Thursday, December 31, 2009

Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow

Who has heard of Open that Bottle Night? If you are one of those pleasure procrastinators, read on:
For once, social scientists have discovered a flaw in the human psyche that will not be tedious to correct. You may not even need a support group. You could try on your own by starting with this simple New Year’s resolution: Have fun ... now!

Then you just need the strength to cash in your gift certificates, drink that special bottle of wine, redeem your frequent flier miles and take that vacation you always promised yourself. If your resolve weakens, do not succumb to guilt or shame. Acknowledge what you are: a recovering procrastinator of pleasure.
Read the rest of the NYT piece here. (Jules is on a roll!)

Cyanide and Happiness

See the original comic here. (Great find Jules)

Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin: Models for Different Roles

Cathy Horyn compares Michelle Obama's style with Sarah Palin (minus the politics). Read the entire NYT Fashion piece here. (Thanks Lucy!)

The History of NORAD's Santa Tracker

For all you NORAD Santa Trackers, here is a bit of history.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room"

A great find from Will: "As recriminations fly post-Copenhagen, one writer offers a fly-on-the-wall account of how talks failed." Read the Guardian piece here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Russians Wary of Cyrillic Web Domains

Although Cyrillic Web addresses will be available next year, many Russians question their necessity and analyze possible risks:
The Kremlin has long been irritated by the way the United States dominates the Internet, all the way down to the ban on using Cyrillic for Web addresses — even has to be demeaningly rendered in English. The Russian government, as a result, is taking the lead in a landmark shift occurring around the world to allow domain names in languages with non-Latin alphabets...

...But now, computer users are worried that Cyrillic domains will give rise to a hermetic Russian Web, a sort of cyberghetto, and that the push for Cyrillic amounts to a plot by the security services to restrict access to the Internet. Russian companies are also resisting Cyrillic Web addresses, complaining about costs and threats to online security...
Read the rest of the NTY article here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright and essayist

Linguistics and ranges of "politeness" across cultures

A one or two line introduction is not fair for this article. The Economist says "Life is getting friendlier but less interesting. Blame technology, globalisation and feminism," but in truth it is an expose on how small nuances in communication are lost between languages.

English, although seemingly positive to break down social class barriers, can miss the mark for intimacy. Read the full Economist article here.

"New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs"

Steve Lohr claims that the future American labor force needs more "cool nerds." However, employers are finding some roadblocks:
...But not enough young people are embracing computing — often because they are leery of being branded nerds. Educators and technologists say two things need to change: the image of computing work, and computer science education in high schools...
Read the NYT article here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Erik Anderson's Movie: Tones

Spot anyone you know?

My Initiation at Store 5476

A few crazy facts:
  • Wal*Mart employs some 1.4 million people in the United States. (U.S. population 300 million. ~138 million taxpayers in the United States, which means that Wal*Mart employs around 1% of the entire working population! Yes?)
  • The assistance manager walks about 5 miles per work day on the job.
Read Stephanie Rosenbloom's "initiation" at Store 5476 here.

"Tiger Woods, Person of the Year"

Frank Rich wrote an Op-Ed column reviewing some of the biggest scandals and shocks of the past decade from Enron to 9/11, and concludes that awarding Tiger Woods "Person of the Year" was a fitting close to our decade. Read the NTY Op-Ed piece here.

How to Save a Hacked Gmail Account

DigitalInspiration got hacked, and they outline extensive tips to save your Gmail and GoogleApps in case this happens here.

Google SketchUp: What does a trillion dollars look like?

First, let's start with an introduction to Google SketchUp:

And then click here to see a SketchUp of a trillion dollars. Very cool, but I'm biased. Thanks Lucy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bump Technologies

Dan Romero showed this to me. It looks like we have a Poken v Bump war.

