All posts in culture

Paying for Commitment

“Instead of defining hours per week in contracts with employees, freelancers or virtual workers, you define a commitment level. You don’t care how many hours they work, when and where, or how they mix their private and professional lives. The only thing you care about is how much you can count on the contributions, effort and collaboration of your workers, in the projects to which they have been assigned.” –Pay People for Commitment, Not for Time or Results

On Sharing Experiences

“…the joy from an unusual experience fades quickly, but the sting of not fitting in because we didn’t share an experience with our peers—even a crappy one—lingers.”

Olga Khazan for The Atlantic

Macau’s Magic Squares

2014-10-16-stamps-and-math-2

Macau’s postal service is releasing a series of stamps based on magic squares. Full set will include the SATOR, and Dürer’s Melencolia. Below you see a Nasik 2D geo-magic square of order 3 (all the rows and columns are magic, but so are all six diagonals, including the four “broken” diagonals).

2014-10-16-stamps-and-math-1

Learn more about the stamps at the Macau postal service site.

In Defense of Being Angry at Work

“A series of studies highlighted in Human Relations journal (pdf) suggest that expressing anger in the workplace can actually lead to more people acknowledging a problem and getting it fixed. One study the authors highlighted found that negative emotional events in the workplace had a positive outcome 70% of the time. This doesn’t mean it’s bad to express positive feelings at work—those led to positive outcomes 94% of the time—it just means that a negative emotion doesn’t always lead to a negative outcome.”

Quartz

No Shit: Brainwave Meditation Lotus

c4966dfc-e293-4a49-abe0-5f7f06b7a9d7

The Lotus blooms when you’re relaxed.

Tumblr: Use Sparingly

tumblr_n3y9zj1WXt1txhjwco1_r3_500

Love this Tumblr decoding popular workplace jargon. Use Sparingly.

On Obituaries

“Not all obituaries are created equal. As a genre of occasional writing, some are composed without intimate knowledge of the deceased or deep reflection about their contributions. But the best of the obituaries written about these and other towering thinkers command our attention, for they invite us to reckon once again (and ever anew) with the political work and social location of what the historian Christopher Lasch referred to as the “intellectual as a social type.” Some are just a paragraph long; others go on for pages. But at their finest, obituaries of intellectuals attempt to resituate these thinkers and their ideas in the historical conditions from which they came and to which they spoke. And they invite us to recall how we put them to work in our own intellectual biographies.”

“Over Our Dead Bodies” –Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

Teenage Wasteland: Japanese Youth in Revolt, 1964

01_115020012

See the slideshow at Life magazine.

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

“I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read.”

Please read Neil Gaiman’s piece in the Guardian.

Josh Marshall: Flipboard is a Scam Against Publishers?

Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo’s decision to pull out of Flipboard, Google Currents, etc.:

But say you find TPM on Flipboard, decide it’s great and add it to your viewing routine on Flipboard. Probably you just keep reading us on Flipboard. Clearly you like Flipboard or you wouldn’t be using it. So why would you start visiting TPM? You likely won’t. That may be great for you. It’s definitely great for Flipboard. But is it great for us? Not really. It boosts my ego, I guess. And more people may know about us. But where and how does that turn into our ability to convert that ‘audience’ into a revenue stream that allows us to create our product? I don’t think it does. Or it does in so in such a trivial and unquantifiable way as to be meaningless.

How does he know that users don’t connect the dots back to the site after using Flipboard to discover them? He’s basing a ton of his opinion here on that assumption. I know for my own experience, I love using tools like Flipboard, Feedly, etc. to discover new sites, and when I like them I add them to my reader, and I visit those sites and open those links and share the articles I like here and other places. Maybe the majority of users don’t convert in that same way. That said, I do understand his issue with the fuzzy logic around how things like reach and brand awareness are benefiting them when their goal is to find revenue streams to keep producing their work. I totally get that.

However, if you’re cutting off from your readers in an attempt to own every page view so your banner ads are more valuable (not saying that’s his plan, more so pointing out that the plan in general is a bit more traditional and focused on hard data like CTR and direct streams), you’re holding yourself back from real potential in terms of both revenue and reader growth. I don’t quite get it, despite understanding (and sympathizing with) large-scale digital news sites that are now struggling to manage million dollar solvency issues annually, much like newspapers scrambled to do years ago. It’s about a clear-cut cost-based analysis for Marshall, but I’m not sure he’s correct as he cuts off values that don’t ‘directly’ influence revenue.

How Richard Dawkins Coined the Word Meme

“Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain.”

Learn more over at Brain Pickings.

Kierkergaard & the Clown

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.

Either/Or, Part I.

Woody Allen “What I’ve Learned”

It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.

More at Esquire

Funeral Homes Keep Typewriters Alive

In an era of apps, tablets and Google Glass, typewriters are still clacking along with the help of an unusual coalition of customers. Police departments, law firms and government agencies still punch out forms on the machines. Some municipalities use them for marriage and birth certificates. And Swintec executives found a way to save their business a decade ago with a new client: prisons.

-WSJ

Simone de Beauvior on Feminism

Via Open Culture:

Being a woman is not a natural fact. It’s the result of a certain history. There is no biological or psychological destiny that defines a woman as such…. Baby girls are manufactured to become women.

Load More