Best Of the Web: Better Sleep, An App To Sue, Most Trusted News Source..

There were lots and lots of great articles this week, so I’ve featured a bit more than usual. There are some good analyses on Facebook, tech evolution and some crazy apps. I’ve got some great guides to various cities, including the world’s best bars. Then there are some fun features on Japan’s new bullet train, an amazing academic hoax and new plans for a JFK airport upgrade. Enjoy

Department Of Health (8)

Experts Answered Every Question We’ve Ever Had About Sleep Covers all bases. Discovered that sleeping pills sedate you rather than make you sleep. Best tip for sleeping well – stick to the same times for going to bed and waking up. This article, The best foods to eat for a good night’s sleep, gives some eating tips (milk and fish). On the flips-side, worth reading this,  A Counterintuitive Nighttime Routine For The Type A Insomniac (it suggests ditching tips and tricks and “remaining passively awake and avoiding any efforts to fall asleep”)

Dual studies question impact of artificial sweeteners on gut bacteria I’ve always thought this and now there is some evidence that artificial sweeteners mess up your gut bacteria. So better to avoid sugar AND artificial sweeteners. And this article, Preserving microbial diversity, shows a healthy microbiome could reduce chances of obesity, diabetes, allergies and many other ailments.

Brain Activity Has Been Recorded as Much as 10 Minutes After Death Only happened with one patient and they don’t know why!

The Truth About Training to Failure to Build Muscle This is when you do reps using weights until you can’t feasibly continue. It is supposedly more conducive to building muscle. This article cites a number of studies that finds no difference between working out to failure or not to failure. Moreover, if anything the risk with working to failure is that you lose technique, which could lead to more injury.

Climate Change Is Already Shaping the Way We Race  Triathletes and Iron Man competitors are finding extreme heat or extreme rain affecting their races. Many need to head north to find colder conditions, especially for snowshoe competitions where you need…snow.


Ministry of Tech and Science (7)

Babysitter screening app Predictim uses AI to sniff out bullies The app trawls through a person’s online presence and determines how nuts they are. It will start with parents wanting to assess potential babysitters, but where will it end?!

New App Lets You ‘Sue Anyone By Pressing a Button’ From the creator of an app that allowed you to challenge parking tickets (apparently with a 50% success rate), comes “DoNotPay” that allows you sue big corporations. The underlying tech using IBM’s Watson AI platform to ask you a series of questions, which then classifies your case, gives you forms to print out, which you can then send to sue! Available for the US and possibly UK.

The Myth of The Infrastructure Phase Excellent piece that infrastructure/platforms  (better interoperability, better clients, wallets and browsers etc) does not come first, Instead, apps come first, which then inspire infrastructure development. So  light-bulbs came before the electric grid, planes before airports, Napster, Gmail and Facebook before AWS and Ruby On Rails. 

The Coders Programming Themselves Out of a Job  “From around six years ago up until now, I have done nothing at work”. He wrote that within eight months of arriving on the quality-assurance job, he had fully automated his entire workload.”I am not joking. For 40 hours each week, I go to work, play League of Legends in my office, browse Reddit, and do whatever I feel like. In the past six years, I have maybe done 50 hours of real work.” When his boss found out, he was fired. Fascinating article about the ethics of self-automating and who gets the gains from this.

10 Best Mobile Apps for Data Scientist / Data Analysts A mix of brain skill trading apps and Python courses. Mainly for Android though L

Explore space using swarms of tiny satellites The real revolution in space travel will be when we use sand-grain-sized computers, self-healing materials and constellations of crafts according to these scientists.

The Most Important Books On Artificial Intelligence Experts pick the best books from ones on technical aspects to ones on the cultural dimension. A good list


Surgery Of Self-help (6)

Hundreds of People Have Died Taking Selfies, Study Says A study on deaths resulting from selfies is recommending that we set up “selfie-free zones.”

Shame may feel awful but new cross-cultural evidence shows it is fundamental to our survival New study on 15 diverse small-scale societies around the world finds that similar patterns of shame were found within and across them. The authors suggest that shame plays an important role in promoting self-less behaviours, rather than being a product of cultural contact.

There are too many gurus in America. Scathing critique of self-help gurus like Tim Ferris. The writer argues these gurus promote selfishness and ignore community and politics. I think she has a point, though I think there are lots of people also talking politics these days.  I think someone like Seth Godin strikes the right balance between self-improvement and helping community.

To be thin but not healthy – The body-image dilemma may affect health among female university students in China Study finds that the students viewed a medically underweight body-mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 as the ideal body shape. It found that even female students who were already underweight were still pursuing weight loss strategies. Western cultural influence was an important factor on this shift.

My Bodyguard, My Self What would it be like to have bodyguards? Well this fun article describes just that as the journalist spends a day with three bodyguards

Why Don’t Westerners Eat Off One Plate? Time spent with hunter-gatherers in Tanzania offers a sharp contrast to “normal” social behaviors in the West. Sharing is caring!


