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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Links - 16th September 2015

Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable - The New York Times - "“In this world, an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life.” And that’s a problem. Because “extraordinary is often what the general public views as success,” said Jeff Snipes, co-founder of PDI Ninth House, a corporate leadership consulting firm. “You make a lot of money or have athletic success. That’s a very, very narrow definition. What about being compassionate or living a life of integrity?”... The problem is that we have such a limited view of what we consider an accomplished life that we devalue many qualities that are critically important.... She didn’t have a great job, she wasn’t married and never had children, so she wasn’t successful in either the traditional male or female sense, Ms. Porter said. But people would keep telling stories about her kindness. “She had a lot of magic in her life, and that’s reassuring,” Ms. Porter said. “That you can live a full, interesting, ordinary life.” How do we go back to the idea that ordinary can be extraordinary? How do we teach our children — and remind ourselves — that life doesn’t have to be all about public recognition and prizes, but can be more about our relationships and special moments?"

Five Reasons to Ignore the Advice to Do What You Love - "Author Cal Newport has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the do-what-you-love movement. In the case of Jobs, Newport points out that the tech legend did not follow his own advice. If he followed his overriding lifelong passion, Jobs would have become a great Zen teacher. Instead he meandered barefooted as a dilettante through early-adulthood, lacked follow-through, and only serendipitously stumbled into technology, management and marketing. In Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he argues that following one’s passions can be a dead end. He argues that it’s better to identify which skills you have that could be rare and valuable in the workplace – and then to hone those skills till you have career capital that you can spend in the way you choose."

‘Do What You Love’ Is Terrible Advice - "Lam: You focus on one big myth, which is “do what you love.”
Tokumitsu: People take it as this absolute, but it’s an idea that’s not even that old. People have told me, “Yeah my grandmother thinks this idea is totally selfish and narcissistic.” So if you go back one or two generations, it’s not an intuitive idea for people... When I found that Craigslist posting [for cleaners who were passionate], I was super depressed. You’re demanding that this person—who is going to do really hard physical work for not a lot of money—do extra work. On top of having to scrub the floors and wash windows, they have to show that they’re passionate too? It’s absurd and it’s become so internalized that people don’t even think about it... The most cynical explanation is that employers demand passion because they don’t want to hear complaints. If you make passion a job requirement, you can’t complain about your workload... I feel like this whole culture of feeling good too is just really kind of hedonistic. And I also feel like it’s a little bit dark. There’s almost something in it to me that speaks of like addiction or something. We can never be at just baseline contentment. We always have to be relentlessly seeking these “good feelings”"

Michael Bloomberg Blasts Ivy League For Liberal 'Censorship' - "“In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96% of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama,” he said. “There was more disagreement among the old Soviet politburo than there is among Ivy League donors”... “A liberal arts education must not be an education in the arts of liberalism”"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Beowulf - "Beowful himself particularly says that the greatest thing for a man to do is to gain glory before his death. And the very last last line of the poem, he's described as the man lofgeornost - to the man most eager after fame and glory. But with that glory comes a pervasive sense of futility and loss. Because it is when Beowulf gives these pronouncements about how he want *something* - you want glory before death. He says this, because he says well, every man dies, and everything comes to an end. And all will be lost. And whenever something glorious happens in the poem, we're already told about how it's going to go wrong later. I mean before Beowulf has even saved Heorot from Grendel and Grendel's mother, we've already been told that Heorot will one day be burnt to the ground because of internecine strife. And these patterns come through again and again. So there's this sense of: we must remember this, remember the Gregories (sp?), but we must also see that they are continually falling to destruction...
The plot in lotsa ways. I mean, amusingly when Beowulf was first rediscovered it was accused, it was thought of as a primitive piece of rubbish that couldn't manage a linear plot. And it doesn't have a linear plot but I think we now realise
this is a mark of some sophistication and that it has quite impressive effects. So it has, as we are told the story we also have continual flashes forward and flashes backwards and sometimes the effect is to create this terrible irony about destruction that is to come even now when we have glory"

Decriminalising prostitution would ‘slash HIV rates among sex workers’

Cecil: what’s going on? - "Why such an outpouring of grief in the West over one lion? This is certainly not the first successful lion hunt in Zimbabwe, Africa or the world over, and will not be the last... I find the western outrage over the demise of Cecil, which is only a lion to many of us, suspicious. This was a simple hunt and Zimbabwe wants more of them to generate revenue for our tourism sector. It is not an overstatement that almost 99,99 percent of Zimbabweans didn’t know about this animal until Monday. Now we have just learnt, thanks to the British media, that we had Africa’s most famous lion all along, an icon!"

