Summary of “Alone: Lessons on Solitude From an Antarctic Explorer”

Fewer are familiar with another tale of Antarctic adventure, that of the almost five months Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent alone at the bottom of the world in 1934.
While Byrd’s journey was not outward but inward, his expedition to the farthest reaches of solitude covered a significant amount of ground, circumscribing the spirit of man and his place in the universe.
Why Byrd Decided to Spend a Season of Solitude at the Bottom of the World.
To address these yearnings, Byrd came up with a plan that aimed to kill two birds with one stone: during the long, dark Antarctic winter, he would man, alone, “The first inland station ever occupied in the world’s southernmost continent.” While the rest of his expedition team remained at the Little America base along the coast of the Ross Ice Shelf, Byrd would set up camp at Bolling Advance Weather Base on Antarctica’s colder, even more barren interior.
While Byrd discovered that a life lived in solitude offered many consolations, he was also very cognizant of its challenges.
While Byrd enjoyed two healthy, insight-filled months of solitude, thereafter conditions at Advance Weather Base unfortunately took a near-fatal turn, and cut short Byrd’s sojourn there.
If you plunged into a prolonged period of solitude and silence, away from every besetting distraction, what would happen to your mind? What insights would you discover? Would they be the same as Byrd’s? Different?
While most of us will never experience a state of silent solitude of the prolonged, all-encompassing kind inhabited by Richard E. Byrd, we can all find more pockets of it in our daily lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook killing news is the best thing that ever happened to news”

On January 12, Facebook announced that it would begin to de-prioritize news publishers and their stories in users’ News Feed over highly engaged-with content shared between friends and family.
The message is clear: in the messy news landscape of a post-Trump world, Facebook would like to distance itself from the ugly stuff.
Facebook, despite all its best intentions, is still just a dumb pipe – a thing that delivers, not the thing itself.
For Facebook, it’s bad if you read or watch content without reacting to it on Facebook.
There’s the opportunity for outlets willing to rely less on social networks to set their fate, publishers who have diversified their traffic sources, who have pushed back on Facebook’s News Feed carrots, who have built brands that resonate with audiences beyond what can be bought or given.
Value not gifted by Facebook could be a very good thing for publishers.
Maybe this time, when Facebook tells news organizations to fire 40 writers and hire 40 video producers, everyone will realize that the experiment isn’t always worth it just because people better at the internet than us tell us so.
Facebook, and its lack of understanding about what news is and how it works, made much of the mess we’re in – and profited off of it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Warren Buffett’s billionaire deputy at Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger, became an “expert-generalist””

Mental models: Charlie Munger’s unique approach to being an expert-generalist.
In connecting the dots across the disciplines, Munger has developed a set of what he calls mental models, which he uses to assess investment opportunities.
The quality of our mental models determines how well we function in the natural world.
Rule #1: Learn multiple models “The first rule is that you’ve got to have multiple models - because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models.”
Rule #2: Learn multiple models from multiple disciplines “And the models have to come from multiple disciplines - because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department.”
Rule #4: Use a checklist to ensure you’re factoring in the right models “Use a checklist to be sure you get all of the main models.”
Rule #5: Create multiple checklists and use the right one for the situation “You need a different checklist and different mental models for different companies. I can never make it easy by saying, ‘Here are three things.’ You have to drive it yourself to ingrain it in your head for the rest of your life.”
Each master manual is 50+ pages long and includes: A 101 Overview of the mental model An Advanced overview that includes a more nuanced explanation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A new theory for why Americans can’t get a raise.”

