Sunday, January 31, 2010

Brainteasers, but not trick questions

Ah, it started off as one of those old-school email forwards, but it is worth posting:

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters ' dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'

Answers To Quiz:

1.. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls . (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle...

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe,question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

*** Some of the answers are questionable, so if you know that any are wrong -- please post a comment.

In honor of my first Inbox Zero in a month...

I will outline a few tips across the web for how to clean out your inbox (or if necessary, declare email bankruptcy). Here is the original Inbox Zero process from Merlin MAnn at 43 Folders. Here is the Lifehacker post about it.

Scott Hanselman begins his journey to email zen with this opening:
I am always made uncomfortable when I see an email inbox with 1000's of emails. I wonder how folks can handle the psychic weight of all those emails. I continue to try to effectively implement Getting Thing Done as I've mentioned before in my systems of organization post....
Read the rest of his process here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Women CEOs: Why So Few?

The HBR writes about female CEOs and tips for becoming CEO, which is good advice for all sexes. One notable remark is that CEOs coming from internal channels often perform better than external ones, which might seem obvious, but sometimes internal employees aren't always the best managers. Read the Harvard Business Review article here. (Thanks, David)

When all other interviewing strategies fail...

(Thanks, Gaurav!)

Infographic of the Day: Government Bailouts Around the World

Click on the graphic above for the full version (it's worth it). You can read the Harvard Business Review article here.

Welcome to the Weirdest New Internet Pastime: Chat Roulette

Chat Roulette pairs you with a random videochat partner. It works like this: "you can click 'next' any time, or stay with your current pairing." Read the Fast Company article here.

Want More Twitter Followers? Stop Talking About Yourself

"In sum: If you want more Twitter followers, stop talking about your feelings, and start engaging your audience." Read how this was calculated in the Fast Company article here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Sunscreen Song - 10 Year Tribute (Everybody's Free)

(Thanks, Gloria... at this point you should just write my blog.) publishes small business and small business information for entrepreneurs. I enjoyed some of the slideshows. Check out its website here. (Thanks, Gloria)

World Changing, a nonprofit media organization

Check out the World Changing website here. (Thanks, Gloria)

Cool Person: William Kamkwamba

Here is an excerpt of William's bio from Wikipedia (you can judge your own level of Wikipedia-trust)
William Kamkwamba (born August 5, 1987) is a Malawian secondary school student and inventor. He gained fame in his country when, in 2002, he built a windmill, to power a few electrical appliances in his family's house in Masitala, using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard. Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village, and two other windmills (the tallest standing at 39 feet) and is planning two more, including one in Lilongwe.
Check out William's blog here. (Thanks, Gloria)

The Blog of Tim Ferriss: Experiments in Lifestyle Design

Check out the blog here. Ferriss is also the author of Four-Hour Workweek. (Thanks, Gloria)

Ben Casnocha: A Blog about entrepreneurship, ideas, current affairs, and intellectual life

Read the blog here. (Thanks, Gloria)

Entrepreneurship and Education at the Kauffman Foundation

An introduction:
The Kauffman Foundation is often referred to as one of the largest foundations in the United States—or as the world's largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship. Both are true, thanks to Ewing Kauffman's generosity and foresight. However, these "largest" factoids may give the false impression that we can influence society just by virtue of our size or spending power.

Check out the Kauffman Foundation website here. Ewing Marion also founded Marion Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company. (Thanks, Gloria)

The Skoll Foundation

What they do:
The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are proven leaders whose approaches and solutions to social problems are helping to better the lives and circumstances of countless underserved or disadvantaged individuals.
Check out the Skoll Foundation website here. A few fun facts: The Skoll Foundation is #2 on B's list of the 25 most effective philanthropic causes, and it was founded by one of the founders of EBay. (Thanks, Gloria)

The Elders

No, it's not from a novel. The group is real:
The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.
The Elders are an impressive bunch: Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando H Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson, and Desmond Tutu. They also have two Honorary Elders: Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.

Check out their website here. (Thanks, Gloria)

Cool Person: Elon Musk

Elon Musk (born 1971) is a South African-American physicist, entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for co-founding PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He is currently the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity. (Thanks, Gloria)

What is Good.Is?

A brief summary:

GOOD is the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good. We are a company and community for the people, businesses, and NGOs moving the world forward. GOOD's mission is to provide content, experiences, and utilities to serve this community.

GOOD currently produces a website, videos, live events, and a print magazine. Launched in September 2006, the company has garnered praise for its unique editorial perspective and fresh visual aesthetic and is quickly positioning itself as a significant new voice in our culture.

