Best of the Moment
Sami Ben Gharbia | Medium | 27th August 2013
In case you forgot: Cablegate brought down the Tunisian government. "What we call the Arab Spring was the result of many seemingly small things, butterfly effects. One of them was a courageous woman named Chelsea Manning. If the U.S. will take 35 years from Chelsea Manning’s life, may it console her that she has given us, Arabs, the secret gift that helped expose and topple 50 years of dictatorships"
Shane Parish | Farnham Street | 28th August 2013
Full of good points about the relative importance of luck and skill. "Intuition can be developed in activities that are stable and linear. This applies to chess, for example. The problem is we generally don’t distinguish the activity before considering how good intuition is likely to be". "Typically, the lower you are in an organization, the easier it is to measure your skill. As you move up in an organization, luck plays a bigger role"
Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett | New York Times | 28th August 2013
Canadian woman tells of 18 months' captivity in Mogadishu, held for a $3 million ransom. Gripping throughout. "The shoes belonging to our Somali colleagues — Abdi, Mahad and Marwali — had disappeared, all three pairs. A while later, I was able to ask Abdullah where they went. He didn’t hesitate. Seeming pleased with himself, he lifted a finger and made an emphatic throat-slitting gesture" (Metered paywall)
Venkatesh Rao | Tempo | 26th August 2013
"I’d like a literal thinking cap. A regular baseball hat, but with the look of an orange or yellow construction hard hat. It would say 'Construction in Progress, Do Not Disturb' on it. Having to actively keep up an ostentatious facade of activity just to signal that you are occupied can be very distracting. If I had a thinking cap, and such things were culturally normal, I’d probably be wearing it for more than half of my waking hours"
George Johnson | Bloomberg View | 29th August 2013
Cancer is older than humanity, and smarter too, in many ways. Earliest known instance killed a dinosaur 150 million years ago. When cancer strikes someone near to you, it's an evil monster. But when you contemplate its resilience and ingenuity, it's a marvel. "The tumor not only learns to evade the immune system, but it also turns it into an ally. The complexity of this all — the biological brilliance — is enthralling"
Chris Norström | 25th August 2013
Man has idea. Man starts business. The idea is for a better calendar (a physical product, not an app). As for the business — let Chris walk you through the story, with honourable frankness, lots of pictures and some splendid infographics. The brief table called "How I though it worked vs How it actually works", which explains the order of priorities for a maker start-up, is an instant classic. You sell the product first, not last
Thought for the day:
"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy" — Howard Zinn