“As the bafflingly tenacious power of religion proves, humans like stories that help them make sense of the world, even if the stories themselves make not a jot of sense. The belief that life is part of a divine plan in which one’s fate will be what one deserves will always hold more allure than the idea that life is just a series of random incidents with no guarantee of a happy ending, no matter how good a person you are.”—Rape is not a compliment | Comment is free | The Guardian
“The world teems with ingredients and possibilities. Crucially, we can - whether as individuals or organizations - be purposeful and deliberate in our quest for inspiration, rather than leave it to chance. If we are interested in the broader world around us, if we engage with it actively, if we pursue passions and interests beyond the necessities and demands of the every day, we stand a better chance of developing something new and interesting.”—Outsights And The Pursuit of Serendipity
“Moleskine has its share of inevitable knock-offs and high-style competitors such as Guildhall and Markings. Sebregondi sees this as confirmation of the company’s success. “We need to protect our brand. We prefer to work on the brand values that are not reproducible by others including the content we create for the public. No other brand can offer this.”—Unify, Simplify, Amplify: How Moleskine Gets Branding Right
“We were discussing, specifically, the need to have a Rioja on the list, even if it wasn’t your favourite wine, simply because so many punters are familiar with the name and will specifically order Rioja. After all, many people are pretty flummoxed by wine lists, and yet aren’t happy to trust a sommelier’s recommendation. The same is true for Chablis and Sancerre. You need these fixtures on the wine list somewhere. I was arguing for the inclusion of an inexpensive but tasty Rioja, because lots of people would buy it and enjoy it. Peter made a very interesting point: by all means have a Rioja, but have a more expensive one. (Have a really good, expensive Chablis, and a good, expensive Sancerre.) If you have a cheap Rioja that tastes good, it can sell too well. It can create a logjam in the list – people stop there and go no further. Put the familiar names too far down the list, and you’ll find it hard to sell really interesting, worthwhile wines with less well known names. The duller celebrities will cannibalise sales of the genuinely interesting, and better value wines.”—The art of the restaurant wine list « jamie goode’s wine blog
“Openness among chefs doesn’t always come naturally. Secrets and jealously guarded recipes used to be a feature of cuisine. I once hired a pastry chef who had worked for a famous French pâtissier. My team pumped the new recruit to learn the old master’s techniques. The chef insisted he didn’t know because the pâtissier came to the kitchen only after the other chefs had gone home, so that he could work in secret. This approach now seems old-fashioned.”—The high-pressure life of a Michelin man can be a tiring business | The Times
“The fact is, though, global communications have changed the face of cooking. Chefs and restaurateurs are faced with pressures that didn’t exist even 20 years ago. It has all become more competitive, which isn’t necessarily bad — most chefs enjoy the adrenalin rush and are trying to produce the best food they can, so what’s a little rivalry? But it can warp the criteria by which things are judged. If a restaurant slips to No 20 in the Top 50 Restaurants, it tends to be viewed as having failed even though it’s producing food of an unbelievably high standard. It can undermine or crush a chef’s confidence. The accomplished French chef Bernard Loiseau killed himself not because he had lost his third Michelin star, but because he feared he might.”—The high-pressure life of a Michelin man can be a tiring business | The Times
On sait comment commencer une guerre, on ne sait jamais comment elle prend fin. Les expériences catastrophiques et coûteuses en centaines milliers de victimes civiles des guerres des Balkans, d’Irak et d’Afghanistan montrent que la guerre n’est pas une solution pour la liberté des peuples.
Les insurgés libyens réclament la liberté et la démocratie et la prise en main de leurs affaires face à un régime ossifié où le clanisme clientéliste est devenu la règle de survie. À la différence des soulèvements populaires tunisien et égyptien, il ne s’agit pas d’une révolte sociale: ce sont avant tout les deux millions de travailleurs immigrés égyptiens, tunisiens, tchadiens, indiens ou encore sri-lankais qui constituent les populations exploitées, souvent dans un quasi-esclavage – comme c’est d’ailleurs le cas dans les pays pétroliers du Golfe. Ces derniers sont en quelque sorte les otages de la guerre civile. L’exigence de démocratie des citoyens libyens doit aboutir et la condition en est l’abolition de la dictature. Une aventure militaire de puissances intéressées avant tout par le pétrole ne peut répondre à cette aspiration fondamentale de liberté.
