Take a look at The One, a Los Angeles estate with a whopping 105,000 square feet of living area.
The interiors of the 105,000-square-foot property, which sits on a five-acre parcel in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air and is suitably titled The One, have been a well guarded secret. We got an intimate look inside this world-record-breaking property, as well as the creative and aesthetic geniuses behind it.
The estate appears to float above the city, surrounded on three sides by a moat and a 400-foot-long running track. Completed over eight years—and requiring 600 workers to build—the home was designed by architect Paul McClean and interior designer Kathryn Rotondi, who were enlisted by owner and developer Nile Niami to help it live up to its standard.
"This endeavor seemed both exhilarating and daunting," McClean says. However, the home's remarkable location and McClean's long-standing relationship with Niami persuaded him to "build something unique and extraordinary" rather than just take on the job.
And McClean has more than delivered.
The home's main entrance leads to a variety of meeting places with magnificent 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown Los Angeles, and the San Gabriel Mountains, thanks to its 26-foot-high ceilings. There is water at the entrance area, as well as a sculpture and a bridge. "We often employ water in our design approach because it provides a sensory change that helps you acclimatize to your environment," McClean explains.
Niami wanted a neutral palette that would enable the environment and vistas to shine, so she used black, white, and gray throughout the house.
McClean has combined the home's inside with outside "to create that quintessential L.A. lifestyle but on a larger scale," he says, drawing influence from the local environment and history of Los Angeles modernism. "We separated the entertaining spaces from the living portions to make the house feel more livable. The former are on the lowest level, which serves as a plinth for the rest of the house and minimizes its apparent mass."
The home's statistics, in addition to its eye-catching style, are equally impressive. There are 42 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms, a 5,500-square-foot master suite, a 30-car garage gallery with two car-display turntables, a four-lane bowling alley, a spa level, a 30-seat movie theater, a "philanthropy wing (with a capacity of 200) for charity galas, a 10,000-square-foot sky deck, and five swimming pools.
Rotondi, the creator of KFR Design, collaborated with Niami on the interior design to create different spaces that flow into one another despite the house's grandeur. "I was especially driven to 'wow factor' components in the hospitality business," Rotondi says, citing top luxury hotel brands such as Aman, Bulgari, and Baccarat as sources of inspiration. Meanwhile, the home's color scheme, soft textures, and lighting are a nod to Niami and McClean's favorite Tom Ford boutique on Rodeo Drive.
The house boasts an extraordinary collection of art, including a butterfly work by Stephen Wilson on the lower level and a Niclas Castello bespoke panel in black and silver in the office, thanks to a cooperation between Creative Art Partners and Art Angels. There is also a sizable collection of bespoke furniture pieces from byShowroom.
A house of this size will never be erected again in Los Angeles, thanks to recently enacted city rules, so The One will truly be one of a kind. "For all of us, this project has been such a long and instructive trip," McClean says. "It was exciting to develop and approached with excitement, but I don't think any of us knew how much effort and time it would take to finish the project."
More on Lifestyle
1 year ago
Because of regulations, the $3 million Mercedes-AMG ONE will not (officially) be available in the United States or Canada.
We asked Mercedes to clarify whether "customers" refers to people who have expressed interest in buying the AMG ONE but haven't made a down payment or paid in full for a production slot, and a company spokesperson told that it's the latter – "Actual customers for AMG ONE in the United States and Canada."
The Mercedes-AMG ONE has finally arrived in manufacturing form after numerous delays. This may be the most complicated and magnificent hypercar ever created, but according to Mercedes, those roads will not be found in the United States or Canada.
Despite all of the well-deserved excitement around the gorgeous AMG ONE, there was no word on when US customers could expect their cars. Our Editor-in-Chief became aware of this and contacted Mercedes to clarify the matter. Mercedes-hypercar AMG's with the F1-derived 1,049 HP 1.6-liter V6 engine will not be homologated for the US market, they've confirmed.
Mercedes has informed its customers in the United States and Canada that the ONE will not be arriving to North America after all, as of today, June 1, 2022. The whole text of the letter is included below, so sit back and wait for Mercedes to explain why we (or they) won't be getting (or seeing) the hypercar. Mercedes claims that all 275 cars it wants to produce have already been reserved, with net pricing in Europe starting at €2.75 million (about US$2.93 million at today's exchange rates), before country-specific taxes.
"The AMG-ONE was created with one purpose in mind: to provide a straight technology transfer of the World Championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 E PERFORMANCE drive unit to the road." It's the first time a complete Formula 1 drive unit has been integrated into a road car.
