Weekly Roundup – January 31st

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

  1. Japanese white-collar works are already being replaced by artificial intelligence
    • Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent. One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human insurance claim workers with “IBM Watson Explorer,” starting by January 2017.
  2. What DeepMind brings to Alphabet
    • Google won, buying DeepMind for £400m ($660m) in January 2014. But why did it want to own a British artificial-intelligence (AI) company in the first place? Google was already on the cutting edge of machine learning and AI, its newly trendy cousin. What value could DeepMind provide? That question has become a little more pressing.
  3. How to enjoy France’s right-to-disconnect law without living in France
    • In a bid to restore some semblance of work-life balance, French companies with more than 50 employees are now required to guarantee workers the “right to disconnect” from technology when they leave the office at night. The law, which took effect Jan. 1 and has unclear enforcement provisions, makes it obligatory for qualifying firms to “start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones,” the AFP writes.
  4. Finland trials basic income for unemployed
    • Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum, in a social experiment that will be watched around the world amid gathering interest in the idea of a universal basic income. Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income will replace their existing social benefits and will be paid even if they find work.
  5. Former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh’s first book lives on as  Super Bowl road map
    1. THE MOST INFLUENTIAL football coach of the past 30 years hated his legacy. He hated it from the moment he retired at age 57, in January 1989, days after winning his third Super Bowl as head coach of the 49ers. Bill Walsh had felt fried for years, and during that last season he was in “a claustrophobic panic,” as a friend later described it. Or “just eking by,” as his son Craig recalls.
  6. 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in savings
  7. Why many young Russians see a hero in Putin
  8. Bosses ‘do not deserve bumper pay packets’, study finds
  9. University of Oregon, no more free speech for professors on subjects such as race, religion, sexual orientation
  10. What did people think about the first iPhone?

Have a great week!

Weekly Roundup – January 20th

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

  1. Last day of trading at the NYSE commodity pits
    • Starting in the late 19th century, commodities traders and brokers crammed each day into New York City’s trading pits, shouting, and signaling their way to a deal. They bought and sold contracts for raw materials and agricultural products like butter, sugar, cotton, cocoa beans, copper, and oil.
  2. Why you should stop caring what other people think
    • Your Great2,000 Grandfather’s Social Survival Mammoth was central to his ability to endure and thrive. It was simple—keep the mammoth well fed with social approval and pay close attention to its overwhelming fears of nonacceptance, and you’ll be fine.And that was all well and fine in 50,000BC. And 30,000BC. And 10,000BC. But something funny has happened for humans in the last 10,000 years—their civilization has dramatically changed.
  3. Japanese white-collar workers already being replaced by artificial intelligence
    • Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent.
  4. A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning
    • I’ve never been plagued by the big existential questions. You know, like What’s my purpose? or What does it all mean? Growing up I was a very science-minded kid — still am — and from an early age I learned to accept the basic meaninglessness of the universe. Science taught me that it’s all just atoms and the void, so there can’t be any deeper point or purpose to the whole thing; the kind of meaning most people yearn for — Ultimate Meaning — simply doesn’t exist.
  5. An Incubator for (Former) Drug Dealers
    • Over the past decade, a number of government, academic, and nonprofit programs have attempted to address the structural problems that face convicts when they’re released from prison—a campaign known as the “re-entry movement.” One of the biggest contributors to misery and recidivism is an inability to find steady work. Former inmates encounter stigma, bias, and even formal obstacles to getting hired.

Other things I found interesting:

