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Opinion | ‘1917’ Turns a Horrific War Into an Uplifting Hero’s Journey - The New York Times
By Cathy Tempelsman
Ms. Tempelsman is a writer.

Feb. 8, 2020
- “The Myth of the Great War,” by John Mosier . Describes the“slaughter of the infantry” as “almost exclusively a British achievement.”
World War I was a disaster, but Sam Mendes’s Oscar-nominated epic paints a dangerously misleading picture of the conflict.......Mendes said that “1917” called for “a different kind of storytelling.” He described the “Great War” as “a chaos of mismanagement and human tragedy on a vast scale.”......If only he had told that story. Instead, “1917” left me uneasy. Mr. Mendes paints an uplifting and dangerously misleading picture of the war.......The fictionalized premise is this: General Erinmore (Colin Firth) sends two British soldiers on an urgent mission. They have until dawn to deliver a vital message: The Second Battalion is about to walk into a trap, and the attack must be called off. The general warns one of the soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), “If you don’t get there in time, we will lose 1,600 men — your brother among them.”
Right away, “1917” suggests a concern for the sanctity of human life from the top down. The reality was something else: an appalling indifference as the British high command sent hundreds of thousands of their young men to die..... the camera pans bodies and limbs strewn about battlefields. But photos of the maimed in World War I reveal truly grotesque wounds that are sanitized in “1917.” We see soldiers with bandaged eyes, but not the dreadful blisters from mustard gas as it was absorbed by woolen uniforms.
And what about shell shock? By that point in the war, the British high command was stymied by “womanish” recruits who showed signs of breakdown (hysteria, horrible tics, dreadful nightmares) despite having no physical wounds. The commanders’ answer was to shame the men and order them back to the front.....Instead of creating emotional truths, Mendes does the opposite. By disguising the brutal truths of the war, he sentimentalizes and even valorizes it — a war in which disregard for human life led to approximately 8.5 million military deaths around the world, and an estimated 21 million wounded.......“1917” provides escape from the true carnage of the “Great War.” Instead, it might have forced us to question the endless, inconclusive conflicts that have followed, and the butchery and sacrifice they inflict. We don’t need to feel better about World War I’s slaughter. We need to feel worse......If we’re going to avoid the stain of endless, senseless wars in the future, we have to tell stories that focus on the horror, rather than false heroics and filmmaking feats of wonder.
film_reviews  filmmaking  historical_dramas  massacres  movie_reviews  playwrights  sanitization   whitewashing  writers  WWI 
11 hours ago
Why moonshots elude the timid of heart
February 14, 2020 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

* Loonshots — by Safi Bahcall.
* Major innovations tend to result from investment that is high-risk, high-pay-off.
* Executives at the Cambridge, UK outpost of an admired Japanese company fret that success rate of their research and development, at 70%, was far too high. It signals that research teams had been risk-averse, pursuing easy wins at the expense of more radical and risky long-shots.
* Disney, the belief is that Disney if you weren't failing at half of your endeavours, you weren’t being brave or creative enough.
* The problem is a societal/systematic preference for marginal gains over long shots---It is much more pleasant to experience a steady trickle of small successes than a long drought while waiting for a flood that may never come.
* marginal gains do add up, but need to be bolstered by the occasional long-shot breakthrough.....Major innovations such as the electric motor, the photo­voltaic cell or the mobile phone open up new territories that the marginal-gains innovators & tinkerers can further exploit.[JCK: from Simon Johnson, "public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy."]
* the UK Conservative party’s promise to establish “a new agency for high-risk, high-pay-off research, at arm’s length from government” — a British version of the much-admired US Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.
* DARPA's failure rate is often said to be around 85%.
* a low failure rate may indeed signal a lack of originality and ambition.
* Arpa hires high-quality scientists for short stints — often two or three years — and giving them control over a programme budget to commission research from any source they wish.
* the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a foundation, deliberately looks for projects with an unusual or untried approach, but a large potential pay-off.....HHMI gets what it pays for — more failures, but larger successes, compared with other grant-makers funding researchers of a similar calibre.
* how long will UK politicians tolerate failure as a sign of boldness and originality? Eventually, they will simply call it failure.
* the trilemma: Be cautious, or fund lots of risky but tiny projects, or fund a few big, risky projects from a modest budget and accept that every single one may flop.
audacity  big_bets  boldness  books  breakthroughs  Cambridge  DARPA  failure  game_changers  high-reward  high-risk  incrementalism  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  marginal_improvements  moonshots  originality  politicians  public_investments  publicly_funded  quick_wins  R&D  risk-aversion  science  small_wins  spillover  success_rates  thinking_big  Tim_Harford  timidity  United_Kingdom 
2 days ago
8 More Ways To Read (A Lot) More Books — Neil Pasricha
* I saw Neil on Vassy Kapelos, Power & Politics, February 14, 2020 (Smartphones are harming Canadians' mental health, says Neil Pasricha)

