Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Check this out for a brain-twisting juxtaposition: The U.S. military has successfully tested out a biofuel system for a "Warthog" A10 Thunderbolt II, one of the most feared combat aircraft in the World. Which is now fluffily green.Find out the details in the FastCompany article here.
Read the accompanying FastCompany blog post here. (Any thoughts on why the graphs have those shapes? Answer in the FastCompany article.)
Want to Prevent Weight Gain As You Age? Plan on 60 Minutes a Day of Exercise, Kick It Up a Notch, or Consider Interval Training
"As American women age many begin a war with their weight. A new study shows for normal weight middle-aged women and older who eat a regular diet, 60 minutes of daily exercise is recommended just to maintain and not gain weight as they age. For overweight or obese women exercising 60 minutes wasn't enough to maintain weight over time."Read the article here.
-Dr. I-Min Lee, Division of Preventive Medicine Medicine and Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, "Physical Activity and Weight Gain Prevention," JAMA March 24/31, 2010, 303(12):1173-79
Some pundits, reflecting on the looming U.S. budget deficits, claim that Americans are vastly undertaxed compared with other major nations. I was wondering, to what extent is that true?Read the rest of Greg Mankiw's blog here.
....For some purposes, a better statistic may be taxes per person, which we can compute using this piece of advanced mathematics:
Taxes/GDP x GDP/Person = Taxes/Person
Here are the results for some of the largest developed nations:
.461 x 33,744 = 15,556
.406 x 34,219 = 13,893
.390 x 35,165 = 13,714
.282 x 46,443 = 13,097
.334 x 38,290 = 12,789
.426 x 29,290 = 12,478
.373 x 29,527 = 11,014
.274 x 32,817 = 8,992
The bottom line: The United States is indeed a low-tax country as judged by taxes as a percentage of GDP, but as judged by taxes per person, the United States is in the middle of the pack.
Daniel Louvard does not believe in affirmative action. Time and again, the scientists in his Left Bank cancer laboratory have urged him to recruit with gender diversity in mind. But Mr. Louvard, research director at the Institut Curie and one of France’s top biochemists, just keeps hiring more women.Read the rest of the NYT here.
“I take the best candidates, period,” Mr. Louvard said. There are 21 women and 4 men on his team.
The quiet revolution that has seen women across the developed world catch up with men in the work force and in education has also touched science, that most stubbornly male bastion...
..In this, too, Pierre and Marie Curie were trailblazers. If she is still an inspiration for women scientists, it is not only because she received two Nobel prizes, one in physics and one in chemistry. She also had a longtime marriage and two successful daughters.
Pierre, with whom she discovered radioactivity, refused to accept the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics that was offered to him and Henri Becquerel unless his wife shared it...
“...This talent pool is extremely important to us,” said Kerstin Wagner, head of talent recruiting for the German electronics giant Siemens. Despite the economic slump, Siemens is having trouble filling some 600 engineering jobs in the United States and more than 1,200 engineering jobs in Germany...
It has been five years since Lawrence H. Summers, then the president of Harvard University, suggested at an academic conference that innate differences might explain why fewer women than men succeed in science and math careers. His remark sparked a firestorm that brought many changes — among them, Mr. Summers’s resignation and the naming of the university’s first female president, Drew Gilpin Faust.Read the rest of the NYT article here.
Although many top universities took action in the early 2000s to help women, especially women in science, Harvard, under Mr. Summers, had an unimpressive record. Tenure offers to women plummeted after he took office in 2001. While Harvard extended 13 of its 36 tenure offers to women the year before Mr. Summers became president, that dropped to 4 of 32 the year before his speech. And several departments did not have a single tenured female professor.
Then, at a conference in January 2005, Mr. Summers delivered his now infamous remarks.
He told the audience that “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude,” which he said were reinforced by “lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination...”
- A report on the underrepresentation of women in science and math by the American Association of University Women, to be released Monday, found that although women have made gains, stereotypes and cultural biases still impede their success.
- The report found ample evidence of continuing cultural bias. One study of postdoctoral applicants, for example, found that women had to publish 3 more papers in prestigious journals, or 20 more in less-known publications, to be judged as productive as male applicants.
- The university women’s report cited research showing that girls’ performance suffers from any suggestion that they do poorly at math. In one experiment, college students with strong math backgrounds and similar abilities were divided into two groups and tested on math. One group was told that men perform better on the test, the other that there was no difference in performance between the sexes. Their results were starkly different: in the group told that men do better, men indeed did much better, with an average score of 25 compared with the women’s 5. In the group told there was no difference, women scored 17 and men 19.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
While the World is pondering the complex final moves in the cultural conflict between Google and China's censors, the story has has taken a completely bizarre twist: For some reason, China's censorship firewall went briefly world-wide.Read the FastCompany article here.
