Summary of “Want to understand experience design? Eat popcorn with chopsticks”

The explanation lies in the way people perceive new things-and it serves as even more evidence that experience design matters, a lot.
The researchers invited 68 people to participate in a study that was supposedly about helping them eat more slowly.
The other half did the same but using chopsticks instead. Rating the experience, the latter group enjoyed the popcorn much more than the former-giving a much better flavor rating on the same popcorn.
Robert Smith, coauthor of the study and assistant professor of marketing at Ohio State University, writes that “When you eat popcorn with chopsticks, you pay more attention and you are more immersed in the experience. It’s like eating popcorn for the first time.”
Smith believes that this data “Suggests chopsticks boost enjoyment because they provide an unusual first-time experience, not because they are a better way to eat popcorn.” It made people more focused and engaged, even though they were eating a familiar food, which led them to perceive the experience as a better one.
Clearly, the way we experience a product greatly influences the way we perceive its value.
Experience design firms like Local Projects are booming, while more conventional agencies are adapting and expanding into retail and exhibition design.
Whether it’s changing the way a product is unpacked or the way a material feels or even how an interface sounds, even the most familiar product or service can feel novel-even exciting-when a thoughtful design tweak has reframed it as new for the user.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Taking Another Person’s Perspective Doesn’t Help You Understand Them”

The Golden Rule-do unto others as you would have them do unto you-is only as wise as the person following it.
Perspective-taking avoids the Golden Rule’s flaw-its effect doesn’t hinge on the integrity of the person considering it.
Perspective-taking increases the odds you’ll emotionally empathize with the person whose shoes you’re stepping into, rely less on your own biases and group-based stereotypes, and avoid automatic expressions of racial bias.
After testing the impact perspective-taking had on the accuracy of interpersonal judgments in 25 experiments, the researchers concluded, “If anything, perspective-taking decreased accuracy overall while increasing confidence in judgment.” Even romantic partners together for a decade on average couldn’t get perspective taking to work when quizzed on their significant other’s preferences or views.
This is a counterintuitive finding, Epley explained in a piece for NPR. “The vast majority of people we surveyed predicted that actively adopting another person’s perspective would help them understand another person better in a variety of ways, from understanding another person’s reaction when looking at a picture to predicting movie preferences,” he wrote.
“Perspective-taking may work some wonders for your social life, but understanding another person better does not seem to be one of those wonders.”
The lesson for Epley can seem “Painfully obvious.” To understand someone, we should not imagine their point of view but make the effort to “Get” their perspective.
“True insight into the minds of others is not likely to come from honing your powers of intuition,” Epley wrote, “But rather by learning to stop guessing about what’s on the mind of another person and learning to listen instead.”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The great firewall of China: Xi Jinping’s internet shutdown”

At the opening ceremony the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, set out his vision for the future of China’s internet.
Xi had already established that the Chinese internet would be a world unto itself, with its content closely monitored and managed by the Communist party.
In the years before Xi became president in 2012, the internet had begun to afford the Chinese people an unprecedented level of transparency and power to communicate.
The very first email in China was sent in September 1987 – 16 years after Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in the US. It broadcast a triumphal message: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.” For the first few years, the government reserved the internet for academics and officials.
Perhaps the most significant development was a 2004 guideline on internet censorship that called for Chinese universities to recruit internet commentators who could guide online discussions in politically acceptable directions and report comments that did not follow Chinese law.
Unlike the Great Firewall, which has the capacity to block traffic as it enters or exits China, the Great Cannon is able to adjust and replace content as it travels around the internet.
Since commercial internet providers are so involved in censoring the sites that they host, internet scholar Guobin Yang argues that “It may not be too much of a stretch to talk about the privatisation of internet content control”.
As New Yorker writer Evan Osnos asked in discussing the transformation of the Chinese internet during Xi’s tenure: “How many countries in 2015 have an internet connection to the world that is worse than it was a year ago?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sky-High Deductibles Broke the U.S. Health Insurance System”