If you need your left brain scratched, then check out the 2011 The Annual Review of Psychology which says that reading triggers our mirror neurons and opens up the parts of our brain responsible for developing empathy, compassion, and understanding. Makes you a better leader, teacher, parent, and sibling. Another study published in Science Magazine in 2013 found that reading literary fiction helps us improve our empathy and social functioning. And, lastly, an incredible 2013 study at Emory University, MRIs taken the morning after test subjects were asked to read sections of a novel showed an increase in connectivity in the left temporal cortex. What’s that? The area of the brain associated with receptivity for language. Priming the brain. And the MRIs were done the next day. Just imagine the long-term benefits of cracking open a book every day.
books  fiction  howto  Neil_Pasricha  productivity  reading 
2 days ago
Georgian Partners closes largest independent VC fund in Canadian history - The Globe and Mail
SEAN SILCOFFTECHNOLOGY REPORTER
PUBLISHED AUGUST 2, 2018

Georgian focused on being a North America-wide player from the outset, closing its first $70-million fund in 2010. It started out backing firms that developed data-driven analytical software tools for large corporate and government customers, putting it at the vanguard of broader trends in technology.

Georgian specializes in large “growth capital” financing deals amounting to tens of millions of dollars for fast-growing startups that have achieved initial market success and generate millions of dollars in annual revenue. Thanks to the partners' connections (Mr. Berton is a veteran financier), Georgian was able to get in on competitive financing deals led by U.S. funds from the start, including a 2011 US$15-million deal for Shopify led by Boston’s Bessemer Venture Partners that produced bonanza returns for Georgian.

Georgian further set itself apart by establishing an “impact team” of seasoned executives the firm parachuted in to help its portfolio companies. More recently, Georgian has taken a lead among VC firms by creating software tools to assist its investee companies in the artificial intelligence space by bolstering their ability to anonymize client data and explain how their algorithms make decisions.
artificial_intelligence  Canadian  Georgian_Partners  high-impact  Sean_Silcoff  Shopify  Toronto  vc  venture_capital 
3 days ago
Dead at 68: Christie Blatchford was a tenacious voice for victims, a thorn to the smugly comfortable
February 12, 2020 | | National Post | 8:30 AM EST.

Christie Blatchford, a powerful public voice through nearly five decades of journalism, has died after being diagnosed with cancer in November.

Blatchford was one of Canada’s most prominent writers, having been a leading journalist at each of Toronto’s daily newspapers, a trailblazer for women in sports reporting, an award-winning war correspondent, and a columnist renowned for her vexing mix of toughness and tenderness.

She was 68.
Christie_Blatchford  journalists  newspapers  obituaries  trailblazers  women 
5 days ago
How to make Complicated Ideas Easy for Anyone to Understand
Feb. 14, 2015 | | Evoke.pro | by Rebecca Okamoto.

Describe your target audience
Normally when we explain something, we describe its features like dimensions, weight, and power. But when your concept is new-to-the-world or complicated, it can be tough for the listener to envision what you’re talking about.

So instead of describing your product or concept, describe your user or target audience.