Since 1979, inflation-adjusted hourly pay is up just 3.41 percent for the middle 20 percent of Americans while labor’s overall share of national income has declined sharply since the early 2000s.
A recent study by a group of labor economists introduces an interesting theory into the mix: Workers’ pay may be lagging because the U.S. is suffering from a shortage of employers.
Studying monopsony has traditionally been tricky for economists, because they lacked good data that would let them analyze broad trends specifically in labor market concentration.
In their paper, the authors find that America’s local labor markets had a whopping average HHI score of 3,157.
According to one of their calculations, moving from the 25th percentile of labor market concentration to the 75th percentile would lower pay in a metro area by 17 percent.
In the perfectly competitive labor markets of economics textbooks, labor unions are basically dead weight that make companies less efficient.
If two health insurers merge, will Americans end up paying higher premiums? If a wireless company eats its rival, will our cellphone bills shoot up? In principle, the government’s lawyers can also consider what corporate consolidation will do to workers, but that tends to be a backburner issue.
Harvard University labor economist Lawrence Katz told me that he suspected the findings about market concentration and wages were directionally correct but that they may be a bit “Overstated,” because it’s simply hard to control for the health of the labor market.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s Motivations – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

Nearly three years ago I wrote in The Facebook Reckoning that any publisher that was not a “Destination site” – that is, a site that had a direct connection with readers – had no choice but to go along with Facebook’s Instant Article initiative, even though Facebook could change their mind at any time.
Back in 2016, on the 3Q 2016 earnings call, Facebook CFO Dave Wehner said that Facebook would soon stop growing the ad load on News Feed and that advertising growth would “Come down meaningfully.”
The third advantage is perhaps the least appreciated: buying ads on Google and Facebook is just so much easier.
For about as long as Facebook has been a going concern, the conventional wisdom about their downfall has remained largely the same: some other social network is going to come along, probably amongst young people, and take all of the attention away from Facebook.
In the U.S. the phone book is Facebook and the phone is Snapchat; in Taiwan, where I live, the phone book is Facebook and the phone is LINE. Japan and Thailand are the same, with a dash of Twitter in the former.
Another possible answer is that Facebook fears regulation, and by demonstrating the ability to self-correct and focus on what makes Facebook unique the company can avoid regulatory issues completely.
Facebook is a stand-in for the Internet’s effect broadly: were it not Facebook ruining media’s business model, it would have been some other company.
Facebook’s stated reasoning for this change only heightens these contradictions: if indeed Facebook as-is harms some users, fixing that is a good thing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The diabolical genius of the baby advice industry”

I knew all these things – but what I didn’t yet understand was the diabolical genius of the baby-advice industry, which targets people at their most sleep-deprived, at the beginning of what will surely be the weightiest responsibility of their lives, and suggests that maybe, just maybe, between the covers of this book, lies the morsel of information that will make the difference between their baby’s flourishing or floundering.
So “Two or three” books became six, and 10, and eventually 23, all with titles that, even before the sleep deprivation set in, had begun to blur into one other: The Baby Book and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and The Contented Little Baby Book.
Such mysteries begin to disperse when you realise that baby advice isn’t only, or perhaps even mainly, about raising children.
From five or six months old, I learned, we could choose to let our baby cry himself to sleep for a few nights, which the Baby Trainers felt was essential if he were ever to learn to “Self-soothe”, but which the Natural Parents swore would cause lasting neurological damage.
Or we could respond within seconds to every cry, sharing our bed with our baby, resigning ourselves to years of multiple nighttime wakings for breastfeeding, all of which the Natural Parents felt was the least a loving mother ought to do, not to mention the instinctive thing all mothers had been hardwired to do – but which the Baby Trainers warned would lead to brain-dead parents unable to properly discharge their duties, plus a maladjusted child incapable of spending five minutes in a different room from them, and probably also divorce.
Not for the last time in the history of the baby advice industry, Liedloff turned her disdain for parenting experts into a successful career as one, publishing a 1975 book, The Continuum Concept, which urged American and European parents to embrace the laid-back ways of the Ye’kuana.
It sold healthily, but its greatest effect was undoubtedly in the influence it had on William Sears, a devout Christian paediatrician from Illinois who incorporated its message into his own childcare philosophy, coining the term “Attachment parenting” and achieving breakthrough success in 1992 with The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know about Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, written with his wife, Martha.
The anthropological literature is littered with contemporary examples of baby-rearing practices that would appal both Baby Trainers and Natural Parents: among the Hausa-Fulani of west Africa, for example, there is a taboo against mothers making eye contact with their children; the Swazi of southern Africa sometimes don’t even name a baby until it is several months old.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Saving receipts can mean big money in 2018”

