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.

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Lyse Links: icons, scams, and audiobooks


Okay, I’ll be honest, this is a mostly a books-related Lyse Links. But I think everyone will like it! And I needed an excuse to share this week’s grand caper. And hoo boy do I think you’ll like that one. It’s an intersection of my favorite things–Twitter, a great detective story, and the YA/book community. Continue reading

Lyse Links: Adoption, texting, and hit songs


I’ve led with some shorter/lighter pieces, but the last few links are hefty. Enjoy!

Texting with Boys — This is an op-ed, so not as thorough as I’d like, but it’s a fascinating look at differences in communication. I have several similarities with the author, including a mostly-female family, plus emphasis on written communication (obviously).

Couple buys street in millionaire neighborhood — in a comedy of errors revealed by one couple’s stroke of astonishing luck, the street in a private high-scale neighborhood is now owned by outside individuals who are scheming ways to make money from their acquisition. Moral of the story: pay your taxes.

Trump’s positive news folder — for someone who doesn’t want to argue politics, I share a lot of political stories. This one caused a Twitter uproar about the President’s delusion. That’s up for anyone’s perception. BUT. If you’ve spent much time in entrepreneurial circles or high achiever optimization literature, this will sound pretty familiar. Starting the day with affirmations or positive thinking is not so unusual. Maybe not normal (or good?) for a president, but not as odd or laughable as many people think it is.

The Children of Strangers — this is an excellent profile of a family that had or adopted more than 20 children. Large families are a point of contention for many reasons, some of which will be obvious in this article. But I like a few things about the article. First, the author makes a serious attempt at relating the story with little commentary or bias. Second, I think it provides a good picture of the trade-offs necessary in any family. No family is perfect. Every decision to say “yes” is also saying “no” to something else. So “yes” to 20+ children means that more children have a family. But it also means less money, (probably) less time with each child, etc. In the end, I think these parents made the best decisions they could based on their values. Those choices probably helped their kids in some ways. And too much time thinking about “what-ifs” will drive you crazy.

The hit song you’ve never heard of (sold more than the Beatles) — The world is a big, diverse place. So much so that you’ve probably never heard of the man who created a hit song that sold more copies than any Beatles song. It’s a great story about music and legacy in Africa.

Has the smartphone destroyed a generation? — Look, I hate doom and gloom generational opinions as much as anyone. But this is a balanced, data-backed article from a generational researcher. Strongly recommended for anyone who cares about generational profiles, the current adolescent generation, or the effects of technology on human behavior.

Lyse Links: Heroes, predicting the future, and fun


Short list for you this week, but that means you have time to read them all! Several of these deserve some extra thought. I’d love to see your comments.

About Heroes — This is an excellent essay from Maggie Stiefvater about heroes and self-image. Maggie is a fascinating person and impressive writer. I was stunned when I discovered this post.

What office buildings tell you about the people who work there — the eccentric offices of tech firms may tell us a lot about how people will work in the future. Then again, it may just be a trend that disappears.

Are We Having Too Much Fun? — This is a deep and timely discussion. Our obsession with entertainment may be our societal downfall.

Stop Apologizing for Delayed Email Responses — This is a simple and transformative idea based off a broader thought-provoking essay that asks, “Do you want to be known for your writing or for your swift email responses?” [That longer essay is full of cursing and has a lot to do with patriarchy, writing, and mental models.] The ideas of reprioritizing and making intentional communication choices are pivotal for me. We could use much more of this in life.

 

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: conspiracy theories, overachievers, and Confucius


Do I say I have great articles for you every time I post these? Because I really love these. I even eliminated a few that were interesting, but not quite up to snuff. Categorized for easier skimming, but they’re ALL worth reading, I promise.
(Oh, and there’s a quick question at the end. Could you do me a favor and pop down to answer it? Thanks :D)

Humor

Conspiracy Theorists Use Twitter to Yell at Mars Rover — this will make you shake your head. But it’s good to be reminded how people outside our circles think. And I’m guessing hoping none of you are in that circle.
My Fully Optimized Life — McSweeney’s piece on living an optimized life. 😀
How to Survive Hard Times as a Copywriter — also McSweeney’s. This one hits home…

Living Your Best Life

Incrementalism is OK — for overachievers especially, it’s hard to remember that small gains are ok, even good. This interview with Robb Wolf was a good reminder for me.
How I Got a Second Degree in 2 Years While Working Fulltime — really, I couldn’t not read this. While I have an ambivalent relationship with this kind of extreme achievement, this guy seems pretty balanced and he has lots of good advice. (If you want my less-polished version, drawn from personal experience doing extreme things, check this out.)
I Gave Up TV, Then Qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and Got My PhD — Again, I have very mixed feelings. I’ve suffered some psychological backlash from pushing myself hard and I also don’t like the way we (as a culture) have started fetishizing streamlined lives and accumulated accomplishments. But I do support people testing these ideas in their own lives.
Can a Harvard Professor and Confucius Change Your Life? — I think this article is most interesting for the way that you can watch non-religious people hungering for many of the principles of a religious life. If you’re interested in self-improvement, this is an important read.

Thought-Provoking

Because I’m a Girl — I have nothing to say about this. Read it.

Trusting Your Fat Friend — You should read this whole piece, but the major takeaway for me was Continue reading