Summary of “How to Ask Great Questions”

Several techniques can enhance the power and efficacy of queries: Favor follow-up questions, know when to keep questions open-ended, get the sequence right, use the right tone, and pay attention to group dynamics.
Unlike professionals such as litigators, journalists, and doctors, who are taught how to ask questions as an essential part of their training, few executives think of questioning as a skill that can be honed-or consider how their own answers to questions could make conversations more productive.
The researchers told some people to ask many questions and others to ask very few.
In Alison’s studies, for example, though people could accurately recall how many questions had been asked in their conversations, they didn’t intuit the link between questions and liking.
Some students are told to ask as few questions as possible, and some are instructed to ask as many as possible.
Alison’s research, using human coding and machine learning, revealed four types of questions: introductory questions, mirror questions, full-switch questions, and follow-up questions.
In Alison’s studies, the people who were told to ask more questions used more follow-up questions than any other type without being instructed to do so.
Taken together, the data from Gong.io affirms what great salespeople intuitively understand: When sellers ask questions rather than just make their pitch, they close more deals.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why political reforms can be bad for democracy”

“What matters more is whether political elites, and especially parties, serve as filters. Put simply, political parties are democracy’s gatekeepers.”
People either don’t realize how much parties have been weakened over the last half-century, or they are ignorant of the evidence that ineffectual parties put democracy on a path toward instability and even authoritarianism.
The ongoing process of diminishing the power of parties is actually endangering democracy, according to a growing number of experts and political observers.
“The weakening of parties has meant the weakening of government. People don’t like that, but very few people see the connection between political parties and government.”
The rise of political parties in the early 1800s transferred the responsibility “To keep dangerous figures out of the White House” from the Electoral College to the parties.
A system in which parties put presidential hopefuls through a rigorous process, where party insiders with political expertise were given a significant place of influence, would be a way for a party to then submit a candidate to the whole nation.
“That information is useful, even vital, to the task of picking a good nominee.”Masket’s study of political reforms in a number of states has shown that reforms that have weakened parties and given voters more input have counterintuitively made politics more opaque and less democratic.
“Each attempt to drive parties from the political sphere exacts a price on democracy, decreasing transparency, accountability, and other things we claim to hold important in our governing systems,” he wrote in his book, “The Inevitable Party: Why Attempts to Kill the Party System Fail and How They Weaken Democracy.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Book of LifeThe Book of Life”

One of the most basic facts about time is that, even though we insist on measuring it as if it were an objective unit, it doesn’t, in all conditions, feel as if it were moving at the same pace.
Time moves more or less slowly according to the vagaries of the human mind: it may fly or it may drag.
Life, whatever the dieticians may urge, it seems like the priority should not be to add raw increments of time but to ensure that whatever years remain feel.
The aim should be to densify time rather than to try to extract one or two more years from the fickle grip of Death.
Why then does time have such different speeds, moving at certain points bewilderingly fast, at others with intricate moderation? The clue is to be found childhood.
Childhood ends up feeling so long because it is the cauldron of novelty; because its most ordinary days are packed with extraordinary discoveries and sensations: these can be as apparently minor yet as significant as the first time we explore the zip on a cardigan or hold our nose under water, the first time we look at the sun through the cotton of a beach towel or dig our fingers into the putty holding a window in its frame.
We don’t need to make art in order to learn the most valuable lesson of artists, which is about noticing properly, living with our eyes open – and thereby, along the way, savouring time.
‘What if life were given back to me – what infinity! I’d turn a whole minute into an age’ Faced with losing his life, the poor wretch recognises that every minute could be turned into aeons of time, with sufficient imagination and appreciation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A ‘thrilling’ mission to get the Swedish to change overnight”

