As per Wikipedia – The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face that represents a countdown to possible global catastrophe. It has been maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board,[1] who are in turn advised by the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, including 18 Nobel Laureates. The closer they set the Clock to midnight, the more vulnerable the scientists believe the world is to global disaster.

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

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Evan Osnos — The New Yorker

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The question of parenting has no single correct answer. There is a quote by someone which says everyone knows how best to raise children except for parents. Today’s needull talks about guerrilla parenting in American society.

That imperative is especially charged when it comes to immigrants. Americans used to worry that immigrant parents were holding on to their children too tightly, and thereby holding them back. Now upper-middle-class parents are nervously studying books like Amy Chua’s “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” They reprove parents like her for supposedly gaming the system, and then hurry to try to give their offspring some packaged version of the immigrant-kid experience.

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The New Yorker — Amy Davidson

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The social logic of Ivy League admissions


This is a relatively old article by Malcolm Gladwell. The article looks at how the admission requirements and procedures evolved over the years for the Ivy League schools. It is interesting to note the things considered important for admission to these schools. I particularly liked the part about the burden of being defined by the school.

Once, I attended a wedding of a Harvard alum in his fifties, at which the best man spoke of his college days with the groom as if neither could have accomplished anything of greater importance in the intervening thirty years. By the end, I half expected him to take off his shirt and proudly display the large crimson “H” tattooed on his chest. What is this “Harvard” of which you Americans speak so reverently?

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The New Yorker –Malcolm Gladwell

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Today’s needull is a profile of Martha Nussbaum published in the New Yorker. I can’t pinpoint what, but there was something that I liked about this article.

In a new book, tentatively titled “Aging Wisely,” which will be published next year, Nussbaum and Saul Levmore, a colleague at the law school, investigate the moral, legal, and economic dilemmas of old age—“an unknown country,” which they say has been ignored by philosophy. The book is structured as a dialogue between two aging scholars, analyzing the way that old age affects love, friendship, inequality, and the ability to cede control. They both reject the idea that getting old is a form of renunciation. Nussbaum critiques the tendency in literature to “assign a ‘comeuppance’ ” to aging women who fail to display proper levels of resignation and shame. She calls for an “informal social movement akin to the feminist Our Bodies movement: a movement against self-disgust” for the aging. She promotes Walt Whitman’s “anti-disgust” world view, his celebration of the “lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean. . . . The thin red jellies within you or within me. . . . O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul.”

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Rachel Aviv – The New Yorker

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An interesting article talking about the US experience and the American spirit.

When the little one finished his Fanta, he asked for another one. We normally don’t allow him to drink soda at all, but we thought, After all, it’s his first week in America, and he’s having a tough time in preschool. “No problem, sweetie,” I said, and went to the counter to order another soda. “It’s a free refill,” the counter worker said. I didn’t know what she meant, so she explained: we could fill up on soda from the machine as many times as we wanted, free of charge. I returned  to the booth with a fresh Fanta and delivered the news. It was the first time since arriving in Illinois that we smiled as a family. “Refill” was the first word my toddler son spoke in English, and when I heard him say it I felt some small new hope about our prospects in America.

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The New Yorker