Summary of “VQR Online”

Rhett did so without argument, and Jack put out the light.
Rhett could feel the cookie jar underneath him, a small, dense planet with its own gravitational pull.
“Santa Claus isn’t real, and neither are the gobbits or the forza mist, Rhett. None of that jazz is real. The map was just made up out of her head.” Jack was trying to sound tough, but his voice was still thick.
The cookie jar stayed under Rhett’s bed with the lid on.
Jack got out of bed, ghostly in his white pajamas, and sat down next to Rhett.
Pete had begun talking about putting him in a home, and Rhett supposed that would be the best thing, although it seemed cruel-like putting him out with the garbage.
What Rhett remembered when he peered into the uptilted cookie jar was the MovieTone newsreel that came between the cartoon and the travelogue.
“How’d you get rid of them, Rhett? How’d you get rid of all those cookies?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “These Emotionally Intelligent Habits Can Make You A Better Listener”

You might feel like it’s more polite to overlook those cues, but you shouldn’t.
Emotional listening requires studying someone’s expressions, tone of voice, and body language to draw conclusions about how they’re feeling.
Some people may not want to stall decisions, but even when they don’t raise objections their nonverbal signals give away their feelings.
“How are you feeling about this situation?” “Would you have preferred a different outcome?” “I sense you have a concern about this decision.” “Can you tell me more?” “Are you happy with this project?” “Are there any issues I’m not aware of?”.
The key isn’t to ignore your own feelings, it’s to respond rather than react to them-and there’s a difference.
If you feel yourself getting annoyed, acknowledge that to yourself, and then immediately move on toward trying to understand what motivates the other person.
The executive told me, “I responded to each reason [he gave]-culture, workload, and so forth. Then I said I could understand how he felt, but I would have liked a different outcome. Nevertheless, I respected his courage and confidence. It was a win-win: I didn’t make him feel badly, and I got feedback from him that was constructive and will allow me to make things better in my organization.”
Rather than letting emotions take over-or trying to shut them out entirely-my client worked to understand where those feelings were coming from.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Send scam emails to this chatbot and it’ll waste their time for you”

They’re usually a waste of your time, so why not have them waste someone else’s instead? Better yet: why not have them waste an email scammer’s time.
That’s the premise behind Re:scam, an email chatbot operated by New Zealand cybersecurity firm Netsafe.
Using chatbots to give email scammers a taste of their own medicine isn’t that new.
Although Netsafe has made a very fancy looking video promo for their bot, the technology behind it is relatively simple; relying more on pre-programmed conversational misdirects than sophisticated artificial intelligence.
Another famous chatbot time-waster is “Lenny,” which is designed to waste telemarketers’ time, and does so without any AI or speech recognition component.
Let’s just wait until the scammers have their own bots, too.
That’ll be the future of cybersecurity: millions of bots battling back and forth behind-the-scenes, running interference for us.
That is, until the bots stop fighting one another and decide to take on their common enemy instead. Let’s hope we can waste their time just a little longer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Carl Sagan on the Power of Books and Reading as the Path to Democracy – Brain Pickings”

“Someone reading a book is a sign of order in the world,” wrote the poet Mary Ruefle.
Four centuries earlier, while ushering in a new world order, Galileo contemplated how books give us superhuman powers – a sentiment his twentieth-century counterpart, Carl Sagan, echoed in his shimmering assertion that “a book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand the point of view of others, and not just those in power; to contemplate – with the best teachers – the insights, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history.
Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses.
Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.
Tyrants and autocrats have always understood that literacy, learning, books and newspapers are potentially dangerous.
The Demon-Haunted World remains one of the most important books written in the cosmic blink since we first began writing and its central message is, rather sadly, increasingly relevant in our time of unreason.
Complement this particular portion with Gwendolyn Brooks on the power of books, Rebecca Solnit on why we read and write, Anaïs Nin on how books awaken us from the slumber of almost-living, and Mary Oliver on how reading saved her life, then revisit Sagan on science and spirituality and this lovely animated adaptation of his famous Pale Blue Dot monologue about our place in the universe.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Brothers Who Bought South Africa”

Phone records later obtained by South Africa’s corruption ombudsman placed Van Rooyen in the vicinity of the Guptas’ compound-in a wealthy enclave of Johannesburg called Saxonwold-on at least seven occasions, including the day before Zuma told Nene he was out.
Since Nene’s firing, long-standing questions about the scale of the Guptas’ power in South Africa have exploded into the most severe political and economic crisis since the end of apartheid.
The Guptas are widely famous in South Africa but also deeply mysterious.
In a statement, the Guptas said it is “Patent nonsense to suggest that our family has captured the South African state,” and that less than 2 percent of their business is government-related.
The Guptas’ alleged hold on Zuma has driven much of South African society into open revolt.
South African media reported that the Guptas had pulled off the landing with the help of a little-known official-Mosebenzi Zwane, head of agriculture in the rural Free State province.
One local executive recalls attending a party at the residence of India’s ambassador to South Africa, held to celebrate the visit of an Indian government delegation, that was attended by both Molefe and the Guptas.
Coming amid what was already a steady flow of new revelations about the Guptas from South Africa’s feisty press, the report was too much for the country’s elite to ignore.

The orginal article.