Every component of the AMG ONE has been engineered to redefine high performance, with 1,000+ horsepower, four electric motors, and a blazing top speed of more than 217 mph. While the engine's beginnings are in competition, continuous research and refinement has left us with a difficult choice for the US market.
We determined that following US road requirements would considerably damage its performance and overall driving character in order to preserve the distinctive nature of its F1 powerplant. We've made the strategic choice to make the automobile available for road use in Europe, where it complies with all necessary rules."
If this is the first time US customers have heard about it, which it shouldn't be, we understand if it's a bit off-putting. The AMG ONE could very probably be Mercedes' final internal combustion hypercar of this type.
Nonetheless, we wouldn't be surprised if a few make their way to the United States via the federal government's "Show and Display" exemption provision. This legislation permits the importation of automobiles such as the AMG ONE, but only for a total of 2,500 miles per year.
The McLaren Speedtail, the Koenigsegg One:1, and the Bugatti EB110 are among the automobiles that have been imported under this special rule. We just hope we don't have to wait too long to see the ONE in the United States.
1 year ago
10 Sneaker Terms Every Beginner Should Know
So you want to get into sneakers? Buying a few sneakers and figuring it out seems simple. Then you miss out on the weekend's instant-sellout releases, so you head to eBay, Twitter, or your local sneaker group to see what's available, since you're probably not ready to pay Flight Club prices just yet.
That's when you're bombarded with new nicknames, abbreviations, and general sneaker slang. It would take months to explain every word and sneaker, so here's a starter kit of ten simple terms to get you started. (Yeah, mostly Jordan. Does anyone really start with Kith or Nike SB?)
Colorways are a common term in fashion, design, and other visual fields. It's just the product's color scheme. In the case of sneakers, the colorway is often as important as the actual model. Are this year's "Chicago" Air Jordan 1s more durable than last year's "Black/Gum" colorway? Because of their colorway and rarity, the Chicagos are worth roughly three pairs of the Black/Gum kicks.
Pro Tip: A colorway with a well-known nickname is almost always worth more than one without, and the same goes for collaborations.
A “beater” is a well-worn, likely older model of shoe that has significant wear and tear on it. Rarely sold with the original box or extra laces, beaters rarely sell for much. Unlike most “worn” sneakers, beaters are used for rainy days and the gym. It's exactly what it sounds like, a box full of beaters, and they're a good place to start if you're looking for some cheap old kicks.
Pro Tip: Know which shoes clean up nicely. The shape of lower top sneakers with wider profiles, like SB Dunk Lows and Air Jordan 3s, tends to hold better over time than their higher and narrower cousins.
In the world of Jordan Brand, a “Retro” release is simply a release (or re-release) of a colorway after the shoe model's initial release. For example, the original Air Jordan 7 was released in 1992, but the Bordeaux colorway was re-released in 2011 and recently (2015). An Air Jordan model is released every year, and while half of them are unpopular and unlikely to be Retroed soon, any of them could be re-released whenever Nike and Jordan felt like it.
Pro Tip: Now that the Air Jordan line has been around for so long, the model that tends to be heavily retroed in a year is whichever shoe came out 23 (Michael Jordan’s number during the prime of his career) years ago. The Air Jordan 6 (1991) got new colorways last year, the Air Jordan 7 this year, and more Air Jordan 8s will be released later this year and early next year (1993).
In spite of the fact that eBay takes roughly 10% of the final price, many sneaker buyers and sellers prefer to work directly with PayPal. Selling sneakers for $100 via PayPal invoice or $100 via PayPal friends/family is common on social media. Because no one wants their eBay account suspended for promoting PayPal deals, many eBay sellers will simply state “Message me for a better price.”
Pro Tip: PayPal invoices protect buyers well, but gifting or using Google Wallet does not. Unless you're certain the seller is legitimate, only use invoiced goods/services payments.
Kanye West and his sneakers are known as Yeezys. The rapper's first two Yeezys were made by Nike before switching to Adidas. Everything Yeezy-related will be significantly more expensive (and therefore have significantly more fakes made). Not only is the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” one of the most sought-after sneakers, but the Yeezy influence can be seen everywhere.
Pro Tip: If you're going to buy Yeezys, make sure you buy them from a reputable retailer or reseller. With so many fakes out there, it's not worth spending a grand on something you're not 100% sure is real.
Regardless of how visually repulsive, uncomfortable, and/or impractical a sneaker is, if it’s rare enough, people will still want it. GR stands for General Release, which means they're usually available at retail. Reselling a “Limited Edition” release is costly. Supply and demand, but in this case, the limited supply drives up demand. If you want to get some of the colorways made for rappers, NBA players (Player Exclusive or PE models), and other celebrities, be prepared to pay a premium.
