On writing as work
"Interviews are not conversations: We learn early on to avoid friction and awkwardness and to pretend to understand, even when we don’t, in our interactions with strangers. As we should! But friction and awkwardness tend to be pretty revealing. You don’t need a lifelong friend at the end of an interview. You just need good answers.
Never go off the record: Are you solving the assassination of JFK? No? Then there is no reason to ever do this. 99% of the time they’ll just go on to tell you whatever it is on the record anyway."
a:Brandon-Stosuy  a:Zach-Baron★★  p:The-Creative-Independent  d:2018.11.29  w:3000  interview  writing  journalism  celebrities  from instapaper
3 days ago
Satan Is in the Illinois Capitol. Because It’s the Holidays!
"Religious groups and conservatives have been irked by the tribute. Some see it as a mockery of their beliefs, while others see forces at work that are larger than the First Amendment. On Twitter — a veritable hellscape of its own — Illinois Family Action, a conservative group, said defenders of the tribute 'fail to realize that the little baby in the manger has CRUSHED Satan’s head and the gates of hell will NOT prevail.'"
a:Liam-Stack  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.12.06  w:1000  religion  from twitter
4 days ago
Transportation-less Transportation
"Sure, it’s not so much the destination that matters, it’s the journey…but commuting isn’t a journey. People in cities spend a lot of their time in rooms: working, reading, drinking, chatting, etc. Waymo’s cars aren’t quite rooms, but that’s where they’re headed: private rooms for hire that also get you from one place to another. It’s WeWork on wheels, a mobile Starbucks, a portable third place. Along the way, you could have a beer or coffee, do karaoke, make some work calls, watch a movie, chat with friends, make out, or answer some emails."
a:Jason-Kottke★★  p:kottke.org★★  d:2018.12.06  self-driving-cars  from twitter
4 days ago
Secrets of the Magus
"Mamet and Jay have been friends for several years—a bond rooted, in part, in their shared fascination with the language, science, and art of cons and frauds. 'I’ll call Ricky on the phone,' Mamet says. 'I’ll ask him—say, for something I’m writing—"A guy’s wandering through upstate New York in 1802 and he comes to a tavern and there’s some sort of mountebank. What would the mountebank be doing?" And Ricky goes to his library and then sends me an entire description of what the mountebank would be doing. Or I’ll tell him I’m having a Fourth of July party and I want to do some sort of disappearance in the middle of the woods. He says, "That’s the most bizarre request I’ve ever heard. You want to do a disappearing effect in the woods? There’s nothing like that in the literature. I mean, there’s this one 1760 pamphlet—'Jokes, Tricks, Ghosts and Diversions by Woodland, Stream and Campfire.' But, other than that, I can’t think of a thing."'"
a:Mark-Singer  p:The-New-Yorker★★  d:1993.04.05  w:14500  magic  books  children  from twitter
6 days ago
The Inside Story of Mike Isabella's Fallen Empire
"The business was growing—Isabella had opened the Greek eatery Kapnos just north of U Street, and its sister sandwich bar, G. Yet as the company continued to grow, instead of adopting a corporate structure with a CEO and a human-resources department, Isabella 'kept everything in the family', as he put it. He promoted from within, doling out shares of the company among loyal employees turned friends. Four of them would later be accused of sexual harassment alongside him."
a:Jessica-Sidman★★  a:Anna-Spiegel  p:Washingtonian★★  d:2018.11.26  w:6000  restaurants  DC  gender  management  alcohol  from instapaper
6 days ago
The Economic Perspective On Moral Standards
"I think of society setting the targets for 'good person' a lot like a CEO setting the targets for 'good vacuum salesman'. If they’re attainable and linked to incentives – like praise, honor, and the right to feel proud of yourself – then they’ll make people put in an extra effort so they can end up in the 'good person' category. If they’re totally unattainable and nobody can ever be a good person no matter how hard they try, then nobody will bother trying. This doesn’t mean nobody will be good – some people are naturally good without hope for reward, just like some people will slave away for the vacuum company even when they’re underpaid and underappreciated. It just means you’ll lose the extra effort you would get from having a good incentive structure."
a:Scott-Alexander★★★  p:Slate-Star-Codex★★★  d:2018.11.16  w:3000  ethics  charity  incentives  economics  vegetarianism  pricing  from instapaper
7 days ago
The Mystery of the Havana Syndrome
"The request became a crucial sticking point in the negotiations. Much of the wrangling fell to Roberta Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. 'In nonpermissive environments, you have to be able to send a container that they won’t be able to look inside,' she explained. 'When we built our new Embassy in China, they gave us an unlimited quota for secure containers.' The Cubans argued that history had left them apprehensive, she recalled: 'They said to us, "You used your secure containers in the past to bring in materials for counter-revolutionary groups." Which is true—but we hadn’t really been doing that for some time. The thing is, you’d give a fax machine to a dissident and it would be seized the next day, so it was kind of pointless anyway.' After six months of negotiations, the Cubans grudgingly agreed to allow one container into the country without an inspection."
a:Adam-Entous  a:Jon-Lee-Anderson  p:The-New-Yorker★★  d:2018.11.19  w:10500  diplomacy  intelligence-gathering  Cuba  Barack-Obama  Donald-Trump  Russia  China  from instapaper
7 days ago
The 10 Guilty Pleasures of the 2018-19 NBA Season
"McGee's off-court work might lead the league. So far he’s doubled-down on his Twitter feud with Shaq, freestyled over Mexican food, and somehow simultaneously promoted 'the yeezy fanny pack, some speakers, and a sous vide cooker.' (His unrepentant and undying love of fanny packs is maybe my favorite thing about him or anyone else in the NBA.) He also recently threw on a Bo Jackson jersey and labeled himself a 'low-key Bo Jackson' because 'Bo Jackson do everything.' But dressing up as Bo wasn’t even his best costume to date. For Halloween, he went to the arena in a full, custom-made Grinch getup. Complete with a fanny pack, of course. He is 7 feet tall. That is a lot of fuzzy green fur. To really sell the bit, he also did his postgame interview in the outfit."
a:John-Gonzalez  p:The-Ringer★★  d:2018.12.04  w:3000  list  NBA  from instapaper
7 days ago
"Helping me move the bag doesn't make you a BAGGER
It won't become who you ARE"
a:Ken-White★★★  p:Popehat★★★  d:2018.11.30  satire  investment  from iphone
8 days ago
Three Remarkable Things About Michael Cohen's Plea
"Even if the pursuit of the hotel deal wasn’t criminal (and there’s no evidence that it was), everyone in Trump’s orbit who made statements about it—whether under oath or in interviews with the FBI—is in jeopardy today. They’re not just in danger from Mueller, either. In just weeks, a Democratic majority will take over the House of Representatives. Control of committees will shift, and subpoenas will fly like arrows at Agincourt. Each hearing will present new terrible choices: Take the Fifth, tell uncomfortable truths, or lie and court perjury charges? Each subpoena is a new chance for frightened Trump associates to make new bad decisions like the ones that have felled Cohen and Manafort and Gates and Flynn and Papadopoulos."