When Carla Jordan and her husband were hit with a cascade of serious medical issues, she knew that at least her family had health insurance through her job.
Health plans similar to the Jordans’ that put patients on the hook for many thousands of dollars are widespread and growing, but some employers are beginning to have second thoughts.
“Why did we design a health plan that has the ability to deliver a $1,000 surprise to employees?” Shawn Leavitt, a senior human resources executive at Comcast Corp., said at a conference in May. “That’s kind of stupid.” A handful of companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and CVS Health Corp., have recently announced plans to reduce deductibles or cover more care before workers are exposed to the cost.
Half of all workers now have health insurance with a deductible of at least $1,000 for an individual, up from 22 percent in 2009, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Carla’s job teaching computer science classes at a local high school gave them steady income and health benefits.
“I had one friend who was bankrupted with a health plan,” Gawande said at the Spotlight Health event in Aspen, Colorado, on Saturday.
About five years ago, CVS switched all of its 200,000 employees and their families to health-insurance plans with high deductibles.
She pointed out that health insurance companies’ stock prices, not to mention industry executive salaries, were both soaring, while the thousands of dollars in premiums she paid protected neither her family’s health nor its finances.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Steven Brill explains what killed the American dream”

The book argues the people with the most advantages in the American economy have used that privilege to catapult themselves ahead of everyone else, and then rigged the system – to cement their position at the top, and leave the less fortunate behind.
I spoke to Brill about how this came to pass, why the American dream has vanished, and what it will take to undo the damage that’s been done.
Steven Brill There isn’t one villain or one pivotal moment, but there really were several different things that started happening at the same time, and they fed off each other.
Steven Brill I think it’s a much more relevant distinction than saying people are Democrats or Republicans, or that they’re conservatives or liberals.
Steven Brill Well, they’re the “Winners” in our system who don’t need a good system of public education because their kids go to private school, who don’t care about mass transit because they can afford to drive anywhere, and they don’t need public health care because they can pay for private coverage.
Sean Illing You seem hesitant to say that the country is broken, and yet when you look at all the relevant measures – public engagement, income inequality, wage levels, satisfaction, knowledge of public policy, faith that the next generation will do better than the current one – we’re at or near historic lows.
For a large swath of the country, the majority of the country, that’s just not true anymore.
For a country to work, you have to have balance between personal ambition and personal achievements and the common good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Best TV of 2018-So Far”

With the phenomenal second season of The Good Fight complete and ready to binge I can think of few better uses for a weeklong free trial than marathoning the only show to successfully capture the feeling - not just the substance - of these strange times our nation is in.
The result is a second season that’s sharp and angry, but also funny, dreaming up fiction that’s just as strange as truth.
Christine Baranski’s typically unflappable Diane Lockhart becomes an avatar for liberal disorientation: microdosing hallucinogens, toting a gun in her purse, watching the pee tape, running afoul of ICE. She manages to come out the other side with her resolve strengthened rather than broken, capping off a season that’s cynical, enjoyable, and just the teensiest bit inspirational.
Billions Somewhere along the road, the feud between bootstrapped hedge fund baron Bobby “Axe” Axelrod and blue-blood U.S. Attorney Charles “Chuck” Rhoades transformed into one of the finest ensemble dramas on TV. Over three seasons, Billions has deepened its bench into a force formidable enough to match, if not overshadow, its leads.
All the cancellation-revival hoopla has overshadowed the third season, and that’s a shame: The Expanse has continued to find exciting new gears as it propels its plot forward, and has never been better.
Atlanta: “Robbin’ Season” The first season of Atlanta anointed creator-star Donald Glover as the unexpected Chosen One of Peak TV, and virtually every member of his supporting cast and crew - actors Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lakeith Stanfield; writer Stefani Robinson; director Hiro Murai - as up-and-coming stars.
Its best asset is time: Zabka’s and Macchio’s characters are - respectfully - extremely washed middle-aged men, and the show uses that to its advantage, asking new questions about familiar characters at a different stage of their lives.
Over six seasons and over 100 episodes, it’s proved to be about so much more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “40 Summer Journaling Prompts that Will Take Your Mind Off Things”

