Summary of “The Insane 6-Day, 500-Mile Race That Riveted America”

The men on the track were Edward Payson Weston and Dan O’Leary, and what played out before a screaming fan base was more than just a race.
The two competitors drew lots to determine track position: Weston would walk on the inside track, O’Leary on the outside.
According to one observer, O’Leary walked with a “Straight form, quick stride, and bent arms.” He held his head up and looked straight ahead. Meanwhile, Weston seemed “Rather to drag than throw his feet.” Worse still, the observer bemoaned how he seemed “To carry his head on his breast and to see nothing but the dirt before him.” O’Leary’s crisp form translated into results, and he shot into the lead, completing his first mile in 11 minutes and 3 seconds.
Weston was convinced that fatigue would overcome O’Leary before the race ended.
Finally, as Saturday morning dawned, the outcome no longer felt like a question: O’Leary was ahead, 425 miles to Weston’s 395.
O’Leary paused, caught his breath-and then continued walking.
Men like O’Leary and Weston became celebrated heroes, seeing their images immortalized on some of the first cigarette trading cards, a precursor to baseball cards.
Great walkers like Weston and O’Leary didn’t stop walking, even as pedestrianism faded in popularity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Myth of the Skills Gap”

Proponents of the idea tell an intuitively appealing story: information technology has hit American firms like a whirlwind, intensifying demand for technical skills and leaving unprepared American workers in the dust.
The mismatch between high employer requirements and low employee skills leads to bad outcomes such as high unemployment and slow economic growth.
The basic strategy is to ask: what skills do employers demand, and do the employers that demand high skill levels have trouble hiring workers?
The data imply that we should be careful about calling for more technical skills without specifying which skills we are talking about.
My data show that employers looking for higher-level computer skills generally do not have a harder time filling job openings.
Proponents of the skill-gap theory sometimes assert that the problem, if not a lack of STEM skills, is actually the result of a poor attitude or inadequate soft skills among younger workers.
Only 15 percent of computer help desks demand programming, a number that is slightly lower than the percentage of manufacturing plants that require programming skills for their production workers.
We would ultimately like to ratchet up both employer skill requirements and employee skill levels, but doing so requires that we think not only about adjusting worker skill levels, but also about changing employer behavior.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Break the Outrage Addiction”

Whatever our ideological positions, scrolling through social media or reading the news, we get a delicious tingle of emotion over the latest scandal, the outrage du jour.
You might say that’s OK because outrage about injustices-like sexual harassment and abuse-fuels positive changes and causes us to become less tolerant of dangerous behaviors, as the #MeToo movement has shown.
The psychology of outrage is of increasing interest to academics because it seems to be fueling society and creating “a severity shift.” The more outraged we become and the more we see others upset, the more we feel justified in being angry ourselves, according to University of Chicago legal scholars who studied jury deliberation processes.
Just a cursory glance at the tenor of cultural discussion online and in the media reveals an outsized level of anger, hyperbole, incivility, and tribalism, according to political scientist Jeffrey Berry and sociologist Sarah Sobieraj of Tufts University, authors of The Outrage Industry.
“America has developed a robust and successful Outrage Industry that makes money from calling political figures idiots, or even Nazis,” Berry and Sobieraj write.
Most notably-as observed by a Harvard paper examining academic literature on anger’s effect on judgment-“Once activated, anger can color people’s perceptions, form their decisions, and guide their behavior while they remain angry, regardless of whether the decisions at hand are related to the source of their anger.” Scientific studies show that anger makes people indiscriminately punitive, careless thinkers, and eager to take action.
On the contrary, keeping a cool distance from the daily events that fuel your social group’s outrage makes you more capable of contending with reality and making decisions that might improve the direction or rhetorical tenor of events in the grand scheme.
Outrage won’t serve you or society unless it’s fueled wisely.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tuning Out The Noise”

