Cam Pegg Pocket Articles

While I don’t read as many books of the physical, dead-tree variety as I probably should, I do have a fairly well-stocked RSS reader, so I tend to read quite a lot of stuff online, and have a correspondingly long list of things to read that (mostly) get saved in Pocket. The articles below are ones that I a) have actually found the time to read, and b) think are worth sharing.

May 3, 2021

The Grim Secret of Nordic Happiness

Is hygge still a thing? The Danish concept of comfortable conviviality and all things cozy is supposed to capture the essence of Danish culture and has been marketed as the secret for happy living. A few years back, there was a surge of hygge-related books, articles, and household products.

Slate • 1,231 words • 6 minute read

April 29, 2021

How to motivate yourself to change

Change is hard, but it’s possible. Use motivational interviewing techniques to build your confidence, and take the plunge Struggling to change in the ways we want to is a common human experience. Many of the practical steps required aren’t easy or fun. This makes motivation a challenge.

Psyche • 4,803 words • 22 minute read

April 21, 2021

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating.

The New York Times • 1,513 words • 7 minute read

April 18, 2021

Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy

For generations, the standard way to learn how to ride a bicycle was with training wheels or a tricycle. But in recent years, many parents have opted to train their kids with balance bikes, pedalless two-wheelers that enable children to develop the coordination needed for bicycling—a skill that is not as easily acquired with an extra set of wheels.

Scientific American • 955 words • 4 minute read

April 18, 2021

Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving

Consider the Lego structure depicted in Figure 1, in which a figurine is placed under a roof supported by a single pillar at one corner. How would you change this structure so that you could put a masonry brick on top of it without crushing the figurine, bearing in mind that each block added costs 10 cents? If you are like most participants in a study reported by Adams et al. in Nature, you would add pillars to better support the roof. But a simpler (and cheaper) solution would be to remove the existing pillar, and let the roof simply rest on the base.

Nature • 1,120 words • 5 minute read

April 16, 2021

How Do Astronauts Spend Their Weekends in Space?

For many on Earth, this is a typical day—a nine to five job, some downtime in the evening ready for the day ahead, and two days off at the weekend. It might come as a surprise to learn that astronauts in space keep a very similar schedule.

Smithsonian Magazine • 1,108 words • 5 minute read

April 3, 2021

Avoiding Bad Decisions

Sometimes success is just about avoiding failure. At FS, we help people make better decisions without needing to rely on getting lucky. One aspect of decision-making that’s rarely talked about is how to avoid making bad decisions.

Shane Parrish • 661 words • 3 minute read

March 27, 2021

Be More Realistic About the Time You Have

We are master storytellers. We tell ourselves fanciful stories to motivate ourselves to get vast amounts of work done in small amounts of time. We jot down task after task after task, sure that we can complete them all within a standard workday. And yet, at the end of the day, we’re stunned to find that work remains unfinished and we have to dash to the finish line.

Harvard Business Review • 1,286 words • 6 minute read

March 21, 2021

All These Worlds Are Yours

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to begin with some shameless nostalgia. Let’s step back a decade, to the heyday of techno-utopia. Back in 2010, the mobile revolution had reached full pace. The whole world, and all its information, were just a tap away. Social media meant we could connect with people in ways we’d never dreamt of: whoever you were, you could find thousands of like-minded people across the globe, and they were all in your pocket every day.

Cennydd Bowles • 1,865 words • 8 minute read

March 11, 2021

Stop Keeping Score

I am an inveterate scorekeeper. I can go back decades and find lists of goals I set for myself to gauge “success” by certain milestone birthdays. For example, in my 20s, I had a to-do list for the decade, the items on which more or less told the story of a penniless musician who had made some dubious choices.

The Atlantic • 1,321 words • 6 minute read

March 8, 2021

How to poison the data that Big Tech uses to surveil you

Every day, your life leaves a trail of digital breadcrumbs that tech giants use to track you. You send an email, order some food, stream a show. They get back valuable packets of data to build up their understanding of your preferences.

MIT Technology Review • 1,007 words • 5 minute read

March 7, 2021

You’re Doing It Wrong: Notes on Criticism and Technology Hype

Maybe more people are writing about the real and potential problems of technology today than ever before. That is mostly a good thing. The list of books and articles from the last few years that have nuanced and illuminating perspectives on the contemporary technological situation is rich and long.

Lee Vinsel • 4,584 words • 21 minute read

February 24, 2021

Defending Against ‘Predatory Listening’

It felt like stepping on the wrong end of a rake. My relative had asked for my opinion, but when I gave it, he launched into what sounded like a well-rehearsed argument, taking issue with each thing I had said and critiquing my character. I felt like I’d walked into a trap.

Ten Percent Happier • 845 words • 4 minute read

February 22, 2021

Against Performative Positivity

I am considered a pessimist—the ‘Daria’ of design—whose standards are too high and too critical. Designers, I would argue, are afraid to embrace dissent because it disrupts the positivity bubble. I would describe designers as the very embodiment of the motivational posters in bad typefaces that we constantly critique. We are performing optimism. And I am anti optimism. So why am I against optimism?

Futuress • 2,792 words • 13 minute read

February 21, 2021

Touching the future

The future is not a destination. We build it every day in the present. This is, perhaps, a wild paraphrasing of the acclaimed author and futurist William Gibson who, when asked what a distant future might hold, replied that the future was already here, it was just unevenly distributed. I often ponder this Gibson provocation, wondering where around me the future might be lurking. Catching glimpses of the future in the present would be helpful.

Griffith Review • 4,661 words • 21 minute read

February 18, 2021

The Fantasy of Opting Out

Consider a day in the life of a fairly ordinary person in a large city in a stable, democratically governed country. She is not in prison or institutionalized, nor is she a dissident or an enemy of the state, yet she lives in a condition of permanent and total surveillance unprecedented in its precision and intimacy.

The MIT Press Reader • 1,387 words • 6 minute read

February 16, 2021

“User Engagement” Is Code For “Addiction”

There is something about social media that human beings are not psychologically prepared for. It is a perverse and unnatural abstraction of human social community to which our brain does not react well. As a facsimile of genuine humanity, it plunges into something resembling The Uncanny Valley for social interactions.

Craig • 1,296 words • 6 minute read

February 15, 2021

How To Put Faith in UX Design

Anglerfish are famous for the glowing lure they dangle from their heads that they use to catch small fish. But this is not the most interesting thing about them. Their most fascinating trait is how they mate. Males of the species, who are much smaller, lack a functioning digestive system. To survive they must combine, or fuse-mate, with the females.

Scott Berkun • 2,418 words • 11 minute read

February 14, 2021

We Need A New Work Culture

The discourse about a more enlightened future of work that hinges on the enlightenment of business owners and managers is basically a surrender, like handing over your wallet to a thief and asking him to please, at least, give back your driver’s license.

Work Futures • 832 words • 4 minute read

February 7, 2021

The Future Encyclopedia of Luddism

A glimpse of an alternative economic and industrial history and future, in which the Luddites were successful in their battle against alienating technology. The Luddites did not hate technology; they only channeled their anger toward machine-breaking because it had nowhere else to go.

The MIT Press Reader • 3,586 words • 16 minute read