Weekly Roundup – December 23rd 2016

What I’m reading, watching, enjoying this week.


  1. How Americans Die May Depend on Where They Live
    • Mortality due to substance abuse has increased in Appalachia by more than 1,000 percent since 1980. Deaths from diabetes, blood and endocrine diseases also increased in most counties in the United States during that time.

      That’s according to a new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examining the mortality rates for 21 leading causes of death. The study also found that the death rate from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality in the U.S., is down in most parts of the country. And the research highlights numerous disparities between counties.

  2. For Curry, KD, and The Warriors, It’s Gotta Be The Shoes
    • With big stars and bigger shoe deals dotting the roster, sneakers are serious business for the Warriors. How do Steph, Klay and KD decide which kicks to lace up?
  3. A laundry-folding robot pushes the limits of Machine Learning
    • Folding laundry, it turns out, is really hard to automate. Researchers from the UK, Czech Republic and Greece have used this seemingly simple task to extend the limits of machine learning and robotics. Andreas Doumanoglou, a PhD Student at Imperial College London, and his team programmed a two-armed robot to identify and fold laundry through a series of steps, each one with it’s own challenges.
  4. California ordered Uber to halt its self-driving cars
    • Talk about a bad first day. Uber said today (Dec. 14) that it had begun picking up passengers in its self-driving cars in San Francisco, despite failing to get a permit for autonomous vehicle testing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It is the second city where Uber has introduced autonomous cars through its ride-hailing platform, after a September debut of the technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  5. Zappos struggling with Holacracy because humans aren’t designed to operate like software
    • “We want to believe that we are thinking, rational people and on occasion tangle with emotion, flick it out of the way, and go back to thinking,” renown vulnerability expert Brene Brown told a packed house in Las Vegas. “That is not the truth. The truth is we are emotional beings who on occasion think.”
    • Holacracy was developed by software engineer Brian Robertson, who has sold CEOs like Hsieh on a product that promises to push humans to run like a computer operating system. The biggest barrier to such hyper-efficiency is the complexity of human emotion. Holacracy doctrine, in turn, attempts to eliminate or compartmentalize the ways in which our humanity interferes with productivity.
  6. The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown
    • In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk everyone should watch.