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In the News 11.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 11.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

Photography by François Halard for Architectural Digest

Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity

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“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

That witticism — I’ll call it “Einstein Insanity” — is usually attributed to Albert Einstein. Though the Matthew effect may be operating here, it is undeniably the sort of clever, memorable one-liner that Einstein often tossed off. And I’m happy to give him the credit, because doing so takes us in interesting directions.

First of all, note that what Einstein describes as insanity is, according to quantum theory, the way the world actually works. In quantum mechanics you can do the same thing many times and get different results. Indeed, that is the premise underlying great high-energy particle colliders. In those colliders, physicists bash together the same particles in precisely the same way, trillions upon trillions of times. Are they all insane to do so? It would seem they are not, since they have garnered a stupendous variety of results.

Read the rest of this article at Quanta Magazine

LESSONS FROM THE EARLY PITCH DECKS OF AIRBNB, BUZZFEED, AND YOUTUBE

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Is it impossible now to imagine life without an Airbnb, LinkedIn, or YouTube?

Yet at the start, they were just like any other small business. They had founders with a vision for what things could become once their idea became a reality. And they built on those ideas, gaining momentum and getting funding to continue to grow. We know (but often forget in the face of success) that it can be a bumpy road, especially in the first five years.

So when we came across CBInsights’ compilation of five of the early pitch decks that current billion-dollar companies used when they were trying to raise an investment round, we couldn’t help but wonder: What did they do right? And more importantly: Would a VC fund them now? Or would they pass because the business model just didn’t seem like a smart investment?

Gus Tai, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, has spent the last 15 years leading investments in such startups as Zulily, Blue Nile, Dot & Bo, and most recently, Bulletproof. But even he admits that it’s not always easy to spot a unicorn. He went over the pitch decks of Airbnb, AppNexus, BuzzFeed, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Here’s what he told us.

Read the rest of this article at Fast Company

This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?

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A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears very primitive in some respects—it had a tiny brain, for instance, and apelike shoulders for climbing. But in other ways it looks remarkably like modern humans. When did it live? Where does it fit in the human family tree? And how did its bones get into the deepest hidden chamber of the cave—could such a primitive creature have been disposing of its dead intentionally?
This is the story of one of the greatest fossil discoveries of the past half century, and of what it might mean for our understanding of human evolution.

Read the rest of this article at National Geographic

The making of an All Black: how New Zealand sustains its rugby dynasty

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A country of just four million is home to arguably the most dominant team in sport. But how do the All Blacks remain at the pinnacle more than 100 years after the ‘Originals’ established their supremacy?

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

Why Can’t We Stop Talking About New York in the Late 1970s?

The late 1970s were some of the darkest, bleakest years in New York’s history. So why can’t we stop talking about them?

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THERE IS A STRONG CURRENT of nostalgia for the late ’70s and early ’80s in New York, even among those who never lived through it — the era when the city was edgy and dangerous, when women carried Mace in their purses, when even men asked the taxi driver to wait until they’d crossed the 15 feet to the front door of their building, when a blackout plunged whole neighborhoods into frantic looting, when subway cars were covered with graffiti, when Balanchine was at the height of his powers and the New York State Theater was New York’s intellectual salon, when John Lennon was murdered by a Salinger­reading born­again, when Philip Roth was already famous, Don DeLillo had yet to become famous, and most literary insiders were betting on Harold Brodkey’s long­awaited novel, which his editor, Gordon Lish, declared would be ‘‘the one necessary American narrative work of this century.’’ (It flopped when it finally came out in 1991 as ‘‘The Runaway Soul.’’)

This was the last period in American culture when the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow still pertained, when writers and painters and theater people still wanted to be (or were willing to be) ‘‘martyrs to art.’’ This was the last moment when a novelist or poet might withdraw a bookthat had already been accepted for publication and continue to fiddle with it for the next two or three years. This was the last time when a New York poet was reluctant to introduce to his arty friends someone who was a Hollywood film director, for fear the movies would be considered too low-­status.

Read the rest of this article at New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.