Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Pep Talk from Kid President to You

(Thanks, Claire)

Tiles May Help Shrink Carbon Footprint by Harnessing Pedestrian Power

Check this out:
This summer at the largest urban mall in Europe, visitors may notice something different at their feet. Twenty bright green rubber tiles will adorn one of the outdoor walkways at the Westfield Stratford City Mall, which abuts the new Olympic stadium in east London.   
The squares aren't just ornamental. They are designed to collect the kinetic energy created by the estimated 40 million pedestrians who will use that walkway in a year, generating several hundred kilowatt-hours of electricity from their footsteps. That's enough to power half the mall's outdoor lighting.
Sweet!! Read more in National Geographic. (Thanks, Cassie)

It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being 'It'

An epic game of tag. I love everything about this. Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Julia)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Microsoft's 'Child Of The 90s' Internet Explorer Ad Is A Nostalgic Trip Back In Time (VIDEO)

The first word in mangled meanings

In this hilarious article, the author reviews the most egregious flaws of business communication, including strained euphemisms, obvious obfuscations, and annoying neologisms like "solutioneering" and "innovalue." To support her claims, the author cites examples from recent press releases, annual reports emails, and other publications from major companies. A couple gems:

  • One of my favourite awards is always for the negative-dressed-up- as-positive, and this year's prize-winner is one of the finest examples I've ever seen. An analyst at Religare heroically described a big drop in profits at United Spirits thus: "Ebitda de-grew by 23.3 per cent"
  • The runaway winner is Citigroup, which not only produced the best euphemism, it also wins a prize for jargon that actually clarifies matters. It declared from now on it would offer "client-centric advice". Which lets the cat out of the bag that the advice it used to offer was otherwise. Citi-centric, perhaps

Read more in the FT. (Thanks, Foote)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco

Read Jason Evanish's post. (Thanks, Rushi)

Santigold Critiques America To a Danceable Beat

"America’s house is burning down, literally and metaphorically, in the new music video for Santigold’s new single, "The Keepers." The Philly-bred dance-pop-punk singer-songwriter is seated at a 1950's suburban dinner table, the only black face (though platinum-tressed) except for a maid, who serves glowing green fish and polluted drinking water to the oblivious family."

Read more at Fast Co-Create.

Take A Look At New York’s New Smallest Apartment

" The city today unveiled the winner of a contest to design liveable tiny apartments to expand housing in the Big Apple.  Despite the fact that there are already 1.6 million people squeezed on to a 23-square-mile island, people keep flocking to Manhattan, pushing the limits of the city’s housing stock. You can only build upward so much before you need to start thinking of other solutions if you want to find places for everyone."

See more pictures in Co-Exist / Co-Design

FUCK! I'm in my twenties

Semi-Charmed Life - the twentysomethings are all right.

This has been flying though my inbox. If you haven't read it yet, it's great. Captures a lot of the twentysomething articles over the past year. Stuck by this quote:
Able-bodied middle-class Americans in their twenties—the real subject of these books—are impressionable; they’re fickle, too. Confusion triumphs. Is it smart to spend this crucial period building up a stable life: a promising job, a reliable partner, and an admirable assortment of kitchenware? Or is the time best spent sowing one’s wild oats? Can people even have wild oats while carrying smartphones? 
Read more in the New Yorker. (Thanks, Julia, JJ, Connor)

Beate Gordon

Beate Sirota Gordon, interpreter of Japan to Americans, died on December 30th, aged 89.

Read her Economist Obituary. (Thanks, Tom)

The Heiress

Check out the rise of Elisabeth Murdoch by Ken Auletta in the New Yorker.  (Thanks, Gloria!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Whoever Said that Feminism Was About Your Happiness?

Read more in ThinkBig. (Thanks, Kate)

What Is Middle Class in Manhattan?

Mind-blowing stats:

  • The average sale price of a home in Manhattan last year was $1.46 million, according to a recent Douglas Elliman report, while the average sale price for a new home in the United States was just under $230,000 
  • Household incomes in Manhattan are about as evenly distributed as they are in Bolivia or Sierra Leone — the wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites make 40 times more than the lowest fifth 
  • Someone making $70,000 a year in other parts of the country would need to make $166,000 in Manhattan to enjoy the same purchasing power
Read more in the NYT. 

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark

"This is odd. Take a look at this map of America at night. As you'd expect, the cities are ablaze, the Great Lakes and the oceans dark, but if you look at the center, where the Eastern lights give way to the empty Western plains, there's a mysterious clump of light there that makes me wonder."