Peace on Facebook

"Facebook is proud to play a part in promoting peace by building technology that helps people better understand each other. By enabling people from diverse backgrounds to easily connect and share their ideas, we can decrease world conflict in the short and long term." Here are a few of the updates as of Dec 18, 2009:
  • 5,248: Israel-Palestine Connections in the Past 24h
  • 6,702: India-Pakistan Connections in the Past 24h
  • 55,219: Muslim-Christian Connections in the Past 24h
  • 540: Sunni-Shiite Connections in the Past 24h
  • 17,374: US Conservative/Liberal Connections in the Past 24h
Check out the Peace on Facebook site here. (Thanks Howie!)


This is a website that helps organize and distribute the world's news. Check out DayLife's website here.

You Google, you text, you chat. Do you Poken?

Poken Explained from Poken on Vimeo.

Check out the Poken website here.

Geo-based Twitter Trends Tracker

Surf around on here. (Thanks Howie!)

Looking for Life in the Multiverse

Physics is deceivingly fun. Take for example a multiverse. Here are the three key concepts:
  • Multiple other universes—each with its own laws of physics—may have emerged from the same primordial vacuum that gave rise to ours.
  • Assuming they exist, many of those universes may contain intricate structures and perhaps even some forms of life.
  • These findings suggest that our universe may not be as “finely tuned” for the emergence of life as previously thought.
Who would you be in your multiverse? Read the Scientific American article here. (Thanks Will!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy"

"This Los Angeles reservoir contained chemicals that sunlight converted to compounds associated with cancer. The city used plastic balls to block the sun, but nearby homeowners asked why, if the water didn't violate the law"

Our federal law regulating tap water is so out of date: 35-year-old. Read the NYT article here.

"As Goldman Thrives, Some Say an Ethos Has Faded"

"Under Lloyd C. Blankfein's leadership, Goldman Sachs now puts quick profits above all else, some executives say." Read the NYT article here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics"

Rather shocking:
New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows...
Read the rest of the NYT article here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Race to the Top Fund

Here's an innovative government funding tool: "The Race to the Top Fund provides competitive grants to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform." Check out the site here.

Prezi = the new powerpoint

Slides are old school. Check out Prezi's site here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gchat Hidden Smilies

2009 Word of the Year: Twitter

The top words of 2009

1. Twitter
2. Obama
3. H1N1
4. Stimulus
5. Vampire
6. 2.0
7. Deficit
8. Hadron (<3)
9. Healthcare
10. Transparency

And the winners for years past:
2008: Change
2007: Hybrid
2006: Sustainable
2005: Refugee
2004: Incivility
2003: Embedded
2002: Misunderestimate
2001: GroundZero
2000: Chad

Enjoy the full article here. (Thanks Cass!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

"I live in a van down by Duke University"

Check out this story by Duke student, Ken Ilgunas:

"How do I afford grad school without going into debt? A '94 Econoline, bulk food and creative civil disobedience."

Read the Salon article here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Looking for Balloons and Insights to Online Behavior

"The prize is $40,000, and it goes to the first person or group to determine the locations of 10 red balloons that can be anywhere in the continental United States."

The contest takes place on Dec. 5. It is sponsored by Darpa, the Pentagon’s research agency. Read the NYT article here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades

Incredible: "A program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children." Read the full NYT article here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weary of Looking for Work, Some Create Their Own

Recessions often push people to sharpen their entrepreneurial talents.
...Plenty of other laid-off workers across the country, burned out by a merciless job market, are building business plans instead of sending out résumés. For these people, recession has become the mother of invention.

Economists say that when the economy takes a dive, it is common for people to turn to their inner entrepreneur to try to make their own work. But they say that it takes months for that mentality to sink in, and that this is about the time in the economic cycle when it really starts to happen — when the formerly employed realize that traditional job searches are not working, and that they are running out of time and money.

Mark V. Cannice, executive director of the entrepreneurship program at the University of San Francisco, calls the phenomenon “forced entrepreneurship"...
Read the article here. (This article even features recent Duke grad, Alex Andon!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Charity is an insult to small business

Here is a different view: "While Goldman may see this as a generous move, its charity is an offense to struggling entrepreneurs and a symbol of failed government policy. The $500 million allocated to fund the initiative is a small share of the massive profits Goldman has earned on the back of huge government subsidies it has received since the onset of the financial crisis." Read the article here.

