September 13, 2014

The case for open borders

“What would you think about a law that said that blacks couldn’t get a job without the government’s permission, or women couldn’t get a job without the government’s permission, or gays or Christians or anyone else?” George Mason economist Bryan Caplan asks. It’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, such a law is discriminatory on its face, serves no rational purpose, and is unacceptable in a liberal democracy. But Caplan continues: “So why, exactly, is it that people who are born on the wrong side of the border have to get government permission just to get a job?”

Source: Vox.

September 1, 2014

Why social media won’t transform our politics

But how committed are these new activists, and how effective can they be if all they do is sign an online petition while sitting at their desks? Don’t social media exacerbate the fundamental problem of mobilization, which is free-riding, thereby undermining the long-term impact of social activism on the deep structures of power, inequality and violence?

Source: openDemocracy.

September 1, 2014

White privilege is the best medicine

We don’t need more evidence about the existence of these unacceptable racial disparities and discrimination. When you look at the fullness of a life, and all the points at which that life intersects with the health system and then how much worse off black people fare every time, you can see there is a violence and injustice here.

Source: Vox.

August 24, 2014

Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson

The chief obstacle to having an intelligent, or even intelligible, conversation across the racial divide is that on average white Americans live in communities that face far fewer problems and talk mostly to other white people.

Source: The Atlantic.

August 16, 2014

What I Did After Police Killed My Son

After police in Kenosha, Wis., shot my 21-year-old son to death outside his house ten years ago — and then immediately cleared themselves of all wrongdoing — an African-American man approached me and said: “If they can shoot a white boy like a dog, imagine what we’ve been going through.”

Source: POLITICO Magazine.

August 14, 2014

Why Not a Three-Day Week?

While feeling in control and working fewer hours may seem like distinct issues, they are fundamentally connected. When we own more of our time, we feel like we’re in charge of our lives and our schedules, which makes us happier and, ultimately, better at what we do. Our health and happiness also increases in the course of our lifetimes and, with it, our value to the workplace and to society as a whole. Additionally, we may finally recover from chronic sleep deprivation, which is one of the greatest health hazards currently facing the average employee. Sleep quality, in turn, translates to better cognition, clearer thinking, and increased productivity. Instead of the usual vicious circle, we get a virtuous one.

Source: The New Yorker.

August 13, 2014

How to Be Polite

Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”

Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult. I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewelry. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson.

Source: Medium.

August 9, 2014

Why Do Poor People ‘Waste’ Money On Luxury Goods?

At the heart of these incredulous statements about the poor decisions poor people make is a belief that we would never be like them. We would know better. We would know to save our money, eschew status symbols, cut coupons, practice puritanical sacrifice to amass a million dollars.

Source: Talking Points Memo.

August 9, 2014

How Men’s Clothes Should Fit

If you’re like most men, you’ve probably been wearing clothes your entire life that are too large for you.

“Most guys are used to wearing baggy clothes,” Veeral Rathod, CEO of the men’s clothing e-retailer J. Hilburn, told us in a recent interview. “They want to dress properly and they want to present themselves well, but they just don’t know how.”

Source: Business Insider.

August 3, 2014

The Problem With Minimalism

The great irony of minimalism is that while it purports to free you from a focus on stuff, it still makes stuff the focus of your life! The materialist concentrates on how to accumulate things, while the minimalist concentrates on how to get rid of those things…ultimately they’re both centering their thoughts on stuff. It’s like a compulsive overeater and a bulimic. One thoroughly enjoys eating, and stuffs his face whenever and wherever he can. The other eats, hates himself for eating, and then purges it out. But they’re both obsessed with food.

Source: The Art of Manliness.

July 28, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state. Now, friends of Israel might consider this a rather tepid defense, but it’s the strongest one I’ve got. I think the idea of a religious state is ultimately untenable.

Source: Sam Harris.

July 23, 2014

The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect

Without it, we probably couldn’t even have phones that look anything like the ingots we tickle—the whole notion of touchscreen typing, where our podgy physical fingers are expected to land with precision on tiny virtual keys, is viable only when we have some serious software to tidy up after us. Because we know autocorrect is there as brace and cushion, we’re free to write with increased abandon, at times and in places where writing would otherwise be impossible. Thanks to autocorrect, the gap between whim and word is narrower than it’s ever been, and our world is awash in easily rendered thought.

Source: WIRED.

July 9, 2014

Scenes of defeat on the streets of Brazil

A group of German fans, one wearing a jersey and the other two with scarves, got on the subway and 50 or 60 favela kids surrounded them, the main pack of a dozen aggressors standing around them, flexing, looking for a fight. Some Brazilian girls with the Germans defused the looming confrontation, and by the end, the kids wanted to pose for pictures with the victorious fans.

“We just made it out,” Peter Mesenich said. “At 7-1, they turned on their team. At 2-1, they would have turned on us.”

Source: ESPN FC.

May 29, 2014

The Internet With A Human Face

Marc [Thiele] emailed me a few weeks ago to ask if I thought my talk would be appropriate to close the conference.

“Marc,” I told him, “my talk is perfect for closing the conference! The first half is this incredibly dark rant about how the Internet is alienating and inhuman, how it’s turning us all into lonely monsters.”

“But in the second half, I’ll turn it around and present my vision of an alternative future. I’ll get the audience fired up like a proper American motivational speaker. After the big finish, we’ll burst out of the conference hall into the streets of Düsseldorf, hoist the black flag, and change the world.”

Source: Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk.

May 22, 2014

4 Myths About Apple Design, From An Ex-Apple Designer

“It’s not this thing where you get some special wings or superpowers when you enter Cupertino. It’s that you now have an organization where you can spend your time designing products, instead of having to fight for your seat at the table, or get frustrated when the better design is passed over by an engineering manager who just wants to optimize for bug fixing. All of those things are what other designers at other companies have to spend a majority of their time doing. At Apple, it’s kind of expected that experience is really important.”

Source: Co.Design.