What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right


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The problems had started when Sam was 13, barely a month into eighth grade. In the taxonomy of our local public school, his close group of friends was tagged edgy and liberal: One of them came out as gay during a class presentation; another identified as trans for a while. Their group-text chain pulsed 24-7 with observations about alternative music and the robotic conformity of other classmates. Standard stuff for sensitive middle-schoolers.

One morning during first period, a male friend of Sam’s mentioned a meme whose suggestive name was an inside joke between the two of them. Sam laughed. A girl at the table overheard their private conversation, misconstrued it as a sexual reference, and reported it as sexual harassment. Sam’s guidance counselor pulled him out of his next class and accused him of “breaking the law.” Before long, he was in the office of a male administrator who informed him that the exchange was “illegal,” hinted that the police were coming, and delivered him into the custody of the school’s resource officer. At the administrator’s instruction, that man ushered Sam into an empty room, handed him a blank sheet of paper, and instructed him to write a “statement of guilt.”

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Washingtonian

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Nearly Half of You Reading This Have Bullshit Jobs


Goons are the second category. They’re people who work in an industry that is only necessary because there are other people like them. You don’t need a corporate lawyer unless somebody else has a corporate lawyer. Another example is telemarketers: you only need them if your competitors have them. A lot of PR, advertising, and lobbying involves goon-like behavior: There’s an element of aggression. A lot of people in this category wrote and said, you know, our jobs are ridiculous and contribute nothing to society. Most corporate lawyers seem to secretly feel this.

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Nick Romeo — The Daily Beast

Woke


The original meaning of the word woke deserves a resurrection. The seeds for it are in our activism, our art, and ourselves: in Colin Kaepernick’s public protest, in the work of Black Lives Matter and other black- and person-of-color-led organizations, in the art and music of Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Kendrick Lamar, and Solange. But wokeness has always begun with the self. I had lunch with a friend last week, and after we traded stories about jobs and marriages and the news, we switched, as is our custom, to the topic of police brutality. “Stay woke,” he told me at the end of our conversation. It was the first time in a while that I’d heard those words, but they still held their old power. An electric hit went up my spine.

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Kashana Cauley — Believer

What’s the best charity to donate to?


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With our limited budget, this is a question we all think about.

If you have under $10,000 to give, consider entering a donor lottery. It’s now possible to put $5,000 into a fund with other small donors, in exchange for a 5% chance of being able to choose where $100,000 from that fund gets donated. Why might you want to do this? In the case where you win, you can do a great deal of research into where’s best to give, to allocate that $100,000 as well as possible. Otherwise, you don’t have to do any research, and whoever else wins the lottery does it instead.

In short, it’s probably more efficient for small donors to pool their funds, and for one of them to do in-depth research, rather than each of them do a small amount of research. The Centre for Effective Altruism now organises a donor lottery once a year – two of them are open as of this writing in Dec ‘18, and will close on 9 Jan ‘19. You can find out more.

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Ben Todd & the 80,000 Hours Team

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What can we learn from people who succeed later in life?


Late bloomers.

The key to long-term success from a creator’s perspective is straightforward: let the qualities that give you your Q-factor do their job by giving them a chance to deliver success over and over. In other words, successful people engage in project after project after project. They don’t just count their winnings; they buy more lottery tickets. They keep producing. Take writer J.K. Rowling, who followed Harry Potter by creating a successful mystery series (under the name Robert Galbraith). Each time she publishes a new book, her new fans go back and read the older volumes as well. Each new book, then, breathes life into her career, keeping her whole body of work present and relevant.

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Albert-Laszlo Barabasi — TED

Modern Slavery


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Slavery still exists.

India abolished its caste and bonded labor systems decades ago, but social stratification remains pervasive. Families remain enslaved for generations, working in dangerous conditions without the means to pay for their freedom. India’s bonded labor system disproportionately ensnares Dalits, the bottom class of the Hindu caste system, as well as tribal communities and religious minorities. The cycle often begins with a loan request made to a landlord or business owner for expenses incurred burying a family member, treating an illness, procuring employment, or staging a wedding. The loan provider can then strongarm laborers or threaten to take away their family’s shelter to extract more work than the value of the original loan. This can result in a family accruing debt over generations. Brick kilns, rice mills, farms, and embroidery factories are notorious hubs of debt-extorted labor.

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Council on Foreign Relations

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Pack Experience


Interesting article on how we navigate through life in packs or small group of people.

Look around. Packs of humans are everywhere. Clusters of people riding escalators. People standing in for groups in ticket queues. Mothers ordering meals for children at restaurants. Families clearing immigration together at airports. Groups of people playing sports. Packs backstop all of social reality. When other levels of social reality unravel and fail, pack realities get stronger. Your emergency preparedness plan — for floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or whatever is the big risk in your neck of the woods — is almost certainly a pack-level plan that includes family, neighbors, and friends. Pack realities are much stronger in countries, like India, where higher levels of social reality are particularly weak.

The complete article

Venkatesh Rao — Ribbonfarm