A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: June, 2018

Read — 2018-06-29

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism“, by N.B. (The Economist, 2018-06-29). Anthropologist David Graeber discusses the psychological burden of “purposeless” jobs, and the connection between these jobs and the current political and educational landscape.
  2. When scholarship and politics collided at Yale“, by Karen W. Arenson (NY Times, 2005-12-28). A peek back at Graeber’s termination of teaching at Yale. Ironically, it seems that Yale decided it did not want this active participant in communities to remain part of their community. And Graeber took it personally.
  3. Trump’s trade threats hit China’s stock market and currency“, by Keith Bradsher (NY Times, 2018-06-28). Good job, world leaders!

Read — 2018-06-28

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Talking to Google Duplex: Google’s human-like phone AI feels revolutionary“, by Ron Amadeo (Ars Technica, 2018-06-27).
  2. These 22 sketches make complicated financial concepts simple enough to fit on a napkin“, by Tanza Loudenback & Libby Kane (Business Insider Australia, 2018-06-26).
  3. BD Wong doesn’t want fame–he wants success“, by Karen Ho (GQ, 2018-06-27).

Read — 2018-06-26

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How Sierra Leone is beating tropical diseases” (The Economist, 2018-06-23).
  2. Why fewer people use public transport“, by J.B. (The Economist, 2018-06-25). In short, attractive alternatives (think Lyft and Uber) are both available and affordable.
  3. The secret to a meaningful life is simpler than you think“, by Ephrat Livni (Quartz, 2018-06-24).
  4. 3 major reasons runners should lift weights“, by Jason Fitzgerald (MapMyRun, 2018-06-08). More power, better efficiency, and, most importantly, injury prevention.

Read — 2018-06-16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Winners and losers in the coming telecom/tech shake-up“, by MoneyShow (Forbes, 2018-06-15).
  2. Top Facebook strategist to step down“, by Deepa Seetharaman (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-14).
  3. AT&T, Time Warner and the entire media merger frenzy explained“, by Amol Sharma (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-12). 3-minute video.
  4. What’s the difference between a NOOB and a NEWB?“, by Ryan Bayron (The Never Noob). A big one.

Read — 2018-06-13

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Why do we care so much about privacy?“, by Louis Menand (The New Yorker, 2018-06-18).
  2. AP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel“, by Benjamin Wermund (Politico, 2018-06-11).
  3. Value of a diverse education: Admissions case” (Harvard University, 2018-06).

Read — 2018-06-11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Southern mayors defy Italian coalition to offer safe port to migrants“, by Patrick Wintour, Lorenzo Tondo, & Stephanie Kirchgaessner (The Guardian, 2018-06-11).
  2. The market for driverless cars will head toward monopoly” (The Economist, 2018-06-07). Economies of scale, especially in data, and disparate safety records will make the fierce competition among autonomous vehicle makers short-lived.
  3. Emerging-markets rout boosts contagion fears“, by Ira Iosebashvili, Ben Eisen, & Amrith Ramkumar (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-10).
  4. Bitcoin falls sharply after another cryptocurrency exchange is hacked“, by Steven Russolillo (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-10).
  5. WCX / WCEX, ‘trade the world’ — scam warning“, by DK (Medium, 2018-06-08).
  6. Evaluating a company’s capital structure“, by Richard Loth (Investopedia, 2017-01-27).

Read — 2018-06-10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Trump refuses to sign G-7 statement and calls Trudeau ‘weak’“, by Michael D. Shear & Catherine Porter (NY Times, 2018-06-09).
  2. Twenty years later, everything is The Truman Show“, by Julie Miller (Vanity Fair, 2018-06-05).
  3. At last: Halep wins Roland-Garros“, by Kate Battersby (Roland Garros, 2018-06-09). Congrats Simone on #1.
  4. Unstoppable“, by Ian Chadband (Roland-Garros, 2018-06-10). Congrats Rafa on #11.
  5. Would a single-payer system require painful sacrifices from doctors?“, by Robert H. Frank (NY Times, 2018-06-08).
  6. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and the feud over killer robots“, by Cade Metz (NY Times, 2018-06-09).
  7. Kevin and Farhad’s week in tech: did the ‘techlash’ matter?“, by Kevin Roose & Farhad Majoo (NY Times, 2018-06-08). For short-term stock prices of big tech, no. For their long-term outlook, probably.
  8. What to do when a loved one is severely depressed“, by Heather Murphy (NY Times, 2018-06-07). Sympathize, don’t strategize; set clear boundaries; take care of yourself.

