Renewed hope for the hot hand.

“Hot Hand”, “On Fire”, “In The Zone”. In 1985, a group including Amos Tversky (one of the fathers of behavioral economics) published a paper concluding it didn’t exist – it was a myth. After 30 years, Joshua Miller fires back, highlighting flaws in the original research that invalidate and reverse the result. learn more

Fish of the future.

Monica Jain runs Fish 2.0, described as the “shark tank of sustainable seafood.” She lays out a vision of 10 years in the future where seafood and fish options are more diverse, traceable, and sustainable. learn more

Reverse aging by purging ‘retired’ cells.

Thanks to a new study, humans are one step closer to being able to live forever. When cells accumulate too much DNA damage from aging, they can enter a semi-dormant state, becoming senescent cells. Mice treated with a substance that purges these cells saw regrowth of fur, kidney function improvement, and increased activity levels. learn more

2017 is the year of the chatbot.

Okay maybe not quite yet, but we’ve hit an inflection point in natural language processing (NLP) technology. You can finally call it pretty good. Facebook, Microsoft, and others are now releasing bot frameworks and opening up their messaging platforms to bots. learn more

Futures of text.

About 2 years ago, Jonathan Libov wrote about the state of current innovation in “text” as an interaction medium. He predicted the arrival of chat-based bots early on. “Messaging is the only interface in which the machine communicates with you much the same as the way you communicate with it.” learn more

The Complete TurtleTrader: How 23 Novice Investors Became Overnight Millionaires

If you’ve never heard the story of the Turtles before, this is worth a listen. It’s a real-life version of the movie Trading Places. In the mid 80s, a group of people were taught a trend-following system for trading markets and given money to trade. They made over $100MM of profits over the following four years, and a few went on to be some of the most successful hedge fund managers in the country. (View on Amazon)

The future is autonomous and electric.

The future is autonomous and electric. Cars are changing. Not all at once, but over the next 20-30 years. When most of the fleet is self-driving and powered by electricity, there will be huge direct impacts on oil consumption and human safety. Thinking beyond that, Benedict Evans dives into the second order of consequences. learn more

Evidence of the robot takeover.

Evidence of the robot takeover. Economists from MIT and Boston University examine the impact of industrial automation on the US labor market from 1990 to 2007. They conclude that each additional robot reduced employment in a given commuting area by 3-6 workers, and lowered overall wages by 0.25-0.5%. learn more

Too much retail.

Too much retail. “Last summer, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren called the situation ‘ridiculous,’ noting that the U.S. has 7.3 square feet of retail space per capita, versus 1.7 square feet per capita in Japan and France.” learn more

Wal-Mart does the internet.

Wal-Mart does the internet. Now that Marc Lore of Quidsi (diapers.com + soap.com) and Jet.com fame is in charge of e-commerce at Wal-Mart, they’ve started a shopping spree with the acquisitions of ModCloth and Moosejaw. These are culturally pretty far from Wal-Mart’s core discount stores, but maybe (just maybe) with Lore in charge they can nurture the brands without smothering them. learn more

Love food trucks? Politicians don’t.

Love food trucks? Politicians don’t. “You get somebody sick in Chicago, it’s a $200 fine,” Geller says. “You park too close to a restaurant, it’s $1,000. Those restaurants’ profits are more important than public health? The city of Chicago has said, ‘We’re going to protect brick-and-mortars.’ Why is it that this particular thing needs to be protected? It’s farcical. It’s so outrageous.” learn more

Maps are lying to you. 

Maps are lying to you. I still remember when it sunk in that our typical world map is one big lie. When a tour guide in Colombia told us that the country is bigger than Texas and California combined, I didn’t believe him. Google quickly confirmed that I was wrong. learn more

 

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Okay so this one is a tiny bit self help-y, but really not so much. The author’s (Clayton Christensen of The Innovator’s Dilemma fame) premise is that his class at Harvard Business School had the best of intentions and the future looked bright, but as time went on more and more of them ended up living unhappy lives despite all sorts of professional success. So he applies lessons from his research into businesses to help understand why the best of intentions can lead to failure, and offers guidance about how to structure your activities to get what you want out of life. (View on Amazon)

The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer

Imagine if you and your brother worked together. Then imagine if you worked together in the government. Keep going – one of you is Secretary of State and the other is Director of the CIA. That’s the Dulles brothers. Together, they overthrew governments, ran secret paramilitary campaigns, and influenced the lives of millions of people around the world – not always for the better. (View on Amazon)

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Anthony Bourdain’s autobiographical story about “coming up” in the world of kitchens and cooking. He narrates the book himself, which I really enjoyed because he delivers his writing with so much authenticity as well as clarify. If you like food, and have a high level of tolerance for profanity-laced stories about cooking intermixed with drugs, this one’s for you. (View on Amazon)

Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment

This author makes a case for the idea that mindfulness/meditation has tangible benefits, backing it up with studies and wrapping it around the story of Siddhartha and the foundation of Buddhism. The studies are, by the author’s own admission, fairly “early” with small sample sizes and less than ideal control groups in many cases. Despite all of that, there’s something to be said for the early data showing that mindfulness practice helps humans function better in this crazy world. (View on Amazon)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

The story starts 70,000 years ago and takes you through the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, and all of the revolutions since then. It starts out with a strong “anthropology” focus, giving insights (and the author’s opinions) into evolutionary traits we’ve developed. The latter half is fairly modern, and offers many views on how our society has evolved and where it’s headed. (View on Amazon)