Check out the website here. Here is more about Jonathan Greenblatt, the founder. (Thanks, Gloria)

What is Echoing Green?

"Since 1987, Echoing Green has provided seed funding and support to more than 470 social entrepreneurs with bold ideas for social change in order to launch groundbreaking organizations around the world." Check out the Echoing Green site here. (Thanks, Gloria)

Omidyar Network: Every Person has the Power to Make a Difference

Here is a brief description of ON:
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm. We create opportunity for people to improve their lives by investing in market-based efforts that catalyze economic, social, and political change.
(Cool job for any pending graduates?). They have an impressive list of names in their Microfinance portfolio. Check out Omidyar Network here. (Thanks, Gloria)

Hayek vs Keynes Rap

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

She Works. They’re Happy.

Here are a few interesting snippets:
  • Based on a study of Census data, Pew found that in nearly a third of marriages, the wife is better educated than her husband. And though men, over all, still earn more than women, wives are now the primary breadwinner in 22 percent of couples, up from 7 percent in 1970.
  • Over all, the evidence shows that the shifts within marriages — men taking on more housework and women earning more outside the home — have had a positive effect, contributing to lower divorce rates and happier unions.
  • But the dynamic is “not as easy as you’d think it would be,” she said. “You can’t just reverse the genders.”Men, for instance, sometimes have a hard time adjusting to a woman’s equal or greater earning power. Women, meanwhile, struggle with giving up their power at home and controlling tasks like how to dress the children or load the dishwasher.
Read the NYT article here.

Play, Then Eat: Shift May Bring Gains (or losses, pun intended) at School

"A simple scheduling switch -- moving recess before lunch -- may improve children's eating habits and behavior in school. " Read the NYT article here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Economists Debates: Women

Debate: "This house believes that women in the developed world have never had it so good." It contains a different format from what I am used to reading online. Check out the Economist article here.

My So-Called Wife

Family responsiblities are becoming less gender-specific. How do new parents choose their roles? Read the NYT Op-Ed piece here.

Is texting changing the English language?

Here are a few snippets:
  • There is a long and noble history of trying to change the English language’s notoriously illogical system of spelling. The fact that through, rough, dough, plough, hiccoughand trough all end with -ough, yet none of them sound the same as any of the others, is the sort of thing that has been vexing poets and learners of English for quite some time.
  • You may not like seeing the phrase “LOL — U R gr8” on the page, but it is common enough that you are likely to understand it. Why have such inadvertent “reforms” succeeded where generations of dedicated intellectual attempts have not? And will they last?
  • Perhaps the most successful attempt at spelling reform (at least in America) was wrought by Noah Webster, who managed to forever make Americans view the British honour and theatreas off-kilter. Some portion of Webster’s determination to change -our to -or and -re to -er was due to nationalist fervor; he wanted his countrymen to break free of the orthographic bonds of their oppressors. He was noticeably less successful in convincing Americans of the utility of many of his other ideas, like spelling oblique as obleek, as machine masheen and prove as proov.
Read the NYT Magazine article here.

Why Can’t the I.R.S. Help Fill in the Blanks?

The IRS has a lot of your information in its systems already. In the digital age, why do we have to re-fill out the entire form every year?
Many developed countries now offer taxpayers a return containing all information collected by the taxing authority — to “get the ball rolling by telling you what it knows,” Mr. Bankman says.It’s a stunningly reasonable idea.

When you prepare your return, why can’t you first download whatever data the Internal Revenue Service has received about you and, if your return is simple, learn what the I.R.S.’s calculation of your taxes would be? You’d have the chance to check whether the information was accurate, correct it as needed and add any pertinent details — that you’re newly married, for example, or have a new child — before sending it. Far better to discover problems early with the I.R.S., whose say matters more than third-party software’s best guess.
Find out why the IRS doesn't in the NYT article here.

Underwater, but Will They Leave the Pool?

Many homeowners are paying mortgages that are higher than their homes are worth. Why do they do it?
After all, millions of American homeowners are “underwater,” meaning that they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. In Nevada, nearly two-thirds of homeowners are in this category. Yet most of them are dutifully continuing to pay their mortgages, despite substantial financial incentives for walking away from them.
Find the answer in the NYT article here.

Why Is a Utility Paying Customers?

Idaho Power is paying some of its customers to turn off their electricity during peak hours:

These days, Idaho’s farmers are being paid to stop using power.