Here's a great example from Patrick Sherwin, the Founder of GoSun, the maker of green cooking solutions. He was being interviewed on Todd Uterstaedt's brilliant podcast, from Founder to CEO.

Look how Patrick described one of their solar powered stoves that's ideal for the disaster relief vertical:

[The stove] has to be super durable, super easy to use by someone who doesn’t have time to read instructions...
As soon as Patrick gave this description, I immediately thought, “That’s me!” As someone who lives in earthquake prone California, I could easily imagine that GoSun had the right stove for me.

Here’s a competitor's description of their stove:

This is a panel type cooker, there is no limit to the dimension of pot that you use. Two large pots, 12" frypans, oblong cake pans, tall pots... they all fit. The cooking area is 12" deep and 17" wide. There is no height limit in the cooking area so just about any type of pot will fit!
If you were selecting a solar oven for your emergency kit, which one would you select?

Listen to Todd interview Patrick

Describe a breakthrough transformation your user would love
One of the biggest traps trendsetters and visionaries fall into is giving detailed (and confusing) explanations about features. To avoid this, they're told to describe benefits.

My advice? Forget features and benefits. Instead, describe a transformation your target audience obsesses over.

Here’s an example from Dyson. You probably know that Dyson makes innovative appliances like fans and vacuum cleaners. However, you may not know that they also sell hair styling products.

About 5 years ago, Dyson came out with the Supersonic hair dryer. They redesigned the hair dryer from the ground up, and used revolutionary technology so users could dry and style their hair in a fraction of the time. Dyson used descriptions like this to describe the Supersonic:

"The world's first blade-less, supersonic hairdryer with air multiplier technology… An intelligent hair dryer that reads air temperature 20x per second and is regulated by a microprocessor to protect natural shine"
Hmmm… I worked in the Salon Professional industry for 7 years, and I NEVER heard anyone say they needed an intelligent hair dryer.

Fast forward a few years, and Dyson's launched a new hair styling product, the Airwrap styler. Here’s how they describe it:

"A completely new way to style hair….The Dyson Airwrap styler curls your hair without damaging heat"
Dyson could have featured the Airwrap's technical features, like how it's powered by a 130 blade impeller that spins up to 110,000 rpm, and creates the “Coanda effect.”

Instead they described a breakthrough transformation: styling your hair without the damaging high heat that causes dry, brittle and unruly hair.

Forget the bells and whistles. Focus on what your user craves, and they’ll instantly understand what you’re selling.
analogies  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  comprehension  Dyson  engagement  human_scale  ideas  James_Dyson  infographics  storytelling  visionaries 
7 days ago
How to do a proper squat
February 10, 2020 | The Globe and Mail | by PAUL LANDINI, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
exercise  fitness  glutes  howto  legs  squats  strength_training 
7 days ago
Thinking in Levels (How to Dig Deeper And Think Better)
Apr 21, 2018 | Medium | by Thomas Oppong.

Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem from the level of thinking that created the problem in the first place“.
*
[JCK: what follows is an example of thinking in layers] The process of thinking involves several levels, but only a few people think beyond the first level.....Thinking in levels can expose flaws in your decision making process, helping you to make choices with little or no blindspots....Robert Sternberg, a professor of psychology and education at Yale University, says that successful people use three kinds of intelligence: analytical, creative, and practical. A successful person, according to Sternberg, uses all three.......Instead of thinking on the fly, you use mental models to analyse every situation before making a choice.

The 3 thinking levels:
** Level 1
Level one thinkers observe, but rarely interpret or analyse what they see.
They take information on the face value. ..First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it (a bad sign for anything involving an attempt at superiority). All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” ...Most people get stuck at level 1. They take in facts, statistics and information, but never question the reasoning behind them or make the effort analyse what they have seen, read or been taught. They obsessively seek out truth that confirms their worldviews and cling to it with little room for metacognition (thinking about their thinking)..

