Important, Help, Speed

10/7 - What's Next

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Crazy to think we have less than 90 days remaining in this decade. Hope you have a great week.

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Articles to Read.

Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World

An irony of studying history is that we often know exactly how a story ends, but have no idea where it began.

Here’s an example. What caused the financial crisis?

Well, you have to understand the mortgage market. What shaped the mortgage market? Well, you have to understand the 30-year decline in interest rates that preceded it.

What caused falling interest rates? Well, you have to understand the inflation of the 1970s. What caused that inflation? Well, you have to understand the monetary system of the 1970s and the hangover effects from the Vietnam War.

What caused the Vietnam War? Well, you have to understand the West’s fear of communism after World War II …

Every current event – big or small – has parents, grandparents, great grandparents, siblings, and cousins. Ignoring that family tree can muddy your understanding of events, giving a false impression of why things happened, how long they might last, and under what circumstances they might happen again. Viewing events in isolation, without an appreciation for their long roots, helps explain everything from why forecasting is hard to why politics is nasty.

Speed matters: Why working quickly is more important than it seems

The obvious benefit to working quickly is that you’ll finish more stuff per unit time. But there’s more to it than that. If you work quickly, the cost of doing something new will seem lower in your mind. So you’ll be inclined to do more.

The converse is true, too. If every time you write a blog post it takes you six months, and you’re sitting around your apartment on a Sunday afternoon thinking of stuff to do, you’re probably not going to think of starting a blog post, because it’ll feel too expensive.

What’s worse, because you blog slowly, you’re liable to continue blogging slowly—simply because the only way to learn to do something fast is by doing it lots of times.

The best $80 I ever spent: TSA PreCheck

The only thing better than arriving at a destination and finding no line to get in is realizing there is a line and getting to cut straight to the front. You get the gratification of your roller coaster/purchase/concert entry faster, and you receive the added benefit of feeling better than other people. Not qualitatively better, just ... luckier. For one brilliant moment, you’re the one who’s friends with the band or who remembered to call weeks ahead to reserve a table. Someone has to be the first in line, right? And why not you?

Of all the lines we wait in, the one to pass through airport security might be the worst. The baseline barrage of privacy invasions you undergo just to get to your gate is comical in its authoritarian overreach. You take off your shoes to prove that they are not bombs. Then you pull out your toiletries (which you have already separated into too-small-to-be-a-bomb quantities) and display that they are also not bombs. You put your laptop on the conveyor belt so it can be scanned for any bomb-like properties.

But for the very reasonable price of $85 for five years and a brief screening interview (the price has gone up since I got it), TSA PreCheck allows you to bypass the worst inconveniences and humiliations of air travel. You can leave your shoes on. You can leave your belt on. You can leave your sweater on. You can leave your laptop and toothpaste in your bag.

You Are Not ‘Behind’

You Are Not ‘Behind’

Have you ever felt like you were behind? I used to feel that way. I would read articles about a 26-year-old entrepreneur with a billion-dollar company or a 16-year-old kid who invented a new kind of fusion reactor and a slow creep of panic would start to rise in my chest. I would read about my favorite author who published their first book at 27 and I was already 25 and I had not even written one page and I started counting backwards to figure out of it was even possible to finish a book by then and I can’t believe I didn’t start it last year when I said I was going to and why the hell it so easy to watch six seasons of Game of Thrones in two weeks but I can’t even get myself to write one fucking page of a book or how about the gym for that matter, I haven’t been to the gym in six months and if I had stuck to it back in college I would have a six pack by now like the guy on the front cover of Men’s Fitness.

Stop it.

I will tell you a secret. There is no other version of yourself, there is only the version sitting here right now. You are not behind (or, for that matter, ahead): you are exactly where you are supposed to be. So take a deep breath and relax.

What's Doctor Burnout Costing America?

Doctor burnout is costing the U.S. health care system a lot — roughly $4.6 billion a year. The study defines burnout as substantial symptoms of "emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from work, and a low sense of personal accomplishment."

Dyrbye says research shows that doctors find meaning in helping patients but are taxed by systemic burdens they consider tangential to patient care. "Cumbersome, inefficient" electronic health record systems; increased reporting requirements; and hectic, irregular schedules cause doctors to feel that they're socially isolated and lack autonomy.

The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

A Nobel Prize medal

The wider problem, beyond who should have received the prize and who should not, is that the Nobels reward individuals—three at most, for each of the scientific prizes, in any given year. And modern science, as Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus write in Stat, is “the teamiest of team sports.” Yes, researchers sometimes make solo breakthroughs, but that’s increasingly rare. Even within a single research group, a platoon of postdocs, students, and technicians will typically be involved in a discovery that gets hitched to a single investigator’s name. And more often than not, many groups collaborate on a single project. The paper in which the LIGO team announced their discovery has an author list that runs to three pages. Another recent paper, which precisely estimated the mass of the elusive Higgs boson, has 5,154 authors.

I Did A 24-Hour ‘Dopamine Fast’. This Is What Happened…

On those days where I’m very busy or where I simply flood myself with Netflix, video games and social media, my mind can get very busy. It feels like I have no control over my thoughts anymore. On those days, it’s not uncommon for me to experience stressful, negative and (lots of) random thoughts.

But during my dopamine fast, this was different. It finally felt like my thoughts were my own. There were fewer sources that could condition my thinking, and therefore my thoughts felt more in control, calmer and more authentic. And that’s a pretty good feeling to have :)

More to Check Out: 
- What College Admissions Offices Really Want
- How to say nothing in 500 words
- Oh shit, his weekend project turned into an App Store Best New App
Raising Prices is Hard
- How Amazon’s Shipping Empire Is Challenging UPS and FedEx

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