Sitting at a cluttered kitchen table in his home, Mr. Erwin — now a farmer himself — waved a bill showing that last July he received a credit of more than $700 from Idaho Power for turning off his power-guzzling pumps on some summer afternoons...

...As saving energy becomes a rallying cry for utilities and the government, Idaho Power is in the vanguard. Since 2004, it has been paying farmers like Mr. Erwin to cut power use at crucial times, resulting in drop-offs of as much as 5.6 percent of peak power demand.

In a related program, it pays homeowners to turn off their air-conditioners briefly at times of high demand.

Read the NYT article here.

'No Frumpy': Cornell's Pi Phi Forbids American Apparel Leggings, 'Gross, Plastic Shizzz'

Here are a few snippets from Cornell's Pi Phi's dress code for recruitment:

On Clothes

— Denim leggings are appropriate as long as it’s done right: aka, not from American Apparel and worn with chic, cool, chunky boots over them and a longer top.

— No satin dresses. No one looks good in satin dresses unless it’s from Betsey Johnson or Dolce & Gabbana, you weigh less than 130 pounds, have three pairs of Spanx on and it’s New Years Eve.

On Shoes

— Yes to nice flats: Tory Burch, etc. More evening-ish, understated, patent leather good. I’m thinking mid-height Mary Jane heels, or mid-height chunky Kate Spade.

— Booties ok if you can pull them off, aka probably not.

On Jewelry

— Bangles need to coordinate. I’m not saying you have to wear a Harry Winston wreath, but I am saying I won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz. I love things on wrists and I demand earrings if your ears are pierced.

Read the Fashionista blog post here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online

Here are a few (surprising?) statistics:

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

“I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.

I wonder where I fit in? I don't keep track of my digital use -- but I definitely don't text 500 messages per day. Read the NYT article here. (Thanks, Cass!)

More Men Marrying Wealthier Women

The marriage pool in the U.S. is changing as people create different standards for their ideal partner:

In 2007, the Pew report found, median household incomes of married men, married women and unmarried women were all about 60 percent higher than in 1970. But among unmarried men, median household income rose by only 16 percent. These days, men who marry typically gain another breadwinner.

In 1970, 28 percent of wives had husbands who were better educated, and 20 percent were married to men with less education. By 2007, the comparable figures were 19 percent and 28 percent. In 1970, 4 percent of husbands had wives who made more money; in 2007, 22 percent did.

College-educated wives are less likely to have a husband who is college-educated and in the highest income bracket than they were in 1970, and married women are less likely to have a husband who works.

What consequences can you think about with stats like those above? Read the NYT article here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google, Citing Cyber Attack, Threatens to Exit China

Google is living up to its motto, "Don't Be Evil":
Google threatened to end its operations in China after it discovered that the e-mail accounts of human rights activists had been breached.

The company said it had detected a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China." Google says further investigation revealed that "a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists." Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government. But the company added that it is "no longer willing to continue censoring our results" on its Chinese search engine, as the government requires. Google says the decision could force it to shut down its Chinese site and its offices in the country.
Read the NYT article here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A new type of feminism?

Virgina Heffernan writes:
I had a revelation recently: a woman’s place is not in the home; it’s from the home!

...Try it: “Hi, boss. Today I’m staying home. Staying from home. I’m working from home.” That phrase! Timothy Ferriss, in “The 4-Hour Workweek,” the best-selling manual of truancy and shirking, argues that the first step to living the dream is persuading your boss that face time is pointless.

For real. The dishwasher, the washing machine and the pill were supposed to liberate us from something, but the superduper Internet, alone among the great 20th-century technologies, has really nailed it.

Thanks to the Internet, women who prefer never, ever to leave the house to enter the unpredictable world of vice presidents and printer hubs get to pursue fame and fortune as greedily as anyone. ... Sure, all those deals that were supposed to go down on the golf course or at the urinal — they probably still happen there. But now, if we so choose, we have the means to text-pester the golfers all the livelong day...
I have this feeling that we are not yet talking about true liberation. An email on a blackberry is less personal than stopping by someone's office and saying "hi". I certainly don't want to be "text-pestered". Read the NYT article here.

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

Arguably, our generation is using less technology compared the the younger ones. When did being in our 20s mean we are out of touch?
...These mini-generation gaps are most visible in the communication and entertainment choices made by different age groups. According to a survey last year by Pew, teenagers are more likely to send instant messages than slightly older 20-somethings (68 percent versus 59 percent) and to play online games (78 percent versus 50 percent)...

