What I'm Reading - Vol. Seven

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Moving Upstairs
If you have something at hand to begin with, you can come up with a bunch of reasons to keep it, whereas if you start without it and have to go out of your way to get it, you have to ask a different question. Instead of asking, "Why should I keep this thing?" You ask, "What thing do I need here?" 

How Hijackers Commandeered Over 130 American Planes - In 5 Years
By July 1968, the situation had become dire enough to warrant a Senate hearing. The FAA formed a special anti-hijacking task force to develop possible solutions to the crisis. The group was immediately inundated with thousands of letters from concerned citizens, who recommended inventive ways to frustrate skyjackers: installing trapdoors outside cockpits, arming stewardesses with tranquilizer darts, making passengers wear boxing gloves so they couldn't grip guns, playing the Cuban national anthem before takeoff and then arresting anyone who knew the lyrics. The most popular suggestion was for the FAA to build a mock version of Jose Marti International Airport in a South Florida field, so that skyjackers could be duped into thinking they had reached Havana. That idea sparked serious interest at the agency, but was ultimately discarded as too expensive. 

Facebook Made Me Do It
That feedback loop of positive reinforcement is the most addictive element of social media. All those retweets, likes and favorites give us a little jolt, a little boost that pushes us to keep coming back for more. 

The Best Kind of Summer Vacation? None.
We should make every effort to structure our lives so we have balance. Each day should include its moments of quiet, relaxation, contentment that is distinct from whatever else causes stress more generally. We will be better off considering how to plan the regular day to make that so rather than dreaming about the rare escape from reality, just as it is better to have a normal diet that is healthful than to be expressly dieting in a binge-and-starve cycle.

Editing For Length
One of the best things we can do for our stories is to present them in their simplest form. There is no need to hoard words and details. Know when to say when. 

Facebook Is Fine: Just Hide the Noise
My newsfeed is almost all signal. This is, in part, because I am ruthless. If you are overtly negative (which is different than having opinions differing from my own), you get hidden. If I don't find value in your postings, you get hidden. If you're a high school friend I friended just to be nice, I hide. I hide unhesitatingly. I hide remorselessly. Hiding is your super power. Hiding is one of those few pure joys of the Internet through which -- amidst the near-endless entropy of online content -- you can take a stand, push back in a way that meaningfully affects the data you see.

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