“Love to hear you talk about how to get clarity and minimize distractions and noise around us. What techniques do you employ to find that focus?”.
As you grow older, you accumulate all sorts of “Things.” Even if you’re not a hoarder or someone who wants it all, your life will expand as the years go by.
You will have more friends, more stuff, more ideas, more goals, more wishes, more expectations.
You will have so many things in your life that you don’t know what’s important.
As your life expands, you keep on carving out the non-essential things.
Every day you struggle to tune out all the noise in the world.
There will never be a moment in your life where you will achieve focus and KEEP it forever.
If you want clarity in your life, you have to fight for it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our Pets, Ourselves”

Pets have become problematic, both in the new rights and privileges and emotional lives pet owners claim for them and in the deeper tensions those claims reveal about contemporary culture.
Even animals not featured in movies nevertheless become celebrities in their own right: An entire website is devoted to the fabulous lives of celebrity pets, including Gunther III, a German shepherd whose owner left him $80 million when she died, and Piggy Smallz, pop singer Ariana Grande’s pet piglet, who also makes frequent appearances on Grande’s Instagram account and was the star of the singer’s recent video for her single “Breathin.” Celebrities often post images of their pets on social media, such as the one featured by actor Mickey Rourke on Instagram in November: It was a picture of Rourke feeding his Pomeranian mouthfuls of spaghetti with a fork while the dog sat serenely in a high chair at the table of an outdoor cafĂ©.
Our changing feelings about our pets are most starkly revealed by our consumer choices: how much and for what we are now willing to spend to make our pets happy and healthy.
Even for cash-poor pet owners who can’t afford spa days and guided hikes for their animals, the reigning assumption is that humans should adapt to and accommodate the needs of their pets rather than the other way around, with the language of parenthood invoked to shame pet owners who might skimp on their responsibility to do so.
A 1915 guide to keeping pets written by an American naturalist included this admonishment: “There is no excuse for pampering, constant fondling, dressing up in clothing, and other ridiculous customs.”12 There are plenty of contemporary naysayers as well-some of whom argue that it is unethical to keep pets at all.
Two law professors from Rutgers University who write about animal rights describe their dogs not as pets but as “Non-human refugees. with whom we share our home.” They argue, “Although we love them very much, we strongly believe that they should not have existed in the first place.” That’s because the two professors “Oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals.” Pets are little more than “Animal slaves,” they say, and it is morally wrong to own them and treat them as property.
The intensity of many people’s feelings toward their pets prompts the question, At what point does emotional support become unhealthy fixation or dependence? Our pets shouldn’t function as four-legged Valium tablets or substitutes for human friends and partners.
Adopting her sensibility would protect pet owners from overvaluing or sentimentalizing the therapeutic power of their pets.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who Would Tavi Gevinson Be Without Instagram?”

The biggest discrepancy between Instagram reality and reality-reality was my and Rookie’s visibility versus our financial state.
Although we still had a steady readership who came straight to the site every day, Rookie’s Instagram became both crucial to directing existing readers to the site and a destination in its place.
Our Instagram presence still benefited Rookie but not as much as engagement on Rookie’s site would have.
In these conversations with media companies and potential investors, we were continually told that Rookie had a much better chance of survival and even financial success if I committed more fully to being its face in the style of Gwyneth or Girlboss or Oprah, which partly meant using Instagram a lot more.
Building my personal brand on Instagram also meant I could support myself more through sponsored content, which meant I could continue not taking a salary from Rookie, as I had since its inception.
Brands our publisher had secured for Rookie partnerships wanted a post on my Instagram as part of the deal, too.
They were divided on whether that was because Instagram explicitly favors certain types of data or because Instagram prioritizes, for each user, content similar to other content they’ve liked.
Not one to let a joke die without bludgeoning it, I spent a couple of hours walking around Times Square, filming myself searching for the algorithm – as in, backdrops that would perform well on Instagram.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Secrets to Dating a Non-Runner”