...Another bubbling intra-generational gap, as any modern parent knows, is that younger children tend to be ever more artful multitaskers. Studies performed by Dr. Rosen at Cal State show that 16- to 18-year-olds perform seven tasks, on average, in their free time — like texting on the phone, sending instant messages and checking Facebook sitting in front of the television.

People in their early 20s can handle only six, Dr. Rosen found, and those in their 30s perform about five and a half.

That versatility is great when they’re killing time, but will a younger generation be as focused at school and work as their forebears?

Read the NYT article here.

Multicultural Critical Theory. At B-School?

Universities around the country are realizing that the "hard sciences" and traditional disciplines and skills only get their students so far. Interdisciplinary thinking and learning is rapidly gaining a following. Lane Wallace argues:
Business schools are realizing that students need to learn how to think critically and creatively every bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting.
Read the NYT article here.

Glimmers of hope as entrepreneurs rise in the recession

Here is an article about new entrepreneurs in what seems to be an economically dead city: Detroit. My favorite new company in Detroit is a hair salon named Curl Up and Dye.

A Peek Into Netflix Queues

The NYT put together an interactive map of NetFlix queues from across the country. You can definitely see some patterns (what sections of cities love Twilight vs. the Case of Benjamin Button?). Here's what the NYT has to say about the map:
Examine Netflix rental patterns, neighborhood by neighborhood, in a dozen cities. Some titles with distinct patterns are Mad Men, Obsessed and Last Chance Harvey.
Check out the interactive here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nurse Outduels IRS Over M.B.A. Tuition

"How One Woman Went to Tax Court and Won Deduction"
(and impressively, without a lawyer)

This ruling could help tens of thousands of students save money by deducting the cost of an MBA degree from their taxes. Read the WSJ article here. Thanks, Dad.

From Battlefield to Ivy League, on the G.I. Bill

Cameron Baker, an Air Force veteran, in class at Columbia.

With a stronger G.I. bill more veterans are returning to school in their twenties after spending years in the military and deployed abroad. Read the NYT article here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Where do you bank?

What happens to your money when you put it in a savings/checking account?

Berdell Knowles argues that community banks deserve more of our business now than global ones.
Choosing a bank is one of the most important decisions consumers make because it has a measurable and lasting impact on the economy around us... If you choose to bank with a global bank, your deposits are invested in securities and activities that may have no bearing on you or your local community.

The bank executives who make the decisions on how to use the earnings from your money, whether it be to pay management bonuses or to invest in sub-prime mortgages, will probably know little about you or your community. However, consumers who choose community banks are bringing their economic power to bear on their own local economy...
Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Franklin Mixon Jr. and Kamal Upadhyayab published an article about economics bloggers and the ratings of their scholarly works. Here is the abstract:
This study gathers information on a wide array of economics bloggers and blogs in order to develop a ranking of economics bloggers that is based on citations to their academic research. This ranking is used in an iterative process that next presents a ranking of economics blogs that is based on the ranking of economics bloggers, and finally a ranking of economics departments that is based on the ranking of economics blogs...
Read the article from the Eastern Economic Journal here. Definitely check out the charts. In my opinion, Greg Mankiw's Blog is one of the best economics blogs in cyberspace. Sadly, no Dukies on the list.

(Fittingly, this is Twenty One Blue Jaguars 500th post!!)

21BlueJag stats: 3 years, 19,068 visits, 29,948 pageviews, from 136 countries

German Lingerie Ad Lifts the Veil on Muslim Women

Read the corresponding article here.

Efficient Lighting, With Fewer Wires

"Redwood Systems’ uses low-voltage cabling to deliver both power and data through its networked LED lighting systems."

Check out the Green Inc. NYT blog article about Redwood Systems here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Open Letter to James Cameron from Papyrus

For any Typophiles: I can't even give this open letter justice. You'll have to read it in its entirety. Thanks, Rish!

Single ladies and smaller waistlines

Something single ladies can cheer about:
  • It is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a mate put on more pounds than those who live without one.
  • After adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner.
Read the rest of the NTY article here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gauging the Dedication of Teacher Corps Grads

Stunning: "A study found those who fulfilled their two-year Teach for America commitment showed lower rates of civic involvement afterward than those who declined to join or dropped out." Read the NYT article here.

Update: My friend, Yousef, wrote an impressively measured response to this article:
This article leaves seems to be missing some key information.