My New Year’s resolution? Save every receipt in 2018.That means receipts from every gas-station fill-up, grocery run and restaurant meal.
For years, I’ve been earning cash back on my everyday purchases by submitting receipts through smartphone cashback apps such as Ibotta, SavingStar and Checkout 51.It’s easy to make money back on your groceries if you’re willing to put in a little time.
Class action lawsuitsSaving the receipts should come in handy to earn money with future class action lawsuit settlements, which can add hundreds to thousands of dollars to your savings.
If you submit eligible receipts for a class action lawsuit related to a Burger King coupon snafu on Croissan’wich breakfast sandwiches, you’ll get a much bigger settlement than submitting a claim without proof of purchase.
That’s a huge difference but I doubt many people saved those receipts, which need to be submitted by the Jan. 19 deadline at www.
Scott Hardy, founder and CEO of Top Class Actions website, said the majority of people don’t attach receipts.
South Carolina residents have a new reason to save receipts for gas fill-ups and car maintenance.
Some store rewards programs also save copies of your receipts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are Millennials So Into Astrology?”

On social media, astrologers and astrology meme machines amass tens or hundreds of thousands of followers, people joke about Mercury retrograde, and categorize “The signs as …” literally anything: cat breeds, Oscar Wilde quotes, Stranger Things characters, types of french fries.
People tend to turn to astrology in times of stress.
A sincere burgeoning interest in astrology doesn’t mean people are wholesale abandoning rationality for more mystical beliefs.
Nicholas Campion, a historian of astrology, points out that the question of whether people “Believe” in astrology is both impossible to answer, and not really a useful question to ask.
People might say they don’t “Believe” in astrology, but still identify with their zodiac sign.
“Astrology is a system that looks at cycles, and we use the language of planets,” says Alec Verkuilen Brogan, a 29-year-old chiropractic student based in the Bay Area who has also studied astrology for 10 years.
Stevens’s story exemplifies a prevailing attitude among many of the people I talked to-that it doesn’t matter if astrology is real; it matters if it’s useful.
Many people offered me hypotheses to explain astrology’s resurgence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s Time for Apple to Build a Less Addictive iPhone”

The same company that always seems to turn up when it’s time to cross into a new era of technology: Apple.
There’s another, more important reason for Apple to take on tech addiction: because it would probably do an elegant job of addressing the problem.
Every tech company needs a presence on the iPhone or iPad; this means that Apple can set the rules for everyone.
With a single update to its operating system and its app store, Apple could curb some of the worst excesses in how apps monitor and notify you to keep you hooked.
For starters, Apple could give people a lot more feedback about how they’re using their devices.
Mr. Harris suggested that Apple could require apps to assign a kind of priority level to their notifications.
Apple could set rules for what kind of notifications were allowed in each bucket – for instance, the medium bucket might allow notifications generated by other people but not those from the app itself.
Apple released a statement last week saying it cared deeply “About how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them,” adding that it had a few features on addiction in the works.

The orginal article.

Summary of “3 daily habits of geniuses that can make you smarter”

Natural talent exists, but most people we consider geniuses still worked daily and put in considerable effort.
Reflecting for 10 minutes, reading for 20, and focusing for 30 minutes a day can help you get smarter at anything – even if you weren’t born brilliant.
Reflect for 10 minutes a day How often do you ask yourself why you do what you do?
Read for 20 minutes a day Taking time to read online is a great way to keep up and get ahead. The internet has a lot of good hiding in some of its corners, and there are many great minds that are sharing worthy content with the world.
An article like this may engage you, and you may even learn something new and valuable - and I hope people keep reading them - but it can’t quite do the job of absorbing you like a good story or some detailed research might.
If you were to read for 20 minutes, or about 15 pages of a book, every day, then by the end of the year, you’d have completed between 15 to 20 books.
While everyone spends 10 minutes reflecting, they don’t do so deeply; while everyone reads for 20 minutes, they don’t read the kind of things worth consuming; and while everyone works on something for 30 minutes, they don’t do so with the aim of purpose and progress, without distraction.
Want to think and live smarter? Zat Rana publishes a free weekly newsletter for 20,000+ readers at Design Luck.

The orginal article.