Pro Tip: Limited edition sneakers, like the annual Doernbecher Freestyle sneakers Nike creates with kids from Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, will always be more expensive and limited. Or, you can use automated sneaker-buying software.
A “grail” is a pair of sneakers that someone desires above all others. To obtain their personal grails, people are willing to pay significantly more than the retail price. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason why someone chose a specific pair as their grails.
Pro Tip: For those who don't have them, the OG "Bred" or "Royal" Air Jordan 1s, the "Concord" Air Jordan 11s, etc., are all grails.
Anything released in “Bred” (black and red) will sell out quickly. Most resale Air Jordans (and other sneakers) come in the Bred colorway, which is a fan favorite. Bred is a good choice for a first colorway, especially on a solid sneaker silhouette.
Pro Tip: Apart from satisfying the world's hypebeasts, Bred sneakers will probably match a lot of your closet.
DS = Deadstock = New. That's it. If something has been worn or tried on, it is no longer DS. Very Near Deadstock (VNDS) Pass As Deadstock It's a cute way of saying your sneakers have been worn but are still in good shape. In the sneaker world, “worn” means they are no longer new, but not too old or beat up.
Pro Tip: Ask for photos of any marks or defects to see what you’re getting before you buy used shoes, also find out if they come with the original box and extra laces, because that can be a sign that they’re in better shape.
The words “Unauthorized,” “Replica,” “B-grades,” and “Super Perfect” all mean the shoes are fake. It means they aren't made by the actual company, no matter how close or how good the quality. If that's what you want, go ahead and get them. Do not wear them if you do not want the rest of the sneaker world to mock them.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if shoes are real or not, do a “Legit Check” on Twitter or Facebook. You'll get dozens of responses in no time.
1 year ago
Pebble Beach Auto Auctions Set $469M Record
The world's most prestigious vintage vehicle show included amazing autos and record-breaking sums.
This 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo earned Best of Show in 2022.
David Paul Morris (DPM)/Bloomberg
2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance winner was a pre-war roadster.
Lee Anderson's 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best of Show at Pebble Beach Golf Links near Carmel, Calif., on Sunday. First American win since 2013.
Sandra Button, chairperson of the annual concours, said the car, whose chassis and body had been separated for years, "marries American force with European style." "Its resurrection story is passionate."
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Auction
Since 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance has welcomed the world's most costly collectable vehicles for a week of parties, auctions, rallies, and high-roller meetings. The cold, dreary weather highlighted the automobiles' stunning lines and hues.
A visitor photographs a 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta. This is one of 25 Ferraris manufactured in the years after World War II. First shown at the 1948 Turin Salon. Others finished Mille Miglia and Le Mans, which set the tone for Ferrari racing for years.
This year's frontrunners were ultra-rare pre-war and post-war automobiles with long and difficult titles, such a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe and a 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet.
The hefty, enormous coaches inspire visions of golden pasts when mysterious saloons swept over the road with otherworldly style, speed, and grace. Only the richest and most powerful people, like Indian maharaja and Hollywood stars, owned such vehicles.
Antonio Chopitea, a Peruvian sugar tycoon, ordered a new Duesenberg in Paris. Hemmings says the two-tone blue beauty was moved to the US and dismantled in the 1960s. Body and chassis were sold separately and rejoined decades later in a three-year, prize-winning restoration.
The concours is the highlight of Monterey Car Week, a five-day Super Bowl for car enthusiasts. Early events included Porsche and Ferrari displays, antique automobile races, and new-vehicle debuts. Many auto executives call Monterey Car Week the "new auto show."
Many visitors were drawn to the record-breaking auctions.
A 1969 Porsche 908/02 auctioned for $4.185 million. Flat-eight air-cooled engine, 90.6-inch wheelbase, 1,320-pound weight. Vic Elford, Richard Attwood, Rudi Lins, Gérard Larrousse, Kurt Ahrens Jr., Masten Gregory, and Pedro Rodriguez drove it, according to Gooding.
The 1931 Bentley Eight Liter Sports Tourer doesn't meet its reserve. Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. This powerful open-top tourer is one of W.O. Bentley's 100 automobiles. Only 80 remain.
The final auction on Aug. 21 brought in $456.1 million, breaking the previous high of $394.48 million established in 2015 in Monterey. “The week put an exclamation point on what has been an exceptional year for the collector automobile market,” Hagerty analyst John Wiley said.
Many cars that go unsold at public auction are sold privately in the days after. After-sales pushed the week's haul to $469 million on Aug. 22, up 18.9% from 2015's record.