Mind-blowing. If you think you know what it is, check out this NPR post. (Thanks, Claire)

Michelle Rhee: “The Bee Eater”

Watch Michelle Rhee "The Bee Eater" on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Watch the full documentary -- listing on PBS. (Thanks, Tom)

In Defense of the CEO

Chauffeur-driven limousines, millions in stock options, golden parachutes. It's no wonder bosses' pay and perks can rankle. Here's why the best ones are worth it in the WSJ. (Thanks, Lucy)

Never Say No to Networking

Kathryn Minshew, Duke '07, writes an HBR post:
When new entrepreneurs ask me for advice, I sometimes tell them to NYFO — Network Your Face Off. Nearly everything I've accomplished in the past two years, from speaking on CNN to watching my company cross 1.7 million users in less than a year, can be directly traced back to connections I've made and help I've received from a network that is vast, diverse, and active.
The best networking suggestion I can offer? Always say yes to invitations, even if it's not clear what you'll get out of the meeting. I'm not arguing for long, pointless, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But many of my most fruitful relationships have resulted from a meeting or call in which I was not entirely sure what would or would not come of the conversation.
The best part of the post is tips she used to get her Yahoo sponsorship. Check out more in HBR. (Thanks, Lucy)

TED talk - Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

My New Years Resolution is mindfulness. Andy's short talk is a perfect way to kick-start the year. Sarah Peck also wrote about his talk.

It reminds me of the HBR Daily Stat from a few months ago that mentioned 5-16 minutes of meditation, has shown to cause brain-wave changes, associated with positive emotions.

(Great find Jamie!)

Friday, January 18, 2013

23 Reasons Why The World Isn't Such A Bad Place After All

A little something to make you smile today. Check out the BuzzFeed post. (Thanks, Claire and Nina)

Your Desk Job Is Killing You: The Truth About Sitting Down [Infographic]

No Girls Allowed

"Why the Obama administration needs hormone therapy."

Read more in Foreign Policy. (Thanks, Lucy and Dad)

German rape victim 'turned away by Catholic hospitals over pregnancy fears'

A rape victim in Germany was turned away by two Catholic hospitals because they might have to advise on what to do with an unwanted pregnancy, a doctor has claimed.

Are you kidding me?! Read the whole story in the Telegraph. (Thanks, Tom)

This Was Supposed to Be My Column for New Year’s Day

Positive procrastination is not an oxymoron. My favorite line was the last in the article:

"Never do today any task that may disappear by tomorrow."

So true. Read more in the NYT. (Thanks, Alessia)

End Climate Silence Now: Draft Climate Assessment Warns Of Devastating 9°-15°F Warming Over Most Of U.S.

How is this not on the cover of all the newspapers? This is our future.

Read more in ThinkProgress. (Thanks, Lucy and SRP)

There's More to Life Than Being Happy

"It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

One of the best articles in months -- and it references one of my favorite economists, Roy Baumeister. Read more in the Atlantic. (Thanks, Chrissy and Julia)

A Shocking Death, a Financial Lesson and Help for Others

57 percent of adults in the United States do not have a will. Of those 45 to 64 years of age, a shocking 44 percent still have not gotten it down.

Read more in the NYT. (Thanks, Lucy)

Drinking diet soda linked to depression

Diet drinks may taste good, but they might not bring happiness. A new study finds that people who drink diet sodas or fruit drinks are more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Read more at NBC.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Drive Thru Invisible Driver Prank

I'm dying laughing. Couldn't keep it together in what should have been a silent conference room. (Thanks, Lucy)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t

Deans Condemn Vaccine Ruse Used in Bin Laden Hunt

"The deans of the nation’s top public health schools sent a letter to President Obama on Monday condemning the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of a vaccination campaign ruse in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The letter was signed by deans at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and nine other universities. The C.I.A. has admitted hiring a Pakistani doctor to give out hepatitis B vaccine, apparently in an effort to get DNA samples from the compound that it suspected was Bin Laden’s hide-out.

"That has caused a severe backlash against vaccination in Pakistan. Nine polio vaccinators have been shot dead, and the effort to fight polio there was halted for weeks. Deaths from measles also soared in 2012, to 306 from 64 the year before. Resistance to measles vaccine in the populous Sindh province was blamed."

Read the NYT post. (Thanks, Claire)

HBR Daily Stat: Being Sleepy makes you more likely to cyberloaf at work

For every hour of interrupted sleep the night before, research participants engaged in 8.4 minutes more cyberloafing—checking personal e-mails or visiting unrelated websites—during a 42-minute task, says a team led by David T. Wagner of Singapore Management University. The effect of lost sleep on cyberloafing at work is supported by data showing that on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Savings Time, Google users search for 3.1% to 6.4% more entertainment-related websites in comparison with other Mondays. Less-conscientious workers are the most prone to giving in to the cyberloafing temptation when sleep-deprived, the researchers say.

Read more in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Monday, January 7, 2013

HBR Daily Stat: Middle Schoolers Do Better If They Start School Later

Starting the middle-school day one hour later would lead to a 3-percentile-point gain in math-and-reading test scores for the average student, says Finley Edwards of Colby College. His study of schools in a North Carolina county where start times are staggered shows that 45% of students have math-test scores at or below the 50th percentile in early-starting schools, compared with only 36% at late-starting schools. The effect may be the result of any of several factors, including sleep duration, adolescents' hormonal cycles, and amount of time spent at home with parents, Edwards says.

