Interesting Things I Discovered

This page is a collection of the best articles, podcasts, videos, and tweets on varied topics. I’ve spent years and years collecting them. I’m on a mission to use the internet to accelerate the spread of interesting ideas. I hope this page will help you spend more time learning and less time searching.

It is a mix of stories, ideas, insights, facts, and more. Read the excerpt to know the gist. If it intrigues you, follow the link to the source. They are arranged in reverse chronological order—with the newest at the top and the oldest at the bottom.

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Tree-planting is perceived as a feel-good cure-all for global warming. Donald Trump touted tree-planting while working to eliminate emissions regulations during his presidency. Also, such large-scale initiatives are anything but simple. Popular campaigns to plant 1 million trees are announced to much fanfare but often fall short of their goals. Many trees don’t survive, or thrive, or deliver their promised benefits.

A China that badly wants to change the world but can’t even change an uppity neighbour. China, a rising power with 1.4 billion people and a $14.7 trillion economy, should trample a country of 26 million with an economy less than one-tenth the size. But in a world wrapped in interdependent supply chains and complex political connections, smaller countries can wield a surprising armoury of weapons. China finally discovers the limits of its power.

How to love watching TV shows really fast. “At 1.25x speed, the dialogue on TV shows doesn’t sound comically hastened. To my ears, the speech just flows more freely, with an artificial layer of added pep. Still, I’m not an absolutist in my accelerative proclivities.”

The ability to connect different forms of transport forms an internet of motion. The future of urban transport will not be based on a single technology, but on a diverse mixture of transport systems, knitted together by smartphone technology. Collectively, ride-hailing, micromobility and on-demand car rental offer new approaches to transport that provide the convenience of a private car without the need to own one, for a growing fraction of journeys.

Not all new Indian cinema was born in Bombay, Calcutta or Madras. One pioneer helped build the Kannada movie world in Mysore. In the year of his birth centenary, this is the story of Shankar Singh.

His last purchases occurred 18 years ago. He claims he hasn’t spent any money since. For those of us who struggle to make ends meet or who are disorganised or negligent with personal finances, or who can’t seem to ever create a cushion for unexpected expenses, the idea of doing away with money might seem spectacularly appealing.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan decodes the world through sound. A self-proclaimed “private ear,” the Dubai-based artist leads audio investigations that uncover often unsavoury truths, such as goods trafficking or the realities of a Syrian prison.

When money’s tight, parents talk less to kids. If you are worried about putting food on the table tonight, or scraping together money for that medical bill, or figuring out where to enrol your child in school now that you have been evicted from your neighbourhood, you may be less likely to narrate the colour of the sky to your child as you ride together on the bus.

Sake is delicious yet deadly. On first taste it’s subtle and sophisticated. In simple terms, it’s a rice wine made from polished grain, and it’s brewed in practically every corner of the country. What’s more, Japanese history has marinated, positively stewed in sake. Yet, to many foreigners, it’s shrouded in misconception. For starters: it’s not even called sake.

This is the story of a mother who took on the UK government and won. It is 40 years since Anwar Ditta won her campaign against the UK Home Office and became one of the first to use DNA evidence to win the right to family reunification. Between 1975 and 1982, she found herself at the centre of an anti-racist movement because of her fearless fight against Britain’s Home Office which had separated her from her three children in Pakistan.

We really did lose something crucial with the death of the conventional pitchmen. There was no dubiousness in your relationship with Billy Mays, no delicate fusion of the personal and the professional. He was the seller, and you were the buyer. Wasn’t it all so simple then? Nowadays, everyone is selling something.

You are too optimistic about meeting deadlines. When it comes time for you to build your own Sydney opera house, even if you don’t have a deadline as clear-cut as Easter Sunday, take a cue from those lily farmers. Ignore what you wish were true. Use the past to build your schedule. Keep your eye on the calendar—and then watch those flowers bloom.

