Best Of the Web: Disrupting the Internet, Saving Your Teenagers, Best Skill For Next 50 years..

I’ve gone through piles and piles of articles and found the best from this week. I have some guides to TV and restaurants, some fascinating angles on  the web, and some good stuff on personal development and parenting tips. Enjoy!

Surgery Of Self-help

The Most Important Survival Skill for the Next 50 Years Isn’t What You Think Yuval Noah Harari (“Sapiens”, “Homo Deus”) explains why the best preparation is not learning code, but rather developing mental flexibility

“This Will Change Your Life.” Really? The writer and wise man, Steven Pressfield, answers “no”! That something whether a bestseller or job promotion won’t change your life. “Our demons stay the same.The struggle never goes away. It never gets easier”

The myth of mirror magic Seth Godin reminds that spending endless hours tweaking our social media image or the book cover to our book will not really make a difference to others. It’s the person (you) and the  book that matters. Get your priorities straight!

Moebius Gives 18 Wisdom-Filled Tips to Aspiring Artists Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, was a comic book artist who combined blinding speed with boundless imagination. He shaped the look of Alien, Empire Strikes Back and The Fifth Element. Years ago, here gave 18 tips to aspiring artists. These included “When you draw, you must first cleanse yourself of deep feelings, like hate, happiness, ambition” and “There are times when we knowingly head down a path of failure, choosing the wrong theme or subject for our capabilities, or choosing a project that is too large, or an unsuitable technique. If this happens, you must not complain later.”

How to write the perfect sentence  Orwell advised cutting as many words as possible, Woolf found energy in verbs, and Baldwin aimed for ‘a sentence as clean as a bone’


Department Of Internet

Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web The inventor of the internet has created decentralised platform that could displace Web 2.0

IPFS: A Complete Analysis of The Distributed Web In the same vein as above, this outlines how Web 3.0 could look. The essence is that rather than having a centralised web dominated by large US and Chinese companies, the next stage is a distributed web, where information can be shared peer-to-peer (using block chain). IPFS is an open source version of this system. 

Spotify starts cracking down on friends who share family plans Uh-oh (just thinking about others, not me of course)

Data Factories Convincing argument that companies like Facebook and Google shouldn’t be treated as monopolies like AT&T. One reason is that telecom companies control distribution – they can cut you off and you’re stuck, whereas you can leave FB and Google. Another reason is that platforms have to attract and retain users for maximum impact, so they are incentivised to behave better. They do have some pitfalls though like privacy issues.

Facebook could face £1.25bn GDPR mega-fine over data breach FB recently suffered a data breach which affected 50m users some of whom lived in the EU. As a result, under new GDPR rules, the EU could fine FB up to $1.6bn in fines. We await the ruling.

Improving Search for the next 20 years Google lays out its Search plan, which includes anticipating and collecting info related to your interests. Useful and creepy at the same time. Google have also just launched a new search engine to check facts.

A Data-Driven Look At Dark Web Marketplaces Pretty cool visual depiction of the dark web.


Department Of Health

We got naked with the Naked Labs 3D Body Scanner. Here’s how it went  A mirror and scales with lots of sensors can create an almost perfect 3D scan of your body. The writer goes through the mechanics of using the scan, the benefits (very comprehensive stats) and the cons (it costs $1,400).

3 New Genes Linked to Chronic Back Pain I never thought back-pain could be caused by genes, but it seems the SOX5 gene in particular is associated with it. If further confirmed, it could open up a new line of treatment from one of the leading causes of disability.

Japan set to allow gene editing in human embryos In the long run this could fix genetic mutations that cause diseases. Or it could lead to a Brave New World of super-humans.

Recent Research Sheds New Light on Why Nicotine Is So Addictive It’s not just rewarding to the brain by itself; it also enhances and prolongs the pleasure we get from other activities


Guidance On Raising Teenagers

Sleep-Deprived Teens More Prone to Risky Behaviors Yet again lack of sleep is the culprit. In a study of 68,000 high-schoolers in the US, the scientists found that lack of sleep (6 hours) doubled the chances of smoking cigarettes, using alcohol and drink driving. Worryingly, it tripled the odds of considering suicide.

