Summary of “Break Bad Habits With a Simple Checklist”

No matter how sophisticated your strategies to rid yourself of bad habits and create good ones, you’re less likely to succeed if you don’t track and review your progress frequently.
After receiving some particularly stinging feedback from a colleague that confirmed what his boss had shared, Yi-Min vowed to be a better leader.
Together, we crafted a plan to help Yi-Min achieve his goals.
In order to listen better, Yi-Min could have left all devices behind for every meeting, but that would be a hard shift to make.
Reviewing his patterns also allowed Yi-Min to recognize when he was ready to introduce another habit aimed at achieving his goal.
After practicing with one meeting a day, Yi-Min slowly increased the number of device-free meetings he attended until, four months later, he no longer used devices in meetings at all.
Yi-Min replaced the old one on the chart with the next one in his goal of being a better listener: paraphrasing what he heard at least once a day.
You can set goals to achieve your dreams or improve your behavior, but without actionable ways to move forward and a way to measure progress, you’ll fall back into your old bad habits once again.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Flaws a Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Wants You to Know About Yourself”

Dominant economic theory these days often makes that assumption.
What was left of this illusion was further dismantled by the The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who awarded the Nobel prize in economics to Richard Thaler, an American economist at the University of Chicago, for his pioneering work in behavioral economics, which examines humanity’s flaws-namely, why we don’t make rational economic decisions.
In 2014, a study by the Economic & Social Research Council found that 51 countries had developed centralized policy units influenced by behavioral sciences.
These flaws-or human traits, to be more charitable-may not seem unusual, but Thaler argues that appreciating the implications of human behavior has lost its importance in dominant economic theory.
As the field relied more and more on mathematics, there was a push to explain the world using rigid, complex economic models.
In a paper last year, Thaler wrote: “It is time stop thinking about behavioral economics as some kind of revolution. Rather, behavioral economics should be considered simply a return to the kind of open-minded, intuitively motivated discipline that was invented by Adam Smith and augmented by increasingly powerful statistical tools and datasets.”
Today, behavioral economics is still considered a somewhat separate subject within the broader discipline.
If Thaler has it his way, the field of study that just won him a Nobel prize won’t exist for long: “If economics does develop along these lines the term ‘behavioral economics’ will eventually disappear from our lexicon. All economics will be as behavioral as the topic requires.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them, Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness”

“Unless we are very, very careful,” wrote psychologist-turned-artist Anne Truitt in contemplating compassion and the cure for our chronic self-righteousness, “We doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves.” She urged for “The honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.” But how are we to find in ourselves the capacity – the willingness – to honor otherness where we see only ignorance and bigotry in beliefs not only diametrically opposed to our own but dangerous to the very fabric of society?
That’s what Carl Sagan explores with characteristic intelligence and generosity of spirit in the seventeenth chapter of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – the masterwork published shortly before his death, which gave us Sagan on science as a tool of democracy and his indispensable Baloney Detection Kit.
Sagan considers how we can bridge conviction and compassion in dealing with those who disagree with and even attack our beliefs.
If it is to be applied consistently, science imposes, in exchange for its manifold gifts, a certain onerous burden: We are enjoined, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, to consider ourselves and our cultural institutions scientifically – not to accept uncritically whatever we’re told; to surmount as best we can our hopes, conceits, and unexamined beliefs; to view ourselves as we really are Because its explanatory power is so great, once you get the hang of scientific reasoning you’re eager to apply it everywhere.
In the course of looking deeply within ourselves, we may challenge notions that give comfort before the terrors of the world.
Sagan notes that all of us are deeply attached to and even defined by our beliefs, for they define our reality and are thus elemental to our very selves, so any challenge to our core beliefs tends to feel like a personal attack.
Sagan’s central point is that we humans – all of us – are greatly perturbed by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, and in seeking to becalm ourselves, we sometimes anchor ourselves to irrational and ignorant ideologies that offer certitude and stability, however illusory.
In understanding those who succumb to such false refuges, Sagan calls for “Compassion for kindred spirits in a common quest.” Echoing 21-year-old Hillary Rodham’s precocious assertion that “We are all of us exploring a world that none of us understand,” he argues that the dangerous beliefs of ignorance arise from “The feeling of powerlessness in a complex, troublesome and unpredictable world.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How K-pop is luring young North Koreans to cross the line”