Love and work are replacing traditional communal structures and religion. But think about other sources of purpose and meaning, and put them in place. What else matters in your life? If it’s only work, when work doesn’t go well, mental health problems are very close around the corner.

This is how Jack Ma hired. When building up his team Jack preferred hiring people a notch or two below the top performers in their schools. The college elite, Jack explained, would easily get frustrated when they encountered the difficulties of the real world. Hiring strategies at Indian companies couldn’t be more different.

Although experience may help, it is not sufficient to override important biases such as the sunk cost effect. This is consistent with the general theory that to avoid decision-making biases, you need the ability to recognise the fact that you’re facing a situation in which you should override your instincts or heuristics.

At some point in your career, you may well be advised to seek out a mentor. However, the benefits of being a mentor are often overlooked. You don’t need to know everything about a subject to get started. If you’re one or two steps further along than someone else, you’re in a position to help them. Plus, it feels pretty good to help others out!

Third generation CAR-T immunotherapy treatments aim to be more effective with less side effects than previous therapies. Dr Robert Weinkove is a key member of the Cancer Immunotherapy Programme to develop and manufacture ‘chimeric antigen receptor’ (CAR) T-cells for treatment of lymphoma and other blood cancers.

Almost 20 years on from the Pyrenean ibex and 25 years from Dolly the sheep, the field of genetics is still replete with mysteries. It may be too late to save some animals from extinction, but Tullis Matson has a backup plan: freeze their cells to preserve their genes. “I’m afraid that people will start obsessing over Jurassic Park and forget that we want to save animals that are alive now,” he says. “It’s just not about that.”

How you can experience the Narayan Effect. Whether you seek to experience water’s potential for physical healing or mental and emotional balance, these are a few ways you can experiment with this powerful form of therapy.

Friendlessness is on the rise — and so is loneliness. It might seem strange that the absence of friendship in the lives of individuals could be paving the way for the gravest forms of political misfortune. Loneliness can be intolerable — so much so that even the most toxic forms of political association begin to look like a godsend.

Cricket is having its Moneyball moment. When Twenty20 launched, the game of cricket changed forever. Now a team of data evangelists are taking the sport to the next level.

When the ultimate dream of becoming the central star of corporate culture comes true, a new star is born. But who can maintain this kind of hyper-performative life? Is it even possible to be excellent, extraordinary, creative and innovative all day long? How long can a shift of performative work be anyway?

How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race. Whether mRNA vaccines succeed or not, their path from a gleam in a scientist’s eye to the brink of government approval has been a tale of personal perseverance, eureka moments in the lab, soaring expectations — and an unprecedented flow of cash into the biotech industry.

RELATED: This is what scientists know about the Delta variant so far. It has multiple mutations that appear to make it 40 to 60 percent more transmissible than Alpha, the variant first identified in Britain, which is itself estimated to be about 30 to 50 percent more transmissible than the original coronavirus. In Australia, security cameras even documented a transmission that occurred between two people passing each other in a shopping mall.

India is an artificial entity. This is one of the oft-repeated urban myths that sometimes pops-up in conversation even among many educated, well meaning Indians is that India as a nation is a British creation. This urban myth is not accidental. It was deliberately taught in the British established system of education.

RELATED: In India’s current situation, the colonial model of citizenship has come back with a vengeance. For the makers of India’s constitution, who strove to create democracy in a country that had long been regarded as unfit for it, the promise of self-rule was that a person’s interests were not predetermined. Rather than being divined on the basis of one’s identity, they would instead be formulated and reformulated in politics. The democratic ideal enabled the idea of majorities and minorities to be ever changing, constantly subject to alignment and realignment. Such a vision could liberate individuals from prior associations and allegiances, and create new loyalties.

This is how India has established a presence and stake in Antarctica. Indian scientists’ experiments have brought us new knowledge in fields ranging from microbial studies to radio astronomy, geology to climate science. There are Antarctica stories these scientists can tell. But theirs are also stories of that ancient human endeavour: scientific inquiry.