Having acne is positively associated with overall grade point average, college completionAn economics prof finds those with acne at high school ended up with better grades in English, history, maths and science. They did have lower self-esteem and were less likely to be in a sports club, but more likely to be in non-sports club and do better academically. The effects were stronger for women (especially white women).

Male Trouble Sobering account of the plight of men in America. Despite the much touted statistic of men earning more than women, other statistics show a relative crisis men are facing. Women earn more doctoral degrees than men, young single women are 2.5 times more likely than single men to buy their own homes, and women are now the majority entering medical and law schools. Many reasons for this, but one is the absence of father figures, especially amongst lower socio-economic groups, where the rate of divorce of much higher. The article also talks about the attraction of extremist groups (white supremacy, islamist) for disenfranchised men.

Are emos, goths and rockers at increased risk of self-harm and suicide? There seems to be some evidence that there is a link, though the direction of causation is unclear.


Social Guide

Here Are London’s New Michelin-Starred Restaurants for 2019 Clare Smyth’s Core and Kitchen Table awarded two Michelin stars, while Ikoyi, Brat, and Sabor are headline new entries with one star

The 2018 New Establishment List  According to Vanity Fair, Robert Mueller at #1, while Kylie Jenner at #100 – hmm, seems more old establishment

The best new restaurants and bars to try in HK  Pancakes seem to be the buzz in HK, so Japanese chain “A Happy Pancake” has landed in HK. “Hipster burger” sounds pretentious but good!

Artisanal crafts and shops in Tokyo Good list for shopping ideas which are off the beaten track. I’d particularly partial to “Ameshin”, which sells amezaiku (little sugarwork statues)


Department Of Entertainment

Netflix is planning more interactive storytelling, starting with ‘Black Mirror’ I stopped watching Black Mirror after a while as it was too depressing – now I’ll be able to pick a happy ending, so I might watch it again!

The 7 best thrillers on Netflix UK you need to watch now From “Nightcrawler” to “Taxi Driver”

The Best Horror Movies On Netflix For Halloween, Ranked I’m not into horror, but in case you are!

The most dangerous celebrity online is revealed In the US, Ruby Rose of “Orange is the new black” and “The Meg” fame (see picture below) is the celebrity most used to land users on websites that carry viruses and malware. In the UK, the most “dangerous” celeb is Kim Kardashian.

A Study Says About Half Of ‘The Last Jedi’ Haters Online Were Actually Russian Trolls Apparently most the negative online comments on the movie were generated by bots to help foster cultural division in the US!

Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars show will be called The Mandalorian Star Wars is coming to TV.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing tells fans she is ‘ashamed, guilty’ as she gets US$129 million tax bill  Fan Bingbing is the Jennifer Lawrence of Chinese film. She’s come a few western films like Iron Man 3 and X-Men: Days Of Future Past. But anyway, she’s been avoiding taxes and to quote “the star was released from residential surveillance at a designated location – a form of secret detention – about two weeks ago”


Ministry Of Fun

A Hypercar That Goes From Zero to 60 in 1.9 Seconds Is Taking Pre-Orders Wow. My car takes 1.9 seconds to switch on.

Limitations of batsmen rankings revealed Rankings of cricket batsmen are misleading according to a new academic study. Adjusting for home advantage, strength of opposition and innings played can dramatically alter the rankings. They find that there are too many factors that can influence the ranking for them to be meaningful, especially for mid-ranking players. One player that does consistently come top was Don Bradman. [Note for Americans, cricket is a more complex and challenging version of baseball]

Idyllic Victorian Photos of the 1850s English Countryside Amazing  pictures. Shows how much material development we have had over the past 150 years

Your favourite writers, ranked by height Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park”) is 6’9”, while Truman Capote (“In Cold Blood”) was only 5’4”


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