In today's currencies, 2015's record sales amount to $490 million, Wiley noted. The dollar is degrading faster than old autos.
Still, 113 million-dollar automobiles sold. The average car sale price was $583,211, up from $446,042 last year, while multimillion-dollar hammer prices made up around 75% of total sales.
Industry insiders and market gurus expected that stock market volatility, the crisis in Ukraine, and the dollar-euro exchange rate wouldn't influence the world's biggest spenders.
Classic.com's CEO said there's no hint of a recession in an e-mail. Big sales and crowds.
Ticket-holders wore huge hats, flowery skirts, and other Kentucky Derby-esque attire. Coffee, beverages, and food are extra.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, 1955. Mercedes produced the two-seat gullwing coupe from 1954–1957 and the roadster from 1957–1963. It was once West Germany's fastest and most powerful automobile. You'd be hard-pressed to locate one for less $1 million.
1955 Ferrari 410 Sport sold for $22 million at RM Sotheby's. It sold a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sindelfingen Roadster for $9.9 million and a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Transformable Torpedo for $9.245 million. The family-run mansion sold $221.7 million with a 90% sell-through rate, up from $147 million in 2021. This year, RM Sotheby's cars averaged $1.3 million.
Not everyone saw such great benefits.
Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, 1990 Ferrari F40, and 1994 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport were top sellers.
The 1969 Autobianchi A112 Bertone. This idea two-seater became a Hot Wheels toy but was never produced. It has a four-speed manual drive and an inline-four mid-engine arrangement like the Lamborghini Miura.
1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster at Gooding & Co. The Porsche 356 is a lightweight, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle that lacks driving power but is loved for its rounded, Beetle-like hardtop coupé and open-top versions.
Mecum sold $50.8 million with a 64% sell-through rate, down from $53.8 million and 77% in 2021. Its top lot, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT 'Tour de France' Alloy Coupe, sold for $2.86 million, but its average price was $174,016.
Bonhams had $27.8 million in sales with an 88% sell-through rate. The same sell-through generated $35.9 million in 2021.
Gooding & Co. and RM Sotheby's posted all 10 top sales, leaving Bonhams, Mecum, and Hagerty-owned Broad Arrow fighting for leftovers. Six of the top 10 sellers were Ferraris, which remain the gold standard for collectable automobiles. Their prices have grown over decades.
Classic.com's Calle claimed RM Sotheby's "stole the show," but "BroadArrow will be a force to reckon with."
Although pre-war cars were hot, '80s and '90s cars showed the most appreciation and attention. Generational transition and new buyer profile."
2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance judges inspect 1953 Siata 208. The rounded coupe was introduced at the 1952 Turin Auto Show in Italy and is one of 18 ever produced. It sports a 120hp Fiat engine, five-speed manual transmission, and alloy drum brakes. Owners liked their style, but not their reliability.
The Czinger 21 CV Max at Pebble Beach. Monterey Car Week concentrates on historic and classic automobiles, but modern versions like this Czinger hypercar also showed.
The 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best in Show in 2022. Lee and Penny Anderson of Naples, Fla., own the once-separate-chassis-from-body automobile.
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1 year ago
7 ways to improve public speaking
How to overcome public speaking fear and give a killer presentation
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Death's second. The average person is better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy." — American comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jerry Seinfeld
People fear public speaking, according to research. Public speaking can be intimidating.
Most professions require public speaking, whether to 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people. Your career will require many presentations. In a small meeting, company update, or industry conference.
You can improve your public speaking skills. You can reduce your anxiety, improve your performance, and feel more comfortable speaking in public.
“If I returned to college, I'd focus on writing and public speaking. Effective communication is everything.” — 38th president Gerald R. Ford
You can deliver a great presentation despite your fear of public speaking. There are ways to stay calm while speaking and become a more effective public speaker.
Seven tips to improve your public speaking today. Let's help you overcome your fear (no pun intended).
Know your audience.
"You're not being judged; the audience is." — Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Seth Godin
Understand your audience before speaking publicly. Before preparing a presentation, know your audience. Learn what they care about and find useful.
Your presentation may depend on where you're speaking. A classroom is different from a company meeting.
Determine your audience before developing your main messages. Learn everything about them. Knowing your audience helps you choose the right words, information (thought leadership vs. technical), and motivational message.
2. Be Observant
Observe others' speeches to improve your own. Watching free TED Talks on education, business, science, technology, and creativity can teach you a lot about public speaking.
What worked and what didn't?
What would you change?
How interesting or dull was the topic?
Note their techniques to learn more. Studying the best public speakers will amaze you.
