Be Kind, Reading

11/11 - What's Next

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Articles to Read.

It’s Not Enough to Be Right—You Also Have to Be Kind

There is a story about Jeff Bezos from when he was a young boy. He was with his grandparents, both of whom were smokers. Bezos had recently heard an anti-smoking PSA on the radio that explained how many minutes each cigarette takes off a person’s lifespan. And so, he proudly explained to his grandmother, as she puffed away, “You’ve lost nine years of your life, Grandma!”

The typical response to this kind of innocent cheekiness is to pat the child on the head and tell them how smart they are. Bezos’ grandmother didn’t do that. Instead, she quite understandably burst into tears. It was after this exchange that Bezos’ grandfather took his grandson aside and taught him a lesson that he says has stuck with him for the rest of his life. “Jeff,” his grandfather said, “one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

When I look back at some of my own writing, I see versions of that same mistake Jeff Bezos made as a kid. I thought if I was just overwhelmingly right enough, people would listen. If I humiliated my opponent, they would have to admit I was right and they were wrong. I’ve even said in interviews that the goal of my first book was to rip back the curtain on how media really works so people could not turn away. But guess what? A lot of people still did. Of course they did. I was right, but I was also being an asshole.

Being clever is easy. Humiliating someone in the wrong is easy too. But putting yourself in their shoes, kindly nudging them to where they need to be, understanding that they have emotional and irrational beliefs just like you have emotional and irrational beliefs—that’s all much harder. So is not writing off other people. So is spending time working on the plank in your own eye than the splinter in theirs. We know we wouldn’t respond to someone talking to us that way, but we seem to think it’s okay to do it to other people.

Why not to do a startup

Some days things will go really well and some things will go really poorly. And the level of stress that you're under generally will magnify those transient data points into incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude.

In a startup, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen.

You get told no -- a lot.

You're going to get told no by potential employees, potential investors, potential customers, potential partners, reporters, analysts...

And when you do get a "yes", half the time you'll get a call two days later and it'll turn out the answer has morphed into "no".

Better start working on your fake smile.

Dying for a better life: South Koreans fake their funerals for life lessons

A South Korean service is offering free funerals - but only to the living.

More than 25,000 people have participated in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012, hoping to improve their lives by simulating their deaths. “Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee, who participated in a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare center.

Everything is Amazing, But Nothing is Ours

I got to thinking about all this the other week after hearing news that Yahoo Groups was shutting down, and wiping out two decades of content – sending online communities and archivists into a scramble to preserve their spaces and history before it all disappears. It’s a huge bummer, for sure; and also a reminder of a hidden price we pay for modern technology. Everything is amazing, but nothing is ours.

Up until the mid 2000s or so, it felt like the collective goal of software and the internet was to create digital versions of all the stuff that worked well in real life – documents became Word, slides became Powerpoint, and mail became email. It’s also why files are called files, and why we got rid of them by dragging them into the trash can. Software was pretty skeuomorphic in design and in function. The file as an atomic unit for productivity made sense. It’s a solid, distinct object you could understand, and that was yours. You had to take care of it, name it properly, and save it in the right place, just like a paper file.

But for the last ten years, we’ve been undoing all of that. The constraints of mobile, plus a new generation of users that’ve never really known life without the internet, meant the benefits of skeuomorphism were no longer worth the cost. Ditching it as a philosophy, both in design and in function, freed us to go out and reinvent everything as a service. Abstract everything away into databases, links and logic, and provide it as a consumer service with all the topology and complexity hidden out of sight.

The ugly, gory, bloody secret life of NHL dentists

When the puck finally came to rest, it was almost entirely inside Craig MacDonald's mouth. It was Dec. 21, 2007, and with 1:51 left to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning winger, working in his own zone, stepped in front of an errant, elevated slap shot that instantly cleaved a grisly, bloody and impossibly wide swath of carnage through MacDonald's lips, gums and tongue before reducing nine of his teeth to dust. He spat out the 6 ounces of vulcanized frozen black rubber like it was a rotten MoonPie to reveal a fractured lower gum line and his half-cleaved tongue, hanging by a thread. Even in a sport synonymous with dental trauma, where the enduring image of hockey has long been the disturbing-but-endearing shot of Bobby Clarke's toothless grin reflected in the shiny silver of the Stanley Cup, MacDonald's injury was gruesome enough to earn an on-air attaboy from Don Cherry himself.

Team doctors reconnected the filleted parts of MacDonald's face with 75 sutures, then sent him home, where he sat on the couch until dawn, jolted awake by even the slightest puff of air passing over a mouthful of raw, exposed nerves.

The Rainforest Is Teeming with Consciousness

Since 1980, the temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the acidification of oceans. In 2015, 175 million more people were exposed to heat waves compared with the average for 1986 to 2008, and the number of weather-related disasters from 2007 to 2016 was up by 46 percent compared with the average from 1990 to 1999. This is nothing in comparison to the horrors that await us as temperatures continue to rise. According to recent projections, global temperatures are set to increase by 3.2 degrees by the end of century. This will lock in sea level rises that will mean that the cities, towns, and villages currently occupied by 175 million people—including Hong Kong and Miami—will eventually be underwater.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that warming is largely caused by the actions of human beings. Surveys of the scientific literature have consistently found that over 90 percent of scientists believe that climate change is real and manmade, with most surveys asserting a consensus of 97 percent. And yet there is in the public mind a perception that the reality of man-made climate change is uncertain. This is in large part caused by a sustained lobbying effort from the fossil fuel industry aimed at spreading seeds of doubt. But it may also result from a failure to appreciate how uncertain most of human knowledge is. Many believe that science provides “proven facts,” and against this assumption any degree of uncertainty can seem to render a hypothesis “unscientific,” a matter of speculation rather than demonstrable knowledge.

Is Inequality Inevitable?

Wealth inequality is escalating in many countries at an alarming rate, with the U.S. arguably having the highest inequality in the developed world.

A remarkably simple model of wealth distribution developed by physicists and mathematicians can reproduce inequality in a range of countries with unprecedented accuracy.

Surprisingly, several mathematical models of free-market economies display features of complex macroscopic physical systems such as ferromagnets, including phase transitions, symmetry breaking and duality.

More to Check Out: 
- Hard Seltzer Craze Makes White Claw Maker a Multibillionaire
How a scammer stole 500$ from me and in the end begged me not to tell his parents
- Experience: my face became a meme
The FCC Has Fined Robocallers $208 Million. It’s Collected $6,790.
- How to Find Consulting Clients

5 cool companies:

My Update:

  • Going to PHX for Thanksgiving!