Lyse Links: Apple to Zumba


Angela Ascendant: Apple’s head of retail is re-imagining the Apple store. For one thing, Apple no longer calls their retail spaces “stores.” Instead, they imagine them as “modern-day town squares.” (I think there are better modern-day examples, like libraries.) Find out how the wildly successful Burberry executive ended up at a tech company, and why the tables in Apple stores are still the same.

Baltimore: A Record-Breaking City: Some sociological problems seem insurmountable. Those of us who want to make a difference, or just be good citizens, should, at the least, be learning about the complex issues facing our cities.

Houston’s Baseball Experiment: Hindsight is a glorious thing. In light of the Astros winning the World Series this year, revisit this 2014 article analyzing the team’s phoenix strategy (burn it down and rise anew). The intro is astonishing:

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The Story of a Very Old Wolf: Where do wolves fit in a country dominated by human rules?

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The Reckoning: How do we begin to discuss the onslaught of revelations about sexual assault in our society? This essay is a good place to start. [Obviously, includes sensitive topics and strong language.] 

How to Sleep: James Hamblin is my favorite health writer and sleep is one of my favorite topics. This is worth reading. And, dare I say, sleep habits make a good topic to consider for 2018’s resolutions.

Running is a Unique Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Isn’t that headline enough of an intro? Managing mental illness through activity is a fascinating idea to me.

I’ll Never Be Good at Running: Sometimes it is enough to just like a thing and not try to go faster or further.

Secrets from Tom Brady’s Personal Coach: Charlatan or magic-worker? (Also: a huge draw for his facility is surely because you can, as the author did, spot Gisele Bundchen and other celebrities during a session.)

From Chess Novice to Playing a Grand Master in 30 Days: Can a chess novice learn to beat one of the top masters in 30 days? I love challenges like this!

The Biggest Movie Star You’ve Never Heard Of: His name is unassuming, but his work is not.

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The Land Where Vendettas Go Forever: Blood feuds are part of life in Albania. This passage keeps poking me, talking about the deep code–unmoored from religion or government–that Albanians follow:

Before we hung up, Fox gently chastised me for using the word “lawless” to refer to contemporary Albania. “I’d be very careful using that term,” he said. “As long as people are following the Kanun, there is no lawlessness.”

The Brothers Who Bought South Africa: I don’t follow South African politics, so this caught my eye. Is an Indian family shadow-governing South Africa?

For Sale: Presented without comment.

Inside Zumba: I can’t help but feel the writer was just too skeptical to take Zumba seriously. I’ve never tried it, but it doesn’t seem worse than any of the other fitness “cults.” People found something they like, let them enjoy it. (For any of you marketing/business people: great read about brand building.)

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That’s it for this week! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.

Have thoughts about any of the stories I shared? Drop them in the comments! I’d love to talk.

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Lyse Links: Killers, Interrogation, and Paradise


Welcome to November! Lean into the coziness. These stories are a great way to occupy the cold darkness. (Also, light some candles. Or a fire. That helps.)

I didn’t sort today’s stories into sections. They read really well into each other and defy categorization. *shrug*

Pair Seven Days of Heroin Epidemic with A Prayer for Healing to get both a big-picture and very personal look at addiction.

The Sorrow and Shame of an Accidental Killer — How do you move past killing someone?

From Prison to PhD — Michelle Jones used her 20+ years in prison to become a respected scholar. Applying to graduate schools upon release, she’s sparked controversy at top universities. How should a person’s crimes affect public perception of them after they’ve served time? Is society unfairly prolonging their punishment?

The Newspaper That Bought a Bar — a great story of undercover journalism. Also an example of the type of shenanigans that I doubt would be successful in today’s tech-heavy world.

Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food — Many underdeveloped nations have gone from underweight to malnourished as food giants aggressively market unhealthy foods. How do you begin to fix a problem like this?

Pair The Scientists Persuading Terrorists to Spill Their Secrets with CIA Torture Black Sites for a look at changing opinions on interrogation techniques. Psychology tells us the first method is more likely to be effective, but it’s tough to change established patterns. The articles also deal with a fascinating aspect of interrogation–it’s extremely difficult for the interviewer. Traditional interrogation techniques are heavy on actions that make the imprisoning party feel good, but that’s effective for getting good information.

