Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why the modern world is bad for your brain

"In an era of email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter, we’re all required to do several things at once. But this constant multitasking is taking its toll. Here neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin explains how our addiction to technology is making us less efficient." An excerpt:
His research found that being in a situation where you are trying to concentrate on a task, and an email is sitting unread in your inbox, can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points. And although people ascribe many benefits to marijuana, including enhanced creativity and reduced pain and stress, it is well documented that its chief ingredient, cannabinol, activates dedicated cannabinol receptors in the brain and interferes profoundly with memory and with our ability to concentrate on several things at once. Wilson showed that the cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot‑smoking.
Read more in the Guardian.

What do metrics want? How quantification prescribes social interaction on Facebook

Read more in Computational Culture.

Thanks, +Mark Wilson 

Reasons You Were Not Promoted That are Totally Unrelated to Gender

This made me laugh. Read more in McSweeney's.

Thanks, +Soumya Nettimi 

Work Anxiety Kills Thousands of Americans Every Year

Workplace stress contributes to 120,000 deaths and up to $190 billion in health-care costs annually, a new study estimates. Read more in Bloomberg.


One Republic - I Lived

Friday, January 30, 2015

Is Snapchat Really Confusing, or Am I Just Old?

"A 32-year-old’s hopeless quest to understand America’s fastest-growing social app." Read more in Slate.

Thanks, +Branca Ballot de Miranda 

Expect lots of puppies, little cleavage in Super Bowl ads

An excerpt:
Companies shelling out $4.5 million for every 30-second spot during this Sunday's Super Bowl will be playing it safe -- really safe. 
While companies like GoDaddy and Chrysler previously pushed the envelope when it comes to gender, this year's advertisers are going out of their way to showcase powerful women and nurturing men. 
Actress Mindy Kaling is starring in an ad for Nationwide Insurance, for example, and a Dove For Men's spot highlights a series of men acting like caring fathers. T-Mobile, which won't reveal details of its ad until the big day, told Fortune that it will feature "two female comedians known for challenging the status quo." Even Victoria's Secret is toning its ad down this year by featuring its models fully-clothed in football gear.
Read more in Fortune.

Silicon Valley's culture of failure … and 'the walking dead' it leaves behind

Though tech startups rely on origin myths and mantras like 'Fail fast, fail often,' the psychic toll of unrelenting failure simmers just beneath the exuberance. Read more in the Guardian.

Thanks, +Cassie Coravos 

Congressman Tim Ryan Changes Position On Abortion After Talking To Women

Definitely took courage for him to change his position. Read the story in HuffPo.

Finally: Most Americans Support Government Action on Climate Change, Poll Finds

Read more in the NYT.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Emma Watson Told A Young Girl To Ignore Her Dad’s Advice And Be An Engineer

Read more in Buzzfeed.

Make Your Own Commune

Going in on a building or apartment with a group of friends, your in-laws, or even complete strangers isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Read more in NY Mag.

Thanks, +Lucas Chapin 

Why Bitcoin is and isn't like the Internet

Read the LinkedIn post by Joichi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab.

Thanks, +Howie Liu 

Let’s Talk About Thin Privilege

Read more in EF.

Proof that there is a market for everything

Online market for buying and selling canceled weddings & honeymoons. Check out the site at

Thanks, +Katherine Stiner 

How To Do What You Want: Akrasia and Self-Binding

Thought this was an excellent post in the Beeminder Blog. An excerpt:
Aristotle have a fancy term for this paradoxical failure of the will: akrasia. It encompasses procrastination, lack of self-control, lack of follow-through, and any kind of addictive behavior. Another way to define akrasia is by generalizing from procrastination to include preproperation as well. Procrastination is the irrational delay of tasks with immediate cost and delayed benefit. Preproperation is the irrational not delaying of (overindulgence in) activities with immediate benefit and delayed cost.
Also, check out the Beeminder app for getting to InboxZeroThanks, +Mark Wilson 

A New Level of Refugee Suffering

Angelina Jolie on the Syrians and Iraqis who can’t go home. Read more in the NYT.

Male Victims Of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out

Read more in HuffPo.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Helena Morrissey, Aiming at Britain’s Glass Ceilings, Gets Results

Read more about Helena's work with the "30% Club" in the NYT.

Thanks, +Leslie Labruto. Read past blog posts about Helena.

