Summary of “Americans are pack rats. Swedes have the solution: ‘Death cleaning.'”

If your family doesn’t want your stuff when you’re alive, they sure won’t want it when you’re dead. That’s the blunt assessment of yet another self-help author from abroad who is trying to get Americans, who have an addiction to collecting and storage units, to clean up their acts.
The latest volley in the decluttering business comes from Stockholm, where 80-ish artist Margareta Magnusson has just published a slim yet sage volume, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” The book will be published in America in January.
While Japanese item-control diva Marie Kondo gave us strict instructions to only keep things that spark joy, Magnusson’s book is straightforward and unsentimental.
Magnusson says you can keep things that evoke good memories; there are no hard-and-fast rules such as folding your remaining T-shirts to stand upright in your drawers, as dictated by the KonMari method.
Magnusson, who has moved 17 times, says women often end up doing the death cleaning.
Keep a separate box of things that matter only to you, and label it to be tossed upon your death.
Her daughter asks whether her mom would help her begin death cleaning.
“You are never ready with your death cleaning because you don’t know when you are going to die,” Magnusson says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why This Isn’t ‘the New Normal’ for Climate Change”

Days later came Maria, the third storm this season to register among the top-four most devastating hurricanes in dollar terms to ever make landfall in the U.S. For years, we’ve conceived of climate change in terms of sea level, meaning it was often possible to believe its devastating impacts would be felt mostly by those living elsewhere, on the coasts; extreme weather seems poised to break that delusion, beginning with hurricanes.
It is tempting to look at this string of disasters and think, Climate change is here.
The truth is actually far scarier than “Welcome to the new normal.” The climate system we have been observing since August, the one that has pummeled the planet again and again and exposed even the world’s wealthiest country as unable to properly respond to its destruction, is not our bleak future.
Of course we’re very far from zeroing out on carbon, and therefore very far from stalling climate change.
Over time, the trend lines are inarguable: Climate change will give us more devastating hurricanes than we have now, and more horrible wildfires, as well as more tornadoes and droughts and heat waves and floods.
Perhaps because of the exhausting false debate about whether climate change is “Real,” too many of us have developed a misleading impression that its effects are binary.
So the experience of life in a climate transformed by human activity is not just a matter of stepping from one stable environment into another, somewhat worse one, no matter how degraded or destructive the transformed climate is.
The last few months of climate disasters may look like about as much as the planet can take.

The orginal article.

Summary of “For Radio To Live, It Must Embrace Technology”

On the one hand we find that radio is still listened to with great frequency in the car and at work, and that it’s still a driving force for new music discovery.
The other day I was driving to a dinner appointment and stuck in dense Los Angeles traffic, so I had a chance to do a wide scan of both AM and FM radio.
After a few minutes it occurred to me that terrestrial radio hasn’t been keeping up with technology like other entertainment delivery services.
If announcers feel that they’re boring people by constantly relating the score, why not give us a “Fox Box” on the radio that provides the score and all the other pertinent info right there with a glance? In other words, give me more information in a graphical form.
You’re driving along and the DJ announces the name of the song, but you didn’t catch it, or you’re listening to talk radio and someone in the interview says something that you’re not sure you heard.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a button that would take you back 10 seconds to replay the section of the show that you missed? This one actually is more on the radio manufacturers than the broadcasters, but it’s a feature that I long for a couple times a week at least.
The point is, we’re now used to having as much information as we want at our fingertips, and we’re not getting it from radio and that’s why it feels old.
If radio wants to keep up, it has to catch up technology-wise and information-wise or it will continue its slow decline.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who Invented ‘Zero’?”

One difficulty is splitting the payments, since no one could claim exclusive “Ownership” of zero’s creation.
Of course, the exercise was pure fantasy for many reasons; any compensatory scheme would be dead on arrival based on the mention of “Reparations.” And yet it highlighted the fact that there were cultures and peoples that parented zero, whose descendants may not be doing as well now.
The companies will use the indigenously developed resource of zeros and ones, package them into new services and products, and sell them back.
The British Empire took her raw cotton and sold it back as finished garments, destroying the local textile industry and helping lower India’s share of the world gross domestic product to 3 percent from 23 percent.
What’s clear is that vigorous market competition is underway to control all those zeros and ones.
Despite my liberal student group’s disapproval, zero encourages capitalistic forces, after all.
Zero is essential to much of human endeavor; it has become a fundamental part of our legacy, too seemingly immutable for any kind of compensatory reckoning.
Yet the Bakhshali manuscript reminds us that zero wasn’t always at hand.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Thoughts of Chairman Xi”

For years he’d been the most feared man in China, controlling police, paramilitaries, prisons and intelligence operations.
Now he was the target of the Orwellian security system he himself had built.
“I accept the sentence. I will not appeal. I realise the crimes I’ve committed and what I’ve cost the Party.”
When Xi Jinping came to power, he had promised the public a campaign which would “Brandish the sword against corruption”, caging tigers as well as trapping flies.
Zhou Yongkang was the most senior Party official ever to stand trial for corruption in the history of communist China.
He and Zhou were accused of plotting together and, with two top military figures and another senior politician, of “Wrecking Party unity”.
Zhou’s trial came halfway through Xi’s first term.
To supplement the image of a newly disciplined and frugal political culture, Xi tried to avoid banquets and sometimes travelled in a van with colleagues instead of a fleet of limousines.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Stalin Hid Ukraine’s Famine From the World”

