Summary of “Goals Don’t Replace Systems -and Vice Versa”

People who claim that setting goals are a bad thing are out of their minds.
I know there’s a lot of confusion about goals and systems these days.
A lot of us share the idea that you either have a system or set goals.
So in this article, I’ll explain why goals and systems complement each other, and why I have both.
Why You Need Goals Every time I read about people who claim you shouldn’t set goals, I get upset.
One thing we must be aware of is that we keep an open mind: Goals and systems change all the time.
Change your goals and systems as your priorities change.
Why You Need Higher Goals We’ve established that we need both goals and systems to live a good life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a $500 Monthly Allowance Saved Our Marriage”

In September of 2010, my husband, Chris, and I adopted an allowance system.
Ever since, we’ve granted each other $500 a month to spend however we want, no questions asked.
Chris’ mother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, alone, when she was 16 years old; eventually, she earned a Ph.D. from William & Mary, which is how she supported Chris and his sister.
In a 2016 essay for the New York Times, Alain de Botton suggested that a good question to ask your partner before getting married would be: “And how are you crazy?” This is how I am crazy.
The reason we had to institute an allowance system was because I cannot be questioned about buying Jaws T-shirts, or sneakers, or the occasional out-of-print biography going for $55, used, on Amazon.
Spending money on such things is key to my enjoyment of adulthood, and really my ability to accept its conditions at all-there’s no way I’d put up with all the BS it takes to earn money if these freedoms went away.
Seeing the benefit of the formalized math, Chris said we should institute an allowance system for discretionary spending, so that we could at last stop fighting about small purchases with their wildly outsize and disproportionate emotional valence.
I’ve saved one-third of this money while Chris has saved about half.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our grasslands have been poisoned by intensive farming”

Like many farmers, Zeke discouraged his children from coming back to the farm – ‘too hard a life never get ahead’.
Farmers and eaters alike know what our agricultural system needs to do for us, so why can’t we make it happen? In the United States, many of the worst excesses of intensive agriculture are apparent, and most of us are suffering in a system that provides calories mainly for confined livestock doused with antibiotics, processed foods with empty calories, and transportation ethanol whose energy-conversion efficiency is about zero.
Local grazing networks bring together small groups of like-minded livestock farmers to participate in ‘pasture walks’ on their own farms.
In the words of one grass farmer, his peers ‘serve as constructive critics, extra sets of observing eyes, fellow commiserators, question-raisers – and, most importantly, these people are genuinely interested and dedicated to making grazing work even better on everyone’s farms.
Well-managed, properly grazed grasslands are healthier for animals and more profitable to farmers than operations in which livestock are confined and fed intensively.
The elephant in the room is the US Farm Bill and its programmes that direct more than 90 per cent of taxpayer support for farmers toward annual crop-production and confinement-livestock systems, and the food industry they support.
Farming is not just another sector of our free-market economy, and continually increasing productivity is not an effective paradigm for a sustainable system to feed humanity and safeguard our planet.
We’ve seen many farmers such as Zeke save their farms and their futures by turning to grassland, but it’s not happening at a high enough rate to save family farming.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did”

The hospital in Bergamo was not the only hospital in the area dealing with a lack of capacity and rationing of care.
The same day, I heard from a manager in the Lombardy health care system, among the most advanced and well-funded in Europe, that he saw anesthesiologists weeping in the hospital hallways because of the choices they are going to have to make.
In the days since, overwhelmed hospitals have set up tents as makeshift hospital wards, and cargo containers have been placed at the entrances of medical centers to sort out patients coming at an increasing pace.
Until last week, the Italian public health care system had the capacity to care for everyone.
Our country has universal health care, so patients aren’t turned away from hospitals here.
As of Friday night, 1,266 people have died in Italy due to the outbreak.
Italy has now been in lockdown since March 9; it took weeks after the virus first appeared here to realize that severe measures were absolutely necessary.
According to several data scientists, Italy is about 10 days ahead of Spain, Germany, and France in the epidemic progression, and 13 to 16 days ahead of the United Kingdom and the United States.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our Solar System Is Even Stranger Than We Thought”

How special is the solar system? The history of astronomy has mostly been a one-way journey from a worldview in which our solar system is orderly to a view in which we are not special.
Our solar system’s planets, once thought to dance in god-ordained perfect circles in a “Music of the spheres,” deviate from circular orbits.
If one planet is 1.5 times the radius of Earth, the other planets in the system are very likely to be 1.5 times the radius of Earth, plus or minus a little bit.
In our solar system, planets range from the size of Mercury to Jupiter.
A representation of the planet sizes and spacings in each of the multi-planet systems with four or more planets from the California Kepler Survey, and our solar system.
Theories of planet formation were mostly written before the discovery of the first exoplanet; their purpose was to explain the emergence of our own solar system from a disk of gas and dust.
Because our solar system is not a system of equal-mass planets at regular spacing, the rise of oligarchs is considered a mere chapter in our solar system’s history, an early pattern that was later overwritten by violent impacts that formed our very dissimilar terrestrial planets.
Or we might find additional planets in these systems that break from the pattern, just as the discovery of Uranus deviated from Kepler’s proposed pattern for the orbits in our solar system.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The World Economy Runs on GPS. It Needs a Backup Plan”

