Summary of “Why We’re Better Off With Fewer Friends”

We never need to lose touch with anyone, ever again, as our Facebook friends and Twitter followers grow by the day.
The growth in the number of our friends has actually been accompanied with an increase in social isolation, as Sherry Turkle describes.
OK, so more friends on Facebook doesn’t appear to be a great thing; what about more friends in the real world? Should we try and gain more face-to-face friends?
Fewer Real Friends Unfortunately, in the US and elsewhere it seems we’re going down the popularity route, instead of building close relationships.
In 1985, a survey asked people about how many friends they had discussed important matters with.
Quality time spent with your 15 closest friends and family will have a direct impact on your happiness, health and longevity.
As Ed Diener and Martin Seligman found from an analysis of very happy people, the thing that united them was strong ties to close friends and family and a commitment to spending real face time with them.
There is definitely joy to be gained from throwing a great party with loads of people and following the lives of our otherwise long-lost friends.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Romantic Regimes”

Together, these forces lead to the establishment of what we can call romantic regimes: systems of emotional conduct that affect how we speak about how we feel, determine ‘normal’ behaviours, and establish who is eligible for love – and who is not.
Unlike all previous lovers who ran amok and acted like lost children, the new romantic hero approaches his emotions in a methodical, rational way.
One of the greatest payoffs of doing The Rules is that you grow to love only those who love you.
In the Regime of Choice, the no-man’s land of love – that minefield of unreturned calls, ambiguous emails, erased dating profiles and awkward silences – must be minimised.
According to the polemics that Kipnis develops in Against Love, the only suffering the Regime of Choice recognises is the supposedly productive strain of ‘working on a relationship’: tears shed in the couples therapist’s room, wretched attempts at conjugal sex, daily inspection of mutual needs, the disappointment of a break-up with someone who is ‘not good for you’.
From the perspective of the Regime of Choice, the heart-broken Emmas, Werthers and Annas of the 19th century are not simply inept lovers Рthey are psychologically illiterate, if not evolutionarily pass̩.
Show me almost any romantic movie and I’ll show you a desperate and needy character who treats themselves like dog shit for the sake of being in love with someone.
Illouz, a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has argued persuasively that the individualistic appeal of the Regime of Choice tends to cast the desire for commitment as ‘loving too much’ – that is, loving against one’s own self-interest.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Still Life”

When it arrived fifteen minutes later, John was still on the ground, his body strangely still.
At the end of the song, they turned to look at the motionless John, who was smiling at his mother, cheerfully telling her she still sang off-key.
The photos of John in his football uniform were still on the wall, and his clothes from high school, including his jersey, his bell-bottom jeans, and his loud, patterned shirts with oversized collars, were still in the closet.
Ann was then in her late seventies, and she was still maintaining her daily schedule, changing John’s catheter, cleaning his bottom, and turning him every couple hours, refusing any help.
“To Mom, still kicking,” John said as she opened her present, a small bottle of perfume that Henry had bought at Dillard’s.
Five years later, on her eighty-seventh birthday, Henry again brought home takeout enchiladas and a bag of red licorice, and John again said, “To Mom, still kicking.”
John’s schoolmate Jeff Whitman, a prominent Dallas eye surgeon, came straight from a hospital, still wearing his scrubs, and Dave Carter, the former Hillcrest swimming coach, who had named his dog after John, already had tears in his eyes when he walked into the sanctuary.
In March, a year after John’s death, Henry still hadn’t accepted any offers to sell.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Four Desires Driving All Human Behavior”

Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying “Look at me.” “Look at me” is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart.
Love of power is closely akin to vanity, but it is not by any means the same thing.
What vanity needs for its satisfaction is glory, and it is easy to have glory without power Many people prefer glory to power, but on the whole these people have less effect upon the course of events than those who prefer power to glory Power, like vanity, is insatiable.
Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power, and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates.
In any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford.
Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure.
A thinker of exceptional sensitivity to nuance and to the dualities of which life is woven, cautions against dismissing the love of power as a wholesale negative driver – from the impulse to dominate the unknown, he points out, spring such desirables as the pursuit of knowledge and all scientific progress.
Complement Nobel Writers on Writing with more excellent Nobel Prize acceptance speeches – William Faulkner on the artist as a booster of the human heart, Ernest Hemingway on writing and solitude, Alice Munro on the secret to telling a great story, and Saul Bellow on how literature ennobles the human spirit – then revisit Russell on immortality and why science is the key to democracy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Varied, Still-Evolving History of San Vicente’s Basket Tacos”

While many of these basket tacos come from villages like San Vicente, about two hours east of Mexico City in the state of Tlaxcala, there is nothing more chilango than tacos de canasta.
San Vicente likes to bill itself as the one true home of the capital’s most emblematic dish, but like most everything in Mexico’s mammoth capital, the taco de canasta belongs to many places at once, created primarily by the drift of population between town and country that defined Mexico City in the 20th century.
According to Jeffrey Pilcher, author of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, those first tacos were probably quite similar to what we now know as a taco de canasta: a small tortilla folded around a simple, stewed filling and packed tightly in napkins to keep it warm.
“What’s now called tacos de canasta,” Pilcher says, “Was originally tacos mineros”-miners’ tacos.
The idea for the feria came from another San Vicente taquero, Zeferino Ruiz, who first started selling tacos in 1978 when he was 15 years old.
Whether the taco de canasta is the product of a particular man or woman, whether it’s really from San Vicente or Mexico City or Guadalajara or the abandoned barracks of a defunct silver mine is really beside the point.
Tacos mineros, tacos sudados, tacos de canasta; they all have their part to play in the creation of a tradition, both for an immense metropolis and a small village that, without it, might well have disappeared.
San Vicente describes itself as “The cradle of the taco de canasta,” but really San Vicente is just one part of its history.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the Fiercest Warrior in “Wonder Woman” Kicked Her Way Into Hollywood”

Madeleine Vall Beijner woke up face down on the floor.
“I had no idea how I had ended up there on the floor or how long I’d been laying there,” Vall Beijner recalls.
From there Vall Beijner was supposed to head to the World Championship in Malaysia.
Nearly a year after her last “Wonder Woman” scenes were shot, Vall Beijner flies to Los Angeles – her first trip to the city – for the U.S. premiere.
She and Daniel stop with their selfie stick to shoot themselves in front of the Hollywood sign for their just-launched reality show, posted on YouTube, “The Beijners.”
Seeing herself in the battle scenes on the big screen, with darker hair and no tattoos, is “Strange.” As second in command to General Antiope – played by Robin Wright – Vall Beijner’s Captain Egeria is seen slaying enemies in each of the film’s beach fighting scenes shot on Italy’s Amalfi coast, as well as in the “Throne room” when a captured “Steve Trevor” is ensnared by the Lasso of Truth.
Vall Beijner reunites with her fellow Amazons of Themyscira at the after-party, and then makes a beeline to thank Patty Jenkins for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Vall Beijner works out at an outdoor training facility in Stolkholm.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Global Mass Transit Revolution”

The world is building mass transit networks faster than ever before, and ridership is increasing to match.
The United States continues to lag behind both Asia and Europe in mass transit.
New York is the only North American city to rank among the global top-ten busiest transit systems.
That’s according to a report published by UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, which takes a close look at mass transit systems in 182 cities across the world.
Urban mass transit systems have exploded in recent decades as the world’s population has rapidly urbanized.
New York City is the only U.S. city with a transit system that numbers among the world’s ten busiest; many other U.S. cities saw their transit ridership decline in the past six years.
While there is much talk of driverless cars, the reality is that driverless or fully-automated mass transit is coming on stream much more quickly.
Even though fully automated systems make up just 7 percent of transit systems today, the study predicts the rapid “Mainstreaming” of fully automated metro transit, which does not require any human staff on board, in the coming years.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Invasive Treefrogs Have Snuck Into Louisiana and They Are Not Good Neighbors”