Other parties unlikely to follow NSP's surprise move - "Observers, like political analyst Derek da Cunha, said the latest fallout reveals a fragmented opposition, adding that the concept of opposition unity is "non-existent". "I have never felt that it was a realistic notion, given the vast difference in capabilities and resources across the various parties," he said. National University of Singapore political scientist Bilveer Singh agrees, adding that the episode shows that "after 50 years, the opposition is more energetic in killing itself than its opponent"."

Don't get so fresh with customers, BreadTalk - "It didn't do anything explicitly unlawful, it seems. Food regulations here only require pre-packaged food sold to be labelled. This refers to food that is packed in a wrapper or container at a place other than at point of sale. When such food is repackaged at the point of sale, as in the case of the Yeo's soya milk, they need not be labelled. It is also not unlawful for the eatery repackaging a food item to rebrand the product as their own. This might seem shocking to consumers, but is actually common in the food industry. Seah's Spices, known for its pre-mixed spices for the preparation of bak kut teh (pork rib soup), says it supplies its concoction to an estimated six in 10 major eateries here selling the dish, said its 59-year-old owner Seah Seow Khiang. Some of his customers, he claims, are famous bak kut teh chains and five-star hotels. All they need to do is to add 1.5 litres of water per sachet, garlic and pork ribs, he said. His customers sell the dish as their own, and Seah's Spices agrees to keep mum that they are in fact using Seah's package spices. It is the same with JR Vending, which prepares frozen meals like hor fun (rice noodles in gravy) and fried rice for vending machines around the island. Their meal boxes from vending machines are priced at up to $5 each, and they also supply them to eateries. Amongst its customers are high-end hotels that reheat the meals for late-night room service. JR Vending's chief executive Jocelyn Chng said that their meals are replated, re-heated, garnished, then sold for about four times the price. She declined to name any of her customers... Take UHT (Ultra High Treatment) milk. This can be "fresh" as long as the letters UHT are also present somewhere on the carton. This is despite the fact that the shelf-life for such milk can be as long as 10 months from its manufacturing date. Sliced canned peaches in syrup are labelled as "fresh cut". Instant udon in plastic packets is also marketed as "fresh" at supermarkets here. That nasi lemak seller round the corner may also be selling his wares as "fresh" even though he may have bought it from a supplier. And that "homemade barley" at the local coffee shop is most likely not."

Queen of the Tiger Moms takes on Singapore - "Seventy percent of parents in the city-state enroll their kids in private tuition lessons, according to a survey of 500 parents published in July by local newspaper The Straits Times and research company Nexus Link"

At Harvard, 58% Came to School Virgins; a Quarter Graduate That Way - "Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they were virgins when they arrived at Harvard, and nearly a quarter said they had not had sex by graduation. Nineteen percent of male students said they had engaged in sex with 10 or more sexual partners at Harvard, while 7 percent of female respondents said the same. Forty-five percent of male students said they watched porn multiple times a week; 56 percent of female students said they had never watched porn at Harvard. Fifteen percent identified as “gay, bisexual, something else, or unsure.” Regarding drinking and drug use, 60 percent of seniors surveyed said they drank alcohol at least once per week, 40 percent said they had tried marijuana, 8 percent had tried psychedelics, and 7 percent had tried Ecstasy or cocaine."

Growing up recluse: The kids who 'never' left their tiny NYC home for 14 years - and learned about the world by watching 5,000 movies - "

Bhagavan, Govinda, Narayana, Mukunda, Krisna, Jagadesh and their sister Visnu Angulo lived with their parents on Manhattan's Lower East Side
Their father kept the only key to the front door which was always locked
The siblings learned about the outside world from watching the films of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Lloyd and Martin Scorcese
Filmmaker Crystal Moselle first met them by chance on a rare escape into the real world when they were walking down the street in a 'pack'
Their father Oscar, a Peruvian immigrant who suffers from paranoia and alcohol problems, believed New York would 'contaminate' his children
Their mother, Susanne, is a former hippie from the Midwest who met her husband on the trail to Machu Picchu"

How a UN intern was forced to live in a tent in Geneva - "David Hyde, a 22-year-old from New Zealand, was delighted when he was accepted as an intern with a UN agency. He had hoped for a paid position, because, he says: "I think my work does have a value." But he was happy to take the UN offer because of the prestige attached to working for such a renowned organisation... He is, he says, not keen to be seen as a victim, and points out that camping on the shores of Lake Geneva during the summer months is not actually "all that bad"... Mr Fawzi also points out that the policy of not paying interns comes not from the UN agencies themselves, but from the UN General Assembly which, some years ago, passed a resolution allowing the recruitment of interns, but prohibiting their payment."
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