For years, western-backed efforts aimed to disarm the country’s irregular militias. But the Taliban’s advances and the accelerated departure of foreign troops have convinced Afghans whose homes are threatened, and the officials who have to protect them, that they need more people to pick up guns and fight. Militias are forming around the country, many encouraged, financed or even called up by the government itself.

RELATED: US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001. The Taliban entered direct talks with the US in 2018, and President Joe Biden has said the American pull-out is justified as US forces have made sure Afghanistan cannot become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West again. However, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai told he believed the Nato and US military mission there had failed in defeating terrorism and extremism. He called on both the Afghan government and the Taliban to “sit down and talk as soon as possible for peace”.

French thought once dazzled the world — what went wrong? A telling example of this crisis of French thought is the discussion of the integration of post-colonial minorities from the Maghreb — one of the burning issues in contemporary French politics. The roots of this question lie in the universality of the French model of citizenship, and the deeply held assumption of the beneficial quality of French civilisation for humankind. Because of their belief in the emancipatory quality of their culture, French progressives consistently advocated a policy of assimilation in the colonies, and largely ignored the racism and social inequalities produced by their own empire.

In 2015, Tom Turcich set out to circumnavigate the globe by foot. He has been walking ever since. For Turcich, that moment came when he was 17, when his close friend died at age 16. And the thing he decided he would do was see the world—not just on a fleeting, greatest-hits style vacation, but as a sustained lifestyle, with all its ups and downs. (Ann Babe / Afar)

Playing action games in reasonable doses is positively powerful. Researchers found that 3D games can improve the functioning of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that’s involved with learning and memory. Meanwhile, it was also found that video games can aid mental agility and enhance strategic thinking. (Thom James Carter / WIRED)

The dark triad makes us more creative but also more likely to cheat. Two decades ago psychologists came up with the now infamous “dark triad” of personality traits to understand why some people don’t think twice before cheating on a test or picking on someone weaker than them. (Scott Barry Kaufman / Scientific American)

How do you ask good questions? It is often better to preface a question with a confession of some sort, or with information from yourself. Also, high status people get better answers than do low status people. So be high status. Or at least credibly pretend to be high status. (Tyler Cowen / Marginal Revolution)

You may not know this, but astronomers hate manned space flight. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos both believe that cars and vans should drift around empty, depriving millions of skilled drivers of their livelihood, while for some reason space rockets — tailor-made for computerised telemetry and remote operation — become vastly more useful if there are three billionaires onboard. (Rory Sutherland / The Spectator)

Zhang Hongbing was 16 when he denounced his mother for criticising Chairman Mao. Now Zhang wants to make amends. Thirty-six million people were hounded and perhaps a million died in the turmoil unleashed by Mao Zedong in 1966. They were condemned by their political views and social background or someone’s whim, enmity or attempt at self-preservation through incriminating others. Victims included the father of China’s new leader Xi Jinping, who fell from grace and was sent to labour in the countryside. (Tania Branigan / The Guardian)

Optimism, as I practice it anyway, is an attitude and a strategy, not a description of the world. As an optimist, I try not to dwell on boring careerists and derivative claptrap. Instead, I seek out the exceptions to the rule and appreciate what I find. Just because the average is low doesn’t mean that you can’t personally consume high quality. And even when the quality I consume is far from ideal, I try to mentally change the subject to another dimension where I have blessings to count. (Bryan Caplan / EconLog)

Iconic director Martin Scorsese is worried about cinema. He has spent the past couple of years distinguishing what he considers “real cinema” from the “theme park movies” of the MCU. But what if this whole distinction doesn’t really exist? And what if the key to proving it is… William Shakespeare? (Wisecrack / YouTube)

The sounds of nature influence where animals lived and how they forage. For each 12 decibel increase in white water noise volume, bird abundance decreased by about 7 percent and bat activity decreased by about 8 percent. Birds were especially deterred by white water noise pitches that overlapped with birdsong. (Nikk Ogasa / Science News)

