Summary of “The Hardest Effect I Ever Pulled Off”

As part of Vulture’s weeklong series of stories about the wonder of special effects, we spoke to 35 filmmakers – directors, cinematographers, effects artists – about the toughest effect they’ve ever pulled off.
The hardest visual effect would probably be at the end of the movie – the whole showdown with Emily [Blunt] and Millie [Simmonds], when Emily is pointing the gun.
Mimi Leder, director: The hardest visual effect I’ve ever encountered was when I was making Deep Impact with ILM, creating the water coming across New York City.
Even though it may not be the flashiest effect, or the most Emmy-winning effect we’ve ever done, I learned the most.
When you’re grounded, when you’re taking input from all of these other pieces of the filmmaking process, and you’re using visual effects to integrate – to play jazz off of all of the different artists and people who are making this image on film – it becomes something that’s more than just a visual effect.
Kevin Kolsch, director: What really made the effect hard wasn’t the actual play of the effect, but the aftermath.
Tom Woodruff Jr., director and effects artist: The hardest effect I’ve ever done always goes back to Mortal Kombat with Goro, the four-armed creature.
Susanne Bier, director: The hardest special effect was the rapids with the kids and Sandy [Bullock], because it’s such a combination of Sandy and the two kids, stunts, effects.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Early childhood education yields few academic benefits”

If one set of studies is wrong, that has profound implications for how we should be spending that money instead. Here’s an explanation that makes sense of all the research: The benefits of early childhood education aren’t coming from the academic skills they teach students.
Early childhood education’s effects fade – except the ones that persist decades later In the past few years, early childhood education has taken a beating in studies of its effects a few years down the road. The Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a massive study of Head Start, the flagship early childhood education program, and found “The benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole.”
Pessimists about education interventions have pointed out that the recent studies, which found no effects from early childhood education interventions, are randomized control trials, which are considered the gold standard for research into policies like these.
Early childhood education programs have life-affecting long-term health outcomes, which is likely because the education interventions are often packaged with health interventions.
It seems possible that much of the benefits from early childhood education are actually from the health interventions – which is a big deal because those parts of the program are much less expensive than the preschool parts.
So the most important effect from early childhood education may be that these programs are places where parents can leave their children all day, allowing the parents to work a full-time job or pursue higher education.
If the benefits of early childhood education come from its effect on low-income families, everyone trying to evaluate it by testing second-grade math scores is looking in the wrong direction.
In announcing his philanthropic venture into early childhood education, Jeff Bezos said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. And lighting that fire early is a huge leg-up for any child.” That’s compelling – and it’s not related to the real case for the impact of these programs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Midlife crisis? It’s a myth. Why life gets better after 50”

If you or someone important in your life shows symptoms of midlife restlessness, be alarmed! The dashboard is flashing red.
Most of what people think they know about midlife crisis – beginning with the notion that it is a crisis – is based on harmful myths and outdated stereotypes.
The idea of the midlife crisis first appeared in an article by the psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in 1965 and soon caught on in popular culture.
Psychologists found no such phenomenon when they investigated, but the idea of the midlife crisis refused to fade.
How satisfied you feel at any given time will depend on many things; but the independent effect of ageing is more than enough to make a noticeable difference, especially if the rest of your life is stable and smooth.
Contrary to the American Beauty stereotype, most of us slog through a midlife slump without acting out, which is fortunate, because a slump can indeed become a crisis if it leads people to make impulsive and costly mistakes.
Combine the false assumptions listed above, and the picture emerges of midlife crisis as an unjustified, self-indulgent form of acting out by fortunate people who should be more grateful.
The result is that millions of people who are working through a midlife transition do so in silence and isolation, afraid to talk about it, often even with their spouses, for fear of setting off a family panic or being told they need medication.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can meditation really make the world a better place?”

Studies on the prosocial effects of meditation almost always support the power of meditation – the power not only of transforming the individual but of changing society.
Our analysis suggests that meditation per se does not, alas, make the world a more compassionate place.
Here the results of our analysis suggest that meditation per se does not, alas, make the world a more compassionate place.
In the heydays of transcendental meditation research in the 1970s, Jonathan C Smith developed a 71-page manual describing the rationale and benefits of a meditation technique.
The media buzz around meditation – which portrays it as a cure for a range of mental-health problems, the key to improved wellbeing and to changing one’s brain for the better – is also very likely to feed back to participants, who will expect to see benefits from a meditation intervention.
In the study of meditation there is another complication: many of the researchers, and therefore the reviewers of journal articles, are personally invested in meditation not only as practitioners and enthusiasts but also as providers of meditation programmes from which their institutions or themselves financially profit.
What if meditation doesn’t work for you? Or worse, what if it makes you feel depressed, anxious or psychotic? The evidence for such symptoms is predictably scarce in recent literature, but reports from the 1960s and ’70s warn of the dark side of transcendental meditation.
We] haven’t stopped believing in meditation’s ability to fuel change but [we are] concerned that the science of meditation is promoting a skewed view: meditation wasn’t developed so we could lead less stressful lives or improve our wellbeing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What does running do to your brain?”