a:Ken-White★★★  p:The-Atlantic★★  d:2018.11.29  w:1000  Donald-Trump  law  from iphone
8 days ago
People's Bitmoji obsession gives Snapchat a quiet edge in augmented reality
"'It’s definitely my favorite form of communication,' Roashan said. 'Like if we could do this interview in bitmoji, that would be great.'"
a:Paresh-Dave  p:Los-Angeles-Times  d:2017.09.14  w:1500  Bitmoji  from twitter
9 days ago
Housing Can’t Be Both Affordable and a Good Investment
"This sort of wealth building is predicated on a never-ending stream of new people who are willing and able to pay current home owners increasingly absurd amounts of money for their homes. It is, in other words, a massive up-front transfer of wealth from younger people to older people, on the implicit promise that when those young people become old, there will be new young people willing to give them even more money. And of course, as prices rise, the only young people able to buy into this Ponzi scheme are quite well-to-do themselves. And because we’re not talking about stocks, but homes, 'buying into this Ponzi scheme' means 'able to live in San Francisco'."
a:Daniel-Hertz  p:The-Atlantic/CityLab★★  d:2018.11.19  w:1000  housing  investing  San-Francisco  from instapaper
9 days ago
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
"Like Franklin’s commission, the F.D.A. had determined that the only way to sort out the real from the fake in medicine was to isolate the imagination. It also echoed the royal panel by taking note of the placebo effect only long enough to dismiss it, giving it a strange dual nature: It’s included in clinical trials because it is recognized as an important part of every treatment, but it is treated as if it were not important in itself. As a result, although virtually every clinical trial is a study of the placebo effect, it remains underexplored — an outcome that reflects the fact that there is no money in sugar pills and thus no industry interest in the topic as anything other than a hurdle it needs to overcome."
a:Gary-Greenberg  p:The-New-York-Times-Magazine★★  d:2018.11.07  w:6000  medicine  pharmaceuticals  regulation  from instapaper
12 days ago
Field of dreams: heartbreak and heroics at the World Ploughing Championships
"In Cherry’s vision, all farmers would switch to no-till and the plough itself would become a relic. 'Our whole civilisation depends on us having healthy soil. We can’t afford to treat it with disdain,' he told me. His mission meets plenty of resistance: many farmers don’t want to change methods on which they’ve always relied. Nor is no-till perfect. As the plough no longer buries the weeds, no-till farmers still have to spray pesticides. You therefore can’t be both an organic farmer and no-till, as you still have to use chemicals. (To be both is the holy grail, as one ecologically minded farmer put it to me). But to the conservationists, spraying glyphosate is a minor interference compared with the aggressive upheaval caused by ploughing. Cherry likes to quote Franklin D Roosevelt’s 1937 letter to state governors after dust storms and floods had caused irreparable harm across rural America: 'The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.'"
a:Sophie-Elmhirst  p:The-Guardian★★  d:2018.11.23  w:5500  agriculture  UK  sustainability  from instapaper
14 days ago
Our Friendship is Transitioning to a Paid Subscription Model
"Starting today, I am rolling out a number of new features — and a few old favorites — that will make Friendship Plus more fulfilling than any of its predecessors."
a:Chandler-Dean  p:McSweeney's★★★  d:2018.11.19  w:1000  satire  friendship  from instapaper
14 days ago
An Oral History of 'Too Many Cooks'
"William Tokarsky: It opened many doors for me. For the first year, I would go for a quick trip to get gas and someone would ask for a selfie. I actually used to carry a plastic machete in the car for selfies."
a:Jake-Kleinman  p:Inverse  d:2018.10.28  w:6500  oral-history  television  from twitter
15 days ago
The Sound of ‘Housewives’ Everywhere
"'Vanderpump Rules' is a 'Real Housewives' spin-off that features a cast with lower ages, inhibitions and net worth, but a music mix with higher drum levels."
a:Caity-Weaver★★  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.10.20  w:3500  television  sound  process  from twitter
16 days ago
The Best Article Ever Written About Bragging
"Over the ensuing days, I reflected about how unpleasant I had found the exchange. Was I justified in feeling so repulsed by this guy or was I just being a sensitive snowflake? There was also a deeper question mulling around my mind, a psychological puzzle: It’s more-or-less common knowledge that everyone hates bragging, so why do people keep on doing it? One final riddle riddled me: Why was I repulsed by some people’s bragging behaviors, yet could tolerate — heck, in some special cases, was even riveted by — other’s? What was it that distinguished a repellent brag from a palatable one?"
a:Anonymous  p:Less-Penguiny  d:2018  w:9500  list  conversation  social-interaction  from instapaper
16 days ago
Space Harrier – Developer Interview Collection
"The thing with Nakayama was, if he saw that the graphics were complete in your game, he would tell you it was done and it was time to release it. Nevertheless, we couldn’t just hide the game from him and show him nothing when he came by. So I rigged up a little switch underneath my desk... (laughs) When I pressed that switch it would wipe the color RAM. You could wipe the color RAM, and it wouldn’t affect the rest of the game—everything would keep running, just the colors would get all glitched. To a layperson, it would look like the game wasn’t complete yet. Well, one time we did this, and randomly, the colors of the sky looked extremely striking. Then I used our development tool ICE to stop the CPU and extract the color RAM data, and those became the colors we used for Space Harrier."
a:Blackoak  p:shmuplations  w:3500  games  color  from instapaper
17 days ago
"If it's all signalling, why do we take these longs walks together? Why keep me as a friend?"
"We have kidney transplant compatibility."
a:Zach-Weinersmith★★★  p:Saturday-Morning-Breakfast-Cereal★★★  d:2018.11.21  comic  society  from iphone
19 days ago
FiveThirtyEight Forecasts the National Dog Show
"This resulted in the following infographic. As is clear, each breed is represented by a circle. The size of the dot represents how many dogs there are of each breed, divided by how many contestants there were in the qualifying dog shows for that breed. The color of the dot indicates how big the dog is, times the country of origin of the breed. The Y-axis is the sum of a dog’s size (in cubic inches) and weight (in kilograms). The X-axis represents time, and also space. The Z-axis is invisible, but it’s incredibly important."
a:Matthew-Disler  p:McSweeney's★★★  d:2018.11.20  w:1000  satire  dogs  analysis  from instapaper
19 days ago
Markelle Fultz's Latest Shoulder Saga Could Have Legal Implications
"If Fultz believes his health problem could prove career-altering, there may be contractual considerations. In addition to his guaranteed 3-year, $25.1 million contract with the 76ers, Fultz has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Nike. He may also have purchased insurance in the case of a career-ending injury. The obligation of Nike and an insurance company to pay Fultz could be impacted by the nature of his injury and whether there is agreement as to it precluding him from playing."
