A Productivity Secret Weapon
August 15, 2019
One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced, with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is also something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today.” – James Baldwin
- Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true. (NYT, $)
- Why Trump Fears Women of Color: The right recognizes their political power. The left takes them for granted. (NYT, $)
- We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by (WaPo $)
Supercentenarians: a Scam?
- Recent research into the oldest living people has turned up some interesting results: the secret behind a long life might not be diet or lifestyle. According to a study into “supercentenarian”, or those well over 100 years old, shows that maybe the key to living for a century might be miskept vital information.
- According to the paper, as soon as countries begin keeping detailed vital information, such as state-issued birth certificates, the rate of supercentenarians fell by about 70%. This indicates that most supercentenarians are not as old as they state simply due to record discrepancies.
- Interestingly, some areas with high concentrations of supercentenarians, including parts of Italy and Japan, also have higher rates of crime and lower life expectancies. How is this possible? According to the paper, these pockets of supercentenarians are predicted by higher rates of indicators of fraud, so some of the elderly in these areas may be cheating the system to get by. (Vox)
Traveling, But Not For Pleasure
- Rising healthcare costs in America are beginning to normalize an interesting phenomenon: medical tourism. To avoid the high costs in the US, patients and doctors are looking abroad to both perform and undergo some medical procedures.
- A knee surgery that cost above $30,000 in the US can be performed in a Mexican hospital for a deep price cut down to $12,000. While this process clearly makes sense for patients with the resources to travel, it also makes sense for doctors. In this case, a doctor can be paid about three times what they make for performing the same procedure in the US, where Medicare can cut down on profits to the doctor.
- A Denver-based company is expanding services in medical tourism, organizing procedures outside US borders while also guaranteeing quality care and closely following medical malpractice guidelines. The company is looking to increase legitimacy in the area, using American doctors and quality facilities to reduce any uncertainties patients may have. (NYT, $)
One Country’s Trash Is Another Country’s Best Attempt
- Now that China is no longer accepting the world’s recyclable waste, countries are faced with trying to deal with their own trash. Last week Australia moved toward eventually banning the export of any recyclable waste in a bid to increase onshore processing of the materials.
- One plan is to pave roads with Reconophalt, a combination of recycled materials and asphalt; the first road in the world to be paved with Reconophalt lies sixteen miles north of Melbourne.
- Another plan is to build facilities that can incinerate unrecyclable scraps and convert them into electricity in an effort to emulate Sweden, which already has plants so effective at turning waste into energy the country has begun importing other countries’ trash. (NYT)
Chile Scopes Out The Future
- Roughly 16,000 feet above sea level is Chile’s Atacama Desert, which runs for 600 miles along the Pacific Coast, west of the Andes Mountains. It’s the driest nonpolar desert on Earth, with some parts so arid that no plant or animal life can survive.
- What is there, however, are 54 steerable dishes — telescopes — that make up much of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). The telescopes monitor atmospheric conditions, especially the amount of water vapor.
- Another 1,000 feet above that is one of the highest telescopes in the world, the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor (CLASS), whose No. 1 goal is to detect evidence for quantum gravitational waves, or signals, to explain how the universe began.
- The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a survey telescope still under construction. When finished it will look at huge swaths of the sky and hopefully spot rare events that are presently hard or impossible to find. Chili’s telescopes are invaluable tools for astrophysicists and astronomers. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Why are we all paying a tax to credit card companies? (The Week) And Zombie debt: How collectors trick consumers into reviving dead debts: In many states, companies lose the right to collect debts after a few years. But there’s a loophole they’re increasingly using. (WaPo, $)
- Waning of American Power? Trump Struggles With an Asia in Crisis: The Trump administration has taken a hands-off approach to conflicts — from Kashmir to Hong Kong to the rivalry between Japan and South Korea — as Asian officials escalate the battles. (NYT, $) And The Bill for America First Is Coming Due: Two of America’s closest treaty allies have announced military efforts explicitly designed to exclude the U.S. (The Atlantic) Goodbye Pax Americana.
Bible Base Bolstered
- How is Trump performing with Christian evangelicals? Consistently well. The president’s stance on social issues is what pushes him to the top in the eyes of white evangelicals, whom he holds an almost 70% approval rating with.
- While they acknowledge some of his personal shortcomings, including his numerous sexual assault allegations, these issues are not deal-breakers for most Christian evangelicals. According to them, nobody’s perfect, and his stances on abortion and gay rights align closely with their values. His actions during his time in office have only confirmed evangelicals’ support of his policy, with shots at gay rights and abortion access.
- Evangelicals cite feelings of hostility coming from Democrats, who they think are erasing their values from schools and media: they see the usage of gay couples in commercials and non-negative portrayals of transgender identities as worrying in their efforts to raise a family with good Christian values.
- ‘Using the Lord’s name in vain’: Evangelicals chafe at Trump’s blasphemy: A Trump-supporting West Virginia state senator who represents many evangelicals got three phone calls from constituents complaining about Trump’s profanity after a recent rally. (Politico)
- The Religious Hunger of the Radical Right: Until we understand what really drives extremists, we will not be able to stop them. (NYT, $)
- ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Aren’t Enough, America’s First Gun Violence Minister Says. The saying “has been co-opted by the gun lobby to keep the church from taking action,” the Rev. Deanna Hollas said. (NYT $)
The Late Bird, Might Have A Good Excuse
- According to a new study, a small percentage of people who visit sleep clinics for sleep apnea or insomnia may actually be genetically predisposed to their sleep schedule. If you have a habit of going to sleep late and getting up late or you head to bed early and wake up early, there is a chance that this pattern runs in your family.
- According to the conductor of the study, Dr. Louis J. Ptacek, “advanced sleep phases” are a mutation in your genes that determine your naturally desired sleep schedule. This can mean that no matter what you do, you cannot fall asleep before 4AM, even if you have to get up at 7AM, you are genetically wired to sleep late.
- Many of these patterns go unreported to sleep clinics and people simply go about their days sleep deprived. Of course there is the other end of the spectrum, people who fall asleep early and wake up early. They are a bit luckier as no one ever complains if you’re early to work.
- So, what can you do if you have trouble sleeping? It’s pretty simple, actually. Avoid blue lights from cell phones and other screens, try taking melatonin around 2 hours before bed, get regular exercise daily, avoid meals before bed, and don’t stress if you cannot fall asleep.
- The Life of a Person Who Wakes Up Really, Really Early “Extreme larks” get up naturally when some people have hardly gone to bed. (The Atlantic) I’m not an extreme lark. The military simply beat it into me that waking up at 0430/0500 is normal. A good nap is a productivity secret weapon and a clear conscience is the best way to get a good night’s sleep.
- 15 CEOs on how much sleep they actually get: We asked 15 CEOs to tell us the truth about their nightly routines—and whether they get up as early as Tim Cook. (Fast Company)
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