Golden State Warriors Revolution Starts with a Charcuterie Board — For something a bit lighter, the story of how Steve Kerr revolutionized the Warriors’ offense. I haven’t watched a single Warriors game and somehow I know more about them than any other basketball team.

Mattress Wars — You may not find this as interesting as I do, but it’s an intriguing business story. Are you inundated with podcast ads for Casper or Leesa? Behind the scenes is more complicated than you could imagine. (Also a good read if you’re interested in how bloggers/Internet influencers legally and successfully build brand relationships. It’s a changing world.)

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights — This is one of the scariest stories I’ve read in awhile. I’ll let this excerpt speak to why:

Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “crtgrdn,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.

The Paradise that Shouldn’t Exist — Cape Coral was built on lies. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. And it’s also one of the fastest-growing towns in America.

I felt oddly guilty reading this, because we moved to Florida this year. We’re smack-dab in the middle of a top-risk flood zone. But honestly, I’d think long and hard about leaving. People aren’t motivated by flood risks and ecological concerns. They’re drawn by this:

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Literally just my local park. There are half a dozen like it in 10 miles. 

The Mother of Forensic Science — Finally, the woman who introduced forensic science to police officers in the 1940s.

Let’s Talk!

What’s your favorite story? Do you disagree with any of them? Tell me in the comments.

Lyse Links: Talking cats, secret lives, and extreme athletes


Long weekend! More time for reading! Wait, what? That’s not what you do with your long weekends? Strange. (To be fair, it’s not the only thing I do either. I went to a dog beach last night, I’m cycling a preserve tonight, and I’m hopeful for kayaking on Monday! Readers can love outdoor activities too. )

This Week’s Gems

Munchausen Proxy or Con Artist? This story is worthy of a novel. (Actually, it’s similar to elements of Everything, Everything, which just released as a movie, but started as a YA novel. But I don’t think EE is an appropriate treatment of this idea.)

The Dutch King’s Secret Double Life: This is absolutely my favorite piece of news to release in ages. If you’re as tired as I am of conspiracies and mud-slinging and corrupt politicians, you’ll enjoy this.

Why did a Chinese peroxide company pay 1 billion for a talking cat (app)? Look, it’s not an actual talking cat. 1 billion for a talking cat would make sense. But if you’re a businessperson, this one’s for you. If you’re normal, like the rest of us [normal, I say!], read this to be freaked out about the deals and associations and global business games you don’t know about. Or don’t read it. I personally enjoy not thinking about global conspiracies I can’t control.

College dean in hot water over Yelp reviews: Yes, over Yelp reviews. How many times do people (teachers, especially!) need to be reminded that the Internet affects real life?

Why do you think about the future?

The barbarians are at Etsy’s hand-hewn, responsibly-sourced gates: I sometimes edit the headlines of these stories, but that one was perfect. I don’t use Etsy and I’ve never been much of a fan, but the company is a fascinating study in balancing values with practical (sometimes pragmatic) business sense.

Dug Up from the Treasure Chest

For this long weekend, I trawled through the articles I’ve saved from the last few years, picking out some of my favorites. I believe these are all new to Lyse Links, but a few may be reposts.

The Shadow Side of Greatness: This is an old one, but led to one of the most important questions in my life: What kind of pain do you want? If you strive for greatness or push yourself to master something, read this.

Jesus’s Wife, The Harvard Professor, and the Florida Pornographer: Truth may be stranger than fiction, but only if you can separate the two. This story of tracking down an ancient manuscript is a trip from beginning to end.

The Reluctant Memoirist: A beautiful essay on the power of words and the complicated ethics of undercover journalism. (Some strong language in reprinted comments/criticism.)

Live, for the moment: The complex relationship between extreme athletes and their audiences. Articles that discuss and analyze internet trends, rather than dismissing them as youthful foolishness, are vital. Internet creators are a new brand of entrepreneur and broader culture doesn’t give them enough critical attention.

 

Which article is your favorite?

 

Lyse Links: the most interesting reads this weekend


I got behind on this post for a few weeks, so I have loads of interesting links saved up for you! I’m posting the most cool ones this week, with the more obscure ones to come later. Enjoy!