“Tuttosport, based in Turin, is described by one Italian journalist as “the Pravda of Juventus”, Turin’s top football team. All sell better when the local team wins. Yet even the most partisan papers can be brutal in their treatment of underperforming players and managers. They serve the fans, not the teams.”—Sports newspapers: Pink, and read all over | The Economist
“Simplify, then exaggerate is the key to successful communications. That’s what Ive did with Apple products. They elegantly and unambiguously communicate a cleanlined, status-rich sense of purpose. Ive has proved that the consumer is not a penny-pinching moron nor a brute philistine. On the contrary, Apple’s persuasive financials show that the consumer is a sophisticated aesthete who will cheerfully pay a premium price to own products that flatter by their pristine beauty and sparkly intelligence.”—How did a British polytechnic graduate become the design genius behind £200billion Apple?
The average amount of time it took for people to form a habit was 66 days, but that number doesn’t really tell the story, because there was a wide range. For some people and some behaviors it took 18 days, but depending on the person and the behavior, it went all the way up to 254 days for the behavior to become an automatic habit. What she found is that people would initially show an increase in the automaticity of the behavior, and then they would hit a plateau.
The more complex the behavior the longer it took for it to become a habit (no surprise there). Participants that chose to create an exercise habit took 1 and a half times longer to make it automatic than those who were building a new habit about eating fruit at lunch.
If people missed a day here and there, that did not have a significant effect on how long it took to build the habit. But too many missed days, or multiple days in a row, did have an effect, and slowed the creation of the habit.
“The current food culture, created largely by advertisers, holds that it is acceptable and desirable to eat anywhere and everywhere. We eat in cars, at our desks, in front of the TV. There is almost no activity that cannot be acceptably combined with eating and drinking. Every kids’ activity and event features snacks — usually highly processed and full of sugar. School days contain snack and milk (often chocolate) breaks. (I’m 39 and never remember having school snacks past kindergarten.) Parents are conditioned to bring snacks along on any outing lest the kids get “hungry”. We are teaching kids that eating should accompany any and every occasion — and they often end up becoming the focal point.”—Change the cultural norms around eating - Time to Trim - Slate Hive
What’s good about cheap food? Well, if you’re poor, a lot. DEFRA’s 2009 Family Food report shows that the lowest-income families spent over one-sixth of their entire household expenditure on food. Cheap food is crucial to their standards of living, and expensive food can cause real hardship by shifting the family’s available cash from clothing, housing and heating.
This could mean several things (the data can only tell you so much so we must make some assumptions). One, that the poorest households are making better use of ingredients and shifting to more cost-efficient nutritional sources such as fresh vegetables, legumes and cheaper cuts of meat. Or two, that they are simply buying less food.
Or three (and I find this more likely), that they are buying less nutritious, cheaper foods made from poorer-quality ingredients than they were before, or simply shifting to high-starch ingredients. The reason I suspect this is the case is that purchases of fruit are tied closely to income: the poorest 10% buy the least fruit, and purchases of vegetables also increase with income. Fresh fruit and veg is likely to make you healthier, but if a bag of apples is too expensive and a two-hour lamb stew sound like a lot of gas bill, those economy pies are going to look a damn sight more attractive.