You don’t need to watch hiking videos to hike. An impossible burden of our digitally intertwined lives is the omnipresent spectre of inadequacy, or of seeing someone else’s life and wondering why ours can’t be that cool. (Grayson Haver Currin / Outside)

Amazon’s towering success doesn’t accrue to their hourly workers. Employees feel managed largely by app, algorithm, and strict but poorly explained rules. If they go beyond the requirements, there’s no reward. Amazon intentionally limited upward mobility for hourly workers. It’s impossible for them to get leadership roles. (Karen Weise, Grace Ashford, Jodi Kantor / NY Times)

Don’t say, “It’s not personal.” When someone is hurt, angry, or otherwise clearly affected by something you’ve said or done, telling them it’s not personal only adds insult to injury. If you actually care, why not acknowledge and own that it is personal to them, even if not to you? If you can’t do that, don’t say anything about “personal” at all. (James R. Detert / Harvard Business Review)

Only 45 percent of the population in El Salvador has internet access. It remains to be seen how exactly the national government thinks it will improve connectivity, particularly in rural areas, and get powerful enough devices into peoples’ hands to support a bitcoin economy. (Aaron Mak / Slate)

Hugo Conteras photographs surfers and sells the best shots for about $20. He’s taken Bitcoin occasionally, but the dips in price burned him. “Now I tell them it’s $25 if they want to pay in Bitcoin. You don’t know when it’s going to go down.” (Ezra Fieser / Bloomberg)

Naomi Osaka has given a public face to a growing, and long overdue, revolt. Like so many other women, the tennis prodigy has recognised that she has the right to put her health and sanity above the unending demands imposed by those who stand to profit from her labours. In doing so, Ms. Osaka exposes a foundational lie in how high-achieving women are taught to view their careers. (Kelli María Korducki / NY Times)

Seek to contribute, advises Marc Andreessen. Find the hottest, most vibrant part of the economy you can and figure out how you can contribute best and most. Make yourself of value to the surrounding people, to your customers and coworkers, and try to increase that value every day. (Noah Smith / Noahpinion)

In the face of shop-floor social-justice activism, should business owners resolve to stick to business? A pseudonymous group inspired by Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong came together under the banner “Mission Protocol,” with the aim of getting other companies to start “putting aside activities and conversations” outside the scope of their professional missions. (Peter Savodnik / Quillette)

For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up? Egalitarian, cooperative human communities are possible. Widespread sharing and consensus decision-making aren’t contrary to ‘human nature’ (whatever that is). Indeed, for most of human history we lived in such societies. But such societies are not inherently stable. (Kim Sterelny / Aeon)

There are psychological benefits of commuting to work. The smell of the café car, the gathering of the shoulder bag, the clack of shoes on the lobby floor—all the sensory cues saying You’re a professional journalist arriving in office for work would be gone. (Jerry Useem / The Atlantic)

Why it’s so satisfying to root for villains. Villains have a part to play beyond reflecting societal fears and serving as an outlet for our deep-seated temptations: embracing them allows us to find ourselves in narratives where many of us continue to be shunted to the side or rendered invisible. (Aja Romano / Vox)

How a chaotic project became a beloved hit. Shrek, known for its examination of true love, self-acceptance, identity and friendship, all while resisting the typical damsel-in-distress theme, has influenced a generation. It’s the most anti-Disney movie ever. (Gina Cherelus / New York Times)

Why some buildings delight us and others disappoint. Architects tend to emphasise overall aggregate form. And then, very often, it’s value-engineered out. That’s what’s creating a lot of the impoverishment in the environment. To have “sticky” places — places that engage you, your sensory system, your motor system, and help you create a sense of identification with them — you have to have all those things, and most buildings don’t. (Amanda Kolson Hurley / Bloomberg)

French economist Gabriel Zucman scours spreadsheets to find secret offshore accounts. The top wealth detective’s methods are unusually brute-force compared with those of recent-vintage U.S. economists, relying not on powerful computers, regression analyses, or predictive models, but on simple, voluminous spreadsheets compiling the tax tables, macroeconomic datasets, and cross-border-flow calculations of central banks. (Ben Steverman / Bloomberg)

