October 22, 2020
Five years ago I realized that I remembered almost nothing about most books that I read. I was reading all kinds of non-fiction - pop-psychology, pop-economics, pop-sociology, you name it - and felt like quite the polymath auto-didact. But one day, after I had finished blathering at a friend about how much I had enjoyed Thinking, Fast and Slow, they asked for a quick summary of the book’s overall thesis.
October 21, 2020
Blockchain technology is going to change everything: the shipping industry, the financial system, government … in fact, what won’t it change? But enthusiasm for it mainly stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding. The blockchain is a solution in search of a problem.
October 19, 2020
Walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the retail strip in Venice, California, can feel like scrolling through Instagram. One afternoon this July, people sat at outdoor tables beneath drooping strings of fairy lights, sipping cocktails and spearing colorful, modestly dressed salads.
October 18, 2020
Global pandemic. Raging wildfires. Political upheaval. Never-ending Zooms. Twenty-twenty is the dystopia Hollywood has always dreamed of, sans a satisfying narrative arc. In times like these, nihilism beckons. Just give up, history seems to be saying. There’s nothing you can do.
October 15, 2020
“Why are the noses broken?” This exhibition and essay grew out of my search for an answer to this simple question, which is one of the most common inquiries I receive from museum visitors about the Brooklyn Museum’s extensive Egyptian collection.
October 15, 2020
Lately, Zoom meetings have been hitting a nerve with CEOs. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says there's no vital "creative combustion" happening in virtual settings. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker finds Zoom meetings awful. And Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls them transactional, where "30 minutes into your first video meeting in the morning … you're fatigued."
October 14, 2020
It is not often that a comedian gives an astrophysicist goose bumps when discussing the laws of physics. But comic Chuck Nice managed to do just that in a recent episode of the podcast StarTalk. The show’s host Neil deGrasse Tyson had just explained the simulation argument—the idea that we could be virtual beings living in a computer simulation.
October 11, 2020
A hallmark of the puzzling era we’re now living through is a remarkable juxtaposition of two apparently contrary trends. In many social circles, there exists a buoyant sense of possibility, an upbeat and expectant optimism with regard to the near and long-term future.
September 27, 2020
New research finds that the subjective experience of time is linked to learning, thwarted expectations and neural fatigue. Our sense of time may be the scaffolding for all of our experience and behavior, but it is an unsteady and subjective one, expanding and contracting like an accordion.
September 26, 2020
No one has yet managed to travel through time – at least to our knowledge – but the question of whether or not such a feat would be theoretically possible continues to fascinate scientists.
September 25, 2020
In Victorian England, the baked potato had dual purposes. Sold from street-side “cans” — metal boxes on four legs, with charcoal-fueled fire pots within — the potatoes could be used as hand-warmers when tucked inside a mitten or muff, or body warmers when consumed on the spot as a hot and filling snack.
September 24, 2020
New York City is suffering its worst year in decades. The years to come, partly as a result, could be some of its very best. The big picture: New York, like San Francisco, entered 2020 with one overarching problem: It was far too expensive, as a place to live and work.
September 21, 2020
My favorite career advice is to develop a “personal moat.” A personal moat is a set of unique and accumulating competitive advantages in the context of your career. Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage specific to you that's not only durable, but compounds over time.
September 9, 2020
The modern world firmly equates the intelligent person with the well-read person. Reading books, a lot of books, is the hallmark of brilliance as well as the supreme gateway to prestige and understanding. It’s hard to imagine anyone arriving at any insights of value without having worked their way through an enormous number of titles over the years. There is apparently no limit to how much we should read.
September 6, 2020
I’m an instinctive skeptic, so the widespread claim from sports psychologists that the semi-random babble of words bouncing around in my head can influence my 10K time has always seemed… improbable, to put it politely.
September 1, 2020
Paywalls are justified, even though they are annoying. It costs money to produce good writing, to run a website, to license photographs. A lot of money, if you want quality. Asking people for a fee to access content is therefore very reasonable. You don’t expect to get a print subscription to the newspaper gratis, why would a website be different?
September 1, 2020
Human beings have an astonishing evolutionary gift: agile imaginations that can shift in an instant from thinking on a scale of seconds to a scale of years or even centuries. Our minds constantly dance across multiple time horizons. One moment we can be making a quickfire response to a text and the next thinking about saving for our pensions or planting an acorn in the ground for posterity.
August 31, 2020
Even though mathematicians have spent over 2,000 years dissecting the structure of the five Platonic solids — the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, icosahedron and dodecahedron — there’s still a lot we don’t know about them. Now, a trio of mathematicians has resolved one of the most basic questions about the dodecahedron.
August 30, 2020
The Japanese Zen term shoshin translates as ‘beginner’s mind’ and refers to a paradox: the more you know about a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning. As the Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki put it in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (1970): ‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.’
August 24, 2020
When I got my first apartment in Manhattan in the hot summer of 1976, there was no pooper-scooper law, and the streets were covered in dog crap. I signed the rental agreement, walked outside, and my car had been towed. I still thought, “This is the greatest place I’ve ever been in my life.”