Summary of “‘Game of Thrones’: Bran Stark and the Problem of Omniscience”

“You held a knife to his throat,” cut in Bran Stark, the ever-less-chatty younger brother of Sansa.
Bran was referencing an incident from way back in Season 1, when Baelish betrayed Ned Stark, consigning the honorable family patriarch to execution.
Sansa employed hard-earned wisdom; Arya employed long-honed force; Bran employed expensively gained sight.
He finally met his match not because Sansa the self-described “Slow learner” finally caught on, nor because Arya had trained to kill, but because Bran’s magic omniscience unveiled all the hidden things Littlefinger did to the Stark family.
The often-criticized cliché of mystic disability-which explicitly or symbolically implies that bodily difference marks spiritual difference-has long been in full-force with Bran, who first began seeing visions once he lost the ability to walk.
The show explained these personality changes in the awkward farewell between Bran and Meera earlier in Season 7, during which Bran’s longtime companion said, “You died in that cave,” and he professed to not really be Bran Stark anymore.
Such haziness makes some sense within the story-he’s still getting a handle on his index-but it makes more sense for the integrity of the show: Bran, and hence the viewer, can’t solve every mystery all at once.
Bran’s omniscience gives the show’s writers more cover to cut corners.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It rains solid diamonds on Uranus and Neptune”

Consider this your daily reminder that the solar system is even more awesomely bonkers than you realized: On Uranus and Neptune, scientists forecast rain storms of solid diamonds.
Scientists have long speculated that the extreme pressures in this region might split those molecules into atoms of hydrogen and carbon, the latter of which then crystallize to form diamonds.
These diamonds were thought to sink like rain through the ocean until they hit the solid core.
“Previously, researchers could only assume that the diamonds had formed,” lead author Dominik Kraus, a physicist at the Helmholtz Dresden-Rossendorf research center in Germany, told the magazine Cosmos.
Neptune and Uranus are 17 and 15 times the mass of Earth, respectively, and their oceans are crushed by pressures millions of times more intense than the air pressure at Earth’s sea level.
The process lasted only a fraction of a second, and the diamonds were no bigger than a nanometer in length.
Kraus and his colleagues believe that the diamonds that develop on Uranus and Neptune are probably bigger and longer-lasting.
The results will be useful not just for understanding the outer gas giants but for improving the process of making diamonds.

The orginal article.

Summary of “LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy: ‘I was a joke. My wife said I was going to die'”

Some have interpreted this story as LCD Soundsystem announcing they were splitting up purely in order to sell tickets to a big show, but Murphy says, flippant or not, the more he thought about it, the more ending the band made sense.
For one thing, he had been predicting their demise from the start: their debut single Losing My Edge, written when Murphy was 32, was about feeling too old to be involved in music; even when the band took off, he kept telling interviewers he was going to quit before he was 40.
“I was probably sick seven months of every year, with bronchial infections, sinus infections, stuff I’d caught on a plane [I was a] germ factory, low on sleep, probably hungover, taking antibiotics that were like battlefield drugs like: ‘I don’t know if he’s going to get gangrene and lose the lower half of his body, let’s just give him this because we don’t have an operating table here,’ drugs. I was just like a fucking joke. My wife said: ‘You’re just going to die, I don’t even know why I married you.'”.
“We were set up, especially in America, to make a similar record to our last one, and just be way bigger. And that made me deeply sad. It just kind of sickened me. It’s playing a game, like pro wrestling. You know who’s going to win. And I felt as if I would have to fuck up, make a record that’s like – ‘Fuck you, everybody’ – which is so artificial when artists do that, when they forcefully destroy themselves. So it seemed like the most beautiful and honest thing to do was to just not do it.”
LCD Soundsystem ended with what Murphy describes as “a perfect swan-dive”: the Madison Square Garden show spawned both a documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits, and a three-hour, five-CD live album.
“The options were: the music I’m making just won’t be released, which seemed really arbitrary, weird and forced; I’m going to have a new pseudonym, a fake, also just absurd; or I’m going to make a solo record, which means I couldn’t play with my friends who were in LCD if I was going to play live.” He laughs.
“Well, it’s not going to become less of a theme because I’m not going to miraculously somehow get younger, and the world is not going to fetishise youth less but I don’t feel old because I’m not trying to make grime, I’m not making trap music. There are scenes that are interesting, but they’re so removed from me culturally that I don’t feel, ‘Uh-oh.'”.
“It’s an incredible gift my band gives me by going into rehearsals and allowing me to be a complete like, ‘Hey, infinitely better guitar player than me, can you hand me the guitar and can I show you what I mean?'” He shrugs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Health Care Providers Can Use Design Thinking to Improve Patient Experiences”