Learn how their stage presence helped them communicate and captivated their audience. Please note their pauses, humor, and pacing.
"A speaker should prepare based on what he wants to learn, not say." — Author, speaker, and pastor Tod Stocker
Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. By repeating your presentation, you can find your comfort zone.
When you've practiced your presentation many times, you'll feel natural and confident giving it. Preparation helps overcome fear and anxiety. Review notes and important messages.
When you know the material well, you can explain it better. Your presentation preparation starts before you go on stage.
Keep a notebook or journal of ideas, quotes, and examples. More content means better audience-targeting.
Videotape your speeches. Check yourself. Body language, hands, pacing, and vocabulary should be reviewed.
Best public speakers evaluate their performance to improve.
Write down what you did best, what you could improve and what you should stop doing after watching a recording of yourself. Seeing yourself can be unsettling. This is how you improve.
5. Remove text from slides
"Humans can't read and comprehend screen text while listening to a speaker. Therefore, lots of text and long, complete sentences are bad, bad, bad.” —Communications expert Garr Reynolds
Presentation slides shouldn't have too much text. 100-slide presentations bore the audience. Your slides should preview what you'll say to the audience.
Use slides to emphasize your main point visually.
If you add text, use at least 40-point font. Your slides shouldn't require squinting to read. You want people to watch you, not your slides.
6. Body language
"Body language is powerful." We had body language before speech, and 80% of a conversation is read through the body, not the words." — Dancer, writer, and broadcaster Deborah Bull
Nonverbal communication dominates. Our bodies speak louder than words. Don't fidget, rock, lean, or pace.
Relax your body to communicate clearly and without distraction through nonverbal cues. Public speaking anxiety can cause tense body language.
Maintain posture and eye contact. Don’t put your hand in your pockets, cross your arms, or stare at your notes. Make purposeful hand gestures that match what you're saying.
7. Beginning/ending Strong
Beginning and end are memorable. Your presentation must start strong and end strongly. To engage your audience, don't sound robotic.
Begin with a story, stat, or quote. Conclude with a summary of key points. Focus on how you will start and end your speech.
You should memorize your presentation's opening and closing. Memorize something naturally. Excellent presentations start and end strong because people won't remember the middle.
Bringing It All Together
Seven simple yet powerful ways to improve public speaking. Know your audience, study others, prepare and rehearse, record yourself, remove as much text as possible from slides, and start and end strong.
Follow these tips to improve your speaking and audience communication. Prepare, practice, and learn from great speakers to reduce your fear of public speaking.
"Speaking to one person or a thousand is public speaking." — Vocal coach Roger Love
1 year ago
Ten words and phrases to avoid in presentations
Don't say this in public!
Want to wow your audience? Want to deliver a successful presentation? Do you want practical takeaways from your presentation?
Then avoid these phrases.
Public speaking is difficult. People fear public speaking, according to research.
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Number two is death. "Sounds right?" — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld
Yes, public speaking is scary. These words and phrases will make your presentation harder.
Using unnecessary words can weaken your message.
You may have prepared well for your presentation and feel confident. During your presentation, you may freeze up. You may blank or forget.
Effective delivery is even more important than skillful public speaking.
Here are 10 presentation pitfalls.
1. I or Me
Presentations are about the audience, not you. Replace "I or me" with "you, we, or us." Focus on your audience. Reward them with expertise and intriguing views about your issue.
Serve your audience actionable items during your presentation, and you'll do well. Your audience will have a harder time listening and engaging if you're self-centered.
2. Sorry if/for
Your presentation is fine. These phrases make you sound insecure and unprepared. Don't pressure the audience to tell you not to apologize. Your audience should focus on your presentation and essential messages.
3. Excuse the Eye Chart, or This slide's busy
Why add this slide if you're utilizing these phrases? If you don't like this slide, change it before presenting. After the presentation, extra data can be provided.
Don't apologize for unclear slides. Hide or delete a broken PowerPoint slide. If so, divide your message into multiple slides or remove the "business" slide.
4. Sorry I'm Nervous
Some think expressing yourself will win over the audience. Nerves are horrible. Even public speakers are nervous.
Nerves aren't noticeable. What's the point? Let the audience judge your nervousness. Please don't make this obvious.
5. I'm not a speaker or I've never done this before.
These phrases destroy credibility. People won't listen and will check their phones or computers.
Why present if you use these phrases?
Good speakers aren't necessarily public speakers. Be confident in what you say. When you're confident, many people will like your presentation.
6. Our Key Differentiators Are
Overused term. It's widely utilized. This seems "salesy," and your "important differentiators" are probably like a competitor's.
