Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Life Hacked?

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One of the more popular things on the Internet is the Life Hacker website, which gives you plenty of tips on how to improve the way you do things in your life. Another of the more notorious personalities on the web is Maddox, the self-styled guru of everything manly. What happens when you put the two together?


Portions from the full Life Hack poster. Taken from Holy Cool.

Utter chaos. That’s what. One of the more recent videos released by Maddox is him refuting some of the more well-known life hacks from Life Hacker, such as the following:

  • the proper way to eat Chinese take out (if you don’t have money to buy a plate, how the hell do you have the cash to buy take-out?)
  • how to properly use those paper ketchup dispensers (what kind of idiot wants to dip his burger into ketchup rather than putting ketchup into the burger?)
  • the proper way of eating cupcakes (according to Maddox, the proper way of eating cupcakes is cutting the cupcake in half, making a sandwich out of the icing, and tossing the whole thing into the trash since cupcakes suck)

The man makes sense. I mostly read Life Hacker because some of the things they post there are nifty, but they’re not (always) logical, or sensible. One of the more interesting things they posted on the site is the mathematically correct way of eating / slicing a cake. It involves keeping the interior of the cake free from exposure to the air. It also involves touching the cake to bring slices together; so while you’re keeping the interior fresh, you’re wrecking the exterior by, well, touching it.

It was fascinating to watch, but I vehemently said that I was not going to eat anything somebody else touched with his bare hands.

But to say that Life Hacker’s tips are wholly useless isn’t exactly fair. There are some hacks that work, and make plenty of sense. One of my favorites, in fact, involves keeping thin cables neat by using bread ties. Or that one TED video they featured about the efficient way of drying your hands with different kinds of tissue paper. Maddox assaulted that video by saying that the best way to dry your hands was through cloth towels—these you could even wash. Well, yeah, that works, if you’re at home. But when you’re out and about, then you’re probably going to use paper towels when you use the restroom, so that still makes the life hack relatively sensible.

The thing with Life Hacker is that you need to have enough sense to weed through the bullshit. Just because some things are neat and novel doesn’t mean they’re the most sensible way of doing things. Keep your wits about you when you look at that site (or at anything on the Internet, really), so that you don’t end up just following some stupid new rule for doing everyday things just because some authority figure on the Internet told you it was cool.

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