Many leading hospitals are starting to focus more on understanding the patient experience to solve these kinds of problems, as well as to improve overall patient experience and to lower costs.
One of the most promising approaches for understanding patients’ experiences has been design thinking, a creative, human-centered problem-solving approach that leverages empathy, collective idea generation, rapid prototyping, and continuous testing to tackle complex challenges.
If more leaders embrace design thinking, they can leverage a deeper understanding of patients to solve such problems, achieving better clinical outcomes, improved patient experience, and lower costs along the way.
How might design thinking be applied to the persistent and costly problem of no-shows? In Mary’s case, she couldn’t explain her concerns through the standard patient experience survey, which is initiated after an appointment and which comprises general questions focused on the medical visit.
To provide the human touch that is necessary to improve the patient experience, we have a team of coaches, trained in the importance of empathy in clinical settings, that teaches caregivers how to partner with patients and be more present with them.
Design thinking can be used to address challenges in a variety of domains related to the patient experience.
It’s every health care leader’s mission to improve patient experiences.
Design thinking is a useful process for doing so, as it requires decision makers to empathize with patients, think creatively, prototype, and continually test solutions to these problems.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Urban Revival Is Over”

Over this same period, the suburbs of Sun Belt cities like Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; and Denver gained population.
Low-density suburban counties are once again the fastest-growing parts of the nation, according to a deep dive into America’s 3,000-plus counties by the urban economist Jed Kolko, outpacing the growth rates of dense urban counties by a large measure in 2016, when they posted their fastest growth rates since the housing crisis of 2008.
Several factors have come together to potentially stymie the urban revival.
There would have been no urban revival without the sharp declines in violent crime in the 1990s brought on by demographic shifts, more effective policing and other factors.
Companies are competing for space in gentrifying urban districts, taking over old warehouses that might have been converted into apartments.
Two-thirds of people born since 1997, including those who live in cities, want to live in single-family suburban homes, according to a 2015 survey, but the costs make this aspiration prohibitively expensive in most urban centers.
Pre-emption, the use of state law to nullify municipal authority, and President Trump’s threats to withhold federal subsidies from sanctuary cities are creating a sense of siege in many urban areas.
For all the nostalgia about the seamy old days of Times Square, we should not look forward to going back to the urban economic and social dysfunction of the 1970s and ’80s. Stopping or reversing the urban revival would not just be bad for cities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “F.D.A. Approves First Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment, Costing $475,000”

Kymriah, which will be given to patients just once and must be made individually for each, will cost $475,000.
Discussing the high price during a telephone news conference, a Novartis official noted that bone-marrow transplants, which can cure some cases of leukemia, cost even more, from $540,000 to $800,000.
The first child to receive the therapy was Emily Whitehead, who was 6 and near death from leukemia in 2012 when she was treated, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
To customize Kymriah for individual patients, white blood cells called T cells will be removed from a patient’s bloodstream at an approved medical center, frozen, shipped to Novartis in Morris Plains, N.J., for genetic engineering and multiplying, frozen again and shipped back to the medical center to be dripped into the patient.
Five centers will be ready to start extracting T cells from patients within three to five days, the company said.
Medical staff members need training to manage these reactions, and hospitals are being told that before giving Kymriah to patients, they must be sure that they have the drug needed to treat the problems, tocilizumab, also called Actemra.
The F.D.A.’s approval of Kymriah ushers in “a new approach to the treatment of cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases,” the agency said in a statement, noting that the new therapy is “The first gene therapy available in the United States.”
Dr. Carl June, a leader in developing the treatment at the University of Pennsylvania, recalled that in 2010, when tests showed that the first patient was leukemia-free a month after being treated, he and his colleagues did not believe it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A former manager at Target became a millionaire by shorting volatility”