SEOUL – As a little girl, Ryu Hee-Jin was brought up to perform patriotic songs praising the iron will, courage and compassion of North Korea’s leader at the time, Kim Jong Il. Then she heard American and South Korean pop music.
Now, there is evidence that South Korean K-pop is playing a similar role in subtly undermining the propaganda of the North Korean regime, with rising numbers of defectors citing music as one factor in their disillusionment with their government, according to Lee Kwang-Baek, president of South Korea’s Unification Media Group.
Ryu is one of many defectors who say K-pop and Western popular music opened their eyes, convincing them that North Korea was not the paradise it was made out to be and that their best prospects lay abroad. In her bedroom in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Ryu would sometimes stay up all night watching a single music video on repeat – surreptitiously, for fear of the police.
“We were always taught that Americans were wolves and South Koreans were their puppets,” she said, “But when you listen to their art, you’ve just got to acknowledge them.”
Now, she has a successful career as a TV personality and an actress, mainly portraying North Koreans in South Korean films and dramas.
She says she dreams of North Koreans being able to watch her broadcasts, and of her parents tuning in, “So they can see how free I am.”
North Korea’s leaders have shown contradictory impulses when it comes to the South, pushing a narrative of Korean unification, even as they discourage cultural crosscurrents at home.
Last year, Kim attended a South Korean musical performance in Pyongyang that featured older music divas, male rock musicians and young K-pop acts, including a trendy girl band called Red Velvet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why You Should Think Twice Before Getting in a Pool”

You’re more likely to get sick from the pathogens in pool water than a natural body of water.
Water in streams and lakes can contain chemicals like pesticides that seep out of the surrounding land, plus bacteria from animal poop that’s in and around the water.
That’s why we established the Safe Drinking Water Act in the first place-because drinking water easily poses a major public health risk if not properly sanitized.
Most of the pathogens causing problems get transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning an infected person swims in water and the bug travels from their anus into the water, and then someone else either swallows that water or inhales aerosolized droplets of it.
About 80 percent of the illnesses contracted from treated water were caused by Cryptosporidium, a parasite that lives in animal intestines and spreads by shedding itself from feces into water sources.
The combination of warm water and lots of people from lots of places is trouble, especially if the staff doesn’t properly chlorinate their water.
Pool supply and hardware stores often carry testing strips for pools that determine chlorine level and pH. They’re light and portable, so you can stash them in your pool bag and make a habit of testing the water.
Any water with lots of humans swimming in it is likely full of potential pathogens, but at least in a larger body of water you’ve got the benefit of dilution.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are There Palm Trees in Los Angeles?”

Here’s something weirder: there are no palm trees.
Over the next 50 years, palm trees would become a major transformative force in the development of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, lined with palm trees, on a postcard from the 1930s.
Two tall palm trees at the San Fernando Mission, showing a horse and carriage, ca.1886.
The young city, wanting to attract people to a world of sunshine and cars, planted tens of thousands of palm trees.
Palm trees weren’t the only non-natives that the early planners of Los Angeles planted.
Every awards show, every red carpet, every movie and show shot in Southern California included palm trees.
Says Farmer, Los Angeles is not likely to ever let palms completely vanish.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Meet the Marathon Cheats”

For a sport with few material rewards, marathon running has produced some illustrious cheats.
His specialism is in outing runners who fraudulently obtain qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.
In 2018, a thread was posted to the Runner’s World forum: “London Marathon Cheaters – let’s do this”.
Several runners named in the thread told versions of the same story: they had intended to run the full distance until they became tired or injured.
For Convery, any marathon runner who takes a shortcut to the finish line is doing a disservice to the sport.
In a statement, he said: “We have processes in place which identify the very small number of runners with anomalies in their results and these runners are contacted by our results team to request an explanation. If no adequate explanation is received, their results are removed from the system and the runner is asked to return their finisher’s medal.”
Every year, more than 50,000 people will line up to run the New York Marathon.
Each will emerge with their own story: of overcoming mental and physical hurdles just to make it to the start line, of summoning previously untapped reserves to run a personal best, of races run in memory of loved ones or in support of meaningful causes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Prescription for Awe”