“Thrilling” is the word repeatedly used by Jan Ramqvist to describe how he felt about participating in a nationwide mission to get all Swedish motorists and cyclists to change the habits of a lifetime and begin driving on the right-hand side of the road for the first time.
The day was officially known as Högertrafikomläggningen or simply Dagen H. Its mission was to put Sweden on the same path as the rest of its continental European neighbours, most of which had long followed the global trend to drive cars on the right.
Peter Kronborg, a Stockholm-based traffic consultant and author of a book about Dagen H, Håll dig till höger Svensson, was 10 years old on the day of the switch and recalls excitedly riding his bicycle on the right-hand side of the road for the first time, as well as a buzz around global media gathering in the Swedish capital to report on the day’s events.
A large part of the government’s budget for Dagen H was also spent on communication initiatives designed to educate the Swedish public and get them behind the change.
The prevailing sentiment among those who’ve studied Dagen H closely is that today’s political, economic and media climates would present numerous fresh challenges to those that existed at the time Dagen H. Peter Kronborg’s key argument is that ministers and public authorities would struggle to shift public opinion and shape a new consensus so dramatically.
From an economic perspective, Lars Magnusson estimates that the financial cost of implementing Dagen H today would be greatly increased due to Sweden’s road networks and infrastructure being “Much more developed” than 50 years ago.
The financial cost of implementing Dagen H today would go up at least 10 times.
Even Sweden’s current transportation strategists are sceptical that an equivalent to Dagen H could be implemented anywhere near as smoothly today as it was in 1967.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Chinese man caught by facial recognition at pop concert”

Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers.
The suspect, who has been identified only as Mr Ao, was attending a concert by pop star Jacky Cheung in Nanchang city last weekend when he was caught.
Police said the 31-year-old, who was wanted for “Economic crimes”, was “Shocked” when he was caught.
“The suspect looked completely caught by surprise when we took him away,” police officer Li Jin told state news agency Xinhua.
This is not the first time Chinese police have used facial recognition systems to catch suspects.
In August last year, police in Shandong province arrested 25 suspects using a facial recognition system that was set up at the Qingdao International Beer Festival.
China is a world leader in facial recognition technology and regularly reminds its citizens that such equipment will make it almost impossible to evade the authorities.
Many of the cameras use artificial intelligence, including facial recognition technology.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Navigating a Digital World After 40 Years in Prison”

Edward Minor had a paper due for his English class on income inequality at Wayne County Community College in Detroit.
Minor’s relationship to the world isn’t so different from that of an infant.
That’s because, in October 2017, Minor was released from prison after being incarcerated for more than 40 years.
While Minor may be an extreme case, he squarely fits the description of Americans who suffer most from the digital divide, a phenomenon that describes how technology can contribute to inequality: He’s elderly, he’s poor, and he’s a person of color.
Before Minor ever went to prison, understanding modern-day technology was the least of his concerns.
According to Minor, his accomplice shot the person they were mugging, and after they were arrested, made a statement saying Minor committed the murder.
Since getting out of prison, Minor has lived with his cousin in Southfield, an adjacent suburb of Detroit about 15 miles from downtown.
On a normal day, Minor wakes up at around 11am, eats breakfast, and takes an hour and a half-long, two-bus transfer journey-with an undersized bicycle in tow-to either the WCCC campus or Detroit Public Library’s main branch.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fake it till you make it: meet the wolves of Instagram”

In January 2016, Oyefeso was featured in the Channel 4 show Rich Kids Go Shopping, in which he bought expensive jumpers to give to homeless people and showed viewers how easy it was to make stock trades online.
For many young people from areas such as the poorer part of Camberwell in south London where Oyefeso grew up, or those who have come across him on social media, Oyefeso’s portrayal as a self-made millionaire has given him the heroic status of a footballer or rapper.
Oyefeso described himself as a social media “Influencer”, which means he and others like him can use Instagram and Twitter to sell the trading platforms a supply of teenagers and young adults with limited knowledge of the money markets and a hunger for success.
The flashy Instagram may have won him a following, but the biggest gift to Oyefeso was his TV appearance.
I asked Oyefeso who started the traders of Instagram subculture.
Without Oyefeso to “Show people that you can have this, that you can buy this house, that you can buy this car”, there might not have been the traders of Instagram business model.
Oyefeso marketed for a range of legitimate companies, including 24Option and AvaTrade, registered in Cyprus and Ireland, respectively, which have an estimated combined annual revenue of nearly $90m. Oyefeso also introduced his young audience to Banc de Binary, a company he describes as “Fully good”, even after it ceased trading amid fraud allegations.
The pack of Instagram wolves has spread far beyond Oyefeso’s network in London.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘My Dearest Fidel’: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro”