** Level 2
At this level, you allow yourself to interpret, make connections and meanings. Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted....At the second level, decision makers begin to interpret and analyze the pieces they have observed and put them together to form meaning.
This is the level at which we begin to look for alignments, contrast, repetition or improvements....Level two thinkers synthesis better — build up or connect separate pieces of information to form a larger, more coherent pattern. They are better at reorganizing or rearranging ideas to produce a more comprehensive understanding of the “big picture”.

** Level 3
This is the alpha stage of thinking.
Level 3 thinkers have the capacity to transfer knowledge, i.e., to apply a concept learned in one context to different contexts than the one in which the concept was originally learned.....Level 3 thinkers can view an issue or idea from a variety of viewpoints, standpoints, or positions to gain a more comprehensive and holistic understanding. They generate imaginative ideas, unique perspectives, innovative strategies, or novel (alternative) approaches to traditional practices.
Albert_Einstein  blindspots  books  business_acumen  connecting_the_dots  critical_thinking  decision_making  interpretation  metacognition  questions  thinking  thinking_deliberatively  weaknesses 
10 days ago
Renowned microbiologist Frank Plummer helped fight AIDS and SARS - The Globe and Mail
His list of honours and awards take up more than a full page of his CV, in single-spaced, 11-point font. Among them: the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2016, the Killam Prize in 2014 and his appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.

When asked to describe him, his fellow scientists frequently used the word “brilliant” and referred to his “out-of-the-box” thinking.

Dr. Ronald, for example, said the two first met when Dr. Plummer was completing his medical studies at the University of Manitoba. “He was brilliant and he quickly mastered complex molecular biology that was beyond me,” Dr. Ronald wrote in an e-mail.

Larry Gelmon, his friend and colleague based in Nairobi, said he possessed a creative mind, finding new ways of conducting research and raising questions no one else had asked.
AIDS  biologists  Kenya  molecular_biology  obituaries  PhDs  questions  SARS 
11 days ago
Where Computing Is Headed—Beyond Quantum
Feb. 4, 2020 | WSJ | By Sara Castellanos.

Startups are coming up with new ways to make computer chips and store huge amounts of data in DNA........dozens of companies gaining interest from investors and corporations because of their novel approaches to computing. They are using light, quantum physics, molecular biology and new design methods to build chips and create data-storage techniques for future computing demands.
data  DNA  engineering  fundamental_discoveries  good_enough  high-risk  innovation  light  molecular_biology  Moore's_Law  novel  quantum_computing  semiconductors  software  start_ups  technology  up-and-comers  vc  venture_capital 
12 days ago
Venture capital investors should harpoon more whales
February 3, 2020 | Financial Times | by John Thornhill.

*VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas.
* The worry for Silicon Valley is that the impulse for creative destruction is now fading
* It is easy to be rude about the venture capital industry. So here goes. The criticism runs that the VC sector is full of too many over-funded, ill-disciplined chancers who pass off hype for reality, groupthink for insight and luck for good judgment.....What’s more, a staggering 95 per cent of VC firms fail to make a decent enough return to justify the risks their investors run......the current mindset of the VC industry is responsible for the slowdown in new business formation and lack of economic dynamism in the US. All too often, addicted to capital-light, metric-heavy software businesses, VCs are failing to bet big enough on the breakthrough technologies that tackle our biggest challenges, such as climate change or cancer.........Katie Rae, chief executive and managing partner of The Engine, a Boston-based “tough tech” venture fund, says that many VCs have lost sight of their original purpose......VCs were all about funding tech breakthroughs but that has got lost,” ...... “A lot of VCs look more like private equity companies that do not want to lose any money so they end up backing dog-walking apps rather than quantum computing.”......Historically, the best venture capitalists have performed a vital capitalistic function: turning seemingly outlandish ideas and transformative technologies into everyday realities. Semiconductors, recombinant insulin and internet search engines have all come to market largely thanks to VC backing........“The VC industry is cut-throat. .....It provides the capital and expertise for start-ups to succeed.”.......In VC: An American History, Tom Nicholas traces VC’s high-risk, high-reward mentality back to the 19th-century whaling industry, which developed a novel form of venture financing. The idea was to back an expert captain who could fit out a robust ship, hire the best crew and endure an average of 3.6 years at sea. On landing a whale, the captain would return investors’ money several times over. But many ships returned empty-handed or sunk.........the pattern of financial returns made by Gideon Allen & Sons, the smartest backers of whaling ventures, were almost identical to those achieved by Sequoia Capital, one of the best VC firms operating today..........one of the striking features of the subsequent evolution of the VC industry.......was how contingent it was on time, circumstance and people. The west coast model of VC investing, owed an enormous amount to massive government investments in technology during the cold war, the expansion of world-beating universities in California and the emergence of some remarkable entrepreneurs and visionary investors, such as Arthur Rock, Tom Perkins and Don Valentine.......The worry for Silicon Valley is that some of that Schumpeterian impulse for creative destruction is now fading. One argument has it that Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly “corporatised” with Big Tech firms, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, championing the mantra that “big is beautiful” in the face of emerging competition from China.

