Friday, December 14, 2012

Best of the Week #86

Oh hallelujah it is Friday! We made it!!! Enjoy some Best of the Week links! (And a special happy last day of work to LLC!)

My most popular post this week was "Trampoline Workouts for Runners." I may or may not start writing a series on JumpSport's blog.

Ok here we go. Even if you don’t like Glee, listen to Rachel sing "Oh Holy Night." It will make you feel Christmasy and wonderful. I have started every day with it this week.

I always love gifs, therefore I almost always love this Tumblr.

"When my day is going terribly."
"When I make holiday plans with my friends from home."

Some Russian perspectives on American culture: “A Hunger for Tales of Life in the American Cul-de-Sac.”
  • An average Russian mother would no sooner entrust her children’s upbringing to a local teenager than to a pack of wild dogs.
  • Though Americans are slovenly in their outward appearance, he said, it is “completely unacceptable” to show up at work in the same outfit two days in a row. 
  • “You can’t suddenly show up at a friend’s house in the middle of the night with a bottle of vodka, to talk over your problems and seek support,” he writes. “Russians solve problems when they reach a critical point — that is our national style. Americans try to keep things from getting to a critical point.”
“Life can be stressful sometimes, and what better way is there to relieve stress than to watch puppies play in the snow? That question was rhetorical, because there is no better way.” (source)

Parallel institution-building in Syria? “Political Violence Thought of the Week.”
  • That is, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces must engage in so-called “parallel institution-building” — this week’s political violence thought of the week.
  • My sense is that parallel institution-building — “parallel” in the sense of replacing the embattled governing regime — is more or less a good idea. Such measures can help opposition movements build legitimacy and political power, which both tips conflicts’ balance in favor of the opposition and lays out a potentially smoother transition to post-conflict state-building functions.
Some wise/amusing words from Runner’s World. “In a Rut? Take 4 Days Off! I'd recommend applying this approach to any number of problems.”
  • Also, guess how much I ran? None. I ran NONE MILES.
  • And when I realize I need one [day off], it tends to happen abruptly -- usually in a "instead of running five miles today, I believe I'll take four days off" sort of way. And then I go get a bowl of cereal and find someplace soft to sit down.
  • PROBLEM: You're feeling sluggish after taking four days off. SOLUTION: Take 4 Days Off!
Mean Girls of Capitol Hill” is amazing and makes me realize how truly genius the writing of that movie is (go Tina Fey!).

About the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list that came out this week: “The Opposite of Thinking.”
  • For starters, policy itself is more or less the opposite of thinking. It implies the development of a set of rules or guidelines that shape and direct actions. In fact, however, policy is designed to help keep people who aren't actually policymakers from doing any thinking at all at critical moments. And it doesn't take much more than a cursory look at how well things are going here on this little planet to reveal that foreign policymakers are not doing such a great job with all the thinking they are allegedly being paid to do.
  • All the above may seem obvious to you. But if genius is the ability to recognize the obvious before anyone else, isn't stupidity therefore the failure to do anything about the obvious even after everyone with a functioning brain has come to see it as readily apparent? The point is: Big challenges demand big ideas. New challenges demand new thinking. And right now, the big new challenges of our time -- from the rise of new powers and the changing geopolitical landscape to shifting global resource demands -- require a kind of thought they are clearly not getting. Instead, we have a policymaking apparatus that discourages creativity.
N’Sync Medley by Pentatonix. You will not regret watching this.

Who needs satellites when you could have vultures??? “'Vulture spying for Israel' caught in Sudan.”
  • Officials in Sudan say they have captured an electronically-tagged vulture suspected of being dispatched by Israel on a spying mission.
"Meet Casey Legler, the Woman Who Works as a Male Model." There's an interview with her.

  • “I have a body of work. I don’t think that anyone looking at that body of work and then seeing me as a model would see it as any kind of a stretch,” Legler says. “It implies something interesting. I am not the artmaker in those cases. I get to participate with other artmakers as part of their palette.”
  • Casey Legler is a woman working as a male model. She looks wonderfully comfortable shrugging into tailored suits and chomping on cigars.
Say "logarithms" and I shudder. But this is actually really interesting: "What number is halfway between 1 and 9? Is it 5 — or 3?"
  • Ask adults from the industrialized world what number is halfway between 1 and 9, and most will say 5. But pose the same question to small children, or people living in some traditional societies, and they're likely to answer 3.
  • Cognitive scientists theorize that that's because it's actually more natural for humans to think logarithmically than linearly: 30 is 1, and 32 is 9, so logarithmically, the number halfway between them is 31, or 3. Neural circuits seem to bear out that theory. For instance, psychological experiments suggest that multiplying the intensity of some sensory stimuli causes a linear increase in perceived intensity. 
And I will leave you with this. Because it is too perfect.

Have a great weekend!