Most Interesting Articles List – Week #1

I am an incessant reader. I am a non-discriminating reader: long-form, essays, infographic-format articles, books, poetry, I like it all. I collect words and ideas in my Evernote account and re-visit them often. Without words, there is little language and without a command of language, there is not much different between us and the other animals. I read on a diverse set of topics, but human psychology, economics, philosophy, health, tech, how-tos and neuroscience draw me in most often.

These are the most interesting articles that I’ve read this week:

Source: NYTimes
Source: NYTimes

How “Elites” Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics from The New York Times
Excerpt:
But about half a century ago, the conservative movement set out to claim anti-elite politics as its own. That meant redefining the term away from class and toward culture, where the “elite” could be identified by its liberal ideas, coastal real estate and highbrow consumer preferences… The notion that distant elites might be conspiring against the people comes straight from the Founding Fathers, whose Declaration of Independence lamented the “long train of abuses and usurpations” inflicted upon ordinary Americans by an arrogant British king. From there on, United States history might be seen as a repeating cycle of anti-elite revolt.

 

 

Reconsider: On starting a business (a startup) with economic sobriety
Excerpt:
I wanted the best odds I could possible get at attaining the tipping point of financial stability. In the abstract, economic sense, a 30% chance of making $3M is as good as a 3% chance of making $30M is as good as a 0.3% chance at making $300M. But in the concrete sense, you generally have to make your pick: Which coupon is the one for you? The strategies employed to pursue the 30% for $3M are often in direct opposition to the strategies needed for a 0.3% shot at making $300M. Shooting for the stars and landing on the moon is not how Monday morning turns out.

 

The Voices in Our Heads from The New Yorker

If not talking to others, I am almost always talking to myself. I did not know until my early 20’s that not everyone has inner speech. I talk to myself to learn new concepts, and to reflect on a day’s events, so that I may get a grip on reality. Very interesting research.

Excerpt:
“Splitting itself into separate parts is one of the most powerful of the mind’s defense mechanisms,” he writes. Given that his fMRI study suggested that some kind of split occurred during self-speech, the idea of a connection between these two mental processes doesn’t seem implausible. Indeed, a mainstream strategy in cognitive behavioral therapy involves purposefully articulating thoughts to oneself in order to diminish pernicious habits of mind.

 

Fuck Work from Aeon
This article is an opinion piece and the author’s (a historian) agenda is clearly an anti-capitalist sermon. Setting that agenda aside, the author articulates assumptions that have been baked into the American psyche (including mine) that are worth examining.

Excerpt:
When we place our faith in hard work, we’re wishing for the creation of character; but we’re also hoping, or expecting, that the labour market will allocate incomes fairly and rationally. And there’s the rub, they do go together. Character can be created on the job only when we can see that there’s an intelligible, justifiable relation between past effort, learned skills and present reward.

 

Bullshit is no laughing matter from Aeon
This is a re-visit given the flood of bullshit in my Facebook timeline and media sources, that I’ve become more aware of since Trump’s win. When I first read this a few months ago, this is what stuck with me:

Excerpt:
According to the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, emeritus professor at Princeton University, bullshit is something that is constructed absent of any concern for the truth. This is quite different from lying, which implies a deep concern for the truth (namely, its subversion). Bullshit is particularly pernicious since the bullshitter adopts an epistemic stance that allows for a great deal of agility.

 

 

Vegan Rasgullah recipe
I just LOVE rasgullahs. If you’ve never had them, please run to your nearest Indian restaurant and try them off the dessert menu. They have a dry consistency but they’re still just moist enough, and have just a sweet enough taste and smell of airy cardamom. This recipe made me feel I can make them myself, in 40 minutes. Amazing! Will definitely try my hand at them soon.

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