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I write about books, climate change, and things that matter to me under a pseudonym. https://veryfrank.medium.com/about-me-6cb446556e51

Speculative demand in rosewood furniture, a heart wrenching humanitarian crisis, the criminal destruction of the natural environment and tourism potential of Madagascar, and the release of gigatons of carbon dioxide.

This post could have been titled “If you buy rosewood furniture today, you are a complete idiot.”

I figured that headline would probably gain at least two to three times more views.

But I resisted.

Focusing on the avarice of those who buy replica antique Chinese furniture made out of rosewood (or Chinese rosewood furniture for short) would have been a mistake.

It is tempting to rant about the ignorance and the greed of those who buy Chinese rosewood furniture. That rant may have been cathartic, but what purpose does it serve?

Trust me, the devastation they have indirectly caused…


There is some good news in 2020 as marine reserves around penguin breeding and feeding grounds are established but challenges remain.

A Well-Loved Creature

I really like penguins.

Penguins are very well-loved and popular creatures. Their wobbling on land is extremely comical. There are plenty of videos online documenting the absolute delight that is penguins.

I spend too much time looking at penguins on Instagram, to be honest.

But, let me tell you, it is worth it.

After all, penguins are one of the most fascinating and unique creatures on Earth.

They are birds, but they cannot fly. Instead, they have evolved to swim exceptionally well. They can even “porpoise”. …


Because there is no spoon

Idon’t know when it started. Recently, I noticed that when you describe to people your interests, there will invariably be someone who will tell you that your interest may be an opportunity to make money. This constant desire to extract value out of everyday activities is associated with what is commonly referred to as the ‘hustle culture’. Maybe it is a result of the economic devastation arising out of the pandemic. Desperate people are turning to the hustle culture for comfort. In any case, these people are everywhere.

Do not hustle. Do not listen to their message, because the message…


I now accept the wisdom of Greta Thunberg.

Greta Thunberg is correct.

Governments are not taking sufficient action against climate change.

Immediate action by world leaders to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is required. Pledges to reduce carbon dioxide based on decade long timeframes are exercises in fantasy. These pledges are grotesquely fantastical exercises in making statements, essentially declaring a future of collective suicide and societal despair.

Actions, like those taken by New Zealand, must be taken now. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions, encourage electric cars, and phase out fossil fuel energy production. Increase carbon taxes.

Today.

But even New Zealand is falling short.

People do not seem to get…


Blondes, redheads, and sexism in the English language.

He acts like a girl. She doesn't know how to get along with the boys. The President describes how he can grab women by the genitals because of his star power. These are all examples of sexist language. The last example is particularly egregious because it justifies rapey behaviour as acceptable. The first two examples are more commonplace. They are sexists because they play to negative female stereotypes.

Why does our choice of words matter? The inherent bias in the English language and our choice to ignore it helps to maintain everyday sexism. …


It is to hedge our losses if we fail to deal with climate change

Climate change will affect many aspects of our lives.

Our attempts to respond to it should likewise be multifaceted. I have reduced my consumption levels, watched my carbon dioxide emissions, and wrote to lawmakers to encourage them to pass legislation subsidizing clean energy and phase out fossil fuel usage.

This post is specifically about how climate change should guide our financial investments.

Financial investments is a complex topic, and particularly so when it relates to climate change. Firstly, the preservation of capital and income generation are goals that are not necessarily aligned with a desire to invest in carbon-free companies…


Bambification has done little for the cause of the sambar deer.

What are wild animals? Are they ferocious beasts to be feared? Are they innocent creatures to be protected? Should they be viewed instrumentally as an integral part of the ecosystem? Are they individuals with life stories that we must accord the same degree of dignity as we accord our fellow human beings? The answers to these questions strike at the heart of how we view wildlife conservation.

Among conservationists, there is a question- why should we preserve wildlife? Should it primarily be for instrumental reasons? Or is it for intrinsic values? These two approaches represent contrasting views of nature, one…


Why Charles Darwin described the Voyage of the HMS Beagle as the most important event in his life, and how the species of fox he found during the voyage is faring.

Who Is Charles Darwin?

Most of us know that Charles Darwin for his contribution to the science of evolution.

Less is known about his early work as a naturalist and an author.

Very few books by naturalists or about nature come to mind that could rival Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle.

But even back then when it was published, The Voyage of the Beagle, a memoir of Charles Darwin’s journey of discovery abroad the HMS Beagle was a bestseller. It was published multiple times in different versions by the publisher, who was hoping to eke out as much profit as possible.

Today…


The public has been led by the media to assume the worst of Facebook, but who are we kidding here?

In the United States, the show of unity by attorney generals in 48 states and the Federal Trade Commission, in taking action against Facebook, lends itself an air of legitimacy.

But truly, what strange bedfellows the United States government (USG) finds itself with, in its attempt to weaken Facebook.

Who are the other forces aligned against Facebook?

Firstly, it is your litany of the usual illiberal suspects. China, Iran, North Korea and Syria have banned Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram. These countries are not known for their fondness of free expression. These countries also do not agree that an open exchange of ideas leads to the emerging of truth…


I tried to prime my environment for good habits and instead discovered the importance of the ritual itself. Here is why you need non-useful habits.

I am a fan of Atomic Habits, the book authored by James Clear. The book describes how the repetition of atomic habits can change your behaviour. The author provides many realistic tips on how good habits can be formed. These tips avoid wishy-washy and hard to implement aspirational “tips” that are prone to failure due to exhaustion and fatigue. Instead, his tips are realistic and practical.

One of the tips from the book is to prime your environment for good habits. I found that in the mornings, I tend to be very stressed. I feel the pressure to get to…

Frank Li

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