a:Michael-McCann★  p:Sports-Illustrated/The-Crossover★★  d:2018.11.20  w:2000  law  NBA  Sixers  contracts  from instapaper
19 days ago
The Sunburnt Country
"The White Australia Policy didn’t last. Over my grandfather’s lifetime, the policies meant to vouchsafe the British character of Australia were gradually dismantled. Waves of Southern European migrants arrived after World War Two. Another wave of Asian migration began around the time of the Vietnam War. By the time Australia reached the 1980s, the country was patting itself on the back for its multiculturalism, its inclusivity, and its friendliness. But Australia is not inclusive, and the thing it calls friendliness is a more insidious, unpredictable creature than it would lead you to believe."
a:Madeleine-Watts  p:Believer  d:2018.10.17  w:7500  Australia  history  race  health  from instapaper
21 days ago
Everything on Amazon Is Amazon!
"'I think Amazon, number one, sees the value of having more SKUs,' said Mr. Durham, referring to distinct product listings. It would make sense for Amazon to offer a helping hand with branding, he suggested, particularly to companies struggling to break through from overseas. A glut of new brands could produce helpful data: In which categories is Amazon branding a liability? Or a help? (Do noodles taste better when you think of them as internet spaghetti? Would you rather not think of Jeff Bezos when you’re applying baby oil?)"
a:John-Herrman  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.11.15  w:2500  Amazon  marketing  retail  from twitter
22 days ago
Microsoft’s problem isn’t how often it updates Windows—it’s how it develops it
"The ad server is a critical Google service—it's how the company makes money, after all—and a bad change could easily cost millions of dollars. The testing and automation that Google has built into its development process means that a developer that's only just started at the company can work on this service and have their changes deployed in production within hours, and do so with confidence. The development mindset is fundamentally different. A new feature might be unstable during its development, but before that feature can be merged into the production code, it has to meet a very high quality bar. Rather than Microsoft's approach of 'merge the bugs now, we'll fix them later,' the approach is to ensure that code is as bug-free as possible *before* it gets merged."
a:Peter-Bright  p:Ars-Technica★★  d:2018.10.20  w:4500  Microsoft  software-development  process  Windows  Chrome  infrastructure  from instapaper
22 days ago
Third-Party USB-C to Lightning Cables Might Come in Mid-2019 (Which Is Good, Because I Still Don’t Think iPhone Is Ever Going to Switch to USB-C)
"Remember the iPod Touch? Apple still sells them, but they’re so long in the tooth they still use iPhone 6-class A8 chips. I think the plethora of old hand-me-down iPhones has really put a crimp the market for iPod Touches. I can’t even remember the last time I heard someone say "iTouch'."
a:John-Gruber★★★  p:Daring-Fireball★★★  d:2018.11.15  w:2000  iPhone  hardware  from iphone
22 days ago
'Britney Spears wanted to be a star': An oral history of '...Baby One More Time'
"The public perception is that this is all created, that the record company created this — the artist, the music, the image. I have to tell you, if the record company could have created more than one Britney Spears, they would have done it, and they tried! And people, Mandy Moore is an actress."
a:Jessica-M-Goldstein  p:Entertainment-Weekly  d:2018.10.23  w:3500  oral-history  music  pop-culture  teens  from instapaper
23 days ago
The map we need if we want to think about how global living conditions are changing
"The USA – the third most populous country in the world – is by far the most populous country on the American continent. Its population is roughly as large as the population of the two runner-ups – Brazil and Mexico – combined.
Canada has a population density of just 4 people per km² – in the cartogram the second largest country in world (by area) is reduced to not much more than a slim line of squares."
a:Max-Roser  p:Our-World-in-Data  d:2018.09.12  w:1500  map  cartograms  geography  from instapaper
23 days ago
The Super-Quick Rise and Even Faster Fall of Groupon
"When I first met you, one of the things that everybody said was I had to read your 'I got fired' letter."
"I would watch these CEOs resign in tumult, when everybody knew they were fired, and yet they still felt the need to put up this façade, as if it was their own choice. I just didn’t want to live with that for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to have to introduce myself to someone and have them know that they’re thinking that I’m this liar."
a:Alex-Blumberg  a:Andrew-Mason  p:New-York-Magazine/Daily-Intelligencer★  d:2018.10.10  w:5500  interview  startups  business  leadership  from instapaper
23 days ago
I’m a Paramedic: Here’s How the Apple Watch Series 4 Will and Won’t Save Lives
"I think the most significant immediate value to the Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG capability will come in refining AFib detection and letting doctors better monitor known AFib patients. Over time, I’m sure more studies will look for additional issues that can be detected with the Apple Watch’s Lead I ECG, but they will always be limited to a few well-known and major arrhythmias that are both detectable and actionable. Ventricular fibrillation, for example, is easy to detect but you probably wouldn’t be capable of holding your finger on the Digital Crown because you’d be busy dying."
a:Rich-Mogull  p:TidBITS  d:2018.10.03  w:3000  Apple-Watch  health  medicine  from twitter
26 days ago
All In: The Hidden History of Poker and Crypto
"As you might imagine, most of these licenses are going to well-established organizations. In fact, many professional poker players I talked to think the whole point of the UIGEA was to bulldoze the industry, kicking out the first wave of innovators so that the big boys could eventually make their entry—the Caesars, the Harrahs, the MGMs. These powerhouses missed their opportunity in during the initial rise of online poker, and they are the ones who stood to gain the most with a hard regulatory reset."
a:Morgen-Peck  p:Breaker  d:2018.10.04  w:3500  Bitcoin  gambling  regulation  from instapaper
28 days ago
Eight Days
"Geithner told me, 'It seems unjust. But look what happened to the global economy after Lehman failed. Unemployment in the U.S. went to 9.5 per cent. It’s not Wall Street that suffers when you "teach people a lesson." The tragedy of financial populism is that you do terrible things to innocent people.' Barney Frank used the analogy of de-Baathification, pointing out that U.S. efforts to purge Iraq of supporters of Saddam Hussein were a disaster. 'You can’t go out and shoot the bankers,' he said. 'You can’t have an economy without a functioning credit system. People are angry. They’re furious. But you have no option but to live with these people.'"
