Summary of “Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking: Julian Jaynes’ Famous 1970s Theory”

Julian Jaynes was living out of a couple of suitcases in a Princeton dorm in the early 1970s.
In the beginning of the book, Jaynes asks, “This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all-what is it? And where did it come from? And why?” Jaynes answers by unfurling a version of history in which humans were not fully conscious until about 3,000 years ago, instead relying on a two-part, or bicameral, mind, with one half speaking to the other in the voice of the gods with guidance whenever a difficult situation presented itself.
Jaynes emerged after three years, convinced that animal experiments could help him understand how consciousness first evolved, and spent the next three years in graduate school at Yale University.
Consciousness, Jaynes tells readers, in a passage that can be seen as a challenge to future students of philosophy and cognitive science, “Is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of.” His illustration of his point is quite wonderful.
The picture Jaynes paints is that consciousness is only a very thin rime of ice atop a sea of habit, instinct, or some other process that is capable of taking care of much more than we tend to give it credit for.
Eric Schwitzgebel, a professor of philosophy at University of California, Riverside, has conducted experiments to investigate how aware we are of things we are not focused on, which echo Jaynes’ view that consciousness is essentially awareness.
Dennett, who has called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind a “Marvelous, wacky book,” likes to give Jaynes the benefit of the doubt.
It’s a credit to Jaynes’ wild ideas that, every now and then, they are mentioned by neuroscientists who study consciousness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom”

A Baltimore County school board member, David Uhlfelder, said a representative from the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor had interviewed him in September about Mr. Dance’s relationship with a former school vendor.
At least $13,000 of Mr. Dance’s airline tickets, hotel bills, meals and other fees were paid for by organizations sponsored by tech companies, some of which were school vendors, The Times found.
One prominent provider is the Education Research and Development Institute, or ERDI, which regularly gathers superintendents and other school leaders for conferences where they can network with companies that sell to schools.
A $13,000 fee for Bronze membership entitles a company to one confidential meeting, where executives can meet with five school leaders to discuss products and school needs.
A few months after the event, the school board approved additional money for both companies.
Asked whether Ms. White had received ERDI payments, Mr. Dickerson said, “Participation in ERDI is done independently of the school system.” In an email, Ms. White said she found ERDI to be a “Beneficial professional learning experience.” She didn’t respond to a question about ERDI compensation.
Mr. Sundstrom, ERDI’s president, said education companies pay a fee to attend events “Not to meet school leaders or make a sale,” but to get meaningful feedback on their education products from knowledgeable school leaders.
Baltimore County’s travel rules say, “No travel expenses will be paid by those seeking to do business with the Baltimore County Public Schools prior to obtaining a contract.” Mr. Dickerson explained that applied to companies currently bidding for contracts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Your To-Do List Isn’t Working. Here’s How to Fix It in 1 Step”

You fill the jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand representing the big, medium, and small stuff you do every day.
The problem is most people put rock, pebble, and sand tasks on one long list and become overwhelmed.
Everyone’s definition of rocks and pebbles will be different.
Rocks usually take more than 30 minutes to complete, while a pebble can be knocked out in a half hour.
You’ll know you’ve discovered a rock masquerading as a pebble.
When you’re overwhelmed by the number of rocks on your list, assign them an order and break them down into smaller steps.
Perhaps you’ll spend an hour on part of Rock One before moving on to tackle part of Rock Two and so on.
I often joke that it’s great when I have a big, scary rock on my list because I get a lot of smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand done.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Mentors Wish Their Mentees Knew”