4 year old calls 911 for math help

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grameen America

How often does something move from the developing world to the US? Grameen Bank, the microfinance institution form Bangladesh, is starting to develop roots in NYC. Check out the slide show here.

First Mutual Fund Investment in Microfinance in India

A mutual fund based on microloans? It happened. In India. Check out the article here.

Some Rediscover the Benefits of Business Travel

Cutting back on business travel could be a bad decision during the recession:
When the economy collapsed last fall, many companies had to make some quick decisions about travel, typically one of the first areas they trim when finances are tight. Should they cut back as most of their competitors were, continue business as usual or spend even more to get a leg up?

Most companies — about 85 percent — decreased travel spending, according to the National Business Travel Association, a trade group. But two recent reports, commissioned independently by the business travel association and another trade group, the U.S. Travel Association, found a clear link between business travel and corporate profit.
Read the NYT article here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists

Here are a couple quotes from typography purists:

"I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy."

"Choosing an inappropriate typeface is one problem. Applying one inaccurately is another. Sadly for type nuts, movies often offend on both counts. Take 'Titanic,' in which the numbers on the dials of the ship’s pressure gauges use Helvetica, a font designed in 1957, some 45 years after the real 'Titanic' sank."

Read the NYT Design article here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Changing your Surname

Have you ever wondered how much of a hassle it is to change your name? For a woman changing her surname at marriage, it can cost hundreds of dollars! Learn more about the steps for a name change here.


Have you ever wanted to see what the world looks like for someone who is colorblind, or perhaps, color-weakness? Check out a cool simulation here. You can test for multiple types of color-blindness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Readability: Making Web Pages Easy to Read

If you want to have a better style for your websites, check out this site on graphic design. Also, read up on serif or sans serif debate here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"The Mismeasure of Woman"

Joanne Lipman writes about the great strides and the hidden struggles of women in the world. Here are a few excerpts:
For the first time, women make up half the work force. The Shriver Report, out just last week, found that mothers are the major breadwinners in 40 percent of families. We have a female speaker of the House and a female secretary of state. Thirty-two women have served as governors. Thirty-eight have served as senators. Four out of eight Ivy League presidents are women...

...Consider the facts: When I graduated from college in 1983, women earned only 64 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Today? Women earn just 77 cents. By other measures, women’s gains have stalled: board seats and corporate officer posts have been flat — or declined in recent years.

More proof: According to the American Bar Association, women in 2008 made up almost half of all associates, but only 18.3 percent of partners. Only 15 women run Fortune 500 companies.
Read the NY Times article here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tackling ‘the Russian God’

"Security camera footage of an accident at a warehouse outside Moscow that destroyed more than $150,000 worth of vodka, according to Russian television. The driver sustained minor injuries." Read the NYT article here.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Sent from Julia:

"The idea behind VisualMD is to be the Google Earth for medical imagery. News organizations, for instance, might use the images from VisualMD to explain health concepts to their audiences just as how now they use Google Earth to convey geographic information.

[The creator's] goal is to make all of the data free and available and to serve as a resource for individuals, as well as doctors explaining health matters to their patients. Their images are beautiful 3D reconstructions of organs that the user can spin around, interact with, annotate, and even create their own slide shows for easy email to others."

Check out the VisualMD website here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Cut Wall Street Out! How States Can Finance Their Own Economic Recovery"

The citation was a bit dubious, but allegedly, "According to a German study, interest composes 30 percent to 50 percent of everything we buy."

Also, guess the two states in the country that are set to meet their budgets in 2010 (North Dakota and Montana). A little know fact and possible reason why ND is doing so well economically: North Dakota is the only state in the Union to own its own bank.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation (Ukraine's Got Talent)

Superfreakonomics: The Epic Battle

Sanjeev discovered an epic battle between Paul Krugman (NYT) and Steven Levitt (Freakonomics) regarding Levitt's new book Superfreakonomics, and its contrarian view on climate change.