Department Of FANGS (10)

The Autocracy App Scathing critique of Facebook and other social media in this review of two new books on the company. Makes the case that many early Facebook management figures have now come to regret the addictive qualities of the platform. The review also argues that misinformation and the use of social media by authoritarian regimes is a bigger issue than privacy concerns. Suggests that opting out at the individual level is not enough, but rather breaking these companies up is the best solution.

Facebook is audaciously launching a video gadget for your home, called Portal. Is that a good idea? The FB device will have a screen, speakers and a mike and its edge will  be video calls. It also features Alexa as the voice assistant. But will consumers want a camera in their house?

Facebook Researchers Create AI System That Turns Food Photos Into Written RecipesThis has been helped by everyone taking photos of their food all the time. It’s given Facebook much more data to play with.

NCSC backs Amazon and Apple in China spy chip row  The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) say they believe Amazon and Apple in their denials of knowing about any spy chips. On top of that  Experts Doubt Chinese Chip-Hacking Story Apparently one of the sources in the Bloomberg story is disputing the story!

Google Didn’t Report Its Data Leak Till Months Later. Now It’ll Face the Consequences.Google had a data leak  through its (little used) Google+ social media platform in March and only recently disclosed this. Uh oh. But it may not be so bad as the breach that killed Google+ wasn’t a breach at all The bug apparently was not used by many people

Waze is launching its carpool service nationally Google’s Waze was operating already in San Fran and now it will operate across the US. You will be able to search for people nearby who are going to the same place as you. A potential Uber challenger?

Google Slides automatically captions your presentations It will be a new feature in Google Slides. I wonder if it would work with a chart on the euro!


Department Of Entertainment (7)

The 40 Greatest Movie Soundtracks of All Time I like soundtracks and I haven’t heard (or remember) many of these. They have American Graffiti (1973) at #1 – a film I have never got round to seeing

The Best Nonfiction Books of 2018 From books on the  Age Of Algos to The Opium War

Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales So late 1990s was peak music industry revenues at $21.5bn (inflation-adjusted) – that was when CDs ruled the roost. Today, revenues have dwindled to $bn with paid streaming making up half the pie (see chart)

A clinic in India’s Silicon Valley is treating its first case of Netflix addiction “He [the patient] found that whenever he used to watch these show series a lot, this used to help him out. This became a way to avoid day-to-day stresses and feel good…He used to watch (Netflix) for almost six to seven hours (a day)”. This couldn’t happen to me – no, no, of course not.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia is launching an ‘HBO plus’ streaming service in 2019 A Netflix challenger. Content will come from HBO (“Game Of Thrones”, “West World”), Harry Potter movies, and DC movies. Meanwhile, Apple’s original TV shows will reportedly be free for people who own its devices (like Amazon Prime stuff)

Bruce Lee’s Reading List He was much deeper than you think. His books included Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Thelogica, Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings and even Strunk and White’s Elements of Style!


Social Guide (7)

The 50 best bars in the world in 2018 Annual World Bar Awards have been announced: London’s Dandelyan comes out on top, followed by American Bar (London) and Manhattan (Singapore). The top bar for NY is” NoMad” (I agree), for HK is “The Old Man”, for Tokyo is “High Five”.

The New York Coffee Festival Start tomorrow until Sunday on 18 Street. If I was in NY, I’d go. And I’d also go to Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (on until next Thursday)

The best rooftop bars in Hong Kong According to Time Out, the best one is Wooloomooloo – what a mouthful! Anyone been there?

Best markets in Tokyo From organic farmers markets to flea markets.

The best burgers in Singapore “Fatburger” not sure if that’s a good name, but it makes the list.

What to catch at this year’s London Surf / Film Festival Festival Director Demi Taylor picks her highlights from the 2018 lineup: from an epic exploration of cold-water surfing in Siberia, to Chas Smith’s celebration of surf icon Lisa Andersen.


Ministry Of Distractions (7)

Cuomo’s Plans For JFK Are Big And Bold, But Not Enough To Solve Airport’s ProblemsAt last a JFK airport revamp, but New Yorkers are already complaining!

Here’s how much Americans trust 38 major news organizations (hint: not all that much!)Americans trust WSJ, ABC news , CBS news, BBC news and Forbes the most and trust The Daily Caller, InfoWars, Occupy Democrats, Palmer Report and Daily Kos the least.  I’m a bit surprised that Fox News comes (just) above The Economist!

What an Audacious Hoax Reveals About Academia You have to laugh. A bunch of hoax papers get accepted for review in major humanities journals. Stuff like : “Dismissing ‘western astronomy’ as sexist and imperialist, it makes a case for physics departments to study feminist astrology—or practice interpretative dance”

Toyosu’s [Tokyos new ‘Tsukji fish market] first fish auctions The replacement for the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo has held its first auctions. After many delays the new market is finally open!

Scientists go ‘back to the future,’ create flies with ancient genes to study evolution Jurassic Park is getting closer. Scientists chemically recreate some ancient genes and insert into fruit flies.

Paris Motor Show Highlight: Includes Bugatti’s 1,500 horsepower, $5.8 million, 236 mph W16 Divo (see pic below)!

Japan’s next-generation Shinkansen is its coolest bullet train yet They could go up to 400km/h! (see pic below)