“Meaning - If you’re young and you haven’t yet achieved some level of success by your own standards, by all means make yourself your own first priority. You can’t help others until you first help yourself. If you reach a more comfortable level, you’ll find you need to be useful to others in order to find meaning and feel right in your own skin. That doesn’t mean giving everything away. It’s okay to pick your spots. You don’t need to suffer in the process.”—Scott Adams Blog: Happiness Engineering 03/17/2011
“For now, it’s an inner turmoil as we shift from one era to the next. It’s like we’re stuck in a detox diet. We purge and hope to see things transformed. Transformation and connection are what we’re craving but we don’t know what we want to transform to. Disconnecting is integral to evolution. But no one said it was easy. Think about it. A Pew study says two-thirds of American adults sleep with their cell phones. 4 out of 5 teens do too. It’s subconsciously soothing. What if we miss something or someone? Our relationships are complex. What technology abstainers, leavers and wanna-bes all have in common is a culture of rebirth and epiphany. One that is not all big, neat and cozy. Our epiphanies will be defined by everyone’s unique cultural narrative. Not having everything neatly packaged is a hard concept for many to process”—The Psychology of Leaving | uncluttered white spaces
“'Most of us were mistreated as children and had to learn to deny this fact at a very early stage in order to survive. We were forced to believe that we were humiliated and tormented “for our own good,” that the beatings we received did not hurt and were harmless, that such treatment served to protect the community (as otherwise we would have turned into dangerous monsters). …most people are not prepared to question and abandon preconceptions of this kind. Instead they chant this perverse litany: “My parents did their best to bring me up properly, I was a difficult child, and I needed strict discipline.” Obviously, people who have been brought up to believe this cannot conceivably feel indignation about cruelty to children. Since their own childhood, they have been dissociated from their true feelings, from the pain caused by humiliation and torment. To feel their indignation they would need to get back in touch with that childhood pain. And who will want to do that?'”—Alice Miller
“Repressed fear … is the fear a very small child has of its parents. They pay for such self-betrayal with depression, suicide, or severe illnesses leading to an early death. The assumption I proceed from is this: for most people the idea that they were not loved by their parents is unbearable. The more evidence there is for this deprivation, the more strongly these people cling to the illusion of having been loved. They also cling to their feelings of guilt, which provide misleading confirmation that if their parents did not treat them lovingly then it was all their own fault, the fault of their mistakes and failings. Depression is the body’s rebellion against this lie. Many people would prefer to die (either literally or symbolically by killing off their feelings), rather than experience the helplessness of the little child exploited by the parents for their own ambitions or used as a projection screen for their pent-up feelings of hatred.’”—Alice Miller
“People resort to all kinds of “remedies” to compel the body to function normally all the same: drugs, alcohol, nicotine, tablets, immersion in work. It is an attempt to avoid understanding the revolt of the body, to prevent ourselves from experiencing the fact that feelings will not kill us but, on the contrary, can free us from the prison we call depression. Depression may reassert itself once we revert to ignoring our feelings and needs, but in time we can learn to deal with it more effectively. As our feelings tell us what happened to us in childhood, we can learn to understand them, we no longer need to fear them as we did before, the anxiety recedes, and we are better equipped to face the next depressive phase. But we can only admit those feelings if we no longer fear our internalized parents.”—Alice Miller
“Habitual drunkenness is usually, psychologists inform us, the result of the inability to accommodate oneself wholly to reality. It is often a vice in that unfortunate class of people who have imperfectly coordinated artistic facilities. They yearn vaguely for something other than the world they know but they lack the capacity to create a world nearer to their hearts’ desire. Still more, do they lack the capacity to attain a comprehensive vision of the beauty emanate in this world. Neither the art of escape nor the art of revelation is possible to them. Nevertheless they have perceptions they cannot use and impulses that never come to fruition. Drink, or some other drug, by relieving their sense of impotence an by blurring the unfriendly outlines of the real world brings them solace and becomes a necessity.”—J.W.N. Sullivan, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development (via nevver)
“Today’s ramped-up parental authority rests on three pillars: science, safety, and achievement. What we ambitious parents know about the human brain tells us that children need to be placed in stimulating and productive environments if they are going to reach their full potential. What we know about the world tells us that it is a dangerous place: there are pesticides on our fruit, cigarettes in the school yards, rocks near the bike paths, kidnappers in the woods. Children need to be protected. And finally, what we know about life is that sorting by merit begins at birth and never ends. Books about what to expect in the first year lay out achievement markers starting in the first month, and from then on childhood is one long progression of measurements, from nursery school admissions to SATs.”—The Organization Kid - Magazine - The Atlantic
“The 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health emphasized that the most powerful factor in determining the well-being of young people is the presence of parents and adults who are actively engaged in supervising and setting goals for teenagers’ lives. A 1993 study, Talented Teenagers, found that teens need security and support if they are going to explore.”—The Organization Kid - Magazine - The Atlantic