Summary of “Pay attention: Practice can make your brain better at focusing”

Practicing paying attention can boost performance on a new task, and change the way the brain processes information, a new study says.
“The brain is still figuring out ways to make itself better.” There’s a long-standing debate about how exactly paying attention helps us learn.
The question is: which part of this attention equation is more important for learning, and how is it affected by practice? To find out, researchers led by Sirawaj Itthipuripat at the University of California, San Diego, subjected 12 research participants to the least entertaining computer game in the world, while measuring their brain activity.
The researchers suspect that this more automatic phase is the result of the brain fine-tuning what exactly it needs to pay attention to, basically switching over to a process that’s more like muting the volume on the rest of the orchestra.
For some of the sessions, the students were told where the contrast-boosted circle might appear, and to pay attention to that spot.
Turns out, the students got much better at picking out the correct, contrast-boosted circle after two or three days of training when they knew which part of the screen to pay attention to.
Then as the task becomes more natural, another mechanism takes over that refines the pattern of brain activity that drives the task, cutting down on the neural background noise.
“The brain is still figuring out ways to make itself better.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Universe May Be Conscious, Prominent Scientists State”

In this view, the entire universe is inhabited by consciousness.
Without it, the universe doesn’t exist at all or at least, not without some sort of consciousness observing it.
Is consciousness derived from an invisible field that inhabits our universe? Getty Images.
Penrose in the 80’s proposed that consciousness is present at the quantum level and resides in the synapses of the brain.
For the sake of argument, if consciousness is a property that arises on the subatomic level with a confluence of particles, how do these tiny little bits of consciousness coalesce?
Here, consciousness is a manifestation with a real, physical location, somewhere in the universe.
Dr. Tononi has actually puts forth a metric for measuring how much consciousness a thing has.
The theory separates intelligence from consciousness, which some people assume are one in the same.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After Giving 1,000 Interviews, I Found the 4 Questions That Actually Matter”

If you’ve read anything about hiring best practices, you’ve probably read about hiring for culture fit.
While every company has a different culture, there are four questions that will help you identify if a candidate is a good culture fit, no matter where your company falls on the culture spectrum.
I’ve made great hires who were a near-perfect culture fit, and I’ve made less-than-stellar hires who ultimately didn’t work out.
That said, in my personal experience I’ve found these four questions to be hugely helpful in determining culture fit.
How did the culture at your last company empower or disempower you?
Asking specifically about the culture of their last company also tells you a lot about how they view the importance of culture.
No matter how wonderful your culture is, conflicts will arise.
How your team deals with conflicts is the true test of your culture.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Allen Iverson: BIG3 brings NBA legend back to the spotlight”

Today’s NBA is both an extension of Iverson, with all its trigger-happy guards, and a rejection, as teams avoid isolation, prize efficiency and analyze rest habits more than a newborn’s parents.
SI VAULT: Allen Iverson and Larry Brown are so much alike that only their mothers could tell them apart … and bring them together.
Sitting on a leather couch at Capitol Records in late May, where he is shooting promo spots for BIG3, Iverson has finished reflecting on crossovers and fadeaways.
“In fact, we’re at odds right now-and here I am, acting like you’re my damn counselor-because I went home to Virginia for Mother’s Day, and after she went back to Charlotte to take the kids to school, I wanted to stay a little longer. She was like, ‘Bring yo’ ass home.’ I messed up. I was wrong again. It’s still happening. I used to tell the media, ‘When I’m 40, I won’t make the same mistakes.’ Damn lie. I still get cursed out for the same things I was doing 15 years ago. But we’ve learned that we can agree to disagree. And she’s still Mrs. Iverson, which is the title I always wanted her to have.”
Twenty-six years after Iverson first played for Bailey at Bethel High School in Hampton-on the first day of conditioning, the 120-pound freshman wore an oversized T-shirt with baggy jeans and still ran a sub-five-minute mile, pulling his pants up every third step-he asked his old coach to get him back in shape for basketball season.
“That’s the most maddening thing about Allen Iverson. You really want to trust him and pull for him and believe he’ll be consistent this time, but he lets you down. I never thought he was a lost cause because he made a life out of proving people wrong. The best thing about him was that he could bounce back. So I suppose it’s possible he could do it again, not probable.” According to Not a Game, Iverson earns $800,000 per year as part of a lifetime contract with Reebok, and the company will grant him access to a $32 million trust fund when he turns 55.
“He’d help any young person in the league even if he wasn’t paid a dime,” says Gary Moore, Iverson’s manager, who discovered him at Stuart Gardens in Newport News when Iverson was eight.
Three-on-three half-court hoops was recently added to the docket for the 2020 Olympics, and who knows, maybe America will send 45-year-old Allen Iverson to Tokyo.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Integrate Data and Analytics into Every Part of Your Organization”

