Summary of “The roots of writing lie in hopes and dreams, not in accounting”

Every week seems to bring fresh news of a dimmer future for writing, whether it’s thanks to AI-curated, voice-operated information interfaces or in the hopes pinned on emojis as a universal writing system.
In China, for example, the earliest writing samples, which were divination texts carved into bone and turtle shell, date to approximately 1320 BCE, but archaeologists don’t know whether there was also administrative, propagandistic or literary writing happening at the same time.
All the existing examples of Mesoamerican writing are engravings on rock or murals; writing on other materials, such as palm leaf, were either lost to decay or destroyed by the Spanish conquerors.
Before phonetic writing there was iconography, and early writing itself featured leaders, rulers, prisoner-taking, and conquests.
Even in Mesopotamia, a phonetic cuneiform script was used for a few hundred years for accounting before writing was used for overtly political purposes.
As far as the reductive argument that accountants invented writing in Mesopotamia, it’s true that writing came from counting, but temple priests get the credit more than accountants do.
The French anthropologist Pierre Déléage studies the invention of writing in many cultural contexts, and distinguishes ‘unbound’ forms of writing from ‘bound’ ones.
The deep history of your poetic form, your contracts and your epitaph might lie in scrawls on a cave wall or lists of royal ancestors, some of them divine, but the achievement of unbound writing stems from the needs and prerogatives of government, in the end.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Want to know where the economy is headed? Look at Des Moines.”

Around the country, and especially in central Iowa, the low unemployment rate has slowly but surely tipped the balance of power away from employers and towards workers, who here in the Hawkeye State have been able to demand higher wages, better working conditions, more generous benefits, training programs, and myriad other perks.
Competition for workers has gone crazy, Joe McConville, who co-owns a popular chain of made-from-scratch pizza restaurants, told me.
“At almost every restaurant that I’ve worked at, you always had a stack of applications waiting,” he said.
“You’d call somebody up and half the time they’re still looking for an extra job. That’s not happening anymore.” He said he faced a “Black hole” in terms of finding more experienced twenty-something employees, and that to compete he has paid out higher wages and added vacation days.
More than that, Iowa’s tight labor market has forced employers to offer training, reach out to new populations of workers, and accept applications from workers they might not have before – expanding and up-skilling the labor pool as a whole as a result.
“Their attitude really seems to be changing,” said Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher of Central Iowa Works, a workforce-development nonprofit.
“Once I got that behind me, I still found finding employment pretty hard.” He found work washing dishes, but became unemployed again after the restaurant he was working at closed down.
“I send it over to be [combined] in a machine with fabric. That leaves the machine, and goes to the tire builders, and they build the tire.” He said the work was hot, dirty, and physically exhausting, but still that he loved the job, where he now earns $21 an hour, as well as health benefits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Healthy Addiction? Coffee Study Finds More Health Benefits”

It remains to be seen whether these findings will ultimately have any bearing on humans, but Joachim Altschmied of the Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, who led the study with his colleague Judith Haendeler, says that “The old idea that you shouldn’t drink coffee if you have heart problems is clearly not the case anymore.”
A 2017 report in the Annual Review of Nutrition, which analyzed the results of more than 100 coffee and caffeine studies, found that coffee was associated with a probable decreased risk of cardiovascular disease-as well as type 2 diabetes and several kinds of cancer.
The new paper, published Thursday in PLOS Biology, identifies a specific cellular mechanism by which coffee consumption may improve heart health.
Though this latest news about the potential health benefits of coffee involves just a single animal study, tea drinkers might well feel they are coming out on the wrong end of the coffee equation.
According to the National Coffee Association, 64 percent of Americans 18 and over drink at least one cup of coffee a day, with an average daily consumption of 3.2 cups.
“You have to enjoy life, and if you enjoy tea, keep on enjoying it. It’s all good. There are health benefits to coffee, to black tea and to green tea.” But there can also be problems associated with higher doses of caffeine, he notes.
The amount in more than two cups of coffee a day, for example, can interfere with conception and increase the risk of miscarriage.
Haendeler, who drinks six cups of coffee a day, says it can be part of a healthy lifestyle-but is no miracle cure.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer’s 2008 final”