  • Isn’t “picture this” just a metaphor? This is a note by a man who literally cannot picture things in his head. While that idea itself is fascinating, the value of this piece is the voice of the author. It’s hilarious, insightful, well worth the 15 minute read.
  • What do the first stages of Alzheimer’s feel like? This is an older, quite long read, but it’s worthwhile for seeing a stage of life that we often avoid. The author is a very experienced  reporter, so I relished the sophistication of his style.
  • Why People Pay to Read The New York Times. This is actually where I found the previous article. It’s a good discussion of the place that newspapers hold in a world of Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. (I think both of those outlets periodically offer remarkable news stories, but I am an unapologetic supporter of traditional newspapers.)
  • We discovered our parents were Russian spies. If you have not already seen this story, it’s a must-read. Life truly is stranger than fiction–when the FBI raids a house, two brothers find out that their parents are Russian spies and almost nothing they know about their family is true.
  • Are Millennials really the most distracted generation? I think the title speaks for itself.

Did you learn anything interesting? Which story is your favorite?

All the World a Story


Do you ever have the feeling that your life might just be one long story? Do you ever wish it was? These questions tend to haunt me…I see in my own life the ups and downs, conflicts and resolutions of the many, many stories I have read. My wish is always for that happy ending, the quick and painless conclusion to my confusion. But I’m just a character, not the reader. For me the resolution may take days or years, not the few hours it would take to simply read about it. Admittedly, this leaves me often frustrated and discouraged, stuck on the slow path, unable to see the plot map of my own story. This has been one of those weeks.

For those of you who struggle with the same feelings, let me share the insight that carries me through. Ultimately, I do know that there is a happy ending. I also know the Author of my story. While I may not be able to see the plot map, He can and His resolution is better than any I could dream up myself. I am not just a character. I am a character that He loves and for whom He is writing a wonderful, beautiful story.

For now, I carry on day by day, page by page, with the belief that there is a happy ending and that any current conflicts are necessary for the plot and for my own development.

but in dreams…


How much do you think about dreams? Do you dream? If so, do you remember your dreams? I don’t dream. Or at least, if I do, I very seldom remember them. One of my very close friends dreams every night and almost always remembers the dreams, an occurrence that mystifies me.

On the other hand, I perfectly understand daydreaming. For most of my life, I have been a masterful woolgatherer. I can spend hours lost in stories in my head, either real or fanciful. I seldom write them down…that monotonous task slaps a face of reality on my mental magic. Unfortunately for me, school drastically shortens the time available for daydreaming. Particularly the unguilty kind that results in creativity. One exception to this exists in an uninteresting and unnecessary class I have once a week. Very early in the semester I learned that my attention was not needed and I gave myself away to doodling and writing out phrases of songs and poems. That soon led to daydreaming and voila! I was writing stories.

I kept it simple. I know from experience that I soon tire if I try to write a novel. So I let my college-weary brain wander into fairytale fantasies and just wrote whatever storyline came to me. And it was bliss. I often dreaded the end of class, when I would have to leave my little fantasy. One hour of bliss a week, however, was far better than none. My classmates thought I was crazy. “What are you doing?” “Are you writing a story again?” “What’s your major? Creative writing?” People, you do not have to be a writing major to write stories! You have them inside you, everyone does! All you have to do is put that simple, silly, sad story into words! It doesn’t matter if it’s horrible from a professional standpoint. The important thing is freeing those ideas and words. You’ll find yourself feeling a lot more creative. 🙂

Today has been somewhat stressful for me. Getting back into the routine is nice, but I’m exhausted and rather sore/achy. So I sat down in class this afternoon and let the words flow…..all that glitters is not gold, masque of the red death, half a league, half a league, half a league onward, all in the valley of death…..dreamweaver, but in dreams…and then, I walk in dreams. Only a short paragraph, the sketching of an idea. Soon the girl next to me noticed and went through the usual litany of questions. Yes, I’m writing another story. No, I’m not a writing major. Sigh. Then she said something unusual. “I like the first line. If I were a reader, I would want to read the rest.” I smiled and thanked her, but I really don’t think she knew how much that meant to me. While I write primarily for myself, the desire to interest a reader is always present. When the paragraph was finished, I shyly asked if she wanted to read it and she enthusiastically did so. She complimented my story when she finished and told me I needed to be in a writing major. I realize she was primarily being polite and the likelihood of me switching majors is very low, but that simple interest made my heart smile.

Never underestimate the power of writing a simple story. The short time lost in imagination will do wonders for you, trust me. And who knows, someone else might like it too. 🙂