Short documentary about a trio of foley artists and how movie sounds are made. With advances in technology, filming techniques have evolved over the years, but foley (sounds recreated for a film) still relies on traditional craftsmanship. Footsteps (this documentary) introduces its audience to three foley artists as we gain insight into their profession and enjoy their infectious passion and entertaining sense of humour. (Jeremy Benning / YouTube)

Naomi Osaka is destigmatising mental health in sports. In recent years, professional athletes like Michael Phelps have helped destigmatise conversations surrounding mental health, having shared their struggles with the public and defying typical sports conventions to show no signs of vulnerability, to just power through. (Sean Gregory / TIME)

Why is fan art so delightful? Not every fan makes fan art. But for folks who have an intense engagement with a fandom, tend to get inspired by it, and want to interact with it in a different way. They want to somehow make themselves part of the world that they have become engaged with. (Elisa Shoenberger / WIRED)

When you get up in the morning you must take your heart in your two hands. “For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young… It has to do with who the person is.” That’s what beloved writer Grace Paley addresses with extraordinary humour and intellectual elegance in a 1989 piece titled Upstaging Time. (Maria Popova / Brain Pickings)

The Soviet Union is gone, but it’s still collapsing. 25 years later, events didn’t exactly unfold as initially predicted. The forces of globalisation have mutated former Soviet countries in unseen ways, emboldening autocrats and entrenching corruption across the region. (FP Contributors / Foreign Policy)

Psychologists have long debated how flexible someone’s “true” self is. Can personality be changed? Many people fail in reaching their personal-development goals because they have unrealistic expectations about the speed, amount, ease, and consequences of attempts at self-change — a phenomenon they call false hope syndrome. (Scott Barry Kaufman / The Atlantic)

Happy is a relative state. “All this give and take, but I’ve found an uneasy peace. I’ve given you a version of my story, the best I have to give. I crafted it with words I chose and plucked so carefully, shaped through revision. I’ve given you this tale and you will decide what to make of it, what to make of me.” (Renée K. Nicholson / Longreads)

Why having friends of different ages matters. Varying ages have different life perspectives and experiences which can expose you to new ways of thinking and doing. If you’re a mother with a young baby, you don’t want to spend all your time with mothers with young babies. (Elizabeth Bennett / Sunday Edit)

We are living in a time when pop culture is being increasingly determined by TikTok’s algorithms. This also tends to mean that what we’re seeing is the lowest common denominator of what human beings want to look at, appealing to our most base impulses and exploiting existing biases toward thinness, whiteness, and wealth. (Rebecca Jennings / Vox)

Humanity has completely changed the food it eats. Processed food isn’t just a modern invention, created in factories from artificial ingredients. It is as old as humanity itself and may have helped create our species. (Nicola Temple / BBC)

Why are urban fish ponds and why are they important? Brilliant article on how low-tech aquaponic-fish pond sewage systems provides not only clean water but also converts otherwise wasted nutrients to fertiliser and food, with current and historical examples from India, Germany, Vietnam, China, etc.

In 2019, Instagram announced it would test a feed without likes. After more than two years of testing, Instagram announced what it found: removing likes doesn’t seem to meaningfully depressurise Instagram, for young people or anyone else, and so likes will remain publicly viewable by default. But all users will now get the ability to switch them off if they like, either for their whole feed or on a per-post basis. Turns out one-size-fits-all solutions make us miserable.

We Become What We Behold is a mini-game about the news! It’s a simple game that demonstrates what gets captured, why it spreads, and how it affects us and future news. Try it on your computer. Pretty smartly done.