The benign view is that Big Tech may be internalising much of the innovation once carried out by start-ups; the malign interpretation is that Cupertino, California [JCK: that is, "Big Tech"] is snuffing out smaller rivals.......

“Silicon Valley is overdue a disruption. It is not a hotbed of start-ups any more,” ..........Metaphorically, at least, the VC industry needs to get back in the business of funding wildly ambitious entrepreneurs intent on harpooning some more whales.
19th_century  Arthur_Rock  big_bets  Big_Tech  books  breakthroughs  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  cancers  climate_change  creative_destruction  disruption  Don_Valentine  entrepreneur  finance  financing  fundamental_discoveries  funding  HBS  high-risk  high-reward  innovation  investors  Joseph_Schumpeter  moonshots  public_investments  semiconductors  Sequoia  Silicon_Valley  thinking_big  Tom_Perkins  tough_tech  whaling  vc  venture_capital  visionaries 
13 days ago
The promise of synthetic data
February 4, 2020 | Financial Times | by Anjana Ahuja.

* Race after Technology by Ruha Benjamin.
Where anonymization fails, synthetic data might yet succeed. Synthetic data is artificially generated. It is most often created by funnelling real-world data through a noise-adding algorithm to construct a new data set. The resulting data set captures the statistical features of the original information without being a giveaway replica. Its usefulness hinges on a principle known as differential privacy: that anybody mining synthetic data could make the same statistical inferences as they would from the true data — without being able to identify individual contributions........Synthetic data has the potential to squeeze useful information from tightly-controlled databases. Uncovering fraud, for example, can be challenging because regulations restrict how information can be shared, even within banks. Synthetic data can help to unveil useful patterns, while masking individual incidents.......“If you’re trying to train an algorithm to detect fraud, you don’t care about specific transactions and who made them,” he says. “You care about the statistics, like whether the amounts are just below the limit needed to trigger an audit, or if they tend to occur close to the end of the quarter.” Those kinds of numbers can be shaken out of synthetic data as well as from the original........the UK’s Office for National Statistics says synthetic data offers a “safer, easier and faster way to share data between government, academia and the private sector”........ The data does not have to be rooted in the real world to have value: it can be fabricated and slotted in where some is missing or hard to get hold of........Synthetic data could, of course, be framed as fake data — but in some circumstances that is a bonus. Artificial intelligence that is trained on real-life information flaunts a baked-in bias: algorithmic decision-making in fields such as criminal justice and credit scoring shows evidence of racial discrimination........discrimination is not something that AI should perpetuate ..... synthetic data could help tackle complex social issues such as poverty: “We could modify that bias. People could release synthetic data that reflects the world we would like to have. Why not use those as training sets for AI?"
algorithms  anonymity  anonymized  biases  books  dark_side  data  data_wrangling  differential_privacy  fairness   inequality  noise  privacy  racial_discrimination  synthetic_data 
13 days ago
MIND MAPS: PICTURES AND WORDS IN SPACE -
July 15, 2008 | austinkleon.com | by Austin Kleon.
mind-mapping  tools 
15 days ago
Innovation diary: MIT professors keep the ideas flowing | Financial Times
John Thornhill

“But it is my duty to make something that solves an important problem,” he says. “It is all about the problem.”

