Here’s a good decline of civilization stat

Americans Reading Less = Decline of Civilization

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From here:

One in four Americans did not read a single book in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center poll. In 1978, that number was 8 percent. By 2005 it was 16 percent.

(Here’s that full Pew study on Americans and reading.)

Here’s the problem with all this: reading is good for you. It can improve your health, for one. It obviously exposes you to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new ways to process information. All these things are valuable in your work, your personal interactions, and numerous other contexts.

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You over-inflate your intelligence when you use Google

The Internet Makes You Overinflate Your Intelligence

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We already know a little about the Kruger-Dunning Effect (phrased another way: if you’re an idiot, you probably think you’re a genius), and now here’s something else a bit damning about how the Internet messes with our self-perceptions of intelligence:

In a series of nine experiments on over 1000 participants, Yale researchers have found that searching the Internet creates an illusion of knowledge, in which we conflate information that can be found online with the actual knowledge in our heads. Participants were told to look up the answers to simple ‘why’ or ‘how’ questions commonly entered into Google, such as ‘How does a zipper work?’ The questions were simple enough for most people to have a sense of the answer, and they were asked to search the Internet to confirm the details. Participants who had looked up explanations in this way later rated themselves as significantly superior in their ability to give explanations to a set of completely different, unrelated questions, compared to the control group who had not used the Internet. Additionally, those who used the Internet to answer the original questions expected that they would have increased brain activity, corresponding to higher quality explanations, when answering the second set of unrelated questions.

Furthermore, it turned out that accessing the Internet alone did not justify the overconfidence in one’s own knowledge. Rather, the knowledge illusion was specifically driven by the act of searching the Internet, regardless of the type of search engine used, and regardless of whether the searching produced any relevant answers, or indeed any answers at all.  It seemed that the very act itself of searching for knowledge on the Internet fools the brain into thinking we have more answers than we really do.

This isn’t necessarily good.

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Here’s a weird dream I just had

Ted Bauer Weird Dream

If you like this post, feel free to share it. Someday I will move the social share buttons to the top, I swear. (It’s good to admit your failings now and again.) If you like some of my thoughts on life/the world, feel free to get in touch. I like using this blog as a source of connection.

 

From the personal posting annals, here we go:

I’m in a car driving through what appears to be the desert/mountains of New Mexico with my parents. I’ve never been to New Mexico, so I can’t be entirely sure about this, but from photos and TV shows, it appears to be. (I was in SW Texas last weekend in the Alpine/Marfa area, and I think that looks similar to New Mexico, so maybe that’s where my subconscious got this from.) Anyway. We’re driving and I’m shotgun, my dad is driving, my mom is in the back. My wife is not present; odd, as it seems in current situations she would be. Again, anyway. We’re driving and it seems like the goal is to reach the other side of New Mexico — Arizona, I’d reckon — although my dad and mom are both unclear about whether we’re headed west or east. Normally I’d help them solve this situation with Google Maps on my phone, but each time I try to use it, it (the app) doesn’t know which way we’re going either. So essentially, I’m lost in the desert, no one knows what is going on, no one knows which direction we’re headed in, etc. 

Pretty deep, eh?

I took to Google, and here’s what I found:

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Please stop thinking you “don’t have time” for training/teaching others

Training in Organizations

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As I’ve gotten older, I think one of the things that really “grinds my gears” about any job you can have is the lack of attention/focus paid to training or teaching people (employees) the way you want something done, which is often covered by “OMG I am so busy, I simply don’t have the time to teach you that. I’ll do it myself!” There’s a lot to unpack about this idea, so … let’s get started.

1. I feel like “The Temple of Busy” is a pretty standard aspect of the modern workplace. It makes sense; the sensation of feeling busy is akin to a drug. I’m not necessarily faulting anyone for this, nor do I think it will actually change for most people. So maybe we need to take a hit here.

2. Because of that, everything new — stuff added on top of the core things you do — seems like this huge responsibility you need to tackle, for most people. I’ve seen studies where 60 percent of managers say they “don’t have time” to respect their employees, which is insane … because respect isn’t something that needs to be scheduled. But maybe for a lot of people, it feels that way. Another thing, another deliverable, another task, another meeting, another e-mail, another another another.

3. Here’s where this all starts to fall apart in my mind, though:  Continue reading →

Here’s a terrifying population growth stat

If you like this post, feel free to share it. Someday I will move the social share buttons to the top, I swear. (It’s good to admit your failings now and again.) If you like some of my thoughts on life/the world, feel free to get in touch. I like using this blog as a source of connection.

 

From here:

Sub-Sahara Africa’s population boom is one of the main reasons for optimism about the continent’s economic growth potential. But that doesn’t come without major challenges. Forty-eight countries classified by the UN as “least developed countries” are expected to double in population size by 2050; 33 countries, most of them falling within this category, will triple in size by 2100.

Er. Then there’s this:

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You’re not going to be a millionaire, sorry

You're not going to be a millionaire

If you like this post, feel free to share it. Someday I will move the social share buttons to the top, I swear. (It’s good to admit your failings now and again.) If you like some of my thoughts on life/the world, feel free to get in touch. I like using this blog as a source of connection.

 

New paper from the St. Louis Fed (that’s a thing?) on how your age affects your income. Let’s start with something basic that no one ever really acknowledges, best I can tell: unless you have an inheritance or work in about 4-5 specific fields, it’s typically pretty hard to have a boatload of money before you’re 40-45 or so (and even then, it’s hard). You gotta work your way up the chain, and stuff like vacations/kids/horrible decisions around going to happy hour and staying till 10pm will cut into your finances. I make a decent salary relative to what I do, and I still often feel like I’m paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m 34, if you care.

Here’s the methodology behind everything:

The paper, by William Emmons, Bryan Noeth and Ray Boshara, draws on surveys of 40,000 families that the Fed carried out between 1989 and 2013 to examine the all-important role that your age plays in how much income you make and how much wealth you accumulate. It offers a few clues as to how young people can game the system and end up like their wealthy older counterparts, as well as a lot of evidence to show that things are just different for young people today.

And — drum roll, please — here’s the part that will make you feel as sad as when you saw that cat as roadkill:

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Your business has a Casssandra Complex

Business and The Cassandra Complex

If you like this post, feel free to share it. Someday I will move the social share buttons to the top, I swear. (It’s good to admit your failings now and again.) If you like some of my thoughts on life/the world, feel free to get in touch. I like using this blog as a source of connection.

 

Admittedly I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have in school around the Greek/Roman mythology stuff, so this morning I learned a little bit more about Cassandra from Troy; if you’re unfamiliar with the story, she’s the beautiful daughter (was everyone in Troy beautiful? I think so) of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. She was given the gift of prophecy — so she knew what was going to happen! — but then subsequently cursed so that no one would believe her. (Apollo, that bastard, did the cursing.) This became a whole thing because she foresaw the fall of Troy, but no one believed her.

It’s kind of a little bit (a tiny bit) like a mythological “Boy Who Cried Wolf,” ‘cept it’s a beautiful princess.

Anyway, point being: this all does have relevance back to the business world. Here’s how.

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Better meetings: Thoughtful question first, No-Rehash Rule

Meetings are a total joke, scourge, and waste of time at most organizations. That video above gets it right in a humorous way. (Watch it; it’s short and worth your entertainment value.) I’ve written about meetings a few times, notably about my confusion on several topics:

Again: a scourge. But some companies kind of get it. Here’s a few.

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