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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Does Laughing With ‘The Joker’ Make You a Creep?


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I got it. Did you? I relate to Fleck. But I don’t need to relate to him. Most people today have to see themselves in the characters they study—or they feel ignored, like Arthur Fleck. If you don’t relate to him, and you’re someone who views the cinema as an educational pamphlet, then you won’t get the Joker. You never will. You’ve refrigerated your dark sense of humor and forgotten about it as if it were a bag of unpopular green peas in the farthest corner of the icebox. You either hold your nose at things that make you feel uncomfortable—because you can’t relate to them—or convince others to trash it to relieve you of the emotional baggage associated with being asked to sympathize with someone who doesn’t think or look like you.

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Art Tavana — The American Conservative

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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

The 10 Hardest Math Problems That Remain Unsolved


A weekend post. Who knows might be able to solve one of these.

1. The Collatz Conjecture
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Earlier this month, news broke of progress on this 82-year-old question, thanks to prolific mathematician Terence Tao. And while the story of Tao’s breakthrough is good news, the problem isn’t fully solved.

A refresher on the Collatz Conjecture: It’s all about that function f(n), shown above, which takes even numbers and cuts them in half, while odd numbers get tripled and then added to 1. Take any natural number, apply f, then apply f again and again. You eventually land on 1, for every number we’ve ever checked. The Conjecture is that this is true for all natural numbers.

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Dave Linkletter — Popular Mechanics

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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The lessons of Stephen Schwarzman, boss of Blackstone


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In this age, we look up to billionaires. Well, another of those writing about how he became what he became.

Mr Schwarzman has little time in the book for the little guy. Other financiers wring their hands over the wealth gap between bosses and workers. Not him. He was a rare executive in America’s Business Roundtable not to sign a charter last month calling for an end to the shareholder-led model of capitalism. His private life appears to be one of lavish parties and glamorous schmoozing. Acknowledgments in the book stretch to 14 pages and he name-drops five American presidents, four French ones and China’s Xi Jinping.

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The Economist

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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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