unlike the human will

I scribbled this down when I visited the Guggenheim in 2011.

“The phenomenon of the encounter is momentary…In discontinuous, momentary flashes of light, it liberates human beings from the one-sideness and seclusion of the ego, if only for a moment. Unlike the human will, which always desires to define things and give them meaning or a place in history, the state of the world unto itself always teaches us that things are certain and indefinite.” – Lee Ufan

if you really want to advantage of this new science


Despite the popularity of Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is not much recent data to support it. Contemporary science — specifically Dr. Edward Deci, hundreds of Self-Determination Theory researchers, and thousands of studies — instead points to three universal psychological needs. If you really want to advantage of this new science – rather than focusing on a pyramid of needs – you should focus on: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

we shouldn’t look for the easy instructions

Jonathan Russell Clark:

Literature is not an ideology; it is not a religion. It is something grander, more human and humane. For literature asks nothing of you. It doesn’t tell you how to live or who to love. It doesn’t tell you that you aren’t good enough or that you were born wrong. It doesn’t promise punishment for lack of adherence, and it doesn’t condemn those who don’t follow it. And the best part? Literature acknowledges its fiction, its artifice, its ultimate inability to express the capital-T Truth. Literature only promises an attempt, over and over from endless artists, to see the world as their author sees it, to add if only one speck of useful insight, of meaningful observation, to the great tradition of the written word. Literature doesn’t just invite criticism and contribution, it demands it –– the basis of literature is a kind of call and response. Each new author is in some way responding to all who came before them, before they even write one word. Ideally, literature is complete freedom, and as such it’s a messy world –– cheaters and philanderers run rampant as evil characters get away with evil deeds and good people’s values are compromised and deep-seated values are not only questioned but irreverently tossed out the window. If you’re looking for an easy road map to human ethics, literature ain’t the place for you. But this is Nafisi’s point. We shouldn’t look for the easy instructions, for unambiguous demands; we need to challenge every belief we have, to test them, strengthen them, or replace them if need be.

a long-established chopsticks maker tells us how to hold chopsticks properly

The Yomiuri Shimbun:

Hyozaemon, a long-established chopsticks maker in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, tells us how to hold chopsticks properly.

Hold chopsticks about two-thirds from the end. The upper chopstick should be held by grasping it between the thumb and index finger, and support the chopstick underneath using the middle finger. The lower chopstick should be held in place between the base of the thumb and the index finger and pinky. The middle finger should rest between the upper and lower chopsticks.

When using chopsticks, only the upper chopstick should be moved. Imagine moving the chopstick by pushing it up with the middle finger and pulling it down with the index finger.

i also find this incredibly optimistic

LonesomeJoey: In all of the studies you’ve conducted, what is the most outstanding fact you’ve come across that has constantly surprised you and gone against what you thought would happen?

Dan Ariely: Recently, we finished a study in a slum in Kenya where we tried to get very poor people to save a bit of money.

We gave some people financial incentives, some social pressure – but the thing that worked the best was creating a physical coin that represented their savings. That coin more than doubled their savings as compared to a 20% match.

The reason i think it worked so well was that we changed the environment in which they lived. We created a tangible representation of their savings and changed the discussion in the household.

I also find this incredibly optimistic because it means if we change the environment in which people operate, we can drive better behaviors.

and yet that’s what everybody thinks

ronald howard:

“The takeaway is that you can’t tell the quality of the decision you are making by the outcome that will be produced. Or, to put it another way, you can’t tell by the outcome whether you made a good decision. It’s just a logical mistake to say, “I got the good outcome, I must have made a good decision.” And yet that’s what everybody thinks.”

why is diversity important to companies


In 2012, when YouTube, a Google subsidiary, created a mobile app that allowed people to upload videos from their phones, it noticed something odd. About 10 percent of the videos being uploaded were upside down. When designers looked into the problem, they found something unexpected: Left-handed people picked up their phones differently from right-handed people, leading to upside-down videos.

The issue here was one of ignorance — the engineers and designers who created the YouTube app were all right-handed, and none had considered that some people may pick up their phones differently. It’s a small example, but a telling one. If Google’s designers couldn’t anticipate the needs of left-handed people with an all-right-handed product team, how could they anticipate the needs of women with a staff composed overwhelmingly of men?