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This exhaustive list of useful mental models from the founder of DuckDuckGo, drawing on Charlie Munger's concept of mental models is well worth exploring. It contains a surprising amount of interesting jumping-off points to rules-of-thumb and insights from various fields, from Hanlon's Razor to the critical concept of BATNA in negotiation; and including such useful startup ideas as technical debt, organizational debt, and hunting elephants or flies.
Set it and forget it. "When your willpower is depleted, you are even more likely to make decisions based on the environment around you. After all, if you're feeling drained, stressed, or overwhelmed then you're not going to go through a lot of effort to cook a healthy dinner or fit in a workout. You'll grab whatever is easiest. And that means that if you take just a little bit of time today to organize your room, your office, your kitchen, and other areas, then that adjustment in choice architecture can guide you toward better choices even when your willpower is fading."
Reductress Is Devoting Its Entire Site to Rape Jokes That Punch Up: "In response to a sexual assault controversy that’s currently engulfing the New York comedy scene, women’s satire site Reductress has devoted its entire landing page to humor articles (primarily written by women) about rape." [warning: pointed satire about rape, rape culture, and abuse] [more inside]
60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads. Though you might want to quibble with the "essential" as it's somewhat biased to more recent books but a valuable introduction to the genres nonetheless, the occasional tokenism not withstanding.
Free, Printable USGS Quads National Geographic (the one now owned by Fox?!) has put together a website where you can download USGS (previously) maps that have been processed to print on standard letter paper.
The Story of Feminist Punk in 33 Songs: From Patti Smith to Bikini Kill, the songs that have crushed stereotypes and steered progress (Pitchfork). More than a list of songs, it's an overview of feminist expression through raw music, from 1975 to 2015, with an introduction by Vivien Goldman. "Because nothing beats jamming and singing with your sisters. That is punk. Punk freed female musicians. It is yours. Sing it, play it, live it now." [more inside]
Today, the Hillary Clinton campaign launched a new "With Her" podcast, chronicling her historic run for office. Clinton also released her 2015 tax returns while Sen. Tim Kaine released 10 years’ worth of his. With just 87 days until Election Day, 538's "Election Forecast" looks dire for Republican nominee Donald Trump, who continues to rely on wild, desperate claims to capture each news cycle.
Worst of the McMansions If you love to hate the ugly houses that became ubiquitous before the bubble burst (1980s-2009) you've come to the right place. Highlights include: McMansions 101: What Makes a McMansion Bad?, and this brief opinionated history of the garage.
The 2016 US general election is fully underway now. In 96 days, Americans will go to the polls. Current opinion polls show a significant bump for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton coming out of the major party conventions, and according to most polling aggregators she is currently on track to win the election. [more inside]
With his campaign chair Paul Manafort mired in scandal and polls showing Arizona and Georgia on the brink of going blue, an increasingly agitated Donald Trump has launched a major shake-up of his political staff. Reportedly infuriated by talk of being "tamed," the Republican nominee has rejected Manafort's moderating sway in favor of Breitbart News CEO Steve* Bannon, an alt-right firebrand who Bloomberg has called "the most dangerous political operative in America." Washington Post reporter Robert Costa foresees a vicious campaign in the making, a prospect further suggested by rumors that disgraced Fox News founder Roger Ailes will be advising Trump ahead of next months' debates with Hillary Clinton (whose odds of a landslide are currently on par with that of any Trump victory). [more inside]
"Sophia Bishop was laying out the body of Dr James Barry, on July 25, 1865, when she screamed. Her master was a woman." [more inside]
One hundred years ago, a soldier named Hector Hugh Munro was shot in the head as he crossed no-man’s-land. The night had been dark. Some of the soldiers accompanying him had lit up when they stopped to rest, and the glowing cigarettes attracted a German sniper’s attention. His last words were reported to be: ‘Put that bloody cigarette out!’ The soldier was perhaps the wittiest writer Britain had; his other name was Saki.–Ferrets can be gods, a short essay by Katherine Rundell on the Edwardian short story writer Saki. His stories are available online.
NativLang, brainchild of linguist Joshua Rudder, has a series of videos dealing with various aspects of language, orthography, and so forth. For example: What Latin Sounded Like and How We Know. Kanji Story - How Japan Overloaded Chinese Characters... The Tribe That Cursed Too Much ... How Korea crafted a better alphabet... India's awesome hybrid alphabet thing... Semitic's vowel-smuggling consonants... The Hardest Language To Spell [more inside]
A new wave of Lovecraftian stories confront, rather than ignore, the racism and antisemitism that permeated Lovecraft's work, and, indeed, served as the basis for much of the horror. This roundtable of authors discussing how they address the problems of Lovecraft is worthwhile. Some authors are explicitly using Lovecraft as a lens on contemporary racism, such as in Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country [PDF preview], while others mine Lovecraft's fear of the other to examine bigotry, as in Ruthanna Emrys's lovely Litany of Earth [full story] (Emyrs is also part of the Lovecraft Reread, which looks at both the Mythos-building and uncomfortable aspects of Lovecraft's stories). Previously, on the World Fantasy Awards and Lovecraft.
Why Am I So Fat? Sara Benincasa answers a fan's question.
To forestall a German blockade, at the beginning of World War II the Royal Navy built huge, multimegalitre subterranean oil storage tanks across the country. In 2009, the facility at Inchindown in the Scottish Highlands opened for visitors - and something remarkable came to light. [more inside]
In 1909, Julian Hawthorne (Nathaniel H.'s dashing, reckless son) released a wildly eclectic anthology called The Lock and Key Library: ten shotgun blast volumes of mystery, detection, horror, suspense, crime, decadence, and romance, comprised of stories, novel excerpts, folktales, and memoirs gathered from Russia, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, Tibet, Iran, the Ottoman Empire, India, Arabia, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Germany, France, England, Ireland and the United States. [more inside]
trombones days to go in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the candidates have a lot on their minds: Clinton makes a $95 million ad buy; Trump and his band of Steves yearn for calmer days when they'll be able to discuss Morning Joe gossip in peace, as Minion "9/11" Rudy spreads Clinton conspiracy theories; Egg McMuffin continues to do his thing.
Since May 2015, an man in Far North Queensland, Australia, has been posting videos to YouTube showing how to build various buildings and tools using "naturally occurring materials and primitive tools." In addition to step-by-step videos, he is also leaving increasingly detailed notes on what he is doing, and how.
"I live in a modern house and eat modern food. I just like to see how people in ancient times built and made things. It is a good hobby that keeps you fit and doesn’t cost anything apart from time and effort."[more inside]