How to Leave a Mark

An excerpt:
So over the past generation many of the most talented people on earth have tried to transform capitalism itself, to use the market to solve social problems. These are people with opposable minds: part profit-oriented and part purpose-oriented. They’ve created organizations that look a little like a business, a little like a social-service provider, and a little like a charity — or some mixture of the three...
 ...Impact investing is probably the most promising of these tools. Impact investing is not socially responsible investing. Socially responsible investing means avoiding certain companies, like tobacco growers. Impact investors seek out companies that are intentionally designed both to make a profit and provide a measurable and accountable social good. Impact funds are frequently willing to accept lower financial returns for the sake of doing good — say a 7 percent annual return compared with an 11 percent return. But some impact investors are seeking to deliver market-rate returns.
Read David Brooks's post in the NYT.

If Your Boss Thinks You’re Awesome, You Will Become More Awesome

Favorite excerpt:
Subordinates rated by the consistently tougher managers were confused or discouraged—often both. They felt they were not valued or trusted, and that it was impossible to succeed.
Read more in HBR. Thanks, +Elaine Choi 

When Street Harassers Realize The Women They're Catcalling Are Their Moms In Disguise

Read more in HuffPo.

And if you haven't read it, more on #dudesgreetingdudes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Original GitHub Octocat designer Simon Oxley on his famous creation: “I don’t remember drawing it”

Read more of the history of the Twitter bird and Github's Octocat in Pando Daily.

They Asked Me What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up. I Said ‘Happy’

Dear Quote Investigator: Did musical superstar John Lennon really tell the following story about his childhood?
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
Check out this quote's background in the Quote Investigator.

Thanks, Andrea S

10 Words to Remove From Your LinkedIn Profile (and What to Add Instead)

Read more in the Muse.

HBR Management Tip of the Day: Set a Bedtime and Stick to It for Better Productivity

Good reminders. So hard to do:
Many of us don’t get enough sleep. And this isn’t just an inconvenience – it worsens our mood, weakens our memory, scatters our focus, and makes us more susceptible to anxiety. To perform at our best, we need rest. Enough said. Since most of us can’t sleep in later, the only option is to get to bed earlier. And yet we don’t. We stay up late because it’s our only downtime. Start tracking how you spend your time after work. Think about what you can cut back on (mindless Facebook scanning), so you can do the activities you enjoy (watching TV) earlier. Identify an exact time when you want to be in bed. Then give yourself 30 minutes to wind down before attempting sleep. Create a relaxing pre-sleep ritual. Read something that makes you happy, lower the temperature, and avoid blue light (the kind emanating from your smartphone and computer screen).
Read more in HBR.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Creating a New Mission Statement

An excerpt:
Forget the New Year’s resolution. This year, try creating a personal mission statement instead. While it is common for businesses to define goals and values with mission statements, most people never take the time to identify their individual senses of purpose.
Read more in the NYT.

Thanks, +Elaine Choi 

Chris Evans and Chris Pratt place epic Super Bowl bet in the name of charity

Read more in the Daily Dot.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People

An excerpt:
The only correct path is the path correct for you. Scott Adams tried about 20 different careers before he settled on drawing Dilbert. Now, he's in 2000 papers, has written Dilbert books, Dilbert shows, Dilbert everything. 
Everyone was shocked when Judy Joo gave up a Wall St. career to go back to cooking school. Now she's on the Food Channel as an "iron chef." 
Don't let other people choose your careers. Don't get locked in other people's prisons they've set up just for you. Personal freedom starts from the inside but ultimately turns you into a giant, freeing you from the chains the little people spent years tying around you.
And this one! "The average kid laughs 300 times a day. The average adult...5."

Read James Altucher's post in LinkedInThanks, +Michele Choi 

a16z Podcast: Datacenter of the Future

Read more in a16z.

16 Things

Read more in a16z.

Capturing Changes In The Way We Connect

Photographer Jacob F. Lucas put together a book called Commute Culture, addressing how technology is changing human connections.

Read more in NPR. Thanks, +Elaine Choi 

All-star MIT women entrepreneurs pave the way for gender balance in tech

Check out the story in BetaBoston.

Most fantastic title: six weeks paid leave opposed by people with thirty-six weeks' paid leave

Check out an observation from Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker.

Thanks, +Amira Choueiki Boland 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Apervita Creates Health Analytics for the Millions

"Evidence-based medicine, therefore, is failing to tap a lot of resources that could save lives. A commonly cited observation is that research findings take 17 years to go into widespread practice. That’s 17 years of unnecessary and costly suffering."