The stakes are high, with International Data Corporation estimating that global business investments in D&A will surpass $200 billion a year by 2020.
D&A should be the pulse of the organization, incorporated into all key decisions across sales, marketing, supply chain, customer experience, and other core functions.
What’s the best way to build effective D&A capabilities? Start by developing a strategy across the entire enterprise that includes a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish and how success will be measured.
One of the major American sports leagues is a good example of an organization that is making the most of its D&A function, applying it in scheduling to reduce expenses, for example, reducing the need for teams to fly from city to city for games on back-to-back nights.
Some organizations have D&A capabilities spread across functions, or rely on a few data scientists to provide insights.
In our experience, companies that build a D&A capability meeting their business needs have teams of data and software engineers who are skilled in the use of big data and data scientists who are wholly focused on a D&A initiative.
While structures vary, the team should be seamlessly integrated with the company’s existing providers and consumers of D&A, operating in cohesion with non-D&A colleagues – people who really understand both the business challenges and how the business works – to set and work toward realistic and relevant strategic goals.
In an age where data is created on a scale far beyond the human mind’s ability to process it, business leaders need D&A they can trust to inform their most important decisions – not just to reduce costs but also to achieve growth.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Don’t Take Your Marching Orders From Your Belly”

During the Winter War, Finnish troops held off and often won astonishing victories against the Russian forces invading their country.
Though few combat troops were stationed in the area being targeted – it was manned largely by medical and support personnel – the action would allow the Soviets to cut off the front’s only supply road. The Finns had launched many surprise attacks on the Russians; now the tables would be turned.
The episode is simply a very high stakes example of something we all do every single day: forfeit a higher good in order to satiate a lower desire or impulse.
“The most precious of all possessions, is the power over ourselves; power to withstand trial, to bear suffering, to front danger; power over pleasure and pain; power to follow our convictions, however resisted by menace and scorn; power of calm reliance in scenes of darkness and storms. He that has not a mastery over his inclinations; he that knows not how to resist the importunity of present pleasure or pain, for the sake of what reason tells him is fit to be done, wants the true principle of virtue and industry, and is in danger of never being good for anything.” -John Locke.
The brain stem and mid-brain control basic physiological processes and appetites; called the “Reptilian brain” it’s responsible for our more “Primitive” instincts.
Higher up still is the neocortex – the seat of our reasoning power and more complex, abstract, sophisticated thinking skills.
Appetites are only a problem when they are more powerful than our higher selves.
To let the noblest aspects of your character call the shots, rather than taking marching orders from your belly.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to prevent tick bites and Lyme disease during the tick threat of 2017.”

