Weekly Roundup – December 30th

What I’m reading, watching, enjoying this week.
  1. America’s Achilles Heel
    • In my lifetime, there have been two utterly massive news stories. News stories that riveted the public, obsessed the media, and that had endings that very few people expected. These stories took on lives of their own. They became bigger than anyone imagined. They were covered nonstop. These were stories that Americans watched longer and with more intensity than wars and natural disasters combined. Race came into the stories. Gender came into the stories. Everyone was watching. And then there was a twist almost no one expected.
  2. More Young Americans Living with Their Parents
    • More young people are returning to their childhood bedroom than in decades. An analysis from real estate company Trulia found that nearly 40% of young people were shacking up with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported. That’s the largest share of young people living at home since 1940.
  3. Drones keep South Africa safe from sharks
    • Next to the United States and Australia, South Africa is the country with the highest recorded shark attacks in the world…South Africa has recorded 393 shark attacks since the year 1900, according to the International Shark Attack File, which keeps track of shark attacks…South African company weFix, mostly known for its cellphone repair services, has partnered with non-profit organization Shark Spotters to help it use drones to spot sharks more effectively.
  4. Nike’s quest for the 2-hour marathon
    • THE WORLD RECORD for a marathon, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in Berlin in September 2014, stands at two hours, two minutes, and 57 seconds. If that number means nothing to you, understand this: running 26.2 miles in 2:02:57 is absurdly fast. The speed required, a little under 13 mph for a little over two hours, is unimaginable for all but a few of the world’s very best marathoners, and it causes even those East African supermen to glimpse the abyss. I remember watching Kimetto’s mouth pursed with agony as he approached the Brandenburg Gate on the cool, sunny day he broke the record, and thinking he might split in two from the effort.
  5. Netflix, Amazon, and HBO combined for 70% of Golden Globe nominations
    • Streaming heavyweights Netflix and Amazon are spending gargantuan amounts of money on TV shows, and it’s getting results. On Monday, this year’s Golden Globe nominations came out, and the two streaming services combined to snag 40% of the best TV show nominations. Netflix and Amazon have both been making major investments in original TV…
    • Netflix plans to spend $6 billion on content in 2017, and eventually wants to have about a 50/50 mix between licensed and original content, according to CFO David Wells…
    • Amazon is doubling its spend on video content in the second half of 2016, compared with last year, according to the company’s CFO, Brian Olsavsky. Amazon most recently disclosed its investment amount on video content back in 2014, when it spent $1.3 billion.
  6. Lewis Pugh swimming the world’s coldest oceans to try and save them from humanity
    • Lewis Pugh realized just how extreme the conditions were when he saw a wave in the choppy Antarctic waters wash over his boat and freeze instantly, creating a layer of ice on the clothes and gear of the people on board. The sea, because it was salty, was already below freezing. But the air temperature was -37°C (-35°F). It was February 2015. Pugh was wearing swimming trunks. And he was about to jump in the water.
  7. Why time management is ruining our lives
    • Most of us have experienced this creeping sense of being overwhelmed: the feeling not merely that our lives are full of activity – that can be exhilarating – but that time is slipping out of our control. And today, the personal productivity movement that Mann helped launch – which promises to ease the pain with time-management advice tailored to the era of smartphones and the internet – is flourishing as never before. There are now thousands of apps in the “productivity” category of the Apple app store, including software to simulate the ambient noise of working in a coffee shop (this has been shown, in psychology experiments, to help people focus on work), and a text editor that deletes the words you have written if you don’t keep typing fast enough.
  8. How Social Isolation is Killing Us
    • My patient and I both knew he was dying. Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone I should call? Someone he wanted to see? Not a one, he told me. No immediate family. No close friends. He had a niece down South, maybe, but they hadn’t spoken in years. For me, the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of his premature death, not just an unhappy circumstance.

  9. Technology destroys people and places. I’m rejecting it.
    • I’ll never know how many people liked this article, shared it or found it irrelevant, anti-progressive or ironic. Nor will I get to read comments about my personal hygiene, or suggesting that a luddite like me needs to embrace industrialism. And that is no bad thing, for the moment writing becomes a popularity contest – rewarding sensationalism, groupthink and deceit over honest exploration of complex matters – people and places lose, and those who need to be held to account win. Win, that is, for a shortsighted moment.
  10. Why our thinking of addiction needs to change
    • If addiction changes the brain and drugs cause addiction, the argument went, then perhaps drugs unleash pathological changes, literally damaging neural tissue. The implication that addicts do the things they do because they are ill, not because they are weak, self-indulgent, spineless pariahs also seemed to benefit addicts and their families. The anger and disgust they often experienced could be mitigated by the presumption of illness; and social stigmatisation could be relieved, even reversed, by the simple assumption that addicts can’t help themselves. If only the disease model worked…