7 articles to read this weekend

Every week I like to share 7 articles that get me thinking differently about culture, technology, and work. Let’s get to it…

1. Across State Lines

Geography is arbitrary and based on relationships, understanding, and power. Just look at the way Russia annexed Crimea a couple months ago. Paul Ford examines what geography and place actually means in today’s age when the Internet makes us everywhere.

+ MIT Tech Review: Speaking of ‘place’ in the interconnected age, here’s an app that will lead you on the most beautiful walking paths.

2. Predicting Retirement

Retirement is a slippery slope. You want whatever you don’t have right now: free time, the ability travel, etc. But no matter how much you plan for retirement, your desires are too hard to predict. Retirement priorities change. Save up for retirement but don’t expect your future desires to match up with what they are right now.

+Foreign Affairs:. Two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas by 2050, the exact opposite of 1950. Time to move to Vermont.

3. Know Thyself

Successful careers are unplanned and come to those that know their strengths and how they work best. Important self-management piece.

4. Swiftless

Nilay Patel of Voxmedia rebuts Taylor Swift in explaining how the Internet makes music value-less precisely because it’s not rare. In the digital music age, all that’s needed is an inventory of one. And that’s why we collect so much and let our digital items collect dust.

5. Big Data Implications

It’s our data, Om Malik argues, yet we cough it up so easily to tech companies in exchange for minor gains such as predetermining our next destination or prompting our next buying decision. Humans are too predictable. Automation is looming, for better and for worse, and society needs to embrace in a health discussion to decide which things are worth forfeiting.

+ NBC News: Cyborgs aren’t as crazy as you think. You already carry a hard drive in your pocket 24/7.

6. Once You Start, You Can’t Stop

The Zeigarnik effect says that starting something means you’ll most likely finish it but you’ll also just as easily forget about it (kind of like email). Studies also show that rewards undermine the Zeigarnik effect. That is, people are more interested in flexible work hours than unproductive 8-hour work days.

7. Thinking Problems

Step away from the computer and go for a walk, take a shower, watch a movie, or cook. Do everything you can to get away from your creative problem when you’re stuck. As much as American culture praises persistence, the brain needs to shut off and let the subconscious find the solution. Get unstuck.

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