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Brain Food: 12.31.18

LinkedIn does a really good job of providing an editorialized list of intelligent articles, on a daily basis, that will give you a real pulse on the day. They call it the Daily Rundown and you can subscribe HERE (I highly recommend it as a great way to start your day!)


Since I'm no longer on Facebook and can't inflict my "shares" on folks, I thought I'd take some inspiration from LinkedIn and provide a weekly list of curated articles that I think you might enjoy.


Have you ever wondered "How Much of the Internet is Fake"?

I found this pretty staggering, but also (*sigh*) easily understandable ... "How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”


Speaking of fake stuff ... all those online ads could be costing you more when you shop online. Think it's cheaper to shop online? Think again. Oh, and talk about impulse buys ... "One study found that consumers spent twice as much money online as they thought they had." Do yourself a favor in 2019-- walk to the store. You'll spend less and burn a few calories.


Did you know that Brian May, the legendary guitarist from Queen, is releasing a new single for ... NASA? Yes, it's true! May is an astrophysicist by trade and he's been a behind-the-scenes contributor on NASA projects for several years. But, unfortunately, you won't be able to watch tonight's May/NASA festivities because NASA's live TV feed is shut down due to the government shut down.


If you love Black Mirror, you'll either love or hate this idea ... Is it time to automate politicians? Those currently impacted by the government shutdown might find some merit in this.


I'm biased about these next few articles because I work with communication professionals who teach improv as the basis of effective communication. So, I'm always reading about new studies and the research that supports what we do. These are 3 good ones from this week's reading ...


1. For anyone who's been through Alda Method® training and knows about "ta da" ... this one is for you: How Perfectionism Can Be Destructive. I sent this article to Alan Alda and he wrote back, "A principle I discovered on my own when I was 16. My motto was “Moderation in all things — especially moderation.” Truth kids, truth.


2. Most liberal arts grads are way ahead on this one, it's one of the areas where we have a distinct advantage over our STEM friends ... Soft skills training brings substantial returns on investment. Oh, and soft skills training even means higher wages for women and improved socio-economic conditions, "She and her coauthors surveyed women who had taken part in the training and women who had not. Not only did those who’d been trained have marginally larger incomes — a half a percent — but they had better opinions of themselves as workers, took more advantage of government programs, were more likely to request training for hard skills, and saved more for their children’s educations. In the end, the soft skills program seemed to empower women both in and out of the workplace."


3. Lighten up, you'll live longer and your work colleagues will thank you. A new study proves that humor can reduce workplace stress. Sign me up for this study!


And finally ... a little something seasonal. I'm an avid reader of The Conversation (another good one to subscribe to!) and I recently came across a little scholarly debate about the legendary, or not, Star of Bethlehem. Read ... What can science tell us about the Star of Bethlehem, Does it matter if there was really a Star of Bethlehem, and finally Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem? No doubt many of you have wildly differing scientific and religious views ... so, I thoroughly welcome a healthy debate over this. What do you think?





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