How Not to Tank Your Relationship in Quarantine


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When your partner does something that bothers you, don’t go with your gut reaction. Think before you blame, and be especially wary of what psychologists call the “fundamental attribution error.” When we do something wrong ourselves, we often blame it on temporary external circumstances: Yes, I lost my temper a couple of times today, but that’s just because of all the stress from the quarantine. But when our partner does something wrong, we’re inclined to wrongly attribute it to permanent internal flaws: He lost his temper because he has lousy self-control and doesn’t care about how I feel.

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The World Catches a Dangerous Virus of the Mind


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The virus is proving an expensive house guest as it hits corporate revenue, profit margins, and balance sheets. As El-Erian points out, the three major components of global gross domestic product—consumption, trade, and investment—are taking a hit to some degree from the spread of the virus. Even before the age of the new coronavirus dawned, global trade had fallen last year for the first time since 2009 because of a tariff war between the U.S. and China and a manufacturing recession. Now the world economy is on track for its weakest year since the financial crisis as the new coronavirus takes its toll, according to analysts at Bank of America Corp. Global growth will slip to 2.8%, from a previous estimate of 3.1%, and the Chinese economy will advance at 5.2%, which would be the worst performance since 1990.

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Brian Bremner — Bloomberg Businessweek

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Silicon Valley Ruined Work Culture


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Offices used to be gulags, but at least they had a clear purpose. You wouldn’t hang out in a cubicle farm, let alone spend time there on the weekends. Then companies like Google came along and reinvented the rat race into something with purpose and, along the way, confused work with the rest of life. Now, your coworkers are supposed to feel like a family. Hierarchies have been flattened, conventional job titles replaced by ones like “wizard” and “ninja.” The vacation days are unlimited (not that you’d ever take them). And forget about work-life balance. It’s all about work-life integration. Why else would the office have on-site acupuncture, nap pods, and free dinner after 7 pm?

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Arielle Pardes — Wired

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Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall


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After the war, his reputation as a groper became a running joke among science fiction fans. The writer and editor Judith Merril recalled that Asimov was known in the 1940s as “the man with a hundred hands,” and that he “apparently felt obliged to leer, ogle, pat, and proposition as an act of sociability.” Asimov, in turn, described Merril as “the kind of girl who, when her rear end was patted by a man, patted the rear end of the patter,” although she remembered the episode rather differently: “The third or fourth time his hand patted my rear end, I reached out to clutch his crotch.”

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Alec Nevala-Lee — JSTOR Daily

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Why Child Care Is So Ridiculously Expensive


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In the United States, per-child spending doubled from the 1970s to the 2000s, according to a 2013 paper by Sabino Kornich of the University of Sydney and Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania. Parents spent more on education, toys, and games. But nothing grew faster than per-child spending on child care, which increased by a factor of 21—or approximately 2,000 percent—in those 40 years.

Although wrapping your head around 2,000 percent growth might be difficult, the underlying cause isn’t so mysterious. As more women entered the labor force in the late 20th century, the work of caring for infants moved from the unpaid world of stay-at-home parents to the world of salaried labor. The 1970s and ’80s—the two decades when the female labor participation rate grew the fastest—also saw the greatest acceleration in child-care spending, according to Kornich and Furstenberg. Raising young children is work—and it always has been work—but the rise of dual-earner households has forced more families to recognize this work with their wallets.

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Derek Thompson — The Atlantic

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Can You Be Happy Without Money?


American Psycho successfully creates our materialist society by using brand names and personal fitness and beauty regimens as brick and mortar to build the plot. Sample this description of Bateman’s morning routine: ‘After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers, I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises…Then I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush…The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish.’

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Nandini Nair — OPEN

Can Video Games Replace the Outdoors?


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After several months in ReStart, Chris says he’s finding his way in the world again, and he’s taken up disc golf and nature walks. “I love spending time in nature,” he says. “It’s one of my favorite things to do these days.”There’s a tendency to think that being outdoors is inherently better than time spent in a virtual space. The truth, however, is increasingly complex. We have become cyborgs, toggling between the world around us and the world on our screens. With new technologies like AR, those worlds will continue to blur until, at some point, they overlap. It won’t be so easy to differentiate, as we do now, lamenting that we’re spending too much time staring at our phones when we should be staring at the sky. And it will be our increased immersion in virtual worlds that may heighten something more crucial: our need for the outdoors. In this sense, the gamers in ReStart are like visitors from the future, people who have returned from the other side of the pixelated glass, blinking back from their reverie to soak in the life around them.

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David Kushner — Outside

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