a:James-B-Stewart  p:The-New-Yorker★★  d:2009.09.21  w:19500  finance  regulation  disaster  Great-Recession  George-W-Bush  banks  UK  from instapaper
28 days ago
Lessons from the Last Swiss Finishing School
"The instructors at I.V.P. tended to present the outside world as a place of unrelenting menace, of career-ruining faux pas and ego-bruising mistakes. To believe them is to see life, like the surrounding high-altitude landscape, as precipitous. Pastry is 'deadly' for carpets. Lilies, with their impolitely strong fragrance and orange pollen ('worse than saffron'), are to be avoided, as are, at cocktail parties, candles, which Neri described with a pained reverie suggesting personal experience with dozens of Savonnerie carpets disfigured by hot wax. 'Unless,' she added, 'you’re at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.' Her students dutifully recorded the comment, failing to recognize it as a joke and interpreting it instead as useful advice for the type of person who might plausibly host drinks at a UNESCO World Heritage Site."
a:Alice-Gregory★  p:The-New-Yorker★  d:2018.10.08  w:4500  etiquette  conversation  social-interaction  from instapaper
29 days ago
The real Goldfinger: the London banker who broke the world
"All this is hard to imagine for anyone who has only experienced the world since the 1980s, because the system now is so different. Money flows ceaselessly between countries, nosing out investment opportunities in China, Brazil, Russia or wherever. If a currency is overvalued, investors sense the weakness and gang up on it like sharks around a sickly whale. In times of global crisis, the money retreats into the safety of gold or US government bonds. In boom times, it pumps up share prices elsewhere in its restless quest for a good return. These waves of liquid capital have such power that they can wash away all but the strongest governments. The prolonged speculative attacks on the euro, the rouble or the pound, which have been such a feature of the past few decades, would have been impossible under the Bretton Woods system, which was specifically designed to stop them happening."
a:Oliver-Bullough  p:The-Guardian★★  d:2018.09.07  w:4500  banks  taxes  regulation  UK  London  money  from twitter
4 weeks ago
Sperm Count Zero
"At the welcome dinner, I met Hagai Levine, the Israeli co-author of the Hebrew University/Mount Sinai meta-analysis. Levine, who is 40, told me we had reasons to worry. 'I'm saying that we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst,' he said. 'And that is the possibility that we will become extinct. That's a possibility we must seriously consider. I'm not saying it's going to happen. I'm not saying it's likely to happen. I'm not saying that's the prediction. I'm just saying we should be prepared for such a possibility. That's all. And we are not.'"
a:Daniel-Noah-Halpern  p:GQ★★  d:2018.09.04  w:3500  sex  biology  children  environment  future  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
What if everything we know about dark matter is totally wrong?
"In April, ADMX delivered its latest results – null results, that is. For Rybka, they are important though, because it shows that the detector actually has the correct sensitivity to find the axion. 'If we end up with a null result after having swept over all the plausible masses, it would become important in a different way: axions are important to explain some phenomena in nuclear physics, so we expect axions to exist,' he says. 'If we don't find axion dark matter, then we're faced with the problem that either we don't understand our nuclear physics, or we don't understand how the early universe works well enough. So a null result would cause our questions to multiply.'"
a:Katie-Moskvitch  p:Wired★★  d:2018.09.28  w:5000  space  science  experiment  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Drink Up
"Bronco’s offices consist of several large construction trailers that were hauled onto the lot thirty years ago and never improved upon. The walls of the conference room, a drafty connector linking Fred’s office to John’s, are lined with shelves containing wine bottles, examples of the scores of labels that Bronco has on the market at any given time: Forest Glen, Salmon Creek, Quail Ridge, Crane Lake. The brands, like the names of subdivisions, invoke an invented or, in some cases, an obliterated past: Franzia frequently buys labels and trademarks out of bankruptcy—saving himself the cost of development—and repurposes them when he sees an opening in the market. Usually, he doesn’t bother to change the packaging or design—just the wine inside and, of course, the price. (At the moment, he has some twenty brands waiting to be deployed.) Controlling an array of brands allows him to be flexible, opportunistically exploiting supplies of certain varietals as they become available, and temporarily discontinuing a brand should the price of its component wine get too high. Tony Cartlidge, who owns a midsized winery in the Napa Valley and has done business with Franzia over the years, finds the bottles on the shelf unnerving, a kind of warning of the possible future awaiting the vintner who can’t make his business thrive. 'They’re like ghouls staring down at you,' he told me."
a:Dana-Goodyear  p:The-New-Yorker★★  d:2009.05.18  w:6000  wine  pricing  business  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Perfume
"The clear glass vial contains a mixture of ambergris and alcohol that includes just 5 percent whale matter. In its pure form, this substance is a waxy gray ball of animal secretion, a floating fat-berg that is 'more expensive than gold'. Unlike jasmine absolute, which plays a role in many of her perfumes, real ambergris is simply too expensive to use in a commercial product. 'It’s considered the miracle ingredient for perfumes,' she says. 'It makes everything better.'"
a:Katy-Kelleher  p:Longreads★★  d:2018.09.10  w:4000  history  scent  death  animals  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Above It All: How the Court Got So Supreme
"Even when the justices travel in style, there can be squabbles. Some years back, Stephen Breyer flew privately to Paris for a speaking engagement. Like other justices, he sometimes stayed at the U.S. Embassy. For the first night, he and his wife got the best suite, because he was the highest-ranking American dignitary in town. But Anthony Kennedy, more senior on the Court, arrived the next day — and nobody had told the Breyers. They were forced to move to lesser quarters and were less than thrilled. For some reason, it was Kennedy who was more annoyed at the whole thing, even though he and Breyer were close. At the event for which they were both in town, Kennedy gave his remarks first. Breyer was next, speaking in fluent French, at which point Kennedy murmured to another guest, 'He thinks he knows French, but I don’t think anybody understands a single word he’s saying!' (These days, Breyer is learning Spanish.)"
a:David-A-Kaplan  p:Longreads★★  d:2018.09.06  w:5000  law  politics  history  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Exit Polls: How Voting Blocs Have Shifted From the ’80s to Now
"There was not much of a partisan age gap until the mid-2000s, fueled in part by young Americans’ discontent with the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and propelled by Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy, said Brian F. Schaffner, a political scientist at Tufts University. This year, voters under age 30 broke for Democrats by a 35-point margin."
a:KK-Rebecca-Lai  a:Allison-McCann  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.11.07  w:500  visualization  voting  gender  politics  race  from twitter
4 weeks ago
Japan's Hometown Tax
"The penetration rate of this system will likely continue quickly increasing. It’s socially viral: a tax optimization that virtually anyone can take advantage of, has the explicit backing of the government, and feels wholesome. If you’re one of the relatively few taxpayers in Japan who has an accountant, expect them to tell you about this in detail and strongly recommend you max our your contribution every year."
a:Patrick-McKenzie★★★  p:Kalzumeus-Software★★★  d:2018.10.19  w:2500  taxes  incentives  Japan  from twitter
4 weeks ago
Samples of College Admissions Essays Freely Available for Applicants to Build Upon
"Boy did I get on the wrong plane! Anyway, I helped overthrow the government. But in the end, it was the government who overthrew me."