Here's the argument:
  • TFA alums are less civically engaged than non-matriculants and drop outs.
  • Yet, TFA alums are more involved than their peer group in issues relating to educations (presumably including program non-matriculants and drop outs)
So, isn't the critical question how much time people in each group spend on each activity? It's possible that TFA alums aren't spending time on other civic activities because all of their non-work community activities are related to education. People only have so much time.

Best of Ocho Cinco Quotes - Child Please, Kiss Da Baby, Hard Knocks, Chad Johnson

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Living on Nothing but Food Stamps

A couple startling facts about food stamps and the safety net:
  • About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times.
  • About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card.
  • One in eight Americans now receives food stamps (!), including one in four children.
The rest of the NYT article is here. (Here is a slide show.)

Yoram Bauman: Economics Humor

Global Mobile-Phone Culture

The Economist writes about the different mobile phone cultures across the world. It covers everything from the cultural name of the phone (cell, mobile, handy...) to how long people talk for, what types of phones, what cultures text, which ones can answer calls in board rooms, even to who can't talk on the trains. Here is one of my favorite excerpts:
In some countries it is a common habit to carry around more than one phone. Japanese workers often have two: a private one and a work one (which they often turn off so bosses cannot get them at any hour). “I have one phone for work, one for family, one for pleasure and one for the car,” says a Middle Eastern salesman quoted in a study for Motorola, a handset-maker. Having several phones is often meant to signal importance. Latin American managers, for instance, like to show how well connected they are: some even have a dedicated one for the boss.
For any world travelers out there, you'll want to check out the article here.

In Debt? Go Cash Only

Here is a Consumerist piece that discusses the benefits of throwing away (or just minimizing the use of) your credit card and switching to cash only.

The Case Against the Millionaire Surtax

Alan Viard argues against the millionaire surtax:
By increasing marginal tax rates at high income levels, the millionaire surtax in the House health care reform bill would promote tax avoidance and impede savings and investment, reducing wages throughout the economy. Taxing a mere 0.3 percent of the population is not a sustainable way to pay for health care reform.
Read his in-depth analysis for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research here.

Once Patients Pay, Health Costs Will Fall

Here is the article.

Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online Underground Services Let Virus Writers Check Their Work

Even hackers have their own shadowy market to test out the strength of their viruses. Check out the Wired article here.

Daily Routines

How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. Check out the collection here. Thanks, Lucy!

Arts & Letters Daily

Arts and Letters Daily is a service of the Chronicle of Higher Education. It pulls articles of note, book reviews and essays and opinion from across the internet. It's a quality collection if you are looking to stretch your mind. Read the Arts and Letters Daily here.

Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective

Steven Pinker writes a critical analysis of Malcolm Gladwell's writing. Here are some excerpts:
  • Have you ever wondered why there are so many kinds of mustard but only one kind of ketchup? Or what Cézanne did before painting his first significant works in his 50s? Have you hungered for the story behind the Veg-O-Matic, star of the frenetic late-night TV ads? Or wanted to know where Led Zeppelin got the riff in “Whole Lotta Love”? Neither had I, until I began this collection by the indefatigably curious journalist Malcolm Gladwell.
  • An eclectic essayist is necessarily a dilettante, which is not in itself a bad thing. But Gladwell frequently holds forth about statistics and psychology, and his lack of technical grounding in these subjects can be jarring. He provides misleading definitions of “homology,” “sagittal plane” and “power law” and quotes an expert speaking about an “igon value” (that’s eigenvalue, a basic concept in linear algebra).
  • In the spirit of Gladwell, who likes to give portentous names to his aperçus, I will call this the Igon Value Problem: when a writer’s education on a topic consists in interviewing an expert, he is apt to offer generalizations that are banal, obtuse or flat wrong...
Read the NTY article here.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Check out 43 Folders.

"The rich world’s quiet revolution: women are gradually taking over the workplace"

Here are a few teaser quotes:
  • This revolution has been achieved with only a modicum of friction. Men have, by and large, welcomed women’s invasion of the workplace.
  • Many women feel they have to choose between their children and their careers. Women who prosper in high-pressure companies during their 20s drop out in dramatic numbers in their 30s and then find it almost impossible to regain their earlier momentum. Less-skilled women are trapped in poorly paid jobs with hand-to-mouth child-care arrangements. Motherhood, not sexism, is the issue: in America, childless women earn almost as much as men, but mothers earn significantly less. And those mothers’ relative poverty also disadvantages their children.
Read the entire article here. Thanks Lucy -- it's about time for you to start a blog of your own!

The Food Figher

Lucy found an article detailing the (eccentric?) life and entrepreneurial choices of John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. Read the New Yorker article 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 .