Read more about Apervita's mission at EMR & EHRThanks, +Elaine Choi 

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad

A young lawyer puts his former boss’s ideals into practice. An excerpt:
Nearly half of fathers report dissatisfaction with the amount of time that they are able to spend with their children. The gender-equality debate too often ignores this half of the equation.
 Read more in the AtlanticThanks, +Claire Packer and +Melody Wang 

Constructing a Conversation on Race

Some stats for perspective:
It may come as little surprise that 88 percent of blacks gauged that level of discrimination as “a lot” or “some” as opposed to “only a little” or “none at all,” but 65 percent of whites agree the level of discrimination against blacks rises to “a lot” or “some.” 
Yet when asked whether whites or blacks have a better chance of getting ahead today, 63 percent of whites and 43 percent of blacks said that the chances were equal. (By comparison, 28 percent of whites and 46 percent of blacks said whites had a better chance of getting ahead, and only 5 percent of whites and 4 percent of black said blacks had a better chance.)
Read Charles Blow's Op-Ed in the NYT.

Thanks, +Gloria Ahn 

This Man Invented a Font to Help People With Dyslexia Read

The Authenticity Paradox

An excerpt:
Because negative feedback given to leaders often centers on style rather than skills or expertise, it can feel like a threat to their identity—as if they’re being asked to give up their “secret sauce.” That’s how Jacob saw it. Yes, he could be explosive—but from his point of view, his “toughness” allowed him to deliver results year after year. In reality, though, he had succeeded up to this point despite his behavior. When his role expanded and he took on greater responsibility, his intense scrutiny of subordinates became an even bigger obstacle because it took up time he should have been devoting to more-strategic pursuits.
Read more in HBR. Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava 

The subtle art of not giving a fuck

An excerpt:
SUBTLETY #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.
Read more in Mark Manson's post.

Thanks, +Elaine Choi and 10Thoughts

Big Data Knows When You're Going to Quit Your Job Before You Do

Read more in Bloomberg.

Thanks, 10Thoughts & Jack

The Secret to Smart Groups: It's Women

"A fleet of MIT studies finds that women are much better at knowing what their colleagues are really thinking. It's another reason to expect the gender wage gap to eventually flip."

Read more in the Atlantic.

Tech Needs Us

Read Joy Chen's response in Medium to the post written on "Why Women Shouldn't Code."

What Doesn't Seem Like Work?

I liked this question posed by Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator: "What seems like work to other people that doesn't seem like work to you?"

Read more in his post.

What male Stanford B-School students learned when they took a female entrepreneurship class

When a few men decided to take a course about entrepreneurship from a women's perspective, they learned what their MBAs were lacking. Read more in FastCompany.

Nice call out +Andrew Yaffe 

Coinbase, a Bitcoin Start-Up, Raises $75 Million in Vote of Confidence

Wahoo! Congrats Fred, Brian, and Dan.

Read more in Dealbook.

In search of lost time: Why is everyone so busy?

Time poverty is a problem partly of perception and partly of distribution. Read more in the Economist.

Thanks, +Tapan Patel 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Through Art and Forensics, Faces of Unidentified Victims Emerge

"A student at the New York Academy of Art sculpting the face of an unknown crime victim based on a replica of the person’s skull." Read more in the NYT.

Thanks, +Claire Packer 

HBR Daily Stat: Before Sending a Foreign Colleague That Sympathy Card, Ponder This

The stat:
Comparable selections of sympathy cards in the U.S. and Germany contained an average of 2.90 and 7.30 negative words each, respectively, and 3.50 and 1.35 positive words each, supporting a hypothesis that American culture encourages people to be more positive in the face of sadness, say Birgit Koopmann-Holm and Jeanne L. Tsai of Stanford University. The American cards were also about one-sixth as likely as their German counterparts to include images of death. While Germans are largely descended from people who have remained in Europe and accepted their lot over the centuries, many Americans are descended from emigrants who left their negative environments and focused on a brighter future, and these outlooks seem to be evident in the two cultures’ present-day values, the researchers suggest.
Read more in HBR.

Better All the Time

How the “performance revolution” came to athletics—and beyond.

Read more in the New Yorker. Thanks, Ken

The on-demand economy: workers on tap

The rise of the on-demand economy poses difficult questions for workers, companies and politicians. Read more in the Economist.