This seems to be an event that you'd dismiss as part of the twisty background plot in a James Bond movie, but it did happen: During the week, sysadmins around the World noticed that traffic that should have been happily flowing to sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook was instead being diverted to servers inside China, where it fell subject to the country's tough Great Firewall censorship regime. The result was that certain users around the globe got the same "service not available messages" that the Chinese would get, or were diverted to Chinese alternatives.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
1. Massage your ears.Check out the 8 unconventional ways to de-stress here. (Thanks Cassie!)
4. Try laughing yoga.
6. Be brutally honest.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Feudalism: You have two cows. The lord of the manor takes some of the milk. And all the cream.Check out the rest of the ExtremelySmart.com humor here. (Thanks Jules)
Pure Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
Dictatorship: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
Democracy, Democrat-style: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being so successful. You vote politicians into office who tax your cows, which forces you to sell one to pay the tax. The politicians use the tax money to buy a cow for your neighbor. You feel good. Barbra Streisand sings for you.
Unlike Xanga, LiveJournal or Facebook, there is no need to sensor yourself. It also tracks how happy you are, what you wrote about the most, your words per minute and the number of distractions you had. It's a pretty nifty stats page. Check out the 750words site here. Read the Likehacker review here. (Thanks Jules and David!)
Monday, March 15, 2010
“You pop it in your mouth and scrape the pulp off the seed, swirl it around and hold it in your mouth for about a minute,” he said. “Then you’re ready to go.” He ushered his guests to a table piled with citrus wedges, cheeses, Brussels sprouts, mustard, vinegars, pickles, dark beers, strawberries and cheap tequila, which Mr. Aliquo promised would now taste like top-shelf Patrón.Read about Flava Trippin' parties here.
Find out the answer (and a few stories on social etiquette) here.
HERE’S an etiquette experiment for you: E-mail an invitation for a party, one month out, to 45 friends. Request an R.S.V.P. Provide a follow-up e-mail message, two weeks later, politely reminding them to get back to you.
How many will?
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin.Read the rest of the NYT article here.
Echoing the kind of trades that nearly toppled the American International Group, the increasingly popular insurance against the risk of a Greek default is making it harder for Athens to raise the money it needs to pay its bills, according to traders and money managers...
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
A few gems from this article:
...What does this have to do with sleep? For me, insomnia is my white bear. My conscious goal is to fall asleep, which then causes my unconscious to continually check up on whether or not I’m achieving my goal. And so, after passing out for 30 seconds, I’m woken up by my perverse brain. (Most animals lack such self-aware thoughts, which is why our pets never have trouble taking a nap.)Read the entire NYT article here -- and find out secrets to sleeping! (Thanks Cassie!)
Because insomnia is triggered, at least in part, by anxiety about insomnia, the worst thing we can do is think about not being able to sleep; the diagnosis exacerbates the disease...
You know when your boss has a quiet word with you about using Facebook on company time? That's nothing compared to the hell an Israeli soldier is now in: He Facebooked details of an upcoming IDF raid. And forced its cancellation.Read the rest of the Fast Company article here.
3. Shut up. You think talking about it will make you feel better? That's a load of crap. Don't complain at work; it demoralizes your colleagues, who will further demoralize you. Instead, think of things to celebrate: great orgs, terrific people, change happening. Despite our problems, the do-gooder world is doing good. Be happy about that.Read all of the six here at Fast Company.
NYC is creating a radical new proposal to increase its urban transportation efficiency: bus only lanes that cross from one side of the city to the other. Check out the Fast Company article here.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Here are a few thoughts from Greg Mankiw:
Americans, as well as citizens of many other advanced nations, now spend about twice as many years in retirement as they did a generation or two ago. During that time, they expect the government to provide them with income support and healthcare. Is it any wonder that we face serious fiscal problems?Read Greg Mankiw's blog here.
I hope the president's fiscal commission makes raising the age of eligibility for these programs one of its main recommendations.
"Summer vacation was winding down when the quake hit, and with the airport damaged, many Chileans are stranded." Read the NYT article here.
"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .
A few insights on why gender stereotypes suck for everyone involved: Masculinity, in essence, is something that men earn, rather than so...
A return to the past should not blind us to present problems. Check out Anne-Marie Slaughter's post in FT . Thanks, +Claire Packer ...
"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .