Antidotes, Quality, and Breakthroughs

Internet Trends
Making Sense:

Learning how to think — or at least improving it — helps us sort through data so we can have information. Taking initiative and willingness/ability to make connections are prized skills — we should hire based on them, and enjoy a richer work environment in the process.

  • Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions. FiveThirtyEightScience: Many so-called “alternative” remedies exploit the illusion of causality, Matute said, by targeting conditions that naturally have high rates of spontaneous recovery, such as headaches, back pain and colds. Quack cures remain popular in part because they bestow a sense of empowerment on people who are feeling miserable, by giving them something to do while they wait for their problem to run its course.
  • Our Antidotes to Technological Unemployment. Gideon Rosenblatt: Initiative and connection are two of the attributes that most differentiate humans in a work environment, and not surprisingly, I’ve found them to be an excellent compass in choosing who to hire for a job. […] I’ve rarely gone wrong hiring for these qualities; in the long-run, they’ve always proven more valuable than the short-term boosts from hiring for specific skills.

Making Do:

Environment and culture are responsible for quality. Why do we still pay little attention to them? Choosing how to work — and live — makes a difference, and we never do know when our number is up.

  • Quality in the board room—not just the operating room—can save lives. The Incidental EconomistThe American health system is known for its high cost. But what’s just as troubling, if not more so, is the mediocre quality it delivers for that cost. It’s natural to think that direct caregivers — doctors, nurses, and other technicians and assistants — bear the entire burden of providing better care. But research shows that we should consider the environment and culture in which they work, which is shaped in large part by their institutions’ boards and management.
  • Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer. The New York Times: It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”

Making it:

Trends are leading indicators — it's what we do with the input that matters.

  • Breakthrough Technologies 2015. MIT: Not all breakthroughs are created equal. Some arrive more or less as usable things; others mainly set the stage for innovations that emerge later, and we have to estimate when that will be. But we’d bet that every one of the milestones on this list will be worth following in the coming years.
  • Bill Gates is guest editing The Verge: How technology will change the world by 2030. The Verge: For the month of February, Bill Gates will be guest-editing The Verge. Over the course of four weeks, Gates will be guiding us as we explore how technology will transform the lives of those in the developing world through advancements in banking, healthcare, farming, and education technology. Bill will narrate four episodes of our animated series the Big Future to speak to these issues. Meanwhile, our reporters will write in-depth features to challenge Gates's assertions.


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