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In the News 11.04.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 11.04.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 11.04.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 11.04.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

Forget Mindfulness, Stop Trying to Find Yourself and Start Faking It

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People are often surprised to learn that Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and other classical Chinese philosophers weren’t rigid traditionalists who taught that our highest good comes from confining ourselves to social roles. Nor were they placid wise men preaching harmonious coexistence with the natural world. Rather, they were exciting and radical thinkers who exploded the conventions of their society. They sought to make the world a better place by expanding the scope of human possibility. The mid-first millennium BC was a similarly turbulent age to our own, giving rise to debates about how to live, how to be ethical and how to build a good society. Unlike the philosophers we are more familiar with in the west, these Chinese thinkers didn’t ask big questions. Theirs was an eminently pragmatic philosophy, based on deceptively small questions such as: “How are you living your daily life?” These thinkers emphasised that great change only happens when we begin with the mundane and doable. Their teachings reveal that many of our most fundamental assumptions about how we ought to live have actually led us astray. So what are the ideas we hold dear, and what alternatives do Chinese philosophers offer in their place?

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

These Two Guys
Are Changing
How We Think
About Fashion

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“RULE-BREAKING” IS A PHRASE thrown around in fashion a lot. But who makes these rules? And aren’t rules what fashion is based on? After all, fashion isn’t just the clothes on your back. ­It’s the form of those clothes at a given moment, adhering to certain codes that define them as forward-thinking, as now, as à la mode. Which often, as on a menu, translates simplistically to a lump of something fancy plopped on top of an existing offering, as opposed to tinkering about with the guts or really changing anything. Rules in fashion are made by the industry: the editors, the designers, the corporations who fund the whole thing. And so, genuine rule-breakers don’t come along that often. Fashion enjoys the status quo. It sells clothes, it makes money.

But what if the rules are broken? People have stopped buying clothes with quite the alacrity they used to, and large conglomerates have begun to see their profits slip southward. Designers are fleeing houses after a few short seasons. Plenty of brands, rattled by the instability of luxury markets, are now trying to close the gap between runway and retail, offering goods ever faster to consumers, hoping to whip them into a frenzy of acquisition. There’s a general unease in fashion, to say the least.

And the clothes themselves? They wind up bit players in the Sturm und Drang of it all, overshadowed by financial finagling and designer wrangling, when they should be the focus of the conversation. There is a glut of clothing at every price point, especially in high fashion, where labels proliferate and multiple seasons (spring, prefall, winter, resort, capsules galore) concurrently jostle to justify a seemingly endless influx of clothing. But how much of that actually connects with what people really want to wear today? How they want to look, maybe even feel? The soft sell, rather than the hard?

It matters, at least, to two. One is the designer Alessandro Michele, who after anonymously toiling away at Gucci for 12 years, was appointed creative director of the 95-year-old Florentine brand in January 2015. In three seasons, the 43-year-old Italian has managed to entirely remake the brand, pulling back from its sexy image to explore a more romantic side. The other is Demna Gvasalia, a 35-year-old Georgian from the former Soviet Union, who started his Paris fashion collective Vetements in 2014 after working at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton, where he became frustrated with the increasing demands of the fashion industry.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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Shop the Le Marais Mini Bucket Bag at Belgrave Crescent And This Is Glamorous – The Shop

The Sugar Conspiracy

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Robert Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California who specialises in the treatment of childhood obesity. A 90-minute talk he gave in 2009, titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth, has now been viewed more than six million times on YouTube. In it, Lustig argues forcefully that fructose, a form of sugar ubiquitous in modern diets, is a “poison” culpable for America’s obesity epidemic.

A year or so before the video was posted, Lustig gave a similar talk to a conference of biochemists in Adelaide, Australia. Afterwards, a scientist in the audience approached him. Surely, the man said, you’ve read Yudkin. Lustig shook his head. John Yudkin, said the scientist, was a British professor of nutrition who had sounded the alarm on sugar back in 1972, in a book called Pure, White, and Deadly.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

Swim. Bike. Cheat?

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SQUAMISH, British Columbia — The race was tough and the conditions dreadful — 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running, mostly in freezing rain — but Susanne Davis crossed the Ironman Canada finish line last July certain that she had won her category, women age 40-44.

Davis, who comes from Carlsbad, Calif., and is one of the top triathletes in her age group in the world, had been first out of the water and first off her bike — she was sure of it. Spectators using a mobile phone race app that shows competitors’ relative positions called out encouragement, telling her she was ahead by a comfortable 10 minutes. As she ran, Davis looked out for rivals, asking the age of every woman she passed or who passed her, and encountered none from her age group.

Yet there she was, accepting the medal for second place at the awards ceremony the next day, five minutes behind a Canadian triathlete named Julie Miller who seemed to have materialized from nowhere and somehow won the race.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Malcolm Gladwell got us wrong: Our research was key to the 10,000-hour rule, but here’s what got oversimplified

Yes, it takes effort to be an expert. But Gladwell based 10,000-hour rule in part on our work, and misunderstood

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In 1993 one of us (Anders Ericsson) published the results of a study on a group of violin students in a music academy in Berlin that found that the most accomplished of those students had put in an average of ten thousand hours of practice by the time they were twenty years old. That paper, written with co-authors Ralf Krampe and Clemens Tesch-Römer, would go on to become a major part of the scientific literature on expert performers, but it was not until 2008, with the publication of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” that the paper’s results attracted much attention from outside the scientific community. In his discussion of what it takes to become a top performer in a given field, Gladwell offered a catchy phrase: “the ten-thousand-hour rule.” According to this rule, it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master in most fields. As evidence, Gladwell pointed to our results on the student violinists, and, in addition, he estimated that the Beatles had put in about ten thousand hours of practice while playing in Hamburg in the early 1960s and that Bill Gates put in roughly ten thousand hours of programming to develop his skills to a degree that allowed him to found and develop Microsoft. In general, Gladwell suggested, the same thing is true in essentially every field of human endeavor — people don’t become expert at something until they’ve put in about ten thousand hours of practice.

The rule is irresistibly appealing. It’s easy to remember, for one thing. It would’ve been far less effective if those violinists had put in, say, eleven thousand hours of practice by the time they were twenty. And it satisfies the human desire to discover a simple cause-and-effect relationship: just put in ten thousand hours of practice at anything, and you will become a master.

Unfortunately, this rule — which is the only thing that many people today know about the effects of practice — is wrong in several ways. (It is also correct in one important way, which we will get to shortly.) First, there is nothing special or magical about ten thousand hours. Gladwell could just as easily have mentioned the average amount of time the best violin students had practiced by the time they were eighteen — approximately seventy-four hundred hours — but he chose to refer to the total practice time they had accumulated by the time they were twenty, because it was a nice round number. And, either way, at eighteen or twenty, these students were nowhere near masters of the violin. They were very good, promising students who were likely headed to the top of their field, but they still had a long way to go when at the time of the study. Pianists who win international piano competitions tend to do so when they’re around thirty years old, and thus they’ve probably put in about twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand hours of practice by then; ten thousand hours is only halfway down that path.

And the number varies from field to field. Steve Faloon, the subject of an early experiment on improving memory, became better at memorizing strings of digits than any other person in history after only about two hundred hours of practice. Now, thirty years later, with improved training techniques the world’s best digit memorizers can recall strings of digits that are several times longer than Steve Faloon’s best. We don’t know exactly how many hours of practice these top performers have put in, but it is likely well under ten thousand.

Read the rest of this article at Salon

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