Their findings confirm what many runners know from their own experience: we can use running as a tool to improve the way we think and feel.
For obvious reasons, you cannot run while you are inside a brain scanner, so the neuroscientists studied the brain at rest.
Brain scans show that meditation and running can have a somewhat similar effect on the brain; simultaneously engaging executive functions and turning down the chatter of the default mode network.
Too, are cottoning on to the therapeutic effects of running: I recently worked with running-shoe company Saucony to create a podcast about the effects of running on the mind.
Running has never quite done that for me, but we do now know more about the potent chemical rewards that running triggers in the brain.
They used functional brain imaging to show that, in trained runners, beta-endorphin levels do indeed spike in the brain after a two-hour run.
It is definitely the case that your gender, genetic profile, fitness, expectations and many other factors besides will influence the way your brain responds to running.
While the physical benefits of running and aerobic exercise are well established, we are starting to see why running can have profound benefits for mental health, too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Pygmalion Effect: Proving Them Right”

The Pygmalion effect is a psychological phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area.
The Pygmalion effect has profound ramifications in schools and organizations and with regard to social class and stereotypes.
Understanding the Pygmalion effect is a powerful way to positively affect those around us, from our children and friends to employees and leaders.
The Pygmalion effect shows us that our reality is negotiable and can be manipulated by others – on purpose or by accident.
Of course, the Pygmalion effect works only when we are physically capable of achieving what is expected of us.
Instead, the Pygmalion effect seems to involve us leveraging our full capabilities and avoiding the obstacles created by low expectations.
Research by McClelland and Atkinson indicates that the Pygmalion effect drops off if we see our chance of success as being less than 50%. If an endeavor seems either certain or completely uncertain, the Pygmalion effect does not hold.
The important point to note about the Pygmalion effect is that it creates a literal change in what occurs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Moat Map – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

The idea of a network effect is that an additional user increases the value of a good or service, and indeed all of these companies depend on network effects.
For Facebook the network effect that matters is users – a social network’s most important feature is whether your friends and family are using it.
Google has network effects of its own, but they are less about users and more about data: more people searching makes for better search results, because of the system Google has built to relentlessly harvest, analyze, and iterate on data.
Microsoft, befitting the point I made above about the expansiveness of its ecosystem, has the most “Externalized” network effect of all: there is very little about Windows, for example, that produces a network effect, but the ecosystem on top of Windows produced one of the greatest network effects ever.
Google similarly has internalized its network effects and commoditized its supplier base; however, given that its supply is from 3rd parties, the company does have more of a motivation to sustain those third parties.
I continue to believe that Apple’s moat could be even deeper had the company considered the above Moat Map: the network effects of a platform like iOS are mostly externalized, which means that highly differentiated suppliers are the best means to deepen the moat; unfortunately Apple for too long didn’t allow for suitable business models.
On the opposite side of the map are phone carriers in a post-iPhone world: carriers have strong network effects, both in terms of service as well as in the allocation of fixed costs.
In the case of Apple and apps, for example, I absolutely believe the company could have made different strategic choices had it fully appreciated the interaction between supplier differentiation and network effects.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Butterfly Effect: Everything You Need to Know About this Powerful Mental Model”

The butterfly effect is the idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system.
Although the concept of the butterfly effect has long been debated, the identification of it as a distinct effect is credited to Edward Lorenz.
The butterfly effect is somewhat humbling-a model that exposes the flaws in other models.
Ray Bradbury, the Butterfly Effect, and the Arrow of Time.
These interconnected concepts – the butterfly effect, chaos theory, determinism, free will, time travel – have captured many imaginations since their discoveries.
Films ranging from It’s a Wonderful Life to Donnie Darko and the eponymous Butterfly Effect have explored the complexities of cause and effect.
Chaos theory in markets addresses the behavior of strategic and dynamic moves of competing firms that are highly sensitive to existing market conditions triggering the butterfly effect.
The butterfly effect in economics refers to the compounding impact of small changes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This incredible optical illusion is blowing people’s minds “

“I love tricking the brain on any level and making the impossible possible,” explains Ms Skye.
“In my version of the famous Café-Wall illusion, I have mixed together both the original Café-Wall illusion that was made famous by Richard Gregory-and which showcases the brickwork laid on the wall of a café in Bristol, England-with the work of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, who has developed a number of different versions using the same underlying effect.”
“Other versions of this effect were later discovered, such as the Café Wall variant, and in my version I have summed two very strong versions of this effect to heighten the illusion even more.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Psychologists Shouldn’t Cite That Famous Hungry Judge Study”

As Glöckner notes, one surprising aspect of this study is the magnitude of the effect: “A drop of favorable decisions from 65% in the first trial to 5% in the last trial as observed in DLA is equivalent to an odds ratio of 35 or a standardized mean difference of d = 1.96.”.
This study might seem to be a convincing illustration of such an effect.
That’s the effect size in the hungry judges study.
If hunger had an effect on our mental resources of this magnitude, our society would fall into minor chaos every day at 11:45 a.m. Or at the very least, our society would have organized itself around this incredibly strong effect of mental depletion.
The first is the effect that a jury’s final verdict is likely to be the verdict a majority initially favored, which 13 studies show has an effect size of r = 0.63, or d = 1.62.
In their entire database, some effect sizes that come close to d = 2 are the findings that personality traits are stable over time, people who deviate from a group are rejected from that group, or that leaders have charisma.
There are simply no plausible psychological effects that are strong enough to cause the data pattern in the hungry judges study.
It is up to authors to interpret the effect size in their study, and to show the mechanism through which an effect that is impossibly large, becomes plausible.

The orginal article.