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Smithsonian Mag: Epigenetics

The Toxins That Affected Your Great-Grandparents Could Be In Your Genes. Pretty mind-blowing. What we know of science is constantly evolving. The quick summary here is:

“In essence,” Skinner explains, “what your great-grandmother was exposed to could cause disease in you and your grandchildren.”

Atlantic: I Got Myself Arrested

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System. Great article, quick read. Long and the short is that the equality we think we have is light years from reality. Where you live, which is often dictated by your race, says a lot about your life.

Bill Gates: Books of 2013

The Best Books I Read in 2013. Good list. I’ve not yet read any of them, but they all sound worth trying out.

Guardian: Don’t Read the News

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier. Interesting position for a news organization to take. I’ve been following this for years, though; in that I’ve hardly been following the news. There’s more and more research coming out now that watching the news raises cortisol.

The point is not to be unaware of the world around us. The point is that in the face of declining attention and competition from the Internet and so many other sources, news has clung tightly to shock value in order to keep their ad revenue up. It’s a series of psychological tricks that have very real negative externalities.

The Internet is a tool that allows for this power to be shifted. We can make our own news, outside of the cruft and the motives for profit.

Gizmodo: Squirrels

The Fascinating Story of Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels. They’re overselling a bit with the title, here, but it’s neat, at least.

Kate Matsudaira: People+Ops

IT is notorious for disgruntled workers, and the point of this video to me is that shoving them into a department that doesn’t interact with people is not really the solution. Kate talks about three keys: accountability, making everyone your ally, and reciprocity, which are all towards the end of not being an asshole, creating a good environment, and getting shit done.

Dan Ariely at TED, re: motivation at work

It’s about what you might expect, that it’s important to care about your job; though this puts science behind the thought. I like the final conclusion, too, that we are now at a stage where Marx is perhaps more relevant than Adam Smith through the lens of meaning vs. efficiency.