There are 2 billion GPS receivers in use around the world, a number that Europe’s satellite navigation agency estimates will hit 7 billion by 2022.
One of the loudest voices pleading to shore up GPS vulnerabilities is Dana Goward, who runs the nonprofit Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation.
In between, the unit monitors the GPS network for quirks and defects, based on precise navigation and timing signals the airmen send the satellites every 1.5 seconds.
“The thing people get concerned about is, what if someone very gently drifts time ahead or back for the purpose of injecting confusion into the operations of the financial industry?” Even though most major Wall Street companies have their own atomic clocks to backstop GPS timing, introducing subtle anomalies could spook the algorithms that run the world of high-frequency trading, sparking a mass sell-off.
Inside, past the armed guards, a half-dozen workers in calf-length jackets, hairnets, and shoe coverings, all antistatic and lint-free, are assembling the next generation of GPS satellites.
The tests mimic the conditions of outer space using pumps and cold or hot air, yielding low pressures and temperatures ranging from -238F to 302F. The GPS 3 satellites are designed to last 15 years, 25 percent longer than the current generation, which have far exceeded their life expectancy thanks in part to careful fuel management.
The GPS 3s also provide a signal eight times stronger, which makes it tougher to jam, with triple the location accuracy.
There’s been no serious effort to set up the backup system in the U.S., even though military officials briefed members of Congress on GPS vulnerability by 1997.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Do People Faint?”

Sufficient blood pressure is necessary in order to deliver blood – and therefore oxygen – to all of the tissues in your body.
The brain, which when you’re sitting or standing is above the level of your heart, especially relies on sufficient pressure to overcome gravity and drive blood up to your head. So what can interrupt that process and cause you to hit the deck before you even know what’s going on?
Think about someone who faints at the sight of blood.
If the parasympathetic system overcompensates and lowers the heart rate too much, blood pressure can decrease too much, the brain gets less oxygen and you lose consciousness.
Even the thought of blood can trigger some people to faint.
If one were actually hemorrhaging, or losing blood, the lying down, motionless posture would preserve blood and reduce further injury.
In one study of healthy people, watching a video of a blood draw led to slightly greater activation of the parasympathetic response than did watching a very similar video of an injection, suggesting there is something special about the blood itself.
If you do feel faint, bend your knees or elevate your legs to facilitate blood flow to your brain.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”Personal Kanban”: A Life-Changing Time-Management System That Explodes the Myth of Multitasking”

One such system is “Personal Kanban,” which was named for the Japanese concept that inspired it, a just-in-time manufacturing process developed at Toyota in the late 1940s.
James Benson, a former urban planner based in Seattle who authored Personal Kanban: Mapping Work - Navigating Life, tells Quartz that industrial Kanban was a way for Toyota to avoid overproducing.
The “Options” column makes it possible to see everything that’s on your list and assess what’s manageable or not.
The middle column is the “Now” that matters most, according to Benson, and should never contain more than three tickets.
Squeezing more than three items into the “Doing” column, on the other hand, likely means you’re taxing your brain and slowing it down.
Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, his business partner and co-author of the Personal Kanban book, have come up with matrixes to rank the items you most enjoyed doing, least enjoyed, slapped together in a hurry, felt no control over, and so on.
Benson first designed Personal Kanban for software developers about 10 years ago, but he says IT workers weren’t that interested.
Several popular software programs are based on the Kanban system, too, including Pivotal Tracker, and Trello.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Ancient Peruvian Mystery Solved From Space”

Known as puquios, their origin has been a puzzle – one that could only be solved from space.
What adds to the intrigue in the native ancient people of Nasca is how they were able to survive in an area where droughts can last for years at a time.
The puquios were a “Sophisticated hydraulic system constructed to retrieve water from underground aquifers,” says Rosa Lasaponara of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, in Italy.
“What is clearly evident today is that the puquio system must have been much more developed than it appears today,” says Lasaponara.
“Exploiting an inexhaustible water supply throughout the year the puquio system contributed to an intensive agriculture of the valleys in one of the most arid places in the world.”
“The puquios were the most ambitious hydraulic project in the Nasca area and made water available for the whole year, not only for agriculture and irrigation but also for domestic needs,” says Lasaponara, who has written about her satellite studies in Ancient Nasca World: New Insights from Science and Archaeology, published in 2017.
The origin of the puquios has remained a mystery to researchers because it was not possible to use traditional carbon dating techniques on the tunnels.
Not only did the builders of the puquios need a deep understanding of the geology of the area and annual variations in water availability, maintaining the canals was a technical challenge as they spread across tectonic faults.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Quanta Magazine”

Uncertainty about our preferences may be key, as demonstrated by the off-switch game, a formal model of the problem involving Harriet the human and Robbie the robot.
Niekum focuses on getting AI systems to quantify their own uncertainty about a human’s preferences, enabling the robot to gauge when it knows enough to safely act.
A robot running Bayesian T-REX can efficiently infer the most likely rules of place settings, or the objective of an Atari game, Niekum said, “Even if it never saw the perfect demonstration.”
If robots are going to help us, they will need to know their way around the nebulous webs of our subconscious beliefs and unarticulated desires.
Which should a robot optimize for? To avoid catering to our worst impulses, robots could learn what Russell calls our meta-preferences: “Preferences about what kinds of preference-change processes might be acceptable or unacceptable.” How do we feel about our changes in feeling? It’s all rather a lot for a poor robot to grasp.
Like the robots, we’re also trying to figure out our preferences, both what they are and what we want them to be, and how to handle the ambiguities and contradictions.
There’s a third major issue that didn’t make Russell’s short list of concerns: What about the preferences of bad people? What’s to stop a robot from working to satisfy its evil owner’s nefarious ends? AI systems tend to find ways around prohibitions just as wealthy people find loopholes in tax laws, so simply forbidding them from committing crimes probably won’t be successful.
Although more algorithms and game theory research are needed, he said his gut feeling is that harmful preferences could be successfully down-weighted by programmers – and that the same approach could even be useful “In the way we bring up children and educate people and so on.” In other words, in teaching robots to be good, we might find a way to teach ourselves.

The orginal article.