Strokes of Genius – documentary on 2008 Wimbledon men’s singles finalWatch: BBC Two, Sunday, 8 July, 18:20 BSTJohn McEnroe describes it as “The greatest match ever played” and, 10 years on, the 2008 Wimbledon final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remains the high point of a rivalry that continues to dominate tennis.
Federer had beaten Nadal in four sets in the 2006 Wimbledon final, and five sets 12 months later.
Both men were playing for a slice of history – Nadal trying to become the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back since Bjorn Borg in 1980, Federer attempting to go ahead of Borg by winning a sixth consecutive Wimbledon.
Jonathan Overend: “Everybody was wondering whether this was going to be the day Federer’s great Wimbledon reign came to an end. Nadal was edging closer but still Federer was the king. It was beautifully set up.”
JO: “I remember how well Nadal was moving, how cleanly he was striking the ball, how well he was serving. In those first two sets Federer knew this was going to be his toughest Wimbledon final yet. But there was always that sense that Federer would come back. Even at two sets to love, I don’t think anybody saw it as being over, simply because of Federer’s experience on that court.”
JO: “All bets were off by that point. The momentum was with Federer because he’d won the fourth set. History was with Federer because he was the five-time champion, but there was still this unknown of what Nadal was going to offer in the decider. He had played so well to that point. Only a fool would have written him off. It was clear in the early games, even though Federer was serving first, that Nadal wasn’t going anywhere.”
With the clock having ticked past 21:00, Nadal won a thrilling point to hold for 7-7 – Federer somehow flicked a ferocious Nadal smash onto the baseline but the Spaniard put away a forehand and, with adrenaline coursing through his body, celebrated with a huge fist-pump.
Federer and Nadal have split the past six Grand Slam titles, but have not met in a Slam final since that extraordinary drama in Melbourne in January of last year.

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Summary of “Does ‘Darkness Therapy’ Work?”

Because there was nothing else to do, I got into bed and waited until the darkness of sleep overtook the darkness of the room.
All important life events are celebrated with a meal, Urbiš had told me, so all darkness therapy stays end with a breakfast with the team.
It wasn’t until later, in the psych department at Ostrava University, that I told Malůš how intense my brief experience had been.
At first, he began to have what Malůš called “Semi-hallucinations” of snakes, visual experiences that he was able to write off as unpleasant but purely imaginary.
Over the course of his stay, the visual stimuli grew into increasingly intense bodily experiences.
He didn’t share the experience with the researchers until after the study had ended and Malůš performed a series of crisis-intervention psychotherapy sessions with him.
“He the support he needed during the stay; he wasn’t wise enough to quit it, because his ego would suffer,” Malůš recalled.
“And then he wasn’t wise enough to continue, even though I told him, ‘Well, I see very clear connections between your life experience, your earlier experience, and those hallucinations.'” Half a year later, he says, the student was still afraid of the dark, traumatized by his experience in the chamber.

The orginal article.

Summary of “George Lucas Strikes Back: Inside the Fight to Build the Lucas Museum”

No one back then had the slightest idea that the proposed museum would provoke a major backlash in not one but two American cities, or that it would finally come to rest in Los Angeles, a location that carries no small degree of irony, since it is a city that Lucas built much of his identity as a filmmaker on spurning.
She had close ties to Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, who had already let it be known that he would be more than happy to give the Lucas Museum a home, and promised Lucas and Hobson that Chicago would not subject them to the nit-picking demands of San Francisco.
Lucas liked it, and the mayor announced with excitement that “Chicago, the most American of American cities,” was the new location for the Lucas Museum.
Probably the most important thing Lucas did when he was trying to get the museum built in Chicago was to hire Don Bacigalupi, an experienced museum director who had helped Alice Walton, the Walmart heiress, put together her collection of American art and had overseen the construction and opening in 2011 of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Walton’s museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, designed by Moshe Safdie.
“I had my heartbreak in Chicago. George had his in San Francisco.” By the fall of 2015, Lucas and Hobson not only had brought in Don Bacigalupi but had also nudged the museum a bit closer to self-governance by establishing a board that included Arne Duncan, secretary of education in the Obama administration, John Lasseter, C.C.O. of Pixar and Disney Animation, and John McCarter Jr., the chair of the Smithsonian board of regents, as well as themselves.
He helped Alice Walton bring some of the greatest art in the United States to Arkansas, and he was excited, he said, by Lucas and Hobson’s desire “To build a museum that breaks down barriers that separate people from art. We are interested in art and the very human impulse to tell stories visually.”
He will need to navigate between a founder who genuinely loves art but resents much of the art world and a community of art collectors, historians, critics, and museum directors who question the value of much of what Lucas has assembled, but whose approval is necessary if the museum is going to be seen as legitimate.
Probably the most significant element of the museum’s groundbreaking ceremony in March was not Mayor Eric Garcetti’s praise of Lucas and Hobson but the decision to decorate the reception tent next to the site with reproductions of art from the museum’s collection-as if the Lucas Museum still feels a need to remind people that it collects real paintings and drawings.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why the Secret to Getting Ahead in Your Career Is ‘Weak Ties'”

For real progression, we need to embrace so-called weak ties “Who will swiftly and dramatically change our lives for the better.”
Weak ties are the people we have met, or are connected to somehow, but do not currently know well.
Because you are likely to have the same interests and disinterests, these close ties can limit who you know and what you think.
Weak ties, on the other hand, “Know things and people that we don’t know. Information and opportunity spread farther and faster through weak ties because weak ties have fewer overlapping contacts.” We don’t assume that they think the same things we think or like the same things we like, so we’re more thoughtful when we talk to them.
“In this way, weak ties promote, and sometimes even force, thoughtful growth and change.”
As Joy writes, embracing weak ties also makes us feel left alone.
Reaching out to an old boss for career or life advice can help the world seem more manageable.
If you’re worried that your weak ties will think it’s strange or presumptuous of you to reach out to them-people like to he helpful.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who Killed the GE Model?”