This statement has been diluted; say, "what makes us different is..."
7. Next Slide
Many slides or stories? Your presentation needs transitions. They help your viewers understand your argument.
You didn't transition well when you said "next slide." Think about organic transitions.
8. I Didn’t Have Enough Time, or I’m Running Out of Time
The phrase "I didn't have enough time" implies that you didn't care about your presentation. This shows the viewers you rushed and didn't care.
Saying "I'm out of time" shows poor time management. It means you didn't rehearse enough and plan your time well.
9. I've been asked to speak on
This phrase is used to emphasize your importance. This phrase conveys conceit.
When you say this sentence, you tell others you're intelligent, skilled, and appealing. Don't utilize this term; focus on your topic.
10. Moving On, or All I Have
These phrases don't consider your transitions or presentation's end. People recall a presentation's beginning and end.
How you end your discussion affects how people remember it. You must end your presentation strongly and use natural transitions.
10 phrases to avoid in a presentation. I or me, sorry if or sorry for, pardon the Eye Chart or this busy slide, forgive me if I appear worried, or I'm really nervous, and I'm not good at public speaking, I'm not a speaker, or I've never done this before.
Please don't use these phrases: next slide, I didn't have enough time, I've been asked to speak about, or that's all I have.
We shouldn't make public speaking more difficult than it is. We shouldn't exacerbate a difficult issue. Better public speakers avoid these words and phrases.
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” — Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father
This is a summary. See the original post here.
1 year ago
How to Use Obsidian to Boost Research Productivity
Tools for managing your PhD projects, reading lists, notes, and inspiration.
As a researcher, you have to know everything. But knowledge is useless if it cannot be accessed quickly. An easy-to-use method of archiving information makes taking notes effortless and enjoyable.
As a PhD student in Artificial Intelligence, I use Obsidian (https://obsidian.md) to manage my knowledge.
The article has three parts:
- What is a note, how to organize notes, tags, folders, and links? This section is tool-agnostic, so you can use most of these ideas with any note-taking app.
- Instructions for using Obsidian, managing notes, reading lists, and useful plugins. This section demonstrates how I use Obsidian, my preferred knowledge management tool.
- Workflows: How to use Zotero to take notes from papers, manage multiple projects' notes, create MOCs with Dataview, and more. This section explains how to use Obsidian to solve common scientific problems and manage/maintain your knowledge effectively.
This list is not perfect or complete, but it is my current solution to problems I've encountered during my PhD. Please leave additional comments or contact me if you have any feedback. I'll try to update this article.
Throughout the article, I'll refer to your digital library as your "Obsidian Vault" or "Zettelkasten".
Other useful resources are listed at the end of the article.
1. Philosophy: Taking and organizing notes
Carl Sagan: “To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
Before diving into Obsidian, let's establish a Personal Knowledge Management System and a Zettelkasten. You can skip to Section 2 if you already know these terms.
Niklas Luhmann, a prolific sociologist who wrote 400 papers and 70 books, inspired this section and much of Zettelkasten. Zettelkasten means “slip box” (or library in this article). His Zettlekasten had around 90000 physical notes, which can be found here.
There are now many tools available to help with this process. Obsidian's website has a good introduction section: https://publish.obsidian.md/hub/
We'll start with "What is a note?" Although it may seem trivial, the answer depends on the topic or your note-taking style. The idea is that a note is as “atomic” (i.e. You should read the note and get the idea right away.
The resolution of your notes depends on their detail. Deep Learning, for example, could be a general description of Neural Networks, with a few notes on the various architectures (eg. Recurrent Neural Networks, Convolutional Neural Networks etc..).
Limiting length and detail is a good rule of thumb. If you need more detail in a specific section of this note, break it up into smaller notes. Deep Learning now has three notes:
- Deep Learning
- Recurrent Neural Networks
- Convolutional Neural Networks
Repeat this step as needed until you achieve the desired granularity. You might want to put these notes in a “Neural Networks” folder because they are all about the same thing. But there's a better way:
#Tags and [[Links]] over /Folders/
The main issue with folders is that they are not flexible and assume that all notes in the folder belong to a single category. This makes it difficult to make connections between topics.
Deep Learning has been used to predict protein structure (AlphaFold) and classify images (ImageNet). Imagine a folder structure like this:
- /Proteins/ - Protein Folding - /Deep Learning/ - /Proteins/
Your notes about Protein Folding and Convolutional Neural Networks will be separate, and you won't be able to find them in the same folder.
This can be solved in several ways. The most common one is to use tags rather than folders. A note can be grouped with multiple topics this way. Obsidian tags can also be nested (have subtags).