I believe it!

Read more from the Economics Department at Colby College.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Great Pretender

Zhang's admission that her childhood habit of lying carried over into adulthood spoke to the ways we present ourselves to -- and protect ourselves from -- the outside world.

Read Jenny Zhang in the Rookie.

How to Be Friends With a Congresswoman

This piece about the bond between Gabrielle Giffords and Debbie Wasserman Schultz brought the site's commenters to tears.

Read Erin Gloria Ryan in Jezebel.

I'm Letting Go of My Pregnancy Dreams

Just another day at the office with a pillow shoved under your dress.

McCombs reminded us that having a baby isn't the only way to have a family. "As my life plan has begun to unfurl, it looks less and less likely that pregnancy will be a part of it."

Read Emily McCombs in XO Jane.

Ann Bauer Looks Beyond the Mirror

In this candid essay, Bauer opened up about what it was like growing up "ugly" -- and how she was finally able to think differently about her appearance.

Read Ann Bauer in ELLE.

Seeing Nora Everywhere

In a moving tribute that was also one of the best pieces of writing we read this year, Dunham revealed the way in which Ephron reached out to, befriended and encouraged younger writers. "Her advice was unparalleled," Dunham wrote.

Read Lena Dunham's in the New Yorker.

All the Weddings I Have Ever Been to, as I Remember Them

Those of us who feel like singles on a wedding-go-round could relate to Doll's experiences as a frequent, if imperfect, guest. She said the reaction to the piece convinced her to write a book on the topic.

Read Jen Doll in The Hairpin.

Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship

Rapp learned that friendships with women are more than just nice supplements to the "real" relationships in our lives and that the views we have in our early 20s may change over time.

Read Emily Rapp's article in The Rumpus.

The Myth of Universal Love

A long (and somewhat meandering) post on how far you really should extend your goodwill. (Thanks, Alessia)

John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74

Unbelievable life story:
At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.  
At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.
Read more in the NYT. (Thanks, Lucy)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Arkansas Innovation

Something revolutionary is happening in Arkansas as the state becomes the first in the country to move away from a fee-for-service to an episode-based patient results driven insurance model:
 MENTION medical innovation, and you might think of the biotech corridor around Boston, or the profusion of companies developing wireless medical technologies in San Diego. But one of the most important hotbeds of new approaches to medicine is … you didn’t guess it: Arkansas.

The state has a vision for changing the way Arkansans pay for health care. It is moving toward ending “fee-for-service” payments, in which each procedure a patient undergoes for a single medical condition is billed separately. Instead, the costs of all the hospitalizations, office visits, tests and treatments will be rolled into one “episode-based” or “bundled” payment. “In three to five years,” John M. Selig, the head of Arkansas’s Department of Human Services, told me, “we aspire to have 90 to 95 percent of all our medical expenditures off fee-for-service.”

Read Ezekiel J. Emanuel's post in the NYT.

Can One Medical Group Succeed As A New Model For Physician Practice Management?

Revolutionary model for delivering patient care:
“The incentive for doctors [in joining One Medical Group] is to actually care for patients, and not worry about economic consequences,” says Tom Lee, the founder of One Medical, and himself an internist.
Read more about how it works in Forbes. (Thanks, Julia)

The Professional versus the Business Model in Law and Medicine--Posner

This short (and academic) article covers the differences between the business model, where the goal is to make a profit, and service-jobs where the success is based on the quality of services rendered, like law, medicine and military. Many professional jobs are moving to a business-model. While this can help professionals make more wealth than before, what does it do to their end-customers?

Posner on why a professional class exists:
 The traditional concept of the profession (the concept that is undergoing change) provides an interesting contrast to the concept of the profit-maximizing business firm. In the business model, the goal is profit maximization in a competitive environment that operates in a basically Darwinian fashion (survival of the fittest); risk is pervasive and both extraordinary profits and devastating losses are real possibilities. Employment and leadership in such an environment attract many and repel many. The people it attracts tend to be aggressive and daring. The ones it repel tend to be cautious and thoughtful.

In the traditional professional model, risk both upside and downside is trimmed by a combination of regulation and ethics both aimed at muting competition. With muted competition the lawyer or doctor can realistically aspire to a safe upper-middle-class income, but he is unlikely to become wealthy. The result, in combination with requiring postgraduate education and qualifying exams for entry into the profession and subjecting members of it to professional discipline, is to attract a type of person quite different from the entrepreneurial type—the latter a type exemplified by such extraordinarily successful college drop-outs as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. The professional model attracts a more studious, intellectual, risk-averse type of person.

Why does society value such persons and create a comfortable niche for them?
 Read more on the Becker-Posner blog. (Thanks, Tom!)

Confessions of a Hotel Insider

Make Me Worry You’re Not O.K.

Susan Shapiro writes about "humiliation essays" in the NYT. A tactic for your grad school application? (Thanks, Claire)

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 .