Krugman's critique.

Levitt/Dubner's rebuttal.

Krugman's rebuttal.

Krugman again.

Levitt/Dubner's response.

Simply, Krugman accuses Levitt is of disingenuously quoting a famous climate researcher's work and incorrectly, which Levitt claims was unintentional.

Arnold to SF: Fuck You

This is almost too witty be true. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed Tom Ammiano’s AB 1176 bill -- and sent this remarkable veto letter: But -- there is a hidden message!Read the official blog post here.

Better Place

What if cars were as disposable as cell phones and you only really paid for its electricity, much like you only pay for your cellular service plan? Better Place is a venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California that makes a market-based electric vehicle network. Check out a Better Place's website here.

Age old question: what do women want?

An alarming and somewhat depressing stat from a BCG consultant's survey in this article: "Thirty per cent of American women who are married do not intend to be with the man they are with five years from now." Read the full New Yorker piece here.

Prepaid, but Not Prepared for Debit Card Fees

The NY Times writes about a newer phenomenon: prepaid debit cards. Here are a few excepts:
...For many people who do not have bank accounts, or cannot get a credit card, the appeal is irresistible, making the reloadable cards among the consumer banking industry’s fastest-growing products. But their convenience comes with a catch: fees, often hidden in the fine print.

A cottage industry only 10 years ago, reloadable prepaid cards have tapped into the vast pool of about 80 million consumers (!) who have little or no access to bank accounts. The market includes college students who do not want to carry around wads of cash and consumers who do not want to type their credit card number into the Internet...
You would need to accumulate massive overdraft fees on your bank account, if you have one, for this to be a good deal. To learn more about the prepaid debit card appeal, read the full article here.

Whoa, wireless electricity?

Thanks Freed for the find -- read more here.

SBA Summer '08 Controversy

Entrepreneurial small businesses stand to be one way to get us out of our mammoth corporate recession. But it's easy to forget the past.

As President Obama prepares to increase the loan portfolio for the Small Business Administration, let's not forget a little-known but troubling controvery that happened last summer. Read the NY Times article here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If you could read Obama's newsfeed, what would it say?

Check out the Slate satire here.

All This Anger Against the Rich May Be Unhealthy

Paul Sullivan of the NYT controversially writes that an obsession with punishing the wealth could have real health detriments. Here are a few excerpts:
"The vehemence in these e-mail messages made me wonder why so many people were furious at those who had more than they did. And why are the rich shouldering the blame for a collective run of bad decision-making? After all, many of the rich got there through hard work. And plenty of not-so-rich people bought homes, cars and electronics they could not afford and then defaulted on the debt, contributing to the crash last year."

"A big concern among the wealthy right now, their advisers say, is not populist anger but how it might translate into tax-the-rich legislation on the federal and state levels. Their concern is twofold.

The first is that any tax increase has a direct impact on the income they withdraw from their portfolios. More money going to the government means less to live on. “They’re very concerned about taxes going up,” said William Woodson, managing director at the Family Wealth Management group at Credit Suisse. “The percent that goes to taxes is significant if it’s a 15 percent capital gains vs. 25 percent capital gains. It makes a big difference.”

The second concern may be disheartening for those who are angry at the rich but like the museum exhibition or scholarship they pay for: increased taxes could cut into donations. While there is not a direct correlation between tax deductibility and personal donations, there is a correlation between increased taxes in a continued weak economy and charitable giving."

Read the NY Times article here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Is It a Day to Be Happy? Check the Index"

Researchers used two years of anonymous "status updates" to create a new Gross National Happiness Index, unveiled last Monday by Facebook.
The index is an attempt to say something profound based on the reports of daily life that Facebook users impose on — um, share with — their friends.The idea, one that is generally accepted in social psychology, is that word choice can reveal a person’s mood.

This is true in ordinary writing, these experts say, and even more so in writing like Facebook updates or the tweets of Twitter users, which ostensibly are attempts to describe what you are doing right now and how you feel. (While tweets limn the psyche in 140-character installments, Facebook updates are downright Augustinian, with some running as long as 420 characters.)
Read the entire NY Times article here. Check out the Happiness Index here.