Cuban treefrogs, which can grow as big as the palm of your hand, compete with native treefrogs for shelter and are create a number of nuisances for people.
While waiting to meet with their collaborator from the zoo, Glorioso and his team discovered 23 Cuban treefrogs wedged behind a utility box on a bathroom wall.
Even more troubling, Cuban treefrogs have been displacing the native treefrogs in Florida and are likely to do the same in Louisiana.
Another possibility is that Cuban treefrogs are so aggressive about jamming themselves into every refuge that they are leaving native treefrogs without any shelter from predators and the elements.
Native green treefrogs actually don’t seem to be susceptible to the fungus, but Glorioso worries that Cuban treefrogs may spread it to more other more vulnerable amphibians.
Glorioso says, “We didn’t find any green treefrogs in the areas where we found the Cuban tree frogs-not one.” It turns out that green treefrogs hadn’t been found much in those parts of the park to begin with.
The scientists found a few squirrel treefrogs hiding alongside Cuban treefrogs in PVC pipes stored in the zoo.
In the meantime, there’s a good chance that Cuban treefrogs have settled into other locales beyond Florida but have not yet been recognized, says Steve Johnson, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 5 New Rules of Employee Engagement”

Maybe the question is, what should you not do about it? Employee engagement has become such a hot topic that great swarms of consultants and authors are undoubtedly banging on your door as we speak, armed with enough action plans and PowerPoint presentations to make your head swim.
“The problem with employee engagement experts is they take well-meaning concepts and overengineer them to the point that they don’t bear any resemblance to what normal people understand,” says Neil Morrison, group human resources director for Penguin Random House U.K. “Then we wonder why we have a disengaged work force.”
An important turning point for employee engagement experts came with Daniel H. Pink’s Drive.
The new mantra and related team-building exercises, like group-assembling a bicycle, yielded striking results: Turnover dropped, productivity increased, and employee surveys showed engagement levels rose.
Leading the naysayers was the late Robert Gerst, a Canadian statistician who kicked up a storm in 2013 with an article in the Journal for Quality and Participation that concluded, “The dirty little secret of employee engagement surveys is that they’re largely junk science.” Gerst, who died earlier this year, argued that most consultants conducting such surveys have a built-in conflict of interest: First they reveal that large swaths of your work force are out to lunch, and then they sell you services to improve that dismal situation.
One reason measuring employee engagement is so difficult is there is no consensus on what the term means, exactly.
As employee morale started slipping, Farid tried immersing himself in the literature of engagement and spending more time with his HR people, looking for ways to celebrate achievements and keep people excited.
Rule 5: Actually, Don’t Worry About Engagement After decades of rapid growth, the field of employee engagement is now suffering a well-deserved backlash.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Supermassive Black Holes Were Discovered”

While the concept of a star collapsing to a black hole is astounding, the possibility that material from millions and even billions of stars can condense into a single supermassive black hole is even more fantastic.
Very strong sources of radio waves were discovered and, when accurate positions were determined, many were found to be centered on distant galaxies.
How are immense radio lobes energized? Their symmetrical placement about a galaxy clearly suggested a close relationship.
The minimum energy needed to power some radio lobes can be equivalent to the total conversion of 10 million stars to energy! Note the thin trails of radio emission that connect the lobes with the bright spot at the center, where all of the energy originates.
In 1974, a very compact radio source, smaller than 1 second of arc was discovered there.
How much of the dark mass within the stellar orbits can be directly associated with the radio source Sgr A*? Were Sgr A* a star, it would be moving at over 10,000 kilometers per second in the strong gravitational field as other stars are observed to do.
Finding that the compact radio source Sgr A* is at the precise location of the unseen mass and is motionless provides even more compelling evidence for a supermassive black hole.
He uses radio telescopes across the globe simultaneously to obtain the highest resolution images of newborn and dying stars, as well as black holes.

The orginal article.