space junk is real…here is a possible solution

It’s sad to see that we (as a society) value convenience over sustainability – as seen in the Starlink Satellite program. We cannot see that the light pollution, in combination with the carbon footprint of the launches, have a net positive effect on our world.

And while Starlink may not be the biggest physical polluter in earth’s orbit, we do wish they had adopted this Japanese concept of wooden satellites. Wood is extremely versatile – and while wooden satellites would still contain metal innards (thus not solving the junk part of space junk), they’d still have a net positive effect on light pollution.

good news in the world of vaccine research

We kinda like this headline:

First-Ever Flu Vaccine Derived From Tobacco Plants Just Smashed Clinical Trials 

For the first time, a flu vaccine candidate derived from plant, has gone through the first steps of clinical trials – with positive results. This is huge, because it could release us from growing vaccines in eggs (most of which are bred in dubious conditions).

Plants, which can be engineered to produce select proteins and cultivated at scale, could be an alternative, helping to boost our capacity to produce seasonal flu vaccines.

Read more here

learn to love the pain

Ever wonder what makes people endure marathons, triathlons, ultra-distance cycling races? Their perception of pain is different from normal peoples’ perception of pain.

Ever wonder what makes people quit their jobs and endure the ups and downs for entrepreneurial life? Their perception of pain, risk and reward are different, from others’.

We came across some research that studies the perception, tolerance and sensitivity to pain among athletes, with interesting results: Endurance athletes and soccer players endure pain longer, tend to have a higher tolerance and lower sensitivity to pain, than non-athletes.

It seems to me that we’re unlikely to find one neat mental trick that distinguishes pain gluttons from pain avoiders. Instead, successful athletes likely have an array of different mental tactics for dealing with different types of discomfort in different contexts.

Perhaps the tolerance is higher because they developed coping mechanisms to manage their pain.

Compare that to a world in which we have entrepreneurs that develop products, services and who build companies. These people have sleepless nights, live a life of uncertainty and doubt but are willing to give into that pain, to bring progress to the world. What are the personality traits of these people? Resilience? Grit? Passion?

Thank you, Outside Online

stay-at-home forrest bathing

While Europe is not in shut-down mode (just yet), we strongly suggest you pay a visit to your local forest once in a while. But for the times ahead when we cannot get out, for weather or pandemic reasons, we suggest you bookmark the “Sounds of the Forest Soundmap” by the Timber Festival. A mere 20 minute meditation to the tunes of the Redwood Drive in Santa Cruz, CA or Peñas Blancas National Park, Nicaragua will effectively lower your heart rate and give you clarity & focus for the day.

https://timberfestival.org.uk/soundsoftheforest-soundmap/

four ideas for post-covid cities

As cyclists ourselves, we’re loving these ideas, here at Alpha Works!

As coronavirus wreaks havoc on existing structures, we take a look at some visions for cities of the future – and how they hold up
— Read on www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2020/sep/25/garden-streets-bike-superhighways-cities-future-coronavirus

ever more evidence for forrest bathing

As we said before, shinrin-yoku is essential for mind, body and soul. Now, the NY Times has published some comprehensive research on the effects of nature deficit:

Numerous studies have shown the mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature, but for some people, it took a pandemic and stay-at-home orders for that desire to spend more time outdoors to feel like a necessity. 

Head on over to the NY Times to read more.