Humour is a powerful tool in a parent’s arsenal. But it’s smart to stop every once in a while and consider one of comedy’s biggest rules: timing. If you crack wise to avoid serious emotions, you may seem less capable of helping your kid handle serious things. Whether you are a parent or not, it’s important to know when to use humour and when not to. (Adam Bulger / Fatherly)

Google Maps began life as a thought bubble at Where 2’s headquarters. Before starting Where 2, Stephen Ma was working at a petrol station, Noel Gordon was working as a fabric cutter in his father-in-law’s clothing factory in the inner Sydney suburb of Newtown, and Jens Rasmussen had been sleeping on his mother’s couch back home in Denmark. Even a decade ago this was not a typical start-up. Not only were the founders more middle-aged, but thanks to Gordon’s then girlfriend, now wife, they worked civilised hours. Everyone had to down tools by 6pm and take the weekends off. (Stephen Hutcheon)

How to find time for learning? As you grow older, you have many responsibilities and at the end of the week, there may only be a few hours to learn. How do you find the time? Scott Young articulates four strategies: only have one project, make learning frictionless (by setting up your environment so you can get started immediately), integrate learning with your life (so that it fits within your existing work, social, or family pursuits), and remove time-wasting alternatives (by temporarily suspending any of the activities you normally spend time on). (Scott Young / Scott H Young)

There are two possible understandings of free speech: a political one and an expressive one. The political understanding is: we need the ability in society to freely and publicly speak about the broadest variety of issues with very little restriction. Then there’s an expressive argument: we have an intrinsic psychological need to express ourselves that should be free of social or political sanction. (John Ganz / Unpopular Front)

There are those who build and there are those who communicate. People who build work with a group of people whose job is to connect them with the information they need. Those connectors in turn work with people whose job is to collect that information in the first place. This pattern repeats throughout. The success of all these information connectors and collectors depends on precisely one skill: communication. (Andrew Bosworth / Boz)

We see faults in others that we remain blind to in ourselves. You criticise the splinter in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own. But you are also more ready to forgive others for their faults than you are ready to forgive yourself for our own. (Meghan O’Gieblyn / The Paris Review)

When we are young, our skills tend to improve with age and experience. But once we are well into adulthood, it may start to feel as if it’s all downhill from there. With every advancing year, we become slightly more forgetful, somewhat slower to respond, a little less energetic. Yet, there is at least one important exception: in the emotional realm, older people rule supreme. (Tim Vernimmen / Knowable)

Evolution Explains Everything — Some people have the misconception that evolution optimises an organism’s fitness. In reality, evolution couldn’t care less about you or me. Evolution is a blind process that over time increases the incidence of “greedy” organisms that survive longer and have more babies by whatever means necessary.

What Really Happened During the Attica Prison Rebellion — On September 9th 1971, a spontaneous uprising began in a New York State prison. A group of prisoners overpowered guards, broke windows, started fires, and captured supplies, sparking the Attica Rebellion. Soon, over 1,200 prisoners had assembled with 42 hostages to demand better treatment and better living conditions. Orisanmi Burton details the revolt and deadly retaking of Attica prison.

The Secret to a Meaningful Life is Simpler than You Think — People are mistaken when they feel their lives are meaningless. The error is based on their failure to recognise what does matter, instead becoming overly focused on what they believe is missing from their existence. Most of the people who complained about life’s meaninglessness even found it difficult to explain what they took the notion to mean.

Why Can’t We Trust Science Any More? — One by one, this film dismantles the machinations that aim to turn science against itself. With the help of declassified archives and testimonies from experts, lobbyists and politicians, this investigation plunges us into the science of doubt. Along with a team of experts, including philosophers, economists, cognitive scientists, politicians, and scholars, we explore concrete examples of how doubt can be sown, and try to understand the process.

How to Cope With Being Underestimated — Anger, redemption, and revenge are very good motivators when you’re underestimated. They’re healthy parts of ourselves. Once you realise that a person is trying to shame, gaslight, or humiliate you (by underestimating you), once you know that, it’s very easy. Turning the tables in the moment can check the underestimating offender right into place.

The Joy of Being Animal — Many of us still deny that human actions are the result of our animal being, instead maintaining that they’re the manifestation of reason. We think our world into being. And that’s sometimes true. The trouble comes when we think our thoughts are our being.