a:John-Moe  p:McSweeney's★★★  d:2018.11.01  w:1000  satire  education  from twitter
4 weeks ago
How Viagra Went from a Medical Mistake to a $3-Billion-Dollar-a-Year Industry
"Discreetly, the team refined this strategy in thousands of focus groups. They narrowed it down to three possible ways—or 'product profiles'—to present Viagra to the world. The first option was the most direct: It’s a drug that can cause erections and enable men who have lost their ability to have sex. The second was more scientific: Viagra can treat a disease called erectile dysfunction and allow men to return to normal physiological capacity. The third took a different approach completely, skirting the details of the drug and focusing instead on its delivery system: For the first time, there’s a pill that can be used to treat a condition that has always been treated by invasive surgeries. After thousands of focus groups, they arrived at the answer: option number three. Viagra is a *pill*—safe, cheap, and easy. A guy would merely get a sample, pop it into his mouth, and see how it worked. This was the perfect way to get men to look at the drug. As Nelson puts it, 'I’ll try it! And if it doesn’t work, who gives a fuck?'"
a:David-Kushner  p:Esquire★★  d:2018.08.21  w:4500  pharmaceuticals  medicine  sex  marketing  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong
"You see this in so much of the research: The most effective health interventions aren't actually health interventions—they are policies that ease the hardship of poverty and free up time for movement and play and parenting. Developing countries with higher wages for women have lower obesity rates, and lives are transformed when healthy food is made cheaper. A pilot program in Massachusetts that gave food stamp recipients an extra 30 cents for every $1 they spent on healthy food increased fruit and vegetable consumption by 26 percent. Policies like this are unlikely to affect our weight. They are almost certain, however, to significantly improve our health."
a:Michael-Hobbes★★  p:HuffPost/HighLine  d:2018.09.19  w:7500  health  nutrition  medicine  class  race  mental-health  food  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Why Aren’t We Building Middle Income Housing?
"Of course developers are motivated by profit, but I don’t think there is any reason to believe that real estate developers are any more (or less) greedy than producers in any other industry. Yet when you look at most other consumer goods, the market provides options at a range of price, and quality, points. In the auto market, working class and middle-income people don’t all drive 40-year-old BMWs and Mercedes, many buy brand new Ford Focuses and Honda Civics. While some of the most profitable cars on the road are luxury cars, the Ford F-150 pickup truck and the Toyota Camry are also at the top of the list, and it’s not hard to see why. In 2016, Toyota sold almost 400,000 new Camrys and nearly as many new Corollas. Their best selling luxury car, the Lexus EX, sold only 50,000 units. Even assuming they earn a much higher margin per car, luxury models are not better investments because the volume is so much lower."
a:Rick-Jacobus  p:Shelterforce  d:2017.02.22  w:3000  housing  development  incentives  class  business  regulation  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
In Cyberwar, There Are Some (Unspoken) Rules
"Countries that have invested significant resources in cyberspace don’t lack the ability to act more effectively within this domain. They are making a conscious decision to rely on less sophisticated operations based on their strategic calculus—the same calculus that leads a government such as North Korea’s to employ violent rhetoric and limited military operations to signal its displeasure without risking direct confrontation. If critical industrial control systems are so easily compromised, one would expect governments to target these vulnerable systems more frequently rather than resort to mere disruption. While reports do suggest that North Korea has the capability to disrupt critical infrastructure such as power grids, acting on this is another matter altogether—much in the same way that having significant conventional military power does not merit its immediate use. There would be grave consequences."
a:Miguel-Alberto-N-Gomez  p:Foreign-Policy★  d:2018.11.06  w:2000  cyberwarfare  weapons  international-relations  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Shouk Adds Falafel to Its World-Saving Mission
"To make the falafel good enough to meet the Shouk standard, Friedman says he did more research and development than he has on any dish he’s ever done. 'It really came down to the minutiae of salt and moisture content and then, having it hot versus having it sit for 15 minutes, or would it be too dry? It’s almost like a soundboard, right? With all these different levels. I was just, day after day, all I was thinking about was falafel.'"
a:Gabe-Hiatt  p:Eater★★  d:2018.11.01  w:1000  restaurants  food  process  Israel  from twitter
4 weeks ago
Next-gen Nukes
"Lowering these barriers would be cheaper than letting the government pick one promising idea and coddle it like a privileged child, which is the way we’ve treated conventional nuclear in the past, said Jessica Lovering, who studies nuclear power at the Breakthrough Institute, a pro-technology environmental think tank. 'We could pick one idea, spend a lot of money helping it become commercial, and then subsidize every project for even more money,' Lovering said. 'Or, we could invest a much smaller amount of money across the entire innovation system.'"
a:Nathanael-Johnson  p:Grist  d:2018.07.18  w:2500  nuclear-energy  future  energy  from instapaper
4 weeks ago
The Angel Who Keeps Citi Bike Working for New York
"There’s something more profound going on with Miller. 'I feel an almost perverse sense of satisfaction when I see that I’ve helped someone—that I’ve directly supplied a bike to a person, so they can immediately start their day, he says. It’s that curious dopamine hit you get when you relinquish a parking space to a waiting driver. Miller’s Bike Angel code prevents him from taking the last bike from a station or putting a bike into the last dock space. 'Unless,' he clarifies, 'it’s a five-point or more takeout from the trip I’m doing.' He routinely redocks bikes that desperate users have abandoned for want of a space and returns objects left in bike baskets to their owners. 'That’s when I start to feel,' he says, 'the purest form of Bike Angel.' Maybe there’s more than altruism at work here. He has wondered whether he’s 'semiconsciously trying to avoid having to think about my own personal adult responsibilities' or just drowning out the crushingly depressive news cycle. 'Things seem like they’re globally out of control,' he says. 'Humanitarian and refugee crises, nationalism is spiking again.' Against that backdrop, 'there’s something about grabbing a bike from over here and moving it to there. I’ve effected change. It’s very simple.'"
a:Tom-Vanderbilt★★  p:Outside★★  d:2018.08.07  w:4500  bicycling  NYC  games  efficiency  algorithms  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
An Oral History of Apple's Infinite Loop
"Here’s the kind of pressure we were under just before the iPhone launch. Somewhere before Christmas, we were in the lockdown, and a program manager got on this guy about fixing bugs. It started out with stern talking and then escalated to yelling at each other about who had spent less time with their kids. The argument ended and she was just livid, ran to her office, and slammed the door so hard that the lock broke and she couldn’t get out. We called the Apple locksmith, and he was going to be an hour and a half to get there. Forstall comes by, he’s got an aluminum bat and we took turns swinging, and ultimately forced it open. It was really cathartic."
a:Steven-Levy  p:Wired★★  d:2018.09.16  w:7500  oral-history  Apple  Steve-Jobs  iPhone  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
"Volumes is a 4K Full CG art film by Maxim Zhestkov exploring the juxtaposition of emotions with the laws of nature. Billions of colourful particles dance, play and communicate with each other in an eternal hypnotic ballet governed by the invisible forces."
a:Maxim-Zhestkov  p:Maxim-Zhestkov  d:2018.03  video  from twitter
5 weeks ago
Women's Pockets are Inferior.
