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Bookworm (but I sometimes go on real adventures) · Obsessive thinker · Inconsistent writer · “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” — Douglas Adams

It might not feel like it, but there’s a good chance you are richer than 99% of the world.

The hedonic adaptation theory suggests that humans quickly revert to a stable level of happiness after any positive or negative life changes. For example, you might be pleased with a raise for a while, but it will soon become the new norm, wiping away any gains in happiness¹. While generally…


Photo by Brett Sayles.

My steps are measured. Casual, determined, as if I belonged here. My bag with a screaming-orange priority luggage tag betrays me. I ignore it. Head raised high, confidently, but not defiantly. I’m staring ahead, like a horse. What you can’t see won’t scare you. No, not that. I’m staring ahead…


30 years ago, my Dad taught me what freedom meant.

I remember little of that Sunday. But I can imagine it to the minute detail — the story, repeated by Mum every year, gradually changing like a Lithuanian fairy tale, is my favourite. Dad left, probably on one of those buses that transported thousands of people from every corner of…


My ten favourites of 2020.

From Beloved to A Theory of Justice — and everything in between.

This year sucked. So I read — to forget the mess we are in, the mess we made while trying to get out, and the mess that is surely yet to come. Some of the 58 books I read in 2020 also sucked. Candide by Voltaire was ridiculous, and not…


Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde.

In 2020, I donated €12,725.

Just like last year, in 2020 I gave away around 10% of my net income. My strategy is to distribute this amount across three cause areas:

  1. 60% to saving lives and improving health outcomes of the world’s poorest.
  2. 20% to finding long-term solutions to global poverty and inequality.
  3. 20% to…


Photo by Mitul Grover.

The world is wonderful. The world is terrible. Let’s choose again.

The world is richer, healthier, and more educated than it has ever been. In the last 150 years, we broke out of the Malthusian trap; eradicated smallpox; invented sliced bread, the automobile, the Internet, and the smartphone; and put a man on the Moon. …


Photo by Kyaw Tun.

The covert battle between the ethical and the conventional.

I’ve been thinking about fish lately. I am not a fan of fish as food. I love cheap kaiten sushi and my Mum’s pike and carrots in foil. But that’s it, all other fish is yuck.

My Dad’s not a fan of fish as food either. But he loves fishing…


Shibuya, Tokyo.

I was about to hop on a plane and start a new life in Europe. Then a global pandemic hit.

6 AM. My alarm rings. It’s Tuesday morning, and I am not going to work. So I snooze. For an hour. All’s fair in wars and pandemics.

7 AM. My alarm rings again. It’s still Tuesday. I snooze for another hour, but my well-honed sense of guilt and duty finally…


Photo by Liuda Brogiene.

I was born in Šiauliai, Lithuanian SSR. My first memory is playing kanklės (a traditional plucked string instrument) and singing my then-favourite lament about heartbreak and the brutality of the sea. My mum was clinging to the TV. …


Photo by Rajeshwar Bachu.

I know better now.

February 2015, Scotland. Otherworldly, just the right setting for Ridley Scott’s aliens. For us humans, it’s too “brutal, cold and wet,’’ says Scarlett Johansson. And yet here I am, dancing in my room to the sound of the howling wind outside. A Google recruiter has just told me I’ve been…

Ernesta Orlovaitė

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