How do Vaccines Work — Vaccines work by simulating an infection in the body. This isn’t a real infection, but it teaches the immune system to recognise and neutralise similar pathogens later. If the immune system can stop viruses from replicating, they no longer pose a health risk to the vaccinated individual.

The Ladders of Wealth Creation: A Step-By-Step Roadmap to Building Wealth — What lessons do you need to learn to go from odd jobs around the neighbourhood to owning a real estate empire? From working as a freelancer to selling your own digital products? What about from working at Wendy’s to owning a SaaS company earning over $1 million per month?

How Busyness Leads to Bad Decisions — When we’re stressed and feeling pressed for time, our attention and cognitive bandwidth narrow as if we’re in a tunnel. It can sometimes be a good thing, helping us hyper-focus on our most important work. But tunnelling has a dark side. When we get caught up in a time scarcity trap of busyness, a panicked firefighting mode, we might only have the capacity to focus on the most immediate, often low-value tasks right in front of us rather than the big project or the long-range strategic thinking that would help keep us out of the tunnel in the first place.

Dating While Dying — “I’d rather be getting a bone marrow biopsy,” I texted my friends before marching out to meet my first date in more than a decade. But I went. And it was fine. Fun, actually. So I stuck with it and dated some more. After one great date, I had a crushing realisation: I have only the present to offer, not a hopeful future. “You don’t know that,” a friend told me.

Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids — Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention. And in many developed societies, parents now pay more attention to individual achievement and happiness than anything else. However much we praise kindness and caring, we’re not actually showing our kids that we value these traits.

The Neuroscience of Anxiety — Fear, anxiety and worrying have different, technical meanings. Fear is the feeling associated with imminent danger. Anxiety is the feeling of uncertain threat. Worrying is anxious and repetitive thinking.

The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius — When you look at the lives of people who’ve done great work, you see a consistent pattern. They often begin with a bus ticket collector’s obsessive interest in something that would have seemed pointless to most of their contemporaries. One of the most striking features of Darwin’s book about his voyage on the Beagle is the sheer depth of his interest in natural history. His curiosity seems infinite. Ditto for Ramanujan, sitting by the hour working out on his slate what happens to series.

I’m 72. So What? — I cried when I turned 20, the end of my teenage years. I felt old again when I turned 34 — with a 2-year-old toddler, and facing the imminent arrival of 35, because it was only five years short of the dreaded 40. And now, paradoxically, I feel younger, more vibrant and in better shape physically and emotionally than I did at 60, or even at 50. So is that all a question of perspective? And is that a slippery concept, that concept of “old” varying from culture to culture, generation to generation and from decade to decade?

The Myth and Magic of Generating New Ideas — All problem solvers and problem inventors have had the experience of thinking, and then overthinking, themselves into a dead end. The question we’ve all encountered—and, inevitably, will encounter again—is how to get things moving and keep them moving. That is, how to get unstuck.

It’s Not Enough to Be Right—You Also Have to Be Kind — We care a lot less about the people who think differently than us and put little effort into persuading them. That’s because persuasion is no longer the goal—it’s signalling.

5-Hour Workdays? 4-Day Workweeks? Yes, Please — Because everyone can talk to everyone at any time through email and instant messages, we just let work flow along as an unstructured conversation made up of missives flying back and forth through the electronic ether. This scales up the way we’ve always naturally collaborated in small groups.

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things — In general, when we think about bad behaviour, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.

Is Sending Text Reminders Behavioural Economics? — Labelling this intervention behavioural economics seems like a stretch; more fitting might be to call it design, communication, or common sense, and I can’t see how the design of such an intervention is helped by any specialised knowledge of behavioural economics.

Turing As a Runner — I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard; its the only way I can get some release.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz — This documentary depicts the life of Aaron Swartz — an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, and Internet activist. He’s also credited as one of Reddit’s cofounder. Swartz’s work focused on civic awareness and activism. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). By the time I finished watching I had tears.

