Christian Wiman’s stubborn, slippery faith
"The ultimate subject of He Held Radical Light is faith. Wiman accepts the practical need for religion, for “communal ritual and meaningful creeds.” Yet he much prefers the amorphous nature of faith, so he fears the trouble of religion is that “to define is to defile. One either lives toward God or not.” We need faith because poetry (and art in general) “is not enough.” Wiman writes,

Those spots of time are not enough to hang a life on. At some point you need a universally redemptive activity. You need grace that has nothing to do with your own efforts, for at some point—whether because of disease or despair, exhaustion or loss—you will have no efforts left to make.

For a poet who once wanted to write an eternal poem, that is a nice humility. Wiman returned to faith after his cancer diagnosis, but he has also described the slippery nature of that faith. “It has been my experience,” Wiman testifies, “that faith, like art, is most available when I cease to seek it, cease even to believe in it, perhaps, if by belief one means that busy attentiveness, that purposeful modern consciousness that knows its object.” He Held Radical Light captures that dogged, hypnotic stubbornness of faith."
from instapaper
yesterday
How “Silicon Valley” Nails Silicon Valley
"Before writing the episode, Judge and Berg spent a weekend at TechCrunch Disrupt, in San Francisco. “That’s the first thing you notice,” Judge said. “It’s capitalism shrouded in the fake hippie rhetoric of ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ because it’s uncool to just say ‘Hey, we’re crushing it and making money.’” After the scene aired, viewers complained about the lack of diversity in the audience. Berg recalled, “A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, ‘Why aren’t there any women? That’s bullshit!’ I said to her, ‘It is bullshit! Unfortunately, we shot that audience footage at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.’”"
from instapaper
5 days ago
Call them power skills, not soft skills | LinkedIn
"Here's the thing. Look at what is in the bucket of soft skills: team management, interpersonal communication, empathy, conflict resolution, critical thinking, perspective-taking. The so-called “soft skills” are neither easy nor are they out of place in an organisation. The origin of the dichotomy comes from a US Army assessment between 1960-1970. Hard skills were hard because they were well-defined and straightforward. Soft skills were soft because “we don't know much about the physical and social environments in which the skill occurs and...the consequences of different ways of accomplishing the job function”.

In fact, the hard skills are actually the easy ones to grasp. You can wrap your head around them. Advanced calculus, or understanding the chain rule, or fiddling with a Gantt chart is really teachable and manageable once you know how. What is truly tough is persuading a child to do something they don't want to do. Or resolving a conflict between two, three or more people. Or motivating a recalcitrant team to follow you, even when the data doesn't support it. Or deciding that even when the data suggests it, something shouldn't be done. That's hard."
from instapaper
5 days ago
The Case Against Running With Headphones
"Our sport seems mindless only to people who never run long enough for any thought to form other than “When can I stop running?” But the only way to succeed as a long-distance runner is to do it mindfully, to be aware of the body and the world it is moving through."
from instapaper
7 days ago
Burn the boat – Peter Bromka – Medium
"And yet, as a husband and a father, this pursuit cannot and should not be my entire focus. I’ve heard of people putting their running ahead of their marriage and their children, just that idea breaks my heart. Our task is to maximize our spirit and our speed while life allows."
from instapaper
7 days ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"What does happen?

Shotts: If you want to live according to a set of values, that’s a legitimate reason to push for regulation, to say, “You know, we’re going to be at a competitive disadvantage if other firms do bad, unethical practices, and we would like the government to step in.” And if you can’t get the government to do it, maybe approach activist groups and say, “You know, we’re happy to work with you to monitor our competition and shine the light on them if they’re doing stuff wrong.”"
from instapaper
11 days ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"In your class, you mention how regulations force companies to abide by societal values. In the U.S., we’re seeing deregulation in everything from the environment to finance. What does that mean for a values-based leader?

Shotts: Deregulation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It doesn’t occur without the participation of companies. Governments set the rules, and companies influence the rules. First, it’s incumbent upon business leaders to think about whether it’s ethical for them to push for a certain set of rules, and second, whether they should hold themselves as a firm or an industry to some higher standard than what the law requires.

There can be reasons to hold one’s self to a higher standard. They might be the values of the employees within the company. A great example is the pharmaceutical industry, where a lot of people work in the industry because they care about health care. In the industry’s traditional business model, if you get a successful drug, you have to exploit that IP as much as you can. This created a big conflict around 2000 with the global AIDS epidemic, when the pharmaceutical companies charged a fortune for their drugs. They got all this negative flak for it, partially because people within the companies were dissatisfied. They’re like, “We’re trying to improve people’s health. What are we doing with this pricing?”"
from instapaper
11 days ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"Shotts: We need to use both the gut and analytical approaches to decisions, particularly for high-stakes stuff. And we need to do analysis well. I can come up with a spreadsheet and rig it so it aligns with my gut instincts. One of my best friends did this when he was trying to decide where to go to college. He kept jiggering the spreadsheet until it gave him the answer he wanted.

