Insightful Stuff To Read May 2015

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If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right Elizabeth W. Dunn, Daniel T. Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Volume 21, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 115–125.

Physician suicide 101: Secrets, lies and solutions – Apparently doctors get depressed – being exposed to so much of life’s trauma can take its toll on you. Some of them decide that life isn’t worth it anymore, and commit suicide. This piece examines the culture ingrained in the medical profession, and asks whether things can be improved for those on the front line.

How the language you speak changes your view of the world – People thinking and interacting in a particular language will change how they describe a given situation. English speakers might describe an action intransitively, i.e. “the woman is walking”, whereas a German speaker might put the action in context by describing it transitively i.e. “the woman is walking to her car”.

Temperate and lytic bacteriophages programmed to sensitize and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 18, 2015 – doi:10.1073/pnas.1500107112
How to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria: use a virus to modify them so they are no longer antibiotic resistant.

Transcript of Silk Road’s Boss Ordering 5 Assassinations – If you haven’t heard of Silk Road, it was the anonymous marketplace for everything illegal, drugs, hitmen, payment always in BitCoin. The mastermind behind it, Ross Ulbricht, is transcribed here in an email conversation with Hell’s angels ordering the deaths of five people.

And if you really haven’t heard of Silk Road before, you should probably read these…

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road – Part 1, The Rise – Joshuah Bearman, wired.com

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road – Part 2, The Fall – Joshuah Bearman, wired.com




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Tim Urban – Wait But Why

How to Pick Your Life Partner (Part 1). Outlines different emotional attachment styles and their shortcomings.

How to Pick Your Life Partner (Part 2). So what should you look for in that special someone?


The Philosopher’s Mail

How we end up marrying the wrong people

On the madness and charm of crushes


The Atlantic – Emily Esfahani Smith

Masters of Love. The research of John Gottman and others indicates that the masters can be separated from the disasters by looking at whether one partner’s bid for attention attracts a positive or negative response most of the time.


New York Times – Daniel Jones

These 36 Questions will make strangers fall in love. This article highlights research from 1996 in which researchers gave a list of 36 questions which a pair of strangers asked each other. One pair in the study married 6 months later. The original research is here (A. Aron et. al. “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness” PSPB, Vol. 23 No.4, April 1997, 363-377).


University of Zurich – René T. Proyer, Lisa Wagner.

Playful adults preferred in choice of partner.
The original paper is here:
Playfulness in Adults Revisited – R. T. Proyer, L. Wagner. American Journal of Play, Vol. 7, No. 2

The Best Dance Videos

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Xandy Liberato & Evelyn Maygari – Zouk Lambada

Jordan Frisbee & Tatianna Mollmann – West Coast Swing

Aline Cleto & Charles Espinoza

Josta O’Neil & Edelmar “Pasty” Pieternelle

Michael Dameski on So You Think You Can Dance Australia

Interesting reading material Jan 2015

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Easy vegetarian dinners – Mackenzie Kruvant, Buzzfeed. (Yes I know, it’s Buzzfeed, but whatever…)

These 36 Questions will make strangers fall in love – Daniel Jones, New York Times. This article highlights research from 1996 in which researchers gave a list of 36 questions which a pair of strangers asked each other. One pair in the study married 6 months later. The original research is here (A. Aron et. al. “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness” PSPB, Vol. 23 No.4, April 1997, 363-377).

My lovely wife in the Psych ward – Mark Lukach. A personal account of how mental illness and dealing with psychotic episodes reshapes a marriage.

The man to take on Putin – Julia Ioffe. The story of a multi-billionaire Russian oil baron who was imprisoned by the Kremlin. Now he is in exile and want to provoke change in Russia.

What makes you you? – Tim Urban. A philosophical rumination on the self.

The real cause of addiction – Johann Hari. People (and rats) only become and remain addicted to drugs, gambling or whatever, so long as they are isolated, and unable to connect with other people (or rats). If they are able to live fulfilling lives, (jobs, social life, support network etc.) then they can break the addiction.

15 Unique Illnesses You Can Only Come Down With In German – Arika Okrent.

Links to interesting reading material 2014

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I will add more links to this post as I spend more time procrastinating by reading this stuff.

“On the phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” by David Graeber
– Why technological advances haven’t resulted in shorter working hours.

“Senseless” by Bruce Barcott – A piece about how bicycle helmet safety has not progressed for many decades.

“What’s Wrong With Multi-Level Marketing?” by Dean Van Druff – What makes a pyramid scheme bad?

“The dream boat” by Luke Mogelson – A piece by reporters who went ‘undercover’ so to speak, and took a ride on one of the leaky boats bringing asylum seekers to Australia.

“My life as a serial killer’s daughter” by Melissa Moore – A lifetime coming to terms with dad’s legacy.

“The science of human decay” by Joseph Stromberg – This is about the world’s largest body farm, where donated corpses are left outside to decay and scientists observe the results. This knowledge helps make better estimates of time of death for police investigations. Be warned, this story has graphic images.

Excerpts from “Expert Judgment on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant”, Sandia National Laboratories report SAND92-1382 / UC-721, p. F-49 – If an area is designated as a nuclear waste dump, not for a hundred years, but for perhaps 12,000 years, what should the site be like in order to convey its purpose? How should the site feel, what should the markers and signs be to cross a possible language barrier, cultural barrier, and through changes in government and landscape? Some answers are explored here.

ATO letting big multinationals get away with it – by Michael West, Canberra Times, 24 Nov 2014

Flag Gallery

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Some people, when they go travelling, will collect all sorts of trinkets to remind them of their trip. Fridge magnets, location t-shirts, commemorative wine glasses, key rings, mugs, and bumper stickers all make their way mysteriously into these travellers suitcases. Their living room is probably overwhelmed with snow domes. I like to collect experiences and memories, and bring back less junk. So I take photographs.

I recently returned from a trip to the good ol’ US of A. I wanted a theme, something to collect as I went about my trip, from city to city. Something American. I couldn’t decide what it should be until I got there, but as soon as I stepped off the plane it was right in front of me. American flags. Even though they’re so ubiquitous in America, they still have enough variation and nuance to tell a story. Brightly painted on the side of a truck. Boldly worn on a t-shirt. Proudly flown in front of a fire station. Each says something about its owner, but never quite the same thing. What story does each tell you?


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No, not with wings, not in an aeroplane

I mean skydiving without a parachute. Like superman.

If you ever drop past Singapore you really should give it a go. It’s on Sentosa.

Update: now there’s one in Sydney too!