For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market.What is her solution? An $80 solar panel from China. Read the entire NYT article. (Thanks, Will)
Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid.
Every week, Ms. Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning...
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
- the upper 1% of the income distribution earned 19.6% of total income before tax [in 2004], and paid 41% of the individual federal income tax
- he wealthiest 1% of U.S. households now take home more than 20% of all household income
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
But in recent decades — marked by a more radical advance of women and some appreciation for that shift — variations on the theme have emerged in society and pop culture. In films, books, music and television and on the social media networks, we have rethought gender roles, and the old virgin versus slut metaphor rings false, if it ever was true.
Now, in keeping with what some call (hopefully) the age of female empowerment, women are more likely to be cast or depicted as sex objects or action heroes — or both in one..." Which actresses do you think it is referring to? Read the rest of the NYT article.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The definition of a narcissist used to be "someone better-looking than you," just as the definition of an alcoholic used to be "someone who drinks the same amount as you whom you dislike."
But I think that's changed.
Now it's "someone with more Facebook updates than you" or "someone who has more Twitter followers than you do."
The recent announcement that they were removing Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the DSM IV Statistical Manual caused quite a stir. But narcissism is no longer a disease. It's a lifestyle.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
It was just another suburban fender-bender. A car zoomed into an intersection and braked too late to stop at a red light. The Georgia woman driving it, an American citizen, left with a wrecked auto, a sore neck and a traffic fine.
But for Felipa Leonor Valencia, the Mexican woman who was driving the Jeep that was hit that day in March, the damage went far beyond a battered bumper. The crash led Ms. Valencia, an illegal immigrant who did not have a valid driver’s license, to 12 days in detention and the start of deportation proceedings — after 17 years of living in Georgia...Read the entire NYT article.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
...On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions: First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?Read the full article in the Harvard Business Review. It's worth it! (Thanks, Freed!)
Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction...
In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year
"50 scientifically proven ways constitute 50 chapters of the book, longest of which take 7 pages. The authors take the position that persuasion is a science, not art, hence with the right approach anybody can become the master in the skill of persuasion. So, what are the 50 ways?"
Read the book review here. (Thanks, JC)
Google just bought Gapminder a couple years ago. Gapminder "produces visually attractive graphics to display facts, figures, and statistics in presentations." It has an incredible set of data.
It isn’t often that a third of a movie audience sticks around to discuss its message, but that is the effect of “Race to Nowhere,” a look at the downside of childhoods spent on résumé-building...Here's the trailer:
Check out parents' reactions to this film in the NYT. You can also check out the film's website to find showtimes near you. (Thanks, Claire and Jules)
But Kristianstad has already crossed a crucial threshold: the city and surrounding county, with a population of 80,000, essentially use no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses, even during the long frigid winters.
It is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when all of their heat came from fossil fuels.But this area in southern Sweden, best known as the home of Absolut vodka, has not generally substituted solar panels or wind turbines for the traditional fuels it has forsaken..."
Read the NYT article. (Thanks, Claire)
Read more at the Consumerist. (Thanks, Cass)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
In a just completed study, researchers at Northwestern University found that people were more likely to solve word puzzles with sudden insight when they were amused, having just seen a short comedy routine.Read the NYT article. It's so good! (Thanks, Claire)
...“It’s imagination, it’s inference, it’s guessing; and much of it is happening subconsciously,” said Marcel Danesi, a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto and the author of “The Puzzle Instinct: The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life.”
“It’s all about you, using your own mind, without any method or schema, to restore order from chaos,” Dr. Danesi said. “And once you have, you can sit back and say, ‘Hey, the rest of my life may be a disaster, but at least I have a solution.’ ”
For almost a century scientists have used puzzles to study what they call insight thinking, the leaps of understanding that seem to come out of the blue, without the incremental drudgery of analysis....
Figment.com will be unveiled on Monday as an experiment in online literature, a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site.Check out Figment.com and for a bit more background read the NYT article. (Thanks, Claire)
Read the powerful article in the Daily Beast. (Thanks, Claire)
In defending their work, members of Congress love to repeat a quotation attributed to Otto von Bismarck: “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made...”Read the rest of the NYT article. (Thanks, Cassie)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Take the test! (Thanks Chris!)
Read the BBC news article here.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Read the WSJ article. (Thanks, Rish)
... North Carolina's first claim to basketball fame is Michael Jordan, the kid from Wilmington who went on to attend the University of North Carolina, win six NBA titles and become one of the planet's most famous and widely admired athletes. It includes Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has guided U.S. teams to gold medals at the 2008 Olympics and 2010 World Championships. It has spread more recently to John Wall of the Washington Wizards, last year's No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, who hails from Raleigh.
At the college level, North Carolina and Duke have won back-to-back NCAA titles—and together with North Carolina State and UNC Charlotte, have racked up a nonpareil 34 Final Four appearances in 50 years—nearly twice as many as schools from the next-highest state, California.
The future looks just as bright: Three of the state's college programs have incoming recruiting classes considered to be among the nation's 10 best. And while North Carolina ranks No. 10 in the U.S. in population, it has eight high-school players ranked by scouting services among the nation's top 100 for 2011—a number only matched by Illinois...
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"One bed. Twelve live reindeer. Twenty-four canaries, eight mice, and two flies. Lots of Andy Warhol. Plenty of Joseph Beuys." Read the NYT "In Transit" post.
This lecture by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October of last year. (Thanks, Chrissy -- it's an incredible piece.)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Check out the FastCompany post.
The NYT presented a less biased overview of fracking. (Thanks, Claire)
When Deborah Perry Piscione moved to Silicon Valley after a career in media and foreign relations on the East Coast, it wasn’t the weather or wealth that amazed her. It was the women.Check out the entire NYT article. (I'd like to get an invite to that 50 person brainstorm event! Thanks, Jules)
Back east, my whole network was men,” she said, “but here there’s this big group of incredible, fearless women. They rise a lot more quickly in their careers, and they support each other. They’ve made their own money and they take risks. There’s such a disconnect between the two coasts..."
Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left the company tied for the worst tasting pies.Read the entire NYT article. It's fascinating. (Thanks, Caleb!)
Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign...
...And Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture — the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting...
Sunday, November 7, 2010
But what is neuromarketing? You've probably had the experience of watching an ad and unexpectedly getting choked up -- or, in the case of campaign ads, feeling the sudden need to take a shower. Neuromarketers measure the way your brain and body responds to these messages, then reverse-engineers the effect into another message.Watch some of the videos (with their neuromarketing explanations) in the FastCompany post.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"A Nicaraguan military commander recently invaded Costa Rican territory, and ordered troops to take down a Costa Rican flag and replace it with Nicaragua's. Was this the work of a brash commander, going rogue on his superiors? A new policy of Nicaraguan imperialism? Neither. The incident was caused by an error in Google Maps."Read the FastCompany article. I guess the army should have used Bing...
"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .
Read the VisualEconomics post .
Read the FastCompany article here .
"Jessica Ladd, founder and chief executive of Sexual Health Innovations, whose Callisto service lets college students anonymously rec...