Malhotra: Very high-functioning people don’t often understand that they use their intellect to rationalize their gut. The story of Supreme Court decisions, for example, is basically extreme intellectual rationalization of gut reactions.

How do we counteract that?

Shotts: Take time. If we have to do something quickly, our gut is the only thing we can use. It’s only possible to use both our gut and reason if we take time. Also, rely on other people. This requires setting up an organizational structure where it’s OK for the person in charge to be disagreed with or criticized. Highly functioning organizations do that well, while dysfunctional organizations penalize people who disagree.

Malhotra: Powerful people typically don’t perceive that other people are agreeing with them because of their role. They have to learn to recognize that."
from instapaper
11 days ago
2018 New York Marathon is the race of a lifetime for Allie Kieffer
"In August, Kieffer acknowledged the skepticism head-on and read the LetsRun comments aloud in a series of Instagram videos. One by one, she ticked them off. Then she addressed the camera directly.

"Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who actually cares what people on these message boards write about them," she said. "The words that I'm too old and I'm too big and I'm doping? Those hurt." She was seething with anger now. She knew she couldn't stop the chatter at this point in the year. But in November, New York would come back around again.

New York would be her answer. She would speak through her body. From now on, she would control the message.

"I'm going to use your words as ammunition -- to prove you wrong," she said into the camera. "Because I'm not too old. And I'm not too big. And I'm not doping. I'm here to stay.""
from instapaper
11 days ago
What’s All This About Journaling?
"If you’re distressed about something, Dr. Pennebaker advises, set aside three to four days to write for 15 to 20 minutes a day about it. If you don’t find a benefit from it, he says, “stop doing it. Go jogging. See a therapist. Go to a bar. Go to church.”"
from instapaper
11 days ago
An Aging Marathoner Tries to Run Fast After 40
"Running faster always feels good, but running faster when you’re getting old feels good in a different way. When we’re young we wake up in the morning knowing that we’re probably stronger, taller, and faster than the day before. We want to be older because we want to be at our peak.

At some point, that desire fades, and then it flips. We wake up knowing we’re weaker and slower, and we have to work hard to stay in the same place as the day before. It’s all partly an illusion: We get a day older, whether we spend it running up a mountain or lying on a couch. Still, going faster means we’re doing something right.

I know, though, that it all has to end at some point. My joints will give out, my back will start to ache, or maybe reason will prevail. There are advantages to finding hobbies that don’t depend on exhaustion and obsession. Still, I don’t think I’m quite ready. One of the perversities of the sport is that, like gambling, it’s very hard to quit after you’ve done well."
from instapaper
11 days ago
Why Science Can’t Tell Us How to Live
"But in the end, any account of moral reasoning that omits a Christian understanding of right and wrong is destined to fail. For Christians, the fundamental problem with the quest for a scientific understanding of morality is the attempt to establish moral law while explicitly ruling out the possibility of a moral lawgiver. Unless those seeking a common morality through the humanities are open to the idea of grounding that morality in something higher than human beings themselves, they will founder on the same shoals that wrecked attempts to arrive at morality through science. Even the very best history, literature, and philosophy won’t build a reliable bridge between “is” and “ought.”"
from instapaper
14 days ago
Why Science Can’t Tell Us How to Live
"Science can tell us the way things are but not the way things ought to be. In the language of philosophy, it can’t derive an “ought” from an “is.”"
from instapaper
15 days ago
Opinion | The Ambition Explosion
"Capitalism on its own breeds people who are vaguely aware that they are not living the spiritually richest life, who are ill-equipped to know how they might do so, who don’t have the time to do so, and who, when they go off to find fulfillment, end up devoting themselves to scattershot causes and light religions.

To survive, capitalism needs to be embedded in a moral culture that sits in tension with it, and provides a scale of values based on moral and not monetary grounds. Capitalism, though, is voracious. The personal ambition it arouses is always threatening to blot out the counterculture it requires."
from instapaper
18 days ago
What I Learned About Life at My 30th College Reunion
"Every classmate who became a teacher or doctor seemed happy with the choice of career.
Many lawyers seemed either unhappy or itching for a change, with the exception of those who became law professors. (See No. 2 above.)
Nearly every single banker or fund manager wanted to find a way to use accrued wealth to give back (some had concrete plans, some didn’t), and many, at this point, seemed to want to leave Wall Street as soon as possible to take up some sort of art.
Speaking of art, those who went into it as a career were mostly happy and often successful, but they had all, in some way, struggled financially.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but in an online survey of our class just prior to the reunion, those of us with more of it self-reported a higher level of happiness than those with less."
from instapaper
18 days ago
Twitter
Brad designed my deck and absolutely crushed it. Thanks, !
from twitter_favs
22 days ago
The Importance of Meeting In-Person
a great visualization of the network at Automatic following meetups
network 
25 days ago
WHO DISPLAYS ETHICAL LEADERSHIP, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? AN EXAMINATION OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ETHICAL LEADERSHIP
In the present research, we examine antecedents
of ethical leadership by testing whether one source
of motivation for leaders to exhibit ethical behav-
iors arises from a self-defining knowledge structure
that several writers (e.g., Aquino & Reed, 2002;
Blasi, 1983, 2004; Damon & Hart, 1992; Lapsley &
Narvaez, 2004) refer to as moral identity . Our the-
oretical model posits that moral identity motivates
leaders to act in ways that demonstrate some re-
sponsiveness to the needs and interests of others,
an orientation that many philosophers (e.g., Kant,
1948) and psychologists (e.g., Eisenberg, 2000; Gil-
ligan, 1982) consider a defining characteristic of
moral behavior. We also explore consequences of
ethical leadership at the work-unit level by draw-
ing on social learning theory (Bandura, 1977, 1986).
We focus on unit-level outcomes because group
members exposed to similar cues in an environ-
ment regarding norms for appropriate behavior
tend to behave in a fairly homogeneous manner
(e.g., Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978). The specific out-
comes we examine include unethical behavior (i.e.,
behavior that is morally unacceptable to the larger
community [Jones, 1991]) and relationship conflict
(i.e., interpersonal strife associated with differ-
ences in personalities or matters unrelated to a job
[Jehn, 1995]).
ethics  Power&Politics 
27 days ago
How Do We Make the Long-Term Decisions That Matter?
"What are the habits of people who excel at long-term thinking? One of Johnson’s thought-provoking points is that they read novels, which are ideal exercises in mental time travel and empathy. I think he’s right. That said, I’ve also found value in other evidence-based techniques for catapulting our brains into the future, like coming face-to-face with an image of ourselves digitally aged to make us look 30 years older. And I finished this book curious about whether looking farther into the past is another way to paint a richer portrait of the future."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
Even light drinking increases risk of death | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis
Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.

“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” she said. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”
alcohol 
5 weeks ago
Drawing is the best way to learn, even if you’re no Leonardo da Vinci
"But we’ve been thinking about drawing all wrong, says the design historian D.B. Dowd. In his illuminating new book, titled Dowd argues that putting a pencil to paper shouldn’t be about making art at all.

“We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity,” he writes. “This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else.”

Put another way: Drawing shouldn’t be about performance, but about process. It’s not just for the “artists,” or even the weekend hobbyists. Think of it as a way of observing the world and learning, something that can be done anytime, like taking notes, jotting down a thought, or sending a text."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"On the other hand, leaders are not just born, they are also made, and we have to look at the circumstances of Johnson’s burning ambition. When he was an adolescent, Johnson’s parents went bankrupt. So Johnson lived his life in poverty. More to the point, he spent his boyhood in humiliation. To be a Johnson was to be a figure of ridicule in the Texas Hill Country. He lived in this little town in the middle of nowhere, and that was his whole world. His father was a laughingstock, a quixotic bankrupt rancher, ridiculed by one and all. His brother, Sam, once said to me that “the most important thing for Lyndon was not to be like Daddy.” When you hear that, then you understand an awful lot about Lyndon Johnson. He did some wonderful things and he did some terrible things, and they all came out of the same place. He was driven by demons and those demons were real. It wasn’t just the poverty he grew up in, it was the loneliness, the terrible loneliness of his youth. When it comes to a great leader like Lyndon Johnson, I would have to say that heredity and humiliation combined to produce his extraordinary drive to succeed. Out of that came the civil rights program. We got the War on Poverty and the Great Society. We also got Vietnam."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"For Johnson, all men were tools, and to use them he had to know their weaknesses. Of course, most people don’t voluntarily show their weaknesses, and he had to employ all manner of stratagems to get people to expose them. For instance, he believed that what a man said with his mouth was less relevant than what he said with his eyes. So he taught his staff to read people’s eyes. Another of his favorite gambits was to keep a conversation going. He knew that what a person wants to tell you is never as important as what he doesn’t want to tell you, and the longer he could keep a conversation with someone going, the better he could see what that person was avoiding. Not surprisingly, Johnson was a great conversationalist. He seldom read books, but he did know how to read people."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Most senators—maybe all senators but Lyndon Johnson—come to the Senate and look for the most powerful, the most prestigious committee to get on. That’s not what Johnson did. Once he knew that Russell was the power in the Senate, he checked to see what Russell’s committee was. It was Armed Services. So Lyndon Johnson asked to be on the Armed Services committee. And because nobody else wanted to be on that committee, he got straight in."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"With powerful men, he made himself what his friends called a “professional son.” In each institution in which he worked, he found an older man who had great power, who had no son of his own, and who was lonely. In Austin, it was the powerful state senator, Alvin Wirtz; in the House of Representatives, it was the Speaker, Sam Rayburn; in the Senate, it was the leader of the Southern block, Richard Russell of Georgia. In each case, he attached himself to the man, kept reminding him that his own father was dead and that he was looking on him as his new “Daddy.” Rayburn and Russell were bachelors; Johnson made them part of his family, constantly inviting them over for meals. Sundays were very important in this technique: On Sundays, Johnson would have Russell to brunch, Rayburn to dinner. He wouldn’t have them together because, as one of Johnson’s friends put it: “He didn’t want his two daddies to see how he acted with the other one.”

With older men of authority in general, Johnson would do literally what the cliché says: sit at the feet of an older man to absorb his knowledge."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Very much so. Johnson not only voted against civil rights legislation in the House and Senate, he voted against it every single time for 20 years. And he didn’t just vote against civil rights—he actively worked against it. But did that mean he was really opposed to civil rights? No, because when he consolidated his power, the first thing he did was pass a civil rights bill. Johnson’s early opposition to civil rights stemmed from his realism: He saw things as they were, not as he wanted them to be. Now, that sounds like a really simple thing, and I’m sure they teach you that in business school. But the truth is that it’s not simple because every aspect of human nature militates against it. We all hear what we want to hear. We go to a doctor and don’t want to learn that we have terminal cancer. We want to hear that there is a way of curing it. Johnson never made that kind of mistake. He realized that he would never amass the power to pass civil rights unless he got close to the people who were already powerful. In the Senate, the powerful senators were almost all Southerners. Given the realities of power at that time, that meant he had to oppose civil rights. So that’s what he did. Once again, this showed his pragmatism—not only his pragmatism but his absolute pragmatism."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"It’s 1957, and Johnson wants to pass the civil rights bill. It’s a daunting challenge. Because of the Senate’s rules governing filibusters, the bill’s opponents need to get only 33 votes to kill it, which is why no civil rights bill has been passed since Reconstruction. The South has 22 votes by itself, and if you include the Midwest and Republican conservatives, you get up to 33 very fast. After trying for months to get a bill through, Johnson seems to give up. He goes back to Texas, and if you look at the telephone logs for that time at the ranch, you see that he’s not getting many telephone calls. Nobody in Washington can help him—in fact, they’re telling him to give up. There comes a time in the life of a leader when nobody can help you out but yourself. Only you can figure out how to go forward—and 99% of people can’t do it. Johnson figured it out."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"A lot of politicians delude themselves in counting votes—fool themselves. They’re overly optimistic. They hear what they want to hear; if some senator seems to be agreeing with them, they think he will vote with them in the crunch. Lyndon Johnson never fooled himself. When one of his staffers would come back and say he “thought” he knew which way a senator would vote on an issue, Johnson would say, “What good is thinking to me? Thinking isn’t good enough. Thinking is never good enough. I need to know.”"
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Yes. And that’s what makes his life a study in leadership. Johnson liked power. Of course, you could say with Johnson, in some ways power meant being able to bend people to his will and to ruin their careers and their personal reputations, if necessary. And he could certainly do that. Here’s another thing Lyndon Johnson said about himself: “I’m just like a fox. I can see the jugular in any man and go for it.” My books on Johnson contain more than a few instances of him destroying men by figuring out their weakness and using it against them. But with Johnson it was more than that. He had a plan.

With a lot of people, when they get power, there’s nothing there but the desire for power. They have no agenda but to dominate other men. Lyndon Johnson also sought power to accomplish goals. His drive for power was inseparable from what he wanted power for. As I just said, power reveals, and it’s significant to me that when he got it he turned into a great social reformer. At heart he really did care. When I was learning about him, I found this strain of compassion and found that it ran through his whole life."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"As far as I’m concerned, biography is a tool for understanding power: how it is acquired and how it is used. I never had any interest in writing about a man or woman just to tell the life of a famous person. All my books are about power and about how leaders use power to accomplish things. We’re all taught the Lord Acton saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the more time I spend looking into power, the less I feel that is always true. What I do feel is invariably correct—what power always does—is reveal. Power reveals. When a leader gets enough power, when he doesn’t need anybody anymore—when he’s president of the United States or CEO of a major corporation—then we can see how he always wanted to treat people, and we can also see—by watching what he does with his power—what he wanted to accomplish all along. And if you pick the right subject—like Lyndon Johnson—you can also see through a biography how power can be used for very large purposes indeed."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Successful leaders somehow manage to do both—accumulate power and use it to some great end. And few leaders have done both so well as the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson. For most of his career, Johnson was an archetypical politician, trading favors and flattery in generous measure. He was manipulative and devious, searching out and exploiting the weaknesses of colleagues and rivals alike. Yet once Johnson achieved the power he so ruthlessly sought, he seemed to undergo a sea change, turning into a visionary of breathtaking scope. It was Johnson who first put civil rights on the statute books and who launched the War on Poverty. But then, of course, there was Vietnam. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s possible to imagine that Johnson saw this, too, as some kind of statesman’s crusade, with communism rather than poverty as the enemy. If so, it was a crusade gone too far, and Johnson ended up destroying the political capital he had so expertly built up over the years."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Unpublished and Untenured, a Philosopher Inspired a Cult Following
"This type of character, though unusual, is not unheard-of in philosophy. Unlike, say, history or sociology, philosophy has long reserved a place for the occasional talent who struggles or declines to publish. The tradition dates back to Socrates, who not only didn’t write but also disparaged writing as too rigid a medium to capture “the living, breathing discourse of the man who knows.” (Plato’s words, of course.) Even as recently as the second half of the 20th century, many philosophy departments still employed a resident Socratic figure — a nonpublishing legend like Sidney Morgenbesser of Columbia or Rogers Albritton of Harvard — as if to provide a daily reminder that the discipline’s founding virtues of intellectual spontaneity, dialectical responsiveness and lack of dogmatism did not lend themselves naturally to the settled view of a treatise."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Opinion | A Complete National Disgrace - The New York Times
What we saw in these hearings was the unvarnished tribalization of national life. At the heart of the hearings were two dueling narratives, one from Christine Blasey Ford and one from Brett Kavanaugh. These narratives were about what did or did not happen at a party 36 years ago. There was nothing particularly ideological about the narratives, nothing that touched on capitalism, immigration or any of the other great disputes of national life.
politics  ideology 
5 weeks ago
The world’s youngest continent
"This is no accident. Sixty percent of Africans are under the age of 25. The median age is 19. (By comparison, in North America it’s 35.) And the number of young people in Africa is expected to grow in the decades ahead.

The other thing that always strikes me during my trips to Africa is the unbridled optimism of this young generation. Even in the face some tough health and development challenges, most of the youth I meet have a positive outlook about the future."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Elite Law Schools Turn Against Conservatism
"Far more significant, though, is the fact that much of the new wealth that is being created in the United States is in the hands of investors and entrepreneurs committed to cosmopolitan liberalism, for whom a more populist and nationalist right represents a grave threat. I don’t doubt that students and faculty members at elite law schools are sincerely committed to left politics. Yet the often-strident social liberalism of Silicon Valley and other citadels of wealth helps ensure that the cost of embracing left politics, in professional opportunities and social opprobrium, is lower than it’s been in decades. One could argue that the cost of wearing traditionalist convictions on your sleeve is, in the uppermost strata of American society, certainly, heading in exactly the opposite direction. To be a Federalist Society stalwart at an elite institution today means something sharply different than it would have a decade ago."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Twitter
Let’s be clear, you never want to schedule a Friday afternoon meeting with . He’s got a /2hr p…
from twitter_favs
6 weeks ago
Do boring speakers really talk for longer?
Dull talks at conferences can feel interminable. Or could it be that they really do go on for longer?

I investigated this idea at a meeting where speakers were given 12-minute slots. I sat in on 50 talks for which I recorded the start and end time. I decided whether the talk was boring after 4 minutes, long before it became apparent whether the speaker would run overtime. The 34 interesting talks lasted, on average, a punctual 11 minutes and 42 seconds. The 16 boring ones dragged on for 13 minutes and 12 seconds (thereby wasting a statistically significant 1.5 min; t-test, t = 2.91, P = 0.007). For every 70 seconds that a speaker droned on, the odds that their talk had been boring doubled. For the audience, this is exciting news. Boring talks that seem interminable actually do go on for longer.

To avoid banality, speakers should introduce their objectives early on and focus on pertinent information. They should avoid trite explanations, repetition, getting bogged down by irrelevant minutiae and passing off common knowledge as fresh insight.
Research 
7 weeks ago
What Are the Biggest Problems Facing Us in the 21st Century?
"What does Harari think we should do about all this? Sprinkled throughout is some practical advice, including a three-prong strategy for fighting terrorism and a few tips for dealing with fake news. But his big idea boils down to this: Meditate. Of course he isn’t suggesting that the world’s problems will vanish if enough of us start sitting in the lotus position and chanting om. But he does insist that life in the 21st century demands mindfulness — getting to know ourselves better and seeing how we contribute to suffering in our own lives. This is easy to mock, but as someone who’s taking a course on mindfulness and meditation, I found it compelling."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
What Are the Biggest Problems Facing Us in the 21st Century?
"He deploys, for example, a clever thought experiment to underscore how far humans have come in creating a global civilization. Imagine, he says, trying to organize an Olympic Games in 1016. It’s clearly impossible. Asians, Africans and Europeans don’t know that the Americas exist. The Chinese Song Empire doesn’t think any other political entity in the world is even close to being its equal. No one even has a flag to fly or anthem to play at the awards ceremony."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Eliud Kipchoge Is the Greatest Marathoner, Ever
"But perhaps what is most unusual about Kipchoge, 33, and his diet of monastic extremes is the one thing he does not do: overextend himself in training. He estimates that he seldom pushes himself past 80 percent — 90 percent, tops — of his maximum effort when he circles the track for interval sessions, or when he embarks on 25-mile jogs.

Instead, he reserves the best of himself, all 100 percent of Kipchoge, for race day — for the marathons he wins, for the records he chases."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"Last year, Vanessa received a tax return of around $5,000, which included earned-income and child tax credits. They helped raise her income, but not above the poverty line. If the working poor are doing better than the nonworking poor, which is the case, it’s not so much because of their jobs per se, but because their employment status provides them access to desperately needed government help. This has caused growing inequality below the poverty line, with the working poor receiving much more social aid than the abandoned nonworking poor or the precariously employed, who are plunged into destitution."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"Since 1973, American productivity has increased by 77 percent, while hourly pay has grown by only 12 percent. If the federal minimum wage tracked productivity, it would be more than $20 an hour, not today’s poverty wage of $7.25.

American workers are being shut out of the profits they are helping to generate. The decline of unions is a big reason. During the 20th century, inequality in America decreased when unionization increased, but economic transformations and political attacks have crippled organized labor, emboldening corporate interests and disempowering the rank and file. This imbalanced economy explains why America’s poverty rate has remained consistent over the past several decades, even as per capita welfare spending has increased. It’s not that safety-net programs don’t help; on the contrary, they lift millions of families above the poverty line each year. But one of the most effective antipoverty solutions is a decent-paying job, and those have become scarce for people like Vanessa. Today, 41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American work force — earn less than $12 an hour, and almost none of their employers offer health insurance."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"In May, Vanessa finally secured a spot in public housing. But for almost three years, she had belonged to the “working homeless,” a now-necessary phrase in today’s low-wage/high-rent society. She is a home health aide, the same job her mother had until her knees and back gave out. Her work uniform is Betty Boop scrubs, sneakers and an ID badge that hangs on a red Bayada Home Healthcare lanyard. Vanessa works steady hours and likes her job, even the tougher bits like bathing the infirm or hoisting someone out of bed with a Hoyer lift. “I get to help people,” she said, “and be around older people and learn a lot of stuff from them.” Her rate fluctuates: She gets $10 an hour for one client, $14 for another. It doesn’t have to do with the nature of the work — “Sometimes the hardest ones can be the cheapest ones,” Vanessa said — but with reimbursement rates, which differ according to the client’s health care coverage. After juggling the kids and managing her diabetes, Vanessa is able to work 20 to 30 hours a week, which earns her around $1,200 a month. And that’s when things go well."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
"Facebook had adopted a buccaneering motto, “Move fast and break things,” which celebrated the idea that it was better to be flawed and first than careful and perfect. Andrew Bosworth, a former Harvard teaching assistant who is now one of Zuckerberg’s longest-serving lieutenants and a member of his inner circle, explained, “A failure can be a form of success. It’s not the form you want, but it can be a useful thing to how you learn.” In Zuckerberg’s view, skeptics were often just fogies and scolds. “There’s always someone who wants to slow you down,” he said in a commencement address at Harvard last year. “In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.”"
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
"New hires learned that a crucial measure of the company’s performance was how many people had logged in to Facebook on six of the previous seven days, a measurement known as L6/7. “You could say it’s how many people love this service so much they use it six out of seven days,” Parakilas, who left the company in 2012, said. “But, if your job is to get that number up, at some point you run out of good, purely positive ways. You start thinking about ‘Well, what are the dark patterns that I can use to get people to log back in?’ ”

Facebook engineers became a new breed of behaviorists, tweaking levers of vanity and passion and susceptibility. The real-world effects were striking. In 2012, when Chan was in medical school, she and Zuckerberg discussed a critical shortage of organs for transplant, inspiring Zuckerberg to add a small, powerful nudge on Facebook: if people indicated that they were organ donors, it triggered a notification to friends, and, in turn, a cascade of social pressure. Researchers later found that, on the first day the feature appeared, it increased official organ-donor enrollment more than twentyfold nationwide."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
"Then, in 2007, growth plateaued at around fifty million users and wouldn’t budge. Other social networks had maxed out at around that level, and Facebook employees wondered if they had hit a hidden limit. Zuckerberg created a special Growth Team, which had broad latitude to find ways of boosting the numbers. Among other fixes, they discovered that, by offering the site in more languages, they could open huge markets. Alex Schultz, a founding member of the Growth Team, said that he and his colleagues were fanatical in their pursuit of expansion. “You will fight for that inch, you will die for that inch,” he told me. Facebook left no opportunity untapped. In 2011, the company asked the Federal Election Commission for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.”"
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
"If Facebook were a country, it would have the largest population on earth. More than 2.2 billion people, about a third of humanity, log in at least once a month. That user base has no precedent in the history of American enterprise. Fourteen years after it was founded, in Zuckerberg’s dorm room, Facebook has as many adherents as Christianity"
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Something to look forward to
A goal that isn’t too important makes you live in the moment, and still gives you a driving force. This driving force is a way to get around the fact that we will all die and there is no real point to life.

But with the ASG there is a point. It is not such an important point that you postpone joy to achieve it. It is just a decoy point that keeps you bobbing along, allowing you to find ecstacy in the small things, the unexpected, and the everyday.

What happens when you reach the stupid goal? Then what? You just find a new ASG.
future  goals 
9 weeks ago
Behind Nike’s Decision to Stand by Colin Kaepernick
"At the same time, Nike’s decision isn’t so much a defiant recognition of dissent as an acknowledgment of the directions in which sports culture has already travelled. In 1988, Nike promoted the image of a solitary senior citizen running on a bridge not, presumably, because it was looking to break into the octogenarian market but because it was hoping to sell inspiration. The company seems to have aligned itself with Kaepernick for the same reason. While some people rage that, yet again, in America, an ingrate-rebel has been rewarded, there is another narrative that Kaepernick conjures—that of an individual, driven by conscience, fighting a lonely crusade against forces more powerful than he. The odds are far outside of his favor, but no matter, he persists. In this telling, Kaepernick the subversive is transformed into something more legible, more familiar—an American character whom Steinbeck might have imagined. Goliath has size and strength, but David is the one with the compelling story."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
On Being Midwestern
"Glory Boughton, the narrator, longs for the “anonymity” and “impersonal landscape” of a “vast, cold city” (Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee). She longs for “deracination,” for the sense of being an anyone moving through an anyplace. Why should a person long for this? Anonymity is usually felt as a burden, and the sense that one is a mere “basic person” can imprison as much as it liberates.

Yet the passage resonates, because we humans need to feel that we are more than our communities, more than our histories, more even than ourselves. We need to feel this because it is true. The cultural conservative ideal, with its deeply rooted communities—an idea that finds a strange echo in the less nuanced kinds of identity politics—is a reduction as dangerous to human flourishing and self-understanding as is the reduction of the mind to the brain or the soul to the body. The “deeply rooted community” is, in reality, at least as often as not, a cesspit of nasty gossips, an echo chamber in which minor misunderstandings amplify until they prevent people from seeing each other accurately, or at all."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
On Being Midwestern
"Thus, while Southern history yields story after story of the most savage, intimate racist violence—of men castrated and barbecued before smiling crowds, dressed as for a picnic—Midwestern history is a study in racial quarantine.31 Midwestern cities often dominate in rankings of the country’s most segregated. And though the region has seen its share of Klan activity and outright lynchings—I write this days after the acquittal of the St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer who killed Philando Castile—the Midwest’s racism most frequently appears in the history books in the form of riots: Detroit, 1943; Cleveland, 1966; Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Detroit again, 1967; Chicago, Cincinnati again, and Kansas City, 1968; Detroit again, 1975; Cincinnati again, 2001; Ferguson, 2014; Milwaukee again, 2016. A riot is, among other things, a refusal to be quarantined."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
On Being Midwestern
"If it is not the Midwest that is missing from American history or culture, or even from the national conversation, but simply a Midwestern “regional consciousness,” as Cayton puts it, one naturally wonders whether such a category is important in the first place. Do Midwesterners need another “grid” (to borrow a term from the social critic George W.S. Trow) on which to plot their own lives? We already have families, towns and cities, a country, a species. Perhaps we are simply Americans, with no need for further differentiation."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
On Being Midwestern
"Historically, when people in the Midwest argue with each other over questions of identity, they fight over issues on universal, national, or local levels. They talk about what it means to be an American, a Lutheran, a farmer, a woman, a lesbian, a feminist, a black man; they almost never talk about what it means to be Midwestern, except in the most cursory fashion. In trying to locate a “heartland code,” one ethicist found that residents of the St. Louis area invoked generalities, such as “respect for family,” “respect for religion,” “respect for education,” “honesty,” “selflessness,” and “respect for the environment.” They rarely got more specific than that.… In virtually all the recent work on the Midwest, it remains a setting, not a particular constellation of attitudes or behaviors.15"
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
The Jordan Peterson All-Meat Diet
"The allure of a strict code for eating—a way to divide the world into good foods and bad foods, angels and demons—may be especially strong at a time when order feels in short supply. Indeed there is at least some benefit to be had from any and all dietary advice, or rules for life, so long as a person believes in them, and so long as they provide a code that allows a person to feel good for having stuck with it and a cohort of like-minded adherents. The challenge is to find a code that accords as best as possible with scientific evidence about what is good and bad, and with what is best for the world."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
How to Fall Asleep in 120 Seconds – Member Feature Stories – Medium
"Luckily, you never have to be. The U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School developed a scientific method to fall asleep day or night, in any conditions, in under two minutes. After six weeks of practice, 96 percent of pilots could fall asleep in two minutes or less. Even after drinking coffee, with machine gunfire being played in the background.

Which means if you follow these steps, falling asleep will be a piece of cake."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Cleansing the Catholic Church of Its Sins
"When no form of sex is allowed, all forms of sex can seem equally immoral. And if your celibacy has ever slipped, you sure don’t want to snitch on someone else, do you?"
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Cleansing the Catholic Church of Its Sins
"And then the kicker: the diocese was aware of Zirwas’s abuses as early as 1987. Zirwas continued in the priesthood until 1994, when he was placed on leave, citing “personal reasons.” Bishop, soon-to-be Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua did nothing to punish or report this man for molesting countless children. Then he was actually re-appointed as a priest by Bishop Donald Wuerl, who is now a cardinal in my own archdiocese of Washington. When another complaint of abuse found its way to Wuerl, he removed Zirwas, who then moved to Florida, fled to Cuba, and was found strangled to death in Havana in 2001. Nonetheless Wuerl presided at Zirwas’s funeral and made some remarks: “According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wuerl described how Zirwas was a kind man, and had preached a message of salvation through faith in Jesus. ‘A priest is a priest,’ Wuerl said that day. ‘Once he is ordained, he’s a priest forever.’”"
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
The unbearable ugliness of the Catholic Church
"Four decades ago, Ireland was among the most homogeneously and fervently Catholic countries in the world. When Pope John Paul II visited in 1979, he was greeted by crowds of well over a million people. Last weekend, three months after the overwhelming passage of a referendum that repealed the pro-life provision of the Irish constitution, Pope Francis addressed a crowd roughly one-tenth the size."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Silence in the face of mystery
"Good liturgy is about silence. I don’t mean that good liturgy is all Quaker meeting, but that there’s something about liturgy that ought to be pressing us in that direction. In quite a lot of the church’s history, both Catholic and Protestant traditions have variously got this wrong. There’s been an urge to fill up the void, an anxiety about silence—whether it’s the urge to improve the occasion and go on teaching, making sure that people are getting the right ideas, or the urge to keep things happening with lots of ceremonial. Both often seem rather to miss the point; busy and cluttered talk, like busy and cluttered activity, just tells people that we’re busy and that we’re really rather anxious that they shouldn’t get things wrong. Making space, acting, moving, speaking in a way that makes space around it: that’s what liturgy needs to be."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
Silence in the face of mystery
"But the more our humanity falls in love with this strange idea of domesticating, absorbing, and controlling, the less human we actually get. I would venture to guess that the people we would least like to spend a long time with are those who have answers to every question and plans for every contingency. There’s something slightly inhuman about that, because if we believe that our humanity is constantly growing, then there have got to be moments when we are taken beyond the familiar and the controllable. A growing humanity, a maturing humanity, is one that’s prepared for silence, because it’s prepared at important moments to say, “I can’t domesticate, I can’t get on top of this.”

God is that environment, that encounter, that we will never get to the bottom of and that we will never control. To understand that there’s something about silence that is profoundly at the heart of being human begins to open up a recognition: being Christian requires us more than ever to come to terms with those moments when silence is imposed on us, when we face what we can’t control."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
Economics Needs Help From Sociology - Bloomberg
Now, Desmond is among the most brilliant and acclaimed scholars studying poverty in the U.S. He received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2015, and his book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. He and Wilmers (who just got his Ph.D. from Harvard this year) won’t have any trouble getting media attention for their study when the time comes, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get to choose when that time is. But to somebody who has spent decades writing about economic research, the notion that researchers have completed a paper on a topic of economic interest — according to Wilmers’ website, it’s already been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Sociology — and I can’t get my hands on it is novel, and more than a little aggravating.
poverty  SSTT 
11 weeks ago
The risks of alcohol (again)
"Let’s consider one drink a day (10g, 1.25 UK units) compared to none, for which the authors estimated an extra 4 (918–914) in 100,000 people would experience a (serious) alcohol-related condition.

That means, to experience one extra problem, 25,000 people need to drink 10g alcohol a day for a year, that’s 3,650g a year each.

To put this in perspective, a standard 70cl bottle of gin contains 224 g of alcohol, so 3,650g a year is equivalent to around 16 bottles of gin per person. That’s a total of 400,000 bottles of gin among 25,000 people, being associated with one extra health problem. Which indicates a rather low level of harm in these occasional drinkers."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
overcast.fm
Really appreciate the JJ Reddick view of insight and happiness and meta intelligence as we hear about w cowen
11 weeks ago
Of Wives and Widgets
"These feelings are based on a small (n=100) convenience sample, but Perry and Schleifer used a gold-standard survey dataset and found that the onset of porn usage doubles the odds of divorce over a two-year period. Men are more likely to begin viewing porn than woman but both genders are more likely to get divorced once they start doing so. Likewise, an informal survey of divorce lawyers finds over half of divorces in their experience involve porn and even more involve adultery. If women feel alienated from their relationships when their boyfriend or husband is having sex with a laptop and in fact divorce is more likely under these circumstances, it strains credulity to think she’ll like it any better when he wheels an android Astarte out of the closet every evening."
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
How a Think Tank Measures the Impact of Ideas
"It’s worth emphasizing again: Neither of these metrics is a direct measure of impact, let alone a perfect one. All such proxy metrics can be gamed or misunderstood, and each reveals only a partial dimension of the truth. And not all worthwhile proxy metrics can be used to compare competitors. For example, our scholars’ personal relationships and private briefings with policy makers and journalists are prime proxy metrics of impact, because the leaders’ time and attention is so scarce. But it is impossible to compare such proprietary data across organizations.

The point is not to search for one perfect proxy. Instead, nonprofits operating in the ideas industry can build a dashboard, outfit it with a wide variety of variables like these, and then use it to gauge the revealed preferences of public leaders and the uptake of the organization’s work."
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
going big, going small
"So, as needed, you get more local. You start with your classroom, or your personal blog (hi), or whatever is, as Heidegger might put it, zuhanden. One of my favorite scenes in Dickens’ Bleak House comes when the indefatigable Mrs. Pardiggle tries to enlist our heroine Esther Summerson in her “militant” evangelism among the poor — which is in truth not evangelism at all but rather relentless moral hectoring."
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
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