"What do we want? Functional pockets. When do we want it? NOW, but really like several centuries ago."
a:Jan-Diehm  a:Amber-Thomas  p:The-Pudding★  d:2018.08  w:3000  gender  clothing  fashion  from twitter
5 weeks ago
In Conversation: Penn Jillette
"I will now violate a nondisclosure agreement."
"Only if you want to."
"I know you’ll use it properly and if you don’t, I don’t give a fuck anyway."
a:David-Marchese  a:Penn-Jillette★  p:Vulture★★  d:2018.08.14  w:6500  interview  politics  gender  Donald-Trump  future  race  alcohol  from twitter
5 weeks ago
The Great Chinese Art Heist
"Eliassen believed that the best thing for the museum to do was to protect the art that remained. The pieces were probably never coming back. 'The government in China doesn't think they're stolen objects,' he said. 'They think they belong to them. They won't take it seriously, won't follow the trail. That's the biggest problem.' Even art-crime experts, though, are quick to acknowledge that the situation might look different from China's perspective. Noah Charney, a professor of art history and founder of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, says that when it comes to winning back their lost art, the Chinese can't imagine how such a thing would be wrong. 'It's almost like there's a fog around it from a criminological perspective,' he said. 'It's like another planet, in terms of the way people think about what art is, what authenticity is, what is socially unacceptable to do.'"
a:Alex-W-Palmer  p:GQ★★  d:2018.08.16  w:5000  art  China  history  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
NASA’s Dawn Mission to the Asteroid Belt Says Good Night
"Spacecraft carry microbial hitchhikers from Earth that can contaminate the worlds where they land. NASA tries to minimize that risk when a mission ends; engineers flew the Cassini probe, for example, into Saturn’s atmosphere last year. For the last part of its mission, Dawn was sent on an elliptical orbit that swooped to within 22 miles of the surface, making one orbit every 27 hours. That provided the sharpest images yet of features like Occator crater. Though out of power, the spacecraft will continue in that orbit for at least 20 years, possibly decades longer, at which point it could crash into Ceres. That is not long enough for all of the Earth microbes on Dawn to die, but NASA officials hope that 20 years would be long enough for the space agency to make another visit there to study whether Ceres ever had conditions amenable for life before Dawn crashes and contaminates it."
a:Kenneth-Chang  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.11.01  w:1500  space  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
The rise of the 4-letter baby name
"Wattenberg also says that the trend toward shorter names is really a return to normal. She refers to the recent trends as 'market correction' from the extraordinary lengthening of names in the late-20th century. A look at the chart below proves she is right. The length of boys’ and girls’ names are still well above where they were in the early 1960s."
a:Dan-Kopf★  p:Quartz★  d:2018.11.01  w:500  naming  children  trends  from twitter
5 weeks ago
Stoning Our Neighbors to Death Makes the Corn Grow High, and Elitist Liberals Should Stop Attacking This Traditional Value
"The lottery is what brings towns together. Yes, whoever got the slip of paper with the black spot would be stoned to death, but no one forced you to live in America. Grab a rock, or get out."
a:Lincoln-Michel  p:McSweeney's★★★  d:2018.10.19  w:500  satire  media  Republicans  from iphone
5 weeks ago
You Can’t Stop NBA Offenses—and Now, You Can’t Even Hope to Contain Them
"Some players may no longer have a place. 'It’s definitely gonna eliminate a lot of defenders who get physical,' Spurs forward Dante Cunningham told The Ringer after a recent win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. 'I’m thinking of one in particular: Tony Allen. Back in the day, he was just a physical presence at all times. He wanted to put his hands on you at every moment. If you moved, he moved with you and grabbed you just to let you know he’s there. I’ve learned a lot from playing with him, playing against him, and just watching him defensively. But you have to adapt now. If they run through the lane, you can’t even touch them. You have to show your hands and keep it moving.' Cunningham was then asked how he’s adapting to the new rules. 'I’m obviously not adapting,' he said. 'I just fouled out.'"
a:Justin-Verrier  p:The-Ringer★★  d:2018.10.30  w:6000  basketball  NBA  strategy  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
The Wizards Are the NBA’s Must-See Soap Opera
"New Wizard Austin Rivers took a second to talk to the small contingent of journos because he was back in Los Angeles for the first time since the Clippers traded him, but he claimed he was unaware of the incendiary remarks made by his teammates in the aftermath of the Kings loss. Initially, Rivers said, 'I don’t really have a comment on it'—then proceeded to give more than a minute straight of uninterrupted thoughts, saying that players were 'frustrated' but he’s 'not trying to step on people’s toes because I’m the new guy.' He also said 'I don’t want to start nothing'—then explained 'I’m not a fit-in type of guy. I’m a guy who goes out there and attacks people’s throats.' But that’s OK, he said, because throat-attacking is exactly what Wall, Beal, and Scott Brooks counseled him to do. It was glorious. Rivers is already a perfect Wizard."
a:John-Gonzalez★  p:The-Ringer★★  d:2018.10.30  w:2500  NBA  Wizards  culture  from instapaper
5 weeks ago
How Much Mental Real Estate Does Joel Embiid Actually Own?
"Early exits, various replies on various platforms—that’s not just any real estate that Embiid owns in Drummond’s head. It’s a sprawling lake house that he poured years of work and thoughtful planning into. And it’s hardly the only property Embiid owns."
a:Haley-O'Shaughnessy★  p:The-Ringer★★  d:2018.10.24  w:1500  NBA  Joel-Embiid  social-media  from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Fight Night With LeBron
"The NBA playoffs were just beginning when TMZ released a recording of the Clippers owner Donald Sterling berating his then-girlfriend for associating with black athletes, taking pictures with them, and bringing them to his Staples Center suite. Among the black athletes who provoked Sterling’s racist ire was Magic Johnson. James led the response, channeling the players’ rage into a sophisticated, consistent messaging campaign centered on a single inflexible demand: Sterling had to go. In interview after interview, James repeated a simple mantra, saying that there was 'no room' for Sterling in 'our game'. In a sly hint that things could quickly go downhill for the league, James questioned whether Clippers players should continue to suit up for playoff games as long as Sterling remained the team’s owner. He name-checked Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, saying, with a smile, that 'the commish will take care of it, we’re sure of that.' Silver seemed to have heard him, loud and clear. Within days, Sterling was banned from the NBA for life."
