying to say in his book.
I also started reading How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil. I picked it up based on Bill’s Gates summer books recommendation for 2022. And I have already finished about 12% of it on my Kindle and really enjoying it so far. I wanted to start reading something different after reading about productivity. And I also picked this to challenge myself into reading more difficult things. Well, this one is not that difficult but subsequent books that I am planning to read, will be.
Vaclav talks about energy, food production, climate change, globalization and materials in his book. So far, I have covered energy and it has been eye-opening.
We all think that having more electric cars and using more renewable sources of energy might solve our carbon problem, but there is more to it.
We need to see how we generate electricity, what materials do we use to build our world, how do we store the energy we produce, what are the different energy sources and which energy source is used for what? Just answering these questions, in his book, with some useful data paints a whole new picture of our relationship with fossil fuels and why we can’t get rid of them completely in the next couple of decades or so.
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next week, please take care, stay cool and be kind.
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Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar @amit_Sarkar007

Newsletters are the new form of blogging where instead of you coming to the blog, the blog comes to you. Every week I will aim to publish my newsletter to talk about things I have done, read, heard or watched. The idea behind this newsletter is to talk about my ordinary life in the hope that you might find something interesting in it.

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Bromley, Greater London, United Kingdom