If you’re interested in getting started with journaling this summer, or if you’d like some fresh ideas for your current journaling practice, I’ve listed 40 journaling prompts below that I’m personally using this summer to take my mind off things and nudge myself into a calmer state of being.
See how doing so gradually changes how you think, feel and behave.
How has the discomfort you’ve felt in the past helped you grow? How can you better accept the discomfort you presently feel?
How does giving yourself full permission to be human feel right now? How will you remind yourself to do this more often?
What’s something you often take too personally even though, logically, you know better? How does consciously removing this burden from your mind in this moment feel?
How have your expectations of others gotten the best of you recently? How will you remind yourself to ease your expectations today?
Regardless of what’s going on around you, peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind.
How far have you come? How much have you grown? Think about the specifics of your recent and long-term growth.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Legendary Rock Climber Alex Honnold Gets Put Into an MRI, and the Results Are Surprising”

Honnold side-shuffled across this narrow sill of stone, heels to the wall, toes touching the void, when, in 2008, he became the first rock climber ever to scale the sheer granite face of Half Dome alone and without a rope.
Honnold is history’s greatest ever climber in the free solo style, meaning he ascends without a rope or protective equipment of any kind.
All of this has made Honnold the most famous climber in the world.
A month later, having studied Honnold’s scans, Joseph is on a patchy conference call to Shanghai, China, where Honnold is en route to climb, with ropes, the underbelly of the stalactite-spangled Great Arch of Getu.
On the same day he climbed into the MRI tube, Honnold also answered several surveys used by psychologists to measure the degree of a person’s sensation seeking.
He once filled out a similar questionnaire at an outdoors industry show, in which the question about whether he would ever consider rock climbing was illustrated by a photo of: Alex Honnold.
Honnold keeps a detailed climbing journal, in which he revisits his climbs and makes note of what he can do better.
Addressing a possibility raised by Honnold that a person could burn out his amygdala from overstimulation, LeDoux says, “I don’t think that could happen.” Still, when I describe Honnold’s total absence of amygdala activation during the scan tasks, LeDoux’s response is, “That sounds pretty impressive.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “We may have answered the Fermi Paradox: We are alone in the universe”

The sheer abundance of stars in the universe suggests that, somewhere, an intelligent lifeform should be warming itself on a distant planet.
Many solutions have been proposed to solve this riddle, known as the Fermi Paradox.
It’s likely they’ve never existed, they assert in the paper, titled “Dissolving the Fermi Paradox.”
The Fermi Paradox derives from a question reportedly posed by physicist Enrico Fermi during a 1950 lunch in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the state of New Mexico.
There are plenty of unknowns, but the equation suggests it’s plausible thousands of detectable alien civilizations could be roaming the Milky Way based on the probability of seven factors.
N: total detectable alien civilizations in the Milky Way.
Fc: fraction of intelligent civilizations that are detectable/contactable.
The authors assert that the chance humanity stands alone among intelligent civilizations in our galaxy is 53%-99.6%, and across the observable universe is 39%-85%. Since the Fermi “Paradox” exists only if we are confident alien civilizations are out there, this uncertainty suggests we may just be the lucky ones-thus, there is no such paradox.

The orginal article.

Summary of “At any point in life, people spend their time in 25 places”

At any given time, people regularly return to a maximum of 25 places.
“We first analysed the traces of about 1000 university students. The dataset showed that the students returned to a limited number of places, even though the places changed over time. I expected to see a difference in the behavior of students and a wide section of the population. But that was not the case. The result was the same when we scaled up the project to 40,000 people of different habits and gender from all over the world. It was not expected in advance. It came as a surprise,” says Dr. Alessandretti.
The study showed that people are constantly exploring new places.
The number of regularly visited places is constantly 25 in a given period.
If a new place is added to the list, one of the places disappears.
“People are constantly balancing their curiosity and laziness. We want to explore new places but also want to exploit old ones that we like. Think of a restaurant or a gym. In doing so we adopt and abandon places all the time. We found that this dynamic yields an unexpected result: We visit a constant, fixed number of places-and it’s not due to lack of time. We found evidence that this may be connected to other limits to our life, such as the number of active social interactions we can maintain in our life, but more research is in order to clarify this point,” says Dr. Baronchelli.
The work of Dr. Baronchelli and colleagues shows that those who have a tendency to visit many places are also likely to have many friends.
Explore further: Many people feel lonely in the city, but perhaps ‘third places’ can help with that.

The orginal article.