Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Economic Roots of Your Life Crisis

Read Umair Haque's post in HBR.

TEDxCambridge - Priya Parker on the fear of missing out


Millennials prioritizing productivity over purpose

Read Priya Parker's special in CNN. Lots of this hits spot on.

What News Sites People are Reading, by State

Ha, The Onion leads in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Mexico?

Read the post in FlowingData.


"Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful."
— George E. P. Box, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces, 1987

From FlowingData.

How one man escaped from a North Korean prison camp

There was torture, starvation, betrayals and executions, but to Shin In Geun, Camp 14 – a prison for the political enemies of North Korea – was home. Then one day came the chance to flee…

Read Shin's story in the Guardian. (Thanks, Lucy)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Choosing Extra Large Makes You Seem High-Status

People who were observed choosing large-size coffees, pizzas, and smoothies were rated by others as having higher status—an average of 4.98 on a 1-to-7 scale—than people who chose small sizes (3.03), according to an experiment led by David Dubois of HEC Paris. The research shows, moreover, that people who feel powerless tend to choose larger options than people who feel powerful, regardless of the items' price. The findings have implications for the high rate of obesity in developed countries, particularly among people with low socioeconomic status, the researchers say.

Read more in the Chicago Journal on JSTOR.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why Some Countries Go Bust

In a series of noted and somewhat controversial academic papers published over the past decade, Daron Acemoglu of MIT has disproved many previous theories on why some countries are rich while others are poor.

In Why Nations Fail, his new book with collaborator James Robinson, he argues that the wealth of a country is most closely correlated with the degree to which the average person shares in the overall growth of its economy.

It's an idea that was first raised by Adam Smith but was then largely ignored for centuries as economics became focused on theoretical models of ideal economies rather than the not-at-all-ideal problems of real nations.

According to Acemoglu's thesis, when a nation's institutions prevent the poor from profiting from their work, no amount of disease eradication, good economic advice, or foreign aid seems to help. Read more in the NYT.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Most Americans have had premarital sex, study finds

With all this talk about abstinence-only education, it's a good time to think about if it fits with the reality.

This study found that 95% of Americans have had premarital sex. Among women born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 did. These numbers hold true for your grandparents. Do lawmakers think rates are any different for Gen Y?

Lunch with the FT: Esther Duflo

The MIT professor and star economist explains why the empowerment of women will not solve poverty. Fascinating life story. Read the FT article. (Thanks, Tom)

Behind Every Great Woman

As more women earn high-level corporate roles, more husbands are staying home, raising the kids, and changing the rules. Read the article in Businessweek.

Just don't play it while you're driving! Warning over 'most relaxing song ever created'

Check out the DailyMail article. (Thanks, John!)

What Do Conflict & Innovation have in Common?

An interesting interview with Jason Gore in Priya Parker's ThirveCo post. They talk about how conflict is a hotbed for innovation.

Compromise -- especially early on -- is an innovation killer that almost guarantees a solution that will be minimally acceptable by all parties. Neat case studies for the workforce!

Millennials paralyzed by choice

Read the CNN blog post. Do you have the FOMO? (Thanks, Neil)


IDinsight is a start-up and doing big things. They have been speeding up the testing process for social initiatives.

Their tagline? "Demand driven evaluations to amplify impact." Read more at their website. (Thanks, Yousef)

What Glass Ceiling? Killer Career Advice From Women Who Lead By Example

Read the Fast Company post.

Instant Treehouse: Luxe Pre-Fab Treehouse Unit Sleeps Four

Check out the award-winning story at Discovery. See more tree houses at Blue Forest.

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

Why is it that between 25 and 50 per cent of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work?

It's not just the number of hours we're working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.

Read Tony Schwartz's article in the HBR.

Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

Find out why in the NYT. (Thanks, Dad)

The Perfect Proposal: A Victory and a ‘Yes’

Read the NYT article. And watch the video. Absurdly cute! (Thanks, Claire)

Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving

Being a bit drunk can help with creativity? Another study also confirms! I know the next location for a problem-solving session.