These latter situations require distinct types of mentors, ones we classify in an upcoming JAMA Internal Medicine paper as coaches, sponsors, and connectors.
Finally, some mentees need a connector, a seasoned guide who can help the mentor and mentee unite, or build a mentorship team.
We tell mentees to find mentors they can see themselves becoming – and make sure they are up to the challenge.
Good mentors are successful for a reason: They manage their time wisely, often doing multiple things at any given time in order to ensure success.
Just as in the world of management, mentees must learn to manage up – that is, to help their mentor guide them.
Mentors are more likely to respond positively to a mentee who presents the upside to their efforts rather than the downside.
We know of mentors who have exited relationships with overly defensive mentees because giving constructive feedback to these individuals became quite time-consuming and emotionally fraught for both parties.
In addition to producing high-quality results with integrity, excellent mentees know what type of help they need, select the right people to help them, finish tasks ahead of schedule, are mindful of their mentor’s time, are energized and engaging, and credit others liberally.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Thank You for Your Undivided Attention”

You walk out the door-you don’t remember if you remembered to say bye or not.
You tap them twice and whisper into them as the instructor yells out instructions.
You forgot to do it yesterday because you ran out of time.
You’d better use the meeting time efficiently to do other stuff.
You spend most of the time talking shit over Google Hangouts Messenger about the other people in the room to Sean.
You are able to pass the time by passively listening to what’s going on, and being entertained.
Something about getting out of a bad relationship and working in start-ups.
Need to plan ahead, because this is just not going to work out.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Stay Focused If You’re Assigned to Multiple Projects at Once”

Few people today have the luxury of working on a single project at a time; most of us are juggling the demands of many teams at once.
In theory, this system of “Multiteaming” offers a number of upsides: You can deploy your expertise exactly where and when it’s most needed, share your knowledge across groups, and switch projects during lull times, avoiding costly downtime.
Switching attention between tasks takes time and saps your focus and energy.
Moving between teams, you probably also need to adjust to different roles – you might be the boss on one but a junior member of another, for example – which changes not only your level of accountability but also your ability to juggle resources when a crunch time hits.
By proactively identifying crunch times when multiple projects have high demands, you can better manage your time and set expectations.
If you know you are going to need to answer phone calls at random intervals, work on another task that can be interrupted at any time.
Obviously, you can’t go overboard and become a bottleneck just to carve out contemplation time, but make sure team members see reflection as “Real work.”
Across the world, the significant financial benefits of multiteaming mean it has become a way of life, particularly in knowledge work, despite the stresses and risks it can pose for people working across multiple teams at once.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Faced with Conflict, Try an Introspective Approach”

How is it that rational, good, understanding, kind, collaborative people like you and me can get so triggered by certain colleagues’ work performance that our minds race with how we want them to get out of our lives and work – in any way possible? We come up with long diatribes of the million and one reasons why they need to get their act together – or, better yet, disappear.
In my research and experience as a time management coach, and in my work developing my new book, Divine Time Management, I’ve discovered that people often jump to blaming others in conflict.
Ask yourself: Was something else going on in my life that had an impact on how I saw this event? Had something happened previously in this work relationship that affected how I saw this person? Am I tired, stressed, hungry, hot, or in any other way mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically not at my best? Identify any external factors at play, particularly those that might have nothing to do with your counterpart or conflict.
If you are feeling confident about the projects you’re working on, your relationships with people at work, and your overall team performance, someone dropping the ball on a few things may slightly annoy you but won’t infuriate you.
When you’re feeling uncertain about your projects, believe that people think badly of you at work, and are insecure about your team’s performance, one little slipup could send you over the edge.
Instead of calmly working with a coworker on improvements, you could end up lashing out at her or going behind her back to try to get rid of the problem.
The why shouldn’t be “Because you made me so mad that I wanted to spit,” but something like “When you turned in this report late, I ended up working until 1 AM and missed my son’s soccer game to meet the client deadline. For us to work together effectively, I need to receive reports on time from you.” Then move on to find a solution: “We’re a team, and I want us to work well together. Can you explain what happened, so we can work together on preventing this situation from happening in the future?”.
I’ve had times when the people I work with do change their approach, and other times when it’s become clear that they’re not the right fit for the job and need to move on.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Powerful Mental Benefits of a Daily Morning Run, and How to Start the Habit”