a:Ross-Andersen★  p:The-Atlantic★★  d:2018.10.21  w:5500  LeBron-James  NBA  race  from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Pressing Forward: David Stern Is Not Looking Back
"The reaction was swift but Stern held firm. '[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that.... And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.'"
a:Chris-Ballard  p:Sports-Illustrated/The-Crossover★★  d:2018.10.24  w:6000  NBA  from instapaper
6 weeks ago
The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History
"The most enduring object lesson of NotPetya may simply be the strange, extra­dimensional landscape of cyberwar’s battlefield. This is the confounding geography of cyberwarfare: In ways that still defy human intuition, phantoms inside M.E.Doc’s server room in a gritty corner of Kiev spread chaos into the gilded conference rooms of the capital’s federal agencies, into ports dotting the globe, into the stately headquarters of Maersk on the Copenhagen harbor, and across the global economy. 'Somehow the vulnerability of this Ukrainian accounting software affects the US national security supply of vaccines and global shipping?' asks Joshua Corman, a cybersecurity fellow at the Atlantic Council, as if still puzzling out the shape of the wormhole that made that cause-and-effect possible. 'The physics of cyberspace are wholly different from every other war domain.' In those physics, NotPetya reminds us, distance is no defense. Every barbarian is already at every gate."
a:Andy-Greenberg  p:Wired★★  d:2018.08.22  w:6500  cyberwarfare  Russia  infrastructure  logistics  container-shipping  from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Joel Embiid Is Seven Feet Tall and Rising
"Hanlen says most of the players he works with can learn a new move quickly, but they might take weeks to master it. 'For [Embiid], he might have me demonstrate it ten times. He might ask a few questions. He'll have me demonstrate a couple more times, and then he'll just do it full speed,' he details. 'And then you'll see him use it the next day, in live play, one-on-one. And you're just shaking your head like, "How did he already have that?"'"
a:Clay-Skipper  p:GQ★★  d:2018.10.22  w:6500  NBA  basketball  Joel-Embiid  social-media  from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape
"All these pluses notwithstanding, the main reason why companies use tape is usually simple economics. Tape storage costs one-sixth the amount you’d have to pay to keep the same amount of data on disks, which is why you find tape systems almost anyplace where massive amounts of data are being stored. But because tape has now disappeared completely from consumer-level products, most people are unaware of its existence, let alone of the tremendous advances that tape recording technology has made in recent years and will continue to make for the foreseeable future."
a:Mark-Lantz  p:IEEE-Spectrum  d:2018.08.18  w:2500  future  hardware  from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Future Considerations: Why Ex-MLB Pitcher Michael Schwimer Is Investing in Minor League Longshots
"One obvious consequence: Financial worries leave young athletes in no position to focus on their performance or invest in their future. Another consequence might be less obvious: any minor-leaguer with a shot at a big-league career assumes an extraordinary amount of financial risk while chasing his dreams. Health and luck can determine which prospects leave the game with great fortunes, and which leave with little or nothing. BLA’s deals reduce players’ risk by buying out their upside—an elegant solution to a broken system."
a:Jack-Dickey  p:Sports-Illustrated★★  d:2018.09.04  w:4500  basketball  investing  risk  from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Here’s why developers seem to only build luxury housing
"The luxury-only problem is to a large extent a function of the fact that we have eliminated incremental change from most corners of our cities. Neighborhoods composed of single-family houses are declared almost entirely off-limits to development. In the remaining areas, we thus make sure that intense pent-up market demand is concentrated like a fire hose, and that development is undertaken primarily at large scales (giant apartment complexes) and in needlessly expensive ways. No wonder 'they only build luxury housing'. We've made it pretty hard to afford to do anything else."
a:Daniel-Herriges  p:Greater-Greater-Washington★★  d:2018.07.30  w:3000  development  regulation  DC  incentives  from instapaper
7 weeks ago
How Humanizing NBA Referees Underscores Their Craft And Labor
"[My dad] didn’t know anything refereeing, but he knew about people. And one thing he said to me that had anything to do with refereeing was, 'If people are doing what you’re asking them to do, then don’t worry about what they’re saying.' If I’m asking you, 'Hey, I need you to move off this corner and go over there,' they can m-f you all the way there, as long as they move off the corner, it doesn’t really matter what they say. If you ultimately have the final say on a subject, then you should give up the final word.'"
a:Spencer-Lund  p:RealGM  d:2018.08.14  w:3500  NBA  from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Sources: NBA, NBPA talks to end draft's one-and-done era hit impasse
"Because, ultimately, teams can draft whomever they want and first-round picks can be under contractual control for six seasons prior to free agency, medical information is a freedom that agents consider necessary to keeping some influence on their client's early career. 'Some organizations are run better than others,' one prominent agent told ESPN. 'A lot of success comes from a player getting into the right situation at the right time. If I can do something that influences that, why would I give that up?"
a:Adrian-Wojnarowski★  p:ESPN★★  d:2018.10.20  w:1000  negotiation  incentives  NBA  NBA-draft  from iphone
7 weeks ago
For Japan, N.B.A. 101 Is Now in Session
"Fans in Japan mostly prefer games described in their native tongue, with additional context beyond the shorthand of an American broadcast, N.B.A. officials said. The language of basketball here is mostly formal, without extravagant catchphrases, and many words are similar to their English counterparts. A dunk, for instance, is called a dunku. But there is also a marvelous economy to some of the basketball lingo. A flagrant or unsportsmanlike foul is simply called an 'unspo'. And a basketball shoe is a 'basshu'."
a:Jeré-Longman  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.10.16  w:1500  NBA  Japan  basketball  from instapaper
7 weeks ago
The World’s Most Peculiar Company
"Hammacher Schlemmer is the only company I’m aware of that sells products it knows no one may buy. In Hammacher Schlemmer parlance, these are called 'image items', and one is usually put front and center in each of its catalogs. 'Our focus in the last 20 to 25 years has been to put something on the cover that makes you go, "Wow, what is that?"' Farrell says. 'We actually almost like it better when you don’t know what it is.' These are the hovercraft, flying cars, and personal submarines that my family so cruelly refused to buy, and they are the products that have defined so much of Hammacher Schlemmer’s image. Their practicality is almost always inversely proportional to their astronomic cost."
a:Nick-Greene  p:Chicago  d:2018.08  w:4500  retail  Chicago  marketing  from instapaper
8 weeks ago
BDS: how a controversial non-violent movement has transformed the Israeli-Palestinian debate
"For many diaspora Jews, BDS has become a symbol of evil and repository of dread, a nefarious force transforming the Israel-Palestine debate from a negotiation over the end of the occupation and the division of territory into an argument about the conflict’s older and deeper roots: the original displacement of most of the Palestinians, and, on the ruins of their conquered villages, the establishment of a Jewish state. The emergence of the BDS movement has revived old questions about the legitimacy of Zionism, how to justify the privileging of Jewish over non-Jewish rights, and why refugees can return to their homes in other conflicts but not in this one. Above all, it has underscored an awkward issue that cannot be indefinitely neglected: whether Israel, even if it were to cease its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, can be both a democracy and a Jewish state."