Just ask Seth M. Golden, who previously worked as a logistics manager at a Target store.
The 40-year-old, who lives in a suburb of Ocala, Florida, says he’s grown his net worth from $500,000 to $12 million in five years by shorting the CBOE Volatility Index – or VIX – according to a report from Dealbook’s Landon Thomas Jr. It’s a trade that’s worked extremely well this year: The VIX has fallen 19% as investors have looked unperturbed by middling economic data and escalating geopolitical tension.
Golden’s investment vehicles of choice are the Barclays iPath S&P 500 Short Term Futures ETN and the ProShares Ultra VIX Short Term Futures, Thomas found.
In Golden’s case, he waits for the VXX and UVXY to surge, then shorts them further.
Golden also sees a longer-term trend of volatility moving downward into a new, more subdued regime, Thomas found.
While Golden has found major success trading VIX-linked instruments, the massive short positions on the fear gauge – regularly identified as one of the market’s most dangerously crowded trades – have been a source of consternation for some in the investment community.
Still, those shorting the VIX continue to double down, Golden included.
He plans to start a hedge fund that will short the VIX, according to Thomas’ report.

The orginal article.

Summary of “UBS’s “utility settlement coin” could put cash on a blockchain in 2018″

The world’s biggest banks aren’t immune from cryptocurrency euphoria, with a range of projects underway to explore how traditional financial firms can benefit from the innovation.
Swiss banking giant UBS and 10 other companies say that they plan to use the technical idea behind bitcoin-a distributed ledger called a blockchain-for their own digital currency.
Banks like Barclays and HSBC are the latest to join the “Utility settlement coin” project, started by UBS and Clearmatics Technologies in 2015.
Alex Batlin, who heads BNY Mellon’s blockchain projects, led work on utility settlement coin at UBS at its inception.
Each settlement coin would represent fiat currency like euros and dollars on a one-to-one basis, and would thus be 100% backed by collateral at the domestic central bank, according to UBS. The idea is that exchanging the digital currency as payment for assets will be a more efficient means of exchange.
Because the digital coins will be backed by cash at a central bank, which cannot default, the crypto tokens are free from credit risk.
Central banks from Beijing to Washington have a similar idea, and are investigating whether they can issue their own digital currencies.
The Bank of England published research last year suggesting that a digital currency issued by a central bank could bolster financial stability, boost economic growth, and generally make monetary policy more efficient.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Seeing Emergent Physics Behind Evolution”

Goldenfeld himself is director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology, and he spends most of his time not in the physics department at the University of Illinois but in his biology lab on the Urbana-Champaign campus.
His interest in emergent states of matter has compelled him to explore one of biology’s greatest mysteries: the origins of life itself.
Quanta Magazine recently spoke with Goldenfeld about collective phenomena, expanding the Modern Synthesis model of evolution, and using quantitative and theoretical tools from physics to gain insights into mysteries surrounding early life on Earth and the interactions between cyanobacteria and predatory viruses.
Biology is a product of evolution; there aren’t exceptions to the fact that life and its diversity came from evolution.
So how can collective effects in physics inform our understanding of evolution?
The way life evolves in the present era is through vertical descent: You give your genes to your children, they give their genes to your grandchildren, and so on.
Life early on would have been a collective state, more of a community held together by gene exchange than simply the sum of a collection of individuals.
If you just have vertical evolution , the genetic code never becomes unique or optimal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Signal v. Noise”

As captain of the ship, you survey the seas - what your board is telling you, what your customers are telling you, what the market is telling you, what your employees are telling you - and steer the ship in a certain direction.
Making the call is only half the battle - the other half is communicating the call.
Leadership is making the call but explaining the call, too.
You can pose all the questions you want in surveys, have one-on-ones with each of your employees, gather their input at an all-hands meeting But it’s all moot if you don’t close the loop and say what you’re doing or not doing with it.
If you receive a piece of feedback that isn’t practical or doesn’t align with the company’s direction, tell your employees that.
If you don’t, employees will wonder, “What ever happened to that idea I suggested?” They’ll assume that you’re not open to receiving new ideas, and they’ll hesitate to bring up feedback the next time around.
Employees saw weeks go by, and wondered what happened to the survey responses.
The CEO eventually heard through the grapevine from an employee that some folks were worried that they were gearing up to fire a bunch of people - which wasn’t true at all!

The orginal article.