Read — 2018-06-08

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. NASA rover hits organic pay dirt on Mars“, by Paul Voosen (Science, 2018-06-07).
  2. 2018 Stanley Cup finals: Capitals fans lose their collective minds after Washington’s first Cup“, by Kevin Skiver (CBS, 2018-06-08).

Read — 2018-06-07

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. In five years, VR could be as big in the US as Netflix“, by Ashley Rodriguez (Quartz, 2018-06-06).
  2. Dave & Buster’s is building HTC Vive-equipped VR arcades“, by Ashley Carman (The Verge, 2018-06-06).
  3. Short-termism is harming the economy“, by Jamie Dimon & Warren E. Buffet (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-06).
  4. Boston grapples with Faneuil Hall, named for a slaveholder“, by Katharine Q. Seelye (NY Times, 2018-06-06). Peter Faneuil was also a slave trader. The article addresses (albeit obliquely) a critical question: Should we as society seek to “not offend”, or should we seek to honestly remember? If you haven’t read an honest account of the African slave trade, do. (E.g., see “Voices of the slave trade“, by Amy Lifson (National Endowment for the Humanities, 2002). Warning: The excerpts in this article will (I hope) offend and help honestly remember. Yes, this actually happened.)
  5. How I learned to stop worrying and love electric scooters“, by Kevin Roose (NY Times, 2018-06-06).
  6. Apple’s market value should cross $1 trillion and keep on trucking“, by Robert Cyran (NY Times, 2018-06-06).
  7. Why hockey players don’t say ‘I’“, by Emily Kaplan (ESPN, 2018-06-07).

    You just go about your business and let your play do your talking.

  8. Workout Wednesday: Houston’s Brian Barraza“, by Gordon Mack (FloTrack, 2018-04-25).

And, lest ye be not aware: It’s championship week!

  1. 2018 NCAA Division I outdoor track & field championships : schedule of events” (NCAA, 2018-06).

Musings — 2018-06-06

Who cleans in a shared or public setting? Whose responsibility is it? Does hiring someone to clean absolve others of their responsibility to do so?

I debated these questions with some colleagues. One position, to apply both simplification and straw-man, was that we pay people to clean (janitors at work, maids at home). It’s literally their job. Those who aren’t paid to clean have no responsibility to do so and should focus their time and energy on other tasks.

This point of view did not sit well with me, for the following reasons.

Community. Even the most specialized of labor contributes to a common goal. Indeed, specialization can only exist because of community. Specialization has its benefits, but to shoehorn people into too specialized a role introduces unnecessary inefficiency for the entire community or team.

An example: My college choir gave a concert in Germany. After assessing the acoustics, our conductor asked the tech team to move the risers a few centimeters toward the audience. “We’re sorry,” the team replied. “We’re the setup team, not the adjustment team. You’ll have to wait an hour for the adjustment team to arrive.” Our shared goal was to stage an excellent concert. Specializing to the point of refusing to do another specialist’s task obstructed that goal.

Respect. Someone drops trash on the floor and walks away. “I pay the janitor to clean that trash up.” No, you pay the janitor to keep things clean. They have enough to do without you artificially increasing their workload.

At the end of the day, most cases of people leaving a mess for others to deal with comes down to respect. The person leaving the mess values their time and comfort more than the time and comfort of others. “I don’t have time to clean it up. I have more important things to do. I don’t want to crawl under the table to pick it up. The janitor can do that.”

Conclusion. I’m not asking you to use your toothbrush to clean up after someone else’s bad aim. I’m just asking you to clean up after yourself. Encourage others to do the same. It shows respect for those who clean up after others, and it furthers community relationships and goals.

If you decide to spend the last five minutes of your lunch break someday cleaning the shared microwave or fridge, heart points for you ❤