You can also link two notes together. You can build your “Knowledge Graph” in Obsidian and other note-taking apps like Obsidian.
My Knowledge Graph. Green: Biology, Red: Machine Learning, Yellow: Autoencoders, Blue: Graphs, Brown: Tags.
My Knowledge Graph and the note “Backrpropagation” and its links.
Backpropagation note and all its links
Why use Folders?
Folders help organize your vault as it grows. The main suggestion is to have few folders that "weakly" collect groups of notes or better yet, notes from different sources.
Among my Zettelkasten folders are:
My Zettelkasten's 5 folders
They usually gather data from various sources:
MOC: Map of Contents for the Zettelkasten.
Projects: Contains one note for each side-project of my PhD where I log my progress and ideas. Notes are linked to these.
Bio and ML: These two are the main content of my Zettelkasten and could theoretically be combined.
Papers: All my scientific paper notes go here. A bibliography links the notes. Zotero .bib file
Books: I make a note for each book I read, which I then split into multiple notes.
Keeping images separate from other files can help keep your main folders clean.
I will elaborate on these in the Workflow Section.
My general recommendation is to use tags and links instead of folders.
Maps of Content (MOC)
Making Tables of Contents is a good solution (MOCs).
These are notes that "signposts" your Zettelkasten library, directing you to the right type of notes. It can link to other notes based on common tags. This is usually done with a title, then your notes related to that title. As an example:
An example of a Machine Learning MOC generated with Dataview.
As shown above, my Machine Learning MOC begins with the basics. Then it's on to Variational Auto-Encoders. Not only does this save time, but it also saves scrolling through the tag search section.
So I keep MOCs at the top of my library so I can quickly find information and see my library. These MOCs are generated automatically using an Obsidian Plugin called Dataview (https://github.com/blacksmithgu/obsidian-dataview).
Ideally, MOCs could be expanded to include more information about the notes, their status, and what's left to do. In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.
In the absence of this, Dataview does a fantastic job at creating a good structure for your notes.
2. Tools: Knowing Obsidian
Obsidian is my preferred tool because it is free, all notes are stored in Markdown format, and each panel can be dragged and dropped. You can get it here: https://obsidian.md/
Obsidian is highly customizable, so here is my preferred interface:
The theme is customized from https://github.com/colineckert/obsidian-things
Alternatively, each panel can be collapsed, moved, or removed as desired. To open a panel later, click on the vertical "..." (bottom left of the note panel).
My interface is organized as follows:
How my Obsidian Interface is organized.
This is where I keep all relevant folders. I usually use the MOC note to navigate, but sometimes I use the search button to find a note.
I use nested tags and look into each one to find specific notes to link.
Easy-to-use menu plugin cMenu (https://github.com/chetachiezikeuzor/cMenu-Plugin)
The global graph shows all your notes (linked and unlinked). Linked notes will appear closer together. Zoom in to read each note's title. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but as your library grows, you get used to the positions and start thinking of new connections between notes.
Your current note will be shown in relation to other linked notes in your library. When needed, you can quickly jump to another link and back to the current note.
Finally, an outline panel and the plugin Obsidian Power Search (https://github.com/aviral-batra/obsidian-power-search) allow me to search my vault by highlighting text.
Start using the tool and worry about panel positioning later. I encourage you to find the best use-case for your library.
An additional benefit of using Obsidian is the large plugin library. I use several (Calendar, Citations, Dataview, Templater, Admonition):
Obsidian Calendar Plugin: https://github.com/liamcain
It organizes your notes on a calendar. This is ideal for meeting notes or keeping a journal.
Calendar addon from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Citation Plugin: https://github.com/hans/
Allows you to cite papers from a.bib file. You can also customize your notes (eg. Title, Authors, Abstract etc..)
Plugin citation from hans/obsidian-citation-plugin
Obsidian Dataview: https://github.com/blacksmithgu/
A powerful plugin that allows you to query your library as a database and generate content automatically. See the MOC section for an example.
Allows you to create notes with specific templates like dates, tags, and headings.
Templater. Obsidian Admonition: https://github.com/valentine195/obsidian-admonition
Blocks allow you to organize your notes.
Plugin warning. Obsidian Admonition (valentine195)
There are many more, but this list should get you started.
3. Workflows: Cool stuff
Here are a few of my workflows for using obsidian for scientific research. This is a list of resources I've found useful for my use-cases. I'll outline and describe them briefly so you can skim them quickly.
3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes
3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)
3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists
3.4 Projects and Lab Books
3.5 Private Encrypted Diary
3.1 Using Templates to Structure Notes
Plugins: Templater and Dataview (optional).
