Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - August 17 Edition

Leadership, Education

“What started as simply stargazing with her Girl Scouts troop as a 7-year-old in New Mexico has since turned into a career at NASA, IBM, Apple and Dell for Sylvia Acevedo.

Most recently, in May, she was named the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, the organization she belonged to growing up. Her mission: to ensure STEM learning is a part of every young woman's life.

"I had an 'aha' moment when I was a young girl and my troop leader saw me looking at the stars," Acevedo tells CNBC Make It.

"Later on, when we were choosing our badges, she encouraged me to get my science badge," she recalls. And the rest is history.

Solar Eclipse, Science

“On Monday, as you might have heard, the first total solar eclipse in more than a century will be visible in North America. Across a wide swath of the country, the moon will block out the sun, creating an awe-inspiring, near-three minutes of darkness and incredible views. A certain segment of the population, eclipse enthusiasts known as “umbraphiles,” have been planning for months: stocking up on special solar-eclipse glasses, planning themed festivals, and purchasing tickets to fly into what is usually flyover country for the event. The short burst of ecotourism is going to be huge: U.S News and World Report wrote that a 1,600-population town in Idaho is expecting 100,000 visitors for the event. Hotels, Airbnbs, and even campsites have been booked for months.

So what if you forgot to schedule—or simply did not want to invest in—an eclipse getaway? We understand. It’s been a rough year.

If you don’t have a personal plane, it’s probably too late to get somewhere that’s in the “path of totality,” the 70-mile-wide path across the U.S where the sun will be completely blocked by the moon. (Fourteen states are inside the path of totality, and the biggest city in the path is Nashville.) Being in the path will be pretty cool—once the moon covers that last 1 percent of the sun, it gets about 10,000 times darker. But even if you can’t get out there, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can still virtually watch the spectacle: NASA is live-streaming the view of it from 11 spaceships, at least three aircraft, and more than 50 balloons. You can also indulge your FOMO with the #eclipse and #eclipse2017 hashtags, where you can be sure the people who made it will share their experiences.”

Science, Happiness

“It’s a question central to daily life: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money? Well, if happiness is the goal, you might consider opening that wallet.

That’s the takeaway of a study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, whose findings suggest that spending money to save time may reduce stress about the limited time in the day, thereby improving happiness.

“People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction,” said Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and lead author of the study, which was based on a series of surveys from several countries. Researchers did not see the same effect when people used money for material goods.”

Health, Diet

“Attention, males of the world: if you’re looking to attract a female partner, try changing your diet first.

A study from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia says women are most attracted to the sweaty scent of men who eat fruits and veggies. The study also claims that fat, meat, egg and tofu intake were tied to pleasant-smelling sweat and a carb-rich diet was linked to a more intense, less-pleasant sweat smell. 

“We’ve known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women,” Ian Stephen, who helped conduct the small study, said in a recent interview with NPR. “Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer.””

Data, Regulations

“A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

Such dominance has prompted calls for the tech giants to be broken up, as Standard Oil was in the early 20th century. This newspaper has argued against such drastic action in the past. Size alone is not a crime. The giants’ success has benefited consumers. Few want to live without Google’s search engine, Amazon’s one-day delivery or Facebook’s newsfeed. Nor do these firms raise the alarm when standard antitrust tests are applied. Far from gouging consumers, many of their services are free (users pay, in effect, by handing over yet more data). Take account of offline rivals, and their market shares look less worrying. And the emergence of upstarts like Snapchat suggests that new entrants can still make waves.

But there is cause for concern. Internet companies’ control of data gives them enormous power. Old ways of thinking about competition, devised in the era of oil, look outdated in what has come to be called the “data economy” (see Briefing). A new approach is needed.”

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