For whatever reason, at about age 27, I decided to start running.
Way more important than all that were the mental benefits that I received from running.
Running clarifies your thinking by changing your mental environmentThere have been very few times where I have gone out running and spent the rest of the day feeling mentally clouded and overwhelmed.
Running builds mental toughnessThis is probably the most Malcolm Gladwell-ish thing I’ll write, but the one trait that seems to display the most return on investment in helping people “Make it” is perseverance.
Maybe you’re not sold on running yet as a habit, and that’s fine; you can’t start a habit.
How to Form The HabitObviously, you have to get out there and run the first day, in order to make it a habit.
Put Your Clothes and Shoes by the Door the Night BeforeIf I had to pick the easiest but most effective way to get a regular morning run going, it’d be this one.
Check your email, make your to-do list - do whatever puts your mind relatively at ease, so that you can at least start out your run with a relatively calm mind.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘We’re designing minds’: Industry insider reveals secrets of addictive app trade”

The average Canadian teenager is on track to spend nearly a decade of their life staring at a smartphone, and that’s no accident, according to an industry insider who shared some time-sucking secrets of the app design trade.
Named after the brain molecule that gives us pleasure, Dopamine Labs uses computer coding to influence behaviour – most importantly, to compel people to spend more time with an app and to keep coming back for more.
To make a profit, companies “Need your eyeballs locked in that app as long as humanly possible,” he says.
A push notification, such as a message that someone has commented on your Facebook photo, is a trigger; opening the app is the action; and the reward could be a “Like” or a “Share” of a message you posted.
Emily, a teen from Guelph, Ont., tracked her cellphone use this summer with an app called Moment.
Emily, a 16-year-old from Guelph, Ont., who agreed to track her smartphone use for Marketplace this past summer using an app called Moment, has a Snapchat score of 1.2 million – several hundred thousand points ahead of her friends.
The streak feature is a technique known as a loss aversion, which often involves trying to keep users fixated on an app even when it’s not useful or they don’t enjoy it anymore.
Emily’s tracking app revealed she uses her phone an average of three hours and 35 minutes a day, with most of that time spent on Snapchat.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Year in Push Alerts: How breaking news became our lives.”

In an effort to understand this change, and the current news environment, we gathered all the breaking news push alerts that one outlet, the New York Times, sent from the moment Trump won until last Wednesday.
Taken all together on the above interactive, the alerts provide a visceral snapshot of the year that was-the intense bursts of news, the slow days that seemed disorienting without a breaking story, the early morning pushes, the 5-p.m.-on-a-Friday pushes, the pushes of stories that never broke through, the pushes that were impossible to ignore.
We hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore them and reflect on the crazy year, press the pause button when it feels overwhelming, and then read the essays below, which together illuminate the experience of being a consumer of, and in some cases producer of and commentator on, news this year.
Did the onslaught of news dull our ability to distinguish between what matters and what’s noise, or are we finally paying attention? Did we spend our time wisely, or waste it devouring what media and technology companies fed us? Will the pace of news eventually slow down and the phone stop vibrating and the rhythm of our days recalibrate-or is this how it will always be? We’re still too deep in the muck to know.
The Times’ breaking news desk was treating it as a big story.
The past year’s news cycle has been so overwhelming that it has forced publications to think through their push alert strategies in new ways.
Tessa Muggeridge, the Washington Post’s newsletter and alerts editor, told me that the Post has shifted from pushing a mix of breaking news and feature stories to pushing breaking news almost exclusively since Trump’s election.
Are they meant primarily to drive traffic to the website? Or to increase subscriptions? Or simply to build the paper’s brand? Certainly they can give a huge boost to a story’s audience, Times news desk editor Michael Owen told me: “We get a bigger traffic spike from push alerts than we get from anything else.” Yet “There’s no direct payoff” from a given push alert “In terms of mission or business,” Owen said.

The orginal article.