Founded in 1861, MIT is one of the world’s leading research centres, with a reputation for “learning by doing”. It is affiliated with 95 Nobel Prize-winners.

Professor Kripa Varanasi, the co-founder of LiquiGlide, has developed a “solid liquid” that enables every last drop of ketchup to slide smoothly out of the bottle on to your fries........ between 5 % and 25 % of various consumer products are left in the bottle, with lotions being a particularly irritating, and expensive, problem for consumers.......LiquiGlide’s technology can also be usefully applied to all kinds of other surfaces, from paint tins to bread-making machinery to catheters. Intriguingly it can also be “inverted” to counter the hydrophobic surfaces of many plants, increasing the absorption rates of chemicals. “Only 2 per cent of what is sprayed sticks to the plants,”........the newly launched Schwarzman College of Computing, a project with $1.1bn in funding that counts the head of the Blackstone Group among its backers. The college has three main aims: to advance computer research; to infuse knowledge of artificial intelligence across all the university’s schools; and to focus on the social impact and ethical responsibilities of computing.

That seems like an urgent priority as we grapple with the malign effects of algorithmic discrimination and facial recognition technologies. “We have to think about all these ethical issues at the design stage,” ........Winston Churchill asserted that no technical knowledge could outweigh the knowledge of the humanities in which philosophy and history walked hand in hand. “Human beings are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be tended as such.”
artificial_intelligence  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  fluidity  human_factor  humanities  ideas  innovation  MIT  patents  PhDs  scholars  start_ups  Winston_Churchill  worthwhile_problems 
16 days ago
‘Rich people own stocks. Poor people own houses’ - The Globe and Mail
SCOTT BARLOWMARKET STRATEGIST
PUBLISHED 13 HOURS AGO
UPDATED JANUARY 31, 2020
FOR SUBSCRIBERS

The headline / twitter link is misleading. It should be "Rich people have a larger proportion of their wealth in stocks - Poor people have a larger proportion of their wealth in houses." The original headline implies that poor people are poor because they own a home, when in reality the lack of equity is due to available funds not preference.

To me the more interesting take away is that we often are told that the rich are rich primarily because they own land and other real estate. When this research would suggest that real estate is in reality a pretty insignificant part of the equation. It should come as no surprise that that the bottom 50% have minimal direct equity holdings given their ability/propensity to invest vs. save. A more interesting and informative statistic or graphic would have shown what the middle 49% are doing.
equities  high_net_worth  home_ownership  personal_finance  real_estate  wealth_management 
17 days ago
Opinion | Tech Loses a Prophet. Just When It Needs One.
Jan. 29, 2020 | The New York Times | By Kara Swisher, Ms. Swisher covers technology and is a contributing opinion writer.

* “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clay Christensen.
* The Intel founder and chief executive Andy Grove was a fan. So was the Apple legend Steve Jobs. Both men were doubtlessly attracted to the idea that start-ups made up of outsiders could find ways to create new markets and new value — and disrupt and overwhelm established companies.
* Professor Christensen’s formula was elegant: “First, disruptive products are simpler and cheaper; they generally promise lower margins, not greater profits. Second, disruptive technologies typically are first commercialized in emerging or insignificant markets. And third, leading firms’ most profitable customers generally don’t want, and indeed initially can’t use, products based on disruptive technologies.”
* though no fault of Professor Christensen’s, disruptive innovation took a turn for the worse in tech. Silicon Valley failed to marry disruption with a concept of corporate responsibility, and growth at all costs became its motto. The more measured approach that Professor Christensen taught was ignored.
* “It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.”
* “In fact, how you allocate your own resources can make your life turn out to be exactly as you hope or very different from what you intend.”
* “Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.”
advice  Andy_Grove  books  Clayton_Christensen  disruption  ideas  Kara_Swisher  principles  prophets  resource_allocation  self-help  Silicon_Valley  Steve_Jobs  technology  tributes 
18 days ago
Opinion | We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic - The New York Times
By David Quammen
Mr. Quammen is the author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”

