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October 09 2015

October 02 2015

August 29 2015

When we argue vehemently against something, we do so not on account of the reasons we generate, but on account of the feelings that the reasons are created to support. They may be the ‘wrong’ reasons but our feeling is never the wrong feeling – our feelings just are. A feeling cannot be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It is how we act out our feelings that is moral or immoral. A feeling on its own is no more right or wrong than a needle on a gauge, pointing to how much fuel you have in your tank. We might feel like annihilating someone but it is only the acting out of that feeling that is indicative of dubious morality.
— Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane

August 26 2015

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A 21st-Century Migrant’s Essentials: Food, Shelter, Smartphone - The New York Times

BELGRADE, Serbia — The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks need food, water and shelter, just like the millions displaced by war the world over. But there is also one other thing they swear they cannot live without: a smartphone charging station. 

 “Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself,” Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour, Syria, explained as he sat on a broken park bench in Belgrade, staring at his smartphone and plotting his next move into northern Europe. 

“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”

Two of the most important executive functions are cognitive flexibility and cognitive self-control. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to see alternative solutions to problems, to think outside the box, to negotiate unfamiliar situations. Cognitive self-control is the ability to inhibit an instinctive or habitual response and substitute a more effective, less obvious one. Both skills are central to the training Spiegel gives to her students. To prevail at chess, she says, you need a heightened ability to see new and different ideas: Which especially creative winning move have you overlooked? And which potentially lethal move of your opponent’s are you blindly ignoring? She also teaches them to resist the temptation to pursue an immediately attractive move, since that type of move (as Sebastian Garcia found out) often leads to trouble down the road. “Teaching chess is really about teaching the habits that go along with thinking,” Spiegel explained to me one morning when I visited her classroom. “Like how to understand your mistakes and how to be more aware of your thought processes.”
How to think

August 24 2015

Simplify those payments

For anyone who doesn’t think simple payments are revolutionary, these are two photos of two different cashiers in Romania. As you might expect, there are lots of financial services providers, each with their own POS machine.

(Thanks Gabi for the second photo)

August 21 2015

August 19 2015

The lightweight apps on WeChat are called “official accounts”. Approved by WeChat after a brief application process, there are well over 10 million of these official accounts on the platform — ranging from celebrities, banks, media outlets, and fashion brands to hospitals, drug stores, car manufacturers, internet startups, personal blogs, and more. It’s important to emphasize that these official accounts are nothing like verified accounts on U.S. social networks, where being “official” is mainly a badge of authenticity or identity verification. On WeChat, official accounts are approved to access exclusive APIs for payments, location, direct messages, voice messages, user IDs, and more. (Not every official account uses these APIs, but there are still millions of them that indeed are app-like.)
When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China | Andreessen Horowitz (via tomwhitwell)
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August 12 2015

Computers, and especially the internet, are a primary means of subsistence for many. This understandably increases public anxiety at the bogeyman figure of the criminal ‘hacker’, the dastardly villain who breaches computer security to steal and cause havoc. Never mind that in ‘true’ hacker culture – as found in hackerspaces, maker-labs and open-source communities around the world – the mechanical act of breaking into a computer is just one manifestation of the drive to explore beyond established boundaries. In the hands of a sensationalist media, the ethos of hacking is conflated with the act of cracking computer security. Anyone who does that, regardless of the underlying ethos, is a ‘hacker’. Thus a single manifestation of a single element of the original spirit gets passed off as the whole.
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August 09 2015

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