In 1832, Buckland rounded off the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Oxford by entertaining his audience with another novel interpretation of an extinct monster: the Megatherium, or giant sloth.
In his 1836 “Bridgewater Treatise,” Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, Buckland expounded at length on the ways in which divine oversight had prepared the earth as a suitable environment for humankind-right down to the geographical disposition of coal, iron ore, and limestone in the British Isles in ways suited to the needs of English capitalists.
Buckland’s efforts to advance science at Oxford proved to be no match for the conservative opposition.
In 1847, Buckland turned down an invitation to add his name to a list of supporters for a new Museum of Natural History at Oxford-a project he had once lobbied for enthusiastically, seeing the museum as a natural home for his ever-growing collections.
“Some years ago,” he replied to the invitation, “I was sanguine, as you are now, as to the possibility of Natural History making some progress at Oxford, but I have long come to the conclusion that it is utterly hopeless.”9 Buckland died in Islip in 1856, having taken no further part in his colleagues’ efforts to create the new museum.
Buckland’s once-longed-for Museum of Natural History was eventually built-the cornerstone was laid in 1855-and was nearing completion in the summer of 1860, when the British Association for the Advancement of Science was due, once again, to visit Oxford.
The advocates who took up the museum’s cause after Buckland stepped away prevailed only by doggedly reiterating his original argument-that the scientific study of nature was not merely compatible with, but genuinely supportive of, true religion.
Buckland would have been appalled by the pretensions of contemporary young “Earth Creationists” like Kentucky Creation Museum Founder Ken Ham, who claim that the history of life on earth can simply be read out of scripture with no regard for the findings of science.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Quit Trying To Be A Superhero”

Hi there, superhero! How are you? Working on a lot of projects simultaneously? Planning a holiday? Taking care of the family? Paying the bills? Hitting the gym every day? Going out with friends? And always solving problems that are not even yours?
You might think that too much work and responsibilities cause burn out.
I’ve been working hard ever since I was in my teens.
Throughout the years, you’ll get better at coping with stress, effectiveness, and working more hours.
You can’t handle a lot of work if you dread work and always look for pleasure.
The question you should ask yourself is not: “Can I handle hard work?”.
If you want to work with others, you have to trust them.
If you don’t know what your purpose is, work on it now.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Real Reason the Sound of Your Own Voice Makes You Cringe”

Most of us have shuddered on hearing the sound of our own voice.
Not liking the sound of your own voice is so common that there’s a term for it: voice confrontation.
A common explanation often found in popular media is that because we normally hear our own voice while talking, we receive both sound transferred to our ears externally by air conduction and sound transferred internally through our bones.
Basically, the reasoning is that because our recorded voice does not sound how we expect it to, we don’t like it.
Dr Silke Paulmann, a psychologist at the University of Essex, says, “I would speculate that the fact that we sound more high-pitched than what we think we should leads us to cringe as it doesn’t meet our internal expectations; our voice plays a massive role in forming our identity and I guess no one likes to realise that you’re not really who you think you are.”
When their own voice was secretly mixed in with these samples, participants gave significantly higher ratings to their voice when they did not recognise it as their own.
Through their experiments, the late psychologists Phil Holzemann and Clyde Rousey concluded in 1966 that voice confrontation arises not only from a difference in expected frequency, but also a striking revelation that occurs upon the realisation of all that your voice conveys.
He stands by the Holzemann and Rousey studies, saying: “When we hear our isolated voice which is disembodied from the rest of our behaviour, we may go through the automatic process of evaluating our own voice in the way we routinely do with other people’s voices I think we then compare our own impressions of the voice to how other people must evaluate us socially, leading many people to be upset or dissatisfied with the way they sound because the impressions formed do not fit with social traits they wish to project.”

The orginal article.