(Thanks, Blair)

HBR Daily Stat: What Happens to Your Smartphone After You Lose It

72% of people who found "lost" smartphones in five cities tried to access photos, 57% tried to open a file named "Saved Passwords," and 43% tried to open an app named "Online Banking." Symantec's experiment involving 50 phones left in food courts, restrooms, and other locations also showed that just half of the finders tried to contact the owners, whose phone numbers and email addresses were prominently shown in the phones' contact lists, according to's report on the study.

Amazing and sad that more people will look at your photos than try to return the phone!

10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts

First sentence:"This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they 'naturally' go into labor."

Seriously Georgia?! WTF.

Read more in the HuffPo. (Thanks, Chris)

Monday, March 19, 2012

TED Talk: Adam Savage of Mythbusters

(Thanks, Sven!)

This Amazing Device Just Made Wheelchairs Obsolete for Paraplegics

Read more in Gizmodo. (Thanks, Chrissy)

Why do cars have brakes?

Why do automobiles have brakes?

To stop, right?

To stop. That’s one answer.

Is there another answer? I heard this on the radio recently, and I jotted it down in my mental notebook.

Cars have brakes so they can go fast.


Read all of Sarah Peck's post.

The silence of the lions

Warning: This column is not suitable for children, and its content may be offensive to some. Read Kathleen Parker's Washington Post article. (Thanks, Claire)

My Life’s Sentences

My favorite sentence pair: "Even printed, on pages that are bound, sentences remain unsettled organisms. Years later, I can always reach out to smooth a stray hair."

Read more in the NYT. (Thanks, Dad)

Bobo Soprano

How monkeys, the Mafia, Italian academia—and, increasingly, American society—illustrate the biological impulse and social peril of nepotism. Read more in the University of Chicago Magazine. (Thanks, Tom)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ohio Dem's Viagra Bill Would Place Strict Restrictions on Prescriptions

An Ohio state senator wants to make it more difficult for men to get Viagra prescriptions

Sen. Nina Turner says her proposal is about "leveling the playing field" in the fight over women's reproductive health. Some of the details are (unintentionally?) hilarious. Read more in Slate. (Thanks, Kristina)

Hitchcock's Definition of Happiness

(Thanks, Joyce)

Friday, March 16, 2012

TED Talk: Michael Sandel's The lost art of democratic debate

(Thanks, Scott)

TED Talk: Stefan Sagmeister's The power of time off

Inspiring! Need to figure out how to do this in my life. (Thanks, Neil)

Cultural Constraints on Women Leaders

Fascinating article about Women leaders in "tight cultures" vs. "loose cultures" -- and these don't always correspond with liberal vs. conservative cultures. Read more in the NYT.

How One Second Could Cost Amazon $1.6 Billion In Sales

Research on U.S. Net habits suggests that if this sentence takes longer than a second to load, many citizens will have clicked elsewhere already. If you've got the patience (or are European) read on for more shocking data on not dawdling in the FastCompany article.

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

If this hasn't hit your inbox yet, take 5 to read Greg Smith's resignation letter in the NYT

Lots of news articles have also covered it. BBC writes "Goldman Sachs resignation: Muppet letter is everyone's fantasy." Reiterates how important culture is to an organization.

(Thanks, Chrissy, Julia, Lucy, Joyce, and Raph -- lots of people sent this over!)

How to Keep More Kids on the Streets

New Jersey is the latest state that may price teens and young adults out of the labor force. Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Tom)

A fall to cheer

For the first time ever, the number of poor people is declining everywhere.

The past four years have seen the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and the biggest food-price increases since the 1970s. That must surely have swollen the ranks of the poor. Wrong.

Read more in the Economist. (Thanks, Tony)

Fresh Guacamole

(Thanks, Cassie)

Koala bear ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

Can you name this one? ●~*

Check out more Emojicons! (Thanks, John)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Generation X: Overlooked and Hugely Important

A new study by the Center for Work-Life Policy finds that despite being the smallest generation (46 million), Generation X might be 'the most critical generation of all' for employers. Gen Xers are of an age (33 to 46 years old) that should put them at the prime of their lives and careers, stepping into crucial leadership roles and starting families.

