Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lessons From Cloud Nine

Happiness predicts higher job performance and even future health. But what predicts happiness?

Read the WSJ article. (Thanks, Tom)

Coyboys and pit crews

For the budding doctors out there, Atul Gawande's commencement speech at Harvard Med this spring. (Thanks, Claire)

Now that Rick Perry has entered the Presidental Race...

Is Rick Perry as Christian as he thinks he is?

... and 5 scriptures you won't hear at Rick Perry's Prayer Rally.

(Thanks, Tom and Alessia)

Should billionaires pay lower taxes than you do?

Warren Buffett complains that he only paid the government 17.4% of his income last year and calls for investors to pay more.

Read the Atlantic view. (Thanks, Tom)

Hey, You! Mean People Earn More, Study Finds

Read the WSJ article. (Thanks, Claire)

Germany’s grand energy experiment

"Most readers of BNC know the story — after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the German government announced that Germany would phase out all of its nuclear generation capacity by 2022. In almost the same period, Germany also aims to cut its national GHG emissions to 40% of 1990 levels (by 2020).

Their emissions have already fallen by 22% since 1990, due in part to the reunification of West and East Germany and the subsequent closing down of the most polluting industrial and energy plants. So they have another 18% to go. Given the nuclear policy, can it be done?"

Reach the BNC post. (Thanks, Claire)

Bon Iver - Holocene

(Thanks, Jamie)

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

Really, how rational is our decision making? Do judges grant less parole as they get more tired throughout the day? Read the NYT article.

"Why I'm marching with Bill McKibben"

As many of you have probably heard, there is a peaceful protest in Washington DC against the Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline. Here's the story of one activist.

Here's the video that has been rallying the troops:

Tar Sands Action/ Josh Fox from JFOX on Vimeo.

Qualitative to quantitative

This might just be consulting humor, but I found it hilarious. (Thanks, Mukul)

Durham Dining: Pies, Panini and Barbecue

Oh how I miss Durham food! Read the NYT article. (Thanks, Jules)

HBR Daily Stat: Apologize or Thank? It Depends on Your Culture

When asking favors, Koreans tend to apologize, and Americans tend to thank, according to Hye Eun Lee of the University of Hawaii and Hee Sun Park of Michigan State.

In an experiment in which more than 200 university students in Korea and the U.S. were instructed to write emails asking that a meeting be rescheduled, 82.7% of the Koreans used apologies, compared with 52.6% of Americans, and 74.2% of the Americans included thanks, compared with 9.4% of Koreans.

When it comes to asking favors, Americans are mainly thinking about the recipient's desire for appreciation, whereas Koreans are mainly thinking about the sender's desire for approval, the researchers say.

Source: Why Koreans Are More Likely to Favor "Apology," While Americans Are More Likely to Favor "Thank You"

Planking for consultants

Oh yeah. That happened. If this is the first time you've heard of planking, check this out. (Thanks, Jamie)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thoughts on the Downgrade

"1. S&P removed the US’ AAA rating – which we’ve had for 70 years. They downgraded our long-term debt to AA+. They also put us on “negative outlook.”

2. For several years, I have said (in presentations) that we would be downgraded (which was pretty obvious to everyone), and estimated that it would happen a few years from now (closer to 2014). I believe that the downgrade happened earlier only because of Congress and the turmoil over the debt ceiling (and the meaningless changes we’ve made for the future…more on that below).

3. John Chambers (chairman of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee) said that the firm’s conclusion “was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling. It involved a level of brinksmanship greater than what we had expected earlier in the year..."

Read the the rest of the list in the Leeds on Finance post.

Eye gaze and the power of faces

Which is the more successful format? Read the Presentation Zen post.

An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage

Only about one in 20 black women is interracially married; they are much less likely than black men to cross the race line.

Black women could find more partners across the race line—and it might just spur more black couples to wed. Read the WSJ article. (Thanks, Tom)

S&P Downgrade: 3 quick posts to get you up to speed

Big news last week first with the debt ceiling deal being signed at the last minute, then the market fell, then the S&P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. Check out the Change the Ratio list of top articles.

Venture For America Will Do For Entrepreneurship What Teach For America Does For Education

Sending young entrepreneurs to companies outside of major cities gives struggling economies an infusion of new talent, and budding business people a chance to be at the front lines of innovative startups.

Read the FastCompany post. (Thanks, Dave!)

Tearing Down Berlin’s Mental Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall did not mean the end of the "wall in the mind." Read the NYT OpEd.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

A Digital Matchmaker for the City and Its Public

New York's Chief Digital Officer is only 27. Great to see people in their twenties having big impact! Read the NYT post.

The plough and the now

"Deep-seated attitudes to women have roots in ancient agriculture."

I don't entirely agree with their thesis / methodology, but its an entertaining idea. Read more in the Economist. (Thanks, Tom)

Five (And Then Some) Tech Tips for Travel

From TripIt, FlightTrack Pro to Airplane Apps, here are some of the best tech tips for frequent travelers. (Thanks, Jules)

How to Beat the High Costs of Dialing Abroad

Now that I'm staffed on an international project, I definitely appreciate any tips to avoid high telco fees while I am abroad! (Thanks, Jules)

Ukrainians cut cars in half to reduce import tax at customs

Check out the Today I Learned post. (Thanks, Ed)

A Tainted Water Well, and Concern There May Be More

There has been some controversy as to whether a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that is used for most natural gas wells has never contaminated underground drinking water. Turns out the EPA has been tracking records of this since 1987. Read the NYT article. (Thanks, Claire)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recent Business School Graduates Covet Technology-Sector Jobs, Again

Read the WSJ post.

For richer, for smarter

The traditional family is now the preserve of a minority. Check out the full post in the Economist. (Thanks, Tom)

Drivers Beware! Park in the Bike Lane in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Your Car May Get Crushed By a Tank

"Though bad driver behavior in Vilnius, Lithuania, hasn't quite reached Moscow-like levels yet, Mayor Arturas Zuokas had gotten sick and tired of cars parking illegally in the capital's bike lanes.

While other city officials might have upped the number of traffic cops or raised fines for parking violations, the colorful Zuokas hopped into an armored vehicle and gleefully crushed an offending Mercedes underneath its treads."

Check out the Discovery Channel Treehugger post.

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 .