Neither the Ukrainian famine nor the broader Soviet famine were ever officially recognized by the USSR. Inside the country the famine was never mentioned.
These are beautifully illustrated by the parallel stories of Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones.
“To anyone who lived in Russia in 1933 and who kept his eyes and ears open, the historicity of the famine is simply not in question.” Duranty himself discussed the famine with William Strang, a diplomat at the British embassy, in late 1932.
Upon arrival, Jones first went around the Soviet capital and met other foreign correspondents and officials.
Later, Maisky complained to Lloyd George, who, according to the Soviet ambassador’s report, distanced himself from Jones, declaring that he had not sponsored the trip and had not sent Jones as his representative.
On March 31, just a day after Jones had spoken out in Berlin, Duranty himself responded.
There appears from a British source a big scare story in the American press about famine in the Soviet Union, with “Thousands already dead and millions menaced by death and starvation.” Its author is Gareth Jones, who is a former secretary to David Lloyd George and who recently spent three weeks in the Soviet Union and reached the conclusion that the country was “On the verge of a terrific smash,” as he told the writer.
Duranty outshone Jones: He was more famous, more widely read, more credible.

The orginal article.

Summary of “With the end of Windows on phones, how does Microsoft avoid being the next IBM?”

IBM probably doesn’t want to be IBM right now-it has had five straight years of falling revenue amid declining relevance of its legacy businesses-and Microsoft probably shouldn’t want to be the next IBM, either.
Developing a UWP application means eschewing the Windows 7 installed base, as UWP applications only run on Windows 10.
Make no mistake; if you’re writing a Windows desktop application, UWP is a better way of doing so than the traditional Win32 API. It’s easier to use, it’s more capable, and the Windows Store makes installation, uninstallation, and updating much simpler for end users.
Microsoft is going to be facing a world where the CEO’s kid who “Knows computers” is more comfortable and familiar with Chrome OS and the Google Apps than they are with Windows and Office.
Just as the consumer space is interconnected with the enterprise space, Windows is interconnected with other Microsoft software and services.
Redmond has recognized and reacted to this mindshare gap in other fields; efforts such as the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Visual Studio Code have enabled Microsoft to cater to development communities that otherwise would completely ignore the company and its products.
For computer science and software engineering students using Macs and Linux, there wasn’t necessarily animosity toward Windows, Azure, SQL Server, and all the other things that Microsoft sells, just a lack of relevance.
Microsoft is investing heavily in virtual and augmented reality, but the jury is still out on whether this is the next big thing with mainstream appeal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The scientist who spots fake videos”

Hany Farid, a computer scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, specialises in detecting manipulated images and videos.
Where do you start when trying to spot a fake image?
You give the image to a site such as Google Image Search or TinEye, and they show you all other instances of it.
A project at Columbia University, in New York City, is taking this to the next level, and starting to find parts of images that have been repurposed from other images.
They can create fake images or short videos using machine learning techniques: in particular, generative adversarial networks, which learn to generate fake content.
We’re taking an approach similar to what we do with images – which is based on the observation that computer-generated content lacks the imperfections that are present in a recorded video.
That’s no guarantee that it will learn all aspects of what makes an image or video real or fake, or that it will fool another classifier.
As we are developing faster, folks are creating more sophisticated technology to augment audio, images and video.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets”

“On the day we arrested you,” he began, “I believe that you had the intention of killing a British soldier or police officer. I don’t know the details of what happened, why you may have felt it needed to happen, or what you wanted to achieve by doing this. Only you know these things Diola. If you are willing, you’ll tell me, and if you’re not, you won’t. I can’t force you to tell me – I don’t want to force you. I’d like you to help me understand. Would you tell me about what happened?” The interviewer opens up his notebook, and shows Diola the empty pages.
Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes.
The police often wanted to know the best way to interview a particular suspect or witness, usually after an initial attempt had gone badly.
In 1992, after public enquiries into two miscarriages of justice involving IRA attacks had revealed abusive interrogation practices, parliament passed laws stipulating all interviews be recorded, and making it an automatic right to have a solicitor present.
In a minor but significant change they stopped using the word “Interrogation”, with its confrontational overtone, and replaced it with “Interview”.
Each interview had to be minutely analysed according to an intricate taxonomy of interrogation behaviours, developed by the Alisons.
Accusatory models of interrogation lay great emphasis on body language, partly because the hostile interviewer has already cut off his richest source of information: words.
An interview fails when it becomes a struggle for dominance, in which the interviewee’s way of asserting himself is to tell his interviewer nothing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “but Most Organizations Only Focus on One”

Our research into over 20,000 workers of all skill levels across U.S. industries, and a review of hundreds of academic studies on the psychology of human performance, shows that most leaders and organizations tend to focus on just one type of performance.
Essentially, tactical performance is how well you stick to your plan, and adaptive performance is how well you diverge from your plan.
If you’ve ever interacted with a customer representative who is clearly reading a script back to you, you’re witnessing tactical performance destroying adaptive performance.
We asked the management team if we could eliminate the narrow metrics and bonuses, which rewarded only tactical performance, and focus more on the adaptive.
The focus was on learning and adaptation – not on hitting performance goals.
When you find yourself saying things like “I wish my people took more ownership,” “I wish we operated more like a startup,” or “I wish we were more nimble,” remember that most organizations have created so much emphasis on tactical performance that their people cannot adapt.
Maintaining great performance over the long term will require organizations to also emphasize adaptive performance.
Start to measure the effectiveness of the conditions that affect adaptive performance, from how you motivate people to how you build your organization’s structures, performance review systems, and planning processes.

The orginal article.