They turn to me because I’m a tick fiend: I’ve interviewed dozens of tick researchers and been to tick-borne disease conferences; I’ve covered the tick beat for Nature and Scientific American.
The year after a mast year, the acorn-gnawing mouse population booms, and then the year after that-i.e., right now-the mouse blood-sucking tick population goes bonkers.
Lyme usually takes at least 24 hours to transmit after a tick embeds-the range I’ve seen for most other tick-borne diseases is 12 to 36 hours, although there are scary exceptions.
Keep in mind, too, that tiny tick nymphs, which feed during the spring and early summer, are about the size of poppy seeds.
To give you an idea of just how awesome permethrin is: When members of the German army wore permethrin-treated clothes in tick-infested areas in 2010 and 2011, a single tick bite was reported among the soldiers each year.
We started using Bayer’s Seresto flea and tick collar a few years ago based on Mather’s recommendation, and we haven’t found a tick on our dog since.
Synthetic pesticides such as bifenthrin have been shown to effectively eliminate ticks, but they don’t reduce the chance that residents will get tick bites or a tick-borne disease.
Botanical treatments such as IC2, which is made from rosemary oil, also reduce tick numbers, but no one has studied how they affect the risk of tick bites.

The orginal article.

Summary of “You have fewer friends as you get older, and you spend more time alone”

Time with friends, colleagues, siblings, and children diminishes over the course of a lifetime.
The older we get, the person we spend the most time with is the one we see in the mirror.
That’s the conclusion of a recent, fascinating analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey, an annual census by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics of how Americans spend their hours.
The data do not count sleep, or time with people who wouldn’t be categorized in any of the relationships shown.
Time can also be counted twice: a party you attended with friends and your spouse would count for both categories.
Time with friends drops off abruptly in the mid-30s, just as time spent with children peaks.
Around the age of 60-nearing and then entering retirement, for many-people stop hanging out with co-workers as much, and start spending more time with partners.
Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How I Built an AI to Sort 2 Tons of Lego Pieces”

Even second-hand Lego isn’t cheap, sold as it is by the part on specialized websites, or by the boxed set and in bulk on eBay.
I noticed that bulk unsorted Lego sells for roughly €10 per kilogram, boxed sets go for €40/kg, and collections of rare parts and Lego Technic pieces go for hundreds of euros per kilo.
There exists a cottage industry of people who buy new sets and bulk Lego and manually sort all the pieces into more valuable groupings.
I decided to build something that would scan and sort each part accordingly.
Parts may be longer than a single image frame, parts can be a color that is extremely close to that of the background, and so on.
I came up with around 18 features, which included things such as the height of the part, whether or not it had any holes, how many studs were visible, and so on.
Another 4,000 parts went through the machine, 90 percent of which were labeled correctly! So, I had to correct only some 400 parts.
Once the software is able to reliably classify across the entire range of parts in my garage, I’ll be pushing through the remainder of those two tons of bricks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hike May Have Gone Too Far”

The authors stressed that even if their results hold up, their research leaves important questions unanswered, particularly about how the minimum wage has affected individual workers and businesses.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton called for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $12, and she faced pressure from activists to propose $15 instead. Recently the minimum-wage movement has faced backlash from conservatives, with legislatures in some states moving to block cities from increasing their local minimums.
Most – though by no means all – past research has found that modest increases to the minimum wage have little impact on employment, and that if employers do eliminate jobs or cut back hours, those losses are dwarfed by the income gains enjoyed by the majority of workers who keep their jobs.
Even some liberal economists have expressed concern, often privately, that employers might respond differently to a minimum wage of $12 or $15, which would affect a far broader swath of workers than the part-time fast-food and retail employees who typically dominate the ranks of minimum-wage earners.
The study is far from the last word on the impact of Seattle’s law, let alone the $15 minimum wage movement more generally.
Just last week another study used similar methods to reach seemingly the opposite conclusion: A report from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, found that Seattle’s minimum wage, “Raises pay without costing jobs,” as a press release on the study announced.
The University of Washington study suggests a possible flaw in that approach: That research, too, found essentially no job losses in the restaurant sector as a result of the city’s minimum wage hike.
An economist at the University of California, San Diego who has studied the minimum wage, said it isn’t surprising that Seattle’s minimum wage would have an unusually big impact because it is so much higher than most other minimums.

The orginal article.