Weekly Roundup 173: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
Handpicked to satisfy your intellectual curiosity!
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Best of the Week:
The Top of My Todo List – via www.paulgraham.com – Don’t ignore your dreams; don’t work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.
Ego Depletion – via youarenotsosmart.com – Why did the rejected group feel motivated to keep mushing cookies into their sad faces? Why is it, as explained by the scientists in this study, that social exclusion impairs self-regulation? The answer has to do with something psychologists now call ego depletion, and you would be surprised to learn how many things can cause it, how often you feel it, and how much in life depends on it. Before we get into all of that, let’s briefly discuss the ego.
Value Investing: Investing for Grown Ups? – via Value Investing World– Value investors generally characterize themselves as the grown ups in the investment world, unswayed by perceptions or momentum, and driven by fundamentals. While this may be true, at least in the abstract, there are at least three distinct strands of value investing. The first, passive value investing, is built around screening for stocks that meet specific characteristics – low multiples of earnings or book value, high returns on projects and low risk – and can be traced back to Ben Graham’s books on security analysis. The second, contrarian investing, requires investing in companies that are down on their luck and in the market. The third, activist value investing, involves taking large positions in poorly managed and low valued companies and making money from turning them around. While value investing looks impressive on paper, the performance of value investors, as a whole, is no better than that of less “sensible” investors who chose other investment philosophies and strategies. We examine explanations for why “active” value investing may not provide the promised payoffs.
Brian Greene: Why is our universe fine-tuned for life? – via Video on TED.com – At the heart of modern cosmology is a mystery: Why does our universe appear so exquisitely tuned to create the conditions necessary for life? In this tour de force tour of some of science’s biggest new discoveries, Brian Greene shows how the mind-boggling idea of a multiverse may hold the answer to the riddle.
Robert Shiller’s Mission to Redeem Finance – Faculty – via The Chronicle of Higher Education – “I never felt, as did so many, that these problems were a damning indictment of our entire financial system,” he writes. “Imperfect as our financial system is, I still find myself admiring it for what it does, and imagining how much more impressive it can be in the future.”And the best way to make finance more impressive, he argues, is not to restrain innovation or to discourage the invention of new financial instruments, but to encourage further experiments.
Deliberation Versus Intuition: Decomposing the Role of Expertise in Judgment and Decision Making– via Wiley Online Library – What produces better judgments: deliberating or relying on intuition? Past research is inconclusive. We focus on the role of expertise to increase understanding of the effects of judgment mode. We propose a framework in which expertise depends on a person’s experience with and knowledge about a domain. Individuals who are relatively experienced but have modest knowledge about the subject matter (“intermediates”) are expected to suffer from deliberation and to benefit from a more intuitive approach, because they lack the formal knowledge to understand the reasons underlying their preferences. Individuals who are high (“experts”) or low (“novices”) on both experience and knowledge are expected to do well or poorly, respectively, regardless of decision mode. We tested these predictions in the domain of art. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that intermediates performed better when relying on intuition than after deliberation. Judgments of experts and novices were unaffected. In line with previous research relating processing style to judgment mode, Experiment 3 showed that the effect of processing style (global versus local) on judgment quality is similarly moderated by expertise.
John Kay – via Beware of Franklin’s Gambit in making decisions – To see how stultifying such behaviour can be, imagine the application of this emphasis on process over outcome in fields other than politics or business. Suppose we were to insist that Wayne Rooney explain his movements on the field; ask Mozart to justify his choice of key, or Van Gogh to explain his selection of colours. We would end up with very articulate footballers, composers and painters, and very bad football, music and art. Perhaps business and politics are no different and we should rate leaders and officers for their good scoring ability.
Is Stanford Too Close to Silicon Valley?– via www.newyorker.com – John Doerr, a partner at the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which bankrolled such companies as Google and Amazon, regularly visits campus to scout for ideas. He describes Stanford as “the germ plasma for innovation. I can’t imagine Silicon Valley without Stanford University.”
Coursera announces new courses – via The Do It Yourself Scholar – Coursera.org announced an impressive slate of new free courses this week, along with $16 million in venture capital funding. Coursera, which began as a free course initiative at Stanford University, is now offering courses taught by instructors from UC Berkeley, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, along with Stanford instructors
Drew Curtis: How I beat a patent troll – via Video on TED.com – Drew Curtis, the founder of fark.com, tells the story of how he fought a lawsuit from a company that had a patent, “…for the creation and distribution of news releases via email.” Along the way he shares some nutty statistics about the growing legal problem of frivolous patents.
Are Superstitions Rational? – via Why We Reason – All of this research encourages the idea that superstitious beliefs might not be entirely irrational. Although there is no empirical data to suggest that superstitions are real in it of themselves, their behavioral consequences illustrate a different trend.
Cities need competition and intelligent design to thrive. – via Slate Magazine – Cities matter, as they always have, but now more of the world is starting to take notice of their problems and possibilities. At their worst, cities are slums, places where the social constraints of the village are loosened, people can misbehave in anonymity, and poor and unemployed people live in squalor. At their best, they are places where the best and the brightest congregate, new wealth is created, and scholars and artists sharpen their wits and hone their creativity.
Sir Ken Robinson on How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – via Brain Pickings – In this wonderful talk from The School of Life, Robinson articulates the ethos at the heart of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything — one of 7 essential books on education — and echoes, with his signature blend of wit and wisdom, many of the insights in this indispensable collection of advice on how to find your purpose and do what you love.
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – via Class 1 Notes Essay – Humanities majors may well learn a great deal about the world. But they don’t really learn career skills through their studies. Engineering majors, conversely, learn in great technical detail. But they might not learn why, how, or where they should apply their skills in the workforce. The best students, workers, and thinkers will integrate these questions into a cohesive narrative. This course aims to facilitate that process.
The Secret Tricks to Planning and Booking Holidays Online in 2012 – via James Cox finance blog – Having spent countless hours of online research for my own trips, I’ve been able to cruise through 30 countries with perhaps far more insight than I would have had 20 years ago. I’ve also learned plenty of lessons along the way. But, the key difference between now and 20 years ago is that the onus of effort now mostly fell on me rather than a travel agent.
Infographic: Biggest Threats To Our Ocean’s Wildlife – via The Infographics Showcase – Biggest Threats To Our Ocean’s Wildlife