News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Art Of Decision-Making

In July of 1838, Charles Darwin was twenty-nine years old and single. Two years earlier, he had returned from his voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle with the observations that would eventually form the basis of “On the Origin of Species.” In the meantime, he faced a more pressing analytical problem. Darwin was considering proposing to his cousin Emma Wedgwood, but he worried that marriage and children might impede his scientific career. To figure out what to do, he made two lists. “Loss of time,” he wrote on the first. “Perhaps quarreling. . . . Cannot read in the evenings. . . . Anxiety and responsibility. Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment and degradation into indolent, idle fool.” On the second, he wrote, “Children (if it Please God). Constant companion (and friend in old age). . . . Home, & someone to take care of house.” He noted that it was “intolerable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working. . . . Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire and books and music perhaps.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Want To Transform Your Life?
Stop Chasing Perfection

News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

By tradition, this is the season for personal reinvention, but these days it’s hard not to feel cynical about the idea of a triumphant liberation from the past. In the news, Brexit provides an hourly reminder that merely wishing to bring about a glorious fresh start is no guarantee that calamity won’t be the result. Meanwhile, other dark developments – from the erosion of American democracy and the resurgence of the European far right, all the way to climate change – fuel a sense of foreboding that isn’t exactly motivational when it comes to self-improvement: the creeping fear that you might be living in the end times is a poor basis for making a new beginning. In any case, the never-ending debate on nature versus nurture seems to be drifting toward a gloomy acceptance that there’s much about ourselves we’ll never change. “DNA isn’t all that matters,” writes the geneticist Robert Plomin, whose book Blueprint epitomised this mood last year, “but it matters more than everything else put together in terms of the stable psychological traits that make us who we are.”

Then again, the self-reinvention narrative was always a bit suspect to begin with. For one thing, it’s by no means clear that it’s possible to transform yourself through the simple application of individual willpower: wherever you come down on nature and nurture, it’s undeniable that we owe much of our success or failure in life to our circumstances, and to luck. Then there is the infuriating psychological quirk of “hedonic adaptation”, otherwise known as the happiness treadmill. Succeed in improving your life, and the improvement will soon become part of the backdrop of your days, and thus cease delivering pleasure; to recover that sense of vitality and zest, you’ll have to reinvent yourself again, ad infinitum.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Who Is MacKenzie Bezos?

In her 25 years of marriage to Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Bezos has been a loyal ambassador for Amazon, the company that made her and her husband the richest couple in the world.

She was an integral part of its origin story, driving to Seattle in 1994 while Mr. Bezos sat in the passenger seat, working on the nascent company’s business plan. She was Amazon’s first accountant and was involved in its transformation from a small online bookseller to the e-commerce behemoth it is today, the second company in American history to be valued at over a trillion dollars.

Ms. Bezos, 48, is a novelist. But Amazon has defined her public image almost wholly. The announcement this week that she and her husband would be getting a divorce may soon change that. A statement signed “Jeff & MacKenzie,” which was first posted to Mr. Bezos’s Twitter account, read: “After a period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Marie Kondo And The Ruthless War On Stuff

News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Joy points upward, according to Marie Kondo, whose name is now a verb and whose nickname is being trademarked and whose life has become a philosophy. In April at the Japan Society in New York, she mounted a stage in an ivory dress and silver heels, made namaste hands at the audience and took her place beneath the display of a Power­Point presentation. Now that she has sold nearly six million copies of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and has been on the New York Times best-seller list for 86 weeks and counting, she was taking the next logical step: a formal training program for her KonMari method, certifying her acolytes to bring the joy and weightlessness and upward-pointing trajectory of a clutter-free life to others. The humble hashtag that attended this event was #organizetheworld.

Upon entering the Japan Society, the 93 Konverts in attendance (and me) were given lanyards that contained our information: our names, where we live and an option of either the proud “Tidying Completed!” or the shameful “Tidying Not Yet Completed!” In order to be considered tidy, you must have completed the method outlined in Kondo’s book. It includes something called a “once-in-a-lifetime tidying marathon,” which means piling five categories of material possessions — clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items, including photos, in that order — one at a time, surveying how much of each you have, seeing that it’s way too much and then holding each item to see if it sparks joy in your body. The ones that spark joy get to stay. The ones that don’t get a heartfelt and generous goodbye, via actual verbal communication, and are then sent on their way to their next life. This is the crux of the KonMari — that soon-to-be-trademarked nickname — and it is detailed in “The Life-Changing Magic” and her more recent book, “Spark Joy,” which, as far as I can tell, is a more specific “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” but with folding diagrams. She is often mistaken for someone who thinks you shouldn’t own anything, but that’s wrong. Rather, she thinks you can own as much or as little as you like, as long as every possession brings you true joy.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 01.14.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Why We Should Be Watching
The Sun, Not The Clock

The tourism brochure for the German spa town of Bad Kissingen features a photograph of a young woman on its cover. Dressed in white shorts and a pink vest, the woman is perched peacefully on a sunny rock overlooking a river, reading a handwritten journal. Emblazoned on the top left of the page is the slogan Entdecke die Zeit – Discover Time.

Located in the sparsely populated region of Lower Franconia in Bavaria, Bad Kissingen was once a fashionable resort for the European aristocracy and bourgeoisie. They came for rest and relaxation; soaking up the classical architecture and fragrant rose gardens, and taking the mineral-rich waters, which were reputed to cure all manner of ills. Today, Bad Kissingen has rebranded itself as the world’s first ChronoCity – a place where internal time is as important as external time, and sleep is sacrosanct.

Most of us are not free to choose our work or school hours; we have little control over the lighting in our public spaces and external environment; and we are even forced to reprogramme our internal clock twice a year because of daylight saving time. The question that the idea of the “ChronoCity” raises is what changes could society make to better accommodate our body clocks?

Michael Wieden, Bad Kissingen’s business manager, came up with the ChronoCity concept in 2013. Having followed scientific developments in the field of chronobiology with interest, Wieden realised that not only could weaving these principles into the town’s fabric benefit its residents, it would also make Bad Kissingen stand out from rival spa towns. Bad Kissingen has always been about healing and health, he reasoned; so what better way to heal our modern society than by bringing it back into contact with natural light and sleep. Tourists could come and learn about the importance of internal time, then return home and implement the lessons in their everyday lives. Wieden contacted a chronobiologist called Thomas Kantermann, who was similarly enthused by the idea of launching a revolution in the way that society prioritises sleep.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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