Thanks, Bill

Monday, January 19, 2015

What It's Like To Turn 30 In 3 Hilarious Charts

See the other two in HuffPo.

Team’s Mission: Beat the Boys

The Central Illinois Xpress basketball team is the only team of girls in a fifth-grade boys' league. They have an 8-1 record and aren't intimidated.

Read their story in the NYT.

How Expensive It Is to Be Poor

Read Charles M Blow's Op-Ed in the NYT.

Facebook’s First Female Engineer Speaks Out on Tech’s Gender Gap

Read more in WiredThanks, +Gloria Ahn 

How Not to Be ‘Manterrupted’ in Meetings

Read more in TIME.

+Zuhair Khan, the unconcious bias research you sent along was referenced again in here

She Tattooed Half Her Face And You'd Never Know It. Her Skills Are Just That Good.

"For serious burn victims, the only thing worse than the injury itself are the scars left behind. But this incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims." Read more in UpWorthy.

Thanks, +Claire Packer 

HBR Daily Stat // Why a Few Laughs at Meetings Can Improve Team Performance

The stat:
Worker teams that experienced humorous interactions, such as a joke followed by laughter followed by another joke, during meetings tended to be rated by supervisors as better at hitting their targets, according to a study of 54 teams in two German industrial organizations by Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock of VU University Amsterdam and Joseph A. Allen of the University of Nebraska. The apparent reason is that these humorous interactions triggered important problem-solving behaviors, such as team members’ raising questions and talking about new ideas. The interactive nature of the humor is important; there was zero effect on teams’ performance from incidences of isolated humorous statements that weren’t followed by group laughter or subsequent jokes, the researchers say.
Read more in HBR.

Danish Activist Emma Holten Is Sharing Nude Photos To Combat Revenge Porn

"An ex-boyfriend put nude images of Emma Holten on the Internet -- but she refuses to be ashamed of her naked body. A new photo series featuring Holten nude, shot by a photographer of her own choice, allow the activist to show her body on her own terms."

Some images may be considered NSFW.  Check out Emma's story in HuffPo.

Thanks, +Cameron McElroy 

To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This

When more than four people send me an article, I know it has to be good. Check out the story in the NYT.

Thanks, +Elaine Choi+Corinne Grzybowski, +Alex Reynolds and +Stephanie Gaufin 

Why Software Is Eating The World

Check out Marc Andreessen's 2011 WSJ post.

Thanks, +Howie Liu 

Managing Your Own Psychology: The Hardest Part Of Entrepreneurism

An excerpt:
Before I “took the leap” to be an entrepreneur, I asked many leaders who I admired what their biggest challenges had been. Most of them spoke of tactical challenges, like hiring the right people, or having the right market timing. 
A few of them talked about balancing their work lives with their personal lives. A couple of them talked about learning to be more patient or self-aware. 
But none of them — and none of the books I read in the business section of Barnes and Noble — addressed the biggest unspoken challenge of trying to change the world: managing your own psychology.
Check out +Ted Gonder's reflection in Elite Daily.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Dawn Wall: El Capitan’s Most Unwelcoming Route

"Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson etched their names into climbing lore on Wednesday by successfully completing a 19-day free-climb of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. The route up the mostly smooth granite face is widely considered to be the most difficult free-climb in the world. A free-climb means that ropes are used only to catch a climber’s fall — not to aid the ascent."

Check out the NYT incredible interactive.

Thanks, +Lucas Chapin 

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

"We met at 18. We wed at 24. At 27, I checked my wife into a psych ward—for the first time. How mental illness reshapes a marriage."

Read Mark's story in PS Magazine.

Find Work You Love by Identifying Your Unique Angle

An excerpt:
The other extreme is to do something you don't enjoy which is in demand. As a day job that supports other pursuits, this can work for a limited time. But if you're building a career doing something you don't like, you're heading towards chronic stress, drain, boredom, and possible burnout. 
The trouble with this situation is that it's really hard to pull yourself out of. The "golden handcuffs" scenario puts you in a comfortable position where your bills are taken care of, maybe you have some nice benefits, you have autonomy and working for this company gives you credibility. It's hard to give up those things. And it's scary to walk away from security. 
But the alternative often means your work drains you, rather than energizing you, and you have nothing left to give to other parts of your life. Your health, relationships, and hobbies suffer.
Read more in LifehackerThanks, +Elaine Choi 

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 .