"The Lines a German Won’t Cross"

How different is the German culture from American? Find out one (biased?) view here.

How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect

The hypothesis: disorientation begets creative thinking. The answer: here in the NYT.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A British Approach to Healthcare

Dr Copperfield, a renowned British doctor, writes about healthcare (with a bit if humor thrown in):
Doctors know that if we don’t give our patients a diagnostic label to show friends and family they are liable to storm out of the consulting room like spoilt toddlers who didn’t get a goodie bag at the end of the party.

Besides, patients given a definite diagnosis tend to make better progress than those who are simply told: “It’s probably a virus.” I play my part in this charade by making an educated guess as to what particular virus might be the root cause of whatever symptom they’ve just presented: “And those blisters on your sore throat suggest that you’ve picked up the Coxsackie A strain.”

Pause while patient feigns a working knowledge of virology and contemplates the implications of the diagnosis. “Coxsackie A you reckon?” “Could be worse. As you probably know, Coxsackie B is a bastard.

Got off lightly there.” “Yeah, right. Thanks anyway, Doc.” Game over.

Before the world wide web intruded doctors could offer vague diagnoses such as spastic colon, night starvation and fibrositis, and get away with it. The arrival of Google, Wikipedia and broadband demanded a new lexicon of woolly, all-purpose, one-size-fits-all medical terminology...

Read the rest of the article here.


And another good one:
You know those depressing moments at parties when the gaze of the person you’re talking to wanders as he or she scans for more rewarding company? You don’t? Oh. Maybe that’s because you don’t share my passion for narrow-gauge railways. Whatever. The point is that this syndrome of rudely wavering attention also happens in the doctor-patient interaction: you do it to us, and you ought to be ashamed....
Read the article here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

How real is climate change?

The climate debate continues. These sections are especially interesting:
The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change on Tuesday are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years.

The plateau in temperatures has been seized upon by skeptics as evidence that the threat of global warming is overblown. And some climate experts worry that it could hamper treaty negotiations and slow the progress of legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

Scientists say the pattern of the last decade — after a precipitous rise in average global temperatures in the 1990s — is a result of cyclical variations in ocean conditions and has no bearing on the long-term warming effects of greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere. But trying to communicate such scientific nuances to the public — and to policy makers — can be frustrating, they say...

...“People understand what I’m saying, but then basically wind up saying, ‘We don’t believe anything,’ ” he [Dr. Latif] said in a telephone interview...
Read the entire article here. You can find a climate change primer here.

Kanye West Vs. Taylor Swift? Try YouTube Users Vs. Viacom

Whose side are you on? Read the article here.

NewSchools Venture Fund

Here is something rare in the finance world: a venture capital firm with a social-focus. Check out their mission:
NewSchools Venture Fund is a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education by supporting education entrepreneurs and connecting their work to systems change.
Learn more about the NewSchools Venture Fund on their website here.

Peugeot Experiments with Shape-Shifting Cars

"Eco Factor: Concept car designed to run on electric motors.

Designed by Ahmad Moslemi Far, the Peugeot Globule is made up of four separate parts, each with the capacity of one passenger and powered by an electric motor, and these parts are connected together to a centralized battery system. These four parts are contained in a very flexible polymer covering, which holds the parts and their connections together."

Check out the story here. (Thanks Cassie for the find!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

Michael Pollan of the NY Times made a debate-inducing observation this past week:
No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.
Read the NY Times article here.

"How American Health Care Killed My Father"

"After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem." Read the Atlantic article here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?

With the recession, the discipline of economics has come under heavy fire. More academics are questioning the role and "truths" of economics. This is a long article, but worth it. Read the NY Times article here.

"Six Fonts That Piss People Off"

"A furor erupts when Ikea changes its official typeface. Here are five other controversial fonts, involving Nazis, incest, and comic books." For all you Typophiles out there, you can read the Fast Company article here.