Finally alone with her, Castro slipped his arms around the American journalist, and the two lay on the bed, where, as Howard recalled in her diary, Castro “Kissed and caressed me expertly with restrained passion.”
From mid-1963 to the end of 1964, Howard secretly relayed messages from Cuba’s revolutionary regime to the White House and back again; she also used her reporting skills and high-profile perch at ABC to publicly challenge the Cold War mind-set that Castro was an implacable foe of U.S. interests.
In top-secret reports from the era, those officials speculated about “a physical relationship between” Howard and Castro and feared she would use her position at ABC News to break the story of Washington’s secret talks with the Cuban comandante.
“Liza [sic] Howard definitely wants to impress the U.S. Government with two facts: Castro is ready to discuss rapprochement and she herself is ready to discuss it with him if asked to do so by the U.S. Government,” stated a secret CIA report delivered to the White House.
Three days later, Howard found herself covering the shocking story of Kennedy’s assassination for ABC. Howard, Castro and a handful of U.S. officials knew the assassin’s bullet had terminated not only JFK’s life, but also his secret efforts to find common ground with Cuba.
During their formal ABC interview in the wee hours of February 13, Howard posed a question to which she already knew the answer: “You said at one point after President Kennedy’s death that you believed that under Kennedy it was going to be possible to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States. What leads you to believe that?” “My opinion is that he was in the way of persuading himself of his mistakes about Cuba,” Castro responded in stilted English.
Once back in New York, Howard typed up a six-paragraph memo to Johnson from Castro, titled “Verbal Message given to Miss Lisa Howard of ABC News on February 12, 1964 in Havana, Cuba.” In the missive, Howard relayed what she and Castro had discussed in her suite-from Castro’s offer to weather a U.S. provocation during the campaign to his hope to continue the dialogue Kennedy had started.
FBI agents interviewed Howard’s former colleagues at ABC about her Cuba work, her relations with Castro and Guevara, and why she might take her own life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What It Was Like to Run the Boston Marathon in a Freezing Deluge”

Then I walked to Boston Common to take the bus to the start in Hopkinton in slanted rain.
Any hopes of pre-race comfort in the tents behind the school disappeared when we arrived at the start village behind Hopkinton High School, which had turned into a mud bowl.
Smart runners brought a second pair of shoes to change into on the start line.
I couldn’t feel my toes as the rain shifted between steady downpour and Noah’s Ark-style soaking.
There were moments when the rain slowed, though it never stopped, and the wind quieted, and you thought, O.K., no big deal.
So why not quit? Because long-distance runners live for the story.
We love you thinking we are just crazy enough to run 26.2 miles in driving rain and freezing temperatures.
Eventually, the six most beautiful words in distance running happened.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Deepfakes and fake media are coming for our memories”

Fake media could manipulate what we remember, effectively altering the past by seeding the population with false memories.
We don’t have psychological studies directly looking at the ability of AI-faked video to implant false memories.
Each faked photo provoked fake memories in at least 15 percent of the respondents.
Why we form false memories, and how Human memory does not function like a videotape or a digital recording.
“Once we’ve updated memories, we don’t remember that we’ve done that,” Linda Levine, a University of California, Irvine psychologist who studies memory and emotion.
Social media is fertile ground for us to acquire truly bizarre false memories.
Most of the studies on false memories were conducted with faked photos or written documents.
We do not yet know how to inoculate people against forming false memories.

The orginal article.