a:Nathan-Thrall  p:The-Guardian★★  d:2018.08.14  w:11000  Israel  Jews  war  history  international-relations  international-trade  World-War-II  from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Ballpark Boomtown
"Where there was only a convenience store and a liquor shop alone on a block of rubble, there are now 52 restaurants, with seven more opening this year. Where the waterfront was a ragtag jumble of fenced-off gravel pits and wretched piles of trash, there is now a sleek boardwalk with reflecting pools where children splash and lawns where families take in concerts and movies. Hardly anyone foresaw the area’s explosion in value. Even the team’s owners didn’t expect the stadium zone to morph so quickly into a thriving residential community. 'Back then, we thought the big economic impact would be jobs,' said Gregory McCarthy, the Nationals’ vice president for community engagement, who was Mayor Williams’s deputy chief of staff. 'But the ballpark made this more than an office zone.'"
a:Marc-Fisher  p:The-Washington-Post★★  d:2018.07.14  w:3500  DC  development  from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The Ambien Diaries
"Introduced to the market in the late 1980s as a substitute for the addictive benzodiazepine Halcion, Ambien is now the most commonly prescribed sleeping pill in America—according to the most recent data, 43.8 million prescriptions were filled in the year 2012. But as many an insomniac has discovered by now, Ambien doesn’t quite knock you out. What it does do is give you a choice. If you choose to sleep, you’ll find it easier to nod off than if you hadn’t taken it. But you can also choose not to, and that’s where things get interesting. A medical study says that only 5 percent of Ambien users are fortunate enough to experience what it calls 'zolpidem-induced somnambulism and amnesic sleep-related behavioral problems'. Given the proliferation of anecdotal evidence about Ambien’s psychotropic effects, that number is surprisingly small. It’s still unclear what yields results showing such a strange experience for a minority and no experience for everyone else. Do you have to be a neurotic to enjoy Ambien? Or are most people just too desperate to get to sleep to see what happens next?"
a:Shuja-Haider  p:Popula  d:2018.07.22  w:4000  sleep  recreational-drugs  pharmaceuticals  from instapaper
9 weeks ago
So You Think You're Customer-Driven?
"Level 10: Adult/Adult: Nobody ever gets here, but it's nice to have an aspirational Level 10."
a:Venkat-Rao★★  p:Ribbonfarm★★  d:2018.08  w:3000  customer-service  visualization  from instapaper
9 weeks ago
See No Evil
"Modular systems manage complexity by 'black-boxing' information; that is, they separate code or information into discrete units. A programmer need only know about the module with which she is working, because managing the complexity of the entire system would be too much to ask of any single individual. Modularity is the method we’ve devised to manage complexity at a time when we’re drowning in information. How do you manage the complexity of a system that procures goods from a huge variety of locations? You make it modular: when you black-box each component, you don’t need to know anything about it except that it meets your specifications. Information about provenance, labor conditions, and environmental impact is unwieldy when the goal of your system is simply to procure and assemble goods quickly. 'You could imagine a different way of doing things, so that you do know all of that,' said Russell, 'so that your gaze is more immersive and continuous. But what that does is inhibit scale.' And scale, of course, is key to a globalized economy."
a:Miriam-Posner  p:Logic  d:2018  w:3500  logisitics  international-trade  manufacturing  infrastructure  software-design  from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Fish Out of Water: How the Military Is an Impossible Place for Hackers, and What to Do About It
"Servicemembers are forced to uphold certain unwavering standards, including grooming, height and weight, and physical fitness. These standards further limit an already limited group of technical talent: The intersection of people who can run a 15-minute two mile and dissect a Windows kernel memory dump is vanishingly small. While a number of these unicorns do exist, DOPMA unfortuntely makes it extremely difficult for them to thrive. Career management inundates military professional education. Servicemembers are constantly reminded what key developmental jobs will make them competitive for promotions, what syntax their evaluation reports should follow, and what their timeline should look like. For military members wanting to climb the ranks, the map is laid out in front of them in 25 years of exquisite detail."
a:Josh-Lospinoso  p:War-on-the-Rocks  d:2018.07.12  w:3500  military  hacking  work  bureaucracy  from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Why Count All the Squirrels in Central Park? Why the Heck Not
"'There’s not a lot of squirrel data out there,' Mr. Allen, 49, said. 'So the first step is collecting the squirrel data. You start to see patterns in behavior, and then you can use the data for any research you’re working on.'"
a:Andy-Newman  p:The-New-York-Times★★  d:2018.10.06  w:1500  NYC  animals  statistical-analysis  from twitter
9 weeks ago
The NBA Meme Bracket
"As a coach, Jeff Van Gundy’s defining characteristic was the puffy, ashen bags hanging pendulously beneath his eyes. Knicks and Rockets fans were intimately familiar with those milky skin sacks and Jeff’s rumpled, hangdog energy. This GIF, from the introduction to Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference final between the Celtics and the Magic, allows Jeff’s vacant, haunted eyes to step into the spotlight to spine-tingling effect."
a:Jason-Concepcion★★★  p:The-Ringer★★  d:2018.10.01  w:6000  NBA  memes  from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Steelmanning The NIMBYs
"Some people really enjoy living in dense cities like San Francisco. Other people, for the reasons listed above, really prefer not to. Many of the people who prefer not to are in San Francisco anyway. I signed up to work in the suburbs, but just before I started, my group begged me to work a few days a week in San Francisco because that was where they needed more doctors. I grudgingly agreed. During my time there, I treated depressed San Francisco residents. One refrain I heard again and again was that they hated living in San Francisco, but had come anyway because their company pressured them, or because their companies would pay them extra, or because that was where all the best jobs in their industry were. These people’s long-term plan was to use San Francisco as a springboard to gain enough money or career capital to be able to achieve their dream of leaving San Francisco. Alon Levy describes the same thing his In The Mines, where he compares the outlook of people moving to San Francisco to that of people working in mines or oil rigs. Nobody likes working in a mine or oil rig. They go there because it pays really well, and if they grin and bear it for long enough, they can pay off their debts or save for the future or do something that allows them to live in a place that isn’t a mine or oil rig. But people have to grudgingly endure poor conditions aboard oil rigs because they’re the only place you can pump oil. Why do they need to grudgingly endure poor conditions in San Francisco?"
a:Scott-Alexander★★★  p:Slate-Star-Codex★★★  d:2018.10.01  w:5000  housing  development  cities  NYC  San-Francisco  work  public-transit  from iphone
9 weeks ago
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