Schadenfreude with Bite — The troll has it both ways. He is magnificently indifferent to social norms, which he transgresses for the lulz, yet often at the same time a vengeful punisher: both the Joker and Batman. The troll acts as a self-appointed cultural critic in a tradition of clowns and jesters, while simultaneously plausibly maintaining that it’s all in good fun and shouldn’t be taken (too) seriously.

Adam Neumann and The Art of Failing Up — While WeWork’s future looks morbid, former CEO Adam Neumann exited the company with $1Bn. It’s a good lesson on how we often get fooled by show and tell. It’s also a lesson on banking upon one’s qualities, and how not to be a sucker.

Buffet Lines Are Terrible, But Let’s Try to Improve — My company has a buffet every Friday, and the lines grow to epic proportions when the food arrives. I’ve suspected for years that the “classic” buffet line system is a deeply flawed and inefficient method, and every time I’m stuck in the line has made me more convinced.

Fear is Boring, and Other Tips for Living a Creative Life — We’re all creative souls already, we just need to figure out how to harness inspiration and unleash the creative spirit within.

Cached Thoughts — It’s a good guess that the actual majority of human cognition consists of cache lookups. This thought does tend to go through my mind at certain times.

Terror Management Theory — A basic psychological conflict results from having a self-preservation instinct while realising that death is inevitable. This conflict produces terror, and the terror is then managed by embracing cultural beliefs, or symbolic systems that act to counter biological reality with more durable forms of meaning and value.

IQ is Largely a Pseudoscientific Swindle — IQ measures extreme unintelligence, rather than intelligence. Low IQ is a good indicator that you might be Forrest Gump. But a high IQ doesn’t mean that you are an Einstein. A theoretical exam does not determine how well you fare in the real world. If you want to detect how well someone does at something, say starting a business, or playing tennis, make them do it.

How Silicon Valley Lost Its Conscience — What makes the DoorDash story so perfectly emblematic of Silicon Valley—even more so than those of the mammoth Facebooks, Googles, and Amazons of the world—is that someone like Xu can take an industry as innocuous as delivering hummus and pizzas and find a way to be utterly immoral while disrupting it.

How Google Discovered the Value of Surveillance — Wi-Fi-enabled and networked, the thermostat’s intricate, personalised data stores are uploaded to Google’s servers. Each thermostat comes with a “privacy policy,” a “terms-of-service agreement,” and an “end-user licensing agreement.”

What Really Happens vs. How The Marketing Team Talks — is a geek comic site. If you are a developer, you cannot help but fall in love with it.

How a Malaysian Film Became a Global Icon for Diversity — I love digging out less popular YouTube videos. I also love world cinema. This video explores Sepet, a Malaysian movie, and its exploration of multiculturalism.

Mindful Context Switching: Multitasking For Humans — I had talked about the myth of multitasking along with its adverse effects on productivity. However, this article takes a different view with something called Mindful Context Switching.

A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked — As a philosophical question, whether humans have control over their own actions had been fought over for centuries before Libet walked into a lab. But Libet introduced a genuine neurological argument against free will. His finding set off a new surge of debate in science and philosophy circles. And over time, the implications have been spun into cultural lore.

Men May Have Evolved Better ‘Making Up’ Skills — A woman’s relationship with another woman is often gravely damaged if one woman achieves greater status than the other or somehow outdoes her. Men, by contrast, seem to better tolerate these kinds of ups and downs, which may be why men seem better than women at maintaining large same-sex social networks.

The Work You Do, The Person You Are — I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labour to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home.

What if Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? — Will was “that kid.” Every school has a few of them: that kid who’s always getting into trouble, if not causing it. That kid who can’t stay in his seat and has angry outbursts and can make a teacher’s life hell. That kid the other kids blame for a recess tussle. Will knew he was that kid too. Ever since first grade, he’d been coming to school anxious, defensive, and braced for the next confrontation with a classmate or teacher.