However, the study reveals that due to challenges and circumstances out of their control, Gen Xers are taking a different life path. Baby boomers aren't retiring, stagnating their careers. More and more men and women are choosing not to have children. Read more the Press Release in a new study from the Center for Work-Life Policy. (Thanks, Tim)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How The Mind Really Works: 10 Counterintuitive Psychology Studies

Ten psychological findings that challenge our intuitive view of how our minds work. Check them out in PSYBLOG.

The 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2012

Need a little inspiration? Check out the Technology Review's 50 most innovative companies.

Printing organ tissue with a 3D printer?! Crazy cool. (Thanks, Corinne)

Are you ready to be a maker?

Favorite excerpt: "In the end, what you make is only as powerful as what it says about you, the maker. Whether you build a chair, a piece of software, an organization, a building, a city, or a movement, the root of the project must be an extension of yourself, an extension of your values."

Read Seung Chan Lim's story in Revolution.Is.

Number cruncher

Nate Silver can’t hit a fastball, but he’s an ace at dissecting baseball stats. And Major League Baseball has taken notice.

Fascinating mini-biography in the University of Chicago Magazine. (Thanks, Tom)

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods. A therapist and mother reports.

So very true! Read more in the Atlantic. (Thanks, Neil)

This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business

The future of business is pure chaos. Here's how you can survive--and perhaps even thrive.

This FastCompany article has gotten a lot of press. Personally, felt the message was too forced in the article. Thoughtful flux can be good, but some "flux" moves are directionless career changes. didn't think the article clearly defined each. Thoughts?

How ethical are Prius drivers -- does privilege promotes dishonesty?

To see whether dishonesty varies with social class, psychologist Paul Piff of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues devised a series of tests.

What do you think they found? Read more in Science Mag.

Dear Eighth Grader: So You Want to Apply to Harvard? Some Words of Advice...

Read Andrew Doctoroff's letter in HuffPo. (Thanks, Claire)

Korea's Got Talent (you'll need sound)

Gave me chills! (Thanks, John)

Wealthy Enriched by Double-Dipping in Disadvantaged Plan

Because of opportunistic entrepreneurs and lax government overseers, even the wealthy profit from a taxpayer-supported program designed to bolster underprivileged segments of society.

Read more in Bloomberg News. (Thanks, Tom)

The Life of the Number-Crunching Analyst

Check out more charts in Freakonomics. (Thanks, Raph)

Laser-using hockey dad faces charge

A Massachusetts man accused of aiming a laser pointer into the eyes of the opposing goalie at his daughter's high school hockey game is facing criminal charges.

Read more in Boston ESPN. (Thanks, Alex)

Starting from scratch: technology and developme

Eight19, a company with an innovative new business model, could help people in poor countries light their homes cheaply using solar power. Read more in the Economist. (Thanks, Tony)

Bell Labs: True Innovation

Jon Gertner, author of the forthcoming The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, writes that the US over-idealizes its current levels of innovation. Bell Labs many items that are the foundation for modern society -- lasers, fiber optics, first communications satellites; the theory and development of digital communications, and the first cellular telephone systems.

Read more about Bell Labs and its culture in the NYT. How can we recreate this today in our society?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

HBR Daily Stat: Millennials See Businesses Playing a Big Role in Societal Development

92% of millennials say in a survey that a company's success should be measured by more than profit, and over 50% say they think businesses will have a greater impact than any other societal segment—including government—on solving the world's biggest challenges.

In a survey of more than 1,000 of its employees born after 1981, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu found that when respondents were asked to name three terms that encapsulate the purpose of business, 51% cited societal development and only 39% cited profit.

Monday, March 5, 2012

DNA computing

Molecular computing: DNA is sometimes called the software of life. Now it is being used to build computers that can run inside cells. Read more in the Economist. (Thanks, Corinne)

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 .