The Subversive Origin Of the Monopoly Board Game (3 min read)

We’ve all played Monopoly. You go around the board, try to accumulate sets of properties (ideally the green and dark blue ones), build hotels and then drive everyone else into bankruptcy. It can often drag on and on, but it’s worth the wait if it means you defeat your siblings. But did you know that this celebration of monopolistic capitalism was actually based on a game that was meant to show the evils of monopolies?! Continue reading “The Subversive Origin Of the Monopoly Board Game (3 min read)”

Best Of the Web: Nightmarish AI Pictures, Hipster Goats and Low-Carb Diets

Here’s my latest batch of great articles I’ve come across on the web. Enjoy!

Tech World (7)

Who Wants To Be A YouTube Billionaire? Great article describing the landscape of YouTube stars. Worth reading with this piece which argues that the old system of endorsements from big studios, TV shows or other “authorities” no longer holds for artists – the field is wide open, and you need to stand out, and also this piece, which argues that the education system needs to teach people the art of iteration. Continue reading “Best Of the Web: Nightmarish AI Pictures, Hipster Goats and Low-Carb Diets”

How Well Do You Know the Good Or Bad State Of the World?

The late Hans Rosling found fame through his TED talks on visualising facts about the world. His last book,“Factfulness”, was published this year, and is a great read.

The thrust of the book is that we lazily make assumptions about the world, which are not based on facts, and then go on to formulate big world views. To make his point, he starts his book with 13 questions on the state of the world. I was surprised by many of the answers. Here are the questions (and the answers). See if you get them right!

13 Questions About the World

1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? Continue reading “How Well Do You Know the Good Or Bad State Of the World?”

Best Of the Web: Talking To Children, Belly Fat, Uber For Snitching and more…

I come across so many great articles on the web, so I thought I’d try to regularly share the best ones. Let me know if you like the selection or if you like more (or less) of certain types.

Personality and Self-Help (6)

How Emotional Intelligence Boosts Your Endurance
A new paper has found that those who were better at recognizing and regulating their emotions ran faster races. Runners who agreed with statements like “Expressing my emotions with words is not a problem for me” or “I often pause and think about my feelings.” turned out to be Continue reading “Best Of the Web: Talking To Children, Belly Fat, Uber For Snitching and more…”

Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!

Private Eye

In the current climate of taking political debate over social media so seriously, it’s worth deflating our pompousness by hearing politicians over the ages mocking their profession*:

The Nature of politics

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies. (Ernest Benn)

‘Politics’ is made up of two words: ‘poli’, which is Greek for ‘many’, and ‘tics’, which are bloodsucking insects. (Gore Vidal) Continue reading “Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!”

My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. Listening to them forms part of my daily routine and I get many of my insights from them. I typically list my favourite podcasts, but this time I thought I’d list some of my favourite specific episodes. These may give you a springboard to enjoy the rest of the episodes of those podcasts. So here they are for this year (episode name first, followed by podcast name): Continue reading “My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year”

The James Comey Book – Be Afraid, Very Afraid (6 min read)

James Comey, the former director of the FBI, recently published his account of working under the Trump administration in the book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”. It’s the second high-profile book of the workings of the Trump administration – the other being Michael Wolf’s “Fire and Fury”. That was revealing in parts, and Comey’s book is also revealing, though not in the way many reviewers have focused on. Continue reading “The James Comey Book – Be Afraid, Very Afraid (6 min read)”

21 Must-Read Articles From Around the Web From Blockchain Bubbles to Chinese Values

I’m constantly scouring the web for good material to read and here’s my latest curated list:

Big Brother

Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory Yikes. China has started to quantify people’s trustworthiness based on their “behaviour”. They then get a social credit score which determines their movements and services they can access. Continue reading “21 Must-Read Articles From Around the Web From Blockchain Bubbles to Chinese Values”

Overcoming Fake News – Welcome To the Reputation Age (3 min read)

From the Establishment Age to the Information Age

Fake news, social media manipulation, government propaganda – the list goes on, so who do we now trust to understand the “truth”. In the old days, it was enough that it came from a reputable organisation like a top university (say Harvard or Cambridge), government body (say the FDA or UN) or large media company (say the BBC or NY Times). The internet and perhaps more importantly the social media era disrupted that. Continue reading “Overcoming Fake News – Welcome To the Reputation Age (3 min read)”

Are You Obedient To Authority? (3 min read)

The Set-Up

In a chilling experiment conducted in the early 1960s, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to understand why Nazi soldiers followed orders to murder millions. The set-up of the experiment was clever. Members of the public would act as a teacher and test another supposed member of the public, the learner, on simple word association tests. A scientist, the experimenter, would oversee this.

The teacher was told by the experimenter to impart successively larger electric shocks to the learner when they made errors – the voltage started at 15V and would go up to 450V. Continue reading “Are You Obedient To Authority? (3 min read)”