July 23, 2014
1. Read This Later
It’s not pleasant. It leads to more stress. It worsens your health. “Why, then, is procrastination such a common phenomenon? If we don’t particularly want to procrastinate, and it causes us discomfort to do so, why do we persist in doing it?” The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova tries to answer that question and help you along the road to getting over procrastination. But be forewarned. As one expert explains: “The ironic thing is that procrastinators put off dealing with their procrastination.” So even if you conquer the procrastination, you’ll still need someone to help you get over the irony.
+ Part of procrastination might have to do with a desire to control our use of time. From the WSJ: Why power in the workplace makes people feel they control time.
2. The Dehydration of Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga recently recorded a PSA urging Californians to conserve water. No matter where you live, you might want sing the same tune. The Center for Investigative Reporting explains why the California drought affects everyone. (And I mean everyone.)
3. Fight or Flight Response
+ “After two weeks of protests and denunciations, it’s time to acknowledge that outrage won’t end the war in Gaza. The most plausible way to stop this cycle of violence is through internationally supervised demilitarization.” Slate’s William Saletan offers an idea for how to save Gaza.
+ Anthony Bourdain interviewed in Blogs of War: “Its impossible to see Gaza, for instance, the camps, the West Bank and not find yourself reeling with the ugliness of it all. The absolute failure of smart, presumably good-hearted people on both sides to find something/anything better than what we’ve arrived at. And the willingness of people to not see what is plainly apparent, right there, enormous and frankly, hideous.”
+ And PRI interviewed Debra Kamin about the bizarre growth in something known as war tourism. (They should only sell one-way tickets.)
4. Pieces of the Puzzle
Collectibles entrepreneur Ted Stanley saw medicine help pave the the way for his son to lead a normal life after a psychotic break and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Earlier this week, Stanley made a “$650-million commitment to fuel the search for mental illnesses’ biological underpinnings.”
5. Bipolar Bear
“It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on. Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes — to see animal ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents.” Joshua Rothman on a new book that tackles the topic of mental illness and anguish in animals: See Spot Get Depressed.
+ Don’t think animals can get depressed? Try putting a polar bear into captivity, alone, and in a warm climate from which even an international petition can’t free him. From The Daily Beast: More bad luck for depressed polar bear
6. A Call to Ears
It seems clear that, at least in the near term, we’ll be getting our music via one of the streaming services. That’s why the startups are geting big valuations. And that’s why the big tech companies are getting ready for the ultimate dance off. From Quartz: An epic battle in streaming music is about to begin, and only a few will survive. Of course, you have to consider that as recently as 2007, CDs accounted for 90% of U.S. album sales. Things change fast in the music-tech space. So the winner of today’s battle may not necessarily be the winner of the war (which is just one of the reasons I’m hanging on to my 8 track tapes).
7. To Kale and Back
My wife has me trying out a pretty restrictive diet — less gluten, less sugar, less dairy, less joy — and I’ve responded by upping the portions (often measured by bunches, bushels, or cubic yards) of those foods I’m allowed to consume. So I suppose you can thank us for helping to bring on the great kale shortage of 2014.
+ NPR: Many kids who are obese or overweight don’t know it
+ Somehow that healthier lifestyle we’ve all been living has resulted in an increase in the sales of Doritos. (I blame Colorado and Washington.)
8. The Big Apple
Apple reported another record quarter yesterday and the company continues to be remarkably huge. The best way to understand how huge is to compare one of Apple’s individual units to the total size of another company. Or several other companies.
9. The Toddler Whisperer
“Despite the channel’s massive, sweeping, and somewhat perplexing popularity, no one — neither the toddlers who watch with near-religious fervor and their parents, nor executives deeply embedded in the YouTube ecosystem and its economics — seem to have much of a clue who’s behind it.” From Buzzfeed’s Hillary Reinsberg: YouTube’s biggest star is an unknown toy-reviewing toddler whisperer.
10. The Bottom of the News
“Christie Watson’s kids love eating ice cream. But one recent morning, she saw an uneaten ice cream sandwich sitting on her patio table. When she looked closer, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.” It turned out that the ice cream sandwich didn’t melt. I think the bigger concern is that she has a kid who abandoned an uneaten ice cream sandwich.
+ Every now and then it’s nice to see some courage returning to the reporting business. Lindsey Weber explains why the Kim Kardashian game Is legitimately good.
+ It turns out that Pong was never intended for public release.
+ Kottke: A couple in a kayak gets too close to a whale and then the whale raises them right out of the water. And not just for a moment either. (They seem way to calm for this to be real.)
+ The bad news is that you got fired from SNL after only one season. That’s also the good news.