In the past five years, we’ve gone running together three times.
Being a runner who lives with a non-runner has its upsides.
The flip side is that the lunacy of running becomes more apparent when your partner is a nonparticipant.
Nora, my wife, was supportive of my increasing fanaticism, although I think it still baffles her that anyone would take running so seriously.
Even though it’s a subject I frequently write about, I’m always bashful about bringing up my own running.
In the opening paragraph of his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami writes that “a gentleman shouldn’t go on and on about what he does to stay fit.” He then goes on and on about something millions of people do to stay fit.
Such challenges of cohabitation are real enough, but traveling is the ultimate way to see how well a relationship holds up under duress-especially when one of you is a runner.
The idea is that dance, unlike running, is something we can actually do together.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Scientists’ Understanding of Anxiety is Radically Evolving-But How Long Will it Take for Treatments to Catch Up?”

Few scientists have contributed more to our understanding of fear and anxiety than Joseph LeDoux.
It helped to explain how emotions can overpower our rational minds, why we are sometimes captive to irrational phobias and the mechanism by which it is possible to feel overcome by a deep sense of foreboding and anxiety or “Gut feeling” without knowing why.
Her work has added to a growing body of evidence that brain structures other than the amygdala and BNST play a role in anxiety.
What parts of the brain the amygdala and BNST are “Talking to” may eventually prove crucial in finding more effective ways of treating anxiety.
They haven’t yet been translated into new treatments that might relieve anxiety.
The awkward truth about current anxiety treatments is that they are for the most part unproven.
Although 75 percent of patients who seek help for debilitating anxiety get “Substantially better” during the course of treatment, medical scientists don’t know to what extent these improvements are due to the treatments themselves or to the placebo effect.
Instead, says the Salk Institute’s Tye, they have relied largely on trial and error-“Shooting into the dark.” In recent years, many pharmaceutical companies, discouraged by the complexity of the mechanisms of anxiety in the brain, have reduced spending on R&D for anxiety medications.

The orginal article.

Summary of “11 Forgotten Books of the 1920s Worth Reading Now”

Reading about forgotten books and authors nearly 100 years later is a haunting exercise.
In this spirit, here are ten books from the 1920s that are worth reading now.
Dealing with the challenges of assimilation, arriving in a strange land, language issues, and the loneliness of immigrant life, Giants in the Earth is a haunting portrayal of prairie life.
Winner of the 1925 Pulitzer Prize, Edna Ferber’s So Big tackles important topics, like immigration, the role of art and culture in society, and how one lives her best life.
Let’s just make the case that Nella Larsen, a trailblazing librarian and writer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance movement, should be more widely read if the reader hopes to more fully understand the context, history, and evolution of black life in the early 20th century.
Writer Anzia Yezierska’s life is a biopic waiting to happen-Jewish immigrant living on the Lower East Side, sordid love life, affair with philosopher John Dewey, screenwriter dubbed “The sweatshop Cinderella,” women’s rights activist, and much more.
Babbitt’s plight provokes the reader and asks that we search for a something more authentic from life.
In a Heaven-like place called Elysian Fields after he is hanged for the murder, Mr. Zero realizes that he has lived an unfulfilled life, both despising the machine that replaces him, but also having gone through life in a robotic, lifeless fashion.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Spiritual, Reductionist Consciousness of Christof Koch”

Consciousness is a buzzing business in neuroscience labs and brain institutes.
Koch went on to a distinguished career at Caltech before joining the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.
The Institute recently made news with the discovery of three giant neurons connecting many regions of the mouse brain, including one that wraps around the entire brain.
If you look at a piece of dog brain or mouse brain and compare that to a piece of human brain the same size, only an expert with a microscope can tell for sure that this is a dog brain or a human brain.
Then slowly some of your brain boots up and you realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m in Beijing and I flew in last night.” The difference between nothing and something is a base-level consciousness.
There’s no principal reason to assume that brain size should be the be-all and end-all of consciousness.
You can lose the little brain at the back of your brain called the cerebellum.
The current state of my brain influences what happens in my brain the next second, and the past state of my brain influences what my brain does right now.

The orginal article.