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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High finance is wrecking the economy and the planet—but it won’t reform itself


In a special edition of the Financial Times, with a dramatic cover wrap which was virtually blank but for the giant words “Capitalism: Time for a Reset,” its economics doyen Martin Wolf went out of his way to define it for readers, guessing they too had to be enlightened. In an essay which bemoaned stagnant wages and productivity, inadequate competition, and rampant inequality, he explained that rentier capitalism “means an economy in which market and political power allows privileged individuals and businesses to extract a great deal of such rent from everybody else.” The half-forgotten term is as old as Adam Smith, who first defined rentiers as capitalists who were able “to reap where they never sowed.”

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Ann Pettifor — Prospect

Why Simone de Beauvoir didn’t believe in being ‘a strong woman’


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Whereas boys were brought up to believe that they could value their own independence and creativity and have flourishing personal relationships, on Beauvoir’s analysis, a woman’s education too often led her to feel ‘torn’ between choosing freedom and choosing love. ‘Woman’, she wrote, is ‘doomed’ to feelings of failure and guilt, because if she succeeded at conforming to mythical ideals of femininity she would be a mirage, not a person. She was expected to embody ‘an inhuman entity: the strong woman, the admirable mother, the virtuous woman, and so on’. Because femininity is so closely associated with prioritising the needs of others, with being likeable and giving, when a woman ‘thinks, dreams, sleeps, desires, and aspires’ for herself, she becomes less feminine – which, in the social currency of 1949 at least, meant she became a worse woman.

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Kate Kirkpatrick — Aeon

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How Men and Women Have Different Dating Profile Pics


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Some very interesting data. Example – Men are less likely to smile than women in their profile picture.

Just 4.8% of women are in their swimwear in their main profile picture. Not many people wear their bathing suits in their dating profile photos, though women are 10x more likely to be in their bathing suits than men. Given that photos in swimwear tend of perform better on dating sites for both genders, perhaps it’s time for men to show a little more skin?

Wearing sunglasses in your profile photo is generally considered a no-no for your dating profile photo. 

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Priceonomics

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China Experiments with a New Kind of Megalopolis


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Trust China to do the most bold things.

Chen Yalei, the financial broker, says Beijing is making a kind of offer to the cities in the Greater Bay Area that they simply can’t refuse. “Of course, there will be major shifts and, of course, some of these cities will lose importance while others gain ground.” But, he adds, at least for the time being, Hong Kong will remain indispensable, as the financial center of the Pearl River Delta and as China’s gateway to the world.

And afterwards? “The reformer Deng Xiaoping created a monument to himself in Shenzhen, and for his successor, Jiang Zemin, it was in Shanghai ” says Chen Yalei. “The Greater Bay Area is the project that President Xi Jinping intends to be remembered by in the history books.”

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Bernhard Zand — Spiegel Online

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THREE YEARS OF MISERY INSIDE GOOGLE, THE HAPPIEST COMPANY


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A detailed account.

Google employees lit up the company’s internal social networks, once again contemplating galling facts about the status of women in Silicon Valley. But this time the discussion was less easily derailed, perhaps because some of the most important exchanges took place on an anonymous mailing list called Expectant New Moms. The group’s 4,000 members knew the stories about Rubin and Singhal—thanks in part to email threads on the list after each executive departed. But Rubin’s $90 million payout felt like a sucker punch. The fact that leaders’ misconduct had been an open secret made it worse. Why had they given so many years of their lives to make these men insanely rich?

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Nitasha Tiku — Wired

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