Summary of “If You Tear a Knee Ligament, Arthritis Is Likely to Follow in 10 Years”

“If a 15-year-old gets arthritis in 10 years, knee replacement is not a great option at age 25.”.
Some of those patients had yet to feel arthritic pain; 41 percent of those studied had reported knee pain that indicated arthritis.
While knee injuries have received the most attention in research on arthritis risk, other joints are not immune, said Dr. Brett Owens, a professor of orthopedic surgery at Brown University Alpert Medical School.
He might have a genetic predisposition toward knee arthritis.
Lalli’s arthritis progressed despite his receiving a second A.C.L. reconstruction that was more tailored to the anatomy of his knee.
Fu is a leader in A.C.L. operations that are more anatomically specific, and his procedure stabilized Lalli’s knee.
Four years ago, when his arthritis got so bad that he gave up playing soccer, Lalli asked for a knee replacement.
Fu refused, telling him that artificial knees last only 10 or 15 years in younger and active people and that each knee replacement is more problematic than the one before.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Which of these habits is keeping you from being a great communicator? |”

Most people – me included! – have most, or all, of them in some form.
It’s a trait that often afflicts people in power, even though it’s not a good style of leadership.
If there is one thing we like more than looking good, it’s being right.
The need to be right can arise from a fear of being disrespected.
We yearn to feel justified and respected, and being right – or making others wrong – is the route we choose to achieve these desires because it sets us above other people.
People pleasers might say yes when they mean no, or agree to going out when they’d much rather stay in.
While we all have this desire to have other people like us, it’s a question of degree.
Still, the effect on her was that a bond was broken and she found it harder to trust people.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This is why cognitive behavioural therapy works so well”

This exchange, from our first meeting together, signalled Mark as one of the saddest men I’ve ever worked with in therapy.
What about punishing yourself and everyone in your life? Mark was making a terrible situation even worse, and he knew he was going under; his last hope was to figure out some way to stop punishing himself and make peace with what happened.
Despite his pain, Mark was actually a quick study, and he took to the CBT readily: he considered himself a ‘wounded warrior’, and viewed the treatment as central to becoming whole again.
Mark had recalibrated his emotional response system, and the final step was revising his most deeply held beliefs of self-worth and value.
Mark had to figure out a way to live with what he had done.
How can you reconcile being a good person with using your baton on someone’s head? We figured it out together and Mark relied heavily on his ‘wounded warrior’ idea.
Within three weeks of stopping his drinking, Mark’s wife was talking to him again regularly, and within five weeks, his family had moved back into their home.
Over the course of 22 sessions, Mark had made the leap from a belligerent, out-of-control man to someone who could handle the full range of his emotions quite well.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Hearing Both Sides of Taylor Swift”

On November 8, 2016, Taylor Swift made her first and final contribution to the presidential election news cycle.
“Who did Taylor Swift vote for? Here’s why her sweater suggests Hillary,” read one particularly bizarre USA Today headline.
The letter said it should serve as an “Unequivocal denouncement by Ms. Swift of white supremacy and the alt-right.” But as the ACLU later pointed out, “That denunciation would only be known by Herning because the letter also attempts to use copyright law to forbid her from making it public.” Rather than release a simple statement to address the issue, Swift preferred to secretly sic her lawyer on a little-known website.
There are many reasons Swift’s new work appears not to be resonating as deeply with audiences - the music is too far removed from Swift’s original sound, 2017 has been a generally tepid year for commercial pop, Swift is suffering from inevitable overexposure - but one of the most persuasive is that it feels oddly divorced from its time.
Let’s clear this up now: Taylor Swift could not have won Hillary Clinton the election.
“Rather than blindly patronizing corporations with unclear intentions and shady operations, millennials strongly favor businesses with transparency and a clear commitment to give back to society.” A 2015 report from Nielsen found that 73 percent of millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable brands; another from the marketing company Horizon Media found that 81 percent of them expect companies to make a public commitment to “Good corporate citizenship.” We may think of Taylor Swift as a talented individual with two adorable cats, but with her advertising deals, merchandising sales, music revenue, and concert sales, she is also basically a corporation.
The second group included popular musicians who’d mostly stayed mum on the topic: Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, and Bruno Mars.
“The rules of authenticity change. And Taylor Swift happens to be from an era where there was just a little bit more polish. There’s a kind of pop sheen to her, and that’s just not really what people are responding to musically.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Rise of Modern Ikebana”

FOR TOSHIRO KAWASE, the creative tension inherent in this duality is what creates the artistry in ikebana.
When Nishiyama, bespectacled and monklike in his movements, grew interested in flower arranging while an art school student, he joined an ikebana club.
While he has never studied formally, he has read many books on ikebana, including Kawase’s.
Traditional ikebana, like the traditional tea ceremony, has many tools – saws and wire and kenzans – but Nishiyama uses only a pair of scissors and works on the floor; he is inspired not just by the seasons, but by the constant change and movement within them.
In ikebana, there might not even be a flower in the composition, and if there is, it rarely looks you in the eye: It is more likely bent or turned to the side.
Like Nishiyama, she has no formal training in ikebana, and yet her work, like his, can’t be understood without it.
“Much as asymmetry is defined by symmetry; ikebana is always in the room when one works with flowers.”
Her work, like Nishiyama’s, is a reminder that like all living arts, ikebana changes and is informed by the culture and the times; what makes ikebana especially poignant and potent in this moment is its direct and personal connection to nature, its awareness of and emphasis on decay in an era in which our own ecological and environmental ruin feels more vivid than ever.

The orginal article.