Googling the future: Internet search data may be useful for forecasters

The Economist released an article following a fascinating question: Can Google searches help us predict the future?
CLAIMS of clairvoyance, particularly when they come from economists, deserve a sceptical reception. Hal Varian, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley who also happens to be Google’s chief economist, has no such pretensions, but he does believe that data on internet searches can help predict certain kinds of economic statistics before they become available....
Check out the Economist article about Google here. Check out the Google Forecast site here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Geek to Live: Take great notes

Lifehacker has come up with an excellent guide to different types of note-taking, useful for everything from university lectures to business meetings. Check out the guide here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"How Facebook Ruins Friendships"

Here's an excerpt from the WSJ:

"Notice to my friends: I love you all dearly.

But I don't give a hoot that you are "having a busy Monday," your child "took 30 minutes to brush his teeth," your dog "just ate an ant trap" or you want to "save the piglets." And I really, really don't care which Addams Family member you most resemble. (I could have told you the answer before you took the quiz on Facebook.)

Here's where you and I went wrong: We took our friendship online. First we began communicating more by email than by phone. Then we switched to "instant messaging" or "texting." We "friended" each other on Facebook, and began communicating by "tweeting" our thoughts—in 140 characters or less—via Twitter..."

Read the entire article here.


It's a YouTube video with an agenda, but "Home" is worth checking out, regardless of which side you are on of the environmental debate.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"It May Be Time to Find a New Credit Card"

According to the NY Times, "rates and fees are rising as new rules take effect. But with good credit, you can always switch card issuers." Read details here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier

"American military women have changed the way the United States goes to war, without the disruption of discipline and unit cohesion that some feared." Read the NY Times article here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"A Hand Up for Students Facing a Mountain of Debt"

Students now have a new option as they take out a loan for college: SafeStart. Read the NY Times article here and see why this is unique.

Also, here is a novel alum-to-student (peer-to-peer) interest free loan program at Harvard, UniThrive. (Calling Duke alums?)

The Economist: Efficiency and beyond

"The efficient-markets hypothesis has underpinned many of the financial industry’s models for years. After the crash, what remains of it?"

This is one of the best articles I have found synthesizing academic economics with the current financial crisis. Read the article here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Women in Power Are Set Up to Fail"

"Are women set up to fail — by being appointed to positions of power only in hopeless situations?"
"Two British academics say so, and they claim to have proved it this year. In one study, they took 83 businesspeople — roughly half of them women — and described to them two companies, one that was steadily improving in profitability and another that was steadily declining.

" The subjects were told to pick a new financial director for the firm and were presented with three candidates: a man and a woman who were identical in experience and a lesser-qualified male. The subjects were slightly more likely to pick a man to lead the successful firm but were far more likely to pick the woman to lead the failing one.

"Two other experiments with similar designs yielded the same result: When presented with men and women to lead a company that’s going down the tubes, people pick the woman. What's going on?..."
Read the rest of the NY Times article here.

For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics

Statisticians are quickly becoming among the highest paid workers after graduation. Find out why in the NY Times article here.

Breakfast Can Wait. The Day’s First Stop Is Online.

First thing I do in the morning? Check my email. And apparently, I"m not alone. Here's a fun, easy-read article from the Times about how our technology addictions have taken over leasurly mornings:
... Technology has shaken up plenty of life’s routines, but for many people it has completely altered the once predictable rituals at the start of the day.

This is morning in America in the Internet age. After six to eight hours of network deprivation — also known as sleep — people are increasingly waking up and lunging for cellphones and laptops, sometimes even before swinging their legs to the floor and tending to more biologically urgent activities...

Read the rest of the article here.

Debate in Germany: Research or Manufacturing?

This debate is remarkably similar to one in America years ago. C-CEO of a Germany company states: “Silicon Valley isn’t a factory anymore,” he said. “It’s a think-tank.” Read the rest of the NY Times article here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vanishing Chinese Academic Files

"Local officials are suspected of stealing individuals’ academic records — which are vital in China — and selling them to underachievers seeking better job prospects." Read the article here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy feet?