The GE model is dead – and there’s a long list of possible suspects.
Unlike a pure holding company or a modern hedge fund, the GE model intended to create value by actively sharing capabilities among its disparate businesses, which, with one important exception, were all rooted in manufacturing.
The GE model dates back at least to the reign of Reginald Jones as CEO in the 1970s.
The role of business schools in the demise of the GE model cuts both ways.
The GE model claimed that it created value by sharing good management practices among its businesses and adopting “Best practices” from others.
If business schools in fact now teach these practices all over the world, then this rationale for the GE model no longer makes sense.
The GE model died because of global competition, the technology revolution, investor power, and the spread of professional management.
These conglomerates would do well to learn from the death of the GE model, as they did in life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “30 Top Restaurants of the Last 30 Years to Impact the Food Scene – Robb Report”

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary of our Best of the Best awards, where we recognize the top places, products, and people from the past year across everything Robb Report covers, we wanted to step back and see which restaurants have left the most indelible mark on the food scene.
“Alinea has really pushed and changed the food scene to a whole different level. It’s technical, it’s whimsical, it’s super tasty, and it’s so creative. Look at its balloon-it’s magnificent. It floats, but you can eat it. There’s so much fun and emotion behind it, but it’s just one of the dishes. They keep on changing their menu; they keep on pushing for creativity. It’s one of the most influential restaurants in the world.” -Dominique Ansel.
By realizing our food system is largely created to grow food that’s meant to be more shelf-stable than delicious, he’s been working to create seeds and growing conditions that optimize the flavor of food.
“The core of its food philosophy combines the most social and economically responsible methods with the highest-quality ingredients, and nothing less. Even the most modern chefs should always look at them so they can remember what food is and where it comes from.” -Genevieve Gergis.
“Highlands paved the way for new Southern cooking. Frank Stitt had studied in France for a long time and basically brought back all his knowledge and sensibilities and his passion for French food and applied it to Southern cooking. He then created a great experience-both food and service-that hadn’t been achieved of yet in the South. It’s around 35 years old, and it’s still recognized today as being a restaurant that has changed so many people’s outlooks on what was possible with Southern food.” -Mike Lata.
For years the pinnacle of food had been the grand palaces of gastronomy: the three-Michelin-star fine-dining restaurants.
“Momofuku put Asian food on the map. It shaped what Asian food is today by breaking it down into a language we can all understand. And like with the pork belly bao, he was the first to do that, and all around the States, restaurants have it on their menus now. There’s even a chef in Hong Kong who serves bao, and she credits David Chang for that.” -Mei Lin.
As the New York dining scene the last two decades has been littered with the bones of failed restaurants, she’s shown that this personal-and sometimes eclectic-style of food can endure.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Bad Is Football for the Environment?”

Most of the stuff used to play football – balls, stadiums, kits – is very much not biodegradable.
While that optimistic spirit might be good for the morale of a country beleaguered by an inescapable crisis that threatens to damage the UK in all sorts of of ways, how bad is the World Cup – and, more generally, football – for the world at large?
“The environmental impacts from a football exist across all the various stages of its life cycle,” explains Phillip Perstitch, a consultant for corporate carbon footprint consultants Carbon Trust.
“Most modern sportswear is made from lightweight synthetic materials – typically polyester – and as polyester is a type of PET plastic, the main raw material in football kits will be derived from oil,” says Phillip.
Phillip adds: “Garments are only manufactured once, but they can be washed hundreds of times. This means the energy and water used by washing machines is often the biggest single impact across the full life cycle of a football kit.”
“It will be quite different for a League 2 game in bright sunshine on a warm Saturday in April, or for a Premier League clash under floodlights on a cold Wednesday night in January. But unless everyone is walking or cycling to a game from near a stadium – as may happen with some non-league clubs – it’s likely that fan travel will be by far the most significant impact for a football match.”
“One of the best things you can do to lower the impact of football is to do things together with others,” Phillip explains.
“Travelling to games by sharing coaches or cars with teammates or fellow fans reduces each of your individual impacts. And watching football down the pub, or round at a friend’s house, means that more people are watching a screen and in the same room, requiring less total energy use.”

The orginal article.