Weekly Roundup – January 13th

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

  1. We are sending kids the wrong message about adulthood
    • These days it feels like we shift our young people ever so gradually and tenderly toward adulthood that they can barely feel themselves doing it. There are books everywhere teaching children how to become adults, or telling us to teach them how to do it. It never dawned on me that I would need to learn to teach my child to become an adult. Doesn’t it just happen naturally at some point?
  2. Chasing white rainbows
    • Moonbows – pale white rainbows that appear on bright moonlight nights – may sound like science fiction, but they’re real. They’re also rare.
  3. Why are there so many people in jail in Scranton, PA?
    • Once a booming center of iron and steel production, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has tried to reinvent itself as a tourist destination, and has struggled to keep from falling into municipal bankruptcy in the face of de-industrialization…Like most other small, blue-collar cities in the Rust Belt, Scranton has experienced continued economic ups and downs—and skyrocketing incarceration rates.
  4. The surprisingly cutthroat race to build the fastest elevator
    • China is experiencing an elevator boom. Over the past decade, the vast majority of elevators installed around the world have been placed in China, where rapid urbanization has met with a desire for ambitious “super-tall” skyscrapers. It has been estimated that by 2020, 40 percent of all elevators will be in China.And when it comes to speed, the rest of the world can’t keep up.
  5. The detective of Northern oddities
    • Burek often spends her days cutting up the wildest, largest, smallest, most charis­matic, and most ferocious creatures in Alaska, looking for what killed them. She’s been on the job for more than 20 years, self-­employed and working with just about every organization that oversees wildlife in ­Alaska.
  6. From Quartz, kids born in 2017 will never drive a car
    • His forecast, which he shared in a December interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, is rooted in signs that the auto industry is racing toward a driverless future. “Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out,” he said. “All the automotive companies—Daimler, GM, Ford—are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.”
  7. Favorite sports moments of 2016
  8. Colo, Oldest gorilla in US turns 60
  9. Surfer takes on one of the biggest waves we’ve every seen

Weekly Roundup – January 6th

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

  1. Now for the good news: things really are getting better – Steven Pinker
    • But headlines are a poor guide to history. People’s sense of danger is warped by the availability of memorable examples – which is why we are more afraid of getting eaten by a shark than falling down the stairs, though the latter is likelier to kill us. Peaceful territories, no matter how numerous, don’t make news, and people quickly forget the wars and atrocities of even the recent past. Only by tabulating violent incidents as a proportion of the opportunities and determining how that proportion changes over time can we overcome our cognitive biases and see which way the world is going.
  2. National Geographic – Best Photos of 2016
    • Here is a gallery of National Geographic’s 52 best images of the year—curated from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs.
  3. Finding North America’s lost medieval city
    • A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region’s tiny villages. Beginning in the late 900s, word about the city spread throughout the southeast. Thousands of people visited for feasts and rituals, lured by the promise of a new kind of civilization. Many decided to stay.
  4. New York City must plan for “Permanent Flooding”
    • Without more protection, one foot of sea level rise could inundate nearly 60 square miles of the tristate area as soon as 2050. The report breaks sea-level rise into “what-if” scenarios for 1-, 3- and 6-foot sea-level rise increments in the tri-state region. It finds that many of the major resilience policies, plans and projects under development fall short of addressing the long-term, existential threat of permanent flooding from sea-level rise.
  5. Huayhuash
    • In the winter of 2014, three friends set out on a self supported ride, looking for nothing more than a truly genuine experience. The goal: to circumnavigate one of the most wonderful and wicked mountain ranges in the world – the Huayhuash, by bicycle.
  6. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
    1. Just started this book last night and thoroughly enjoying it thus far. For any business leaders, entrepreneurs or go-getters, this is a must lead to get you thinking about different ways of doing business.

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…

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.

Weekly Roundup – December 16th 2016

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

  1. Neil Gaiman – “Make Great Art” Commencement Speech
  2. Why Does America Love Bass Fishing?
    • All around the boat, Lake El Salto was waking up. A purple glow seeped over the Sierra Madres, turning the lake’s surface into a puddle of ink. Tropical birds stirred along the bank, whooping like monkeys; high above them, an eagle circled with the regularity of a drone. In the little inlet where our boat was currently parked, fish the size of saucers — tilapia, gray with flamingo-pink-mottled bellies — flipped briefly out of the water and back in, like badly skipped stones, snatching at bugs no bigger than motes of dust.
  3. Marathon Man
    • Who wants to run 26.2 miles through the Maine North Woods in the middle of December? And who really believes that doing so will make a lick of difference for a mill town on the ropes? This guy does.
  4. Google, democracy and the truth about internet search
    • With all the stories coming out about fake news, I found this article rather interesting as well. Here’s what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That’s all I did. I typed: “a-r-e”. And then “j-e-w-s”.
  5. Student is suing Oxford for $1 million for failing to make him rich and successful
    1. This one just makes me laugh. Who said millennials get a bad rap? This reminds me of the guy who tried to sue SFO Airport for breaking up his marriage due to the noise!

Make it a great weekend…