Check out these funky shoes at

"Where Thin People Roam, and Sometimes Even Eat"

Guess the "thinnest" US city. Find the answer in the NY Times here.

Yes Prep

Houston has some impressive schools. Check out these stats on "Yes Prep":

  • 90% of YES students are first generation college-bound
  • 80% of YES students are economically disadvantaged
  • 95% of YES students are Hispanic or African American
  • Most students enter YES at least one grade level behind in Math and English

  • 100% of the Class of 2009, 82 graduating seniors, were accepted to four-year colleges
  • Over 90% of the Class of 2009 graduates are first generation college-bound
  • Over 95% of seniors have been accepted to at least two colleges/universities
  • 82 seniors submitted 690 applications (average of 8 applications per student)
Check out their website here.

Laughing is good for you

A few quotes:

"A good laugh, like a good cry, has long been thought to be the right medicine at certain moments. Now scientists are exploring how regular laughing can do more than just put a smile on your face.

"After laughing, you have a relaxation response (in your body). Everything goes down—heart rate, blood pressure, your muscles relax," says Mary Bennett, PhD, APRN, whose research has investigated how humor and laughter affect physical and psychological well-being..."

Read the rest of the article here.

Fun Wedding Entrance

Monday, July 13, 2009

Democrats for a Flat Tax?

It's not the typical economic argument: more and more democrats are advocating a flat tax. Why?
"...It remains unclear how much Ms. Bass will fight for the commission's recommendations. Underscoring the political sensitivity of tax reform, she has been cautious in recent public comments, emphasizing that she is "open-minded" about supporting the recommendations herself. She told me she didn't like the idea of a "flat tax" if it meant raising the tax burden on poorer and middle-class Californians. But she also said she worried about the state's heavy reliance on about 144,000 wealthy people to pay half of all income taxes for a state with a population of 38 million. "It's a crazy statistic," she said...."
Check out the full article here.

Coach's Poppy Line Is Luxury for Recessionary Times

"In July 2008, amid the spreading gloom, the senior executives of Coach gathered for a private annual meeting. At the end of the first day they made an important decision. The brand had emerged from its modest origins in the 1940s to become an emblem of the working woman and then, remarkably, a favorite among the fashion-conscious.

"It had created the very conceit of affordable luxury. Now that sense of expansiveness, opportunity, even desire, was diminished. Coach had to adapt. So began a nearly yearlong quest to design a line of purses and accessories that could be priced to fit the times without cheapening or otherwise damaging Coach's image. Doing so would require executives to find new sources of leather, fabric, and hardware, renegotiate deals with suppliers, and collaborate more than they ever had.

"The resulting collection, which will be introduced in late June, is called Poppy. It's more youthful; CEO Lew Frankfort describes it as eclectic and spontaneous. The average price will be about 20 percent less than the usual Coach purse."

Check out the full article here.

Crowdsourcing: What It Means for Innovation

"Some predict that crowdsourcing is the future of the marketing, advertising, and industrial design industries. The phenomenon, they argue, will accelerate creativity across a larger network. Others predict that this practice of opening up a task to the public instead of keeping it in-house or using a contractor will be the demise of those businesses because of the downward pressure on prices.

"If LG crowdsources a new cell-phone design on CrowdSpring for $20,000, as it did recently, what happens to the old model of paying a design firm millions of dollars for the same project? Most likely, the practice will continue evolve, supplying a more efficient and creative way for companies to engage with and harness the crowd for help

Check out the full article here.

The Productivity Holy Grail! just came out with the Top 10 Productivity Tips. I'll bet you aren't doing 1/2 of them.

Inbox Zero

These posts from 43 Folders explain the "Inbox Zero" philosophy. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

11 Health Myths That May Surprise You

Some of the myths discussed: "It’s okay to double dip in the chip dip," "Singles have better sex lives than married people," "Sugar makes kids hyper," and"You lose most of your body heat through your head." Check out the 11 health myths here.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .