Most Interesting Articles – Week #3

reads

I am an incessant reader. I am a non-discriminating reader: long-form, essays, infographic-format, books, poetry, I like it all. I collect words and ideas in my Evernote account and re-visit them often. Without words, there is little language and without a command of language, there is not much different between us and the other animals. I read on a diverse set of topics, but human psychology, economics, philosophy, health, tech, how-tos and neuroscience draw me in most often.

These are the most interesting articles I’ve read over the past week:

 

higher-education-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-bbs540-clipartAmerica’s Great Working Class Colleges from The New York Times

Higher education is the best / safest tool / bet for lifting one’s self into a higher income bracket and live a better life in the United States. A recent paper by an economist that focuses on inequality and his colleagues revealed a trove of data on how students from across income backgrounds fare post-higher education. Definitely worth a read- or just look through the charts if you’re short on time. You can also customize many of the graphics to include American universities of interest.

 

2-ingredient_banana_coconut_cookiesTwo-Ingredient Shredded Coconut and Banana Cookies from Carrots ‘n Cake

Exactly what it sounds like. Ctrl + F “banana” to find the 3 sentence recipe in the linked page. I cannot wait to make these when I get back home after I finish traveling for work. I almost always have Trader Joe’s shredded coconut at home. I also imagine that these would fill your home with an incredible smell. And it literally needs no added sugar.

 

 

Decline in Absolute Income Mobility

This is a research paper led by Raj Chetty (same research work as what is referenced in the NYTimes article above) and several other economist. Skip forward to page 35 to see visualizations with the takeaways from the paper, if the finer details don’t interest you. TLDR summary is that it became much, much harder for children to out-earn their parents since 1940, and, that if you were born to parents in the 80th percentile, you’ll likely stay there.

 

fitness-clip-art-microsoft-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-bqu3n5-clipartHow Long Does It Take for Fitness Benefits to Show from Mark’s Daily Apple

A nice reminder of what the point of the work that you put into your body is. I find the benefit of better mind-body coordination and neural strength really interesting, and I’ve experienced it firsthand.

Excerpt:

Neural strength: Improvements to neuromuscular efficiency happen within days of starting a lifting program. Beginners get stronger almost immediately simply by learning proper technique and how to fully contract the muscle fibers they already have.

 

bzbbvazysvkj1xgfdyzg_screen20shot202017-01-1820at2011-48-5120amMake Operations Your Secret Weapon from First Round Review

Just as the difference between productive and unproductive individuals over the long-term has to do with the actual actions that they take, successful companies need robust operations practices. And as is usually the case, the best a unit can do is a ceiling determined by the leader. Good strategy without execution just isn’t enough.

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Most Interesting Articles List – Week #2

reads

I am an incessant reader. I am a non-discriminating reader: long-form, essays, infographic-format, books, poetry, I like it all. I collect words and ideas in my Evernote account and re-visit them often. Without words, there is little language and without a command of language, there is not much different between us and the other animals. I read on a diverse set of topics, but human psychology, economics, philosophy, health, tech, how-tos and neuroscience draw me in most often.

These are the most interesting articles that I’ve read this week:

 

09-true-love-w710-h473-2x


What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage from New York Magazine

Undoubtedly your definition of marriage will depend on the culture in which you were raised. Two people raised within the same culture also have differences, as we are heavily influenced by the models our parents create for us. For me, as I am still figuring it out (and unmarried),  a marriage is something like a working partnership. Two people have an idea of how they want to live their lives and their visions align with enough harmony (the word “synergy” also comes to my business school trained mind) that they think they can support one another and create something fun and fulfilling together. That means going through the everyday nonsense of survival together, which is annoying and probably not all that interesting, for the long haul. I loved the playful and frank descriptions the writer shared from her 10-year-old marriage.Excerpt:

Excerpt:

But once you’ve been married for a long time (my tenth anniversary is in a few months!), a whole new kind of romance takes over. It’s not the romance of rom-coms, which are predicated on the question of “Will he/she really love me (which seems impossible), or does he/she actually hate me (which seems far more likely and even a little more sporting)?” Long-married romance is not the romance of watching someone’s every move like a stalker, and wanting to lick his face but trying to restrain yourself…After a decade of marriage, if things go well, you don’t need any more proof. What you have instead — and what I would argue is the most deeply romantic thing of all — is this palpable, reassuring sense that it’s okay to be a human being. Because until you feel absolutely sure that you won’t eventually be abandoned, it’s maybe not 100 percent clear that any other human mortal can tolerate another human mortal. The smells. The sounds. The repetitive fixations on the same dumb shit, over and over. Even as you develop a kind of a resigned glaze of oh, this again in, say, marital years one through five, you also feel faintly unnerved by your own terrible mortal humanness.

 

girl doing stretching exercise clipartIs Your Workout Not Working? Maybe You’re a Non-Responder from The New York Times

(A summary of) Another study that reminds us that behind our skins is a complex system of hormones, organs, muscles, run by the mind and our genetics.  And, as a result, each system is a little different from the next. Every body will not have an identical response to physical exercise. When explained that way, customizing exercise seems obvious, but how frequently do we look at the people in our lives and wonder why we cannot accomplish the same results?

 

15neanderthals1-superjumbo-v3Neanderthals Were People, Too from The New York Times

Really interesting article on our historical understanding the “Neanderthal”. Upon the first known discovery of Neanderthal remains, the scientific community struggled to understand who the neanderthal was and what its existence implied for the what they knew about the contemporary human. So, as is not infrequently the case, scientists appealed to their culture-driven understanding of what a Neanderthal’s existence might be like given their appearance.

Excerpt:

Then, having reassembled the Neanderthal this way, Boule insulted it. This “brutish” and “clumsy” posture, he wrote, clearly indicated a lack of morals and a lifestyle dominated by “functions of a purely vegetative or bestial kind.” A colleague of Boule’s went further, claiming that Neanderthals usually walked on all fours and never laughed: “Man-ape had no smile.” Boule was part of a movement trying to reconcile natural selection with religion; by portraying Neanderthals as closer to animals than to us, he could protect the ideal of a separate, immaculate human lineage.

 

27943512-woman-sleeping-cartoon-clip-art-illustration-stock-vector-womanThe Economics of Sleep – Part 2 Transcript from Freakonomics Radio

This gets interesting towards the second half, where they explain their learnings from a natural experiment set-up to contrast the sleeping habits and earnings of two towns (Huntsville, AL and Amarillo, TX)  that are at the eastern and westernmost ends of the Central Time Zone in the U.S. The two towns are in the same time zone but daylight reaches and leaves them at different times as they are nearly 1,000 miles apart. Some of the takeaways are too sweeping but sleep is an interesting factor to consider, as it affects us over the long-run.

 

healthy-kale-egg-breakfast-cups-otish-cupHealthy Kale Egg Breakfast Muffins by Taste and See

I LOVE eggs. They are just such a perfect food – impossible to mess up, versatile (fry, bake, scramble, savory, sweet) and nutritious (I was very happy when research a few years ago started to show that eggs do not drive up your cholesterol). I don’t like to work with kale in my kitchen so I would sub spinach in these but these are delicious and convenient. And, you can customize them to your heart’s content. I would bake them with hot sauce in the mix.

 

klebsiella-pneumoniae_cdc_6689A Superbug Resistant to Every Available Antibiotic in the U.S. Kills Nevada Woman from PBS

Infectious diseases scare me far more than other illnesses,  even those that are chronic, because their behavior within my body is much less predictable. Article includes a brief educational video from Stat News on what the meaning of the term “suberbug” is – definitely work watching. Sorry for the icky picture.

