Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

Nick Helmholdt

I'm doing 29 things

How I did it
How to make a short film
It took me
10 days
It made me

How to do something with all these damn fortune cookie messages
It took me
1 day
It made me

How to throw out stuff i don't need anymore
It took me
2 weeks
It made me

See all "How I Did It" stories...

Recent entries
write daily (read all 5 entries…)
I can feel the momentum

I’ve only missed two days: December 4 & October 30 since this streak began on October 11. That’s 62/64 days for those of you keeping score at home. I’ve set an alarm on my phone to go off at 9:45 pm to remind me to write something for the day. This has been very useful on days when I otherwise would have shrugged it off.

If I can keep up this streak for six months, I will consider this goal complete. If my average days of writing stays above 95% through April 11, 2010, then I’ll check off this goal as finished.

stop doubting myself (read all 2 entries…)
Finding Our Ways

Longitude is one of my favorite books. To my mind, stories about how people navigate through space are captivating. I might be jealous of these pre-industrial navigators. In my life, the only decision is wheter to take M-14 or I-94 on my way to Detroit. In Longitude, the protaganist isn’t a navigator, but a watch maker. In his attempt to win the Longitude Prize he built clocks capable of working on ships at sea. I recently learned about two types of navigators that predate the search for longitude, Polynesians and Narwhals.

The latest issue of National Geographic Adventure highlighted the pre-historic method of wayfinding practiced by Polynesian settlers of Fiji, Hawaii, and hundreds of other Pacific islands. Without the aid of radios, compasses, maps, or any aid to navigation they sailed as far as 2,500 miles to found new settlements. How? It starts just after birth. Infants chosen to be wayfinders are placed in tidal pools to become accustomed to the physics of the ocean. As they grow they’re taught how to navigate by constellations and clouds. On ocean-going canoes, the wayfinder rarely sleeps more than two hours a day. All the instruments considered indispensable to modern navigators were hardwired to a single individual.

The tusk of the Narwhal is perhaps the most unique tooth on the planet. It can grow up to nine feet in length on males, it grows in a spiral, like soft serve ice cream, and its purpose is apparently still a mystery to scientists. One dentist has an hypothesis that he has been testing since 2005: the tusk is an aid to navigation in the icy Arctic Ocean. Martin Nweeia believes that the tusk could be used to detect water temperature, salinity, and currents. Is it possible that natural selection has favored this tusk-as-antenna trait? The possibility that navigational aptitude can be an extra sensation like taste or smell is fascinating.

Is it possible that our commuting patterns are driving a new round of natural selection? I doubt it, but people regularly navigate lots of situations outside their vehicles. Sometimes the feeling is called intuition, or conscious, or more plainly, gut. Social triggers can cause that physical reaction, a signal to avoid something. It’s a crude instrument, and I think it’s one that is neglected too often.

get everything ready for my wedding
Planning from 300 miles away

Distance is going to be the biggest challenge to planning this wedding. I will be in Buffalo, where the wedding will happen this summer, in about three weeks. Getting some important ducks in line during that window will be critical to managing stress as the date approaches.

Wish me luck :)

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