A Formula for Success
September 5, 2019
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” – Theodore Roosevelt
American Gothic: Reverse Ageism in American Politics
A case can be made that this once energetic, generous, problem-solving American Republic is displaying signs of becoming an intolerant, reckless, regressive Gerontocracy. Our borders are closing, hate crimes are rising, markets are chaotic, the environment is ignored, allies are shunned and enemies embraced. Our leaders, our electorate and our government are aging — it shows, and it’s worrisome.
President Trump was 70 when he took office in 2017. The 11 people he chose to be his cabinet members ranged in age from 62-79, by far the oldest group in American history. The average age for congressional members at the time was 58 for the House and 62 for the Senate. Speaker of the House Mitch McConnell was 75, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was 77.
Much was said about younger newly-elected members entering Congress after the 2018 midterms. In fact, the average age in the House stayed the same, while the Senate’s went up a year. This year, in calculating a median age for the president, speaker of the House, majority leader of the Senate, and the three top Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls — the number you get is 77.
There’s a reason we should care about an overabundance of elderly decision-makers at the top of our government, and it boils down to biology. On average, human cognitive functioning declines dramatically after age 70, and the types of intelligence that decline most sharply are “the capacity to absorb large amounts of new information and data in a short time span and apply it to solve problems in unaccustomed fashion.”
Facial Recognition Is The Key To The Future And To Your Apartment
- China has four AI startups, each valued at more than $1 billion, and all specializing in facial recognition.
- One of the companies, Megvii, has filed for an IPO, and like the others is looking to expand overseas with help from public markets. Megvii touts its government contracts as a selling point to potential investors.
- One deal Megvii has going is to provide facial-recognition systems to Beijing’s public housing units to prevent illegal subletting. The systems allow entry only to residents and certain delivery staff.
- Each of the city’s 59 public housing sites is due to have the technology by year’s end. (Wired)
Denmark’s Best Electric Scooterer
- Casper Klynge is a 46 year old career diplomat from Denmark who has worked in some of the world’s most turbulent places. But he says his toughest foreign posting may be the one he has now — as the world’s first foreign ambassador to Silicon Valley’s tech industry.
- Several years ago Denmark determined that technology giants like Facebook and Google were exerting as much power as many governments; in 2017, the nation became the first to formally create a diplomatic post to represent its interests before tech countries err… companies. (NYT)
Come With Me If You Want To Learn How A Machine Can Kill You
- Fictional depictions of mechanical men date back a hundred years; beginning in the 1980s The Terminator series showed us how difficult battling indestructible robots can be.
- By 2016 the World Economic Forum was holding a debate session on automated weapons and killer machines called What if Robots Go to War.
- Now the Atlantic brings you up to date on the future of machine-driven warfare and the killer robots that will be coming soon to a battlefield near you. (Atlantic)
- From Daily Pnut’s Tim Hsia and a fellow West Point classmate, Army colleague, and friend in 2013: How Cyberwarfare and Drones Have Revolutionized Warfare (NYT, $)
- Additional reading: P.W. Singer is one of the best writers on war in the 21st century and the future of war. Many of his books can be found at one’s library: Wired for War, Corporate Warriors, Likewar, & Children at War.
Progress In The Protests
- One of the key demands Hong Kong demonstrators made in their three month long protests was met Wednesday when embattled chief executive Carrie Lam officially withdrew an extradition bill with China.
- But Lam’s concession will likely do little to quell social discontent as protesters increased their demands for democratic reforms, including direct democratic elections for Hong Kong’s next leader and an independent investigation into police brutality during the protests. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Why the Periodic Table of Elements Is More Important Than Ever: Mendeleev’s 150-year-old periodic table has become the menu for a world hungry for material benefits. (Bloomberg $) And The Salt King of America: Ben Jacobsen wants people to think differently about the power of salt. (Bloomberg $)
- Macron hears police officer refuse to help woman in danger: French president’s visit to hotline was supposed to showcase crackdown on domestic violence (Guardian)
- Who said eco-friendly needs to look eco-friendly? Introducing Nothing New (literally). They use the most sustainable materials combined with a luxury designer aesthetic to create a truly special shoe.
- 100% recycled plastic (5.6 plastic water bottles to be exact) is repurposed to make each pair of sneakers. Sustainable with style, Nothing New is also “walking-on-clouds” comfortable – with Ortholite EcoStep insoles and True Stitch Construction. It’s Nothing New, but nothing ordinary.
- Nothing New also has the “Virtuous Circle Program” where you can send them back your sneakers and they will either refurbish them and give them to charity or disassemble them and put all of the materials back into the supply chain and even give you $20 off your next purchase.
- Look good and do good by picking up your pair today!
Money Doesn’t Live Near Trees
- Trees are crucial to fighting urban heat, and aiding the health of city dwellers. But cities across the country are losing millions of trees year after year. From 2009 to 2014, 44 states lost tree cover in urban areas. That lack of tree cover can make a neighborhood hotter, and the poorest neighborhoods are likely the most disadvantaged.
- A joint investigation by NPR and Maryland University’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that low-income areas in dozens of major US cities are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, and those areas are disproportionately communities of color.
- The president and CEO of the nonprofit American Forests said: “If we show you a map of tree canopy in virtually any city in America, we’re also showing you a map of income. And in many cases we’re showing you a map of race and ethnicity.” (NPR)
America’s First Citizens Elect Their First Representative
- The 1835 Treaty of New Echota between the US and the Cherokee Nation cost Cherokee Indians their homelands and led to thousands of lives being lost on the Trail of Tears. But one article in the treaty also included the right to appoint a nonvoting delegate to the US House of Representatives. Although available for nearly 200 years old, the position had never been filled until now.
- On Thursday the Cherokee Nation approved former president Obama’s nominee, Kimberly Teehee, to be its first delegate. Teehee grew up in Oklahoma and interned in the 1980s for the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, Wilma Mankiller. Teehee is an attorney who has worked years on Capitol Hill for Indian Country policy and women’s rights. (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Want to live longer? You may want to ditch these drinks (CNN) and you will want to avoid this diet: Teenage boy goes blind after existing on Pringles, white bread and french fries (CNN)
- She spent more than $110,000 on drug rehab. Her son still died.: Vox is investigating addiction treatment in America. Here’s our first story. (Vox)
- The lonely tragedy of Tiffany Trump: It’s hard to feel sorry for a Trump – but I’ll make an exception for Donald’s fourth child (Guardian)
- The Geography of Risk: Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth, so why do taxpayers have to pay for the hurricane damage to rich coastal communities? (Longreads) And Manage Climate Change Anxiety With These Cold-War Coping Techniques (Lifehacker)
- These Are The Military Projects Losing Funding To Trump’s Border Wall (NPR)
These Are Some Iceberg Breaker Questions
- John Gottman is a renowned relationships researcher known for his work on divorce predictors. His wife of 32 years is psychologist Julie Schwartz Gottman. Together they founded the Gottman Institute, which conducts research and trains therapists. Their method is an approach designed to repair and deepen relationships by concentrating on three main areas: friendship, conflict management and creation of shared meaning.
- They have also written many books, the latest of which is Eight Dates. The book guides couples through eight conversations – to have on dedicated dates – on the big issues such as sex, parenting and how to handle conflict.
- The impetus for the book was a UCLA study that found career couples with small children talked just 35 minutes a week, mostly about errands. (Guardian)
- A rather viral article from 2015: The 36 Questions That Lead to Love (NYT, $)
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle
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