 

Vaccine Critic Robert Kennedy Says He Will  Chair Trump’s Vaccine Safety Panel from Stat News

This is problematic because bringing a man who does not appreciate that science tries to solve large problems that we cannot immediately address with deductive experimental methods with lots of experiments over time, poking and prodding through our complex natural world cannot have say on policies that protect science / scientists’ work that protects our well-being. Ugh.

Most Interesting Articles List – Week #1

food, reads

I am an incessant reader. I am a non-discriminating reader: long-form, essays, infographic-format articles, books, poetry, I like it all. I collect words and ideas in my Evernote account and re-visit them often. Without words, there is little language and without a command of language, there is not much different between us and the other animals. I read on a diverse set of topics, but human psychology, economics, philosophy, health, tech, how-tos and neuroscience draw me in most often.

These are the most interesting articles that I’ve read this week:

Source: NYTimes

Source: NYTimes

How “Elites” Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics from The New York Times
Excerpt:
But about half a century ago, the conservative movement set out to claim anti-elite politics as its own. That meant redefining the term away from class and toward culture, where the “elite” could be identified by its liberal ideas, coastal real estate and highbrow consumer preferences… The notion that distant elites might be conspiring against the people comes straight from the Founding Fathers, whose Declaration of Independence lamented the “long train of abuses and usurpations” inflicted upon ordinary Americans by an arrogant British king. From there on, United States history might be seen as a repeating cycle of anti-elite revolt.

 

 

Reconsider: On starting a business (a startup) with economic sobriety
Excerpt:
I wanted the best odds I could possible get at attaining the tipping point of financial stability. In the abstract, economic sense, a 30% chance of making $3M is as good as a 3% chance of making $30M is as good as a 0.3% chance at making $300M. But in the concrete sense, you generally have to make your pick: Which coupon is the one for you? The strategies employed to pursue the 30% for $3M are often in direct opposition to the strategies needed for a 0.3% shot at making $300M. Shooting for the stars and landing on the moon is not how Monday morning turns out.

 

The Voices in Our Heads from The New Yorker

If not talking to others, I am almost always talking to myself. I did not know until my early 20’s that not everyone has inner speech. I talk to myself to learn new concepts, and to reflect on a day’s events, so that I may get a grip on reality. Very interesting research.

Excerpt:
“Splitting itself into separate parts is one of the most powerful of the mind’s defense mechanisms,” he writes. Given that his fMRI study suggested that some kind of split occurred during self-speech, the idea of a connection between these two mental processes doesn’t seem implausible. Indeed, a mainstream strategy in cognitive behavioral therapy involves purposefully articulating thoughts to oneself in order to diminish pernicious habits of mind.

 

Fuck Work from Aeon
This article is an opinion piece and the author’s (a historian) agenda is clearly an anti-capitalist sermon. Setting that agenda aside, the author articulates assumptions that have been baked into the American psyche (including mine) that are worth examining.

Excerpt:
When we place our faith in hard work, we’re wishing for the creation of character; but we’re also hoping, or expecting, that the labour market will allocate incomes fairly and rationally. And there’s the rub, they do go together. Character can be created on the job only when we can see that there’s an intelligible, justifiable relation between past effort, learned skills and present reward.

 

Bullshit is no laughing matter from Aeon
This is a re-visit given the flood of bullshit in my Facebook timeline and media sources, that I’ve become more aware of since Trump’s win. When I first read this a few months ago, this is what stuck with me:

Excerpt:
According to the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, emeritus professor at Princeton University, bullshit is something that is constructed absent of any concern for the truth. This is quite different from lying, which implies a deep concern for the truth (namely, its subversion). Bullshit is particularly pernicious since the bullshitter adopts an epistemic stance that allows for a great deal of agility.

 

 

Vegan Rasgullah recipe
I just LOVE rasgullahs. If you’ve never had them, please run to your nearest Indian restaurant and try them off the dessert menu. They have a dry consistency but they’re still just moist enough, and have just a sweet enough taste and smell of airy cardamom. This recipe made me feel I can make them myself, in 40 minutes. Amazing! Will definitely try my hand at them soon.