Jan. 28, 2020
pandemics  zoonotic  flu_outbreaks  epidemics 
20 days ago
When a rude boss keeps you waiting, why not walk out? | Financial Times
Pilita Clark JANUARY 26 2020

 * The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven Rogelberg (2019)
books  courtesy  dignity  meetings  power_dynamics  punctuality  selfishness  tardiness  walking_away 
20 days ago
Organize Your Fridge (and Keep It Neat)
Jan. 20, 2020 | The New York Times | By Marguerite Preston.
Ms. Preston is a senior editor at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.
decluttering  finite_resources  GTD  howto  kitchens  refrigeration  self-discipline  self-organization 
24 days ago
Opinion | How Technology Saved China’s Economy - The New York Times
By Ruchir Sharma
Mr. Sharma is an author, global investor and contributing opinion writer.

Jan. 20, 2020,
China  China_rising  recessions  Ruchir_Sharma  surveillance_state  technology 
28 days ago
Tech innovation needs a level playing field
January 19, 2020 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar.

.........Creating an even playing field will require both monopoly scrutiny and a close examination of whether the pendulum in the patent system has swung too far towards benefiting tech companies that depend more on data and networks than patents, or have an interest in making it tougher to obtain patents.

Because their own products (for example, smartphones) require so many different bits of technology, the companies have an interest in keeping these inputs as cheap as possible. They can deploy legions of lawyers to protect any crucial IP of their own while “efficiently infringing” on the patents that belong to others (that’s the term for violations done knowingly by big companies as a cost of doing business).
......The US, in particular, has work to do there. “Our leadership on the global stage depends on our ability to promote and protect the innovations of American creators, engineers, and scientists,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons, who has sponsored bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s own IP protection. “I’m concerned that while our competitors — like China — strengthen their intellectual property regimes, we have been weakening our own innovation ecosystem.”
.......But the US has another problem — that of trying to compete with a state-run economy like China’s when it has no national innovation strategy. While large American companies are busy fighting each other in expensive legal battles to see who gets to set standards for smart speakers (or 5G, or AI, or a host of other areas), China is using its Belt and Road Initiative to roll out its own equipment, technology standards and interests across nations from Asia to Southern Europe. That’s not duplication. It’s just smart.
Big_Tech  China  cross-licensing  entrepreneurship  Google  industrial_policies  innovation  innovation_policies  intellectual_property  national_interests  One_Belt_One_Road  patents  patent_infringement  Rana_Foroohar  smart_speakers  Sonos  technical_standards  U.S.-China_relations 
29 days ago
Hey Siri. Why did Apple pay $200m for an AI start-up?
JANUARY 15 2020 | Financial Times | Richard Waters and Patrick McGee in San Francisco.

For Apple, better on-device AI would allow the company’s customers to keep full control of their personal data.

Apple has paid almost $200m for an AI start up, Seattle-based Xnor, that specialises in bringing intelligence to “smart” devices.....Xnor specialises in running complex machine learning models on so-called edge devices — the wide range of gadgets, from smartphones to smart home devices and cars, that operate beyond the reach of the cloud data centres that currently handle most artificial intelligence processing.  Running machine learning on-device, rather than in the cloud, has become one of the most important technology frontiers in the spread of AI. For Apple, better on-device AI would allow the company’s customers to keep full control of their personal data......That has become an important part of the company’s marketing pitch as it tries to distinguish itself from Google and Facebook.

Xnor had developed a way to run large machine learning models without requiring the computing resources and power normally needed for such data-intensive work (e.g. the technology reduces network demands caused by AI aka latency). .....This means that critical applications can continue to run even when they lose a connection to the cloud, such as in driverless cars.
Apple  artificial_intelligence  cloud_computing  connected_devices  data_centers  decentralization  edge  Facebook  Google  latency  M&A  machine_learning  on-device  personal_data  Richard_Waters  Siri  start_ups  Xnor 
29 days ago
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