To take effective notes, you must first make adding new notes as easy as possible. Templates can save you time and give your notes a consistent structure. As an example:
An example of a note using a template.
### [[YOUR MOC]] # Note Title of your note **Tags**:: **Links**::
The top line links to your knowledge base's Map of Content (MOC) (see previous sections). After the title, I add tags (and a link between the note and the tag) and links to related notes.
To quickly identify all notes that need to be expanded, I add the tag “#todo”. In the “TODO:” section, I list the tasks within the note.
The rest are notes on the topic.
Templater can help you create these templates. For new books, I use the following template:
### [[Books MOC]] # Title **Author**:: **Date:: **Tags:: **Links::
A book template example.
Using a simple query, I can hook Dataview to it.
dataview table author as Author, date as “Date Finished”, tags as “Tags”, grade as “Grade” from “4. Books” SORT grade DESCENDING
using Dataview to query templates.
3.2 Free Note Syncing (Laptop, Phone, Tablet)
No plugins used.
One of my favorite features of Obsidian is the library's self-contained and portable format. Your folder contains everything (plugins included).
Ordinary folders and documents are available as well. There is also a “.obsidian” folder. This contains all your plugins and settings, so you can use it on other devices.
So you can use Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox for free as long as you sync your folder (note: your folder should be in your Cloud Folder).
For my iOS and macOS work, I prefer iCloud. You can also use the paid service Obsidian Sync.
3.3 Obsidian — Managing Reading Lists and Notes in Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef
Plugins: Quotes (required).
3.3 Zotero/Mendeley/JabRef -> Obsidian — Taking Notes and Managing Reading Lists of Scientific Papers
My preferred reference manager is Zotero, but this workflow should work with any reference manager that produces a .bib file. This file is exported to my cloud folder so I can access it from any platform.
My Zotero library is tagged as follows:
My reference manager's tags
For readings, I usually search for the tags “!!!” and “To-Read” and select a paper. Annotate the paper next (either on PDF using GoodNotes or on physical paper).
Then I make a paper page using a template in the Citations plugin settings:
An example of my citations template.
Create a new note, open the command list with CMD/CTRL + P, and find the Citations “Insert literature note content in the current pane” to see this lovely view.
Citation generated by the article https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.24.22269144
You can then convert your notes to digital. I found that transcribing helped me retain information better.
3.4 Projects and Lab Books
Plugins: Tweaker (required).
PhD students offering advice on thesis writing are common (read as regret). I started asking them what they would have done differently or earlier.
“Deep stuff Leo,” one person said. So my main issue is basic organization, losing track of my tasks and the reasons for them.
As a result, I'd go on other experiments that didn't make sense, and have to reverse engineer my logic for thesis writing. - PhD student now wise Postdoc
Time management requires planning. Keeping track of multiple projects and lab books is difficult during a PhD. How I deal with it:
- One folder for all my projects
- One file for each project
I use a template to create each project
### [[Projects MOC]] # <% tp.file.title %> **Tags**:: **Links**:: **URL**:: **Project Description**::## Notes: ### <% tp.file.last_modified_date(“dddd Do MMMM YYYY”) %> #### Done: #### TODO: #### Notes
You can insert a template into a new note with CMD + P and looking for the Templater option.
I then keep adding new days with another template:
### <% tp.file.last_modified_date("dddd Do MMMM YYYY") %> #### Done: #### TODO: #### Notes:
This way you can keep adding days to your project and update with reasonings and things you still have to do and have done. An example below:
Example of project note with timestamped notes.
3.5 Private Encrypted Diary
This is one of my favorite Obsidian uses.
Mini Diary's interface has long frustrated me. After the author archived the project, I looked for a replacement. I had two demands:
- It had to be private, and nobody had to be able to read the entries.
- Cloud syncing was required for editing on multiple devices.
Then I learned about encrypting the Obsidian folder. Then decrypt and open the folder with Obsidian. Sync the folder as usual.
Use CryptoMator (https://cryptomator.org/). Create an encrypted folder in Cryptomator for your Obsidian vault, set a password, and let it do the rest.
If you need a step-by-step video guide, here it is:
So, I hope this was helpful!
In the first section of the article, we discussed notes and note-taking techniques. We discussed when to use tags and links over folders and when to break up larger notes.
Then we learned about Obsidian, its interface, and some useful plugins like Citations for citing papers and Templater for creating note templates.
Finally, we discussed workflows and how to use Zotero to take notes from scientific papers, as well as managing Lab Books and Private Encrypted Diaries.
Thanks for reading and commenting :)
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