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How to have better conversations. A clever project that makes art out of food. A look at what Ayn Rand would think of Paul Ryan. Reflections from a writer taking a year-long break from the Internet. And more. Enjoy!


Arts and Culture

How We Talk To One Another / Nick Pyati / Gotta Have A Code

"The only way to 'win' a discussion is to come away with the soundest position possible, regardless of whether it is what you believed when you came in." How often do you discuss, versus just debate?




The Best Exam Question Ever / Chris Blattman

A short and sweet blog post on a short and sweet exam question.




Urban Meyer Will Be Home For Dinner / Wright Thompson / ESPN

A spectacular piece on the price of perfectionism, the quest for balance, and the promises a star football coach made to his family on the way to redemption.





Big Appetites / Christopher Boffoli

An immensely enjoyable and witty art project; the bar code lineup, cinnamon lumberjacks, and unionized mustard spreader are my favorites.




PSY's Gangnam Style Is The Best Invisible Horse-Riding Rap Video You'll See All Week / Melissa Locker / Time

This tongue-in-cheek Korean music video has gone global, thanks to its infectious beats, over-the-top fashion, and wry sense of humor. (via Bo)




Politics and World Affairs

Atlas Spurned / Jennifer Burns / The New York Times

What Ayn Rand would think of Paul Ryan and other politicians who claim her as their intellectual inspiration.




Philanthropist Wants To Be Rid Of His Last $1.5 Billion / Jim Dwyer / The New York Times

Inspiring story of a self-made billionaire who gave anonymously for decades, still flies coach, and intends for his foundation to spend all its money and close its doors by 2020.




Big Med / Atul Gawande / The New Yorker

The always-worth-reading surgeon and writer asks what hospitals can learn from restaurant chains like the Cheesecake Factory.




Have Obama And Romney Forgotten Afghanistan? / Dexter Filkins / The New Yorker

"After eleven years, more than four-hundred billion dollars spent and two thousand Americans dead," we've built a deeply corrupt and weak Afghan government. What happens when we leave?




What Would It Take To Start A Gun Control Debate In The US? / Ethan Zuckerman / My Heart's In Accra

Important piece on "agenda setting" — how what is debated and acted on in politics is actually decided.




Business and Economics

Alan Greenspan On His Fed Legacy And The Economy / Devin Leonard and Peter Coy / BusinessWeek

A surprisingly candid Greenspan on how Ayn Rand changed his life, how he met his wife Andrea Mitchell, and why his speeches were so filled with jargon and "Fed speak."





World's Largest Economies / Andrew Bergmann / CNN Money

Animated chart shows the rise of various economies from 2000 to 2017 (projected); it's interesting to watch China go from 1/10 to 2/3 of the US in that time.




Working 9 To 12 / Richard Posner / The New York Times

John Maynard Keynes predicted we'd become so productive that we'd only need to work 15 hours a week. This book review looks at our lack of leisure and asks if that's a bad thing.




Dear Facebook Employees: Here's The Truth About Your Stock Price / Henry Blodget / Business Insider

Long, clear, and well-argued case for why Facebook's stock is still overvalued and likely won't hit bottom for a while.




Science and Technology

Are We All Braggarts Now? / Elizabeth Bernstein / The Wall Street Journal

One side effect of Facebook, Twitter, and the like: "We've become so accustomed to boasting that we don't even realize what we're doing."




The Desert That Creates The Rainforest / Maggie Koerth-Baker / Boing Boing

How a small patch of African desert makes the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest possible. (via Albert)




Thomas Kuhn: The Man Who Changed The Way The World Looked At Science / John Naughton / The Guardian

An appreciation of "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," a landmark book that undermined conventional notions of intellectual progress and introduced the phrase "paradigm shift."




Offline: How's It Going? / Paul Miller / The Verge

A technology writer who is getting paid to not use the Internet for a year weighs in on how his life is different, what he's learning, and what he misses.




Curiosity Rover: Martian Solar Day 2 / 360 Pano

Amazing: a 360-degree panoramic view from the Mars rover.




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A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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Canva

Small actions lead to big movements.

Acts of kindness—we know they’re important not only for others, but for ourselves. They can contribute to a more positive community and help us feel more connected, happier even. But in our incessantly busy and hectic lives, performing good deeds can feel like an unattainable goal. Or perhaps we equate generosity with monetary contribution, which can feel like an impossible task depending on a person’s financial situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, the main reason people don’t offer more acts of kindness is the fear of being misunderstood. That is, at least, according to The Kindness Test—an online questionnaire about being nice to others that more than 60,000 people from 144 countries completed. It does make sense—having your good intentions be viewed as an awkward source of discomfort is not exactly fun for either party.

However, the results of The Kindness Test also indicated those fears were perhaps unfounded. The most common words people used were "happy," "grateful," "loved," "relieved" and "pleased" to describe their feelings after receiving kindness. Less than 1% of people said they felt embarrassed, according to the BBC.


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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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